So, if you’ve been over to my channel over the last few days you may have noticed something a little bit different creep into my listings…
Yep. I’ve finally sold out…you can all feel free to laud it over me and play up that this is my channel being strangled in the crib before it ever really got going. Its understandable. I felt guilty in conceding to it. Not to attack gamers in general I hope you understand. Gaming content…Legitimate gaming content. People who’ve honed and crafted there own styles, formats and “Performances” are as much a revolutionary part of the youtube ecosystem as any “How to”, “Review” and “Comedy” channel out there.
The issue with “Gaming channels” in my opinion is a matter of Oversaturation. That’s not an original observation but it’s the truth. Its not that games channels are inherently bad, it’s more that gaming channels are simply too easy to set up and too unregulated to be consistently “Of Quality”
As a measuring stick of quality im going to show a few gaming channels that I consider to be legitimately entertaining or good. Because theres more than one way to cover gaming content and I feel by showing you the best it’ll help give you context for what I would consider some of the worst.
Videogamedunky is far from the most intellectual channel on the platform. But after the flashpoint of Jontrons “Outing” as a massively massive racist* (*I may be overstating that just a little bit) I found Dunky to be a somewhat refreshing. he’s stupid, goofy and generally silly. But that silliness feels pure. It doesn’t feel like it’s trying to directly attack anyone and theres very little to no malice in his content. He’s distinctly more comedy oriented but if you haven’t seen his stuff before I can definitely recommend checking him out as a good example of “Comedy gaming” on the platform.
Jim Sterling is a somewhat obvious choice for this category as well. I started following him back in 2013 having had him skirting my “Recommended” videos on youtube for a very long time. I finally took the plunge and I haven’t yet regretted it. Jims bold, camp and while occasionally a little preachy, is more often than not a highly entertaining critic and reporter on current and developing video game trends. Im not going to sit here and say that Jim Sterling is the BBC news of youtube but I would be quite comfortable calling him the “Last Week tonight” of gaming on youtube.
Guru Larry would be my final choice if I had to pick 3. The guys a genuine tornado on youtube. Find a video, Check the comments, Larry has most likely commented on it. I don’t know if it’s just the fact we both move in similar circles but I can guarantee Guru Larry has seen pretty much every video I’ve seen and commented on it at some point. He’s an entertaining and informative figure for vintage UK and US gaming and his “Fact hunt” series has been a genuine highlight for me over the last few years. He breaks down gaming history and consoles in such a way that’s comedic and interesting. His delivery is pleasant and he comes across as a genuinely charming and lovely man.
Honourable mentions for me would also have to go to Yahtzee Crowshaw. A man who’s (For me personally) best years are now very sadly behind him, but in his prime was an unstoppable force of nature on the video game front (Even if his delivery and style were basically a lift from Charlie brooker) His lets plays were also dry and highly entertaining with his final let’s play ending on a surreal and bittersweet tone that deeply endeared me to the man. Stuart Ashens, a man who isn’t often associated with gaming but in recent years has started to really get into the field (Again though I do feel somewhat like theres a bit of a brooker connection there on humour, tone and delivery with him) he always seems to be able to make lets plays more interesting and his brief playthough of “Grange hill: the game” is a genuinely joyous experience.
But enough of this moderate filler that’s in part used to justify my slamming of bad gaming channels and also partly as a reach out to push a few youtubers who’ve done interesting and fun stuff with video games on youtube. What constitutes a bad gaming channel?
Well I think it would be mean to name names here and to specifically point to youtube channels in particular. But again, its not difficult to spot these types of channels and all im going to do here is categorize them into soundbite based groups that can act as a short hand for how to spot them, equally at the same time I also have to say that in making this list im not trying to put myself above these various types of youtube channels. I completely appreciate the effort that these people put into trying to “Make it” but at the same time while not trying to tar everyone with the same brush; 90% of these channels are made with some form of alterior motive or intent…and typically it’s the ones who genuinely enjoy there content that rise to the top…with that being said:
Brand channels: these are some of the easiest channels to find on youtube and also some of the most annoying. These channels come into existence when someone who legitimately wants to start a gaming channel (But is either unable to due to lack of gear, or just someone who doesn’t have the charisma to carry an entire channel purely on gaming) decides the best way to get sub’s and by extension popularity is to just hit the branding hard over anything else. This means highly polished channel art, logo’s, generic to the point of mediocre thumbnails. and content that just…isn’t that good. Im not saying that the content is low quality. But its usually a case that the person who runs these kind of channels will upload either 7-8 videos a day or 1 video every 6 months…and theres no inbetween on that. It’s an all or nothing deal. There intentions arnt entirely clear but you can guarantee these are the people who’s videos you find scattered all over message boards and reddit to an extreme extent. These are flashpoint channels in the sense that more often than not they wont last more than 12 months. They’ll usually accumulate a very passive subscriber base and typically “Brand channels” exist pretty much purely for personal bragging rights.
Most common quote: “Oh! I have a gaming channel…it’s pretty cool…I have 121 subscribers…eh…no biggie…”
(Pictured: Typical Brand Channel style branding…unbearable..)
The Soulless: these guys are monsters.
