Wherever there is a video game, there are gameplay videos. You may be wondering why anyone would want to watch a game when they could just play it. Surely it’s more engaging to be a part of the gameplay instead of watching from the sidelines? Well, the amount of users who click to watch them beg to differ, and show that you can have a good time just kicking back and watching someone else do the hard work.
Whatever you decide to call them – Walkthroughs, Play-throughs, Let’s Plays, they all involve a gamer going through levels to demonstrate how they play the game. They often range from the dedicated “This is how you play the game” to “This level is so hard and I am so angry” and even “Let’s see how long I can last without scaring my pants off.”
Here are a couple of reasons why people log on to watch these games.
For the LOLs
Many of these Play-throughs are so successful because they are so funny. A lot of the popular videos involve people playing scary titles like: Slenderman, Amnesia or Erie and watching the reactions (either in-person or in-game) of the players after encountering whatever entity has been taunting them throughout the level. You can stay a step back from the terror and laugh as you watch them wet themselves from the comfort of your well-lit room.
Don’t feel like playing
For those who can’t be bothered to actually sit down and play a game the entire way through (for whatever reason), there are a variety of videos with or without commentary that go throughout entire games. You may not have enough time to devote to playing a game or may not have the energy to buckle down and focus on playing, so watching play throughs provide a medium to still be involved in the game, without playing it. You can still know what is happening in game to keep up with everyone else who has the time to play… while you’re sleeping.
Lack of $$$
Gaming can be expensive. If you’re overwhelmed with expenses or a Uni student living off 2 minute noodles, you may not be able to afford the latest title that comes out. Sometimes being able to watch the game through partway, or even all the way helps you develop a feel for the game or even tip your hard earned savings in favour of splurging to buy it. Sometimes waiting until the game gets cheaper just doesn’t cut it. If you are deciding whether or not to buy a game, perhaps watching a little bit of gameplay will help you decide if it is worth caving in to buy it.
You may suck at playing this particular type of game. Or even all games. So you watch someone else play through the game without having to revel in how bad of a player you are. Instead of dying countless times in Dark Souls, you can actually see a player progress past your point of multiple failures and see the game beyond. You might even be able to see where you went wrong and go back to beat that level!
Watching a game being played through isn’t just about sitting there passively consuming the video. It’s about another level of understanding and being able to participate in the wider gaming community. It allows players to come together with like-minded people and deliberate the merits of any particular game. If you exclude the trolls (which you encounter pretty much everywhere on the internet), the communities for a lot of play-through personalities are growing and are making this method of interacting with games more popular. Though watching games does not equal playing games, it is still a great way to stay connected with the community.
Here is a classic let’s play from Machinima’s Two Best Friends Play (Matt and Pat from thesw1tcher channel)