The Watch List: Extra Credits

By Joe Strange


Today’s watch list is a little different to the usual fare. Instead of 40/20 minute shows I’m going to recommend a Youtube channel; Extra Credits.

A lot of you may know of them already, they’ve done some really great episodes on the Gamification of education, on Antagonists and a lot on narrative design.

Typically an episode will last between 5 to 10 minutes and address one topic in the area of video game and game design. Though the focus is on gaming, they also have a lot to say on a host of other matter, normally in the guise and dressed up as game talk, but there’s always a lesson to be taken from an episode.

The talks are written by game designer James Portnow, presented by Daniel Floyd with the art done by a selection of excellent artists that have come in and out through the series.

The show is done in an educational style but has humour laced in both the animation and the writing, and is incredibly easy to approach; any terms are clarified and the team are very conscious of keeping everyone on the same page. They also have a few other series that focus on specific topics; a recommendation series, a history series and a game design series to be exact.

As I said earlier, the topics are tackled from the point of view of a game designer, but many of the thoughts presented (especially those on narrative and story) can be applied to creative writing in general, and getting an informed view of these things has a tendency to make you much more of an aware consumer, whether it be in watching films and assessing the character creation and development or playing games and taking note of the level design and choices.

It’s an excellently written and presented series from a passionate team that love the art form of games and only want the best for the industry and even if you’re not in the industry there’s plenty of interesting facts and ideas for all creative types. Frankly it’s a great way to spend 10 minutes a week. You can check out their Youtube channel right here, and have a look through their backlog, there’s almost definitely something there for you.

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