One of my favorite passtimes when I’m feeling down is to browse through videos on the YouTube channel “Let’s Game It Out.” A zookeeper friend introduced me to this creator (who goes by Josh in his videos) when one of his videos about an unethical zoo showed up in some of her zookeeper circles a few months before the pandemic kicked off in the US. It started a pleasant night of YouTube video watching, almost entirely focused on this guy’s videos, and had us all laughing so hard we were crying. It was a lot of fun for a single evening that eventually tapered out when we realized we were out of zoo-related videos to watch, and it wound up being one of the last times we gathered as a group for a long while. With everything that happened in the start of 2020 and then that happened as the pandemic revved up, I completely forgot about the videos until last summer.
Last summer, as I continued to isolate as much as I could while my friends and coworkers stopped taking such strict pandemic precautions, I found myself in need of something to do while I ate my lunch in my office. I tried watching a few different YouTube accounts, listening to podcasts, and reading, but none of it stuck as I struggled to contain my anxiety. The YouTube videos were too short and I kept needing to make decisions (which can be incredibly daunting when your anxiety is rioting on its own) on what to watch next. The podcasts where just genuinely uncomfortable to list to since the headphones I use on my phone go in my ears and made all of my eating noises reverberate through my head in a way that was both nauseating and so loud it made the podcasts difficult to hear. Reading fell apart faster than even the attempts to listen to podcasts because I just couldn’t focus. Right when I was about to give up and just force myself to deal with the nuaseating noise of a functioning mouth, I saw one of the old zoo videos show up on my YouTube homepage.
Each video is about ten to twenty minutes long and many of them are parts of a longer series (I’m incredibly partial to the Satisfactory videos, which is how I wound up getting into the game myself), so it was easy to put one on and just watch through my lunch. There are enough videos up nowadays that I was able to get through about two months of lunches before I ran out of videos that looked interesting. By that point, my YouTube reccommendations had shifted to include similar videos and while I’ve not found another YouTube creator who can amuse me as consistently as Let’s Game It Out can, I’ve found a slew of other enjoyable videos that have made my lunches more pleasant experiences as the pandemic has continued and I avoid my coworkers who neither wear a mask nor practice proper social distancing.
Every so often, I go back and watch my favorite videos. They’re not as funny anymore, now that I know all the twists and how everything turns out, but they still bring me simple joy to watch. After all, most of the humor is based around the creator, Josh, finding ways to exploit the game and then taking it to the extreme. He never hides how much work it takes (he skips time a lot, but usually gives a pretty accurate representation of how much time has passed) to make these things happen and he always makes it clear when he’s using an exploit of the game’s mechanics versus abusing a bug he’s found in the game, something I appreciate given how often my profession as a software tester is treated as something simple that anyone can do. Anyone can find a bug like anyone can write. It is possible to do, but there is a wide gulf between performing the simple act and true professional proficiency. In fact, half the humor to setting up his various jokes and situations is that a person was willing to spend this much time doing a boring, repetitive task in order to deliver the eventual punchline, which is one of the core requirements of a software tester except we deliver bug reports instead of punchlines. It makes me feel seen and understood as a professional in a way that even my coworkers consistently fail to do.
Honestly, the channel is worth checking out even if you’re not a software tester or terribly interested in video games. Josh is an excellent narrator, has great comedic timing, and explains everything happening so you don’t even need to be familiar with the game he’s playing or even the past videos in a series to enjoy one of them. I would recommend being careful if you’re eating while watching, though, since laughing with a mouth full of food can be a choking hazard. Make sure you’ve got people around or can perform the heimlich maneuver on yourself. Not that I’ve had to do that. I just had a close call is all.