YouTube critic Videogamedunkey also wants to sell games

An image of a cartoon donkey in a suit sits in front of a pink background.

The biggest critic in gaming is going to publish. Jason “video game dunkey” Gastrow announced in his latest YouTube video that he and his wife, Leah Gastrow, will be running a new indie label called Bigmode, dedicated to discovering and proclaiming the best games that aren’t even out yet. created. “I’m tired of waiting on the sidelines for great games to come out,” said the YouTuber. “Now I want to go in there and help make it happen.”

Gastrow is by far the most dominant YouTuber when it comes to game reviews, with polished videos featuring a mix of running gags and unadulterated opinions that consistently rack up millions of views. He now says he wants to use his years of flavoring to help new indie projects stand out in today’s “sea of ​​mediocrity.” As examples of what he’s looking for, he cites some of the best-selling and most critically acclaimed indie games of recent years, such as Enter the Gungeon, Celeste, and Hades.

So what exactly does it mean for Gastrow to publish your game? The YouTuber won’t go into much detail, but claims that Bigmode’s contracts are the most developer-friendly out there and won’t limit creative freedom. “I’m not looking for creative control over your games, but I do want to be involved,” he said. The announcement video ends with a call for developers and studios to go to Bigmode’s website and share their projects and portfolios.

It’s not uncommon for big game personalities to collaborate on individual games or even have games made as part of their brand’s overall promotion. Comedy gaming channel Game Grumps previously made the move into development with the release of the dating sim Dream Daddy in 2017. But launching an entire publishing company is no trivial matter, and the space is already packed with other established players as the indie gaming scene exploded. the past decade.

Typically, publishers help fund a game’s development and pay for its distribution, marketing, and other logistical necessities in exchange for a cut in the revenue it makes. It’s often after those initial costs have been paid in game sales that the original developers begin to see some profit, which can take days, weeks, or years depending on how successful the game is.

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One thing Gastrow promises is that the financial incentives surrounding his new business venture will not distort or dilute opinions on his gaming channel. Reviewers on YouTube have long promoted themselves as fearless and uncompromising voices to none but their audience. The subtext is that the opinions they share are authentic while everyone else is a shill. That’s certainly one of the messages in Gastrow’s announcement video.

“For gamers who actually play video games and care, my channel is where they come to discover what’s really worth playing, and I want all true gamers to know that I’ll never compromise the legitimacy of my channel. to push some nonsensical video games that I don’t believe in,” he said. Of course, figuring out which game will be the next Cuphead and which one will just be another scammer during the early stages of development is quite different from pointing out that the latest blockbuster sequel is broken and boring.

Gastrow goes on to say that his videos will remain mostly funny and lighthearted, but also hit serious and heavy when needed, and that Bigmod will be a “harmonious” continuation of that ethos. We’ll see how that ambition plays out when the label’s first game comes out.

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