My First Final Fantasy – DEBUG MODE

I’ve always been kind of curious about Final Fantasy. It’s been around for so long and seems to have been a lot of different things to different players over the years. Since I got my PS5 and re-upped my PS Plus subscription, I got access to Final Fantasy VII Remake – a shiny new version of (probably) the most talked about game in the franchise and decided now was the time to dip a toe into this series.

I know there are a lot of dissenting options that VII isn’t actually all that great. It sounds very much like a band that’s been around for a while with a divided fanbase that stopped listening after a certain point. The series evolving and changing every time seems like one of its strengths even if that means some fans fall off of it.

I tried to inject a little more humor and personality into the video than usual. I’ve mostly stuck to pure analysis in the past. There are a lot of people who mix humor and serious critique together well but I would be foolish to think that’s easy to pull off. Final Fantasy is often goofy though so it was appropriate to bring a little goofiness into the video, I think. And, as I said, I am not well versed in the series so I can’t do the kind of analysis I can with say, Batman… which I need to get back to soon.

On the production end of things, my workflow is continuing to evolve with 4K as the new standard going forward* – for the most part. There are some lingering older projects that have already been captured in regular old HD and I don’t foresee going back to re-capture the footage.

4K is easy. It’s just a lot of space and demand on hardware – but it’s very doable. HDR, on the other hand, is a massive headache. I may write a separate post or even make a video about a game capture HDR workflow at some point. Mine is still not perfected but it’s getting better… I think?

The Final Fantasy VII Remake footage in this video was all captured in HDR but the final video is SDR. I still haven’t figured out that last piece of the workflow to actually put videos out in HDR while still looking “right” in SDR. That’s the next step but I’m trying to keep some sort of pace for the video content. Only so much of the production time can go to researching the workflow.

Remake has a really nice HDR implementation, I think. And I was looking at HDR footage the entire time while I was editing which I then had to conform to SDR at the end. Tragic. Maybe next time… but probably not.

* If the video isn’t available in 4K yet, it’s because YouTube is very slow to process 4K versions of videos – at least for tiny insignificant little channels like mine.

Let’s Talk About PS5 – DEBUG MODE

Although the PS5 has been out since November 2020, they’re still hard to find and it’s still early days for the console. This is sort of a review, sort of a discussion about the PlayStation 5, some games, and the industry in general right now.

This was probably the most challenging and involved video I’ve done yet. The Nintendo Switch review was similarly complex, but this had a few more wrinkles to it.

To begin with, getting the console itself was tricky. I also wanted to do the video in 4K. Over the last couple of years, I’ve acquired the means to do this. I have a 4k camera, monitor, capture device, and now a 4K console. As of this writing, the 4K version is still processing on the YouTube backend. It’s been doing that for over a day now and there’s no telling how long that will take. But eventually this will be viewable in 4K.

4K 60fps video takes up a lot of space especially if you capture in a format that’s good for editing. All told, this project wound up being about 6TB of data. There was a ton of work to do – lots of games to capture, different versions of games, different modes, on-camera footage, and whole lot of graphics and supplemental material. It took much longer to edit than anticipated.

At the beginning, I also wanted to do HDR, but I abandoned that idea after some experimentation. HDR editing workflows are still too cumbersome and the amount of people who are actually going to watch a YouTube video in HDR is miniscule – especially when your channel has fewer than 100 subscribers (hopefully that won’t be the case for much longer!)

WandaVision – Popcorn Not Included

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WandaVision

Created by: Jac Schaeffer
Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Debra Jo Rupp, Fred Melamed, Kathryn Hahn, Teyonah Parris, Randall Park, Kat Dennings, Evan Peters
Composer: Christophe Beck
Executive Producers: Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Matt Shakman, Jac Schaeffer
Original network: Disney+
Original release: 2021

Bowser’s Fury review – DEBUG MODE

Two videos in just under a week? Crazy, right?

