According to Peter Moore, Microsoft wants to create "a YouTube for videogames" by releasing a cut-down version of XNA to help independent game creators. Which is brilliant, obviously, because everyone knows it's better to play games than to watch movies. But it'll probably take a while before those bedroom coders get round to finishing off their games, so in the meantime, we thought we'd see if YouTube itself offered anything of interest to gamers. And whaddya know? It turns out it does! So here are the top ten gaming clips available to watch on YouTube. No doubt you'll disagree with some of the choices below. That's okay. Just post your own favourite clips in the Eurogamer forums...
10. Live action videogames: Salsa Street Fighter
You might be surprised at just how many clips of people enacting videogames there are on YouTube (or you might not - it takes all sorts, after all). They run the whole range of beat 'em ups, from King of Fighters to Street Fighter including real-life Yoga Flame. Or, more scarily, you can see grown men dressing up as elves and fairies. But perhaps the best piece of videogame enactment is this recreation of the, um, famous salsa dance-off between Ryu and Chun Li from Street Fighter. Warning: this clip contains mildly sexual poses (although you'll have to keep watching all the way to the end).
9. Hilarious videogame telly: Made in Wario
There's another sizeable category of clips to be found on YouTube: videogames on telly. Although this clip of Jackie Chan performing as half the cast of Street Fighter deserves a tenuous mention, the mainstay of this category is undoubtedly videogame commercials. These range from the banned to the oh-how-funny-it-was-in-the-old-days (you can shoot in four directions here! and there's dancing elves here! But the best of the bunch is the just-plain-charming Japanese advert for Made in Wario, It's almost as good as playing the game.
8. Online idiocy: World of Warcraft funeral ambushed
The massive success of World of Warcraft has taken the art of griefing to a whole new level. Described on the Microsoft website as "the internet equivalent of playground bullies" (in an article on child safety, no less), griefers set out to make things as unpleasant as possible for their fellow players. While this used to be limited to the odd bit of swearing or camping, griefers have had to evolve their game to beat the increasing vigilance of game developers. This clip is pretty typical of the modern-day griefer's art: the real-life death of a World of Warcraft player prompted some players to organise a temporary truce in order to hold an in-game funeral. It inspired some other players to raid the ambush and cause mayhem. Hilarious. Or not hilarious, depending on your point of view.
7. Bizarre bugs: Oblivion
Thanks to the rise and rise of the sprawling epic, videogame bugs and glitches have got more numerous and more elaborate over the years. Indeed, thanks to the likes of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (for giving us this, this, oh and this, this, and of course this) and the Grand Theft Auto series, it's impossible to pick a single best example.
6. In-game abuse: Oblivion dominoes
Honestly, who'd be a videogame developer? Imagine you worked for Oblivion creator, Bethesda, for example. What must it be like to put all that effort into creating a colossal, believable world, populated with entire nations of people and full of epic narratives and heroic quests? And then to find out that your players are more interested in playing dominoes? Yep, you can see gamers abusing the in-game editing tools to create a complex and elaborate test of the game's physics engine. At least the GTA lot are still interested in making explosions.
5. Speed runs: Morrowind
Still, at least there are some players who still play games in order to get from the start of the game to the end of it. In fact, some people are evidently so intent on getting to the finish that they hardly have time to play the game. Welcome to the wonderful world of the speedrun - an internet phenomenon that's so bona fide it's got its own Wikipedia entry. There are some excellent examples on YouTube, such as this chap who completes Halo's Silent Cartographer level by the skin of his teeth thanks to some serious pick-up abuse. Or there's the infamous Super Mario 64 speedrun, which exploits several glitches to complete the game with just 16 stars. But surely the most extreme speed run video on the whole of YouTube (even better than completing Fallout in less than ten minutes), is this one, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind being completed in just seven and a half minutes. Seven and a half. Minutes.
