YouTube Spotlight on Under-Viewed Retrogaming Channels

Matt Barton's picture

Hi, folks. One of my friends at YouTube recently posted a video that I wanted to publicize because I agree with it so strongly. The idea is that there are some really great YouTube channels out there focused on retrogaming, but their audiences are ridiculously small given their quality. So, I've posted the original video here along with representative videos of all the guys n8great321 mentions plus a few of my personal favorites. Check them out and subscribe if you like what you see! Also, let us know about your favorite YouTube retrogaming channels.

Atarix777: Really cool guy who is also quite friendly and knowledgeable! He has a great accent, too. :)

B.F.P.: Another retrogamer with some fun videos. I like his enthusiasm and obvious excitement for the subject.

Fletcha13: A guy from New Zealand who I'm sure you're going to like. He reminds me of a bit of MaximumRD and his unboxing videos, one of the big YouTube stars of retrogaming. :P One neat thing about Fletcha13 is you're going to see stuff you don't normally see.

Yethboth: Lots and lots of speccy game reviews.

Halfblindgamer: One of my favorites! Lots of range and variety here with fun commentary.

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Mark Vergeer
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Here's some of mine

Okay not all of them are overlooked Youtube channels but I figured it would be nice to share these....

http://www.youtube.com/user/HalfBlindGamer
HalfBlindGamer - fellow Dutchman - does excellent reviews and has a great sense of humor.

http://www.retrogamingcollector.com/
This Brit has an extensive computer collection. Excellent sense of humor. Make sure you check out his youtube channel AND website.

http://www.youtube.com/DlNKYDANA
Dinkey Dana knows quite a bit about video games and creates these great interactive quizzes - he's done three now. Quite fun.

http://www.youtube.com/user/doginmylense
Holly, a female gamer who also does refurbishing of old consoles and such. She does reviews, unboxing videos.

http://www.youtube.com/Gamester81
Gamester81 a guy who has tons and tons of video games and does reviews and all sorts of videos.

http://www.youtube.com/AngryNintendoNerd
Who doesn't know the angry nintendo nerd? Does some excellent movie reviews too!

http://www.youtube.com/HappyConsoleGamer
The happy console gamer - excellent production!

http://www.youtube.com/user/lukemorse1
Now who doesn't know LukeMorse1? Very nice guy living in Japan - made a ton of videos to check out!

http://www.youtube.com/MN12BIRD
Makes nice videos and reviews on all sorts of video game systems.

http://www.geocities.com/newcoleco
http://www.youtube.com/newcoleco
Excellent homebrew software for the Colecovision! His website is in French.

http://www.youtube.com/user/sacheen1712
911 call operator / Video game collector - very sympathetic. Canadian!

http://www.youtube.com/user/benheckdotcom
This guys does to consoles what no other has done before.... He builds / rebuilds old systems and does wonderful things with them.

http://www.youtube.com/user/mezrabad
Chronogamer going through his pile of videogames and showing them to us.

http://www.youtube.com/user/MaximumRD
MaximumRD last but not least!

You can also check out my own Youtube channel and see the other folks I have subscribed to.
http://www.youtube.com/user/markvergeer

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Mark Vergeer
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And some more....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0uk3Q5j9do
Snestastic - great guy from the UK - love his accent and his videos.

http://www.youtube.com/user/XFile2708
And Xfile2708 - nice reviews.

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Matt Barton
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It's kinda weird how some of

It's kinda weird how some of these videos manage to get so many subs and viewings, whereas others of apparently better quality get ignored. I've watched a lot of the most successful ones and still haven't discovered what makes them so popular. I wonder if it's just a snowball effect--keep producing videos and eventually a new sub here and there starts to accumulate. Of course, it's also completely unpredictable how many people will not just watch the video but do something to promote it, perhaps sending the link to their friends or making it one of their favorites. Then there's the factor of glut--it would take a lot of time every week to watch all of the new retrogaming videos being made, and that starts to add up.

In any case, it's really not just about the subs and viewcounts. Many people who sub to a channel never watch it, and as I said before, most people only watch the first minute or two of a video before moving on (yet it counts as a view). I'm more interested in the folks who watch a show and leave some comments or responses--that's what is really fun.

