Last year, I finished the first season of my YouTube video essay series, From Joshy, covering my thoughts on gaming history, game mechanics and specific games. During its creation, I jotted trivia points detailing how ideas came to be. Enjoy.
- The desire to launch this channel arose in May 2019 (the channel launched the following month). I was running my gaming blog, D-pad Down and, at a family meal, my mother’s friend suggested promoting it via YouTube (because a friend of hers, who also has a blog, does that). I had made YouTube videos before and really enjoyed it, so the idea of returning to and having a proper attempt at it (versus the casual approach I had taken with videos I made years before) was appealing to me.
- The name is inspired by the name of YouTuber, NakeyJakey (and, to a lesser extent, Call Me Kevin). I like it because it feels personal; “from” makes it feel like my videos are sent directly from me to you/the viewer, and “Joshy” is a casual nickname that adds to the personal and playful vibe. Many people close to me call me “Joshy” which only adds to the meaning. “From Joshy” also sounds like the end of a letter or start of an email (i.e. text based communication platforms), which also feels fitting given most of the content is scripted/written.
- The channel went through a few names before settling on this one, including Josh B (from 12th June, 2019 to 2nd July, 2019), Josh B TV (from 3rd July, 2019 to the start of October 2019) and, for one night at the end of September 2019, Joshby (a literal spelling of “Josh B” a la Eminem/his initials “M&M”). None of the names really felt right for me which led to me surmising the name it has now. I also considered Josh’s Jots at one point, but decided against it 1) because I liked the variety of the channel and feared having “jots” in the title would have limited it to just scripted content, and 2) because I knew I wanted to use the name for a blog eventually and didn’t want two projects with the same name.
- The channel received a huge overhaul between June and July 2019. In June, the channel was very scatterbrained; some videos were me reading my D-pad Down articles (as video essays), some were me playing a game, some were me doing TierMaker rankings, etc. This led to a quantity over quality approach that I wasn’t happy with. The editing of the videos was rushed, I wasn’t creatively satisfied with them and I knew I was capable of creating better content. I also didn’t like my video essays just being me reading my blog articles, because I prefer YouTube videos that are more humorous and energetic and these videos felt more straightforward and not representative of my personality in video form. As such, I started writing my first essay explicitly designed for YouTube, Crash Team Racing 8 Deluxe, and put a lot more effort into the editing. While the video isn’t anything amazing (because it was my first time making something like this), I was proud of it because I knew I had actually put all of my effort into it, and because it was more representative of my personality in video form.
- At some point in July, I unlisted all of the June 2019 videos because I knew I didn’t put my full effort into them (and thus didn’t like the fact that they could be people’s first impression of me). I also did it because one of my videos, Ranking Every Ratchet & Clank Game (an unscripted, 35 minute version, not the scripted one still up), started getting recommended to people by YouTube, which made me embarrassed that a video I knew I didn’t put my full effort into was being seen so much.
- My writing process starts with me randomly surmising an idea and writing it down. Then, I often jot some notes for it in brackets. When I want to make a video, I’ll pick an idea from the ones I’ve stockpiled (although, most times, a few videos will already be swirling around in my head) and pace back and forth around my living room, visualising the video, fleshing out ideas, surmising jokes, etc. I’ll then write the script, proofread it a few times (often to add and remove content), record it and, ultimately, edit and upload it. With editing, I prefer to get all the footage and then edit it, but most times I get the footage as I reach that part of the video because I find the footage collection to be the most boring part of the process. All sight gags are made on the spot during editing (usually improvised).
- My favourite episodes of the season are Ranking Every Ratchet & Clank Game, The Death of Video Game Instruction Manuals, Ape Escape 2 British Edition and The Magic of Video Game Myths. My least favourite is The Forgotten PS2 Platformer. I’m also happy with The Technique That Makes Games Good, however I don’t consider it a favourite of mine because I’m most proud of the videos that balance good points with humour (well), and I feel this video isn’t as humour heavy as some others.
