Noah Caldwell-Gervais is a YouTuber who runs an Analysis Channel that was formerly named Broadcast Static. The channel features in-depth critiques and retrospectives of popular and obscure video game franchises and individual video games, starting with an hour-long retrospective of the Fallout series.
After a successful Patreon campaign, he produced a trilogy of Travelogue videos collectively known as "the Triptych" (or "playtesting adventure", as he had dubbed it) which followed him, his wife, and his dog fulfilling Noah's lifelong dream of traveling across the western United States in a restored VW Bus.
Tropes found in Noah's videos:
- Analysis Channel: The channel's backbone are Noah's extensive critiques of individual video games and entire franchises, primarily Action and Horror Video Games, as well as classic Western RPGs and Immersive Sims.
- Armor-Piercing Question: Noah often uses his video game critiques to reflect on Real Life, as well, and when he doesn't have a good answer, he instead puts it into a question that strips the issue down to its very core and lets the audience ponder it with him (see the Quotes tab for some examples).
- Artifact Title: Noah formerly used "Broadcast Static" as his channel's until he began branding his videos with his own name instead.
- Author Filibuster: All of Noah's videos are lengthy, and more than once he dedicates a few minutes to relay either an opinion or personal story, although he attempts to make it pertinent to the video game in question. For instance, his review of Control includes his opinion about difficulty in games (and what it says about people who prefer either extreme), but he uses it to illustrate how accommodating and well-paced he felt the difficulty in that game was.
- Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy:
- Discussed in the Ghost Recon: Wildlands analysis, as he feels that playing as a squadron of ruthless American vigilantes killing genocidal Cartel hitmen across a poor South American nation without a hint of self-awareness or Lampshade Hanging is insensible at best and jingoistic and racist at worst, and makes it hard to get invested in the characters.
- He feels that Aiden Pierce of Watch_Dogs is one of the reasons its story didn't work as the developers wanted as Pierce is an unlikeable, self-serious, manipulative and selfish vigilante that only cares about his own personal vendetta against the people that killed his niece. The fact that the game does its damnest to avoid portraying Aiden in a bad light by always pitting him against worse people made Noah believe that the developers thought that players would find Aiden "cool", which ended not being the case as it ended causing him difficulty into caring about the world and the characters.
- Deadpan Snarker: Noah's narration is generally very even and factual, so on the occasions where he allows himself to sneak in a snark (usually directed at video game developers, publishers, or political figures), it often takes a second or two to register with the viewers.
- Old Guard Versus New Blood: A major theme of his Western RPGs retrospectives and reviews is the comparison between how RPGs were made and expected to be played in the 90s and from 2000s onward (for more background on this gap, see UsefulNotes.Western RPG). onward. He reviews them from the perspective of a player/fan of both the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop game and of its video games.
- In his Baldur's Gate retrospective, he goes to great lenghts to explain that old RPGs games were meant to last 40 to 70 hours, how leveling was painfully slow, how most combat situations always put the player's party in a disadvantage, how party members can be killed permanently during combat and most damming of all, how needlessly complex the THAC0 system was (which was used in all licensed D&D games), and believes that this was one of the reasons the Genre was overshadowed and later taken over by 3D sandbox and Action RPGs.
- He constantly compares Neverwinter Nights to future BioWare games such as Knights of the Old Republic (KotOR), Mass Effect and Dragon Age: Origins since Neverwinter Nights (and its expansions) serves as a weird bridge between the classic WRPGs and modern RPGs that's neither as complex as the Baldur's Gate series but not nearly as accessible as KotOR, Jade Empire and Mass Effect by comparing how the newer games make a conscious attempt to be accessible and are willing to take some liberties with gameplay rules and mechanics to make the game easier and faster to play while Neverwinter Nights insist on following the D&D rulebook to a teeth.
- Precision F-Strike: Noah doesn't swear a lot in his videos, but when he does, it serves to either emphasize the point he wants to make or as Brutal Honesty.
- Right for the Wrong Reasons: While calling out how Call of Juarez: The Cartel uses themes such as the drug war and police brutality in very poor taste and exaggerated manner, Noah points out that many of these things are based on actual problems that have been sensationalized by cable news, and The Cartel may very well be how other countries see the US."The Cartel says some of the most unflattering things I can think of regarding the American character, but how many of those things are fully untrue, once you get past the insult of having it said so plainly?"
