Say Hello To Brad Colburn (aka The Rad Brad), King Of YouTube Gameplay Walkthroughs

Rad Brad - Youtube Gaming Walkthroughs

What started out as fun and excitement on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has now blossomed into a lucrative dream job for Bradley “The Rad Brad” Colburn. His earliest videos date back two years ago, but according to Brad, he began his addictive “Let’s Play” Youtube walkthroughs back in April 2010. Brad’s gameplay videos lead the viewer through a virtual, blind adventure, while he makes humorous, even entertainingly profane outbursts, whimsical references or relatable, reflective anecdotes as part of his unpredictable commentary.

With over 327 million views to date and over 780,000 loyal subscribers and counting, The Rad Brad is a popular gaming sensation, who has a lot of interesting things to say, while playing some of the most popular games available. He’s documented his gameplay walkthroughs for entertainment titles of different genres, from Silent Hill HD Collection and Amnesia to Borderlands 2 and Metal Gear Rising, and even independent games and game modifications (mods) like Slender and Cry of Fear, to name a few (if you’re not familiar with some of these titles, be sure to check them out).

Brad is currently playing titles like Bioshock Infinite and God of War: Ascension, proficiently breaking chairs (his self-proclaimed trademark), keeping up with his fans via Facebook, Twitter and even snail mail… so, what’s next for The Rad Brad channel? Brad, himself, tells us a little about his journey and the future.

How did you get started on YouTube doing gameplay videos?

Oh man. Well, what it was, in April of 2010, I was working at Best Buy and it was one of those things where I was in college and basically, I had a lot of free time. So, I went on YouTube one day — and everybody was into Modern Warfare 2 at the time and everybody was talking about the gameplays that people were posting. I watched some and thought it was kind of entertaining. They were playing and just kind of talking over it. I was bored one day and I just tried it. I remember recording stuff; I bought all kinds of equipment just trying to make a montage, you know? I had a gameplay that I posted and a friend of mine was like, “Hey man, you wanna stand out you gotta put some commentary over that.” I didn’t wanna do all that, but I wouldn’t have tried it if I hadn’t gotten so much positive feedback. I didn’t really take it seriously for the first six or seven months, but it was fun. I didn’t spend that much time on it; I just kind of did it on the side. I didn’t make any money from it, not for the first year. I was just having fun.

When did you decide to keep going with it and turn it into a career?

I graduated Fall 2011. I had quit working for Best Buy, and Machinima contacted me July or August of 2010 and said “Hey, we’d like to hire you for our director program,” and I didn’t know what that meant. I made them a video and submitted it via drop box and they would post it on their channel and I thought I’d make money off that video. I didn’t and thought “Well, that was a waste of time…” And then, November of that year, they said I’d have my own channel; I wouldn’t have to submit videos to them anymore. They said, “Anything you upload, you can make money”. That was back when I had 10,000 subscribers. I was hardly making anything at the start, I was just doing it for fun, but I’m still making more and more. It’s kind of a snowball effect because the videos I posted two years ago still make money because people still watch them.

What process do you go through when picking a game to play for your channel?

It’s tough because I’ve gone through different phases, like there was a time when I liked playing scary games for a while. I do like to do a good variety. Like the past several months, I’ve been doing newer games because it’s hotter stuff that people are trying to find and it’s not that they get more views; I just have a problem going back and playing a game that I played when I was little. If I’ve played it before, I can’t be as authentic with it. Like, it took everything out of me to go back and play the first Dead Space; that was a big game for me. That was the first big series that I ever did, but I couldn’t — for the life of me — go back and play the first one without it feeling forced. I know that with new video games, I’m never going to run into that.

When I visited the “Gaming” link for YouTube’s homepage, most of the videos were on Minecraft, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, League of Legends, Battlefield 3, Injustice: Gods Among Us, Starcraft II, etc. What’s your take on doing or not doing games like Minecraft or other MMORPG’s on your channel?

