Opinion: All Hail ‘The Rad Brad’ – King Of The YouTube Walkthrough!
It’s two in the morning on a mid-week work-night, and for the last four hours I’ve been watching a guy I don’t know wise-crack, freak out and indulge in random but hilarious asides as he ploughs through action-packed horror Dead Space 2 for the very first time. Given the amount of ‘likes’ below his YouTube videos and the hefty number of views he’s amassed over the last year or so, it seems I’m not alone in this obsession. It seems I’m just the latest member of The Rad Brad’s fan club.
Let’s face it – there’s something distinctly uninteresting about the vast majority of gaming video walkthroughs. They can be useful if you’re stuck in a rut, or perhaps if you’re curious to preview a title before you buy, but let’s be frank: most are completely and utterly dull.
You simply experience someone else’s playthrough of a game, minus the excitement you’d get from actually playing the thing yourself, while often being treated to a tedious or self-important commentary, rattled off by someone who’s keen to tell you all the things you should be doing when tackling the game; dispensing sanctimonious advice and guidance with varying degrees of success.
Not so with The Rad Brad, a man who has been steadily gaining a popular and enthusiastic following on YouTube, complete with the kind of dedicated fanship that only comes along very, very rarely.
You see, Brad’s video walkthroughs are all about entertainment value, and on that level they manage to be so delightfully fun that you can easily find yourself drawn into his exploits for hours on end.
Brad specialises in blind playthroughs of horror games, with his refreshingly amusing commentary, instantly quotable catch-phrases and his genuine, unrestrained reaction to in-game events combining to produce videos with the power to make you laugh-out loud again and again. As one YouTube commenter points out, only The Rad Brad could turn a game as messed-up as Dead Space 2 into a full-blown comedy.
“Yeah, take it bitch!” he yells gleefully, blasting a troublesome Necromorph to the ground. When it leaps unexpectedly back to its feet a moment later, minus its arms and head, our humble guide reacts instinctively in the way only he can. “What?! He’s supposed to have taken it!” he yelps, before blasting and stamping the thing into a bloody pulp.
The fact that Brad commendably plays these horror games in the middle of the night, on his own in the dark and with his headset generating copious volume, only adds to the vicarious entertainment. When he plays a game as terrifying as Amnesia: The Dark Descent he takes the viewer through his own gambit of emotions and on a rollercoaster ride that is as funny as it is nerve-wracking.
He really does communicate the power of a great horror game: whether startled and shaken in a jump-fest like Dead Space 2 or absolutely terrified to his very core by a psychological mind-fuck like Amnesia. He’s experiencing everything the game has to offer for the first time, and you really do feel his excitement, curiosity and fear – with a few nifty one-liners along the way to neatly dispel the tension.
The guy’s catchphrases are already gaining ground. Hell, it probably won’t be long before they’re printed on T-Shirts and selling on the high-street.
His recurring soundbites accompany him randomly throwing objects about (“fuck you cactus!”), being unnerved by a rather unpleasant sound or mind-trick (“what…the…fuck?”), blasting attacking zombies or monsters (“yeah, take it bitch!”), being chomped on by said zombies or monsters (“get off me Jesus!”) or, when he’s truly been pushed to the brink by a horror game’s most deeply unsettling attributes, moments of petrified weakness (“I wanna go home!”).
There’s also his laugh-out-loud funny response to any less than startling beast or creature that should come loping at him out of the corner of a room. “Well, heeeey there man,” he’ll chirp in comically cheery fashion, before pasting the thing’s brains all over the wall.
As well as the games mentioned previously, The Rad Brad has done walkthroughs of many others including terrific Half-Life 2 mod Nightmare House 2, Dead Rising 2, Alan Wake and most recently Dead Island. As a starting point, I heartily recommend his Dead Space 2 and Amnesia adventures – which are bursting with memorable outbursts and ponderings – but if you’re after a short stand-alone video to introduce you to the man’s unique brand of gaming commentary, I suggest you try his brief but unforgettable trek through the department store level of Condemned: Criminal Origins. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
To visit The Rad Brad’s YouTube channel, click here.
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