Written by Rick Warren / gfn21
Over four years ago, I was spending the night doing the same thing as always: playing games. At some point I took a break and browsed Live from PlayStation, looking for something to kill time while I ate dinner and waited for friends to sign online. Eventually I landed on something called “The Level Up Show”, having no idea that what I was about to watch would have such a positive impact on my life. Years passed by, with new people who shared the same passion for gaming and all the news in the industry finding the show and joining in on the discussion. I kept making more friends as the channel grew, and I’ll always be thankful for that. There’s something special about this community that made us all stick around. Maybe it’s all the excellent hosts that have been a part of the Network over the years. Maybe it’s the great production quality (seriously, the amount of work Andrew puts into everything deserves so much praise) or the level of interaction with the viewers. Maybe it’s the viewers themselves, the running jokes or amazing extra life events. I can never pinpoint one exact reason, because I don’t think there is one; I think it’s all the things above and more.
I love this community, and before I stop making these top five lists, I wanted to share my favorite moments from these past four years.
5.) The Launch of the Blog
This is one that wouldn’t be on too many lists, but it was a lock for mine. I had been kicking around the idea of starting a blog for a month or so, and right before I did, one was announced for The Level Up Network. I was genuinely excited, putting in my application ASAP. For whatever reason, I was worried I might not get in, too. Thankfully that fear was unfounded, and before I knew it I was writing articles like the one you’re reading write now. In a community filled with amazing people who support the show monetarily, something I wish I could do but can’t now, I was glad to finally have a way to contribute and (hopefully) bring in some new viewers. On top of that, it’s great to have an outlet to share my views on games, something that I’m sure the other writers appreciate too. I love writing, especially for a community like this one. That isn’t going to chance any time soon.
In the #4 spot...
4.) The End of the Trophy War
As someone who’s currently involved in the third season of the Trophy War, I now understand what it was like for Dean and Greg. It takes nonstop effort and the playing of lots of crappy games in order to succeed, and it gets tiring often. At the same time, it’s a lot of fun. Trash talking is great, those outside of the competition rooting for whoever they think will win is fun, and the challenges are hilarious. That final point was especially true when the War ended and Dean, as expected, won. His challenge for Greg was hilarious. The Ghost Pepper eating, and Kingdom Hearts review-reading was a blast to watch and makes for one of my favorite Level Up moments ever.
Watch it yourself here.
In the #3 spot...
3.) Extra Life: Scott Cawthon’s Donation
The 24 (and in some cases, 25) hour live streams for Extra Life are undoubtedly the most important part of the Network and all the other streamers who take part in the event. Every year, the hosts put themselves through crazy things, like dance-offs where Mike steals the show as Adele, in hopes that they’ll bring in donations for charity. It’s an amazing thing to do, and one year the show brought in over $10,000. Largely thanks to a $4,000 donation from Five Nights At Freddy’s creator Scott Cawthon. It was completely out of the blue, and at first, everyone thought it was fake. After a few minutes, though, it was clear that the donation was legitimate. The Level Up Network was one of a select few that Scott donated to, and it was such a neat moment to witness. Everyone was grateful, and Scott had done a great thing with his success. As amazing as that was, though, the mind behind one of the most popular horror franchises ever is far from the only person who made a difference that year and in others. From people who put in hundreds of dollars like Ginko, Guitar, Kelly and Keikeo to everyone who donates even a little bit, this community comes together every year to do something special and help make the lives of kids better. This is just one of many highlights from the Extra Life streams, and I look forward to them every single year.
In the #2 spot...
I honestly couldn’t pick just one reaction to put in this top five, so I’m including them all in this spot. PlayStation’s E3 2016 conference brought a tremendous level of hype, with the back to back announcements of Death Stranding and Spider-Man making the guys cheer. Speaking of the wall-crawler, Spidey’s thrilling gameplay demo had me reacting the same was as Dean. It was mind-blowingly good, and one of my favorite segments to ever be in a conference. Then comes the most watched video on the channel, Dean and Andrew’s reaction to The Last of Us Part 2. It was perfect due to how unexpected that reveal was; nobody saw it coming any time soon, and certainly not at a conference that wasn’t E3. Then, of course, there’s Andrew’s reaction to the reveal of FF7 Remake. It was as real as it gets, and seeing a friend finally get the game they’ve wanted for decades was an awesome feeling.
All the reactions are great and have been made into standalone videos that can be watched here.
In the #1 spot...
1.) All of Power Up!
Everyone who knows me is aware that there is only one thing I love as much as I love games: superheroes. I grew up on the animated shows, read comics and was in the theater when movies like Iron Man and The Dark Knight came out. Nowadays we live in the golden age of superhero movies, with multiple films coming every year and multiple news stories coming every day. This made Power Up! a no-brainer. There was always something to talk about, and the hosts were on point for every show. Dean and Greg had a great chemistry, and it’s clear why they’re such good friends. Every episode was fun to watch, filled with funny moments and legitimately good thoughts on the topics being talked about. Recurring segments like the Rumor Roundup and Viewer Questions worked, and on top of that, it was all so well-edited. The theme was awesome, the intro and outro were great and even the thumbnails stood out. This was the most under-appreciated thing in the history of the Network, and I really miss watching this show every week.
The news might be outdated, but there is still plenty of great stuff to see in this Power Up! playlist.
Thank you so much for reading! If you’re here and you haven’t checked out The Level Up Show, be sure to stop by Sundays at 10 PM EST on Twitch to watch it live! There are plenty of game streams during the weak and tons of YouTube videos, so give those a look too.