The above title is not just a title, but rather, a question I pose to you dear reader. And a question I intend to answer myself.
For a very long time, up until the last 2 to 3 years really, I thought Lets Plays and Streaming were, well stupid. I didn’t understand why people would watch games being played rather then experiencing the games themselves. I couldn’t fathom wasting your time just…consuming content rather then actually participating.
Then I got into YouTube and Streaming myself, and I started to learn and understand, from the inside, why people might do this. And because I was now a part of the ecosystem, as it were, I started to find that I too enjoyed watching my peers and others. Today, I was thinking about this, and decided I wanted to pose the question to others (ie you) and myself, and maybe help others understand why we would spend our time watching rather then doing, consuming rather then participating, in regards to this.
For me, Streams and Streamers are a little different then YouTube Let’s Play content, so I figured I would not only tackle my why for each, but also name a few of my personal favorites that I return to time and again, to maybe also help you find something that might ignite the spark in you to join this fascinating world.
I will say that for many of us raised in the internet / digital age, YouTube content and Streaming content is basically our version of cable television. I know I don’t watch traditional TV, and haven’t for something like 10 years now. I imagine many others are similar.
Alright now that we have that out of the way, lets get to work breaking down the Why for me, starting with Streaming.
In the case of streaming, I started watching because I was curious. I wondered just how TwitchTV really worked. I had a few friends who played and streamed games at the time, and I wanted to understand it. So I went on Twitch, and looked up who was the biggest at the time streamer who was playing a game I knew. And that’s how I found CohhCarnage.
I can’t recall what game was playing at the time. But the idea that over 10000 people were watching a single man playing video games live blew my mind. Over the years, I have come to get it. With Cohh, I personally watch him because of HIM. His genuine joy with games, his entertaining personality, his interaction with his viewers are all reasons I enjoy him. Plus, the more I have watched him the more I have learned he is just a good humble dude, thankful every day that he is able to stream for a living. In fact, when I was streaming (I don’t anymore) he was my inspiration, the kind of streamer I wanted to be. Also his production quality for his intros and overlays is just awesome (thats his team though, but he is still a part of that). I always loved his concept for his stream too: him and the viewers are all on a giant super couch, playing the game together, working together to beat it. That’s just rad.
Another streamer I watch, when I can, is Tanya aka CypherOfTyr. I found her mostly thru twitter and her interactions there. Her outspoken honest and frank nature, and personality, was something I really respect. So I decided to check out her work and found it great and enjoyable. The games she plays are not always my thing and further I frequently am busy when she streams, honestly, but I still admire her drive and passion for everything she does. I like to swing by and lurk, just soaking in the conversation she has with her viewers about all sorts of things. I learn a lot just by hanging out and listening.
Finally, there is Rabin of ZeroGravityTheater. Now this guy. THIS GUY. The story about how I found this one is pretty funny to me. I was logged into Twitch. No one I normally watch was on. I glance over at my friends list and see a fellow blogger / gamer / youtuber / streamer HungryGoriya watching someone called “ZeroGravityTheater” and my mind went “Huh, that’s an interesting name”. Next thing I know I am staring at an overlay that looks like a movie theater, with a happy gent enthusiastically playing…something. I don’t even remember what! From there, I kept watching whenever I could (which is not often, Rabin streams near my usual bed time) and found him to be a kind, funny, fun loving, and entertaining guy who seems to genuinely love everyone who comes by. Just wish I could watch more often.
Now if you notice in all cases, I spoke about the streamers more then what they make, and thats because with streaming, a lot of the draw is that interaction with the streamer. Seeing how they react to their chat, playing off the chat, ect. For streaming, its like being in a live TV audience, with the ability to interact and riff on the game with the streamer.
But for YouTube and Lets Plays? That’s different for me. In a LOT of ways.
First, I tend to only watch Let Play footage of games I am personally interested in. The Lets Player matters, and we will talk about the three I like watching right now, but first and foremost? I have to want to see the game.
Angyem, for instance, is a personal favorite. Because she plays puzzle games. I HATE playing puzzle games, personally. But I LIKE watching OTHER PEOPLE deal with em. Because then I get to see all the rewards without the frustration! She is also just fun to watch. Even when she gets annoyed…she never really gets angry. You never hear it or see it, she is just a total chill even when annoyed. Her voice is also nice and soothing. Finally, she tends toward indie games, which I feel not a lot of people cover.
Another on is Nayuki. Now Nayuki again plays a genre of games that I personally dislike playing but like watching, and that’s platformers. He does play other stuff, retro and the like, but he also has a great tendency to focus on Indie Platformers. Again, we have the fact that he plays indie games, which I LIKE TO SEE, and he plays a genre that I just cant enjoy anymore (my reflexes are ass) but at the same time I love watching people play them. Also, his accent is amusing to me (he is french and its thick, but understandable)
Finally is the latest one on here, and that’s Dragons Ate Our Name. This one is a pair of YouTubers who are apparently roommates. I CONSUMED their Yes Your Grace Lets Play, which is a game I had vaguely heard about but decided to check out, and I am glad I did. Now they are German, and have a light accent to my ears, but that just makes them unique to me. Seeing the reactions on camera while they play is something I very much enjoy, and you can tell they genuinely like and feel for the games. I also watched a bit of them playing Green Hell (oh hey, a survival game, a genre I refuse to play but like to watch!) and that was a trip and a half.
In every case here, its all about the mix between the game and the player. I have tried other LPs, and sometimes the game bores me, or the LPer bores me. Hell, I can only watch CohhCarnage stream archives for so long on Youtube because it lacks, to me, what makes Cohh special (the interactivity)
Overall, I enjoy these very much, and if I am not working on my own content I generally have either a stream or YouTube video going on my secondary monitor while I relax. And with working from home right now, I often have stuff playing and either muted with captions or with low sound as background noise.
But the real question is this: why do YOU watch streams? Why do YOU watch Lets Players? What got you into it? Why do you still do it?
And who are some of your favorites?
Leave a comment and let me know!