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What's Wrong with Let's Players?

You like reality TV—cool. We like watching gameplay—also cool. Let everyone like what they like.

Photo created by Tristianity700 from DeviantArt

I've just about had it with people who judge others for watching Let's Plays and gaming streams on YouTube and Twitch. I'm sure many, if not all of you, can relate.

I will never understand why people make assertions that there's no need to watch online personalities play games if we can have access to and play them ourselves. Everyone else does the exact same thing with sports, talk shows, game shows, concert programs, cooking channels, reality television... do you really need me to continue?

It's yet another form of entertainment, particularly for people who have an interest in gaming. This is something that the rest of society needs to realize. I, for one, love watching other people play games that I've played before, just to see how they'll react to everything, and if they'll experience things similarly to or differently from me. 

Maybe they'll bring up insightful points worthy of discussion about any aspect of those games that I haven't thought of before, thus igniting the wordsmith in me. Perhaps they'll uncover cool and/or useful secrets that I might've missed out on during my own play throughs. Or, they'll find something totally hilarious and take it out of context for laughs.

What's especially amazing about Let's Plays is the different goals people have for their channels—and by extension, the personalities they play up. You've got the Continue? guys from Normal Boots, who'll play rounds of games and tell us at the end whether/why the games are (not) worth continuing, all while bestowing hilarity upon us. There's Kitetales and Flex, who'll often stream new or popular games (sometimes for the purpose of added challenges) and then usually upload a review/discussion video after each one determining whether the games deserve their hype, backlash, or whatever the current topic surrounding those games may be. 

Jacksepticeye is known for his hyperactivity and loud, comical voice—just perfect as a followup to a relaxing ASMR video. Lucahjin is the "big sister" archetype who enjoys showing her audience old, largely unknown games from her childhood and cracking jokes about all games in general. Outsidexbox, while not exclusively a Let's Play channel, has its members Jane Douglas (the mad scientist), Andy Farrant (the wisecracking history buff) and Mike Channell (the goofy race car enthusiast) play yet-to-be and new releases some days, while dedicating other days to features about the games. Their Show of the Week features viewer comments on those videos as the highlight of each week. 

I could go on all day, but there's so many gaming channels out there that I figured I'd narrow it down to the unique channels I've been watching recently. Plenty of them are even getting a considerable following on larger media sources—if TV executives have anything to capitalize on, this is it.

The point is, as with every other visual medium, there are gamers we adore tuning in to during our leisure time and might even venerate for their character and motivations. We could treat them as legitimate sources of knowledge (such as those who are actually familiar with the games they play and help people who are having trouble, theorists, gaming news channels, etc.), as mood-lifting podcasts while doing other things, or even as just another web series episode that you can sit back to and enjoy.

Also, gaming is expensive, and some games may be difficult for people to find even for rental. So they might consider it a good idea to see someone else's play through of a desired game and listen to their thoughts on it, thus being able to determine where they can find that game or how to emulate it (given the Let's Player provides such information, which they normally do) and whether they should make the investment in the first place. You see this sort of thing all the time with shopping and lifestyle channels, among others—what's the difference here?

Because of these amazing individuals, I'm honestly inspired to one day start my own streams and record gameplay videos, once I gain the funds and acquire the skills for these processes.

At the end of the day, everyone should be able to enjoy viewing what they like without facing criticism, namely from those who don't seem to get it the same way. You won't see me trying to deter people from getting their daily fix of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, The Bachelor, or Jersey Shore simply because I personally think these shows are mindless fodder with ridiculous premises. But not everyone is as considerate. 

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What's Wrong with Let's Players?
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