A scruffy Jack Black slowly swivels his PewDiePie replica gaming chair to face the camera, dressed in full dad-bod regalia, complete with gray, unkempt beard and logo T-shirt tucked into worn out jeans. He adjusts the brim of his rectangle glasses and says to the camera, “Hey, whats up? It’s me, Jack Black. This is my new YouTube channel, Jablinski. It’s gonna be bigger than Ninja. It’s gonna be bigger than PewDiePie.”
At least, that’s what Black says will happen in his 30-second introduction video he posted on YouTube on Dec. 21, a video that already has about 9.3 million views. Since then, he has posted only a few more videos, barely totaling six minutes in total content, but has already accumulated over 3.1 million subscribers. The popularity of Black’s newest YouTube channel shouldn’t come as much of a surprise seeing as how he’s a world-famous actor, but the video game niche he’s trying to settle into is what’s raising eyebrows across the internet.
It’s difficult to pinpoint why Black started this odd little YouTube project, but the man is odd himself after all. Regardless of start-up reasons, after watching his two latest videos, you can get a sense of the weird and embarrassing dad aesthetic that he’s establishing for the Jablinski brand, and honestly, it works.
Anyone who knows Black or has seen any of his movies should be familiar with his unabashed goofiness. Combine that with his new scraggly, touch-of-gray look and Black may just remind you of a dad whose energetic humor walks a fine line between endearing and cringey. But, hey, the YouTube community seems to love it so far.
In the first video Black posted, he brings you through the Pinball Hall of Fame, a way to kick off the channel at what he says is the beginning of the world of video games. No, pinball isn’t exactly what you would usually expect when coming across a gaming-centric YouTube channel, but Black isn’t your typical gamer guy.
As a 49-year-old father (his son also appears on the Jablinski channel), Black has been around longer than most of the YouTubers that create video game content. It seems as though he might be using this fact to his advantage by guiding his viewers through a historical approach to the video game industry as he wanders through both the Pinball Hall of Fame and, in his fourth upload, the Round One arcade.
Jablinski isn’t the only video game content creator on YouTube who views their projects through a historical lens. In fact, many game reviewers looking at new releases often reference back to older predecessors when discussing a franchise, or even go back to the early stages of a certain genre of gaming to comment on the foundations of gameplay mechanics.
NakeyJakey and videogamedunkey are two well-known examples other than PewDiePie that successfully do just that. Not only do they tie in older titles in their videos, but they also consistently add color to their analytical content with unique humor that keeps technical explanations light and even enjoyable to listen to.
But they don’t go back as far as Jablinski. In his video titled, “A House With a Pin in it’s [sic] Balls,” Black takes a look at antique pinball machines dating back to the ’30s, well before video games, let alone computers, were even a concept. While watching Black wander through all the old machines and marveling at their dates of establishment, you do get a wider sense of the history of games than that of other channels.
I love how quickly Jablinski Games has blown up, even if it is due to the simple fact that Black is the brains behind the channel, but I also think he is treading somewhat dangerous waters, given the traits of YouTube gamers who have already successfully established themselves. The best gaming content creators on YouTube balance technical analysis of core gameplay, knowledge of the video game industry and game design knowhow in a way that’s structured around humor to keep the videos lively and engaging.
So far, Black’s videos lack in game analysis, an aspect of review content most might find crucial. In Jablinski Games’ few short videos, all you see is Black showing you a few cool, retro pieces of arcade equipment while goofing off with his son; but that’s not such a bad thing, either. I think so many people already love Jablinski Games simply because Black is showing himself having fun with his son, and who am I to bash wholesome content like that?
In fact, sometimes all that in-depth technical analysis of video games can be tiring, with or without humor. Maybe Jablinski Games doesn’t need to delve into that realm if millions already enjoy watching his light-hearted content that makes him look like a kid in an arcade.
No, nothing substantial has really happened in any of Jablinski’s videos, and he hasn’t even shown himself playing many video games yet, but throughout all of the whopping six minutes of content Black has posted so far, you’ll have a constant smile on your face, and that’s all that really matters.