While I don’t claim to be very good at many things in life, one pastime I excel at is sitting on my butt and watching the Tubes. I’ve been a fan of many YouTube channels since I started watching them regularly about eight years ago – and since then, have built up quite a list of excellent creators consistently uploading content in the retro gaming spectrum.
This is not the be-all, end-all list of the ultimate retro gaming YouTubers, but instead, a selection of my personal favourites as a fellow creator. Some you’ve likely heard of, but my hope is to introduce someone new to at least everyone reading.
Before you ready your pitchforks because of someone obvious that I’ve missed, be mindful that this is part one of two. Compiling of my list got a tad bit out of hand and is actually twice as long as what’s written about here. Stay tuned for part 2!
Most videos are based on mods of retro consoles – however, what really allows this channel to stand apart from the (probably) hundreds of channels doing the same thing are the production values. While others are created by a guy filming with a smartphone in one hand and soldering with the other, This Does Not Compute’s videos are instead pieced together with well thought out, high-quality shots of video with a voiceover track (important for punctuality when it comes to videos of a technical nature).
Additionally, he reviews plenty of hardware in the same format (either new or vintage) and also uploads a long recurring podcast where he tackles subjects such as computer stores in the 90’s and if MP3 players are dead (just to name a few, there are nearly 70 episodes as of writing).
While not all videos are about the SNES or being drunk, they are common themes. Well, videos on the SNES, anyway. While there are a selection of videos where he plays the SNES drunk (which are highly entertaining) the bulk of the videos consist of reviews as well as features on the subject. For example, a recent video explored which SNES games defy run-of-the-mill genres.
If SNES is not your jam, then it’s worth pointing out that SNES Drunk has been branching out to other platforms over the last couple of years with Segadrunk and Steamdrunks videos respectively (the latter of which explores indie games on Steam).
Widely known as the longest-running retro gaming show on the internet with its roots tracing all the way back to 1999 (just think about that for a second, videos on the internet about retro gaming in 1999!), Classic Game Room solely focuses on reviews. He will review anything – from retro games to modern, toys to accessories and even a banana at one point.
Disenchanted by how YouTubers has treated its gaming channels in recent years, CGR can now be fully found through a monthly Pateron subscription. However, he does release a lot of videos on YouTube still, although they might not be the full edits. Additionally, he has written quite a few books and comic books that are well worth a look if you appreciate his humble sense of humour.
Anything but lazy, LGR contentiously releases interesting and insightful high-quality videos mostly based on retro PC gaming. Series of note include Tech Tales, where he explores fantastic stories from within the industry (mostly in the 80’s and 90’s), Oddware, which showcases odd and (usually) unheard of computer hardware and accessories and LGR Thrifts, which follows his journey every episode as he stakes out thrift stores for retro gaming goods.
There’s also a splendid selection of retrospectives, reviews and long-form videos where he repairs and restores hardware. Even his videos on unboxing fan mail and donations are worth a watch as he has something interesting to say about everything he receives. The extensive knowledge of this dude has no bounds.
A fellow Aussie, Gggmanlives focuses entirely on reviewing first-person shooters. While modern titles are included (there was recently a video on COD: WWII, for instance) quite a large portion of uploads are games released within the last 20 years. It should be noted that they’re entirely on PC too.
While FPS games on PC are not everyone’s cup of tea, he fills a niche and fills it well (if you can call FPS’s on the PC a niche, anyway). He’s a fantastic reviewer too and has the attitude that everything needs to prove its self as acceptable first, as opposed to the other way around where instead faults are found and highlighted.
A huge favourite in the retro gaming community, the 8-Bit Guy specialises in long-form videos about 80’s computers, oddities to do with 80’s computers (he recently uploaded a video where he assembles and reviews a PE6502 hobby computer, for one) and videos on restoring the same decade’s old hardware.
Like LGR, he also includes fantastic donation unboxing videos where his extensive knowledge is highlighted (these donated items are usually the content of the other videos too). He doesn’t limit himself to computers either. For example, he once released a video all about digital cameras that use floppy disks, which is not a topic you see regularly discussed. Additionally, he’s a keen musician and runs a separate channel mostly on retro keyboards (aptly named 8-Bit Keys) as well as a programmer. Notably, he’s about to physically release a homebrew game for the C64 called Planet X2.
While not uploading as often as his fans would probably like him too, the Gaming Historian is known for his extensively researched and well put together pieces on stories from within the industry. Examples of subjects include when Steve Jobs worked at Atari, the creation of the ESRB, and a video on Nintendo taking video rental places to court (he has a particular fondness for any gaming related subject that involves the courtroom).
He also uploads in-depth videos exploring hardware like the Panasonic Q, the Famicom Disk System and the JVC X-Eye, just to name a few. He provides the same level of research and production quality for these videos, meaning you’ll likely learn something new even if you’re convinced that you’re an expert on a specific topic. And yes, his YouTube handle is still mcfrosticles. Think about that for a moment.
Part 2 of this article is now live! View it here.