You’re here because you’re a geek. Yes, that’s all that qualifies here, we’re not keeping any gates. And since you’re a geek, you like games, and you like videos, and you most especially love videos about gaming. You’ll never have enough time to play all the games, but flicking over to a quick Let’s Play is a good way to preview a game before you make the commitment to buy and download it.
We’re all familiar with the marquee vbloggers and streamers on YouTube and Twitch. But we’re here to talk about the also-rans, those less famous. You may discover a hidden gem here, or you may just boggle at the existence of some real edge players. That was the introduction, which is all we need to qualify since we’re not keeping any gates here.
By the way, we’re going to put up some very controversial YouTubers here. That’s what we mean by “niche”! Isn’t that fun?
Christian gamers are definitely a niche! But regardless of whether you’re secular or a faith-holding gamer, there is still a use for a family-friendly gaming channel. Maybe you’re a parent of a small fry with anxiety or something on the autism spectrum, and want games that aren’t too disturbing. Maybe you’re just looking for games along a certain idealistic spectrum that happens to align with a Bible-thumpin’ gaming channel.
Family Friendly Gaming dotcom is an established site with many media channels, and they’re not afraid to stick that cross right in your atheist face, bro! OK, but they’re not complete killjoys: You never saw so many dance and rhythm games covered on a channel in your life. They also cover lots of Mario and Pokemon, Star Wars, sports games, all kinds of stuff that’s popular with the mainstream crowd. Some viewers might be turned off by the preachy tone they take when viewing games through the lens of Christian values – such as when they criticize Pokemon for supporting evolutionary theory. And now you know the other reason to watch this channel, if you like making fun of the fundies.
CwcvilleGuardian AKA Chris-Chan AKA Sonichu
Need a palette cleanser after that last one? Chris-Chan is so much more than a YouTube game reviewer. The whole Chris-Chan experience is like watching a city get nuked in slow motion. Chris-Chan (current proper name Christine Chandler), is a completely tortured soul who has taken being a Sonic / Pokemon / My Little Pony fan to the point of drowning in the pits of fandom. She lets fandom devour her and poop her out the other side, making her life miserable, and yet she still keeps on blogging! “Misery porn” sums up the whole reason for following Chris-Chan.
A legend in her own time, she is also the author of the Sonichu webcomic, which is famous for the wrong reasons. Hey, I myself can not draw by hand any better, but I have the sense to use software to make up for that handicap. She gets her own KnowYourMeme page, but the stories there get pretty dark, especially about her, ah, troubled love life. She also gets her own Down the Rabbit Hole video, which fits because there’s a lot to explain about her, and that’s not the only web historian to tell her story.
Have you ever known that one friend who did too much ecstasy during the ’90s rave era, but you don’t mind him because his mild brain damage makes him so mellow, with all his personality drained away into a monotone, that he’s entrancing now? That’s Conner the Waffle, who’s delivery ranges between mildly dissociative and vaguely funny, but he has his fans – and critics – so he’s still doing something right. His content revolves around Nintendo mostly, and he has a fascination with bootlegs, ROMhacks, and fanmade games on that very platform.
Let’s get to the elephant in the room: Conner the Waffle has his critics. Charges against him mainly run along his “borrowing” game footage from other sources when composing his own videos. I realize Conner has a hatedom out there, but I’m currently subscribing to the theory that people have an agenda about this guy. He just rubs people the wrong way with his high-budget production values and admittedly phoned-in content. But hey, there’s whole media empires out there based on this exact formula, who’s throwing stones?
Boasting “Daily Gaming Content,” this channel is for the steady listener and daily commuter. He focuses mainly on console gaming, staying up to date on the latest in the console wars. Fair warning: He’s really biased towards Microsoft. He gets a lot of flack for that, and the usual grunts from the grouchy gaming community. Clickbaity titles, blah blah, uses stock footage, blah blah.
Fine, but he’s been cranking out content for years now, and he also chips in on the Big Gamer : Small Talk podcast. So he’s a workhorse, obviously not every video is going to be a masterpiece. As it is, his production values are fairly decent, he has some personality, and if you check out his ‘about’ tab on that YouTube channel, he owns every major console that’s ever been produced. So he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to hardware.
What do you get when you have a gamer who’s a dead ringer for Danny Pudi (Abed from Community) who focuses entirely on horror content? I dunno, but 1.95 million subscribers find it to be irresistible catnip. He focuses on horror video games, horror in video games even if they aren’t that genre, shock-n-scream videos, Internet creepy-pasta, reaction videos, and so on. Admittedly, this is also the kind of channel to post, say, fuzzy Slenderman video clips with titles like “ZOMGWTF! Doo Not Watch Alone At Night!!!”
Disregarding that, I’m a pathologically addicted horror fan who will happily sit through crappy Z-list movies if there’s any monsters in them, so this guy gets a cool pass with me. He also has a website with a forum, store, and even a little community. I don’t know what he sells at the store because everything needs a login to view it and I’m a busy blogger. Truly, that kind of setup goes against every eCommerce policy I’ve ever seen. Not to be confused with the awesome YouTube movie reviewer of the same name.
ProJared is an enigma, because he has solid content, great delivery, loads of content… he’s a gamer’s YouTube gamer. So why is his subscription count so low? Well, let this be a lesson to all of us about the perils of airing your dirty personal laundry online. His subscriber count used to be in the millions and then he went through a messy divorce, and accusations of his inappropriate interactions with fans. That got splattered all over social media, run through the Kotaku wringer, then came the backlash against the backlash.
Mind you, all this over a YouTube gamer. He’s been KnowYourMemed, and he’s one of the only YouTube gamers with his own IMDB page. Now that we have that out of the way: He’s actually a well-rounded gamer who professes love for Final Fantasy, has touched on D&D and Monster Hunter, stays current on Pokemon, and has guest-starred on many other gaming channels and even the odd TV show. Your challenge now is to put the massive allegations aside and focus on the content, not the creator. Or wallow in Internet judgment and go heckle him. I’m not even picking sides here.
Bonus Buck: My favorite non-niche gamer channels
While we’re phoning in the lazy list of the day, I’m going to throw a bone out for a few of my favorite channels that aren’t as famous as AVGN.
Gameranx – Long time gaming review website now has its own channel. They’re just a solid, well-produced channel, nothing special.
LGR – “Lazy Game Reviews,” an almost exclusively retro gaming channel. This is old-school geek entertainment, going back over classic games, old hardware, tech lore from the ’80s and ’90s, DOS games, vintage consoles, and stunts like getting games to run on obscure hardware.
Ahoy – Just a smart, aesthetically pleasing games channel, with focus on gaming and tech history. He does a lot of documentary-style content on things like the history of double-barrel shotguns in first-person shooters.
Marcel Vos – Do you like Roller Coaster Tycoon? I bet you don’t like it as much as Marcel Vos! This guy is still releasing original content about the series in 2020, mostly just exploring the limitations of RCT2. He has turned RCT2 into a science laboratory, discovering and reverse-engineering every quirk of the game mechanics as he broaches the very threshold of space and time.
Well, that was my post. It qualifies. I’m not in the mood for gate-keeping today.