Updated: Jan 25
Back in February 2020, my former Exclusively Game’s stable mate Xavier Geitz presented his list of ‘The 10 Best Video Game Review Channels on YouTube’. It is an excellent read and worth checking out if you haven’t done so already.
I have always had a fascination with the design of video games, the systems going on under the hood that makes them work, and the design philosophy behind them. I’m also something of a nostalgia nut. As such, most of the gaming-related YouTube channels I subscribe to are either historical or analytical. So, without further ado, here are my recommendations (in no particular order) for the Top 8 Educational Video Gaming YouTube Channels.
1: Game Makers Tool Kit
Mark Brown’s Game Makers Toolkit is a useful resource for the budding game developer and a fascinating look into the philosophy and design choices behind some of the most loved games.
Quality over quantity is the order of the day here. GMTK tends to release only one or two videos per month, but they are worth the wait, as they are extremely well produced and edited. He is also very well spoken, which helps convey some fairly complex information in a way that is both entertaining and easy to understand.
The Genius of Prey's Gloo Cannon
Stuart Brown’s Ahoy is another superb channel that emphasises quality over quantity. Ahoy’s videos are not published that often either, but they are also well worth the wait. His videos are exceptionally well produced and edited, with excellent use of unobtrusive background music.
Stuart Brown is impeccably spoken and the wordsmithery of the scripts is second to none, frequently featuring some superb phrases. For example, when discussing the FAL; “You will aim with sights of iron, and you’ll like it”. Superb.
Ahoy takes deep dives into specific video game tropes, such as red explosive barrels, zombies, weapon archetypes such as double-barrel shotguns, graphics, and a whole host of other video game topics.
Ahoy has also covered several historically significant video games and hardware devices. I will confess that his videos have been an invaluable research tool for some of my articles. If you like your videos to be cerebral and covering topics that are sometimes out of left field, then Ahoy comes highly recommended.
3: AI and Games
AI and Game’s Tommy Thompson is the director of the software consultancy AI and Games, a bona fide Dr of A.I. and a Senior Lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University. Before that he was the Programme Leader of the BSc Hons Computer Games Programming degree at the University of Derby. Suffice to say, he knows what he is talking about.
He also makes exceptionally high-quality YouTube videos. If you would like to know more about how the under-the-hood AI of video games makes said games tick, then AI and Games is the channel for you.
Thompson explains this complex topic in an easy to understand way, and uses several well-known games as examples. This makes his videos as entertaining as they are informative. What's more, his release schedule is impressive, with videos going live every week or so.
Cyber Demons: The AI of DOOM (2016)
4: Extra Credits
Extra Credits have been running more-or-less continuously since 2012. At the time of writing, they have uploaded 465 videos to their main channel. As you can imagine, they have covered most video game-related topics during that time. Their videos are generally short - usually under ten minutes, upbeat and light-hearted. The channel champions the concept of "Video games as art", and their motto is “Because Games Matter”.
The channel’s initial narrator, a speed up and higher pitched Dan Floyd left the team in 2018 to form his own channel. Extra Credits has continued with Matt Krol as narrator, with occasional help from Zoe (his cat).
The channel has spawned several spin-off channels, including Extra History, Extra Sci-Fi, and Extra Mythology which are also an interesting watch and delivered in a similar style. Videos from the main channel are uploaded roughly once a week. If you factor in the spin-off channels as well, this rises to one every few days.
Review Bombing - Making Your Voice Heard - Extra Credits
5: New Frame Plus
After leaving Extra Credits in 2018, Dan Floyd set up New Frame Plus, a channel revolving around video game animation. Floyd has years of experience as an animator, and in his YouTube channel, he shares and discusses the many tools and tricks of the trade.
This is a valuable resource for budding animators and a fascinating watch for anyone interested in video game design in general. Again, quality over quantity rules here, as videos are uploaded every month or so.
ANTICIPATION - The 12 Principles of Animation in Games