What To Watch This Weekend: JSmithOTI
Once again, the weekend is upon us, and it's time to plan out the weekend's entertainment. For all of you who have significant others (or others that you wish were significant), I'm sure this Valentine's weekend will be full of hearts and flowers and chalky candies with sappy messages. I confess that I did consider indulging that particular inclination with this edition of What To Watch This Weekend. But as I began researching for this week, I realized that I had already brought you some of my favorite husband and wife co-op videos in previous editions (StephenPlays' Stephen VS Mal - MarioKart and AwesomeMattG's Kapricious Plays). So resisting the urge to track down dating simulator videos, I instead decided to go with quality over sentiment.
Today's header video is from JSmith's own brand of first impression videos, a series he calls Quick Looks. The title is an apt description of the series, because these videos tend to feel similar to the first episode of a longer series. He keeps the videos simple, essentially showing off the opening stages of gameplay and providing opinions as he goes. JSmith has a voice for commentary, and clearly has honed his craft over time. He is well spoken, easy to listen to, and very knowledgable about the games that he plays. Life often requires homework, and even first impression videos benefit from background knowledge. JSmith clearly does his homework, making his Quick Looks very informative and beneficial if you are watching in order to determine whether the game is worth buying. Previous episodes have included such titles as Game Dev Tycoon, Hotline Miami, and Scribblenauts Unlimited.
Today's header video is his quick look at Trace Vector, a puzzle game with something of a rhythm-based feel by VexelGames. The game is fairly simple, requiring you to pilot a space ship (which during gameplay is represented by a solid line similar to the light bikes in Tron) through various mazes as you try to find your way back home. There is a delightful 80's arcade game feel to it, which makes for a great video with simple lines and colors set to upbeat music. JSmith's upbeat commentary matches the overall tone of the game, and his opinions are informed and fair. First impression videos are primarily reviews of a game, and I appreciate the fact that JSmith does not hold back, wondering a couple of times whether the simplicity of the game is worth the $10 pricetag. Overall, this is a great edition of a well put together series, which is certainly worth your time.
A Week Of...
JSmithOTI is an incredibly diverse channel, containing all sorts of videos from his Quick Looks, to traditional Let's Plays, to various co-op videos with other well-known Let's Players. This series fits neatly into the mix.
In it, JSmith typically takes a particular game (or theme) and plays it for one week, getting as far as he can in thirty to forty minute increments. The series is certainly more than an extended first look, and while the restricted time frame seems like it would lend itself to shorter, more linear games, JSmith is not afraid to take on the sandbox.
This is perhaps best seen in JSmith's week-long jaunt into Minecraft. Moreover, the series, like the channel, is wonderfully diverse, showcasing anything from Hearthstone, to Don't Starve, to State of Decay. This series also presents a lesson in channel continuity, as many of the titles that first appeared in Quick Looks also appear here.
This video is actually the very first video of the series in which JSmith plays Risk of Rain, described on Steam as an "action platformer with rogue-like elements." In the video, JSmith brings his characteristic upbeat commentary to the opening stages of the game, giving plenty of tips and tricks for enhancing your gameplay. The action-filled gameplay makes for an engaging video, with plenty of bad robots, jellyfish-like creatures, and other attackers to destroy. The graphics are also interesting, though the size and color of the main character and various mobs sometimes makes them somewhat difficult to make out. Overall, this is a great way to start the series, and definitely one worth watching. (Also, Risk of Rain is currently 40% off on Steam.)
JSmith is also one of the many YouTubers who have found the wonderful world of livestreaming on Twitch.tv. Like many channels that both make videos and stream, JSmith often records his streams and posts them to his YouTube channel. Such is the case with this video, the opening episode of JSmith's livestream of the The Wolf Among Us.
On the one hand, JSmith's livestream video adds something different, as JSmith uses a facecam while livestreaming (which he does not use in many of his videos). On the other hand, as with all livestream videos, the content was originally intended to be watched and interacted with live, so during the video he will often respond to live comments. This sometimes can have the effect of breaking up the natural flow of the video. However, The Wolf Among Us is such an great game, and JSmith is such an interesting gamer, that this series is certainly worth checking out.
Overall, JSmith provides a diverse, upbeat channel, with an extensive library of content. He posts often, and while he moves from game to game quickly, the focus on a game for an entire week ensures that viewers have enough of each title to be satisfied. With quality content, and great connections to other channels, JSmithOTI is definitely a channel worth your time this weekend and many more weekends to come.