Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Overnight Celebrity

I think I liked it more when I was a small-time Internet phenomenon.

Perhaps I give myself too much credit here; after releasing videos of the first four Mega Man games on YouTube--along with bonus videos collecting various bloopers, glitches, tricks, and other extra footage--the Internet started to take notice of my humble little endeavor to play and talk my way through the Mega Man games with whatever creativity and style I could muster.

I identify Mega Man 4 as the place where my videos started to gain any kind of popularity. There are a few reasons why, many of which I touched on in a previous post:

First, I'd already been recording for a few months, and the subscribers I'd gained were starting to tell their friends (or make it visible on their channels that they had left a comment on one of my videos). There was some cross-pollination with the GameCola YouTube channel as well.

Second, my videos were starting to show up on the first or second page of YouTube search results yielded by normal search terms and not stupidly esoteric tags that only my particular videos would have.

Third, MM4 is where I really started trying to put on a show, and it's where my commentary and enthusiasm for the games began to pick up. Better quality material means I've got a greater chance of maintaining the viewers who come to visit.

I look at the progression: MM1 was the trial run, trying out video recording and commentary for the first time. MM2 was where I got more comfortable with commentary, and where I made a more concentrated effort to show off in a variety of ways. MM3 was where I got all my ranty frustrations out and found I'd be happier if I'd played around with the game a little more before recording.

MM4 was the culmination of what I'd learned about how to handle the commentary and what kinds of ways I could and should show off in a video. Perhaps not perfect, but definitely the model I wanted to follow.

Further to that, MM5 was spent refining everything I did in MM4 and embracing the things that really separated me from other Mega Man runners--namely, goofing around and using special weapons excessively. People began clamoring--clamoring, I say!--for the next installment after several months had passed since I'd finished MM4.

It was taking a LONG time to assemble my run of MM5, and I wanted to give my friends and subscribers a little something to chew on while I finished up recording. I put together a short teaser for my run of the game, posted it on YouTube, and went to bed.

When I came back the following morning, I had something like thirty comments waiting for me.

This was unheard of.

Things just snowballed from there. Anticipation built up for each new installment. New comments and subscribers came in on a daily basis. It was wonderful to feel that kind of validation over what was originally some fun little side project I started because of a fellow GameCola staff writer.

Fast forward to a few days ago: Despite posting videos of Dino Run, Mega Man: The Power Battle, Mega Man 7, and some Flash games on other channels, there was clamoring for another Mega Man run all my own. I, too, was itching to take on the next game, Mega Man 6, and had been recording new stages regularly. Once I had enough footage, I pieced together a teaser video and posted it before going to bed.

When I came back the following morning, I had something like forty comments waiting for me. Not only was the new video heavily commented, but an entire page of my channel comments had basically filled up overnight. My other videos, which had already been receiving comments at a steady rate, instantly began to grow in commenting popularity.

I couldn't keep up with it all.

I've officially reached the point where I can no longer respond to every comment without my YouTube time cutting into the rest of my life. Not only that, but in the span of two or three days I've received a rash of less-pleasant-than-usual comments that have gotten me on the defensive.

I'm aware of the strengths and weaknesses of my videos and usually handle criticism pretty well. Maybe I've grown overly sensitive and accustomed to positive feedback; maybe a few of these recent comments were genuinly mean-spirited and/or less than tactful. Maybe both.

Whatever the case may be, it's tough to want to stay on top of an ever-growing pile of comments when there's the growing risk of tough criticism coming out of the blue.

Like I said: I think I liked it more when I was a small-time Internet phenomenon. I had the whole "responding to comments" process under control, and I knew my fan base better. I'm not just releasing more videos this time around--I'm adapting to a changing culture.

On the plus side, I am getting to know more people, and I'm spreading the good cheer of Mega Man farther across the Internet, and currently, 30% of the first-page search results for "funny mega man videos" on YouTube are my videos. All around, that's pretty wonderful.

I just can't wait to see what horrific catastrophe happens during the recording/processing phase this time around.


Scott said...


Flashman85 said...

Gah! The contest is over! ;)

Thanks; that line was a last-minute addition...