These days Youtube is probably the closest thing we have to public access television. They’ll host just about anything, within reason. One issue though is that good new content is getting harder and harder to find. Not in the sense that channels aren’t making new videos, but that fresh channels can’t seem to break through and beat the algorithm. These days it feels like so many fields are dominated by just one channel. Fantano owns music. Dunkey is in charge of gaming. Red Letter Media has the monopoly on the film-bro market. Hell, I’m not sure what category you could fit Value Select or SadWorld into, but they’re already the best.
So, as a way of boosting some channels, and in the interest of helping people find reasonably novel and enteraining content, I’ll be writing about whatever is The Best Thing On Youtube.
The metrics are simple.
- Be good
- Have less than 100k subscribers.
If a channel has a plaque, it hardly needs any help at this point.
The first channel I wanna talk about is GoldVison (36k subscribers), more particularly, the dude’s series of Grand Theft Auto Pacifist series.
I’ve always kinda liked playing games in ways that go entirely against their purpose. One time my cousin and I played Halo 2 and just tried making modern art statues out of destroyed vehicles in Blood Gulch, true commemorations to the brutal atrocities of the war on the covenant. The best Mario Maker levels always seem to be the one that stretch the limits of what can be done with the tools the developers use, turning an easy platformer into a punishingly twitchy experience. Jon Bois of SB Nation built some of his clout by creating the Breaking Madden series, in which he attempted to get Touchdown Tom to run 99 yards on a QB sneak, to score enough points to make the game crash, and to make Johnny Manziel extend a single football play into the end of time.
Playing Grand Theft Auto and as a law abiding citizen is something most people have done out of novelty at least once, following traffic laws, resisting the instinct to kill every NPC, not even drawing a gun. That said, most people end up getting bored of it after 10 minutes and immediately go back into the violent mode.
Some Youtubers have tried making a challenge out of things, treating pacifism as if it makes the game harder, rather than simply being a new way to enjoy the city of San Andreas.
GoldVision takes things a step further by not only making a whole series out of his pacifist exploits, but also by placing them in the more volatile world of GTA V’s online servers, where other players rain havoc down like its hurricane season in central Florida.
His videos center around his created character, Francisco. The object simply isn’t to exist in this world, but to live a fulfilling life, be that through winning street-races, climbing mountains, finding little-known spots on the map, or forging meaningful relationships with the other players.
The editing Is crisp. GoldVision’s narration has enough dry wit to get a sensible chuckle out of even the snobbiest viewers.
In these videos, there’s a strange existentialist life-affirming narrative that highlights the collective absurdities of the game’s world, people’s default playing style, as well as what it means to be a law-abiding citizen. Still though, Francisco comes out of each episode a better person (if video game characters can emotionally develop) with new experiences, that many without pacifist limitations would never even consider.
The series is a gentle reminder that sometimes even limitations are blessings, encouraging people to find fulfillment in a way that appeals to something higher than just their carnal instinct.
If this sounds interesting, check out his playlist here . His other content is also remarkably novel and fun. His main series though is ongoing, so there’s plenty of reason to subscribe. Also follow him on twitter!