Thinking (a Little) About New Forms

You know, one of the under-recognized benefits of the web is that its enabled new forms (or maybe micro-forms) of creativity, or new veins of expression. We can thank the reduced costs of technology, the simplification of tool and the democratization of the audience for this explosion in creativity.

I was reminded of this today while watching the latest episode of Zero Punctuation (a bit NSFW). Produced by a witty Englishman named Ben Croshaw, it’s an animated series of juvenile, raunchy, hilarious game reviews. I’ve never played most of the games he’s reviewed, but it’s always five minutes well-spent. Here, for example, is his take on Dante’s Inferno (rated mature for lots of cuss words and, uh, suggestive scenes):

In a small way, this is a new form of game review: clumsy animation + rapid-fire, rude commentary. It looks nothing like the text-based game reviews of the past twenty years, nor does it bear much resemblance to, say, Siskel and Ebert’s TV chat from the cheap seats.

Another example of new forms is Pomplamoose’s videos. I’ve written about them before, but I like how they describe their work as a ‘VideoSong’:

This cover is a VideoSong, a new medium with 2 rules:

1. What you see is what you hear (no lip-syncing for instruments or voice).
2. If you hear it, at some point you see it (no hidden sounds).

I also like that they’re thinking about their craft, and eager to articulate to their viewers. Here’s an example of what they’re talking about:

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t include my friends at Common Craft who, judging by their multitudinous imitators, have spawned a very popular new form. Their latest video explains augmented reality in two minutes and sixteen seconds.

Last year at Northern Voice I gave a talk entitled “From Permalink to Profound: Where is the Art in Social Media?” I think these examples, while not truly social, certainly make use of the collaborative, instant-feedback nature of the modern web.


  1. I’d argue that Yahtzee’s reviews are very accurate for the games he’s reviewing. He also plays to a very unique crowd that doesn’t want to read through review after review that rates every major game as being the best thing ever. He knows his genre and in video after video he makes valid points for and against the game, which is usually backed by hardcore gamers and those new to the industry. If anything, it’s a sign of audience’s attention spans.

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