When it comes to media surrounding video games, one of my great disappointments is that there isn’t a lot of great video programming centered on it. It seems that most big gaming websites have video reviews and sometimes video interviews or news, but very little that really examines games in a unique or smart way.
We’ve had some good stuff back in the past, but for the most part today the best gaming video I’ve seen is on YouTube, produced either very cheaply or likely for free. Most if it is, really, just a bunch of dudes sitting around playing and commenting on a game, sort of like a podcast in video form.
The first and from my point of view most well-known of these has been GameGrumps. It’s literally just two guys playing a selected game for maybe 15 minutes per episode with a bunch of commentary – one of them the guy who used to make the “Awesome” series of flash videos on Newgrounds.
I guess you could call that a “Let’s Play” but it doesn’t feel like one at all. Mostly they just talk about random crap but actual insightful commentary does seep through, and you can see some real production skill in there from the intros and animated shorts sometimes made from the commentary. These guys are able to produce probably at least a few hours of content a week which has made for a steady stream of something to watch during my morning exercises.
The YouTube show most similar to GameGrumps (which they themselves actually recommended) is called Continue. It’s a similar deal – they mostly play old games with commentary. The commentary though is much more satirical and the games often a lot more obscure. I personally have to give them props just for observing some of my favorite unknown games like WCW vs NWO Revenge and Metal Warriors.
A favorite that I keep hearing about is Retro Game Master – an actual Japanese TV series, most of the episodes to which find their way to YouTube. I haven’t found the time to watch an actual episode yet but it is also apparently a show about a guy playing old games with commentary, just in Japanese. I know at least one season is available on DVD in North America.
When it comes to video coverage of current games, my problem is that I just miss the 1up Show. There was something about the way the 1up Show previewed games and interviewed that was very effective at getting me interested in games. I think they were the main reason I ever wanted an Xbox 360. Part of that was the show’s raw style which made both the game coverage and commentary feel very down to earth, something that more “professional” looking shows like GameTrailers TV just don’t replicate. I’ve heard that GiantBomb has sort of taken up the mantle of personality-driven video programming, but I haven’t seen enough to believe this yet. Really though, I’d like the former 1up guys at Area5 to find somewhere they can continue their work.
- I made a couple of new custom box arts for Dishonored and Resident Evil 6: http://t.co/Irsx95nh
- This is where the Minecraft people work: http://shar.es/5vdwR
- Now streaming on Netflix: Haywire, The Grey, Indie Game: The Movie
- Fighting games on sale on Xbox Live soon: http://flpbd.it/pKvKb
- When you think about it, it kind of boggles the mind that EA never released a Gold, Game of the Year, or Ultimate Edition of Mass Effect 2, seeing as that game has about $40 worth of DLC attached to it.