Let’s talk about video games, shall we? I mean I don’t consider myself a video game nerd per se, but when I look at my Pie Chart Life, video games are one big slice of that damn thing. I play them a lot. And there are parts of that commitment I get, totally. I get to be a super hero, I get to take part in a wild novel where instead of turning the pages I press A or Y or Right Trigger and forcibly remove an orc’s head from its body.
It’s a powerful drug. I love it. But if you asked me if it were the best use of my talents, such as they are, I’d probably laugh, or stop in wide-eyed horror and try to go the way of that orc by my own two hands. There’s a strange kind of shame I feel at being a gamer, really. It’s a culture so wrapped up in machismo
and violence it’s hard to believe anyone’s taking any of it seriously, or throwing their whole weight into the discourse on what some consider a grown up more technologically advanced version of holding a toy laser gun and shouting “pew-pew” at a bush. It takes a special kind of person to give their all to video games. One of those kinds of people is Yahtzee Croshaw and his Zero Punctuation series.
Imagine a guy. Now give him a trilby hat and an almost absurd command over both the faculties of speech and the English language itself. That’s Yahtzee. And with this at his disposal, he reviews video games. Gloriously. As expected, the content of Zero Punctuation hits you at a breakneck clip. Turns of phrase and pitch black existential humor about the futility of video games as meaningless distractions from a meaningless life fly by for five to seven minute animations.
And there’s something impressive and charming about it. Yahtzee Croshaw is not pushing himself to write about film or literature or spirituality, he has found the outlet for him and has worked it into beautiful and repugnant life. He is a british accented Internet Hannibal Lecter, carving art out of the bloodied remains of video games with titles like Ride to Hell and House of the Dead.
Video games are the single most popular hobby on earth, outgrossing movies and TV, practically combined. They are a new medium, and it needs its critics. Movies needed Pauline Kael, someone spending their time and considerable intellect on cutting apart an art form, lifting its rotted and healthy organs alike into the light.
Video games need a Yahtzee Croshaw.
Here’s a handful of his greatest hits, in my opinion:
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=12FMjfFJrG0
Dark Souls: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=STrYyhEwkbY
No Man’s Sky: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Lf9egxQsZyY
Ride to Hell Retribution: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HWxEwdGpIPQ
Last of Us: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=P7mKTItGVzw