Let's Play videos provide unique enjoyment


By Flynn Geraghty, executive features editor
As hard as I may try, I am not good at playing video games. Sad, but true.
The thing is, I really like video games. When done well, they can be an interactive and interesting way to tell a story that can’t be done through films or books.
Take the critically acclaimed video game hit, “Undertale.” It took advantage of video game features, such as save points and resets, and used them as part of the game’s world and the overall story.
But, and playing them can get really frustrating really fast. My pattern usually is to try playing a game, die at least 10 times on the first challenge and never touch it again.
Despite this, I found a way that I can still enjoy playing games without having to actually do the work myself: Let’s Plays.
Let’s Plays are YouTube videos where someone plays a video game and commentates over it. It’s different than just a walkthrough of the game since the person’s commentary and thoughts on the game are just as important as the game itself.
Let’s Players make their videos in a format that’s informal, so it feels like you’re hanging out and playing the game with a friend. One of the most popular YouTubers who does Let’s Plays is Pewdiepie, who has over 40 million subscribers and is the most subscribed channel on the site.
However, despite how popular Let’s Plays are, people often criticize them and the people that watch them. Tom Sykes, a blogger for The Daily Beast, wrote a column claiming Let’s Plays were only for people under the age of nine.
“A new low in inadequate parenting was reached this week when I found myself actually begging my kids to play computer games because anything would be better than listening to the nasal whine of YouTube stars Captain Sparklez or Stampy Longnose for another hour,” Sykes wrote.
Let’s Plays don’t deserve the hate they get. Even if they aren’t the most high-brow entertainment, they are fun and an out-of-the-box way to enjoy a game.
The main argument against Let’s Plays is that people should be playing the games themselves rather than just watching someone else play it. I could say the same about a football game. Why watch it when you can go out and toss the old pigskin around yourself?
The obvious answer is watching someone else do something is a lot easier than doing it yourself. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have as much fun watching as you would participating.
Just like the stereotypical picture of men sitting together on a couch watching football, my friends and I will sit together and watch Let’s Plays, laughing at the ridiculous commentary. People are against Let’s Plays because they’re different from what they are used to.
People are used to playing the games themselves or with their friends. But just like almost everything else, the times have changed thanks to technology. When YouTube was created in 2005, it gave gamers a way to express their thoughts and opinions to anyone who would listen. The internet has changed the way we think about shopping, socializing and organizing our lives, so why can’t it change the way we think about video games, too?
And even though it’s technically a new form of media, Let’s Plays have been around longer than they may seem.
The idea of watching people play games has been going on since the invention of console games in the 1980s. When someone was playing Pacman, people stood behind him and watched him play. This could even be cheaper since you didn’t have to waste your quarter and you still got to enjoy the game.
How is this any different than a Let’s Play? Buying console games gets expensive: a new console one from GameStop can cost upwards of $30. If anything, you’re probably happier because you still have that cash in your pocket for a rainy day.
But even if Let’s Plays are as bad as people say they are, you don’t need to heckle the people that watch them. In the end, Let’s Plays are harmless entertainment, and if someone likes them, just let them enjoy what they want.