- From Saturday, 24th August 2019 to Monday, 26th August 2019, I set up a second channel (when this channel was called Josh B TV) called Josh B TV Channel 2. It would have been a variety gaming channel featuring re-uploads of deleted content, uploads of never released content as well as new content that I felt didn’t fit the general style of the main channel. Despite setting it up and even creating a trailer for it, I changed my mind the night before it would have went live and thus never published anything on it. However, I returned to the idea sometime later and, on 31st December, 2019, launched Joshy After Midnight, a second channel with the same ideas.
Crash Team Racing 8 Deluxe
- My first script ever written directly for YouTube. All videos done previously were either adaptations of my blog articles, unscripted or, in the case of Everything Wrong With Eminem – Revival (archived on Joshy After Midnight), had extensive notes but wasn’t designed as a script.
- The only reason I made a video about Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled was because that was the game I happened to be playing at the time.
- The least scripted episode of the season. Most of the first half was done on the spot; for example, I’d have the PS4 on beside me, think of a joke, capture the footage for it and then, on my computer, record my adlibs and match them up with the footage in editing. I moved away from this style because I felt it risked making the videos too shallow – I like the episodes being infotainment (analysis provided in an entertaining way) rather than “just” jokes. The second episode was more scripted but still featured some adlibbing and, by the third and fourth episodes, I was scripting most of the content. However, I do still adlib from time to time this season (often when I flub a line but decide to roll with it – I do it a few times in Ranking Every Ratchet & Clank Game, for example).
- My first sight gag is a “no one: ” meme. That depresses me greatly.
Ape Escape 2 British Edition
- This and the next episode, The Forgotten PS2 Platformer, were made differently than the others, in that these episodes were designed around clips I had saved (rather than just talking about the game and implementing amusing clips where relevant). I had a collection of funny clips of these games on my hard drive that I wanted to share online in some capacity, so felt incorporating them with a traditional critique did that effectively while also creating a unique approach to the format. This is why I chose Ape Escape 2 and Legend of Kay as my second and third video subjects respectively, because they were games I knew well that I had good clips for. I ultimately dropped this with Skateboarding in Non-Skateboarding Games onward because, while I felt it worked really well with this episode, it made The Forgotten PS2 Platformer have major pacing issues and, as I’d realise later, generally restricted the episodes and my creativity.
- The key difference between the first episode and this episode is that I always tried to “show, don’t tell” in this one. I felt the second half of Crash Team Racing 8 Deluxe dragged in parts because it was just me listing opinions about the game rather than presenting them in an interesting and/or entertaining way. I did this because I binge watched my favourite videos by my favourite creators and made mental notes of what made them work so well – not just “because it’s informative”, “because it’s funny” etc., but “why is this informative/funny”. I concluded that it was because they would always “show, don’t tell.” For example, videogamedunkey often critiques a game mechanic not by saying “this game mechanic sucks because…”, but by showing himself trying to use the game mechanic and getting progressively more pissed off. That still portrays the fact that the game mechanic is poorly implemented, but it’s done in a way that is more effective and enjoyable to watch. From this point forward, I keep this principle in mind every time I make a video.
The Forgotten PS2 Platformer
- My least favourite episode of the season. As noted previously, I felt the episode had pacing issues that made the video drag. It’s a six minute video that goes on for ten. I also felt it was too negative; the best clips I had saved for it were clips of its bad voice acting, poor writing, etc., which skewed the episode towards a more negative slant than intended. Moreover, I didn’t like the parts where I parodied videogamedunkey’s “Here Comes the Money” joke because, as a new content creator, you need to show what makes you distinct from other creators and what value you provide that others don’t, so me doing imitations of a well known YouTuber in my niche is something I regret in hindsight. Despite all this, I didn’t unlist it like the June 2019 uploads because it’s still representative of my full efforts at the time – the efforts were just misguided.
