When YouTube was in its infancy a lot of people who had filming aspirations were inspired. An easy platform to reach an audience for your product. All sorts of fan films and short films hit the website and people who wanted to tell their stories related to gaming had platform as well. Getting a cast and crew was tricky considering some of these were intended for TV but it never stopped these filmmakers and it helped open the door to web series being taken seriously. These days, mostly comedian gamers stream and tell their material during the game or voice over jokes during a game video. We’re going to explore the early web shows, where they ended up and how the influenced today’s web series and streamers.
Perhaps the most famous video game web series helped rise the web series genre to a more professional platform. What as intended to be a pilot for a TV series then later reformatted for a web series. The Guild was a sitcom that starred actors and guest starred celebs constantly. Felicia Day’s series The Guild changed her life. It attracted a large cult following and even an audience outside of video games. It ran for 3 seasons without even showing the content of the game that the main characters partook. The premise follows Cyd Sherman a.k.a. Codex who spends her time playing an mmorpg after losing her job, therapist and boyfriend. She gathers her online friends to meet face-to-face after shows up at her door-step. The Guild was filled with witty banter and parodied the industry, video games ans it’s culture.
After The Guild’s success all sorts of film makers we’re inspired to make their own film series. Day created her own YouTube channel that showcases talent that follow her footsteps.
These are the guys who used a home video camera and acted the series themselves. Before YouTube and web series were considered a series thing, Jarett Cale and Geoff Lapaire took matters in their own hands to make a show that would later get picked up by a network. Pure Pwange was a mockumentary of a brother wanting to make a documentary about his older brother, an aspiring pro gamer, who was cocky and rude but didn’t quite understand social norms. Pure Pwnge had it’s fan base but after people later saw videos of the character FPS Doug outof context and thought he was real. The show grew even larger and ended up on a network for one season. The crew ran into issues here and there due to life and death and Geoff Lapaire leaving the show.
Eventually they made a movie from Kickstarter funding but as of now the series is done however Ryan and Doug are still fan favorites.
Red vs Blue
Machinia used to be a thing, like a serious thing. Gamers would record a game while they controlled the characters to their own narrative. Imagine a GTA sitcom told with voiceovers and people just walking into the situations. The writing is what drove machinimas. Since fans are familiar with the content then seeing that game in a other perspective can attract and retain their attention. That’s what Red vs Blue (RvB) was able to pull off. RvB took the context of a futuristic sci-fi shooter and turned it into a sitcom. With goofy characters parodying each other, their location and vehicles. It followed 2 teams in Halo’s multiplayer trying to fight each other but with a crew of silly and off-the-wall personalities that goal was never accomplished. The company behind it Rooster Teeth took off. RvBs beloved comedy finished however the later story arcs were less comical and fell inline with more of Halos theme.
Angry Video Game Nerd
What started as a small joke between friends is now a rambunctious sketch comedy web series. The Angry Video Nintendo Nerd (the original title) is probably the first or at least the earliest form of insult comedy regarding video games. Known for his short sleeve t-shirt, glasses and foul mouth The Nerd would review Nintendo classics with frustration and complaints delivered in a comical sense. Later on, ScrewAttack picked up the series and to avoid any discrepancies with Nintendo they renamed the show to Angry Video Game Nerd, which also allowed the critic to cover a wider library of games than Nintendo products.
Mega 64… Another sketch comedy series full of parodies and candid sketches was originally on public access then DVD in 2004. During this time G4tv was starting off and picking up shows to produce for the network. Mega64 crew got together and filmed a pilot for the network for whatever reasons G4 passed on the crew. Instead of giving up in frustration of being on a cable network they went online. And they blew up from there. They gained a lot of coverage and there skits were posted around forums and other video streams grabbing a wider audience. They’re still producing skits on YouTube and have a weekly podcast series of the same name.