Being any kind of gamer can often mean looking for guides or reviews, or perhaps even lore. Now, the quantity of content available to us on YouTube is phenomenal. Every game-related question you have is likely to be answered here.
Long-gone are the days where I’d go to the nearest newsagents and read through Amiga Power, to try and memorize cheats. Or buying Nintendo Official magazine. Even going to good old GameFaqs is a dying art (to me anyway).
It’s not ridiculous to declare that YouTube is king in the gaming information world. Quality information, though…..well…..that’s a different story altogether.
In a world where anyone that has a camera and a phone (minimum), can upload a video. And everyone can have their own YouTube channel. You’re suddenly faced with a lot of shit to sort through to find anything worthwhile.
The fact that everyone thinks they’re going to be “YouTube famous” and also the way YouTube seems to crush creators thanks to their algorithms. It seems that a lot of the time, the only way to gain traction is to churn stuff out on hot-topics. Getting there first to get those all-important views.
Curating the good….
I’d hope that a lot of people can tell the good content from the bad, with relative ease. Recognising it is easy enough. Decent delivery of script, well thought-out visuals to tie-in with the narrative of the video. Slick graphics to introduce the channel etc etc.
The problem is, you have to watch a video to find that quality in the first place.
I was struck with an issue the other day, whereby I wanted to get some of the hot-takes on Anthem after the early release, and the 10-hour access to some users. How does the game hold up when it isn’t a “demo”?
Straight out of the gates (bearing in mind the game had been out maybe 12 hours at this point…), there were videos ready to tear it apart, to praise it, and to provide guides on this, that and the other.
Well. When content has been churned-out this quickly, can you actually expect anything other than poorly-informed content?. Certainly poorly crafted (who could play enough, and then create a high-quality video in this space of time?) and just smashed together.
It’s rare that I try to see the latest takes on a release, and seeing the tripe that was available was a very good example of why.
The thing is, these were “first to market” as it were, and that meant they were getting the views. Suddenly, it hit me that it can be a bit of a rat race, and people have to sacrifice quality for quantity, just to be heard.
If what you have to say isn’t worth listening to, though, should you be heard?
All of this is to say that I have spent a long time trawling through a lot of channels, and have just about settled on a handful of high-quality, honest and entertaining channels.
Reviews, tips and tricks, guides and history/lore. I’m well catered for, by people that I consider to be the best around.
I can’t rely on sites like Kotaku, Eurogamer, IGN and Gamespot like I used to. Rushing to produce nonsense articles just for clicks.
Depth, perspective and honesty are the key, to me at least.
Here are the channels worth giving your time to, and supporting.
Angry Joe is the first YouTube channel that I ever subscribed to and started to follow. Mostly because I’m old and I don’t really understand the need to subscribe (until I realised it helps the channel, and it’s not so much a tool for me).
Sure, there’s an element of character being played here, but it works.
The production values are second to none, with loads of skits and acted-out examples of games being reviewed.
The fun and production are certainly a draw, and I’m not sure I’ve found another YouTube channel quite like it.
What I like here is the honesty. Sure, flying off the handle at things can be a little jarring. But the rage isn’t just a fanboy getting mad because something isn’t “canon” or something like that.
Joe cares about gaming, he cares about the consumer and he isn’t afraid to fly in the face of general consensus or get blacklisted by big developers and publishers.
Reviews aren’t rushed out. They’re incredibly well crafted, thoughtful and well-rounded.
There’s just as much gushing about wonderful things, as there is anger at gaming bullshit (hello micro transactions!). A genuine fan, a passionate presenter and one of only very few go-to channels for reviews and opinions.
Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw is the driving force behind the Zero Puctuation reviews.
Fast-paced (no punctuation in the script….), sharp and pretty dark humour. Every video is entertaining. Pretty straight forward, really!
Whilst they’re funny, and there’s definitely an effort to put a more negative slant on things. You know that everything is said with a level of honesty that few would dare to apply.
If he wasn’t passionate about these things, there wouldn’t be quite so much effort put into them, would there? The adjectives used to paint a picture of how he feels about sometimes inane issues are frankly a work of art.
Arguably one of the funniest gaming-related channels on YouTube, and to be honest, one of the funniest full-stop. I always check reviews, to the point of watching them for games I’m not bothered about them particularly.
Also, Zero Punctuation has one of the best theme tunes!
One of the more recent YouTube channels I’ve subscribed to. Arekkz gaming is a channel that is just a wealth of knowledge and useful guides.
I initially stumbled upon it when looking for guides and information for Monster Hunter World. This channel quickly became my go-to resource for weapon guides, event guides and monster guides.
Such well put-together videos with slick narration, and genuinely useful information. I subscribed and I’ve never looked back.
Now, the success of the channel means that a lot of publishers look to be engaging with him. With The Division 2, Anthem, Jump Force and Smash Bros all being covered, and a wealth of content from older games. This is a channel I’ll be coming back to time and time again.
Friendly, well spoken and very informative. This is how guide videos should be.
Quick fact: My new Ninja logo was designed by a guy that Arekkz recommended on Twitter. I think that makes us like twins or something, right?
I first encountered Skill Up when looking for reviews of Monster Hunter World. What I got from Ralph of Skill Up was one of the best reviews I’ve ever come across on YouTube.
The scripting and the thought put into the words used. The honesty and broad perspective taken to properly view and assess a subject. It’s seriously impressive.
Taking so much time to create high-quality videos is evident here. Sure, there’s some trend-chasing with videos about Anthem and The Division 2 (both having had demos/betas recently). But there’s evidence of a real chunk of time being committed to the bulk of each video.
Delivery of the script is key here, too. With sincerity, passion and humour scattered throughout.
One of the worst things I find with YouTubers is the inability to get me to engage with the content. Monotone, dry and dull nonsense. Skill Up (and brother channel Laymen Gaming) deliver solid content with personality.
YouTube and the impact on this site
For the longest time, I’ve not really watched YouTube for anything other than stupid videos.
But as I’ve moved further and further from the traditional games media, finding trustworthy and honest sources for information has become a task in itself.
Curating a list of thoughtful and honest personalities in a sea of wannabe’s is no mean feat, either.
Sure, I don’t always agree with what’s being said (these are opinions, it doesn’t matter if it’s different to how you feel!). But I appreciate the effort and the sincerity.
I don’t use the views of all of these people as my own. I use them to help shape the direction I want to take, and frankly, I look up to these people.
Doing video content isn’t for me (I love the idea of it, though). With the Britishness in me makes me cringe at the prospect of being in front of a camera. So there’s a lot of respect for people that do it.
Using multiple sources for information, being entertained and getting a feel for a general vibe on something, is as far as I take it. I’m inspired and informed by a group of people that I feel do a solid job.
Being a tiny voice in a massive market, means that I don’t get review codes (from the big publishers, anyway). I pay for everything out of my pocket. Making informed decisions on how to spend my money is crucial, and these channels help me do that.
There are undoubtedly more people doing the job just as well, but I like taking my time and discovering these for myself.
Long live these excellent channels. With so much shit on YouTube and everyone vying for the spotlight, having a handful of channels to rely on is my safe-haven. These people speak my language, and they do it well.
Give every one of them a shot.