Top 5: Nintendo on YouTube

Kaes Delgrego
K. Delgrego|07.28.08

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When describing people like us, the media tends to churn out some pretty hideous labels. One of the more sickening terms is "the YouTube Generation." As though our entire existence revolves around Miss Teen South Carolina and Rickrolling. Though the generalization is annoying, one does have to concede that the video-hosting website has a fairly large effect on our society. Coupled with the fact that many people carry phones with the ability to record video, the public is now a walking telescreen whose surveillance potential would make Big Brother blush. Particularly in the heat of a presidential election, Senators Obama and McCain have to keep on constant alert for that all-powerful snafu. One slip of the tongue and they may find themselves having their own macaca moment.

Privacy issues aside, YouTube is a great place to take the pulse of a culture. Just type in a subject, and instantly you're provided with news stories, film and television references, artistic responses, editorial presentations, and individual observations. Given the gaming community's incredibly strong presence online, YouTube is packed with videos of/for/about gamers. As to be expected, there are hundreds of thousands of videos inspired by or based on Nintendo's history. Indeed, a simple search for the word "Nintendo" yields about a half a million results. Aside from the usual dead horse-beating of people acting out "Mario in the real world!" (OH WOW LOOK HE WENT DOWN A PIPE JUST LIKE MARIO DOES), there's a wealth of quality Nintendo-related videos that all should experience. Here is our top five.

5. Zelda Rap - There are embarrassing memories that, despite all best efforts to forget, will replay in one's mind until the brain isn't supplied with oxygen anymore. Eventually, however, the awful moments can desensitize the public such that the original matter loses its acidity. It's similar to a hot fudge sundae-induced brain freeze. At first, it's shocking and awful. But then you start to grow used to it, and before long you're dying for one due to its association with ice cream heaven. This basic principle applies to Nintendo's 1986 "Zelda Rap" commercial. As a couple of kids are sitting on a couch, the nerdier of the two asks, "Did you see the latest Nintendo newsletter?" (I've always loved how commercials choose to ignore the way people actually talk) While one might expect an immediate wincing reaction to the crispy freestyle that follows, the more common response is similar to a post-Jim Norton joke: "wow, he really went there ... like, all the way there without looking back." A week after viewing, you may find yourself reciting your own NES-influenced rhymes.

4. Mario 3 Speed Run - Speed-running was always something I've never been capable of doing. In life, I try to take things slowly. My rose-smelling extends into the realm of gaming, where I'll prod every corner of every pixel and polygon in search of secrets and glitches. Thus, the idea of breezing through an utter masterpiece like Super Mario Bros 3 in only 11 minutes is like turning down a freshly prepared filet mignon for a Wendy's cheeseburger that's been sitting in the back seat of your friend's van since the 4th of July. Honestly, the player couldn't even find time for just one tryst with Kuribo's Shoe? Still, one has to admire the talent of the speed runner. The particularly impressive part is on Bowser's tank when the player snarfs 1-ups like an aardvark devours ants. Before you decide to hail the individual as the master of all that is Mario, know that the video is slightly misleading. According to Wikipedia, the individual used emulation tools to achieve a perfect run-through. In other words, the video shown is not necessarily one consecutive sit-through. Either way, it's awfully entertaining.

3. School Kids Commercial - While the other Zelda Rap survives mainly on camp value, this commercial is actually well done. Plus, as is the marketers' goal, the viewers can relate. The game that we've been anticipating for months, maybe years, is being released today. Yet we're trapped in an unescapable situation: school/work/close relative's funeral. As soon as freedom is granted, we burst onto the streets like a cannonball fired at the local GameStop. With a mixture of free running youth and excellent cinematography, this commercial is definitely a highlight in Nintendo's advertising portfolio.

2. Head Tracking ZOMG. That's really the most eloquent response someone can give after seeing Johnny Chung Lee's amazing tech demonstration. It speaks volumes of the creativity, intelligence, and determination of the homebrew scene. Conjuring memories of the excellent Time Crisis series, the idea of complete physical interaction with a video game is something rarely seen outside of virtual reality. It's really shocking that neither Nintendo nor any other major publisher has taken advantage of this resource. Without it, the Wii (and the industry at large) would be failing to achieve its full potential.

1. Nintendo Sixty-FOOOOOOOOOOUR

Pure bliss. For those whose lives are tyrannized by unfinished spreadsheets, the rising price of gasoline and an increasing waistline, it's hard to fathom ecstasy like this (without actually taking ecstasy). Judging by the youth's wide-eyed jubilation, we have just witnessed the greatest moment of his life. While some may find that statement to be pitiful, it's a simple reminder of how easy it is for children to have those feelings. As teenagers and adults, we become reserved and play our cards close to the chest. But as children, we freely allow our emotions to run rampant. Raising his fist high in the air with rejoice, the youth ascends atop his prize like a dachshund who somehow managed to slay a brown bear. The young girl follows the older boy's lead, attempting to emulate his pure rapture. He's about to enter a wonderful new world, and for Nintendo consoles, a relatively new dimension. Ahead of him awaits Super Mario 64, Banjo Kazooie, The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, and Goldeneye 007. Can we really blame him for his rage of merriment?

Kaes Delgrego's Top 5 is a weekly feature that provides us with a forum to share our opinions on various aspects of the video game culture, and provides you with a forum to tell us how wrong we are. To further voice your opinions, check out What Are You Playing?, submit a vote in the Wii Fanboy Poll, and take part in the daily discussions of Wii Warm Up.
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