What To Watch This Weekend: StephenPlays
As the weekend approaches, we at GameWisp know that the first thing most of you will probably do when you roll out of bed Saturday will be to fire up the computer, head over to YouTube, and watch several hours of Let’s Plays, machinima, animations, replays, eSports and all sorts of other gaming videos. But with so many gaming-related channels on YouTube, picking one channel to watch this weekend is going to be tough. GameWisp understands your dilemma, so we are going to do a bit of the heavy lifting for you.
This weekend, the channel that you need to be watching is StephenPlays. Why? Well, here are three video reasons why StephenPlays is the right choice for you:
1. Stephen vs. Mal
Even before I came across Stephen Georg’s gaming channel, I had heard good things about his Let’s Plays. So as I began to search through his channel, I expected his videos to be well done. What I did not expect is that I would run across perhaps my favorite gaming video series on YouTube. Rather than a traditional Let’s Play, this series is great, old fashioned competition between a husband and wife over who has the faster Mario Kart.
Stephen and his wife Mal actually play a lot of games together on the channel. In the past they have played, among other games, Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong Country 2, and are currently playing through Donkey Kong Country 3.
Their natural chemistry works exceptionally well for co-op gaming videos, which so many channels seem to get wrong so often. Happily married folks will tell you that when you add just a dash of competition, chemistry often becomes friendly rivalry very quickly. Stephen and Mal are no exception. In this series, that rivalry is fun to watch, especially as Mal utilizes her Mario Kart skills to great effect in the opening stages of the contest much to Stephen’s often vocal dismay.
The rivalry and playful banter continue throughout the series, mixed with helpful tips, and fun, humorous moments. The simplicity and repetition of MarioKart creates a perfect backdrop for a series that is in many ways more about the interaction between the two players than the game itself. The header video of this article is episode one of the series, but the whole series is certainly worth your time.
The First20 series is Stephen’s version of a first look series in which he plays the first twenty minutes of a game essentially to get a feel for what the game is all about. The interesting thing about the series, however, is that rather than focusing on new titles, it includes such classics as Frogger, Mega Man X, and Metroid Prime.
Each video in the series feels like the first episode of a Let’s Play, with gameplay accompanied by Stephen's excellent commentary. Stephen’s commentary style is very informative with great background information as well as tips on how to play. He also tends to use personal experiences to add depth to the commentary. His reactions to the games are particularly amusing with a lot of creative outbursts in place of more traditional curses.
This particular video is the first twenty minutes of VVVVVV, an indie retro 2D platformer by Terry Cavanagh. The game itself makes for a great video with its bright, often changing colors and almost constant motion. The video is particularly fun because Stephen is so new to the game, and unused to the various obstacles. He spends quite some time trying to pass one particular obstacle, but rather than being monotonous, Stephen’s unique reactions make the experience highly entertaining. His First20 video of Mega Man X is also one of my favorites.
3. Memorable Moments
Sometimes you just don’t have time to sit down and watch a full Let’s Play, especially when that Let’s Play is Stephen’s 250 episode Skyrim series. In fact, the Skyrim LP is so long that it takes two YouTube playlists to accommodate it. Fortunately, Stephen has showcased some of the best moments from his LP’s in a series that he calls Memorable Moments. Most of the clips are less than a minute long, and I found myself watching several in a row. All the moments are amusing, with a few actually making me laugh out loud. This series is definitely a good one if you are looking for videos that are fun but don't have a lot of time.
All in all, StephenPlays is an excellent channel. These are just a few examples, with much more on the channel itself including his long form Let’s Plays which are excellent. With all the great content, it’s a mystery to me why his subscriber number is not higher than the current 56,415. But YouTube can be a fickle place and numbers are not always an indicator of the quality of the content. So if you enjoyed these videos, be sure to check out the rest of his channel, subscribe, comment, and like everything. Stephen and Mal do really excellent work. We at GameWisp hope they will continue to put out exceptional content for a long time to come.
For more great gaming videos to watch this weekend, check out blog.gamewisp.com.