Opinion:  Gaming On YouTube Is Here To Stay

Words By GreywolfeI see a lot of confusion about gaming on YouTube – why would you – for example – watch someone doing a Let’s Play of a game?  Surely it makes more sense for you to sit down and play the game from end to end yourself.  Doesn’t this process of watching someone else play the game ruin it?Well, not always.

Sometimes It's Not A Game Type You Can Play

There are all sorts of gems on a gaming system, but they're not always games you can play.  For example, you may not be good at dexterity challenges, but you might be very curious about that kind of game.  Watching people play is the equivalent of

You've got to dig a little deeper
I’m not crazy about platform games, but I like them well enough that I have consistently kept trying to play them ever since the release of Mario Brothers all those years ago.  The problem – for me, at any rate, is that my hand-eye co-ordination has never been particularly spectacular, and the result is that things that seem effortless to some people [doing a long jump to hit that flag pole so that you can rack up a whole bunch of score] are particularly difficult for me to manage, let alone perfect.For the longest time, I would watch my friends play these games.  It was quite soothing.  They’d take the controller and we’d be off in our own little world.  I might tell them where and how I thought they should jump, but for the most part, it was restful.  They would play through the game and I would watch.YouTube has just made that a whole lot easier for me, because my friends aren’t always curious about the games I am, so they don’t necessarily buy into them.

There is also the case that – where I live – not all these games happened to make it to our shores.  Getting a Nintendo 64 was tricky at best and – as a result – I missed out on a lot of those games.  [And then, when my friends who had 64’s got games, they weren’t always the ones I was interested in.]

Were it not for YouTube, I would never have known how great Conker’s Bad Fur Day was.  I would not have seen how Banjo-Tooie took that game in different directions.  I certainly would never have bumped into Glover.

In our more modern time-frame, I would not have had the gumption to try Shovel Knight, [easily one of my favourite games in the last few years] I would never have been exposed to how much work was put into the more modern ports of Myst and I would definitely not have learned of Ronin.

Sometimes You're Not Really There For The Game At All

Some of the time, you've played the game before, and you just want someone else's view on it.

I tend to like laid back, non-screamy YouTube personalities. I know. A rarity.
I’ve played through and enjoyed King’s Quest probably ten or twelve times throughout my gaming career.  At this point there’s not much I haven’t seen in that particular game.  But sometimes, it’s interesting to see someone else play through it and to see their visceral reactions to some of the more crazy puzzles.  [How I hate that beanstalk.]In this case, I’m there for the person’s personality.  Which I think is an important facet that folks sometimes overlook when it comes to the Let’s Play community.  Occasionally, it’s nice to watch someone else battle with things you battled with.  To watch them reason things out and come to – maybe – the same conclusion you did.Or possibly, they just have a style of commentary that agrees with you.  Maybe they never touch on the game at all.  Perhaps they’re funny or quite serious.

In cases like these, I find the games are merely a pleasant backdrop.  A way of listening to someone else while they happen to be playing a game.  And that might be one of the most fun reasons to stop by and watch someone work through a game you’ve already played.

Sometimes, The Game Is FILLED With Fake Difficulty

Sometimes, games are filled with arbitary silliness that you don't want to wade through.  But maybe someone else has...

This little cube. How many hours I lost to it. While this isn't fake difficulty, you can bet that I carefully peeled off the colour stickers on the cube faces and stuck them back. I'd "won" the cube ;)
[You can read an article on the idea of fake difficulty here]There are some things in games that I just don’t have the patience for.  I managed – for example – to play most of Kingdom Hearts:  Chain of Memories.  I got all the way to the top of the tower, finding all the little secrets there were to find by very carefully exploring every single bit of that game world.  I genuinely liked the game and genuinely was looking forward to finishing it.Then, I got to the top of the tower and the game basically had the gall to say, “oh, hey, in the first room of the first world you ever stepped into, there was a compartment thing that you couldn’t get into.  That’s open now and it has the best sword in the game.  You can’t finish the game until you get that sword, so you’d better hustle!”

You can understand my frustration.  I’d put twelve or fourteen hours in at that point and – like most modern games – I thought I was at the end, because everything seemed to be pointing that way, but it turned out the developer was playing an elaborate game of bait and switch.

YouTube to the rescue!  I found someone who was more patient and knew what was going to happen to them and managed to watch them play through that particular segment of the game.  No, it didn’t give me exactly the same satisfaction, but good Lord, that was something the developer didn’t need to do.


I love that gaming on YouTube exists.  I love that it has exposed me to many an experience I was never likely to have.  I love that there’s a big and thriving community on YouTube that is just as interested in gaming as I am.  It’s also interesting to me that there’s a great cross-section of folks playing a great many different types of games.  It isn’t just all Call of Duty.  Some folks have a love for nostalgic adventure games.  Some folks are more into platform games.  It’s awesome.Next week, I’ll expound a little bit more, because there are a handful of other things I’d like to cover that I didn’t manage to get to in this article.

Images courtesy of Pixabay


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