Greetings, Reddit. We are the team behind 8-Bit Philosophy (http://youtube.com/wisecrack), the YouTube show that uses classic video games to introduce some of the world’s greatest thinkers! AUA! (Oh, and we need another writer!)

  • Jared Bauer – Show Creator & Director
  • Nathan Lowe – Narrator
  • Mia Wood – Academic Advisor & Co-Writer
  • Matt Reichle – Head Writer & Animation Consultant
  • MB X. McClain – Animation Producer
  • David Krystal – Composer Extraordinaire
  • Jacob Salamon – Producer & Designer
  • Ivan Power-Kronick – Channel Manager

PROOF: https://twitter.com/8BitPhilosophy/status/588867188011831296

UPDATE: This has been a lot of fun, guys. Thanks for hanging out with us. We’re always looking for new, interesting topics to cover, so don’t hesitate to recommend something. You can send us suggestions on Facebook (http://facebook.com/8bitphilosophy) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/8bitphilosophy). Also, if you’re interested in joining our crew as a writer, we could use some help. Let us know! Anywho, new episodes are released on Sundays on our YouTube channel. And you can watch our latest episode (“Can We Trust The News?”) here now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RwhEHzuulA. Cheers!

Comments: 118 • Responses: 40  • Date: 

Supesu_Dandi11 karma

Any plans for exploring Stoicism or Marcus Aurelius?

8BitPhilosophy12 karma

Mia: YES! We love us some stoics!!

Tangent_Sphere9 karma

Which episode's content was the hardest for you to write? What philosophy that you've covered did you find the most novel/interesting?

8BitPhilosophy11 karma

Jared: That's a tough question. There have been a lot of episodes that were written but have never went in to production because I couldn't find a way to make it interesting or accessible. Specifically Wittgenstein, Hegel's master/slave dialectic, Gettier cases to name a few.

Heidegger's Dasein episode was a pain in my ass.

Matt: I just finished writing an episode on Deleuze and Guattari and it kicked my ass.

BenMcLean5 karma

Watch Star Trek Enterprise episode "Bound" for inspiration from how Star Trek writers made Hegel's master-slave dialectic accessible.

8BitPhilosophy5 karma

Jared: Cool. I will.

waldowherethere7 karma

What's the animation process like?

8BitPhilosophy13 karma

MB: 8bit philosophy is animated using a laptop from 1999 and actual NES development software, the reason it looks so authentic is because it is an authentic videogame with no programming added. The animation process typically takes about 5 days with the most difficult part being creation of new assets.

Jared: MB is a mix between a hacker and an animator

werrt12347 karma

Can you do a video on Buddha? Also do you watch School of Life's videos?

8BitPhilosophy13 karma

Jared: We've been meaning to do an episode on Eastern philosophy for a while, but just haven't gotten around to it. Mostly because our two writers are mostly trained in the western traditions.

Yes, we're good friends with Alain de Botton and we're planning to collab with him soon.

Emthree37 karma

Any chance of covering either

Philosophy in the Bedroom by the Marquis de Sade, wherein the author insists that libertinism and anti-morality (a la cynicism) is the best way to a prosperous society?

V for Vendetta by Alan Moore, a conversation piece about anarchism vs. fascism?

8BitPhilosophy13 karma

Jared: V for Vendetta is something we'd probably cover on Thug Notes, so no plan to do it for 8-bit. de Sade sounds fun to me. I'm a big fan of the movie Salo so I would love to cover de Sade.

Artaud617 karma

Not to be that guy but would y'all look into doing episodes on different sub-sects of the Marxist movement?

8BitPhilosophy19 karma

Mia: Yes, we will look in to it. Do people think we're way lefties? Just because we don't cover Ayn Rand doesn't mean we're Marxists. it just means she's not a real philosopher.

BenMcLean-1 karma

Just because we don't cover Ayn Rand doesn't mean we're Marxists.

Let's see ... "What is Marxism?" "Is Capitalism Bad for You?" "Does Privilege Matter?" "Is the American Dream a Sham?" -- you could've fooled us.

it just means she's not a real philosopher.

Ayn Rand is clearly, in fact, a real philosopher. You can't write books with titles like "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology", "The Romantic Manifesto: A Philosophy of Literature", "For the New Intellectual: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand" and "Philosophy: Who Needs It" without being a philosopher. Those are, in fact, books about philosophy which makes them philosophy books. And an author of philosophy books is a philosopher by definition.

