Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw is a Brit living in Australia who is a game critic and designer apparently fueled by A LOT of coffee and possibly speed or something.  I don’t recommend watching too many clips of Zero Punctuation, his show on The Escapist, in a row, as I just did.  Continuous prolonged exposure to his almost-Micro-Machines-guy pace may make you may go nuts, but if you’re a gamer, you’ll probably have the fortitude (gamers tend to like doing things for long periods of times that would drive normal people crazy.)  It’s both highly entertaining and informative.  


I’m not much of gamer (I only own a DS ), but I was interested in playing a lot of the games he talked about, despite mostly bad reviews.  As you might have gathered from the title, Yahtzee, as he goes by in the show, talks very fast, never pausing, throughout the four to five minute clips, spewing a string of mostly negative, often obscure, sometimes crass, but well-informed and sharp commentary on current video games (Sim City Societies, Grand Theft Auto IV, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, etc.) for all platforms.  

This review of a DS game (is playing DS cool? I have no idea) made me want to get it, despite not getting most of the references (JRPG=Japanese Roll Playing Game, right?):





If Yahtzee is overly critical, it is because he expects a lot from games.  Without getting too academic, he intelligently breaks down what he likes about gaming, what’s missing from particular titles, and focuses on the interaction of gameplay and story, which is what games should really be about, instead of mindlessly destroying everything in sight.

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I’ve talked with gamers about the industry’s (sport’s?) future, and one friend said he thought video games were in their "Lumiere" period, or a phase in which the technical aspects of the medium are still being developed and the products are more technological experiments than works of art or entertainment.  But I kind of think, and Yahtzee’s reviews confirm this, that games are in their shitty Hollywood overproduction phase (which film has been stuck in for a while), where no one is really pushing the envelope, or at least being successful at it.  

But critical voices, like Zero Punctuation, are a step in the right direction.



Besides being intelligent, Yahtzee is highly amusing, if you understand what he’s saying.  He holds nothing back when he attacks the weak points of games, and uses a lot of bizarre metaphors to do so.  In that sense, he’s a kind of Gary Vaynerchuk of the video game world. IE, "If you play the game with the right mindset it will suck you in like a thousand dollar whore," or, "The endlessy repeated lines are so badly written and awkwardly delivered it’s like you’re stuck in a middle school amatuer dramatics production of The Lord of the Rings adapted for the stage by a deaf budgeree dar" (I think that means some kind of parrot). 

The animation is also pretty cool, in a "modern design-y apple computer, good because it’s bad" kind of way.  Worth a watch for gamers and non-gamers alike.  


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