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.