I think it was Chris Dahlen who said that a Youtube video or webcomic about video games, even a shitty one, gets more clicks than a well-written essay. I can’t remember the context for that statement but that part has stuck with me for a while. Kids today simply respond better to visual media and I don’t blame them. It’s more accessible, requires less thinking, and it’s easier to balance out humor while still making a larger point. Most gaming websites (or at least the ones I regularly read) have picked up on this effect and capitalized on the market. Hell, I’ll bet a hundred bucks that a video of me sitting in my bathrobe screaming at Shiren the Wanderer and knocking crap over would get more views than my average posts.
For the most part, this is a new craft and finding people who can make it work is not the norm. When I do stumble on someone doing something interesting with Youtube I like to do a write-up on them because most of these folks don’t get nearly as much credit as they deserve. Since they keep referring to the video game section of Popmatters as Multimedia, I figure I might as well take them up on it. Dictionary.com defines it as, “the combined use of several media, as sound and full-motion video in computer applications.” With limitations like that, is there anything I can’t write about that’s on the internet?
Red Letter Media is a prime example of someone negotiating all the inherent difficulties of creating an educational video without becoming tedious or having more jokes than actual content. He’s able to pull this off for a couple of different reasons but I think the core value, which we talked about over e-mail, is that deep down inside this is still a pedantic rant.The original video he crafted was a long, droning discourse on why the TNG films are terrible. He also likes to produce comedy videos or even his own stand-up. The foundation is still the pedantic rant, but he knows that for anyone to listen it also has to be entertaining. That’s the Devil’s bargain every Youtube or video reviewer strikes.
Watching the videos for yourself will do a better job of showing the quality work than me jabbering about it. Don’t be put off if you think he’s being too comical in the opening sections. Almost all of the videos start off hilarious but by the half-way marker, he knows you’re listening to the meatier portions more.
I really should consider that Youtube video thing…