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Four must-watch video essays for your next YouTube deep dive

In recent years, long-form video essay content has been on the rise on YouTube. Videos that are sometimes hours long deep dive into almost any topic you can think of from abstract internet mysteries to intensely analytical breakdowns of classic PlayStation video games.

Music: Kendrick Lamar: Deconstructing a Culture of Trauma

This video essay serves as one of the most well-made breakdowns of Kendrick Lamar’s career overall. It includes a great analysis of why Lamar is stepping away from music after the release of his latest album “Mr. Morale and The Big Steppers.” Quality Culture goes breaks down each era of Lamar’s albums, what the messaging and themes from Lamar’s music represent and how his perspective has changed over the years through his music, eventually leading to his last album. It’s an impressive analysis of the effects of being someone who represents a culture and the toll this role has taken on an artist as prolific as Kendrick Lamar.

Horror: LOCAL58: The Broadcast Station that Manipulates You

Nexpo is well known for his deep dives into deep internet mysteries, but this video essay is an absolute stand-out in his channel. He goes in-depth on trying to solve the mystery of what exactly “LOCAL58” is. Nexpo explains that LOCAL58 was a YouTube channel presented as a late-night public access TV station over many decades. This station was eerie in its presentation and off-putting with some of its found footage. Nexpo breaks down the pieces of the story using multiple videos on the LOCAL58 channel, piecing them all together to figure out what exactly is going on with this TV station.

Gaming: OCARINA OF TIME – A Masterclass In Subtext

A unique and analytic deep dive into a video game, this video essay from Good Blood breaks down some of the hidden themes and messages from one of Nintendo’s most highly rated franchises, “The Legend of Zelda.” More specifically, the video focuses on “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.” This video analyzes the game’s writing and dialogue to explore deeper themes. The main protagonist of the game, Link, must ease the despair and sorrow of the world as he continually tries to save it from evil. This is what makes this title in the franchise one of the darkest. The video is much more focused on the writing and story of the game rather than its gameplay, which makes it accessible even for those unfamiliar with the video game series.

Personal Favorite: action button reviews boku no natsuyasumi

This last recommendation is a personal favorite of mine, a simple six-hour review of an obscure classic PlayStation game from video game developer and former journalist, Tim Rogers. While the game itself is simple, the player takes the role of a young boy taking a vacation to Japan with his family for a summer. Roger’s breakdown of simple mechanics and relating them to his own personal childhood memories makes this a standout video essay. It’s well written, has a good pace and is full of themes that resonate with the viewer about nostalgia, memories, and what you might consider to be home.

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