coinbychrisburns coinbychrisburns

Chris Burns’ “Coin” Is the Videogame Satire to End All Videogame Satires

Coin, an animated short directed and animated by Chris Burns, premiered at the Midsummer Night Toons a couple months ago and was recently posted online.

The short, about a guy who loses a coin and then recovers it through a virtuous combination of diligence and perseverance, was produced by the young Long Island animation studio Exit 73 Studios, co-founded by Burns and Bob Fox, who did the film’s music, sound effects and compositing.

Typically, I’m not an advocate of the ‘action-for-action’s-sake’ variety of animated shorts, but it’s easy to make an exception when it’s done to such a high level of craft. Burns was a key artist at Augenblick Studios before leaving to start Exit 73, and he has an uncanny ability to keep numerous elements in constant motion without confusing or disorienting the viewer.

In this film, he managed to add something fresh to the threadbare videogame satire genre. Hopefully, he will apply his unique abilities to more substantial projects in the future.

  • I saw a WIP of this months ago. The finished product is just as sexy. But I may be biased, I grew up with Contra, Beat-em Ups games and that sort of thing.

  • Shuckleberry Hound

    I’m not sure you’re using “satire” correctly here. “Satire” usually implies some sort of social criticism. If anything, this was actually a pretty loving homage to various classic video game genres (as well as including references to newer games like Portal).

    • AmidAmidi

      I sensed a satirical bent by the character’s disproportionate response to the loss of a single coin. If you’re a gamer, perhaps you’ll view it as homage, but it can definitely be interpreted as satire, too.

  • Barbara


  • Nate

    “Typically, I’m not an advocate of the ‘action-for-action’s-sake’ variety of animated shorts, but it’s easy to make an exception when it’s done to such a high level of craft.” I envision this sentence said in a Thurston Howell III accent.

  • StephaneDumas

    I don’t know why, it reminds me of the splatsick comedic fight scenes from the various Bud Spencer-Terrence Hill movies. ^_^;

  • Chris Powell

    this seems more like an homage than a satire. There didnt seem to be any criticism or humor.

    That being said, this was really impressive, especially considering it was only two guys!! (whaaaaat??)
    My only criticism is that it could have kept the visual language to more closely resemble an actual video game (a life bar, health icons etc) it felt like this character could just do anything and so it felt sort of random and stream of consciousness and i did get lost a few times..

    I wanna see more from them though, this was really impressive and inspiring as an artist. and fun.

  • Chris Burns

    I would like to take the time to personal thank the amazing Cartoon Brew Team, for allowing COIN to be part of this inspirational site! It truly is a high honor and privileged to be among such amazing animators and writers. 1000 Thanks to everyone!

  • Ben

    Great short, but the article comes off as kind of snobby and pretentious.

    • brinkjunk


      • AmidAmidi

        How so?

        • brinkjunk

          “Hopefully, he will apply his unique abilities to more substantial projects in the future” I felt this piece was pretty substantial for what it set out to do in terms of showcasing a unique style and homage to a genre. I felt that last line was a little harsh in the wording.

          • AmidAmidi

            Fair enough. I should have done a better job of making my point. The attempt here was to make clear the distinction between a great animation exercise and a great film because they deserve to be acknowledged as separate things.

          • Funkybat

            I’m curious as to what you thought of “Trucker’s Delight,” another very well-done animated homage to retro video games. The frenetic pace and violence of this one reminded me of “TD” but due to the style it was also reminiscent of the madness called “Superjail!”

            I enjoyed both this and “Trucker’s Delight” and wouldn’t call either a “satire” though there is a parody undertone to each one.

  • T_Mug

    Insubstantial? A substantial amount of creative freedom and awesomeness was all I got.