I've been reading "Tipping Points" by Malcolm Gladwell and trying to glean some useful strategies from that. I haven't finished the book yet, but he does talk a lot in there about why shows like Sesame Street or Blue's Clues got so popular (a lot of psychological research went into them, actually). I'll try to explain it briefly. Let's take for a given that you have a nice youtube channel with quality content. Now you need three other things -- a "connector," a "maven," and a "salesman." The connectors are the folks who know lots and lots of people--someone like John Romero, for instance, who have gigantic social networks. The "maven" is someone whose opinion is highly valued and who likes to give you word of mouth advice just for the sake of being helpful (they "get off" on helping people, say, choose a certain or restaurant or who really know their stuff). So, if TheLoguidice was telling you that you should buy a Vic-20 multicart, you'd buy it because you trust his insight and knowledge. Lastly, the "salesman" are the people who are able to persuade others to do something. So, they might be able to convince you to check out a youtube channel even if you don't normally go for that sort of thing, or convince you to invite your friends to check out the channel. These folks are connected in interesting ways. So, maybe a maven finds the videos and lets a connector know about it, who then subs it and gets it into the network. Or, a salesman type might persuade folks to watch the video, and some of them may be connectors or mavens. I'm still reading the book, so maybe more insights will come. I'm very curious what he will say about the salesmen.

There are other things, too, such as the concept of "stickiness." Being "sticky" essentially means that it sticks in your memory. Say, a catch jingle, title, or some aspect of the channel/films that stick out. This could be catchphrases, funny way of pronouncing things, or certain things that are repeated. In short, you need something about your videos that people can cling to and remember. Otherwise they'll just forget about it and won't recommend it to anyone else. I think that may be one reason why the AVGN has done well; it's easy to remember his moniker and style.

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Bill Loguidice
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There are always certain

There are always certain basic things you can and should do, but I don't think there's ever any way to "know" truly what that is. Why are certain TV shows hits? Why are certain movies hits? Songs? Books? Viral videos? etc. It often just comes down to chance, really. Who knew that something with a stupid name of "Google" would catch on? Does that mean the answer to Web success is to come up with a stupid name? How many sites with compelling tech and equally stupid names didn't even make a blip? I think when it comes to media and mass market tastes, there is no formula, plain and simple. Something either catches on or it doesn't. With that said, again, there are basic things you have to take into account, otherwise you're not reaching the minimum where there's a CHANCE of something taking off. As long as you have the basics covered, it's nothing more than a fingers crossed, wait and see approach. Of course things like throwing lots of money at the problem *might* work, but it only increases your chances, it doesn't guarantee anything. You can never increase your chances to the point where something is guaranteed. That's why it's best to do as much as possible in this regard because you want to do it, not because you have an expectation of a particular type of success. Why? Because some things are simply out of our control.

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Mark Vergeer
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breathe in..... and breathe out....

Matt I think you take this way too serious. The people on the Youtube channels make their videos just because they like to be part of this community and like to share their hobby and so should you. Just continue to make your excellent videos - and excellent they are! - and perhaps you'll get the recognition you want. It's a community thing with forum-like mechanics. Just be part of the community and be active - be part of it.

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Matt Barton
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? I guess I must have given

? I guess I must have given the wrong impression in my post somehow; I'm not frantic or worried or anything, just discussing some ideas about precisely why some things catch on (viral videos, etc.) and others don't. I disagree, though, that such things are dumb luck or simply chance. There are things you can do to better position yourself for, if not an "epidemic," at least much better popularity.

The theory is that what causes a viral video are three factors--what the author calls "The Law of the Few," "The Stickiness Factor," and "The Power of Context." It makes a lot of sense to me. For instance, let's take a sleeper hit like The Blair Witch Project. At first glance, it would seem to have no chance of becoming big. It was shot on a shoestring budget and had little support. Yet what seems to have happened is that the right people saw it and started recommending it, and at least some of those people (or a combination of them) had (a) lots and lots of acquaintances or friends to tell, (b) very persuasive personalities, and (c) a reputation for good judgment (i.e., you'd trust their opinion). Of course, none of this could have taken place if the movie had sucked or hadn't been memorable or unusual in some way, which TBWP certainly was. Furthermore, the context had to be right--would it still be a hit if it had been released yesterday or in Brazil instead of the U.S.? Maybe, maybe not.