- My disappointment with this episode is what led to me moving away from game reviews (to broader discussion of game mechanics and history). It made me realise that my thoughts and style are better suited to more general and analytical videos and, based on how happy I am with the rest of the season after this, I consider it a good decision in hindsight. That’s partly why there’s a four week gap between this episode and the next, because I was brainstorming what direction I could take the channel in.
Skateboarding in Non-Skateboarding Games
- The fourth video was originally going to be GTA: San Andreas is a Masterpiece, a video breaking down why I love Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas in a similar manner to the previous two videos (i.e. designed around the clips I had saved for it). However, I decided to push the video back to October so that it could be part of “Rocktober”, a potentially annual channel special where I review Rockstar’s games throughout the month (this year’s would have also covered Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Bully). However, I ended up scrapping that too after realising I preferred broader gaming discussion over specific game reviews. That said, I’d still love to do a video on San Andreas and/or Bully, possibly as a milestone video (e.g. 50th episode).
- This is actually the fifth episode written. Ranking Every Ratchet & Clank Game was originally intended to be the fourth episode, to the point that the script was written and recorded before this one (the first two minutes were also edited before I had even started writing the script for this episode). However, that video was by far the most ambitious video I had ever worked on and, consequently, I kept procrastinating its creation. After weeks of minimal progress, I put the video aside and started working on this one.
- This video marks the shift in my channel from game reviews to general gaming analysis. I contemplated labelling this the start of season two because of this, but opted not to because a three episode season felt illogical.
- This episode was written with live action shots in mind. During the aforementioned brainstorming session between this episode and the one before (on which direction to take the channel), I liked the idea of having me talking to the camera from time to time. I also contemplated having these live action shots accompanied by the b-roll continuing to the side of me, and I also played around with ideas involving green screen. None of this was done when I realised I don’t have a suitable setup for it (don’t have a laptop that can handle these more advanced shots, don’t have the right lighting, my only good camera (the one on my phone) can’t be connected to my microphone so the live action shots would have poorer audio quality, etc.). This led to me adapting the one thing I could – my writing. This episode’s writing was structured differently than the previous videos and would continue to evolve after this (e.g. the next episode, The Magic of Video Game Myths, would introduce strong elements of storytelling).
- This is the first video to attempt a more personal vibe. I open with a personal story (about when I smashed into a lamppost on a skateboard) and feature photos of myself throughout. This is expanded on in future videos, including with the name change from Josh B TV to From Joshy.
- This is the final episode to be released under the Josh B TV moniker.
- The video originally ended with “next time we’ll be looking back at my porn career so, until then, drink your calcium and I’ll see you guys soon.” This was intended to be the start of a running joke – I would say this at the end of every episode but with “porn career” changed to something else. “Drink your calcium” was designed to be a catchphrase, referencing the fact that I love milk (I don’t drink alcohol so I almost exclusively drink water and milk, the latter of which my friends like to poke fun at). I scrapped it because it felt forced.
The Magic of Video Game Myths
- My first Halloween special.
- The first episode to be released under the From Joshy name. Consequently, the first four videos are now retroactively considered From Joshy episodes rather than Josh B TV ones.
- This is the first episode to feature strong elements of storytelling (although you could see elements of this in Skateboarding in Non-Skateboarding Games with the opening about me smashing into a lamppost on a skateboard). This is because, with the new From Joshy name, I wanted the channel to feel more personal. I also did this because I have a history of writing stories, so incorporating my love for storytelling felt like a perfect evolution for the channel.
- The shortest episode of the season. This is because it was made in a short time, because I wanted to have a Halloween special but knew the video I was currently working on (Ranking Every Ratchet & Clank Game) wouldn’t be done in time or even make sense as a Halloween video. Consequently, this is also the fastest made episode of the season. The script and its recording was done in one night and the editing was done in two, compared to other videos that are often done over the course of a week or more (editing often takes this long because I have a terrible laptop that can’t even play the video back until I’ve exported it).
- The first episode to not feature any cut content (and the only one of the season).