4. Videogame animation: GTA Lego City
Type 'machinima' into YouTube and you'll get over 1400 hits. Some people might say that's a testament to a burgeoning indie animation scene that's been spurred into action by the unique malleability of videogame technology. The same people might go on to say something clever using words and phrases like 'empowerment', and 'user-created content'. Some other people might point out that the majority of those 1400+ clips are derivative, boring and/or pretentious. Still, one of the more interesting (and slightly disturbing) examples of machinima is this elaborately choreographed dance sequence created within Soul Calibur. But who needs videogame technology to create amusing animation when they've got Lego? Yep, eclipsing all that Machinima nonsense is GTA: Lego City.
3. Freestyle rhythm action: Korean girls
In the right hands, the right rhythm-action titles can inspire slack-jawed amazement in even the most tone-deaf/two-left-footed bystanders. The extreme difficulty of the Japanese arcade title Pop'n Music, for example, produces a giddying blur of hands that's supremely suited to YouTube's viral distribution. But the richest source of melodic adroitness is undoubtedly Konami's Dance Dance Revolution series, which has become the focal point for a global community of freestyling experts, who have been leaping, tumbling and choreographing their way to turning the game into a spectator sport. YouTube is home to excellent examples of amazing acrobatics, as well as the occasional oddity (like this bodypopping John Travolta lookalike). But the cutest clip on YouTube is probably this one. And cute beats acrobatics.
2. Crazy Shoot 'em ups: Dodonpachi
Dancing street fighters, antique adverts and in-game abuse aside, the best thing about YouTube is that it allows you to watch feats of breathtaking gaming brilliance that can be performed by only a handful of exceptional individuals around the world. No matter how long you hang around your local arcade, you're unlikely to see the likes of this insane Ikaruga clip, which shows the last chapter of Treasure's rock-hard shooter being played in two-player mode, by one individual. Even more remarkable is this clip of possibly the world's most difficult game, DoDonPachi Dai Ou Jou.
1. Professional gaming: Daigo vs. Justin Wong
When it comes to feats of gaming brilliance though, there's only one contender. Daigo Umehara, better known in certain circles as "The Beast", is a Japanese Street Fighter expert, who honed his skills in the ultra-competitive arcade battlegrounds of his native country. Although he first rose to prominence by winning the official 1998 Capcom Street Fighter Alpha 3 global tournament, his finest hour was actually against Justin Wong during the losers' finals (essentially the semi-final) of the Evolution 2004 tournament.
Watch the clip, you'll see that the scale of Daigo's achievement seems pretty plain. Playing in front of a cheering crowd as Ken, his health bar is depleted so far as to be almost imperceptible. His opponent, playing as Chun-Li, unleashes a seemingly unstoppable super move to win the round and the game.
Inconceivably, Chun-Li's move doesn't win the round and the game. Instead, to disbelieving gasps and cheers from the audience, Daigo parries each individual strike, before unleashing a combo of his own to produce the most unlikely last-gasp comeback you'll ever see. You don't have to know anything about frame buffers and CPS1 chains to see that parrying 15 or 16-odd strikes in such quick succession is an amazing feat.
It's actually even more amazing. Bubbling beneath the surface of the bout, there was a massive rivalry between the two players, born of their respective gaming philosophies. Prior to Daigo's comeback, Wong had, true to form, been grinding towards a victory based on percentage play - stringing together a series of low-risk moves to bludgeon his way to the final of the tournament. His final gambit was to attempt a move that would have defeated Daigo even if it had been blocked - a cheap tactic, and one frowned upon by the obsessives in the audience. He didn't bank on Daigo parrying every strike.
By contrast Wong, after parrying every one of the umpteen strikes, returns fire with an uber-stylish combo. Instead of going for the easy victory, he even throws in a few extra moves just to show off - at the risk of reducing the damage dealt by the overall sequence of moves.
So watch the clip again. It's not just a comeback. It's a comeback after switching to southpaw with an Ali shuffle thrown in for good measure.
In case you're wondering, Daigo lost in the final of the tournament, placing second overall. Fortunately, YouTube remembers who came second.
You won't find a more amazing clip on the entire Internet.