You can't just arbitrarily exclude people from that category just because they're rejected by academia, even though I acknowledge she was rejected by academia for good reasons. Ayn Rand was not an academic philosopher.

Ayn Rand was a bad philosopher.

8BitPhilosophy8 karma

Mia: Just because you attempt to do it doesn't mean you're DOING it. I can attempt to be a professional basketball player, but no matter how horrible I am at basketball, that doesn't mean that I'm doing it... it means I'm NOT doing it.

backstreets_937 karma

Hey guys big fan,

My question is in regards to the games that you choose to represent certain philosophers/ways of thinking. Is there a method to why you choose certain games (Zelda for Plato, River City Ransom for Heidegger) to represent certain thinkers?

Thanks! Keep up the good work!

8BitPhilosophy9 karma

Matt: We tend to try to find games that are iconic and that have images or scenes that fit with the concepts that we cover. We tend to try to find games that fit with the general feel of the philosophy that we are covering. At this point we have a sort of ‘cannon’ working with the games and philosophers that create some continuity and that helps.

Jared: It's a bit more arbitrary than I would like to admit.

mommabubula5 karma

How long does it take to make an episode?

8BitPhilosophy8 karma

Jared: Way too long. The amount of work that goes in to a single episode is borderline stupid. The writing usually takes about a week, the animation takes another week, the composition usually takes about 2 days. So I guess about 2.5 weeks per episode.

sammmuel5 karma

Hey there! Philosophy graduate student here.

Are you guys considering a video about Levinas or Stirner?

Cheers and keep up the good work!

8BitPhilosophy8 karma

Matt: Levinas is cool. What problem would you want to see us address with Levinas?

Mia: Admittedly I don't read Stirner. Do you have anything to recommend? I'll put it on my list!

HaggarShoes4 karma

Can we get an episode on Guy Debord's Society of the Spectacle sometime in the foreseeable future? (not greedy, can wait a couple years). I'd be 90% willing to write it if need be.

8BitPhilosophy4 karma

Matt: Situationist International and Detournment are pretty amazing concepts and it is something that would make for a great episode—it is just a question of putting some distance between Marxists.

jairo44 karma

hey!

Thank you for doing this, your videos are so awesome.

My question is: Do you plan to make videos about contemporary philosophers like Zizek or Chomsky?

8BitPhilosophy11 karma

Matt: We haven't talked about doing Chomsky yet. We definitely don't want to talk about his language stuff. SOOO boring. We're probably going to do a Zizek episode on ideology soon.

Jared: I recently watched "The Perverts Guide to Ideology" and loved it!

ArabianDisco3 karma

Thoughts on the Scott Pilgrim video game?

8BitPhilosophy4 karma

MB: Paul Robertson is a great guy!!

InsertDisk223 karma

Hey guys. The philosophical question that fascinates me the most is the problem of free will. What are you're thoughts on it? Are we all just deterministic robots or is there some underlying free will mechanism we haven't worked out yet?

8BitPhilosophy6 karma

Matt: In terms of free will and determinism, I think it is a great question. While there is something sexy about the idea of fatalism (apart from the political ramifications) I think I would have to agree with Mia, in that I am probably a compatibilist.

InsertDisk224 karma

I was going to ask what your thoughts would be if conclusive scientific proof of fatalism were announced tomorrow....but of course you'd have no say in the matter :)

8BitPhilosophy4 karma

Exactly.

theworldsonfire3 karma

How do you make those sick 8-bit beats?

8BitPhilosophy2 karma

David: I use a plugin called Plogue Chipsounds in Pro Tools. I listen to the original scores for the games and try to imitate each one using the 8-Bit theme. I also try and keep it to the original capabilities of the NES hardware.

crawsex3 karma

Matt, how does it feel to be the sexiest man in philosophy? Is it true you can bench press your way into my heart? (Spoilers: yes you can)

8BitPhilosophy3 karma

Matt: blush

Theundercave3 karma

How did you first come up for the concept for 8-bit philosophy? Also; how did you get involved with the escapist?

8BitPhilosophy8 karma

Jared: I thought the image of famous philosophers in a Mega Man 2 boss selection screen was funny, so I suppose that was the seed for the idea. As far as The Escapist, we have a partnership with Defy Media and The Escapist is one of their properties

daguvna833 karma

Just wanted to start off by saying your channel rocks! My first question to you all would be can one know and achieve peace without war or vice versa?

