Brendan Keogh is creating
critical let's play videos

Because why not

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Milestone Goals
Create a Critical Let's Play video series of the Modern Warfare trilogy.
$1 per video
Look, I want to be as transparent about this as possible: I'm going to create this series either way now that I've started it. It would just be really great to get some support for the time and labour that I'm putting into it. So any support is appreciated!


Brendan Keogh is a videogame critic and academic from Melbourne, Australia. He has written for a variety of outlets including Polygon, Unwinnable, Edge, Ars Techinca, and Overland. He is the author of Killing is Harmless: A Critical Reading of Spec Ops: The Line


Melbourne VIC, Australia

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Hello! My name is Brendan Keogh. I'm a videogame critic and academic from Melbourne, Australia. You might have seen my writing on Unwinnable, Edge, Polygon, Overland, Ars Technica, or somewhere else. Maybe you read this book-length piece of criticism I wrote on Spec Ops: The Line called Killing is Harmless.

I'm currently working on a "Critical Let's Play" video series of the Modern Warfare trilogy of games, and I thought it would be good if there was a way for people to be able to support me while I do this, because videogame criticism is important and the people who make it deserve to be supported. 

What's a Critical Let's Play video? It's somewhere between a video essay about a game, and a normal Let's Play video. I am going to play through the single-player campaigns of all three Modern Warfare games, while talking about them in a critical sense. So I won't just be reacting to the games, but talking about particular, moment-to-moment design and storytelling decisions. So whereas a written essay (my usual line of work) would allow me to talk about the games in broad strokes, what this video series will let me do is get into the fine-grain of what I find interesting about these games (while also connecting these grains to the broader themes). Things like how a particular corridor is shaped to direct the player's gaze at a certain scene, or the way the music shifts over the course of a single stage, or the way a stage in a later game references a stage in an earlier game). 

Why the Modern Warfare games? If you've followed my writing elsewhere, you'll probably already know that I have a very strange relationship with the Modern Warfare single-player campaigns. I think they are incredibly problematic in their glorifying of militarism and their claims to be representing a 'realistic' battlefield. However, at the same time, I find the way they tell their story in the genre of the linear first-person shooter really interesting. There's a particular kind of player-as-film-actor style of storytelling happening here that is often dismissed reductively as simply 'too linear'. I'm interested in exploring the idea of a game that is enjoyable only if you 'do what you are told', especially in a series that is all about technological empowerment. It's an interesting paradox! 

I have already written about the series here and here (and other places that have disappeared into the void of the internet, sadly) but always in the broad strokes and never in the fine, moment-to-moment detail I want to explore. So I think the desire to make a Critical Let's Play video series and the desire to do it about the Modern Warfare games go hand in hand. Essentially, I can't think of any better way to actually explain what I find interesting about these games (and what I think is messed up about them) other than walking you through them and pointing at particular moments and design decisions.

So How's This Going To Work? Well. I am playing through the games and create videos that are roughly 20-30 minutes in length (pending on the mission), that I am then adding to this playlist. I have already uploaded the first four episodes so you can see if this is something you are interested in supporting or not. I am going to continue to upload a new video twice weekly from Monday 4 August, until I reach the end of the series. I suspect, in total, this will take somewhere in the vicinity of 30 videos, which means there are perhaps 26 videos left to go. Sometimes a video might be shorter than this, but if this is the case I will make sure the next one is longer. A 30-minute average length is what I'm aiming for.

So I am asking for patrons to pledge an amount per video, which I will be posting quite frequently but only for a finite period of time. You can, of course, also use the monthly cap option if you wanted to pledge less per video. For instance, a $5 monthly cap would mean you are giving me less than $1 per video, which would be totally fine! 

Why Should/Shouldn't I Support This? If you find the videos interesting and think they are something you would like to keep watching and can spare a couple of dollars a week for the next few months, then your support would be greatly appreciated! Also, if this goes well, there are certainly other games I would like to analyse in the same way in the future. In a lot of ways I am essentially just testing the waters with this. 

On the other hand, you might have absolutely no interesting in watching me play and talk about a bunch of really popular military shooters, in which case this project probably isn't for you! If you really dislike the Modern Warfare games, this video series probably won't change your mind. But if you are curious as to why someone might enjoy them, then maybe you will enjoy these videos. 

What Happens To This Patreon After The Series Is Done? This is very much a project of finite length. There is the possibility that I will use it again in the future for other projects, but I will send out multiple warnings to patrons before that ever happens so you can remove your support for a project you are not interested in. For the foreseeable future, this Patreon is exclusively about supporting the creation of videos in the Modern Warfare Critical Let's Play series. 

So that is that! If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out to me either on Twitter or via email.
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