Interview: TheRadBrad

With more than 65 million YouTube views to his name and a veritable army of fans, Bradley ‘TheRadBrad’ Colburn is fast becoming an internet celebrity with his entertaining video game walkthroughs. He spoke to Mark Butler about turning pro, getting recognised in the street – and his plans for a range of RadBrad T-Shirts.

When college student Bradley Colburn uploaded a video of himself playing Modern Warfare 2 back in April 2010, he could scarcely have imagined how big an online name he would become.

Less than two years on his YouTube channel has amassed more than 65 million views and nearly 180,000 subscribers, with countless gamers tuning in to watch him fistfight dragons in Skyrim, cower in the darkness during Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and battle manfully through the supposedly unbeatable Amy.

Somewhat impressively for a man who doesn’t use a face-cam in his videos, he’s even had people recognise him in the street.

“I’ve had a few encounters at restaurants and once, while out driving, I had a person recognise me in traffic,” reveals Brad.

“My initial aim was to simply get some active subscribers, so it’s crazy to think that so many people have watched my videos. But I never really sit there and think about numbers too much, because that’s where obsession begins. And obsession is a young man’s game.”

The 24-year-old, based in Atlanta in the US, is one of a number of walkthrough commentators who have become household names in recent years. And after completing his degree and building up a substantial fanbase, he is now pursuing his Let’s Play uploads as a fully-fledged career.

It’s a sign of Brad’s booming popularity that he recently came third in the King Of The Web contest, with a cool 200,000 votes. Indeed, his fans are so dedicated that he even receives inquiries about RadBrad-themed T-Shirts on a daily basis. With catchphrases such as “Take it bitch!” becoming second-nature to subscribers, he admits there are now plans afoot to launch a clothing range boasting his most quotable outbursts.

“I plan on getting a graphic designer as soon as possible because I get requests for this every day,” he laughs. “Hopefully I’ll have some shirts ready early this year.”

It may seem odd, given the interactive nature of the medium, that so many gamers regularly tune in to watch someone else playing through a title and commentating on it. But Brad – who was himself inspired to start uploading after viewing other peoples’ videos – believes the appeal is down to two main factors.

“The first thing is the personality of the commentator, which can lose or gain viewers,” he says, “and if you combine that with a badass new game that is hot, people might stay for the gameplay regardless, if they can’t buy the title for a while. The best scenario is when someone enjoys the game and the commentator, which is where addiction starts – and I’ve also had that addiction to other commentators.”
Out of all the many people uploading Let’s Play series to YouTube, why does Brad think he has become so popular in particular?
“It’s a tough question to answer,” he says. “I just do my best and I don’t fake anything. Starting out it used to take so much out of me to make one video, because if I didn’t find it entertaining myself I would scrap it. Now I do everything live and in-the-moment it seems to bring out my personality more.”

Capable of making bad games entertaining (as with Amy) and turning full-on horrors into full-blown comedies (as with Dead Space 2), Brad’s blind walkthroughs are full of amusing off-the-cuff quips and random asides.

He’s not simply showing the audience how to get through a game while offering up droning self-important advice and dry commentary. Instead, he’s experiencing the game for the first time and it is his unrestrained reaction, and remarks on the experience, that creates the entertainment value.

Brad has also begun roping his girlfriend into his commentary sessions to create an inspired new double-act – with frequently funny results.

“She’s easily the best part of my life and to be able to share this with someone has been amazing,” he says. “Although I’m finally out of college she’s still in for another year, but she will make appearances as often as possible. We’ve been addicted to Heavy Rain lately and she’s been with me for a majority of it. One day she’ll join me in my horror adventures too.”

Brad is not trying to be the ‘perfect gamer’, and the fact that he sometimes struggles with the titles he plays can be a source of knowing humour, as well as actually engaging the audience too. Helpful viewers frequently suggest tips, though more critical individuals do sometimes vent their anger at the way he’s doing things – a rather spectacular case of missing the point.

"Take it bitch!" - coming soon to a T-Shirt near you

Indeed, despite the overwhelming volume of ‘likes’ at the bottom of Brad’s videos, some people have seen fit to criticize his playing style and take it all far too seriously – with one detractor even complaining about the order in which Brad was opening drawers in Amnesia: White Night.

“There have been times where I felt like I couldn’t do anything right, ” he says. “But I am thankful to be at the point in this crazy YouTube thing where  I have fans bashing trolls. It’s rare, but the exposure method seems to be effective because people catch on about it, and I’m sure it’ll become another T-shirt design down the road.”

