Okay, today I wanna try something a little different. Sometimes there things on the Internet of which I am a fan – comics, YouTube channels, websites and such – that I don’t think get enough love. Now, I’m not the world’s preeminent tastemaker, but I do have a platform to promote things that I like, and I’d like to do that now. This isn’t something I’ll do all the time, nor does this mean that I think what I’m promoting is to everybody’s liking. But you’re reading this, and who knows, you might just give it a shot. And I think that would be great! I’m certain the folks I’m recommending would feel the same way.
So anyway. Rage Select is a fledgling video game website based out of Austin, TX, whose primary output is their Let’s Play videos. For those who don’t know, a Let’s Play is essentially video footage of a game as its being played and the players talking over it, usually to humorous effect. There’s a million Let’s Play ‘personalities’ out there. I think Rage Select is one of the better ones.
Rage Select started life as ‘The Loading Bar’, a video-game offshoot of movie website Spill.com (also one of my favorite places on the web.) Though their ‘Happy Hour’ videos were very popular, they eventually had to be let go earlier this year due to the overhead costs they were incurring. About a month later, Rage Select emerged, and they’ve managed to keep my attention ever since.
Rage Select is primarily driven by two distinct personalities. The first is Jeff, the site’s owner and operator. He codes the videos and plays every game to completion. He is easily the most experienced and knowledgeable about video games on the site, and basically plays the ‘Straight Man,’ providing context to the games and games-related issues they discuss and grounding his opinions factually and eloquently.
The other is Jason Murphy, also a man of great intelligence and eloquence. And of incredible fury. Effectively the site’s id, Jason loves nothing more than encouraging digital acts of homicide, burglary, and arson, usually with a Scotch in hand. He’s also fond of relating childhood stories that usually involve something awful happening to another person’s genitals, and a special kind of game affectionately dubbed the ‘Kobayashi Murphu,’ wherein Jason asks Jeff if he would have sex with a variety of undesirables (Space Aliens, Praying Mantis Women, Nazis, etc.) and slowly builds a series sordid yet inescapable set of circumstances for Jeff to navigate. Oh, and he likes to curse. A lot.
(My kind of people.)
There’s also a third official ‘Rager’ called Grant Davis. He works for these websites. Personally, he’s not my thing. I don’t find him very funny. And he’s not super good at video games. But, you may disagree. And hey, his main role is to fill in when Jason’s not available, so he’s not on that often anyway.
Their weekly schedule generally consists of covering the major releases of the week Mondays through Thursdays in a segment they call ‘The Dojo’ (an old joke about how Jeff’s poor game playing skills are a mark of shame for the website). Fridays are ‘Indie Fridays,’ where they play some of the smaller-scale, often more experimental releases, which range anywhere from ‘arthouse’ games like The Stanley Parable to …uh, Mount Your Friends. Saturdays are ‘Sequential Saturdays,’ where the boys play through an entire game one episode at a time. They’re currently in the midst of Batman: Arkham Origins, though they recently completed their first playthough: Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare.
Sundays, however, are Ladies’ Night at Rage Select, where it becomes home to a segment called ‘Sparkle Fandango.’ In it, Jason’s wife, Allison, and her two friends, Kayla and Kristen, play anything they goddamn well please. That ranges from old SNES games like Mario Paint, to indie games like Journey, to soul-crushingly difficult nightmares like Dark Souls, to actual nightmares like Outlast. I’ll be honest, this is not my favorite segment. I find Allison’s personality very overbearing. And LOUD. And also, not to sound like a jerk, but watching people struggle with controls…not my thing. BUT, they have a rabid fanbase of their own, and I’m willing to bet that for some of you reading this, they totally are your thing. So give them a shot.
(Then again, maybe not…)
For me, when it comes right down to it, it’s all about Jeff and Jason. There’s something often hysterical but oddly comforting – for me at least – about two mid-thirties alcoholics playing video games, talking about movies, and challenging each other’s very twisted, very vivid imaginations. If that sounds at all like your idea of entertainment, I highly recommend you give Rage Select a shot.
Now, normally that would be the end of it. But as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Rage Select is a fledgling website. In layman’s terms, that means that they need money. Fortunately, they’re making enough to do this professionally, but barely. At the end of every video they implore their audience to whitelist the site in their ad-blocker software and to use the Amazon.com links at the bottom of the page if they’re considering buying anything online. They also ask you watch the videos on the Rage Select website if you’re watching it on YouTube, since that means that people are spending more time on the site and therefore get a higher commission from advertisers. They also attempt to do this by putting videos up on their YouTube page a day after they come out on the site. I prefer to watch YouTube videos on my television since it’s easier on my back, but unfortunately their website doesn’t allow for the videos to be played on any other device. So a lot of the above options are difficult to stay diligent about.
My preferred method of supporting them is through their Patreon webpage. Patreon is a service that allows you to be a digital patron of an artist. That means that for every piece of content the artist creates – in this case, videos – they receive a donation from you. That donation can be any size you want, and you can even set a monthly cap on it. (I pay 50 cents a video with a $20 a month cap, though I don’t believe I’ve ever exceeded it.) They make about $300 a video at this point, so they’re doing pretty well. And to express their gratitude at how well they’re doing, they actually send out weekly (usually on Sundays) bonus videos via e-mail to their subscribers. I won’t spoil what those are, so you’ll just have to find out.
Anyway, the long and the short of it is that I think these guys are awesome. They produce videos every day and they’re all at least 30 minutes long (often longer), so you’re getting a ton of content. Lately, they’ve been doing cool things like turning the Dojo into ‘The Asylum’ and playing horror video games for Halloween, or doing super-sized, hour-long videos for some of the more recent major releases like Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Batman: Arkham Origins, and Battlefield 4. They also do a weekly podcast as well as the occasional review, all of which are as entertaining as their videos and which you can subscribe to on iTunes. Oh, and they sell really fancy, limited run-only t-shirts.
(Like this one.)
Their Patreon page is here.
And you can see all of their old Loading Bar videos here.
Give ‘em a shot. Maybe you’ll like what you see.
Oh Christ, I almost forgot. They have puppets.