There are so many channels that do it. When it came out, everybody started playing it immediately. I know several other channels, all they do is Minecraft. A lot of people get a lot of views just doing those types of videos. I’m the type where I don’t like playing the same game over and over. I noticed that those people who built their channels around one game, if they ever try to play anything else, they get criticized for it. That’s kind of why I shied away from doing Call of Duty videos and started doing stuff like Dead Rising and Silent Hill. I didn’t wanna be that guy: “Oh, all you play is Call of Duty“. I wanna be known for more than just one game. The fact that it’s more than a hobby for me now, like it’s a career in a way, it’s just strange and I thought, “Well, a lot of people don’t like going to the same cubicle every day and doing the exact same thing, like playing Minecraft, that’s what it’s going to be, just playing Minecraft…”

Where did the chair-throwing trademark come from?

You know, it’s strange because I don’t really know where it came from. The first part of the series, Cry of Fear, that I did, I legitimately got so scared when that face popped up. At first, I was terrified and then I got mad. There was a phrase I took out during that video because I didn’t want to offend anybody. When that face popped up, I said “Oh my f***ing Godd*****!” I said those exact words, but I took it out because I don’t know who watches my videos, like people talking about, “Me and my grandma are big fans of yours”. I don’t want to overly cuss, like when I talk about stuff I try not to overly exaggerate anything, but if I get scared, I’m gonna let one go.

What’s the history behind it, and how do you feel it applies to your channel and your gameplay experiences?

You know, I wish I could just find a graphic designer, that way I could make shirts with this stuff on it. I get people all the time asking for stuff like that. I had a graphic designer before, but it kind of fell through; she had her own job and she made one shirt and that was it. Since then, I haven’t really thought about it. It’s crazy ’cause I can joke about it on Twitter, like if something’s bothering me, I can do a little annotation like “*flips chair, throws it*” or something like that, and people love that. And, I try to do that same thing. When I got scared a few times, legitimately, I’d pick up my computer chair and throw it across my apartment in a fit of rage and I didn’t think I was still recording, I didn’t even care about that. But then, I went back and watched it and was like “Oh man, maybe I should keep that in there”, so I almost didn’t have that in the video. I almost re-did it, but I figured I’d let it go for now. It was definitely funny.

What’s your favorite game that you’ve done on your channel thus far?

Oh man… To be perfectly honest, I’ve played a lot of games, in case you haven’t noticed. Like, a lot of these games are long-term. I think Silent Hill Downpour was one of my favorite games from last year. Walking Dead from Tell-Tale Games was good. The problem with that was how they were releasing the episodes. With the first one, I uploaded it the minute it came out, just to try it and it did really well; then episode two, the second it came out, but the problem was I played on PC for that series. The thing is, Steam or whatever thing I was using to get it, it came out on console two days before it came out on PC. I did that a lot, so other people would be posting it, and they’re like “Brad, where are you at? How come you haven’t done it yet?” And I’m like, “Well it’s not here for me yet!” Heavy Rain was good, and that was the first series where my girlfriend actually joined me. Nothing’s really stood out to me this year, not yet. Catherine is another favorite of mine, like in my top three. It came out and I noticed that nobody was doing it, so I went and bought it and just tried it. At first, people hated it, like the first few parts, and I just kept cranking out videos, and after the fourth or fifth video, people couldn’t get enough. Like even to this day, I don’t have videos that get that amount of views that quickly.

Least favorite?

Duke Nukem Forever. I didn’t even have to look at my list!

Are there any older games in particular that you’re dying to play and put on your channel?

Oh yeah, definitely. The first Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil 1, 2, and 3. I’ve played them all in the past when I was little, but I’d like to play them again. There are some games I haven’t tried, like I’d like to go back and play the earlier Grand Theft Auto games, like Vice City.

What’s your process for recording your walkthroughs?

