Everything starts with a simple click to get anyone immersed into a video on YouTube. It can be a vlog or beauty tutorial, but what really attracts the YouTube community are Let’s Play videos.
A Let’s Play is a walkthrough of a video game with background commentary of players reacting to the video game. The trend first started in 2007 with Michael “slowbeef” Sawyer, who posted a walkthrough video of The Immortal with his commentary on the website, Something Awful. Later, another user, Ben “Diabetus” Whitfield, created an account on YouTube to post one of his Let’s Play videos, quickly gaining popularity. Now in 2017, YouTubers, such as Felix “Pewdiepie” Kjellberg, Sean “Jacksepticeye” McLoughlin, and Mark “Markiplier“Fischbach, take Let’s Play videos into another level, proving themselves to be the most popular on the platform.
But are Let’s Play videos a good or bad thing?
All is good!
Viewers experience playing the game through watching a Let’s Play. These videos give the viewer access to a game when they lack the money, or if they are currently miles away from their PS4 or Xbox One.
It can also bring exposure to viewers who are unaware about a specific game. They can look through the Let’s Play videos and learn more about the plot and gameplay. If they enjoy watching the video, people can eventually purchase the game to experience it themselves — if you see someone like a game, you are likely to want to buy and play it yourself.
They are not so great for the actual games
Let’s Plays hold some negatives too. Viewers tend to watch a video because they want to see the reactions, more than the actual video game itself. The reaction becomes the main focus of the video, leaving the game meaningless.
These videos also ruin the purpose and experience of videogames, as watching and playing a game are different experiences. Playing a game offers players challenges and enjoyment, but by watching the game, people lose that experience. The videogame can be enjoy only by the player — who is playing the game — while the viewers can only enjoy the game through the player, losing the essence of actually playing a videogame.
Let’s Play videos have their perks and positives, but all in all, it all depends on how to look at a Let’s Play video or which Let’s Play gamer you prefer to watch. After all, isn’t great to see someone having fun with a game?