There’s a strange, and relatively new, genre of YouTube video, based on parodying the over-serious, über-gamer culture that surrounds professional gaming, and in particular the MLG (Major League Gaming) circuit. The typical MLG fragvid is full of over-the-top special effects, in-text commentary, and often accompanied by a dubstep soundtrack, oriented towards demonstrating a certain Pro player’s skill with the maximum of bravado. “360 no scope!” “no snipers” “~xXRunning RiotXx~” etc. The videos often reference drug culture, and feature ‘420‘ references and other elements of cannabis culture.
Sometime late in 2011 it seems some gamers across a couple of different communities (perhaps /v/ and some of the Reddit gaming sub-forums?) decided to spoof the MLG fragvid and in the process spawned a whole new genre of YouTube video. I find this parody genre strangely compelling, and for the sake of curation and posterity, have collected the best, funniest, and most demonstrative examples of the genre here in a YouTube playlist over half an hour long.
The playlist begins with my absolute favourite entry in the genre, a masterful repurposing of all the elements from the PRO fragvid. As an aside, I’ve been reading George Lakoff’s writing about categories, and following Lakoff, this first video is very much prototypical of this parody category. Bookending the playlist, the last video is a 5minutes long parody and is a less-subtle deconstruction of the MLG fragvid genre, but it makes quite explicit what is going on in this type of video. It’s useful, if less entertaining, because of how visible all of its “moving parts” are, so to speak.
There’s certainly more to say about what this genre means or is indicative of – yet more evidence of the fracturing of the gamer community as gaming becomes more mainstream and more diverse (if, perhaps, no less typically “masculine” yet), etc, etc. But there’s something very fun and clever about these parodyvids that is worth preserving without too much dissection.
So without further introduction, I present the collected playlist known as “MLG 420 PRO vids (xXCriterionCollectionXx)“.