I have to get my voice ready. I can’t record late at night ’cause my voice gets too deep, and I can’t record too early in the morning. So, there’s a certain time when I can do these videos. Some videos I don’t have a choice, like if something comes out at midnight, I’m gonna have to go out and buy it at midnight and then record as soon as possible. A lot of times, I can get stuff early through developers who send me stuff. It’s a gradual process. My girlfriend will help me. She’s been like my secretary, I just never told anybody. I started a corporation for myself, so I’m the president; I work for TRB Productions, Inc. That’s the official name of the company that I work for, which is me, I’m the company. And through that, we have a set schedule, like we’ll get up and go do stuff for a bit ’cause I don’t like being cooped up inside all day. And then, I’ll record for a few hours, and then while I edit the videos, ’cause they take so long to get done, we’ll go out and do whatever for a couple hours and come back and I’ll upload everything. I can schedule stuff with YouTube, like if we wanna go away for a weekend, I’ll take a Thursday and record like a madman and have videos scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I actually did that last weekend. It appears like I’m actually there, but I’m not always there.

How long does it take?

I spend so much time recording and editing these videos.. I put so much polish on each video. Even, if I put up five videos in one day, I still feel like I’m letting people down. If I put five videos up in one day, I spend all day inside making these videos. I have to edit them, I have to make sure the brightness is good on all of them; I have to make sure my voice isn’t too loud against the game volume… I spend so much time on each individual part and then I spend time ripping all the videos — and I don’t have the best computer either. So, that takes a while and then the upload, if my internet’s not doing good… It’s a lot of waiting around. It’s not a daunting task, but it is tedious because there’s so much. There’s the recording, which is the easiest part, believe it or not… I don’t think about anything when I’m recording, I just start talking, you know? Going into each video, I don’t know what I’m going to say and I never go back and edit out anything. I like to be authentic all the way around. I don’t know what I say half the time when I play the videos. It’s just time-consuming.

Has the difficulty of the process lessened over the course of your YouTube career?

You know, it’s tough. I had a corporate job lined up, but I was making more doing this — and I’m not saying I make a lot, but the job I had, at the time, was part-time and it wasn’t ever going to turn into anything else. And I just thought I’d roll the dice and see if I could do what I did in a year there, in a year here. And when I started out, I was really nervous. The first few months were kind of rough and I was wondering, “Why did I do this?” That was like early last year when I didn’t try to show a lot of videos, but over time, I mean there’s a gradual process. Like right now, I was gonna record in a little bit, but I’m not feeling it, so I just don’t do it. It’s not a daunting task or anything; I just have to be in the mood to do it. It’s not like I can just do it anytime. There are times when I record too much and I’m just like “Alright, I’m done; I have nothing else to say” (laughs).

I visited many other channels, whose hosts had a webcam view of them playing the game and/or their voices were highly exaggerated, as far as the entertainment aspect of keeping the viewer engaged in the video. What do you feel sets your channel apart from other gameplay walkthrough channels on YouTube?

I have no problems with anyone. The thing is, sometimes I feel like if I keep it too real, like to myself, then it can get boring, but it seems like a lot of people think different. They’re like, “We don’t want you screaming and jumping up, throwing your arms in the air with a face cam”. Everybody has their own style. There was a phase where copying was a big issue, like people say, “Well you played the same game as someone else, that’s copying”, but I mean, there were certain people who were playing certain games and getting popular; I’m not gonna name any names, but that was a big issue for a while and that’s also a reason why I stuck to new games. I like quality, I like giving people an experience. Some people will play games and it’ll be super low and the video will just be about that person playing it rather than the game. I try to make it where the game is still really loud and to where — as long as they can bear my voice, I try not to talk during cut scenes — I try to make it to where you experience the game for the first time, as I do for the first time. Some people cut off their videos mid-sentence, like I try to have an intro and outro where it’s its own entity. One comment I saw that someone wrote, it said, “Brad, you’re a poor man’s GameStop”, and that’s because not a lot of people can afford games. They’re $60 dollars now! You know, when I worked at Best Buy, I didn’t buy every game and I was making decent money there, even though I didn’t like it. I try to stay on top of the newer stuff to where people can watch the first video. If you like it, you can keep watching it; if you want to experience it for yourself, that’s fine. I try to give people a view of the start of a game and then a review of the game.

