What To Watch This Weekend: AwesomeMattG
This weekend looks to be full of all sorts of entertainment. But when you get home from seeing The Lego Movie, get your fill of Ender's Tournament on Twitch, and stop watching that sporting event that seems to be taking place somewhere in Russia, you will most likely head straight for YouTube. Once again, you will be confronted by a myriad of gaming channels and videos vying for your attention.
But before you give up hope of finding great Let's Plays, GameWisp recommends that you take a few minutes to check out AwesomeMattG. Here are three video reasons why:
A Let's Player First and Foremost
At his core, AwesomeMattG is a Let's Player. His videos are almost all traditional long form Let's Plays, ranging from ten to seventy-two episodes in length. Matt's game selection is excellent, containing the almost obligatory Skyrim LP, but also branching out to cover such titles as The Witcher, Half Life 2, Bioshock, and Mass Effect 3. He brings a straightforward commentary style to each video, and tends to be more informative than humorous. He does, however, seem to favor blind LP's, meaning that his LP's are often a journey in discovery for both gamer and viewer, rather than a tutorial for how to play.
Our header video this week is the opening episode of AwesomeMattG's Let's Play of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. One of my favorite aspects of Matt's style is his sense of restraint. While often even good Let's Players will fill up any empty space with commentary, Matt often holds back, allowing the story to unfold and only inserting commentary when necessary to talk through a particular mechanic or decision.
That being said, the blind nature of most of his LP's means that Matt does tend to have very genuine and sometimes humorous reactions to the games he plays. Both these aspects are on display in this video and throughout his library.
I wonder sometimes if the folks at Telltale Games knew when they were making The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us that they were making games meant to be Let's Played. Story driven games often make for great videos because they act almost as a movie with a much more involved narrator. But it's not just the story in these games that make them such great candidate for Let's Plays. It's the decisions each player is forced to make along the way.
Each new Let's Player's experience is a fresh look at the game. While the scenarios stay basically the same, the various Players' reactions to them are unique to each Player. A good Let's Player shares those reactions with the audience as they are happening, drawing us not only deeper into the storyline, but deeper into the mind of Player.
In this LP of The Walking Dead, it is no longer Matt who is playing, but his wife Kapriciouss. Matt is still involved in the videos, breaking in with words of encouragement or help when necessary. But it is Kapriciouss who makes the decisions. It is those moments when the decisions become incredibly difficult, when life is on the line, that Kapriciouss shines. In each of those moments, she relates her thought processes, weighing each option, and revealing a vulnerability that makes the viewer root for her as much as for the characters in the story. It is that willingness to be vulnerable about her fears and doubts that makes this series easily one of my favorite Let's Plays on any channel.
Though the vast majority of his videos are episodic Let's Plays, every so often Matt will make one video of a particular game. From what I can tell, most of these videos are of games that have been sent to Matt by developers and publishers. Though not a series per se, these videos are often titled AwesomeMattG Plays. In that sense, these are probably the closest thing Matt has to a first impression video. That being said, Matt does not skimp on the content. These videos tend to be Matt's standard thirty minute run time.
Though there are more recent editions of this "series," I chose this video of Matt playing Soundodger+ for two reasons. First, it's a simple game. The object is to make sure your circle is not hit by other geometric shapes reacting to the music. In this video, there is no storyline to pay attention to or complex game mechanic to understand, just simple, colorful gameplay. Second, I really enjoyed the music and the way that the game interacted with the music. The combination of bright colors, good music, and constantly moving geometric shapes makes for a very engaging experience.
All in all, AwesomeMattG is solidly one of the better (if not one of the best) Let's Players on YouTube. As with StephenPlays, however, his YouTube subscriber count thoroughly undervalues his (and his wife's) talent and catalogue. But a relatively low subscriber count hasn't held him back thus far, and we at GameWisp hope that he keeps making videos for a long time to come.