It was back in September last year that Brad first caught the attention of FMV, with his fantastic playthroughs of Dead Space 2 and Amnesia: The Dark Descent prompting us to post an article hailing him as the “king of the YouTube walkthrough”. It appears plenty of others gamers agreed with us too.

“It seemed like my channel doubled in size from Dead Space 2 alone,” Brad recalls. “I wasn’t sure if it was the game or me, so I tried Amnesia – an older game – and it got the same kind of feedback.

“I’d say Amnesia was probably my favourite series so far. I had to take that game one day at a time because I was so scared to play it. I think the lack of story dialogue really helped my thoughts pour into my commentary as well. I love nothing more than getting a ton of comments on a video, because regardless if it’s liked or disliked, it was obviously worth a response.”

One of Brad’s USPs is undoubtedly his focus on horror games, and it’s been undeniably fun to watch him react with high-pitched yelps, outraged profanity and the occasional complete  freak-out when faced with the atmospheric scares  of some of gaming’s greatest modern chillers. Brad professes to be a huge fan of horror games, and believes they suit his style perfectly.

“With any other genre you know what you are getting,” he explains. “With an action game you know it’ll be action, and even if it’s over-the-top it still has the same basic effect on your mind. But with horror you get the unknown, and most people fear what they don’t understand. Horror makes my mind race, and it pours those unusual parts of my thought-process into the commentary.

“This year I’ll definitely be playing any major releases that catch my eye, but at the same time I want to keep the horror aspect of my channel alive. I’m beyond excited about the prospect of playing Silent Hill 2 in HD, because it was my favorite horror game while growing up.”

That’s all very well and good, but surely one day he’ll get tired of scaring the absolute crap out of himself for our entertainment?

“Never!”

 

To watch Brad’s videos and hear him in action, visit his YouTube channel

 

 



Comments
39 Responses to “Interview: TheRadBrad”
  1. Dennis says:

    Oh yeah i’ll totally buy one of those t shirts XD

  2. SuperFan says:

    Way to go brad :P i would surely buy 10 of those shirts good luck in the future

  3. theWildVlad says:

    I wish you nothing but well, comrade! I love to watch your walkthroughs, and believe me, I don’t think that I’ll ever stop watching them. I also would be very happy to buy one or more of your upcoming T-shirts. The people must know who is theRadBrad and why he is the best!

  4. Awesome interview I must say. Brad’s definitely becoming a house-hold name with me, and I’m 12 years older than him but love watching his videos and hearing his reactions to them. I know if I am having a harsh day, I can just pop on one of his videos and immediately cheer up.

    Thanks for all the fun and laughs Brad. And keep ‘er coming. :D

    -Mark

    • Chad says:

      Same here Mark. I’m 36 years old and I enjoy watching his videos. I have been gaming since way back when the Nintendo and super mario bros. were king. Remember the original 8 bit Nintendo…I know you do. LoL. I too have found myself using Brad’s vids as a sort of mood therapy. I would however like to suggest checking out a Brit on you tube named Frankie on PC 1080. He is a great gamer and and funny as shit. He and Brad take up a lot of my web time watching their videos. With all that said…Sweet buttery jeezuz, take it bitch.

  5. Flaky says:

    I would totally buy the quotes you make in your Amnesia walkthrough, namely:
    “Fuck you plant!”
    “Of course it won’t budge.”

  6. I subscribe to Brad. He is one of my favorites to watch. There’s a lot of other gaming footage on Youtube, but it’s the commentary that hooked me.

    Congrats Brad, well deserved.

  7. Natasha says:

    Tell you the truth, I forgot which video got me so hooked on Brad.
    But all I remember is that whatever video I DID see made me absolutely love him.
    He’s funny as helllll, and though he has great skill, he’s no expert, so you occasionally see him
    jack up, which adds to the humor and reality of it all–since not all of us are expert gamers.
    As a female gamer, I admire him, and Im really, really happy to be his subscriber and see
    him come this far.

  8. Sydney says:

    I’m so glad Brad is getting all this attention and publicity. It seems like I’ve been watching Brad’s videos for EVER but in reality I think I came across him when he started his Amnesia videos. I came for the horror game but I stayed for his commentary. He will talk about everything under the sun which is one of the reasons why I enjoy listening to him. He’s not fake – he’s just himself and I really love that about him. \m/ Do it all and then some!

  9. GameFan:) says:

    So Glad For you youre walktroughs are the best that what i think :) Lol didnt have so much to say but Good Luck

  10. Michael Greenfield says:

    Nice interview Brad! I love your walkthroughs. Slim Jim and Slurpee time EVERYTIME I load one up!

