Musing: Let’s Watch Let’s Plays of Other Players on Youtube: The Video Game Spectator

Sit back, relax, and watch the game.

What is the best part of video games? For me, it is to be a game spectator. I do have and play my fair share of games such as the Command and Conquer, Need for Speed, Age of Empires, and Pokemon series around. But currently, the real interest of video games is to watch gamers game.

A quick flashback.

The clearest memory that I have of my spectating of games was when I was about 4 or 5 years old. I used to go to the Kowloon Club restaurant on Sundays when I was a kid, and next to the restaurant was this play room and lounge. I still remember the room with its brown and parchment coloured walls, the slightly dim lights, and a whole bunch of older kids crowded around a SNES playing Street Fighter. There was always a Ken or Ryu player if I recall correctly, and most of the time the players were spamming Haduokens. Of course, these game terminology and characters were only known in hindsight many, many years later.

The “Let’s Play” videos of Youtube

With the introduction of Youtube when I was in high school, I started to search for gameplays, first starting off with my favourite franchises and the games I used to play such as Pokemon, before moving on to checking out other games such as the Shenmue series. Sure beats waiting for the game review channel that used to be on air every Saturday morning!

Although relatively uncommon, I do still like to dive into multiplayer matches instead of being a spectator.

During my first university year at UBC, every night in the common residence lounge was, as I informally call it, Super Smash Bros night. The thing is, I did what I always used to do, watch other people play. But soon, I thought I would give it a shot too. Understandably, I always got owned by the extremely pro Kirby, Ness and Samus players, but I soon had fun being Fox. I like to observe relatively more than I game though, because I would say that 30% of my time is gaming, and 70% of the time I was spectating. Of course, some would say that I am not an expert enough gamer, which I admit, but hey, old habits die hard.

I am relatively still a Youtube “Let’s Play” game spectator.

I still continue to check games out nowadays. Currently, I am following a Civilization 5 and an XCOM: Enemy Within. Following gameplays online does have its perks. Firstly, I can check whether the game is attractive enough for me to purchase it from a second-handed opinion. Secondly, I am at my own flexibility in terms of pausing and resuming spectating the gameplay of others. Thirdly, with respect to my provided examples of the games I am currently checking out, I can be inspired and be interested in game genres, such as turn based strategy, more so than through means of reading video game reviews.

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