Ever since Jimmy Kimmel mocked “Let’s Players” – those bizarre creatures who record themselves playing video games for YouTube – and the followers who eat this content up, YouTube gaming in general has become an interesting topic of discussion. As a gamer who has only started getting into LPs fairly recently, I thought it would be neat to offer my own experiences and thoughts on why watching Let’s Plays can be a fun pastime.

During my semester abroad in college, I stumbled upon a Let’s Play of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, which happened to finish just before my semester ended. I resisted bringing my 3DS on that trip because I didn’t want a tempting excuse not to go exploring, but I found that this LP was a nice source of escapism at night if I felt homesick (I then went on to play a 100% run—okay, fine, minus the Nintendo Gallery—of the game within my first week of coming home).

Aside from a vague knowledge of who PewDiePie was, I never followed the world of Let’s Plays all that closely afterward. This began to change last year when my roommates sat me down and forced me to watch some guy called Markiplier play a new game called Five Nights at Freddy’s (on the off chance you’ve heard of that). This was when I truly began to appreciate LPs as a form of entertainment. As a guy who has only owned Nintendo consoles my whole life and has never had a very Steam-friendly laptop, I’ve found that Let’s Plays are a great way to branch out and learn about a massive selection of games I might enjoy but have usually lacked the means to try. There are also plenty of games I’m not especially interested in playing myself (or just plain suck at) yet are actually pretty fun to watch, especially with the right people. I’ve even bonded closely with new friends over LPs like FNAF in some cases, just as some might do over a good movie or Netflix binge.

If anything, it seems to me like YouTube and the rise of Let’s Plays have massively broadened the potential of gaming as an entertainment form. Having said that, my take is probably nothing new; so what about yours? Do you prefer to watch certain games or LPers rather than play the game yourself? Any recommendations for less mainstream LPers to watch? Or do you find it all a waste of time? Have at it in the comments below!

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Will Marsh
I loved the outdoors in my younger days, and then I got an NES for my 4th birthday. The rest is history. I'm mostly a Nintendo fan as far as gaming goes, but I also try to expand my horizons via Steam and my roommate's PS4. I graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor's in English (yet, ironically, struggle to find motivation for pleasure reading since starting my undergrad), and am currently continuing my studies there toward a master's in Digital Content Strategy.

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