- Three of their most important episodes from the perspective of game design, where they tackle three of the most prevalent misconceptions is modern gaming, making them something that every game developer should know about:
- In the Piracy episode at 2:25:
- Their epic thrashing of EA's Marketing. The whole episode is concentrated awesome.
"You know how hard it is to piss off people who watch other people's five-year-olds for a living?!"
- Especially the dissonance of putting together an Old EA magazine article over the top of a Dante's Inferno video.
- And their response to how fake reports of the "Bad Nanny" achievement for Dante's Inferno offended the International Nanny's Association:
- The real CMOA for this event, for Extra Credits, for the Escapist and possibly the entire video-game-based web-series genre? The head of EA marketing invited them to a meeting to discuss their marketing strategy after the video went viral.
- Think about this— EA saw it and cared. The episode honestly did something, Electronic Arts is trying to right itself. And this is Electronic Arts we're talking about here!
- Similar to the EA example above, their episode on harassment called out Microsoft in particular. Microsoft acknowledged the call and invited James for a chat.
- The series' presence on The Escapist was a CMoA on its own. In the earlier episodes, before they got picked up by the site, they said that it was inspired by Zero Punctuation. After a while, they're featured on the same site and have an almost greater following.
- On June 29th, 2011, James let fans know that the illustrator, Alison, needed shoulder surgery to continue working as an artist. The original plan was to accept donations over a 60 day period. In less than a day, they already doubled their original figures in donation costs.
- The whole second episode on compulsive gaming was one of these, with James talking frankly about his own past problems and ending on the life-affirming message that real life is always waiting for us to return and that we can apply the same zeal we applied to gaming to life with much grander results.
- The "Call of Juarez: The Cartel" episode as a whole, but sternly calling out the designers for willfully misinforming people about human trafficking deserves special mention.
We can inform, and educate, and entertain, but failing all that we can at least BE HONEST.
- Their conclusion about the responsibilities designers have ends simply but powerfully.
- The ''Politics'' video. They managed to get Jared Polis, a REAL CONGRESSMAN, to speak in the show. Wow.
- This. For context: Richard Danksy, a friend of James, sent him a copy of Charnel Houses of Europe: The Shoah, a supplement for Wraith: The Oblivion focused on the Holocaust. The episode explores the game and the topic of what is and isn't appropriate to discuss in a game.
They knew they were gonna hear a lot of angry voices saying, "You can't talk about these things in a game." But they also knew that wasn't true, in the same way that you'd never say that such important topics shouldn't use the medium of television, or that people shouldn't make movies to discuss such serious things. You can't say that something isn't appropriate for a medium. That type of generalization doesn't even make sense. It's not in the medium, but rather how we use it to determine whether we're treating a subject with respect.
- The Narrative Mechanics episode. One of the points that the Extra Credits crew has been saying for years is that story told through gameplay is what designers should aim for, but at one gaming convention, the writer, James Portnow, was challenged to name a game that actually accomplished this. Not only does he succeed, but the example they chose is one which forced the player to confront moral dilemmas with limited resources in a universe which invites an enormous emotional investment while delivering a powerful anti-war message in the bargain ... and their example did it before most Extra Credits viewers were even born. As quoted on the TV Tropes page for the game itself:
Daniel Floyd: What's the bluntest point made by this game? That you can't win. No matter how many stages you survive, or how much time you spend playing, you can't beat Missile Command. Nuclear war has no winners. Your job is futile, but you do it anyway because you can buy people a few more minutes of hope.
- Episode 200 is out!
- They also now have a Patreon account.
- The Creative Assembly has paid these guys to do a history lesson on the Punic Wars, an educational video series to advertise for Total War: Rome II!
- The best part was Creative Assembly telling the EC team that they didn't need to mention them, or the game - just teach some history. But EC did both anyway, since they felt the idea was so awesome.
- They enjoyed doing the series so much, they're bringing it back!
- And now it's officially a weekly show thanks to Patreon!
- Punic Wars.
- The Battle of Cannae. Hannibal not only knew his opponent so thoroughly that he could make them charge him by simply waiting a day, he also created the infamous Pincer Maneuver, whereby he simply had his battle line slowly retreat as the outer edges hold and close in on the enemy. It's poetic that the Punic Wars would be the first in the series of videos, as you will see this tactic again and again in war, always under a different name and with some slight modifications (such as Shaka Zulu's Bull Horns technique or even Admiral Yi's Crane Wing formation), but always with the same general idea.
- Fabius, the elected Dictator who would arguably save Rome from Hannibal, managed to out gambit Hannibal during his tenure by recognizing every single bait and refusing to bite. This is despite how Hannibal managed to turn nearly everyone else in Rome into Leeroy Jenkins with his trolling tactics.
- Hannibal bringing Elephants into combat against the Roman Army. Dan was not kidding when he said that this story would have fighting monsters. And these were pissed off elephants.
- Sengoku Jidai.
- Oda Nobunaga, forced to pull an ignominious retreat after an ally turned on him, leads his troops marching down a forest road, when a ninja shoots him with an arquebus, pulls another, and shoots again, fleeing in the confusion. Nobunaga is thrown from his horse, and his men clamor in confusion. Then, slowly, Nobunaga rises, one bullet lodged over his heart, the other in his helmet. His eyes *glow* with fury, and the viewer has no choice but to pity his traitorous brother-in-law.
- Justinian and Theodora.
- The Battle of Dara, the way Daniel narrates Belisarius' observation of the numbers at the battle it sounded something to the effect of: "Well, better put some coffee on, this is going to be tricky to plan for."