8BitPhilosophy2 karma

Mia: Man. That's a tough one. The best I can do is recommend Kant's "On Perpetual Peace."

Ewoks4Ever3 karma

Hi! I'm a big fan of your series of videos, and wisecrack in the general. (Say "Hey to Sparky for me!")

How did the idea of mixing video games, and boiling down the the complex ideas of 8-Bit Philosophy come about?

Also, do you have any plans to do more current philosophers? (Namely, Eugene Thacker)

Big fan! Thank you for your work!

8BitPhilosophy5 karma

Here's a video response we uploaded on Vid.me

https://vid.me/IRcU

BeardJamin323 karma

Hey guys! How often do you consult with professional philosophers? Have you ever met with any famous philosophers?

8BitPhilosophy10 karma

Mia: We meet working philosophers; people who are well-known within their areas... a lot of people who are only famous among other philosophers. I was hit on by Colin McGinn once if that means anything. But we spend most of our time with dead people.

Emthree32 karma

Did Thug Notes actually get picked up by Comedy Central or was that an April Fools joke?

8BitPhilosophy4 karma

Jared: Much to my dismay- an April Fool's joke. But I do think Thug Notes re-enacted by trap rappers would be the best thing ever.

BeardJamin322 karma

Got another question :-)

What voices can Nathan do?

8BitPhilosophy3 karma

another video response: https://vid.me/HVSA

NefariousGod2 karma

Hey guys! Just wanted to say I loved your video on Kant, my favorite philosopher.

Just wondering, do any of you have a favorite philosopher or philosophical idea? and will we see it covered?

8BitPhilosophy2 karma

Mia: Yes. Whoever I'm reading at the time is my favorite. Even if I hate it. My favorite is really Kant though. I still love Kierkegaard. He's a sexy beast. Matt: The episode that comes out on Sunday is on Baudrillard, who is my fav philosopher. We'll probably do another one down the line on terrorism.

miggsmagge2 karma

Hey now long time listener first time caller just wondered if any of u guys have gone back and replayed any 8 bit games lately and what your favorite games are right now? ............MIKE JONES !!!!!

8BitPhilosophy3 karma

Who?

MB: I recently played Murasame Castle and thought it was pretty cool. I also played Metroid in its entirety before we did the de Beauvoir episode.

Jared: I played the original Legend of Zelda recently but it was too hard and I didn't finish it. Yes, I'm a shitty gamer.

something_incredible2 karma

Hey all, love the videos, I have a quick question for Matt. Is Neeloy or Ben the better debater?

8BitPhilosophy5 karma

Matt: Not sure who is the better debater. Neeloy definitely smelled more.

compilationfailed2 karma

Would you consider doing an episode(s) about philosophy behind games as well? I love Bioshock, Stanley Parable and Portal, and I'd love to know what your thoughts are on these or other games' underlying philosophical themes and ideas.

8BitPhilosophy5 karma

Jared: Actually we're doing a collab with MatPat at the Game Theorists on the philosophy of Bioshock!

daguvna832 karma

What your thoughts on the Matrix movies and Inception from a philosophical point of view?

8BitPhilosophy2 karma

Jared: The original Matrix is one of the biggest influences on my creative life. The second two are big disappointments on a cinematic level, but they're certainly jam-packed with philosophical discourse. Unfortunately, that doesn't necesarilly make a good movie.

Ugh. Inception. A movie that has a complicated plot but no actual substance. Nolan has done nothing but disappoint since The Dark Knight. I'm sure I'll get a lot of hate for saying that.

[deleted]2 karma

[deleted]

8BitPhilosophy2 karma

Yes.

[deleted]1 karma

[deleted]

8BitPhilosophy5 karma

Jared: Oh good I was hoping to get one of these questions.

Mia: We don't bash Christianity. We did Kierkegaard and William James who are both Christian-friendly.

Sure we can do Augustine and Aquinas. Augustine has some interesting stuff about time, sleep, responsibility, personal identity... so there's definitely an episode in there. We only do an episode every 2 weeks so it's hard to cover everything. Just blame it on Jared. He decides what we cover.

waldowherethere1 karma

How did you guys all meet?