Plain and simple. In “A Christmas Carol” Jacob Marley once said “If a spirit goes not forth in life it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world and witness what it cannot share but could have shared and turned to happiness” these youtubers are a reflection of that. Social chameleons chasing the almighty dollar at all costs and sacrifices. These sorts will drop friends, will sacrifice meaningful relationships and will sell there literal souls to be once inch further ahead than they were yesterday…these are the sort who chant “Like,comment,subscribe” like it’s a mantra. The sort who have a video based on a trending topic uploaded to there channel within an hour of the viral video going viral. They’re fully integrated into the matrix and in many ways they are lost and deeply damaged individuals who will probably never have known true emotions or have somehow managed to fully supress those feelings. I personally had the mispleasure of knowing 2 “Professional” gamers in my time who had youtube channels that were relatively successful (10k subs and 7k subs respectively) and they were dead behind the eyes. In 15 seconds they could meet someone, grade them based on whether they’ll be useful or not, and then either dispose of them or kiss the ever loving crap out of them until they gave them what they wanted. They were ruthless, and ultimately lost people. What I observed was that these “soulless” often clump together in terms of there scales. Shedding friends and partners as they move up the social hierarchy never truly feeling fulfilled because they’ve realised a long time ago that a crucial part of there social development has been withered and they’re in too deep with bastards to be able to find an out. one of my “friends” (The 10k sub guy) ended up working for an even bigger gaming channel on youtube and I can confirm even to this day he’s an avatar of a man. Long since hollowed out by years of chasing stats, subs and events in the hope that one day he’ll be the king…what these sorts cant see is that they’ll ultimately be kings of nowhere.
Most common quote: “LIKE, COMMENT SUBSCRIBE GUYS! LET’S GET OUR ARMY GROWING! AND IF I GET 20 LIKES IN AN HOUR IM GONNA USE SQUIRTY CREAM ON MY DOG 2 #Squirtydog. ALSO IM ONLY 560 SUBS OFF 1K SO LETS GET #560TO1K TRENDING ON TWITTER!” *Vomits black*
(Sharks. They’re all fucking soulless dead eye’d sharks.)
The “Not Quite there’s” – The “Not Quite there’s” are similar to “The Soulless” but theres a very distinct difference. These sort have there humanity in tact. They’re just not very good at what they do…Now I should say they are different from “Casuals”. “Casuals” may not upload regularly, they may be poor at what they do, but they’re casuals. They can switch there content off and go outside, make friends, love. “Not Quite there’s” are trapped in a vicious circle of undeveloped and unwilling stagnation. “Not Quite there’s” will upload content in bursts. They wont upload every day but when they do upload (Usually 3-6 times a week) they’ll do it in batches of 5 or more. These are the sort who wont leave there houses for days. Who’ll sink 6+ hours into streaming every day. But who have NO social skills whatsoever. Most “Not quite there’s” will either forget to talk on the stream, forget that they have a microphone on and start talking about personal details. Will rant and rave about why noones playing online games from 5+ years ago and typically these lot will have some level of Cognative dissonance about themselves and the world they inhabit. people will try to help them. but they’re happy in there own world and will often ignore advice of any kind. They’re also typically the ones who are most likely to survive out of all of these channels. They’re the cockroaches of youtube. They refuse to go anywhere, they refuse to evolve and they’re just happy churning out hours and hours of dull, uninteresting and frankly bland content. They arnt particularly good players and honestly I don’t know why anyone watches them.
Most common quote: “Hey…*30 minutes later* Awww! Could’ve got ‘im then!… *30 minutes later* “…Yeh. …”…Suscribe.
There are plenty more subsections out there but these 3 are a pretty decent range of the key offenders. In writing this blog am I saying that my gaming streams are any better? Well of course they will be. Im brilliant…
…Alright im just starting out with these and in all honesty I seriously ummed and ahh’d about doing it in the first place. Even a week after my last set of streams Im still not 100% sure whether people like them or not…they haven’t had a tremendous amount of views or interactions. But I’d been thinking of doing these streams for a while with good reason. I do play quite a few video games in my downtime. I enjoy gaming and have done for years. And it gives me the opportunity to hopefully talk to you wonderful people live about cinema and film making. I’d be omitting some truth as well if I didn’t say that im effectively trying to utilize some of my downtime as a bit of extra content for my channel. Theres usually at least 1 day a week where I come home exhausted. I don’t want to edit, I don’t want to script write, I don’t even want to sit and silently make notes. I just want to sit, game and maybe have a nice conversation with you dear faithful reader. So in going live where normally I’d be sat on my own not only am I putting new stuff up on my youtube channel, but im having more fun than I would have if I was to just sit in the dark playing alone.
So I can only apologise if this isn’t your cup of tea. I do intend to only do these sporadically; as and when Im knackered or if I just don’t have time to do my usual routine. Im thinking at the minute of doing them maybe once a week. And Im still wondering whether to spin it off onto its own channel or not (Personally I don’t think it’s worth the mither of setting up, branding and managing a whole other youtube channel just for 1-2 videos a fortnight…) but if you see me on please do drop in and say Hi! I’d love to hear from you!