We’re almost a week into the New Year. And while we’re in between the holidays and the first major game releases of the year, a lot of writers like to look back at the best or worst games of last year, or speculate about what 2017 has in store for gamers.
However, I wanted to switch gears from video games proper to the culture and content creators on other playforms. Games are the lifeblood of our culture, but every now and then it is in our best interest to both laugh at and learn from games when we aren’t playing them ourselves. That’s where things like YouTube and let’s playing comes in.
Watching gamer videos on YouTube isn’t just a great way to kill time, it’s also a great way to get more involved with the gaming community and enhance your experience as a player. So I decided to comb through YouTube and see what channels gamers should be watching and learning from in 2017 as we head into a year of new releases.
Channels to Watch for Education/Information
Game Maker’s Toolkit (Mark Brown)
Game Maker’s Toolkit, created by Mark Brown, has been running since 2014. But from the production value and skill shown in these videos, you’d think he’d been at it a whole lot longer. Riding the wave of “Video Essays” that have taken the Internet by storm in the past few years, Mark Brown goes into great detail about the inner workings of games. His videos are comprehensive and entertaining — so if you want to know more about video games, Game Maker’s Toolkit is a great place to start.
Noclip (Danny O’Dwyer)
Danny O’Dwyer shocked the internet (or at least me) when he announced that he was leaving GameSpot. However, I was pleasantly surprised that the reason was so he could start Noclip. I have yet to watch his first series about Rocket League, but I could not stop watching his documentary on DOOM, a game which shocked everyone by coming out of development hell and exceeding expectations on all fronts. Check out the above video and the rest of his DOOM series, and I think you’ll begin to understand why you should keep an eye out for his stuff.
While the first two channels I’ve listed deal with the mechanics and making of the games we all know and love, Digital Foundry deals with the hardware that play them. They review consoles, PCs, TVs and monitors, as well as the graphical and technical stats of various games such as Battlefield One, Uncharted 4 and Shadow of the Colossus. They are also very open about how they operate and what they look for when they test various setups, so it’s safe to say they aren’t shilling for anyone. If you want to know what games run the best and which system to get them on, look no further than Digital Foundry.
Super Bunnyhop (George Weidman)
After breaking onto the scene two years ago with the above video that looked into claims about the Hideo Kojima and Konami situation, it became clear to me and many others that Super Bunnyhop was a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Now, two years later I find myself still coming back to his content, both for entertainment and for education.
His “Critical Closeups” of the Metal Gear Solid series, Dark Souls and more are fantastic, his review of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is also on point. Overall, his content comes in a well-produced and easy-to-consume package.
I don’t exactly remember how I stumbled upon Noah Caldwell-Gervais…it was probably on Reddit or some suggested videos on YouTube. But either way, I’m glad I found him. His videos are definitely on the longer side, and don’t have the best production quality, but I find his critiques on various franchises insightful and interesting. I don’t always agree with him, but it’s good to find someone with a unique viewpoint and to see the world through their eyes. His uploads usually take a while, but there’s a decent backlog to view in the meantime.
Channels to Watch for Fun
This man needs no introduction. He is simply Jim Sterling — and if you haven’t heard of him, you must have been living under a rock for the last few years. He’s had spats with Randy Pitchford of Gearbox Studios, Konami, and Digital Homicide. And through it all, the Internet has had his back. His language is foul, his words are sharp, and is points are…well…on point. But that’s okay, because it’s Jim Sterling. Thank God for him.
Much like Jim Sterling, this is a group that needs no introduction. They have the highest subscriber base on this list (1,072,251 at the time of writing) and are part of one of the biggest production companies on the Internet — the Rooster Teeth/Achievement Hunter/ Fullscreen conglomerate.
But these guys aren’t just some random idiots that were plucked from Austin and shipped out to LA. These guys (and now gals) are the remnants of G4 and Inside Gaming (a channel that surprisingly still exists). There have been some casualties along the way (such as the departure of members Spoole and Joel), but they still manage to pump out content that is both funny and informative.
Check out their YouTube channel and follow them on Twitter to keep up with the antics. If you would like support them and other Rooster Teeth Channels, plus view their content early, you should consider becoming a member of Rooster Teeth First.
It’s been interesting to watch a channel like Shoddycast grow over the last few years. Back in the day, their big attraction was — and probably still is — their fantastic “Storyteller” series, which has evolved into a full-fledged Machinima. Now, there’s more series to dig into, such as their “THE SCIENCE!” and “Hidden History” series, which dig into the science of and hidden history behind various games like Fallout, Skyrim, The Witcher, and more.
Kinda Funny/Kinda Funny Games
Greg Miller is an infamous figure on the internet. Some love him, others despise him. But nobody could deny that his departure from IGN in January of 2015 was a massive shock to both IGN and the industry at large. Miller was the face of IGN for several years, and his departure started a wave of similar depatures, including Jim Sterling and Danny O’Dwyer.
So what has Greg Miller been doing since 2015? He started Kinda Funny and Kinda Funny Games, which is run by himself and ex-IGN staffers Colin Moriarty, Nick Scarpino, and Tim Gettys. Both channels produce a variety of videos, ranging from tips about Love and Sex to in-depth discussions on the latest games and game news. Even if you are not a Greg Miller fan, there’s plenty to love about Kinda Funny.
Check out their main channel, as well as their gaming channel, Kinda Funny Games. You can also follow them on Twitter and consider checking out Kinda Funny’s Patreon and Kinda Funny Games’ Patreon, if you want to support them.
Many a True Nerd
After reading an article about this LPer doing a whole run of Fallout New Vegas without healing, I decided to see what else that guy has to offer. This led me to my last channel recommendation of 2017: Many a True Nerd. On top of several YOLO and Kill Everything runs of Fallout 3 and New Vegas, the guys over at Many a True Nerd play games like Mass Effect (with no guns), Rome: Total War, L.A. Noire, and many more. So, if you’ve got some time to kill and want to see people play games in new and different ways, check out Many a True Nerd.
And that’s the list! Check these guys out, and if you think there’s anyone I missed or that everyone else should check out, post about it in the comments.