Top 10 ‘Zero Punctuation’ Episodes
There’s a reason why Ben ‘Yahtzee’ Croshow’s weekly video game review ‘Zero Punctuation’ is so wildly popular (with Appa having gone into it right here). It’s damn funny, it’s insightful and…well, funny. Whenever I recommend it to someone I often note that my wife, a non-gamer, is a weekly viewer for the pure entertainment value. And because we like the series so much we’re going to count down the 10 best episodes. Why? Because geeks like to make lists.
NB: If you don’t see a favourite episode of the list feel free to mention it in comments, but don’t bitch us out for it – we whittled this down from a short list of 26!
10. Halo Wars
After an odd little diversion where a guest reviewer takes the lead on the show to talk about ‘X-Blades’, Yahtzee gets stuck into ‘Halo Wars’. Outwardly opposed to RTS games he sees this an an opportunity to take on the genre with an open mind. A pretty standard review up until the end when Yahtzee encounters a level that fails him because he was barely outside the arbitrary time limit. Always at his most entertaining when pissed off the tirade against the game and the genre as a whole is blisteringly funny. For the runner up winner in the ‘insanely angry’ category is ‘Too Human‘.
Using the highly controversial and explicitly violent ‘Manhunt’ as a central talking point Yahtzee presents an examination of the violence in video games issue, discussing (in his trademark humour) the political responses and the validity of the arguments.
Easily one of the most hyped games of the current console generation it did receive mostly positive reviews upon release from critics who possibly had stars in their eyes from the extensive marketing campaign. Yahtzee dug into the game with a spade and pick-axe, tearing it down long before everyone else got on the hate bandwagon.
Yahtzee’s review of the tentpole Nintendo mash-up is entertaining in its own right, but his responses to critics in the follow up episode is pure gold.
Combining reviews for ‘Half-Life 2 Episode 2’, ‘Team Fortress 2’ and ‘Portal’, this is a solid episode with plenty of laughs. Moving quickly from one game to the other means that the gags come thick and fast with a blunt and just response to any who don’t like ‘Portal’.
One of the earliest reviews to inspire a tee-shirt, it’s packed with brilliant moments. Although Yahtzee does overall enjoy the game he does work against internet logic by pointing out everything at fault with it and conceding that it’s far from perfect. If you don’t laugh out loud during this review you’ve got something wrong with you.
4. Tabula Rasa
MMORPGs get some well deserved stick in this early review, as it does in the similarly excellent ‘Age of Conan‘ review (which features the famous Thimberlla – The Necromancing Naturist) but the ‘Tabula Rasa’ edges ahead in comedy value for the examination of gaming personality Richard Garriot. Christ that man is a lunatic.
At the time of this entry int the series Guitar Hero was one of the greatest phenomenons in video games industry. It shot itself in the foot by churning out weak sequels and spin-offs that did nothing to step up the game (except for The Beatles Rock Band which is as good as it gets), but at the time it was the most played game on the market. Yahtzee delves into why the game was just that popular, and why this second sequel was the beginning of the down turn. The rapid delivery of jokes is second to none, with his rage about Clive Winston being the highlight.
Very early on in the series Yahtzee took a deviation from the game review formula to look at the current market of gaming consoles. Comparing the Wii, X-Box360 and PS3 not on their technical prowess but the perception of their typical users, gaming styles and other nonsensical factors. A bit dated with the available games and peripherals having changed, but this was a bullseye. This was the video that made Zero Punctuation a hit.
1. Duke Nukem (First time around)
Regular viewers of Zero Punctuation knew this was coming. After 13 years of development Duke Nukem was finally canned. The next week Yahtzee delivered the surreal and fantastic review of the game if it had been released and lived up to the impossible expectations it had generated for itself. Yahtzee has often targeted the games industries habit of building up unjustified levels of hype and publicity for lacklustre games and the buying public’s habit of getting sucked into it every time. The imagination on show with the make believe game is pure, sparkly gold. Even better, in spite of it being so blatantly fake, someone did write in asking where he can buy a copy.