- This is the video where everything “clicked” for me stylistically. With the first four videos, I struggled to find a style that I was completely happy with – although Ape Escape 2 British Edition is one of my favourite episodes of the season, even that had a style that didn’t feel perfect for me. The introduction of storytelling here was the missing piece I was looking for.
- The first episode to use unique outro music (my cover of The X-Files theme song). Up to this point I had been using one of YouTube’s stock tracks and, while I liked it, I wanted something that was distinct to me, more creative and/or that I had made myself. While this is the first unique outro track to be uploaded, the first I made was actually the one used in the next episode, Ranking Every Ratchet & Clank Game (the variant of the Ratchet & Clank rap instrumental I made for that episode). I liked how that turned out which is why I made this one.
Ranking Every Ratchet & Clank Game
- This episode was actually the fourth episode written, however it didn’t release until later because it was stuck in development hell. I was overwhelmed by this episode because it was by far the most ambitious video I’d ever attempted. It featured a rap and instrumental, numerous sight gags, a plethora of specific footage I needed to capture, it was my longest video to date, etc. This meant that, every time I’d sit down to edit it, I’d procrastinate to the point that I wouldn’t get any of it done. I wrote the script, recorded it, wrote and recorded the rap (and its instrumental) and edited the first two minutes of video in August (on schedule), but everything after that I just couldn’t discipline myself to edit until October. In September, I decided to put it aside to work on another video, which is what led to the creation of Skateboarding in Non-Skateboarding Games. I then tried to return to this video but still couldn’t get in the zone. This is why, at the end of October, I released The WWE 2K Series is a Masterpiece and The Magic of Video Game Myths, videos that didn’t require much editing and were short respectively. I wanted to release something, anything, to help alleviate the mental blockage, because the procrastination was partly caused by concerns over the fact that I was going weeks without uploading anything. Knowing I had these nicer videos I could work on helped because, in mid October, I was finally able to continue work on this episode. I was aiming for an end of October release, however I put it on hold one final time because I really wanted to do a Halloween special (The Magic of Video Game Myths).
- This episode was almost scrapped twice because, due to the development hell mentioned previously, I was beginning to hate the video due to it stopping me from working on new ones. However, I changed my mind both times because I liked the video too much. Considering it’s now my favourite episode of the season and, as of writing, my most successful video, I’d say it was a good move.
- As mentioned earlier, I made a video in June with the same name as this one, albeit in the form of an unscripted, 35 minute TierMaker ranking. The video was consistently gaining views, which told me there’s interest in this subject. I decided to capitalise on this by remaking it with a proper format (scripted, edited, etc.).
- I tried to review every game in a different style. For example, some games I’d tell you what I liked and didn’t like, some I’d show you what I liked and didn’t like (e.g. my Size Matters review was just me reacting, in the moment, to the parts I disliked), some I’d mix showing and telling (e.g. the Into the Nexus review shows me reacting to the dark tone of the game before transitioning into a traditional review), etc. I was playing around with the “show, don’t tell” principle I established in Ape Escape 2 British Edition. This is how the Ratchet & Clank rap review was surmised; by the time I reached that game, I felt I had already done every style of showing and telling I could for the video and wanted something unique to start the top five. When thinking about the game, the thing that stood out to me most was the soundtrack, especially the score for Metropolis. That led to the idea of me doing the review via a rap over Metropolis’ soundtrack. However, I didn’t want to use the actual score out of fear of copyright (PlayStation usually don’t mind creators using their game music but, as a small creator, I didn’t want to risk it). That’s what gave me the idea to create my own version of the score with my voice.
- The footage of me playing Ratchet & Clank: QForce on PS Vita is from 2017. That year, I set up a YouTube channel called Vita 27 that was going to feature PS Vita playthroughs. I started recording a series where I play through QForce on my Vita using only the wrench, however I recorded three parts and stopped because I lost interest in running the channel. Despite this, I kept the footage and was able to implement it here (the footage is from the third/final part). These videos are now archived on my second channel, Joshy After Midnight.
