The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely affected the entertainment industry. The lockdown and its strict measures resulted in shutting down or delaying of production of television series and other programs.
But the demand for entertaining content didn’t stop, it didn’t wane even. In fact, there has been an increase in people looking for and watching content online specifically on streaming platforms like YouTube and Netflix.
Taking advantage of this demand, at the height of the pandemic, the think tank of The IdeaFirst Company challenged themselves to create a series that can be shot remotely with everyone just in their respective homes. The result of this is a YouTube series called Gameboys.
Without any fanfare or big promotions, it already hit over a million combined views after just two episodes—with fans not just in the Philippines but also in the USA, Europe, and Latin America—and has started a new trend of Filipino “BL” (or “Boys Love”) series that has a global following.
“Gameboys is ultimately about love overcoming all boundaries – even physical ones set by our new reality,” says Executive Producer Jun Robles Lana.
“It is about two people who find each other at a time when they can only connect with one another virtually. I think that is what makes it so resonant with audiences around the world. We want to believe that you can still find love and companionship even in the middle of a pandemic,” he added.
Starring Kokoy de Santos (one of the stars of the Cinemalaya hit, F*ccbois) and Elijah Canlas (the star of internationally acclaimed film, Kalel, 15), Gameboys is also the first Filipino series to ride the latest wave of successful Asian “BL” or “Boys Love” series that have been trending the past few months – the most recent hit being Thailand’s 2Gether The Series and now Korea’s Where Your Eyes Linger.
Ivan Payawal, the director of Gameboys, admits being overwhelmed to see that this series is getting so much international love too, “I knew we had a show we can all be proud of, but it’s just overwhelming to see fans from around the world commenting and posting about it—a lot of them even creating reaction videos to chronicle how much they loved our episodes.”
The dialogue in Gameboys is in Filipino but The IdeaFirst Company uploads it with English subtitles. But within hours of posting, the fans themselves contribute subtitles in other languages. To date, you can watch it with French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Ukranian, Czech, Turkish, Korean, Thai, Indonesian and Arabic subtitles.
Episodes of Gameboys can be found on the YouTube channel of The IdeaFirst Company, the production company behind award-winning blockbusters movies such as Die Beautiful and The Panti Sisters.
Written by Ash Malanum and co-starring Adrianna So, new episodes are uploaded every week.