Are you finally living on your own, but desperate to recreate the experience of listening to a drunken roommate or sibling scream at bundles of code, as interpreted through a low quality microphone? Then you can only be suffering from a lethal case of nostalgia poisoning, and should seek help immediately – the heady aroma of old socks and cheetos should snap you out of it (okay, that’s my one gamer slob joke, just to get the stereotype out of the way). If, on the other hand, you’re one of the many people with an interest in videogames but without the ailing and befuddled millionaire spouse or back pocket oil field necessary to support the hobby, I have good news.
On this newfangled series of tubes there’s a whole genre known as the “Let’s Play,” or LP. They can range from screenshot-with-commentary (a familiar format around these parts), to silent video walkthroughs, to highlight reels. But the most popular use is to show off a game in its entirety with player commentary over top, either “blind” to create the experience of an average player or experienced to show off the ‘ideal’ experience.
WHAT?! I hear you saying, running several blocks to flip the nearest table while screaming about the importance of the interactive experience. Behind the noise are those arching one kempt eyebrow, wondering what the point would be in watching someone else play insert-stereotypical-casual-game-here when you could be downloading for free. The thing is, at their very best LPs are like the ultimate fancy tv sports package – the players are engaging and knowledgeable about the game, talented enough to keep the viewer from suffering through repeated failures but easygoing enough to endear themselves. Some of them even offer that delicious bonus known as context, show off things the average gamer couldn’t find for themselves, or suffer for the sake of your so-bad-it’s-unbelievable curiosity.
Since I’m forever harping on the ‘good stories can come in any form’ chestnut, I thought I’d offer five of my favorites from this glorious internet born oddity, each with a different type of appeal to scratch that co-gamer itch. Because I just got tired of tying people up to sit next to me when I booted up the game machine.
Know a great specimen I missed? I’d love to hear about it down in the comments.