On our recent podcast LISTEN TO IT YOU SHIT, we briefly discussed the rise of streaming and gaming channels on YouTube and their respective positives and negatives. Personally, I don’t have much time for Twitch as it requires tuning in at specific times and can often contain a lot of mundanity, such as people eating their dinners and other such day to day blandness. I much prefer the way I can view YouTube videos at my leisure and pace. Here are five of my favourite channels and some nice words to say about the people that produce the content from them. They are in no particular order, ranking these channels is impossible as they all entertain me equally.
Northern Lion first grabbed my attention as he produces many Binding of Isaac videos, at least two every day, but he also puts play-throughs of other games and shows off a lot of other stuff available on the Steam marketplace. Thanks to him, I experienced the delights of Darkest Dungeon and probably would play many more if I had a PC capable of playing games. Many people producing gaming content seem to think that by simply shouting and over-reacting, then that is entertainment. Northern Lion is like a friend inviting you into his home to play games with him. Through his videos we also know his girlfriend Kate (who also has a channel) and his cats Ruka and Tomo (I’m guessing at the spelling). None of these appear on screen at any given point, yet he speaks so warmly about them all, they feel familiar. Whilst not every joke he cracks lands, considering the sheer volume of content, that is to be expected and he is very rarely repetitive and makes sure his videos are interesting, often playing his games in ways counter-productive to success to ensure people get the most of it. Possibly one of the most pleasant people on the internet, which is no mean feat.
Elajjaz is the only example of a person using Twitch footage on this list, but this is because he edits it, leaving out a lot of the shit. He is known mostly for his speed-running of the Souls games and Bloodborne, being the world record holder on a couple of occasions. Unlike many speed-runners, he always does his with every boss in the game, which is more entertaining than a person using endless glitches and skips to reach the final screen as many do. Most importantly, he is really, really good at the games he plays. Bosses in the Souls franchise have a reputation for a reason, and to see the ease in which he dispatches them is inspiring. Also, he seems to be a nice guy, which is also important. Many Twitch streamers have an annoying tendency to speak solely in ‘meme’, which I often find grating, but he refrains from this and is quite articulate.
Vaati is a one franchise kind of guy. He solely makes lore videos around the Souls franchise (I know, that’s two in a row to do with them, screw you, they are worth it). Considering how obtuse the plotlines are in those games, then this is a great thing. Miyazaki has stated in the past that he used to enjoy English Fantasy books as a child, but with limited use of the language, he was often having to piece the story together from the parts he understood, something he has done to an incredible level in the Souls series. Vaati breaks these games down, creating detailed videos surrounding NPCs and the worlds overall, going to the lengths of researching possible alternative translations of the original Japanese versions. The warm timbre of his voice adds to a feel of him telling stories by firelight and what is left is a delight. When someone encourages you to look at something you already love with new eyes, it speaks volumes about their talents.
Better known as Yahtzee, the fast talking reviewer of Zero Punctuation, (also well worth viewing on the Escapist YouTube channel) Benjamin Croshaw has his own gaming channel where he brings his sardonic humour to a plethora of different titles. Often accompanied by his Australian friend, Gabriel Morton who he insists on working with due to the fact he is ‘the only person in the world with a smugger sounding voice’. Listening to the two of them bicker, as friends tend to do is hilarious, as is the commentary they provide throughout whatever they play. Both are genuinely witty guys and are about as far removed from the ‘meme’ speaking content producers as you can get. They often focus on older games rather than the current releases, so their content has the added nostalgia factor too.
Super Best Friends
Once known as ‘Two Best Friends’, Matt and Pat made short videos of play-throughs for the Machinima channel and proved to be a popular addition to their network, having at least 8 ‘seasons’. They are at their best playing bad games, as watching through the Cabela franchise will attest. They have been accompanied by their associates Woolie and occasionally Liam to be reborn as Super Best Friends. They never isolate any particular franchise or game, and will make ‘let’s play’ complete walkthroughs for many different titles. They can be quite loud, but that is the appeal, because it isn’t just witless shouting, just genuine reactions from people who love the medium. For the past four years, I have looked forward to October when they produce a month of ‘Shitstorm of Scariness’ videos, playing a different horror game each day. Despite the initial impression they may give, these guys also know their stuff. Personally, I can relate to Matt quite well, being a person who seemingly has a pop culture quote for any given situation.
So there it is. This isn’t an article stating ‘these are the only channels worth watching’ by any means. What one person finds entertaining is purely subjective, I like to share things I enjoy and wanted to recommend these guys to our audience in the same manner as a couple of them were recommended to me. YouTube is a vast source of entertainment with new content being added literally by the second. It can be overwhelming and it helps to know where to look.