Video games are challenging; you don’t need us to tell you that. Whether you’re avoiding Sans’ attacks in Undertale, clearing Ornstein and Smough in Dark Souls, or platforming to the end of the Grandmaster Galaxy in Super Mario Galaxy 2, it can be extremely difficult to overcome the hurdles that game developers throw at you. Now, imagine purposefully imposing limits on yourself to make these games even harder. Imagine, for example, trying to beat Super Mario Odyssey without jumping, or Breath of The Wild without climbing, or Mega Man without getting hit. Sounds like a pain in the neck, right?
It sure as heck is, but thanks to Gamechamp3000, creator of the YouTube series VG Myths, you’ll never have to worry about doing any of those horribly difficult things. Gamechamp has made it his life’s goal to beat already difficult video games, but with ludicrous requirements.
For example, there’s his most popular video Can you Complete Super Mario Odyssey Without Jumping? Now, any normal person would say “Of course not! You can’t beat any Mario game without jumping!” But where most say ‘nay’, Gamechamp says ‘aye’; after playing the entire game three times, he empirically proved that you can win Mario Odyssey without using the game’s definition of a ‘jump’. Sound sketchy? Well, it isn’t… kind of. Just watch the video if you haven’t already:
The point is, since 2017, Gamechamp has continued to break game after game with outrageous challenges and has attracted a sizeable fanbase near 400,000 subscribers because of them. Recently, Culture of Gaming reached out to Gamechamp to discuss his history with YouTube, his process when making VG Myths, and the future of the channel.
Culture of Gaming: So, let’s go back to the beginning. What was your very first video game?
Gamechamp: Well, one of my earliest memories was watching my mom play Super Mario Bros, because I was too young to play it.
CoG: What would you say the game that caused you to really start loving the medium was?
Gamechamp: I would probably say Sonic Adventure 2. It hasn’t really gotten covered on any of my newer videos, but when I think of all things I tend to value in a game, Sonic Adventure 2 has all those things. I’m not necessarily saying it’s the perfect game! Just the perfect game for me.
CoG: For a long while, you just uploaded straight gameplay clips and cutscenes to YouTube. What was your incentive there?
Gamechamp: Honestly, I kind of just liked the idea of cataloguing my playthroughs of games a bit. I feel like if I had gotten a proper setup sooner, I would probably just do a lot of long-plays nowadays.
CoG: You stream a lot of your VG Myths while you’re running through them. Don’t you get the opportunity to do long-plays, so to speak, on your Twitch channel?
Gamechamp: Sort of – I’ve come to find that I like playing games and not being recorded, because there’s sort of a constant pressure [there].
CoG: So, after you had been uploading gameplay and cutscenes to YouTube for a while, you began making your videos back in 2016 or so, right?
Gamechamp: Yes, I did one music (video) for the last Splatfest in Splatoon that was a compilation of stream footage. And that was sort of the first original video I made specifically for YouTube. It took me a while!
CoG: Do you think that video holds up today?
Gamechamp: God no!
CoG: Do you ever look back through your videos to see how far your editing style has come?
Gamechamp: I don’t have to look very far! Some of my worst videos were not that long ago.
CoG: The first video that brought a lot of attention your channel was Can You beat Ganon with a Cucco? Even though, by the end of the video, it turns out that you cannot do that, you did a great job posing a question that didn’t seem too “click-baity”.
Gamechamp: Yeah, I think that is part of why [that video] did well – it just asks a question that is interesting. […] Like, the (video) I did most recently, How Many Bullets Does it Take to Beat Gun? My entire logic behind [that video] was ‘That is stupid – I need to know!’
CoG: What’s your process for choosing a question or challenge run?
Gamechamp: When I play [a] game to see if a challenge is going to work, […] I base the rules around whatever would be most interesting for the particular game. I try to avoid ever using asterisks, and keep the rules simple. [For example,] ‘Beat the game without jumping’, for the Mario Odyssey (video); that has a really clear and simple way to measure that. Just keep the jump counter at zero.
CoG: For the Mario Odyssey no-jump challenge specifically, when did you figure out that Toadette’s jump counter would come in handy?
Gamechamp: When I first started it, I forgot there was a jump counter! So, I was trying to figure out what was and wasn’t a jump on my own. […] During the first playthrough, somebody in the stream chat actually mentioned it. And it was like, ‘oh yeah, duh!’ The revelation that I have a counter, and I can just base it on [that] was glorious – That means that the game acknowledges that this run exists! And that’s the best part about it.
CoG: Were there any VG Myths episodes that you gave up on?
Gamechamp: There have been a few [challenges] that I have tried and dropped. I don’t think I’m going to go back and do [this one] again – “Maximum boxes broken over Crash Bandicoot’s head”. At the end of each level of the original Crash Bandicoot, you see all the [collectible] boxes that you didn’t break in the level by them falling on Crash’s head. It was basically [going to be] ‘minimum box breaks’, but phrased the opposite way.
Not too long into the game, there’s a 2D section where there’s a stack of three boxes. You can’t walk around them, because it’s a 2D section. […] If I thought it was impossible to get through without breaking boxes, I would have just broken the top one and jumped over. But I found out there’s this really finicky jump where if Crash is jumping at the edge where two boxes meet, it might think he’s standing on the bottom box for a very small fraction of a second. […] I wasted hours on that, and I actually got past it once […] and then accidentally broke a box like an idiot. After that, I felt [like] ‘god, I don’t want to do this!’
CoG: Your channel is a very technical one, but you make it interesting through comedy and editing, especially in your looser series ‘Dumb Fun Gaming’. Where do you draw your inspiration from for your style of humor?
Gamechamp: Yeah, [Dumb Fun Gaming is] literally just a VideoGameDunkey rip-off! […] I think the only video in that series that is good most of the way through is the Knack one; the others I don’t like much. That’s a big reason I haven’t made many of them in a long time.
CoG: For VG Myths, what takes more time: Playing the game, or editing the video?
Gamechamp: It is extremely game-specific. The [Splatoon 2] Octo-expansion one I’m working on is definitely going to take more time in gameplay than it will take to script or edit. Often though, I feel like editing is the longest part of the process. […] For the Gun and Cave Story [videos], I definitely spent way less time playing the game.
CoG: So, for your most recent video on Gun, what was the entire schedule like?
Gamechamp: I would say it took […] two eight-hour sessions to record. And then the script – probably another full day for that. I write the script, and then I intentionally wait to go look back at it after some time has passed to see if I like it. And then editing, that generally takes two whole days.
CoG: Do you have any plans for the future of VG Myths?
Gamechamp: Original Doom, fists only – I have planned on that. Now the thing is, I’m not very good at Doom! So, even if I attempt this, it may never see the light of day.
CoG: Are there any other plans for the channel?
Gamechamp: One series I’ve been planning to do […] is called Region Freedom. Part of the reason I’m learning Japanese is both to play games on my own and […] to make videos about those games, so that more people who only speak English know about them!
For more on everything else related to video games, stay tuned to Culture of Gaming.
I’m that crying kid in the corner of gym class. Hi!
oh, I guess I also write about video games – mostly Nintendo.
You can check out my personal site at ethangbraun.com, and contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org