- When I say “fuck this game” in reference to Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters, I originally planned to accompany that line with a shot of the game lying on the floor while I unzip my jeans. However, when I went to record it, I realised that I had lost my copy of it. I decided buying a new one wasn’t worth it so I accompanied the line with a clip of Ratchet yelling instead.
- I created the Ratchet & Clank rap instrumental by listening to the Metropolis score over and over on YouTube (on my PS4 to the side of me) and replicating each element of it with my voice. I then put all of it together which created the final beat.
- The line in the Ratchet & Clank rap about the controls aging like [shit] was originally “the controls have aged like Brit,” referring to Britney Spears. This was designed to be a reference to the “fuck Britney Spears” theme of Ratchet & Clank 3 I joke about later, however I decided to remove it because I realised that the reference wasn’t obvious (meaning it just came across as a mean spirited jab at Britney herself). I intended to re-record the line with “shit”, however I realised it’d be funnier if I didn’t and just put a picture of feces instead, hence how that gag came to be.
- I wanted to use the Ratchet & Clank rap instrumental for the outro of Skateboarding in Non-Skateboarding Games (instead of the stock music I had been using at that point) because it was already made before I even started writing that episode. However, I decided not to because I liked the rap being an out-of-nowhere surprise in the middle of an otherwise non-musical video, so me debuting the instrumental as an outro track beforehand would have ruined that surprise factor slightly.
- Due to my enjoyment creating the rap, I created a series on my blog called “Rhyme Reviews” where I’d do written rap reviews of games. Unfortunately, the series didn’t garner much interest so I only did three – a written version of the Ratchet & Clank rap, Marvel’s Spider-Man and Sly 2: Band of Thieves.
The Death of Video Game Instruction Manuals
- The final episode written for the season. I decided to move it up because I felt it worked better following Ranking Every Ratchet & Clank Game than The Technique That Makes Games Good (the episode originally planned to be next), because it covers more games that Ratchet & Clank fans are likely to be interested in (Sly Cooper, Rayman, etc.) and because its tone is closer to that video (more comedy heavy, fast paced, etc.).
- This video was almost scrapped because I lost interest in talking about the subject. However, I had already written the first two paragraphs of it and I was really happy with them, so decided to continue because of this. The episode is now one of my favourites of the season.
- Despite this being written and released in December, I surmised some jokes for it in September, including the “Hunter PTSD” gag, The Simpsons: Hit & Run jokes and the “Rayman’s butthole” joke. You can actually see this on my Twitter profile; on 6th September, 2019, I tweeted about Hunter’s character model in the Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly instruction manual, including a close up of his face a la the PTSD joke in the video. This is because I was contemplating doing the video then to alleviate the aforementioned frustrations with Ranking Every Ratchet & Clank Game‘s development hell, but decided not to because that would have led to me working on three videos at once (Skateboarding in Non-Skateboarding Games, Ranking Every Ratchet & Clank Game and this), hence likely worsening the situation.
- While filming the real life shots, I considered making a behind the scenes video showcasing how I did each shot as I did it (e.g. me cutting out the ‘buy seasons 1 & 2’ sticker from the The Simpsons: Hit & Run instruction manual, doing the fridge shot, etc.). I decided not to because I felt it wouldn’t have been that interesting and summing it up via text (i.e. here) would suffice. I also scrapped it because it was getting late and I wanted to get all of the footage done that night (because I carried my shelves with my games on downstairs for the sake of having all of my instruction manuals right next to me, thus I didn’t want to do that awkward process again the next night), so shooting a behind the scenes vlog would have jeopardised that.
- My screaming in the “PS2 red screen” shot is the same recording as the screaming in the Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time hoverboarding part of Ranking Every Ratchet & Clank Game. I felt it suited it perfectly and I liked the idea of it potentially becoming my own Wilhelm Scream.
- The “he coloured outside of the lines” part was done digitally. I intended to colour in my actual instruction manual but, when I went to do it, I realised I don’t own any crayons, so I coloured it in via Paint. I questioned a lot of my life decisions in that moment.
