One of the most underrated talents in this area of games commentary is Noah Caldwell-Gervais (pronounced jer-vay). Primarily focusing on series retrospectives, his videos tackle multiple entries in franchises and evaluate them not only as singular experiences but as pieces of a larger work.
I love long form analyses of games. Being able to see someone take an in-depth look at a game or series with the time to break down thematic structures and gameplay elements from several angles is, in my opinion, one of the greatest advantages of the opportunities provided by accessible platforms like YouTube.
Each video begins with a shot of a hand drawn title screen, on paper or cardboard, often accompanied by a collection of odds and ends that compliment the theme of the work being examined as well as music that ties into many of those aspects as well. This sort of analog approach to framing an exploration of a digital medium adds a level of charm and subtly sets the tone for the rest of the video. The videos are also recorded in large chunks and any distortions and small stumbles over words are left in giving each an organic feel you don’t get in a lot of media.
Taking cues from literary and film analysis, each episode covers a variety of aspects of each game or series including recurring themes, tone, visual and audio design, as well as gaming specific topics like controls, level design, and advancements in technical abilities and the effect this has on the series as it evolves.
Covering such a wide range of information can lead to some rather lengthy videos. The ones covering longer games or longer series can often top the two hour mark. Luckily, each includes a table of contents with timestamps for each section allowing a viewer to easily navigate to the content they are most interested in.
If the idea of the long videos or the academic nature of the subject matter sounds less than appealing, I would urge you to set aside the concerns until you’ve watched a video on a game you enjoyed playing. Even the longest of his videos are engaging from start to finish and the structure allows them to be enjoyed in smaller sections.
Overall, Noah Caldwell-Gervais has helped me gain a greater appreciation for games I already liked and has challenged my opinions of franchises I had written off as not being my cup of tea, often resulting in my giving them another try. Learning to view games from other perspectives has made me a better gamer in a lot of ways, and this creator has been a large part of that growth.
You can find Noah Caldwell-Gervais on several platforms, linked below. If you enjoy what he does please support him by subscribing to his work and consider supporting him through Patreon.
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