I wasn’t planning on making this, but as I played the Switch re-release of Super Mario 3D World, I realized I had *things to say* about the new Bowser’s Fury game that’s packaged with it. This video is mainly about my problems with the game but I do want to stress that it’s still a good time and that I appreciate the risks taken even if I don’t think they all paid off.

This video was a bit of an experiment to see how quickly I could turn out a video that I was happy with. The modern internet demands ever more content at a pace that’s detrimental to quality. I’m not willing to compromise quality that much or dedicate so much of my time to this channel to meet the whims of the almighty algorithm. Still, I think I might try doing more of these short reviews that aren’t as comprehensive or analytical as work I’ve done previously. As long as they’re an interesting central point, I think it’s worth it.

The Triumph of Hitman 3 – DEBUG MODE

I had fully intended for my next Debug Mode video to be the start of new series that I was fairly excited about. Then computer troubles struck and corrupted the footage I’d recorded for that game. That really took the wind out of my sails.

I intend to get back to that previous project, but in order to work on something completely different, I decided to do a quick video on Hitman 3, 2021’s first big release. A “quick” video soon bloomed into a month-long production. The final video is a celebration of the whole World of Assassination trilogy. If you’ve seen my best-of videos for 2016 or 2018, then you’ve heard me championing these games before. They really are pretty special but it’s a little hard to showcase them in a video like this. I think you really need to see someone play the game in realtime or try it for yourself.

The Workshop #64 – Omega beans

The Workshop banner 2018 alpha web

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The podcast is ALIVE!!!

Our triumphant* return sees us bouncing between topics like always. Stick around to hear about Eric’s job and his budding TikTok career, why Matt doesn’t like the extended editions of The Lord of the Rings and what exactly is friendfiction among other mysteries that can only be solved by listening to this here podcast. You might learn something!

But learning is sometimes overrated.

Games of 2020 – DEBUG MODE

I almost passed on making a year-end wrap up video since I already covered several of the year’s big games in previous videos. But I do like this format even if nobody really watches. It’s a good way to cover a lot of ground in a relatively short time.

I actually made more Debug Mode videos this year than ever before… which is still not saying all that much. YouTube isn’t my job and it’s far from my only interest. Creating videos I can feel okay about putting out into the world is hard and very time-consuming. And although I keep entertaining the notion of doing shorter, more-focused videos that are a bit easier to produce, that hasn’t really worked out so far.

From what I understand, the almighty YouTube algorithm wants me to upload a 10 minute video every day. I don’t care who you are – there’s no way you can do that and not have the content suffer or lose your mind or both. Increasingly, I feel sorry for the people who are in that position. It’s often not about making consistently good stuff – but just about making stuff consistently.

Anyway, thanks for watching if indeed you do. Let’s all hope for a happy new year.

The Mandalorian (season 2) – Popcorn Not Included

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We discuss season 2 of The Mandalorian, our thoughts on the future of the show, and the future of Star Wars in general.

The Mandalorian (season two)

Created by: Jon Favreau
Starring: Pedro Pascal
Composer: Ludwig Göransson
Executive Producers: Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, Kathleen Kennedy, Colin Wilson
Original network: Disney+
Original release: 2020

The Crown (season four) – Popcorn Not Included

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Everybody’s favorite non-Disney princess finally shows up in Netflix’s drama about the Royal Windsor Family of Great Britain. We discuss the main storylines, themes, and performances of The Crown Season 4.

The Crown (season four)

Created by: Peter Morgan
Starring: Olivia Coleman, Tobias Menzies, Helena Bonham Carter, Gillian Anderson, Josh O’Connor, Emma Corrin, Marion Bailey, Erin Doherty, Stephen Boxer, Emerald Fennell
Composer: Martin Phipps
Executive Producers: Peter Morgan, Stephen Daldry, Andy Harries, Phillip Martin, Suzanne Mackie, Matthew Byam-Shaw, Robert Fox, Tanya Seghatchian, Nina Wolarsky, Allie Goss
Original network: Netflix
Original release: November 15, 2020