It’s something of a custom around here to use this week of American Turkey Day to shine a spotlight on underappreciated artists. To that end, let’s talk about Let’s Players: folks who record themselves playing video games in whole or in part for the enjoyment of others. It’s often not a highly respected art, derided as riding on the coattails of other creative endeavors by people who don’t understand the time and effort of play time, editing, and presenting one’s own persona as part of the experience that all go into a well-made Let’s Play.
Not to mention that video games (before we even touch problems with the community mentality) are the most exclusionary art form out there aside from, perhaps, Broadway. Certainly it’s the only art form that deliberately plans its own obsolescence and correspondingly wrings potential consumers for every penny of disposable income they have, backed up by an emphasis on modernity that demands being able to put down those large sums regularly at launch in order to find the factor of community involvement even slightly surmountable. And never mind if you come late to the party and find yourself interested in a game that’s four or five years old. Good luck finding it and potentially a system to play it on (if indeed it existed as physical media and was not ghosted a la the infamous PT). And so Let’s Plays can come to serve not just as entertainment but as historical documents for curious viewers who lack the means, equipment, skill, or time to tackle a game themselves.
And while I am quite the fan of well-known individuals like Jim Sterling, Laura Kate, and Markiplier (an example of how modern Players have shaded into the realm of sketch comedy, but certainly a kind and generous individual with some enjoyable longform LPs), today I wanted to focus on two channels who’ve been consistently talented and entertaining and deserve far, far more recognition than they get – one old, one new.