Over the last couple years, theres been what I can only describe as a fantastic surge in gamers beginning to take their hobby - often a solitary, lone wolf type experience, and turn it into shows, comics and podcasts. Usually completely self funded, and aiming at us - the fluent gamers sitting in our wonderful niche. Whether you love or hate the next few examples, you have to admit, these guys are furthering our hobby. Giving us something to do when the games in our systems run dry, and something to aspire to and talk about. You may be familiar with most or all of them, you may disagree. You may have a totally different five.
5. Screwattack - Video Game Vault
The VGV is a look back at an old game you may not have thought about in years. Likely a big reason for midnight ROM downloads, the vault will sometimes be a miss, but more often, focus on the game you loved as a kid but swore nobody else played, like Ristar. I was a Ristar addict. None of my friends ever played Ristar, and boy did it bug me. Ristar.
Its really interesting too, when they talk about a game that you weren't aware of, either bagging it or lathering it with love. Or sometimes just ending on a bizarre note of college boy humor.
4. Destructoid - Hey Ash, Watcha Playin?
This is the thing that lead me from Gametrailers to Destructoid a year or so ago. I often notice a resounding dislike for the show. I don't understand how people can be toxic towards a show that
A: Is free to watch and
B: Is made by the very people watching it; people who love videogames and
C: Can either be odd, profound, or just hilarious.
I'm all for two people finally putting all the kooky jokes we think of while playing games to film. Its brilliant.
I'd like a tab to it somewhere easily visible on the site, which then leads to an easy list so I can watch them in order, without having to go to the madness of Gametrailers any longer.
See it: http://www.destructoid.com/hey-ash-whatcha-playin-episode-four-91987.phtml/
3. Destructoid - Once Upon A Pixel / Mega 64
Once Upon A Pixel - This is something that started a bit iffy for me, but has gotten better and better as it has progressed. The latest Animal Crossing ep hits the nail on the head. Ashley Davis' narration and artwork will likely see her snared up by a bigger entity somewhere in the future, but hopefully this one sticks around for a long time. A complete original, and totally worth a watch.
See it: http://www.gametrailers.com/video/chu-chu-once-upon-a/62485/
Mega 64 is at the opposite end of the scale. Completely unfocused and crazy, these guys take random videogame humor and throw it in the faces of an often confused public. Some sketches fail, but the ratio is far higher on the win side of things. Browse the site and check them out.
2. Penny Arcade
I have loved Penny Arcade since I have been on the internet. Very few strips are unfunny, and its amazing to go back to the first frame ever and see how these guys have evolved into not only a top class web comic, but a veritable franchise of Penny Arcade games, conventions, and merchandise. Living the outgoing gamers dream, by making a good living out of our hobby, Gabe and Tycho are people who must have an army of geeks seething with jealousy. But in essence, when a comic is this funny, a bit of monopoly is easily forgiven.
1. Cinemassacre - Angry Video Game Nerd
This is easily what I hang out for the most - when a new AVGN goes live. James Rolfe knows his stuff too. In fact, some of the best episodes are the ones where he just - for lack of a less cheesy expression - elightens the viewer about an awesome forgotten tale of gaming lore. The Sword Quest video in particular has some really cool history in it. The videos he does in the character of 'The Nerd' need to be taken with a grain of salt. His strings of increasingly creative expletives might grate on those without the certain sense of humor required (toilet sense!), but his thick Jersey accent makes him both funny, and interesting to listen to.
His entire cinemassacre site is completely worth scouring, and his non-game related videos are just as essential. I find his views on cinema and movies match my own. I've become exposed to all sorts of things because of AVGN, such as The Twighlight Zone, Tales From The Crypt, Godzilla movies. Its a vast untapped resouce of geekdom, and completely brilliant.
See AVGN - http://www.gametrailers.com/video/angry-video-screwattack/61988/
See Main Site - http://www.cinemassacre.com/
Another hope for this blog, though, was to admit that I am frankly underexposed to these sorts of things, and would love a recommendation in the form of a link to something you think I or other readers might enjoy that hasn't already been listed.
Do you know of a better webcomic than penny arcade or a funnier show that HAWP? Maybe a more informative one that AVGN? Fire it at me.