- Shoo Out the Clowns: Downplayed. Early on, Noah tried to lighten up his videos with jokes here and there, but these were very hit-and-miss. After realizing that "being funny" is not a requirement for a good critique, he dropped them in favor of a more Deadpan Snarker approach.
- So Okay, It's Average:
- He believes Fallout 76 is this, mostly due to the game not pretending to be something it isn't (a Role-Playing game) and for its well-crafted open world. Keep in mind that he's a fan of the original Fallout, and he admits that 76 is the culmination of everything he dislikes about the Bethesda-made Fallout games.
- The Outer Worlds is what he expected it to be, yet it ended up disappointing him for its limited open world(s), enemy variety, and its gameplay trying to copy Fallout 3/New Vegas's clutter-based loot. Most importantly, he feels it has weak story choices note when choice "C" is the clear Golden Ending for the first two story arcs (Terra-2 and Monarch). While he does recommend the game for Fallout and RPG fans, he admits that he doesn't plan on completing another playthrough as he felt that he didn't miss much on his first and only playthrough.
- Stylistic Suck: Many of his videos open with a shot of some random items arranged to invoke the subject of the video and a sheet of paper with the title written on it, with some thematically appropriate music playing (in bad quality) in the background. This was originally owed to the fact that Noah had produced his videos on literally No Budget, but has since become a kind of a Signature Shot for him.
- They Copied It, Now It Sucks:
- His biggest complaint for Mass Effect: Andromeda was the developers' insistence in mirroring the first Mass Effect without expanding on its themes and tropes or creating something fully original for the new setting when they had a blank slate to work with. The fact that he spents an entire hour talking about it without going in-depth with the characters and sidestories shows how frustrated he was with the game.
- His biggest issue with Torment: Tides of Numenera was that it tried too hard to copy Planescape: Torment. Tides of Numenera was its own unique setting with a wholely unique setup for the protagonists nature, and yet it did the same thing as Planescape by making the protagonist connected to the Big Bad as a clone of it, similar to how the protagonist of Planescape was connected to the Big Bad as one of the various incarnations of it. Due to the changes in story and approach, it copying Planescape resulted in the story losing its writing quality as it lacked the same meaning since unlike with Planescape where the protagonist was dealing with its past, the protagonist of Tides of Numenera is not as connected.
- Travelogue Show: Noah was able to briefly branch out into the genre after taking his show "on the road" in 2017, producing a trilogy of videos he has since referred to as the "Triptych". He is particularly inspired by William Least Heat-Moon's books, and draws intentional parallels between Least Heat-Moon's concept of quoz (basically, any unexpected interesting things one discovers off the beaten path while traveling) and the way Wide Open Sandbox games like The Elder Scrolls structure their content. In "The Desert Bus", he brings up many quoz from his own travels that were functionally identical to encounters in Skyrim and concludes that the infamous joke game Desert Bus had been fundamentally wrong in its conception of Real Life travel as a boring chore and that realistic travel is much more akin to a densely-packed open world game instead.
- True Art Is Angsty:
- Invoked in his analysis of The Last of Us Part II, which he praised for not being a typical post-apocaliptic zombie story, for refusing to follow up the obvious story route set by its predecessor, and for being an author-focused story rather than one made to please fans. However, he also admits that this was the reason why the game caused such an aggressive backlash from many fans (except those he claims are just homophobic and transphobic assholes) who wanted to see the continuation of Joel and Ellie's story and not the story of someone whom they wronged and who retaliated against them to show the audience that revenge will only lead to more misery to everybody involved.
- Also invoked in his analysis of Disco Elysium, as the game's bleak tone and feeling that no matter what you do, a single person cannot change a society for the better not matter how hard it tries, is a major reason why the game is a piece of art clearly based on the personal beliefs and experiences of an individual with a vision.
- Viewers Are Geniuses: Since Noah's analyses are in-depth and several hours long, and he often quotes books and authors most people haven't even heard of (such as William Least Heat-Moon and his qouz), it usually takes at least one rewatch to catch all of the references.