I don't think any of my videos would ever have the chance to "go viral" simply because of the content--it's not "sticky" for most people. The only people who would care are folks much like ourselves, and for some reason they haven't felt motivated to tell anyone about my videos. They *do* talk about the AVGN and a few others, but not mine. I could pretend that such a fact is due to luck or chance, but frankly I think that would be delusional. What it means is that if I desire to reach a broader audience, I need to think of ways to keep tweaking the show to make it more sticky while doing everything in my power to sweeten the odds--talking about as much as possible, encouraging others to do so, etc. Of course that kind of thing can easily backfire as well, and it's also possible that the changes I would need to make would simply be unacceptable to me (i.e., adding lots of obscenities, getting a "babe" to host the show instead of me, etc.).

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Bill Loguidice
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That's what I'm saying

That's what I'm saying though, Matt. You can still put all those things in place and it guarantees nothing. It IS up to chance, i.e., whatever intangible thing catches people's fancies. You can improve your CHANCES by doing as many of those things as possible, but you can't guarantee anything. It can still flop.

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Rowdy Rob
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Ratings and reality.
Matt Barton wrote:

Of course that kind of thing can easily backfire as well, and it's also possible that the changes I would need to make would simply be unacceptable to me (i.e., adding lots of obscenities, getting a "babe" to host the show instead of me, etc.).

Let's not be ridiculous. You don't need a babe to host the show. Just have some bikini models dancing around you as you're speaking. Keep it at least somewhat grounded in reality here!

Let's be serious for a moment. A lot of guys doing the videos featured in this thread are doing it for fun, for online camraderie, and for making a few friends, and maybe for a bit of that "fame" feeling. You, however, have far outclassed most (if not all) of these guys in the scale of your ambition, and you're doing it because you're chasing a MUCH LARGER untapped audience that we all know is out there. You're aiming for the big leagues, otherwise you wouldn't be doing these videos the way you're doing them.

I'm going to step out of line with Bill and Mark here. They are trying to keep your spirits up and encourage you, as well as ground you in reality. But I understand where you're coming from. You're going for the BIG LEAGUES, and the results haven't (yet) played out the way you've liked. Thus, your frustration with your lack of exposure, even though at least one of the video personalities in this thread made a comment that your numbers were BIG compared to his (although even he admitted your videos deserve far more of an audience).

We KNOW that your product is good, and we KNOW the audience is out there, it's just reaching them that's the problem. I suspect that most potentially-interested parties just have no clue your videos exist. How do we reach them? The gaming community is so spread-out, decentralized, and factionized that there's no way to get the word out to EVERYONE without hitting every online gaming clique in existence, which would be absurd to even attempt. YouTube doesn't really make it easy, since your videos are very unlikely to hit the front page, and from there it's only random chance that someone will stumble upon your videos.

While finally reading your "Drone Wars" chapter while I was away on holiday, I had a few "radical" thoughts on upping your views/subscribers. But, I'm running out of time, I'll post my thoughts later. :-)

Connecting with other YouTube videogame channels/personalities was a great step, not just for Matt Chat, but for the other game video shows as well! (This was actually one of the ideas I thought of over the weekend, but you obviously were already on it.)

Alas, as much as these guys deserve an audience, I don't see myself following all these videos consistently. My "frivolity" budget is pretty much expended on AA, and an occasional videogame (and of course a social life). I'll make it a point to subscribe to a couple of my favorites listed here, though, to show some support.

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Matt Barton
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Hehe, nice post, Rob. I

Hehe, nice post, Rob. I don't disagree with the spirit of what Bill and Mark are saying, but as always am perhaps overly ambitious or expecting too much too soon. Yet, I keep getting that nagging feeling that I could have an audience in the thousands if only I could somehow reach that "tipping point." My guess is that the slow accretion idea is wrong. All it would take is one big break and this thing would go from 300 average viewings to 3000. What would it take? More cuts? More time spent on other forums trying to spread the word myself? Less of X, more of Y, a Z factor I haven't considered yet? Green screen? Tighter script? Different games?

I had one small break awhile back with Game Banshee featuring my Planescape Torment video. That made a huge impact--that video got about 2000 views in the course of a few days. The other ones typically hit 300 in about a week and then only slowly trickle after that, 1-2 views per day. Obviously, I'd be a lot better off if I could get more "breaks." Yet how to do it? That's the main question.

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Mark Vergeer
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Rob excellent post!

Good to also show this perspective next to Bill's and mine. Matt, there's nothing wrong with being ambitious and you sure are ambitious - it's a driving positive force for you and it may bring you far! The here and now is important too - enjoy it and at the same time be as ambitious as you want! ;-)

Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

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