Another thing — I don’t like doing face time. All the time, people always want me to do face cam or want me to do more vlogs (video blogs). The thing is, the first time people saw me, they thought “Holy sh**!” you know? “He’s not some big guy”. Most of the time people think full-time gamers are people who drink Mountain Dew all day or eat Dorito’s, like the stereotype that they live in their mom’s basement and are overweight and everything. They saw me and I’m this normal guy, like an athletic build and everything, and I’m tall too, so people look at me and nobody knows who I am and I kind of like that. I’ve had fans find me before, like I went to a midnight release for a game and like two people in line were like “Oh sh**! It’s The Rad Brad!”, and then I was at a Mexican restaurant one time, and as I was about to leave, this guy comes up to me and he goes, “Are you The Rad Brad?” Maybe I’ll do face time in the future, but I like to stay hidden. I don’t like taking up half the screen, can’t see the game…

How does it feel to have over 780,000 subscribers (and counting)?

It’s a freak of nature. If I ever knew it would turn into this I would’ve chosen a different name. I look at it and it’s just a number on a screen. If I really just sit there and try to think about numbers, it kind of scares me a little bit. Not only that, but also how many video views I have. I haven’t altered anything. If tomorrow, people decided “Well I don’t wanna watch you anymore”, they could click away and I wouldn’t have a job. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t have a video or something that’s saying “Thank you” at the start of the game, because legitimately, the only reason why I have this is ’cause of people. If I didn’t have people with me, I wouldn’t exist. I wouldn’t have this whole alternate universe of gaming and commentary; this would not be happening. I’d be stuck at some cubicle somewhere, hating my boss or something. I couldn’t do it! I would go absolutely nuts if I was in something like that. You know, I did it for over a year and I was fine with it, it wasn’t as bad as I had ever imagined. I mean, I totally respect people who do IT work. I think my biggest pain was downtown Atlanta traffic. Nine o’clock in the morning and then five o’clock in the afternoon. If I was at work and leaving at four, I might as well stay ’til seven. It was that bad.

What do you like most about your loyal fans?

I think they like [my girlfriend], except for the end of Heavy Rain. I had to disable comments. I was watching her play and they were hatin’ all over her. I came back for the ending and everything was fine, but she, for the most part, doesn’t do a lot of the playing if she joins me; it’s still me playing. And, I think that works better because we’ve played games not on video and she’s not good with the two thumb sticks at once, she can’t do it. She doesn’t play at all, like we’ll play Guitar Hero together. I play a lot of games outside of stuff. She’ll play Plants vs. Zombies on her phone, that’s about as much as she gets. I have a lot of fans who send me stuff to my P.O. Box and two weeks ago, I got a letter. It had like a love letter for me from someone and then it had a pen or something and it had a note on it, it said “This is for your girlfriend”. The girl had written me, but she got [my girlfriend] a gift ’cause I had said something in a video about how she’s always liked one thing or whatever. And so it’s funny, people respond — just about every letter I’ve gotten, people say, “You’re awesome and tell your girlfriend she’s awesome as well”. Some people don’t realize that she’s the one reading this fan mail. I try to keep up with it, but between Facebook messages, YouTube private messages, emails, tweets and comments on videos, I’m swamped trying to reply back to people!

How have they responded to past videos where you’re girlfriend has guest-starred?

It’s funny, a lot of people don’t know my girlfriend’s black. She’s like the voice of everybody else who are in the comment section. She’s always been really helpful and supportive and what’s awesome is she was there even before I started making money from anything, you know? I don’t know how she sees it from her eyes, but it’s given us a better life, something I can build around. Like, if she were to get a job in a different state, I wouldn’t have to stay here in Georgia; I could actually go with her and take my stuff there.

Would you let her play Ni No Kuni on your channel just once?

She got stuck on a boss on that game. She rage quit. She said the game had way too much unnecessary dialogue. I told her, “You should totally make a video on that”, and she’s like, “Oh I don’t know how it would work and it’s long and it’s boring sometimes”. I’m like, “We can do just one video” and I’ve tried to get her to do one series that’s just her and I would love to see how that goes. That’s for the future, maybe after we get this new place. The reason she hasn’t done any with me lately is because we don’t have enough space for recording, like I’ve been recording out of my bedroom. So, it’s not a lot of space and then even with her, it’s just so cramped.

