For most of my years on this planet, I have been what you call a “backseat gamer.” I had access to a wealth of video game history thanks to my older brother meticulously collecting video games since his childhood. He still has his old Famicom (NES to you Westerners), Super Nintendo, a working PS One, a slim PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3s (both the fan and the slim versions) and his current PlayStation 4. Those are just the video game consoles he has on the ready; I’m not even counting the two PCs (one for work and one for gaming) and the other video game consoles he has stashed in his room. But throughout the years, I was exposed to these games since I have been watching him play older games like Super Mario World, Final Fantasy VIII, Resident Evil and more as I grew up.
It’s only been a few years since I actually started playing games on a more regular basis. I did play a lot of The Sims but that was the general extent of my time during my formative and teen years. I have been playing more and more games starting with Street Fighter IV. But since I was mostly a backseat gamer before, I never felt like I had the proficiency or the gumption to review games because I never touched them myself.
Well, as Girlfriend Reviews delightfully points out, you don’t have to play a game to review them; you can just review the experience of living with someone who plays a video game! And it’s probably one of my favorite things on YouTube right now!
Now, there have been a lot of YouTube channels that focus on talking about video games, playing video games and the history of video games. But Girlfriend Reviews has an interesting hook. Instead of the person playing the video game, Girlfriend Reviews takes the approach of reviewing the experience of watching someone else play a video game, what’s it like living with someone who is much better at video games and can be obsessed with playing video games. In essence, it’s kind of like giving a review of a Let’s Play but you have to live with the person doing the Let’s Play and how it leaks into their life. That may sound boring, but, as a former professional backseat gamer, I can tell you a lot of what Girlfriend Review says is absolutely true.
Take their “review” of The Witcher III. The Witcher III is an awesome game and one of the more recent times I was in the backseat gamer position. The graphics were awesome. Sound effects and music were on point. The battle and gameplay mechanics work incredibly well. The Witcher III is definitely one of the games I’ve seen someone else play.
One thing that does get lost in the shuffle about The Witcher III, however, is the main story was incredible. Well, as much as I can remember it but because, whenever my brother would play it, he would most definitely stop following the main questline and take on all of the sidequest he would encounter. It’s very maddening for a backseat gamer as we just want to move the plot along. Who cares if that old lady lost her frying pan? Let’s go save Yennifer already! Girlfriend Reviews got that point exactly! It’s something that wouldn’t bother the gamer but gets old really fast for the backseat gamer!
Another thing that I love about Girlfriend Reviews is its style of humor. While I do have a lot of fun watching videos from people like the Angry Video Game Nerd, it feels like a nice change of pace when the “reviewer” isn’t, well, angry all the time. I know being angry at a video game can be hilarious but there’s a lot of room for other kinds of humor styles out there.
Girlfriend Reviews goes more for a self-deprecating, sarcastic and ironic way of poking fun at gaming conventions. Intentionally getting the names of the characters wrong and using cutaway gags in the form of old clips to illustrate the points being made are pretty ingenious. What’s even amazing is how they fit well into the narrative of the “review” itself. Also, while this is happening, there is a rather concise review of the actual game happening in the background.
Probably my favorite “review” from Girlfriend Reviews so far is their Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild video. It just edges out their Resident Evil II REmake “review,” which I love so much. Their Resident Evil II REmake has a lot of smart writing, especially the intro which makes you think she was talking about Kingdom Hearts III by focusing on their similarities. But the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild does a good job of balancing the wonderment of the world while also focusing on the little things that can be annoying about the game.
If I do have some complaints about Girlfriend Reviews, it’s that I wish the channel would also focus on the more classic games. Remasters notwithstanding, the oldest games Girlfriend Reviews has “reviewed” up until this writing are Batman: Arkham Asylum, Bioshock and Dark Souls. I totally get why that’s being done as it can be boring to play an old game. But they already mentioned a bunch of their favorite games, such as Dance Dance Revolution and the Mass Effect series. Speaking as someone who has watched all of the 26 videos they’ve pumped out since Girlfriend Reviews’ inception, I can speak for fans and say we would still love to see them get reviewed.
I also wouldn’t mind if the channel branched out to different geeky things to review. They already did a review of Star Wars. Not any of the games, mind you. But they reviewed the first Star Wars movie. Not the Episode I prequel (which the girlfriend hated, by the way) but Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope. I also liked that video and I wouldn’t mind if they mixed things up a bit by reviewing other media.
These complaints are very minor because, in the grand scheme of things, Girlfriend Reviews is a really awesome channel with fantastic content that still in its infancy in terms of volume. But it’s funny and a little bit insightful. If you like video games and funny content, you should give Girlfriend Reviews a watch. Oh, and if you’re a backseat gamer, it’s a must!
Have you seen Girlfriend Reviews? What’s your favorite video of theirs? Let me know in the comments section below!