- For the “‘buy seasons 1 & 2’ sticker on the fridge” gag, I actually cut up the The Simpsons: Hit & Run instruction manual I’ve owned since I was a kid. The same applies to the other modifications seen throughout (e.g. the Activision competition form I filled out was in my copy of Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 I’ve owned since I was young).
- While cutting out the ‘buy seasons 1 & 2’ sticker from my The Simpsons: Hit & Run instruction manual, I discovered drawings in the ‘notes’ section penned by a much younger me, depicting my own ideas for Hit & Run such as new characters and vehicles. This includes creative characters such as “Boy” and “Cat”, me referring to Chief Wiggum as “Simpsons Police Man” and various drawings of vehicles like the Rocket Car and Duff Truck. I wanted to include this in the video because I found it amusing (especially considering how horrendous the drawings are), but opted not to because it added nothing important to the video and would have hurt the pacing.
- For the shot of me giving a thumbs up to my Grand Theft Auto V poster for assuring I’d never lose my virginity, I had to put the poster on my wall because it was just sitting in my game case. The only thing I had to hold it up was a single blob of blu tack which is why, in the video, you can see it just awkwardly dangling off the wall. This originally bugged me because I feared it ruined the shot but, watching it back, I felt it actually enhanced the joke because the tackiness of it added to the “it protects my virginity” joke. The shot was filmed in the early hours of the morning right next to a window not covered by curtains or blinds, meaning anyone looking through the window at that moment would have had a clear view of this weird, 22 year old guy filming himself giving his wall a thumbs up at three in the morning.
- While looking through my instruction manuals to surmise points and jokes, I discovered my Scarface: The World is Yours case has two manuals for some reason. I decided to make a visual gag out of this in the video by showing me looking at one manual and then panning to the other, with no explanation.
- The thumbnail (the collection of instruction manuals) was created by laying a bunch of instruction manuals next to each other on my kitchen floor.
The Technique That Makes Games Good
- I originally wanted the season finale to be a “special” episode, in the sense that its presentation, structure, subject, etc. is different than usual. However, I decided to do a normal episode because, considering I only had 7 videos and 37 subscribers, I felt I needed to establish my (regular) style more first.
- As mentioned previously, this was actually the seventh episode written for the season, but I pushed it back because I felt The Death of Video Game Instruction Manuals worked better as a successor to Ranking Every Ratchet & Clank Game due to its subject matter being more relevant to Ratchet & Clank fans, the style and pacing being closer to that video, etc.
- Originally called “Show, Don’t Tell” in Video Games.
- The “Fuck tha Police” remix and shot of me shaking my fist at my Ape Escape 3 copy were the last things written and recorded for the season. The remix was added at the last minute just before I started editing the video, and the Ape Escape 3 shot was done on a whim during editing at two in the morning. This shot also made me question my life decisions. I also added a small section comparing Death Stranding to Gravity Rush 2 (written the same time as the “Fuck tha Police” remix), however I scrapped it during editing because it felt unnecessary. You can read it in the script.
- The “Fuck tha Police” remix was created the same way as the Ratchet & Clank rap – I played the original over and over on YouTube (on my PS4 next to me), recreated each element of the instrumental with my voice, put them all together to create the beat and then rapped over it. The only difference is that instead of penning original lyrics for this, I altered the lyrics of Ice Cube’s verse due to it being a parody rather than a review in music form (although the third line (“Carl’s getting fucked by the six star police”) was completely original as I couldn’t alter it in a way that worked).
- The video originally ended with an acapella rap freestyle (right after the “Fuck tha Police” remix), however I scrapped it because it didn’t suit the video (i.e. unrelated subject matter). You can read the lyrics in the script.
Overall, having my first proper attempt at YouTube was a tonne of fun and something I plan on continuing for the foreseeable future. Thank you so much for supporting my work by watching the videos and reading this far, it means a lot. I love the ideas I have in mind for season two so hopefully, by the end of 2020, that year of content will be one to remember.