How difficult was it to get used to talking during an entire walkthrough video?

Now, I have a little more structure. It just depends on what type of game I’m playing. If I’m playing something scary, it brings better commentary out of me. Certain games, to be honest, I’ll get to the point where I’m enjoying the game that I’m just so chilled back. But, I wanna make a video and I might not have much to say, so I don’t like forcing anything out. I’m not always interesting. Sometimes, I’ll be like, “I don’t know why someone would watch this video”; it was boring to me. I couldn’t sit through my own videos sometimes, but that was my older stuff. I try to critique it to where now, going into a video, I try to be hyped up; I try to be energetic, have stage awareness, and at least, have a few key points written down on a piece of paper, that way if I start getting side-tracked, I can look down at a certain word or phrase and think ,”Oh yeah! I gotta talk about this” and, you know, I’ll just start talking, but most of the time I just freestyle it.

What are your short and long-term goals as far as your channel is concerned?

You know, it’s crazy ’cause people always think if you start getting subscribers, they’ll post a comment saying “Please go check out my videos”. It doesn’t really bother me but when I first started, I didn’t have any help. I got a shout out from one person one time and that gave me a few hundred people, and that was when I had 500 subscribers, so that didn’t really set the tone for everything else. It hasn’t affected me too much as far as subscriber amounts or anything but it definitely is challenging because if I started this tomorrow, with nobody – I wouldn’t get back to where I was. As far as long-term goals, I’d like to eventually be well-established for someone who does this, kind of like IGN or anybody who does walkthroughs, like a company. I have people tell me I’m better than most of the companies, and I don’t try to rub that in to anybody but I think it’s awesome that I have such a strong following that I can pretty much upload anything and people will like it. They’re there for me, but they’re also there for the experience of the game I’m playing. It’s not always the games they care about, whereas other times it could be. Short-term goals? Keep up with all these games. Long-term, I’d like to branch out and do more than just video games. I’m a huge movie person, and I love music. I’d like to keep it in the media center as far as gaming and making movies. Maybe make a second channel, do more vlogs… I always talk about this stuff but I never do it. Someday it’ll click.

Just for fun (since BallerStatus.com is an online hip-hop magazine), do you have a favorite rapper or lyricist?

Kendrick Lamar. It’s funny, we’re like the same age and we have the same middle name; my middle name is Lamar as well. I like his type of storytelling, like Good Kid, M.A.A.D City; I’ve been listening to that for a long time. I do think the new Macklemore guy is pretty good. I guess he’s not quite as aggressive as Eminem to me, but I think he definitely has a big future in hip-hop. And I’m a huge fan of Drake, I listen to him. I don’t know if everyone considers him rap, some people consider him R&B. What’s up with the whole ‘started from the bottom’ thing? He started from Degrassi. I’m gonna go back to when I was like in second or third grade when I listened to Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Crossroads was on the radio and I used to record it on cassette so I could go back and listen to it. I’m a huge fan of T.I. His new album’s alright, but I like some of his older stuff. The most recent one, it’s got, I don’t know… He just got out of jail, why would you talk about guns? Stay clear of all that, you know?

For more on “The Rad Brad”, visit his Youtube channel at Youtube.com/TheRadBrad, or follow him on Twitter @ThaRadBrad.

33 comments
  1. Brad is my idol. Don’t know if you’re going to read this but congrats on all that has happened to you with your channel. You earned it man and keep doing what you do. Have fun!

  2. 1.943 million now. I’ve been following his walkthroughs for about 2 years and I’ve always been entertained. I hope he’ll keep it up and keeps growing.

  3. I have been following since the release of Halo 4. He definitely puts all other walkthroughs to shame. I wait for new videos that he releases.

  4. he is awesome and I am watching the amazing spider man 2!

  5. your cool man please shot me out in one of your videos please man im a big
    fan and say hey to mrblackout for me on DAYZ because I watch your videos of that
    to and please make a new video of grandtheftauto5 with franklin with doing messions just play around please man thanks your awesome.

  6. well he has come up big times since this was written. as of 11/20/15 he has 5,287,473 subscribers and counting. Im a fan damnit :)

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