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The Mental Vomitings of MowDownJoe

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What I have learned from making Let's Plays...

So, as of late, I've been making Let's Plays and putting them on YouTube. I was quick to promote the one I did for VVVVVV on my C-Blog, but I haven't said much beyond that. Well, I've been doing one for Beyond Good & Evil. All the episodes are "in the can", I believe the saying is, but I'm only uploading one at a time. That said, this whole thing is quite the little learning experience for me, and while my next planned LP is one that's likely highly overdone, I'll be bringing in at least a little bit of experience. While that's probably not enough to say I know everything, I do know where I screwed up making the two series that I did. So, I guess I'll try to give a little lesson that can be taken from my failures:

Know What You Want To Show Off

This was a pretty blatant problem I had with Beyond Good & Evil. I played through the game once, thoroughly enjoyed it, and then let it rot in my Steam collection. Then, I decided to put together an LP in honor of the BG&E HD rerelease. "I'll just play through, show some interesting stuff... can't be that hard, right?" Well... yes, and no. For one thing, my lack of memory meant that I didn't remember the solutions to half the puzzles and how to fight some of the bosses. This led to me having to edit out me derping around alot more than I would've liked. If I actually had some decent memory as far as how to proceed through the different parts, there'd be alot less work on my part.

Dying once is funny. Dying alot is boring.

Obviously, the above doesn't apply as hard if the game you decided to do is a brutally hard platformer (IWBTG, Super Meat Boy, VVVVVV), but you should still be considerate of not leaving people with you dying on the same stage for many minutes. This is something that seems kind of obvious, but you'd be surprised how easy it is to forget. I would sometimes look at a video, saw that I still was able to get the length of the video under 15 minutes, and just shrugged and called the end product "acceptable" when it probably wasn't.

Pretend your recording software is working, but be paranoid about if it is working.

No one likes to hear the behind-the-scenes stuff. I mean, it can be fun, but mostly it's either boring or it's being used as an excuse for your screw-ups. Either way, most people don't like it. Cut that crap out. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, it doesn't. Shrug and move on.

That said, do obsessively check to make sure that everything is working smoothly, especially before you start. Alot of what's on YouTube is crap, after all. I doubt anything I've put out is too much better than said crap, but damnit, I try. I try to make sure that everything's in place before I start. I try to make sure that, if I'm using FRAPS to record a game and live commentary at the same time, that FRAPS is recording from my mic and NOT STEREO MIX! (I still can't believe I did that... that was stupid.)

Live commentary isn't the only commentary

So, my next LP that I have planned, like I said, is going to be a game that's probably been LPed to death. It's also an old style RPG. Alot of editing will be involved. For that reason, it just made more sense to me to record the commentary after the fact. Meanwhile, I look at some of the videos I did and keep thinking of other things I'd have liked to say, but didn't because I didn't think of it at the time I was recording. I look at those videos and think that it probably couldn't have hurt me too much to have done the commentary and the play-through at separate times. Yes, that might end up being more work, but it'd allow me to clean up my stammering, stuttering, and nasal breathing.

Rehearsal can help.

So, I had a video where I kicked it off by sneaking through the Alpha Sections' base... and failing repeatedly. Since it was only the start of the video, I thought I could get away with scrapping all that footage, reloading my save, and starting again. The end video was alot more fun for me to record and alot more enjoyable to watch. (That episode hasn't actually gone up yet, though... just my opinion.) It might behoove me to practice a bit for my next series.

Speaking of fun videos, I think I should get to my last point:

If you're not having fun, your audience won't either.

I see making LP videos as a hobby. I'm not doing it in an attempt to be internet famous, or make YouTube partner and make money. It's just a way to give me an excuse to replay games I know I enjoyed while at the same time show people why I enjoyed them. Hell, video games are in part about having fun, and if you hate what you're doing, your audience will likely hate you. So have fun. Even if you're not planning on recording yourself playing games any time soon, have fun playing games anyway. Taking games too seriously means people just look at you funny.
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About MowDownJoeone of us since 5:38 PM on 01.09.2009

So, what's there to know about me? I'm Dave. I'm currently unemployed. I love baseball (huge Mets fan), but I don't like sports games. I've lived a crazy life. As far as taste in games go, I'm quite varied, playing anything on my Wii, DS, or 360 except for the previous mentioned sports games. I still have my SNES, though, and happily indulge in a bit of Retro-goodness every now-and-then (mostly Earthbound, but I still also have my copies of SMRPG, Super Mario Kart, Link to the Past, and Kirby Super Star). And... that's the main things.

I'm a music nut. I have a Last.FM. Here's a sample:

...Also, I like to play Magic: the Gathering, in case the banner didn't tip you off (the faux-card in the banner was made with Magic Set Editor, by the way). Been playing for almost 7 years now, though I'm on a break from the game due to... budget reasons.

If this intro seems brief, you should try meeting me... I've been known to listen more than talk.

A fun sketch based on my name, courtesy of Fangamer's OfficeCam:

Also, I recently got into this Twitter thing... I guess follow me if you want? https://twitter.com/mowdownjoe

Even more recently, I got into making Let's Plays. Check me out here and maybe subscribe if you like what you see?
Xbox LIVE:MowDownJoe
Steam ID:MowDownJoe


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