  11. Eduardo morales says:

    really good brad… : D ….you are the best!!… XD

  12. Hashim amin says:

    I remembered i started watching brad doing commentary on dead space 2 and for the first time I saw someone saying what i was thinking and it was the most hilarious thing to see. Ive been watching ever since keep it coming brad.

  13. LulzGamez says:

    Great interview. I’ve only seen a few of Brad’s videos so far having only just come across him. Not like that, sicko. I loved The Stanley Parable video, and will be watching the LPs mentioned in this interview.

    Congrats Brad, you entertain me in ways you cannot possibly imagine. No, not like that, sicko.

    Peace out from England!

  14. Aj says:

    First my sister was addicted to you Brad and i wondered why but when i watched your videos in coudn’t stop saying “Take it Bi*ch” and “F*ck you chair” don’t stop the videos

  15. Melody says:

    TheRadBrad, the way i found your vidoes was unexpected. I was on youtube watching “powerpuff girls Z” (i just felt like it) your SCP Contamiation video was in the suggestions tab. So i decided, “hey why not check it out since horror is one of my fav. genre’s” So i watched it and all the related videos and i became hooked.

  16. vo2mex says:

    Great walkthroughs brad, keep them going.
    I have 1 question, how do you record the gameplay?
    I know there are all kind of ways, just was wondering what you use.

    Peace
    TheMex

  17. omar-900 says:

    keep up the good work brad love it peace

  18. Ben says:

    I would love to buy a shirt but I don’t have a lot of money but maybe when I can get a job in May (That’s when I turn 16) then maybe

  19. samps says:

    I love your Walkthroughs Brad, watched every single of your videos (till first to last sec), would definitely buy your T-Shirt, keep up the good work, we’ll support ya ;)

    And yeah you’re heck funny!

  20. vassq says:

    I just started watching your videos – Silent Hill 2 because I was to creeped out without someone else around.
    During the walktrough you mentioned something about comments from Downpour players. I just completed the game a week ago without your walkthroughs. In my opinion SH2 is way more freekin’ creepy and scary. Downpour is wicked good, but SH2 just turns the OH CRAP factor on it’s head. I play late or early like yourself and I have to take chill breaks. I am in my 40s and I have seen every horror movie ever made (lying)…well almost. I look forward to your SH3 and Homecoming walkthroughs. Oh, and remember people with kids cannot wear T-shirts with swear words. My favorite genre is horror and your vidz are top notch.

  21. Elliot Manocal says:

    yo man your videos are so sick. the commentary makes me laugh all the time. and the walkthroughs are so fun to watch. keep up the good work dude. wish you the best of luck.

  22. josh adams says:

    the video series i liked most was euthanasia

  23. Hey Brad soon can you do Fallout 3 on your channal if you can. This is my first time leaving a comment to you. Thank you! !!!!!!

  24. My favorite part of dead space 3 is when you get scared.

  25. Brad do you have getaway 4 so we can do multyplayer.

    • Sorry I speller getaway 4 wrong let me type it again do you have getaway 4 to do multyplayer with me my profile name is radmadmonster.

      • Mark Butler says:

        Hi. We interviewed Brad quite some time ago – so he’s unlikely to be reading the comments section of this article now. If you’re wanting to get in touch with him, I’d suggest messaging him via YouTube or leaving a comment on his channel.

  26. Daniel says:

    I’m a huge fan of Brad and I remeber his first walktrough i watched was The amazing spiderman, not a really huge game but his commentary kind a made me subscribe watching more and more videos of Brad has made me even use some of his phrases in real life. I think he is a great commentator, makes some games really fun and makes me laught a lot. I must congratulate him on all that he has achieved.

  27. yao says:

    i want a t shirt with the phrase: FAQ U CHAIR!!!!!

  28. joey says:

    dude make a vid on team fortress 2 k if u don’t I will bug u forever no jk

  29. Cole Fordham says:

    I finally know what he looks like. Please hook me up with one of the t-shirts that says “Sweet Buttery Jesus”.

  30. Hammington says:

    The number one thing I like about Brad is that he doesn’t talk during cutscenes, except for sometimes a “sweet buttery Jesus”quote.

  31. Karl says:

    if there is no radbrad, then fuck youtube and thats the truth, ill watch theradbrad until im an old hag with a cane

  32. lexi says:

    I absolutley love brad, he is an AWESOME youtuber! So glad that he started :)

  33. hajj says:

    hi everyone i am only 13 year old and big fan of radbrad i just what to ask what is his work beacuse a idolize him

  34. Anjelica says:

    Brad I love your quote when you said “fuck you chair”. Your the best video gamer. Everyday I watch one of your videos, you make me laugh everyday, if they rated you a one through, I would give you a ten. KEEP IT UP.

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