Dan’s Top 100 Everything: #81 Zero Punctuation

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Yahtzee Croshaw is an English-born, Australian-based comedian and gamer who started posting game review videos to YouTube in 2007. The videos were low-production, rapid-fire slideshows of pictures he drew in Microsoft Paint and narrated by himself.

Six and a half years later, and Yahtzee is one of the most popular game reviewers on the net. Remarkably, his production values have remained almost exactly the same.

Yahtzee’s reviews are a bit divisive — Earn This’s Brian told me he does not consider himself a fan because “the jokes go by too quickly,” which is a valid point — but his Zero Punctuation reviews (titled such because of the pace he hurdles through his script) have remained a staple of my Wednesday afternoons since I discovered them six years ago.

What I love about his review videos, other than the fact that they are often hilarious, is that Yahtzee is a tough critic to please. It’s a breath of fresh air in a world where 9-out-of-10s are given out like candy on most gaming sites. Very frequently he’ll take critical darlings down a peg, and it’s more than simple contrarianism (usually).

Yahtzee has his ideals about why gaming is valuable and engaging, and the unique ways a video game can tell a story. He also has rigorous standards for whether a game is “fun” — something that I feel is often ignored in mainstream reviews.

It’s a curious balance, the penis jokes and snark with the thoughtful commentary and reflection. I understand if it doesn’t work for you, but it almost always works for me. Whether he’s bashing a disaster of a game like Sonic Unleashed, or riffing on the silliness of a game like Animal Crossing, or — on rarest occasions — praising a game for getting it right like Portal, Yahtzee is my favorite video game critic.

A compilation of jokes from Yahtzee’s first year of making reviews:

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Dan S.

Dan is the editor of Earn This. He co-founded the site in 2009.

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