While only launching on YouTube at the end of 2018, Girlfriend Reviews' unique and relatable spin on video game criticism has quickly made them important voices in industry. Here is why you should be watching them in 2020.
From the outside, Girlfriend Reviews initially looked like an offshoot of the “distracted boyfriend” meme that exploded in popularity on social media sites like Reddit in 2017.
However, the channel's shift in the traditional review perspective from that of the person playing the game, to what it’s like to live with someone that plays it instead, made it the perfect match for today’s streaming culture.
Who is Girlfriend Reviews?
Girlfriend Reviews first launched in November 2018, with their first video being a four minute commentary on Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption 2, that asked the question – "should your boyfriend play it?"
The two creators consist of couple Matt and Shelby, and they split duties as the latter does narration and sings. Her hilarious personality and delivery is a major component of their reviews, as she expresses her perspective of watching him play popular titles.
However, what started a joke hook quickly evolved into something special. Matt’s witty scripts and impeccable editing style is a character in itself, as his quick cuts to clips of pop culture references makes it the perfect review for sites like Reddit and the upcoming generation of gamers who live off of memes.
Their content quickly expanded from short commentary to eight to 10 minute review essays with thoughtful critiques from titles such as Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, to the 2019 released Death Stranding.
A part of the fun of watching the channel is that viewers are taken on Shelby's journey into growing to appreciate the gaming medium on a different level, which she exclaimed in their critique of Hideo Kojima's latest release.
"We started this channel to make fun of the games we play, and satirize gaming journalism by analyzing the hobby from the outsiders perspective. But now I truly believe that even though video games are often used as tools to fuel corporate greed, they are also one of humanity's greatest artistic achievements," she said.
(Timestamp 02:12 for mobile users.)
In a Q&A in May 2019, the YouTuber admitted that they got the idea for the channel when he became lost in playing Breath of the Wild. "We got the idea from the map sound because I would open it probably every 30 seconds, and it started to drive Shelby crazy," he revealed.
The duo thought it would be interesting to do reviews "from the perspective of a girlfriend that has to listen to it all day." Matt also revealed that he's been doing professional editing in Los Angeles for ten years for television shows and other creators on the video platform.
Shelby also explained that she's been both an actor and singer for most of her life. "I've been acting, singing and dancing, pretty much as soon as I could make words and move my body," she said.
(Timestamp 01:09 for mobile users.)
Their explosion in growth and their future
Despite only starting just over a year ago, the YouTube couple has exploded in popularity, and at the time of this article have over 742,000 subscribers, and 88,000 followers on Twitch where they stream games for their audience.
According to third party tracking site Social Blade, the channel has seen a huge spurt in growth since launching, and as of December 2019 is pulling in over 4.7 million video views, which shows how much their format is a hit with gamers.
Matt and Shelby were also nominated for the 2019 Streamy Awards for best Gaming Content, and have had cameos from other popular YouTubers such as Jacksepticye, NakeyJakey, and Drew Gooden, making their insane growth as a channel all the more impressive.
— Streamy Awards (@streamys) October 16, 2019
As far as the future of their videos, the couple has said they are going to continue their current format and their plans is to continue to improve on what they put out.
Girlfriend Reviews' success is largely tied to how relatable their content is, after all we've all grown up watching a sibling or friend or playing a video-game, and streaming has never been more popular in 2020 which makes their criticism perspective more relevant than ever.