The appeal of 'let's plays'

Something that has intrigued me for a while now that has become quite popular is the idea of let's plays on the Internet. With streaming growing more popular and companies such as Youtube, Twitch and others offering their services for fans of video games to have a live audience, it's interests me but at the same time confuses. I'm in my late 20's and I'm not sure if it's a generation gap, but I've tried watching a handful of different ones from separate sources and I don't really understand the appeal, and was hoping maybe someone could tell me. Playing a video game myself, I get enjoyment from accomplishing something in it, and the feeling of satisfaction for testing my skills. I don't get any of that with the streams, and one thing I thought it might be is akin to watching your friend play a game next to you back when people actually used the TV in the living room and rooting for them, but it doesn't feel quite the same.

The only let's play I found enjoyable were AVGN's 'James and Mike Mondays'. The reason being they share knowledge about the video games they are playing, and give informative tips and advice, or have neat history tid bits that I never new about older games. I thought many other ones would be like this, so I checked out one of the most popular ones, Pewdiepie but it was just him yelling at the top of his lungs to reactions while live on camera. I'm not saying nobody can enjoy these, but I really don't understand if the majority of them are like this, why would you watch it?

Thanks for any insight, I think maybe I'm just too old now to understand but I like learning and would love to hear more about this.
Yeah, I don't know either. Sometimes I'll go look for a playthrough of an old game I sorta remember but don't actually want to replay myself, just want to see some of the fondly-remembered game again. I don't get the appeal of most of them. Like you say, it's not really the feeling of watching a friend play as much as it's the feeling of being in a frat common room while a bunch of loudmouths murder a game.

I think what actually happens is that people watch a channel for a while and start to feel like they know the hosts and then they enjoy their 'antics'. Like if the frat loudmouth was actually your buddy and not just some asshole.
Tama said:
I thought it might be is akin to watching your friend play a game next to you back when people actually used the TV in the living room and rooting for them

This is basically what it's all about. It's watching your buddy play, except he's not really your buddy and you're watching him over the Internet. Sure, it's not like the real thing, but that doesn't stop people from watching movies on their smartphones while commuting, does it? As for why the most popular guys are unfunny and annoying, it's simply because their target audience is mostly children and teenagers.

Anyway, personally I prefer to play the games myself, and if I don't for some reason then I only watch gameplay without comments.
Part of it is personality driven. I like most of the Giant Bomb guys, who helped popularize the "quick look" format. Now they're old like me, and they're more appealing than the random screaming we've come to expect from people like Pewdiepie. I feel that I'm too old to appreciate most of the popular YouTube personalities.

The other part is that there are so many goddamn games now, these videos have become a kind of quick reference buyers guide.

I know the rabbit hole goes deeper for other people, who just like watching people playing games, but I can't really rationalize that. When I do it, it's for either comedy or to see if a game is worth buying.
I'll watch them late at night when I'm eating a bowl of cereal or something, but that's about it.

Most of them I can't stand, but others are tolerable.
I really enjoy watching Game Grumps and that's about it. I think they are really funny, they usually play older games (and they fail misserably) but thhey will always make me laugh. The episodes are 10 minutes long so i usually watch one before going to bed. I tried watching some of the popular lets players but i can't really get into them.
I don't typically watch a lot of Let's Plays or people playing games, but I'm subscribed to a few (including Pewdiepie--I guess he appeals to my juvenile side) but even then, I don't typically watch their videos unless it's a game that interests me. If I do happen to put on a video, it's usually just as background noise while I do something else.

Right now I've been following EpicNameBro's Let's Play of Dark Souls (yeah, he's doing it again), but that's because I'm having some serious DkS withdraws (my 360 is put away and there isn't, but should be, a version available for PS4). Essentially I'm living vicariously through him at the moment, and not to mention I like his insights into the game and presentation.
Delta Phi said:
I'm having some serious DkS withdraws (my 360 is put away and there isn't, but should be, a version available for PS4).

You should get the PC edition. It's the best way to play the game.
I love watching Let's Plays because I like to see different reactions/opinions on certain games. For some people, that's the appeal. I guess I love watching reactions/commentaries, especially in blind playthroughs. The Dark Souls ones can be a riot and I found some very entertaining people like Alchestbreach(he does Fallout mods) and Squiddish(who is very good at let's plays).

Background noise too.

TBH, some games would have remained unplayed were it not for Let's Plays. Demon's Souls and Dark Souls are prime examples of this and were it not for Dark Souls, I wouldn't have been anywhere near Berserk. Heh.
I guess I can understand the appeal but I don't think I could ever justify spending my time watching people I don't know play games over the internet. I tried watching one of Dark Souls once, made it 5 minutes. I tend to play all the games that I want, and with the few games that I don't play myself (usually because I don't have the platform) I'll go to a friends house and watch them play, and they do the same with me. It's actually a pretty sweet system we have and it's a lot of fun. For example, I have a buddy that watched me play through the entire Mass Effect series as if he was watching a movie. I did the same with the Uncharted games with him.

I just don't think that type of experience can be exactly replicated by Let's Plays. But I suppose it's the next closest thing.
None. :carcus:

I only ever check out play videos if I'm looking to see how to do something or fix something, but I guess it's like anything else; if the person playing is entertaining, it's entertaining (like radio, podcasts, and TV). The game aspect seems almost incidental, at least that's my way of understanding it, because otherwise I have no desire to watch games being played and so haven't gotten into this. It's hard to imagine it being good enough to really invest any meaningful time in.
I don't really watch a lot of Lets Plays unless its for a game which I have no intention of playing, for example the Call of Duty series. I much rather play the game myself or have friends over and watch them play.

I guess it's appealing for the younger generation because it is a social connection for them. We live in a world where we are easily connected by our phones and computers but there is a tend of isolation and disconnection by those devices. A decade ago, you have to call your friend's house, probably talk to his/her parents to ask for your friend, and then ask if you want to hang out. Now, it is a really simple text that involves no social skills whatsoever. The same thing applies to games now, it is all over the internet and they don't need to be physically there with you to play.
Griffith said:
but I guess it's like anything else; if the person playing is entertaining, it's entertaining (like radio, podcasts, and TV). The game aspect seems almost incidental, at least that's my way of understanding it

This is basically what I get out of them. It's really not about the game, sure I use specific games Im into to find people to watch, but if I find them entertaining, I'll watch them play games I've never heard of and have no desire to play. For me, I see it kinda like watching standup clips on youtube. The really popular ones tend to be unfunny cause as someone else said, it's catered to a younger audience, since the people with the amount of time to watch lets plays with any consistency tend to be teenagers/college students. That being said, there's lets players who appeal to many different audiences. Personally I really like Kiwo, she RPs skits in Day Z as if she were actually in a zombie apocalypse and its amazing.

If it's not your thing it's not your thing. I dont think anyone is missing out by not watching this sorta stuff, but there is some hidden talent among all the dudebros with their memes and rehashed family guy jokes. Pewdiepie is like the Dane Cook of lets play stars, it's not really fair to judge the whole shebang off of his "style."
Thank you for all the replies and insight into the subject. I didn't think about someone using them as reference to get further if they are stuck while playing a game. It does seem like fans enjoy them more for each other's personalities then most of the games. I suppose I just like the few I found where they have learning segments and it's not just normal chit chat or banter. I thought maybe it also serves a bigger purpose for E sports with League of Legends and other MOBA type video games to learn professional strategies.
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