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This blog is a little big self-indulgent, and I apologize. There weren't any massive projects like the Smash Bros. documentary or the History of Volition (which I feel guilty about not delivering) but I hope that you've enjoyed Game Informer's video content throughout the last year. As with last year's round-up of videos from 2011, I want to emphasize the editors and developers in these videos and not my camera work or editing. So here are my top ten videos from 2012!
10. Ted Price Talks About Developing Spyro the Dragon
It was a whirlwind trip to Insomniac, with Dan Ryckert and I only having four hours or so to talk about, play, and shoot interviews about Fuse for our cover story. As a Spyro fanatic, I'm glad I squeezed in enough time with the generous Ted Price to talk about the early days of the studio and the insane transition as a company from their FPS Disruptor to the first Spyro the Dragon game. With Dan playing Fuse, this was one of the rare interviews where I'm the one both running the cameras and asking all of the questions, my childhood self would have melted.
9. Interviewing The Sound Designer For Metal Gear Solid
The audio director for Halo 4 is one of the most passionate developers I've ever met. We spent over an hour interviewing him on the music of Halo 4 (watch him play some of the classic Halo songs on his piano) and the sound design of the game (watch him play with his audio toys), but speaking to him about his past work on the Castlevania and Metal Gear Solid series was an honor. Interviewing a Japanese developer is relatively rare for our cover story studio visits, let alone one with such a prestigious resume. It helped that he was unbelievably nice and eager to talk. He even played the Metal Gear Solid theme on his keyboard for us but repeatedly asked me not to use it in the video.
8. The E3 2012 Show Floor Tour
The editing isn't great and the shooting was a bit manic, but I think this video does a good job of capturing the spirit of the trade show and how often you run into friends and current co-workers when roaming the floor. It was a fun time, and Dan Ryckert and Ben Reeves show that off while walking around and cracking wise.
7. Why Firaxis Loves X-COM
XCOM: Enemy Unknown ended up being my favorite game of the year, so I look back on our trip to the studio for the cover story very fondly. Filming this interview with the leads on the reboot talking about their love of the first game in the series clued me in that I must have overlooked a classic. I'm glad that I can now have this impassioned conversation with the other new fans of Enemy Unknown.
6. Why Mass Effect 3 Is Game Informer's Game of the Year
I'm a sucker for Joe Juba's maniacal laugh, and this video contains an unhealthy amount of it. All of the editors were in top form, with Bryan Vore chastising Bioware for their handling of Tali's face to Kim Wallace creepily defending Kaidan as a romantic partner. The game was a lot of fun and it comes through in this discussion that devolves into a screaming match.
5. Zombie/Survival Genre Roundtable Discussion
I love it when developers are willing to talk about another studio's game on camera, I also love listening to Tim Turi light up when talking about survival games. When visiting our office to show off Dead Island Riptide, we asked the developers to sit down with us in the dining hall of the nearby ACME Comedy Club to talk about DayZ, Minecraft, and the rise of the survival genre. The conversation went in some interesting directions and developer Alex Toplansky seemed skeptical that we were even going to post it by the end, but I loved it.
4. Does The Public Know About Wii U?
I wanted to do a "man on the street" series of interviews on the Wii U for a long time, so I finally grabbed a camera and walked outside our office months before the console was released. After sheepishly walking by a couple of strangers I realized that I would feel like a crazed ass randomly harassing these people, so I called for the big guns: Ben Reeves. His "street comedy" is what made the video and we spent an afternoon wandering the streets of Minneapolis just talking to random people about Nintendo and the Wii U. It was a fun editing challenge and I want to clarify again that I appreciated these people talking to us and we didn't want this video to be just an opportunity to point and laugh at "non-gamers".
3. Game Informal
While I only produced three "episodes", I had a blast shooting and cutting together something I called "Game Informal" that had editors discussing what they had been playing recently. It was loose, fast, and fun. Continued production of the series didn't work out, but I hope to keep the spirit alive in future content. Also, Jeff Cork is an extremely funny person.
2. Creating the Top Score Podcast
This feature on the creation of one of my favorite podcasts from Minnesota Public Radio was one of the more ambitious projects of the year. Carving out time from a full schedule for three days of shooting and a lot of editing wasn't easy, but I hope that fans of the show appreciated it. The highlighted musician was originally going to be Skyrim's Jeremy Soule, but his appearance was canceled and Inon Zur was a great replacement. The video ends with engineer Sam Keenan and host Emily Reese spontaneously playing the Super Mario Bros. theme, this led me to ask the two of them to compose the music for a lot of Game Informer's video content. So this behind-the-scenes feature ended up being much more influential than you'd think, also it was a lot of fun to shoot.
1. Bedtime Stories - The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
I wasn't sure what to put as my number one, but nobody can argue with babies so f--k it. I should thank Kyle Hilliard and his great wife Ashley for going along with my really weird idea of barging into their apartment and filming their baby. Kyle had no idea what game I was going to ask him to summarize and tell to his daughter until the cameras were rolling, and he did an admirable job vaguely recalling details from Zelda. I like to keep fans of Game Informer on their toes, so I don't know if I'll ever do anything like this again, but I wish that I would have taken a less boring approach to the crayon animations in the video. But I hope you enjoy!
Alright, well that's it! There were many other videos that almost made the cut, from playing Mario Party with Andrew WK to talking about the sound design of the original SSX, so I'm sorry if your favorite didn't make it on the list. Please let me know in the comment section below what your favorite video from the last year was and what kind of content you'd like to see in the future. Thanks!
Email the author Ben Hanson, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
As I was reading this blog entry I thought "yeah, but that video of Kyle and his daughter was awesome...". And what a nice surprise to see it in the top spot! It's just great. I'll say it was 5% your filming and editing, 5% Kyle's storytelling chops, and 90% the baby's overwhelming cuteness. But seriously, thanks for your cool videos, Ben, great job! It's a pleasure to watch them.
Game Informer should always be Game Informal in my opinion. The top one of the year truly is Kyle Hilliard's moment of Zelda time. Now, I wonder if his daughter will like Ocarina of Time after this. . . Thanks Ben!
No more Game Informal? *sad puppy face*
Some great videos,cant wait to see what 2013 has in store.Thanks Ben
My favorite was probably the Andrew W.K. one. I'm not a fan of his music, but his interactions with Tim and the gang were hilarious.
I loved Game Informal and would like to see more of it. Also you couldn't have picked a better video for first place.
I know you guys are working most of the time and I respect you for the awesome job you do, but can we get more Game Informal please?
Yeah I'm gonna watch the sh*t outta that interview with the sound composer.
Why no more Game Informal? I liked it.
Wow, I'm kinda surprised the Andrew W.K. video isn't on this last, that's kind of a bummer. But still, there were plenty of great videos this year. Also, I've got to say that I'm really happy with the number one pick. That one was a complete surprise when it first released, and very well done. And plus, the baby was adorable. :)
You don't know how grateful I am that you decided to just embed Youtube videos and not use your proprietary video player. I was actually able to watch those.
I really have to throw in a vote for Test Chamber: Sniper Elite V2. If for no other reason I was laughing until tears when the double nut shot was scored. The build up to that moment was priceless and the actual moment was pure gold "Wait, was that....?"