'Games are weird. Let's roll with that.'
December 5, 2017 8:46 AM   Subscribe

"Games don't make a great deal of sense. After more than a decade of covering them for a living and for fun, we’ve realised that the only way we can do them justice is to cut the brakes, and go a little mad ourselves. If you've ever taken a step back from the hobby and wondered what the hell you were doing? This is for you."

Cool Ghosts is a YouTube channel (and occasional podcast) from the folks at board-game-centric Shut Up & Sit Down that focuses on "how incredible (and incredibly weird) games are...[and] offer[s] a positive, friendly, welcoming space for everyone to celebrate games and have fun. A place that simply says games are amazing and for everyone. A place that looks at old and new ways to play."

Cool Ghosts recently expanded (and rebooted) with Episode 1, which (confusingly, but reasonably) follows two years of videos, including coverage of the best game ever.

Cool Ghosts sort-of-previously, in passing.
posted by cjelli (9 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
That disgaia 5 video is beautiful.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:35 AM on December 5, 2017

I've just watched the Breath of the Wild video (I don't play many games, but I did play that one), and the points about the utility of the map and the feel of exploring areas for which you don't yet have a map are really true. The sense of wonder at new discoveries, and the reward for simply exploring--even if the reward is just a pretty vista from a high place--is fantastic.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:59 AM on December 5, 2017

The "stuck in limbo reviewing games" feel of the reboot brought to mind the latest season of videogaiden which is also worth checking out.
posted by juv3nal at 5:24 PM on December 5, 2017

I love Shut Up and Sit Down.

How do I watch these? Do I start with the reboot, or view the back catalog?
posted by mecran01 at 5:47 PM on December 5, 2017

Just watch the lot mecran01. Start at the beginning. The SUSD gang are (for my money) good, thoughtful, clever and funny reviewers of games.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:03 PM on December 5, 2017

How do I watch these? Do I start with the reboot, or view the back catalog?

However you'd like to, really. Episode 1 is the most SUSD-like in terms of video structure, and apparently the format they're shifting to for the moment, so you could start there as a bridge and work backward (or forward) chronologically through the postings (with blog context) at their website.

Or you could sort through the backlist categorically -- they have a few different series broken up as YouTube playlists, in case you want to binge-watch a particular theme (or avoid a particular theme). There are (the new series aside) four broad categories of videos in the backlist - Cool Ghosts Plays Through A Particular Game; The Daft Souls Podcast (With No Video); The Best Game Ever (discussing one game in-depth) and then miscellaneous 'Series Stuff' such as 'Don't Step on my Child (hood),' in which Matt (and sometimes Quinns) revisits old game with a critical eye.
posted by cjelli at 8:19 PM on December 5, 2017

I haven't played The Norwood Suite, but I did play Off Season, and it's fantastic. I agree with the reviewer, that it explores "space" and "place" very well, even if it's not super game-y in terms of mechanics.
posted by codacorolla at 8:39 PM on December 5, 2017

Interesting story conceit - I'm eager to see where they take it. Like Board James and Televoid, there's an enigmatic storyline - except that the viewer is in on it and knows exactly what's going on. Just as Death Note is not a 'whodunit' but a 'willhegetcaught', the big question of Cool Ghosts isn't what's going on, but whether the ghosts will ever figure it out themselves.

Also, there is nothing new under the sun.
posted by BiggerJ at 11:22 PM on December 5, 2017

This is brilliant, and must have been a hell of a lot of work for a two (three?) -person team; there's a *lot* of detail and fun nods worked into the background of it. If they can keep it up, it'll be an amazing series.

For people who're interested in games but want to avoid toxic "gamer" culture, Cool Ghosts' back catalogue is a great place to start. It's very different from this new format: still well-produced, but while there are conceits and gags within episodes, they're "just" funny and thoughtful reviews and Let's Plays, which do a great job of discussing games in their wider context. Importantly they have an editorial slant towards reviewing stuff that they actually like and assume their audience can cope with nuance, so the default tone of a review is "here's an interesting/wonderful thing, albeit imperfect", not "here's this month's AAA release, and why you should feel a fierce [love/hatred]". They're also, and it's sad that this needs to be mentioned, not misogynist arseholes, and to my inexpert eye they do a decent job of acknowledging and criticising problematic material in the games they review.

I agree with cjelli that it's not really important where you start with those, just pick something that sounds interesting. The Subterfuge Diaries and playthrough of Invisible, Inc stick out in my mind, but click around. I play boardgames much more than video games these days (I came to Cool Ghosts via SU&SD), so it's probably not a coincidence that I've picked two very boardgame-like games.
posted by metaBugs at 4:10 AM on December 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

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