In the last month, I've recorded more footage for YouTube than I have in the last year: a full playthrough of the Game Boy Color adaptation of Crystalis, the first third of my next Mega Man 7 video, and two hours now of an impromptu playthrough of Mega Pony. At the same time, I've released more material of dubious entertainment value in the last month than ever before. It's been both refreshing and disheartening to crank out new videos at the speed the rest of the Internet does.
My original plan for Crystalis was to play it on The END DAY as is my yearly custom, but to livestream it and post it to the GameCola YouTube channel. After extensive research and testing, I determined that my current setup was unsuitable for livestreaming, so I fell back on my usual method of recording video footage and adding retrospective commentary. Having learned from my Space Quest 0 playthrough that was supposed to last a weekend and turned into a few months, I made a commitment to myself to record each video's commentary in a single take, unless I said something so catastrophically stupid that only a re-take could salvage it.
For the most part, I was able to keep my vow, though one or two videos required a couple takes or a few breaks while I came up with anything to say. Overall, I think everything turned out fine, but I don't have the sense of satisfaction that I had after completing Space Quest 0 or Deja Vu before that. There are funny moments, and I think I bring up some interesting points every now and again, but the gameplay is neither hilarious nor impressive enough to be all that interesting on its own. It's really the commentary that drives my Crystalis videos, and there are large swaths of it that I'd re-record in a heartbeat. Overall, I think the video series is entertaining enough, but as the only full playthrough of this version currently available on YouTube, I think the viewing community deserves better.
Speeding through Crystalis allowed me to get back to Mega Man 7 before too much time had passed, however. It took me more than a year to release the teaser trailer for the video series, so I've been trying my hardest to get at least one new video per month to my fans—because it's my favorite video game series and because my viewers have come to expect a certainly level of quality from the gameplay and commentary, it takes me a long time to get my Mega Man videos to a point where I'm satisfied with them.
I was on fire with the commentary after Crystalis wrapped up; it normally takes me about one hour to generate and perfect one minute of commentary, and I'm usually only good for an hour or two before recording fatigue sets in, but I breezed through the first 3-1/2 minutes in a single sitting. Since then, it's been almost impossible to get back to it—I can think of things to say for the section I'm in, but nothing feels even remotely interesting. It doesn't help that I feel like I need to deliver extra-perfect commentary to make up for rushing through Crystalis, another one of my all-time favorite games (the NES version, at least), which didn't receive the recording attention I would've given it if I weren't so far behind on MM7.
Then, on a whim, I started recording Mega Pony with my wife. The short version is that one of my fellow GameCola staff members alerted me to the existence of a Mega Man / My Little Pony crossover fangame, and when my wife learned about it as well, she got excited and begged me to play it for her, as platformers are not her strong suit. About 30 seconds into the game, we both decided this would be too good a recording opportunity to pass up, so I set things up to record my first-ever honest-to-goodness blind "Let's Play" video. Both of us are tremendously pleased with the result—the commentary is frequently informative and funny, and some of the gameplay is downright hysterical.
We sat down to record Part 2 tonight, and neither one of us is feeling all that great about it. Sure, I beat several stages, but I also died repeatedly in the same few spots. Sure, we both made a few funnies, but most of what I remember about the commentary is me trying to form a deep thought about one of the other Mega Man games I've played, getting so distracted by my thought process that I fell into a spike pit, and my wife groaning about how I died again. The shame is that this is supposed to be a live, blind playthrough, so any editing or re-recording would defeat the whole purpose of the video.
Crystalis, Mega Man 7, and Mega Pony represent three different kinds of recording styles, and it's odd for me to be bouncing between them. I feel like an artist who was assigned to both groups at once from my wife's story, and because I can't focus on succeeding at one or the other, I'm failing at both. I'm probably being too harsh on myself, as is my tendency when it comes to creative projects, but then it's easier to accept rejection if it turns out my self-criticism isn't unfounded after all.
I've said many times before that my videos don't need to be perfect; they just need to be entertaining. With all the recording I've done in the last month, it's hard to tell anymore what qualifies as entertaining. I'm deliberating over every word for Mega Man 7 and spouting whatever comes to mind for everything else; can I really expect to keep a sense of perspective when I'm yo-yoing between two radically different approaches?