Matthew Patrick began his journey to celebrity when he made a YouTube channel called “The Game Theorists,” on which he began uploading videos that explained his personal theories on video games and the evidence he had compiled to support it.
Under the moniker of “MatPat,” Patrick has gone on to add two other channels to his brand. He has garnered over 20 million subscribers across all three, with 11 million on his original channel alone. His channels focus on wacky theories that have to do with video games and movies, but he also has a platform to interact with fans.
1. The Game Theorists
As the channel has been around for nearly a decade, The Game Theorists has evolved with the ever-changing media landscape. Here, Patrick often delves deep into the lore of a video game. The supposedly nefarious nature of the world that characters inhabit (ex: Luigi’s apparent secret wealth, Mario’s questionable mental state or the criminality of Marvel’s Spider-Man) is a recurring theme in his videos. Typically, extensive details will be used to support his argument, no matter how small.
His videos on Ash Ketchum from “Pokemon” and the character’s true age encapsulate his commitment. He used factors such as in-world weather patterns, fruit prices and even real-world novelizations to determine Ketchum is 20 years old.
Today, Patrick is arguably best known on YouTube for his extensive series on the lore of “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” which began as a survival horror game in 2014. The premise is that the player works at a pizza restaurant with murderous animatronics and tries to survive several nights in the office. The game was a success for its difficulty and horror, and resulted in five additional games.
Patrick was drawn to the games and decided to uncover the deeper story of the series. The games contain many Easter eggs that are often difficult to acquire and necessitate multiple play-throughs. In addition, the “Freddy’s” franchise has several novels and spin-off games that contain relevant, contradictory and outright non-canon information.
The videos Patrick puts out are exhaustive to watch, let alone make, yet are impressively comprehensive and relatively easy to follow. Given that the game’s creator, Scott Cawthorn, is well-aware of Patrick’s efforts to decipher his work, he has intentionally made the clues hard to find, as well as presumably make the entire narrative as opaque as possible. Patrick’s work has inspired many to not just analyze the lore of “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” but all of the games and media they consume.
2. The Film Theorists
In 2014, Patrick created “The Film Theorists,” which, like his original channel, heavily analyzes a topic. As the name would suggest, the main focus is film, television and other visual media. Featured movies and shows often revolve around new releases or any that are the focus of popular attention. An example is his video “The Disney Princess Problem,” where Patrick tries to explain why only certain characters qualify as Disney princesses.
“Willy Wonka and the Golden Ticket SCAM!” examines the legal ramifications of the titular character’s management of his factory, culminating in a final estimation of the fines and jail time Wonka would have faced, which was especially interesting because the legislation that would have put Wonka in prison was passed the same year the film came out. Patrick implies that the newly created law means Wonka was trying to find a patsy rather than an heir.
In another, he argues that the giant, human-eating Titans of the anime “Attack on Titan” are actually made of yeast.
The Film Theorists also examine “Don’t Hug me I’m Scared,” a British-made “Muppet”-style web series that confused the internet as much as it horrified it. Surrealist imagery ranging from the bizarre to the grotesque litters the screen. Elements of a unifying narrative were present, but theories based on them have varied.
Patrick concluded that the series is about the warping effects of advertisement, noting references to the government-funded BBC’s loss of control over British television in 1955, which led to independent channels forming and using advertisements for funding. Each character, according to Patrick’s theory, is intended to represent a figure in the development of a generic educational program as it is slowly demented by a twisted form of commercialism.
GTLive is the most recent addition to the MatPat brand. At 1.9 million subscribers, it is the smallest channel, but it is slowly growing. Here, he and his now-wife Stephanie have a space in which they can directly interact with fans.
The content is much more diverse, featuring live discussions, “Try Not to Laugh” challenges, gameplays and other content conducive to live streaming. GTLive gives a much more personal look at the Patricks, giving fans a regular opportunity to interact with them, with a frequency that is not typical of channels that size.