Updated: Nov 20, 2020
Mario is a war criminal. The connection between Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 and the Vietnam War. Determining the number of health points of your pet rock. Believe it or not, all these pieces of pure fact have something in common. They were all discovered by one man, a man who goes by the name of Brian David Gilbert. I have been watching this man’s work for about a year now, and his content has helped me get through my anxiety problems and also question my sexuality. So, as a person who has been changed by this Marylander, it is my duty to spread the word of Brian David Gilbertism or BDGism, as one can call it. And to properly do so, I spent the past week watching every single one of his videos (I’m just kidding, I got tired after day 2) and found out the useful lessons you can take away from them.
First things first, let’s talk about the different versions of Brian David Gilbert. One can split up his work into three main categories, one for each of his first names. With some being more popular than the others, the three versions are Polygon Brian, Musical Brian, and Sketch Brian. You will be hearing about all three today, so let’s go ahead and start with Polygon Brian.
BDG lives in New York and works for the company Polygon. The company focuses on video game content, and BDG’s contribution to that is with his series “Unraveled.” Here, he connects a video game concept to a real-world concept, such as the Smash Bros. franchise to OSHA Violations. He wastes a lot of time as much as he does paper in this series. Polygon Brian was my first exposure to Brian David Gilbert; more specifically, the first video I saw of his work was his live Unraveled episode at PAX East. In this presentation, he talks about his process of making a better version of the famous “Pokérap”, showcasing his creative writing and musical theatre experience. Despite the main purpose, he’s able to sneak in a couple of off-topic but educational pieces of information into the presentation, such as poetic metrical feet and opiate addiction. The entire episode is even formatted around the Hero’s Journey template, a pattern used to write and create a stereotypical story about an adventure.
Speaking of Hero’s Journey, in his Kingdom Hearts episode, he tries to make sense out of the game’s timeline using it. He’s only able to do so by fitting smaller hero’s journeys into a bigger hero’s journey, and by connecting that to something he calls “The Villain’s Tridecagon.” Pretty advanced stuff, despite him calling it all “basic” story-telling. Granted, “The Villain’s Tridecagon” isn’t real, but props to him for at least making it up. While on the topic of storytelling, he dedicates another Unraveled episode to reading all 337 books from the video-game Skyrim, and only classifies a small fraction of them as good. He says that these books were good examples of writing flavor text, text that adds lore to a world, and creating unreliable narrators. Who knew the extra details in a game about a warrior’s ongoing quest to save the world from a dragon could also be used to teach people about fictional writing? The man who dedicated 8 hours every day until he read all the books, that’s who.
Enough about his formal job and his love for over-analyzing games, let’s discuss his musical career. Professionally, he’s part of a band called The Altogether with his roommate Jonah Scott. They’ve released an album this year titled Silo. Other than that, I wouldn’t consider them to be active, but that doesn’t mean their songs aren’t good. I can officially say I am obsessed with their song “Sophie” and another song BDG collaborated on called “Thumbnail”. Both songs touch on the topic of anxiety, specifically the anxiety of being in a relationship and public speaking respectively. And to match the quiet voice of an angsty teen like me, BDG brings a soft voice to both musical pieces that match the lyrics and overall style. BDG also made another song called “See the Day;” it’s about trying to get back up after falling into a deep sadness.
I mention this song because it relates to the third and last version of Brian, Sketch Brian. “See the Day” was used on the finale of his small series “Dances Moving.” The series’ main premise was to teach the viewer mediocre dance moves, but it also had a deeper meaning and was also formed around the Hero’s Journey plotline. As weird as it is on the surface, it’s a solid must-watch. Most of Brian’s side projects are posted on his personal channel, where he posts other sketches and random songs. Some of the songs, in particular, are quite educational in a weird way. After all, do you know a lot about shingles? Do you know a lot about politics in the United Kingdom as of July of 2016? I’m pretty sure you didn’t.
Now, Brian David Gilbert may not be for everyone, with his demographic being towards the gaming community and his content being on the PG-13 side. However, for a man who can
educate, sing, and bring laughter, you’re bound to find at least one video of his that you like. Now, in the words of BDG, I’m going to throw myself into the sea.