Clueless Gamer with Conan O’Brien. ©

Game reviewers express their professional opinion on upcoming and recently released video games. They can help fellow players make an educated decision when purchasing a game, by highlighting the pros and cons. Conan O’Brien is a clueless gamer and the manner in which he reviews games is original to say the least. Having said this, the short videos posted on his official YouTube channel Team Coco have plenty of followers who anxiously wait for each new release.

What’s the informative value of clueless gamer reviews?

A quick glance at the videos will highlight the fact that Conan O’Brien Clueless Gamer is mostly bashing the games reviewed, albeit in a funny manner. Critical reviews written by professionals are supposed to sound and feel impartial, while trying to be politically correct. Basically, most of the funny remarks made by the late-night show host would never pass the editorial board, at least not without some heavy editing.

While the entertaining value of Conan’s reviews is unmistakable, the question is whether these articles hold any informative value. A savvy player will be able to distinguish between the games that he actually played and the handful of titles that were pitched to him by the staff. Even so, the fact that O’Brien isn’t an avid player, but a clueless gamer means that his conclusions are not influenced by his experiences with other games.

The one-liners and astute observations are the consequence of his first impression and rely less on the hands-on experience. Conan can say the things that reviewers cannot, while also highlighting some of the flaws that the latter surely notice, but don’t bother mentioning. Fans of a particular genre, will no longer observe the game mechanics common to all the games in the niche. For a clueless gamer like O’Brien, they stand out like a sore thumb and he instinctively brings them up by overstating the obvious.

Games like World of Warcraft, Fallout 4, Mortal Kombat X, Grand Theft Auto V, Doom and WWE 2K14 were featured in his clueless gamer videos. These high-scoring games were not given the VIP treatment they usually enjoy when reviewed by professional. Despite their sheer quality and dominance of their niches, Conan focused on their minuses, in what was a rare and welcomed reality check. This doesn’t diminish their quality in any way, as they are still great games, but it’s definitely amusing to see them mocked a bit.

Clueless gamer reviews that expand the player base

The odds of regular people landing on professional video game review websites are slim to none. It is even less likely for non-gamers to check out the latest titles by their own volition, so the community usually grows from inside. Conan O’Brien however is watched by people who appreciate quality humor, regardless of their affinity for the niche of video gaming. You don’t need to be an avid player to enjoy the show and the fact that the previews are shorter than 10 minutes makes them even more enjoyable.

His clueless gamer reviews are unlikely to sway savvy players, as they usually get their information from other websites and already know a great deal about the video games. On the other hand, some of those who watch the videos on YouTube might find the graphics, plot or gameplay intriguing and give it a chance. Contrary to what some might assume, most gamers have a good sense of humor and they don’t mind the fact that O’Brien makes fun of them quite often.

Despite the fact that O’Brien doesn’t make inside jokes, gamers are more likely to find the videos funny, because they can relate to these jokes. It also helps that Conan doesn’t take himself seriously and does his best to get fully immersed into the gaming experience. The unintended side effect of the YouTube videos is that they paint the community and the video games in colors that will catch the eye of outsiders and invite them to join.

Does the clueless gamer have a hidden agenda?

So far we’ve talked mostly about the informative value of his clueless gamer reviews and the impact on the gaming community. It’s time to answer the main question and find out why is Conan O’Brien reviewing video games in the first place? The obvious answer is that he does what he knows best and keeps his audience entertained, by presenting video games in a different light than professional reviewers. It’s hard to argue with this theory, since the show is equally popular among gamers and non-gamers of all ages.

Conspiracy theory fans might argue that he is actually advancing the interests of certain game developers and publishers. One argument is that almost a third of the games showcased are featured because the ones promoting them are paying for screen time. The remaining video games are the most anticipated ones of the year, or titles that have already sent shockwaves throughout the community of gamers. They already have a dedicated fan base, so the corresponding videos are guaranteed to be watched by tens of thousands.

Some developers have confirmed the fact that they paid O’Brien to have their games promoted. To some extent, it makes sense that the TV show host tries to narrow down the search for new games, with so many to choose from. Problems would arise if in exchange of the fee paid by the developers, he would praise certain games or even worse, recommend them over competitors. However, the segments are satirical and Conan makes fun of most games, rather than endorsing them in any way.

His lack of experience as a game reviewer makes his opinion less relevant for those trying to differentiate between existing games. Most of the time is spent mocking the co-host, making fun of the game or himself and this pattern applies to all video games. Some might even say that paying for the privilege of having your game featured in the Clueless Gamer videos is a two-edged sword. On one hand, you get the world to notice your game, on the other you risk having Conan bashing it in front of this big crowd.