YouTube, in its great expanse, is both heaven and hell for gaming youtubers. While the field can feel dominated by big personalities and click-bait content, smaller youtubers are still fighting to cultivate an audience and stand out among the crowd. Having amassed over 3,000 subscribers and growing, Adam McDermott has made it his mission to do so.
Disclaimer: Adam previously produced videos for OnlySP before leaving to focus on his own channel and other opportunities.
Known now primarily for his Platinum Journey series, McDermott was not always an avid trophy hunter – in the beginning, he wasn’t a gaming youtuber at all.
“I actually started off making videos about sports,” he humorously recalled. “I made highlight videos for NFL. I had several videos that were over 50,000 views ― I’d just make epic montages. And then I was introduced to the horrible world of copyright infringement. My channel was hit with about two copyright strikes and about fifteen claims. So I deleted everything and started anew.”
Nevertheless, McDermott was not deterred by his loss. A switch in content was a welcome change, bringing him back to his childhood.
“I’ve been playing games my whole life. I think my first console was the PS1. My first game was, uh… back in the day I was huge into wrestling, and I think the first game I ever got was WWE. I think it was like Smackdown vs. Raw or something. That was the first game I was exposed to. Then, of course, Pokemon hit.”
Over time, McDermott began producing a steady stream of videos, dabbling in video essays, Top 10s, and, most recently, trophy hunting. In his current Platinum Journey series, he takes this penchant for achievement hunting to its limit.
“So, basically, in [each Platinum Journey video], I document the highs and lows of getting a Platinum Trophy in some brilliant games. The episodes are kind of… I wanted to do something that incorporated all the skills that I was learning, like voice over, script writing, presenting, game capture, editing – I wanted to make something big that would incorporate all of that.”
“I was watching a lot of Top Gear at the time, and I was looking at all these little adventures they had, thinking, “How could I do that in video games?” And I thought, maybe I should just document. See, the game I did first was Uncharted 2, which is an adventure game, so you just travel around the world, but obviously you don’t really – you sit on your couch and play a game, but it feels like you’re traveling around the world.”
“[Platinum Journey] was dreadful in the beginning, but it’s gotten ever so slightly better with each new episode. I’ve been doing it for 3 years, and all I want to do with the show is to create one undeniably good episode. And then I’ll be happy. I’ve come close – my Uncharted 4 episode was close, but I messed up on the presenting bits because I got a different camera, which ended up looking way worse than my older camera. So, I had to change cameras again, but then the audio was dreadful again. So, really, I’ve ruined this one as well. I’m still searching for that one episode ― you know, that episode you can show a friend? That episode you can show and be like, “Hey, look, isn’t this cool?”
Despite his rabid enthusiasm for the series, McDermott confesses that, on a day to day basis, just the act of finishing a game can feel like a sufficient achievement.
“For someone who makes a show around completing games, I’ve only got like 20 platinum trophies, and 13 of them are from the show. I research, then I platinum the game, but in my spare time I don’t bother platinum-ing games; I play through the story, mainly, and then once I finish it, I’m kinda done.”
Even with the added motivation the series provided him, some games have remained a tough nut to crack, ludicrous achievements driving up his playtime.
“The closest I came [to giving up] was with Shovel Knight. Shovel Knight has this final trophy where you have beat the game in 90 minutes, which means you have to be near flawless. The real kicker is that the game auto saves before a level and after a level, so if you’re midway through a level and you screw things up, you can go back to the start of the level. But, every time you do that, three seconds are added to your time. And those three seconds add up, and become minutes, and those precious minutes really stress you out. It got so bad, it was meant to be a 20 hour platinum, it ended up being a 50 hour platinum.”
Even after enduring Shovel Knight’s punishing time limits, McDermott is excited to jump into more challenging games yet. Specifically, he’s looking forward to revisiting the Metal Gear Solid series.
“To get the trophy you have to beat the game seven times,” he says of Metal Gear Solid 3, “and I think the same goes for 4. You have to beat it on every single difficulty. It’s like a 70 hour platinum – it’s crazy. I’d also love to do one of the Souls games, like Bloodborne. That’d be cool.”
While playing the games is McDermott’s major focus, he has also invested a lot of his time into perfecting his video presentation. He recounts the trial and error approach that he has taken to film making, and how you can watch his setup evolve throughout the Platinum Journey series.
“I used to film a bit in my bedroom, which was… you could see my bed in earlier episodes. You could see the poster on my wall that I was standing in front of during the presenting bits. But then I moved, under the advice of Shane Satterfield, into my sitting room. It’s a bit more homey, and I put some more stuff up around. You can see the games on the table, and a Futurama DVD case in the background. I’m trying to work for a slight evolution all the time.”
Looking forward, McDermott teases that, while his current focus remains on polishing Platinum Journey, he has projects on the horizon.
“I’ve been pondering and dying to do a show based around drinking, playing games with friends, and being competitive. I don’t want to say the name of it because I’ve actually bought the domain. One of the reasons I’m actually in the process of moving house is because I’m obsessed with doing one episode of that show. It would be serious in tone, but a complete farse. Think, like, a UFC-style presentation, but with dumb asses playing games they’re terrible at. The forfeit is drinking, like, if you lose, you take a drink. And as the game continues, you get more and more tipsy. If you get too behind, you can go double for nothing. So, you can either make a glorious comeback, or fail and crash ‘n burn.
“Really, when I think about my goals, I really just want to make one good episode of Platinum Journey, and make one good episode of that other show. And then… and then I guess I’d just kill the channel. Die happy.”
To find Platinum Journey, as well as McDermott’s other videos, you can head over to his channel, Adam McDermott.