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The Yogscast is an online collective of eight gamers who host and produce Let’s Play videos on YouTube. Created by Lewis “Xephos” Brindley and Simon “Honeydew” Lane, the Yogscast is best known for its coverage of Minecraft, but has also featured World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, Diablo III and other popular massively multiplayer online games in their videos.
Lewis Brindley and Simon Lane created the YouTube channel BlueXephos on July 9th, 2008, using the acronym Y.O.G.S. from the name of their former Something Awful-organized World of Warcraft guild, Ye Olde Goone Squade. According to the Yogscast FAQ, they came up with the idea after Brindley took notice of Lane’s ability to provide unique commentary while playing games and wanted to share his humor with a broader audience through YouTube. Their first video was a play-through guide for conquering the World of Warcraft boss Kalecgos. As of August 2012, the video has more than 384,000 views.
On Feburary 5th, 2009, the group began a spinoff podcast series titled “YoGPoD,” featuring discussion of world events and personal news, as well as fan questions and answers. In 2011, YouTuber FredMalm began animating some of the stories told during the podcasts. As of August 2012, there are nearly 50 animations for the 88 recorded episodes.
Shadow of Israphel
Shadow of Israphel is a separate comedy-drama series, in which Lewis and Simon play a spaceman named Xephos and a Honeydew the dwarf who find themselves stranded in a fictional world called Minecraftia. The characters are faced with a mission to save the world from Israphel, a Creeper-like character out to destroy the world. As of August 2012, the show has 42 episodes split across three seasons.
On April 6th, 2012, the Yogscast launched a Kickstarter campaign to create their own open world sandbox adventure game, Yogventures. It surpassed its goal of $250,000 on May 6th, 2012, raising $567,665 to fund the creation of the game. At E3 2012, the group had a booth where they revealed the first demo of the game. Planned features for the game include zombies, crystal harvesting, carnivorous plants, ice and fire biomes and character customization. As of August 2012, the game is still in development but their official website is accepting pre-orders for the open beta, scheduled to be released in January 2013. However, on July 7th, 2014 the Yogscast announced that the game was stopping development due to several complications including the rising costs, difficulties in programming the game, and many of the developers leaving the project. After the announcement, many took to Youtube comments to protest the decision, citing the large amount of funds put into the game development via Kickstarter that would not be returned.
On October 8th, 2011, Yogscast published a video to celebrate the milestone of breaking 1 million subscribers. On July 9th, 2012, which marked the channel’s 4th anniversary of launch, the channel broke 2 million subscribers. As of August 2012, BlueXephos has 2,201,441 subscribers and 1,204,071,283 views across their 1619 videos, averaging out to approximately 806,478 views per day. The Facebook fan page has almost 75,000 likes while the fan page for their podcast has 194,000 likes. The group also maintains an official Twitter, which has nearly 252,000 followers. There is also a YogWiki and a forum where fans, known as Yognauts, convene.
Issues With Notch
At the second annual Minecon in November 2011, several members of The Yogscast were invited as special guests to host a panel on their show. Instead of doing a Q&A, the crew chose to show videos instead. On November 21st, 2011, Notch made several tweets stating that he was disappointed in the behavior of the Yogscast crew, noting that they were the only people who demanded to be paid to attend the convention, calling them “an isolated island of egos.” The same day, a Minecon staff member submitted a Reddit post, calling the team “self-entitled pricks” who “acted like they were the Kings of Minecraft.” However, these reports were refuted by another Minecon staffer in the comments, who was supposedly escorting the team around the event. These accusations were covered by gaming site Edge, Nerd-Age, Crafthub and appeared in discussion threads on the Yogscast Forum and Neogaf.
Due to their travelling from the convention in Las Vegas back home to England, the Yogscast was not able to issue an official response to the tweets until two days later on November 23rd via Reddit and YouTube (shown above). In the video, Brindley and Lane stated that they were not paid, nor did they demand to be, and that the things Notch attributed to them in the tweets were not said or published by them. Following their response, Notch apologized via Twitter, calling his initial response a “stress related misunderstanding.”
Diggy Diggy Hole
In Shadow of Israphel’s eighth episode (shown below, left), posted in February 2011, Lewis and Simon must dig to proceed on their quest. While doing so, Simon begins repeating “diggy diggy hole” in a singsong manner. The phrase caught on with fans of the series and six months later, other YouTubers began posting their own versions of the song, either via animation or recreated in Minecraft (shown below, right).