Category Archives: Video

“Well At Least They Allow Comments”

For a while now I’ve found the trite complaint of a closed YouTube comment section to be vapid. (Equally so the stale honor or praise of leaving it open.) But just today I took another step in my understanding of the issue.

When a comment section is closed, to a YouTube user, it feels like their only method of communication (or complaining, harassing, etc.) with the YouTuber has gone. That’s in part why it’s perceived as valuable. It’s the habitat they’re used to; it’s what they see as the clearest, most direct form of feedback.

And to a certain extent it certainly is. My Pavlovian response to a YouTube video ending is to scroll down. This is something I fight, because in the vast majority of comment sections, there is nothing of value below. It’s still the most immediate place to see responses, though.

YouTube comments for a long time have been treated as this “standard discussion forum” across the Internet, available around most videos online, when in fact its evidentiary purpose is for hurling shit and making jokes so lazy they’d make Reddit cringe. The comment box is ubiquitous on the Internet Locus For Viewing Moving Pictures, so it makes sense that it became the collective dumping ground. To see a space carved out to not be made messy (by closing comments) seems counter to the entirety of YouTube culture. PewDiePie crossed that line and quickly went back.

This YouTube culture is the same one that would bring the phrase “free speech” into the equation, even though YouTube is a company that can do whatever it wants with your comments, and comments are on another person’s channel who has full right to delete them or ban people for any reason. Comment spaces are only as free as its owner allows them to be, and they don’t Hate Freedom if they choose to curate more closely or close them altogether.

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How far the Thunderf00t has fallen

Thunderf00t, or Phil Mason, is a YouTube personality and former (?) member of the atheist/skeptical community. Years ago he made great science videos and responded to creationists with hard facts and copious snark. He took a hard right turn around 2012 when feminism and progressive ideas began being incorporated into the atheist/skeptical movement. Now that snark is aimed at causes I hold dear, so I see it for what it is.

I don’t know how I drop in on one of Thunderf00t’s videos so often. I argue with people a lot, so links to his content and channel are on my periphery occasionally. Maybe he shows up in recommended videos while I watch other YouTube videos. I know I sometimes venture on to his page to remember what disappointment and anger feel like.

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Re: Twelve Tones by Vi Hart

Vi Hart is amazing. She’s a fantastic YouTuber who posts videos playing with or introducing science or math concepts while often drawing with Sharpies in a notebook. She’s creative, intelligent, and great at communicating complex ideas. A lot of what she draws or writes is clever and cute, too. (If you need more incentive!)

The video above is one that sat on my “watch later” list for about a year. I knew since it was Vi Hart that I’d love it, but I just never clicked on it to understand what the title meant and what the video was about. It’s unfortunate I waited so long, because it’s an amazing stream-of-consciousness exploration of creativity, randomness, music, math, and, of course, copyright law! It’s dense with great ideas and visuals that whiz by in favor of the next in this half-hour work.

I had so many thoughts while watching that I had to turn what is normally a simple share on social media to a full-blown blog post. Needless to say, I highly recommend it. Sit down with a drink and have your mind engaged and entertained.

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MarioExpert01

Interview with a Super Mario 64 Expert

Super Mario 64 is a 1996 Nintendo 64 classic that introduced to a wide audience the possibilities of the 3-dimensional platformer. It preceded and laid groundwork for Super Mario Sunshine and the Galaxy games. It was also one of the most important games of my childhood: I played it for hours, beat it multiple times, marveled at its depth and complexity, and messed with it with a Gameshark.

So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that about a month ago I took time to read Kotaku and AV Club articles on a recent development about the game. Frankly, though, it should attract attention that this game has any news at all, even without my rampant nostalgia factor. When was the last time anything exciting came out of Wave Race 64? C’mon!

The news? Scott Buchanan, or “pannenkoek2012” on YouTube, was accomplishing major feats within Super Mario 64 that had gone unresolved for years. Notably he had obtained the “impossible coin” through tool-assisted gameplay and significant experimentation. More recently he discovered a “mystery Goomba” and tested different methods to stomp it.

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Why Team Fortress 2 is Fun to Watch and Play

I watched two videos recently that blended nicely together on the topic of competitive or professional video game play. The first was a Rev3Games Casual Friday where the primary trio of hosts chatted about the president of ESPN saying esports weren’t “real sports” and whether that actually mattered. The second was the Top 10 TF2 Plays of July(1)It takes a month to compile/edit the content., showcasing the best moments in Team Fortress 2 competitive play.

TF2 was my primary game while I was involved with Couch Athletics from 2008-2012. I played in and ran multiple weekly events for years and logged over 3,000 hours in the game. I haven’t played TF2 much since then, but I still regularly follow eXtelevision, a YouTube channel dedicated to casting and highlighting great competitive TF2. This video in particular had several great clips from many of the nine classes in the game that inspired me to collect examples for each one and talk about what makes Team Fortress 2 a game of great depth and excitement for both player and viewer. Consider it a primer for an important game and its diverse gameplay, as well as a defense of its value as an esport, even if you won’t ever play it!

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