Video Games

8 Glorious Years of Zero Punctuation


Since 2007, Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw has graced The Escapist with his weekly fast-talking game critique, Zero Punctuation. With over 400 (FOUR HUNDRED) episodes to date, ZP has long been a fan – and staff, for that matter – favorite here at The Escapist. Given that this week marks a full decade of Escapist goodness, we thought it’d be fun to look back at the many wonderful years of Zero Punctuation.

Before we get to the beginning of Zero Punctuation on The Escapist, I’ll bet some of you are wondering where he came from. We surely didn’t somehow grow him in a vat in our secret underground laboratory, right? That’s at least 80% correct.

Back in 2007, The Escapist‘s Publisher Alexander Macris got tipped off to some guy with a couple of hilarious gaming videos on YouTube. Alexander showed it to The Escapist‘s original Editor in Chief, Julianne, who thought it was the best thing since the NES Zapper. They showed it to then-Acquisitions-Editor Russ Pitts, who was also delighted. Given how hard it had been to get everybody to agree on pizza toppings at lunch that day, this seemed like a sure thing. Within 48 hours of viewing the first ZP concept video, The Escapist and Yahtzee had struck a deal, and history had been made.

This is ZP’s origin story. This is Yahtzee’s giant vat of industrial waste. Or vial of ooze. Or radioactive spider. Or, you know, original concept videos. Keep scrolling for a timey-wimey jaunt through the years of Zero Punctuation on The Escapist!

It Begins


Zero Punctuation launched on The Escapist on August 15, 2007 with “Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff.” Not only was this the first ever Zero Punctuation episode. It was actually the first ever video published on site. Notice the numerical slug in the URL, and how it says “1”? That’s pretty neat.


ZP’s meme generation capabilities hadn’t really been explored as yet, but there is no denying that 2008 was *the* year for memeification of ZP quotes. In fact, despite hundreds of episodes since, the Glorious PC Gaming Master Race quip continues to be relevant and hilarious to this day. It’s so pervasive, in fact, that many people use the phrase and have absolutely no idea that it started with Yahtzee.


In 2009, Yahtzee opted to take a lighter look at the end-of-year awards process. Naturally, there’s a bit less pomp and circumstance here, and I’m not sure whether any of the developers ended up taking him up on the offer for them to construct their own trophies, but the accolades are genuine ZP through and through.


I don’t know the backstory for this video, but I remember when it happened, and having just rediscovered it, I’m so very glad that it did. This was a very special bonus April Fools Day episode, and the only episode of ZP that you’ll probably have to turn off halfway through.


2011 was a great year in games, and nothing highlighted that fact moreso than Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the predecessor to the oft-maligned Elder Scrolls Online. Yahtzee reviewed Skyrim, and I’ll just leave it at that.


This year marked the first opportunity for the largest majority of Yahtzee’s fans to actually meet him in person at the first ever Escapist Expo. Fans from around the world (At least as far as Sweden. Hi, [user=Zwomp]!) converged on Durham, North Carolina for a weekend of panels, cosplay, and gaming. Good times had by all. Also, here’s a ZP from 2012. Yes, it’s Mass Effect 3. No, I’m not sorry.


With the announcements of the first new generation of consoles since Zero Punctuation‘s creation, Yahtzee couldn’t very well not address that, now could he? He’ll later do a more informed video on the new console generation, but he did what he could with the information available for this one. And it’s better for it, I promise.


With E.T. The Extra Terrestrial making headlines (as the worst – but fortunately buried, but unfortunately unburied – game ever) Yahtzee decided to take a break from indie filler, and go straight to the source, reviewing a 30 year old game. Also, as the :37 mark proves, Yahtzee clearly missed his calling for advertising jingles.


We’ve done spinoffs before, but none quite so breathtakingly marvelous as 2015’s Yahtzee-created video series, Judging by the Cover. Think spending four minutes analyzing the box art of a video game sounds boring? Yeah, it kind of does. Which is why this is so delightfully entertaining.

Best. Episode. Ever.

Ever curious about what the most popular episode of ZP ever was? This episode has had the top spot since I started watching the list a couple years ago. It’s got staying power, that’s for sure. Based on the numbers, you’ve almost certainly seen this before, but here’s your chance to watch it again!

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