What To Watch This Weekend: JakeRies
It's Friday, which means that we are back with another What To Watch This Weekend. Gaming video is, in many ways, a very simple medium. The games provide gameplay and the gamers provides their own thoughts to complete the experience. In that sense, anyone can, and many do, create gaming videos. But as I pursue gaming video on GameWisp and YouTube, I am often struck by how even in this simple creative medium, certain channels and their owners display particular talent for the medium which make their videos stand out.
StephenPlays is a particularly excellent example of this. His voice lends itself to commentary, and his personality makes it engaging. His channel is his gaming world, defined by his own creative sensibilities rather than the games he plays.
Today, I want to introduce you to a channel that as it grows and builds a following has the talent to be a truly great Let's Player. This weekend, GameWisp recommends you spend some time with JakeRies.
Jake has been a member of GameWisp since its previous iteration, so we at GameWisp have known him for several months now. The header video is the first episode of the very first series he posted to GameWisp, and it is still one of my favorite Let's Plays on any channel. The reasons I love this Let's Play are the very aspects that make a Let's Play great. Jake takes a simple, interesting game and injects his personality to engage the viewer and draw them into the world of the game.
The game is Shelter, an indie about a mother badger protecting her cubs from the dangers of the wild. The game's concept is brilliant in its simplicity, and the art style is very interesting (Jake describes it as "paper cutouts, but... not."). Jake's commentary style is easy-going and informative, but it is the emotion that Jake puts into this LP that makes it brilliant.
The goal of Shelter is to keep as many badger cubs alive as possible for the duration of the game. But that task seems to become more than just a goal for Jake as the game continues. He worries over his cubs, and displays a sense of real loss when (spoiler alert) one is taken. This willingness to immerse himself in the game and display his emotional connection to it creates a deeply engaging experience. This vulnerability combined with the fact that Jake seems to be a pretty likable guy in general makes him the kind of personality that creates consistently engaging Let's Play experiences.
Where there are Let's Plays, there is almost always some sort of first look series. Jake is no exception to this rule, provide a couple of first look type series. This is the first of those series: Spotlight.
Spotlight is Jake's first look series focused specifically on indie titles. One of my favorite things about this series is that Jake tends to spotlight games that are in alpha or beta stages. This gives added dimension to the series and sets it apart from other indie game series.
Jake employs his informative side in this series, providing plenty of good background material on each of the games. Each video also functions as a fair review of the game being played, with Jake often highlighting his thoughts on the art and sound styles of each of the games.
This video is of Megabyte Punch, a side scrolling brawler that is rather reminiscent of more recent MegaMan titles. The game is vibrant, with plenty of action and an interesting upbeat electronic score. Jake's commentary is easy-going as always, and it's apparent that he is enjoying himself during the video.
Overall, this is a solid episode in a series that is certainly worth your time if you are a fan of early stage indie games.
A Look At...
"A Look At..." is Jake's more traditional first look series, looking at a much broader base of games. Jake isn't afraid to take quick looks at major titles such as this one, Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag. The series is about showing off gameplay and providing other information, which Jake does well.
For many channels, first impression videos tend to be the equivalent of the first episode of a Let's Play with a bit of opinion at the end. Jake bucks that trend, choosing to show off game mechanics and provide opinions throughout the videos. This makes the episodes true looks at each game, allowing viewers to make decisions about whether to purchase and play the game based on specific aspects of the gameplay.
This is another strong series for Jake, and definitely worth your time to check out.
Overall, JakeRies is a strong channel.
Jake definitely has the talent to be an excellent Let's Player. He is slowly gaining an audience, which is great to see.
However, as a viewer, I would like to see Jake push his brand a bit more in his own videos. Viewers tend to associate as much with a channel's brand as the channel owner's personality. Simple custom video intros or theme music can make videos seem more finished, as well as create a stronger association in the viewer's mind between the video and the channel.
That being said, Jake's channel is full of excellent content that is certainly worth your time this weekend.