I've been wondering for a while now, what makes a game video review something worthwhile to watch? I mean, for one, the viewer could just play the game instead of watching some dunce talk about it. The angle of criticism or analysis doesn't make sense to me because whatever is real or factual is immutable, so doing that doesn't add much value to the video nor does it make it stand out from the sea of other people listing out the game's attributes and calling it a day.
Covering something niche and shedding light to it is something of value, but the present day internet is so fast and interconnected that I've come to believe that for new works the labels niche and obscure don't last more than a week. Not that there's no more obscure stuff, especially relating to lost media, but to uncover something actually unknown and worthwhile you're gonna have to depend on a big serving of serendipity.
On the other hand, a focus on subjective experience seems to add a fair amount of value since one's personal experience and perspective is guaranteed to be unique, but its still largely bound by the fact most games are sequences of events and setpieces, so discounting sandbox games, most players will play through the same story and have a similar tale to tell in the end.
My solution, however contrived, has been deformation. What I mean is that rather than showing what the game is about, or even showing my experience of playing the game, I would rather show an impression of how my experience of playing the game felt. To give an example, that intro I made for Disillusion has very little to do with the game, but it is a representation of how I felt while playing it.
What do you guys think? What makes a game review worthwile to watch?
I've been wondering the exact same thing. My two conclusions were that, with a video like that, you could at best accomplish either of these things:
-Cause someone to look at something in a way they wouldn't have otherwise
This is what I believe should be the goal of any 'experienced-based' review, such as the one you made for Disillusion. Think also of all of the video essays trying to convince you that something is either "overrated" or "underrated"--both terms I hate--and of course these are the videos that tend to inspire the most reproach among people as well, so I'd say they very rarely accomplish their purpose. Ultimately, if you want a video that can actually change how someone perceives something, then you're going to need the prerequisites of having both a particularly unusual and deliberated experience/opinion of something (one which the audience would never really be able to form on their own just by playing it, I guess) as well as the ability to actually communicate it.
Of course, this all comes down to how you actually experience a game, which is a thing that I suspect a lot of people lack the metacognition necessary to comprehend in the first place.
-Serve as material for people to expand their reach (? I don't know how to word this)
This is the type of video where you just showcase/talk about some aspects of a game, ideally without actually "reviewing" it. Ultimately, sometimes I just want to watch a video of a game so that I can get a general idea of what it's about so that I can keep it in the back of my mind, and maybe decide that I want to play it at some point. I don't really think that obscurity has much to do with it, though I generally prefer watching videos of games that seem like they would be obscure, since I wouldn't really be able to form an idea of what they're about otherwise. Personally, I find that the most effective videos of this kind are the long compilations of various games, usually just clips for a few seconds without commentary.
I sometimes like to just have these playing in the background while I'm doing something, and if I see a game that interests me, I make a mental note of it so as to perhaps play it later at some point (this is actually how I discovered AIR, btw)
That's not to say, of course, that this type of video only works uncommentated. I think it's best to talk about unusual aspects of a game that you may not take notice of in a usual playthrough. Like, in your Disillusion video, that you brought up the hospital area and those unsolved portals was really interesting in this regard.
Anyways, I was thinking of making a video series of 'appreciation clubs' (they're not ""reviews"" or ""video essays"", okay? Appreciation Clubs!)
which try to accomplish both of these things to some extent, but honestly I'm not sure if I really understand the full extent of my own experiences to really be able to do that myself.