- Empress Theodora proving her status as Empress by basically telling her husband and the Imperial Court to stand and fight, rather then run from the rampaging Demes.
- Belisarius taking back Carthage from the Vandals with only sixteen-thousand men, even less then the numbers he had at Dara. And succeeded where the efforts of BOTH of the Roman Empires of old backfired with six times that many soldiers.
- He then proceeded to take Rome itself with even LESS troops.
- Theodora holding the empire together while Justinian was stricken with Plague, preventing a coup and maintaining general order until he miraculously recovered.
- The First Crusade.
- The desperately outnumbered Crusaders holding the line against the Turkish forces for hours without retreating, without being baited into an attack, and then, after four episodes, the Crusaders finally band up assemble as one to repel the Turkish forces in a daring charge, clearing the way to the city Antioch. There's even a observable Big Damn Heroes moment for Bishop Adhemar (who spent all other episodes suffering some physical or moral injury), who comes crashing down in the Turkish flank and pretty much saves the civilians.
- Love him or hate him, Bohemond's stratagem to take Antioch for himself is very clever: He plays the Byzantines like a fiddle (claiming there's a plot to assasinate their leader, and when they retreat to confirm that information, accusing them of cowardice), then delivering a crushing blow to the Turkish reinforcements and finally bribing the guards to take hold of Antioch. His crusader allies are impotent to do anything against him due his popularity with the common people, meaning he does all this without even damaging his reputation.
- Bishop Adhemar gets a second Big Damn Heroes moment by stopping a mass desertion amongst the crusaders (he even drags Walpole back to the Siege), proposing a fast to regain favor with God, thus single-handedly solving the troop's starvation problem and boosting their previously-falling morale.
- Admiral Yi.
- Admiral Yi who, when he broke his leg while on horseback during a military examination, hobbled over to a willow tree, splinted his broken leg, and completed the examination.
- Pretty much all of Admiral Yi's naval campaign against Japan is one long moment of awesome (note that this started after he was called out of his retirement).
- He creates the turtle ship, which can't be flanked or boarded by the enemy and uses it to devastating effect.
- He goes battle after battle without losing a single ship (some of his ships were commandeered fishing boats).
- He takes a bullet to the shoulder and continues to direct a battle, and then casually digs it out with a sword afterwards.
- When the navy is reduced to just twelve ships, Yi spurs Korea to allow him to make a last stand instead of disbanding the navy. His last stand has him taking down thirty-one enemy ships, again without losing any himself.
- After getting fatally shot in the last battle of the war, he simply told his son and nephew to keep fighting in his stead, as the battle was nearly won before passing away on the deck of his ship, having ensued Korea was saved.
- Yi was actually so awesome and loyal that James struggled to find ANYTHING that had something bad to say about him. Eventually, he found one book that heavily criticized what Yi had done. His auto-biography.
- The same segment had this quote from Admiral Togo, roughly 300 years later.
- Odenathus creating an army from nothing but his cities troops, scattered Legionaries and the peasantry of Palmyra, and beating the Saracen Empire to a standstill, even twice going to their capital. But that's not all, he pretty much moved Heaven and Earth to maintain stability in the empire, giving the Roman Empire enough time to lick their wounds and rebuild their strength.
- John Snow and The Broad Street Pump:
- The first episode's depiction of John Snow's rapid ascension from mere apprentice to fully learned Doctor with every possible license one could attain in the field of medicine at the time, in ONE YEAR.
- Mary Seacole:
- Despite everything the world had to throw at her, from disease, racial remarks, the loss of her husband and dear mother on the same day, the loss of her hotel in the fire that ravaged Kingstown, she never conceded defeat. Despite the war department and the nurses of London refusing to send her over to Crimea to assist the sick and injured soldiers, she never conceded defeat. In short, she was The Determinator personified. No matter what happened, shit was going to get done.
- Catherine The Great:
- She started out as The Unfavorite of her mother, who was hoping for a son to help solidify her position in court. However, Catherine proved better at selling herself than her mother, greatly impressing Frederick the Great over idle conversation, convincing him that Catherine was far more interesting (and interested in learning) than her mother believed her to be, sending a favorable letter to Elizabeth in Russia to inform her of such.
- Her coup against her husband goes off beautifully, with Catherine having successfully won the hearts and minds of commoner, noble, and clergy-member alike, utilizing this when representatives from her husband show up to try dissuading her from going through with her revolt. Her retort hints that she would become The High Queen.
The embassy from Peter's company arrives, one of them begs Catherine not to take arms up against her husband. She takes him by the elbow and leads him to a balcony. Gesturing to the ecstatic crowd, she says: "Deliver your message to them."
- After completing her (surprisingly non-violent) coup, Catherine manages, through sheer force of will and personality, to cajole the Orthodox Church into becoming officially State-owned, as Russia's treasury was nearly empty due to a number of failed military ventures, and they desperately needed more tax revenue.
- During a mini-episode where Dan was recording without James, he eventually decided to man up and take on Havel the Rock as many times as necessary until he won (prodded by comments from viewers telling him he'd get a super-awesome ring for doing so). He expected he was going to die and die and die again, and indeed the first time he tried he messed up and Havel predictably squashed him with his first attack. But when he went back for his second go, he killed Havel easily, making the entire sub-episode video a mere 6 minutes long! This was arguably the point where Dan first really "got gud" at Dark Souls.
- After much fretting and stress, and without even knowing exactly what it was he was fretting and stressing about, Dan beat the Capra Demon on on his first attempt.
Dan: First. Try. You guys thought I was gonna die, all of you did!James: Show 'em!Dan: Screw all of you!