8BitPhilosophy5 karma

Jared: Mia was a fan of Thug Notes and emailed us offering her services if we ever did a philosophy show. Nathan is Mia's man-thing. They met in the same philosophy grad program :). I used to work with MB on commercials in LA. Matt is a good friend of Jacob's childhood friend and I met David (the composer) at a bar.

I met Jacob (my Wisecrack biz partner) in astronomy class in college.

8BitPhilosophy3 karma

Another vid response: https://vid.me/CxpX

BenMcLean1 karma

Might you do Augustine and/or Aquinas sometime without bashing them? Or how about Martin Luther King? Martin Luther? Pascal? G. K. Chesterton? Dietrich Bonhoffer? C. S. Lewis?

Apart from Plato and Kierkegaard, the lineup so far seems to be rather left-wing atheist heavy. It seems to keep people with that particular set of views nice and comfortable, which is the opposite of what philosophy should be doing for a student, no matter what their beliefs are.

(later edit) Sorry for the antagonistic tone of this message ... I guess I'm rather annoyed at you guys after the Marx episode and other episodes that seem extremely slanted to me. I am about to graduate with my Bachelors in Philosophy next month.

8BitPhilosophy2 karma

Jared: I appreciate your candor. We're very aware that we have a significant audience on Reddit and as YOU'RE probably aware, the community is largely atheistic, so I suppose it's my sin to pander to that. But we try to be as balanced as possible. I tried to achieve something less atheistic with the recent James episode. I like The Abolition of Man and wouldn't mind covering that. We're also gonna do Narnia on Thug Notes.

Mia: Kant and Heidegger are also far from left wing... what about those? To be honest, I find Aquinas is kind of dry. Plus, some things are difficult to visualize.. which is why we still haven't done Wittgenstein.

Nathan: There's a difference between exploring a concept and taking a position. We're not taking a position. We're exploring a concept.

Matt: the presumed position tends to be less left centered and in order to be “less safe” most of the videos that we create tend to cover issues that challenge the sedimented and established position to create thinking and controversy.

kantuser1 karma

I noticed that there is a strong slant towards continental philosophers. I was just wondering why? Although I appreciate the continental tradition, I'm just curious why you haven't had more analytic thinkers on the show? After all, I think Dennett and Rorty in super punch out would be great.

8BitPhilosophy2 karma

Jared: We did Rorty two episodes ago!

Mia: The biggest problem is that it's hard to visualize the things the analytic philosophers are doing.

Matt: The same reason we don't do a lot of logic stuff. It's impossible to visualize. Especially manipulating a pretty limited library of 8-bit images.

BenMcLean1 karma

Can you explain in detail what exact software you use to make the show, with technical details, including how it gets rendered to YouTube? I think people would like to start making 8-bit videos on lots of topics. Or get started making their own NES games.

I know a little assembly from college and have heard of NESHLA but I've never found a way to really get into it.

8BitPhilosophy2 karma

MB: Some parts are done in Flash. the pixels look sharp because we use a modified resolution so it matches up with youtube's HD Resolution. For more information and software for hacking NES games you can visit http://www.zophar.net/

8BitPhilosophy2 karma

Jacob: We take the export from Flash, up-sample to 24 frames per second, then scale up the video in After Effects (using the draft render quality). Scaling up pixels in exact integer increments (i.e., 485% rather than 485.34%) is crucial to keeping the graphics looking sharp.

mommabubula1 karma

First off, I am shocked that Nathan is not about 65 years old with white hair and a long beard!!!! Great vocals!!! Second, are you finding it a challange to use new games each time or are you able to reuse a game for a different philospher?

8BitPhilosophy1 karma

Nathan: I dyed my hair. Just For Men No.15 and I did botox just for this appearance :P

Jared: Yes. It's a bit of an issue. We're kind of running out of big NES games and MB's animation process limits us to NES and Gameboy. We got this though!

iamtheonlyrhino1 karma

What do you want to do next? Any new Channels, branching out with other youtubers or companies?

8BitPhilosophy1 karma

Jared: There are so many subjects we'd like to teach. We have new shows in the cooker, but starting a new channel is really hard.

daguvna830 karma

What are your thoughts on the question who created God and humans creating self realizing AI?

8BitPhilosophy1 karma

I'm gonna skip the God question.

Self-realizing AI? As long as that means sex robots.