With the dawn of Twitch and Let’s Plays on YouTube, it is apparent that people love watching others play video games. In fact the number one subscribed channel on YouTube is PewDiePie. He does tons of Let’s Plays and that is how he gained a massive fan base. So this time the staff answers whether it is fun or dumb to watch others play video games.
Joe Morgan – Is it fun or dumb to watch someone else play video games? What kind of question is that? I’ve been around this hobby for over a quarter century and whether I’m playing or not, it has always been entertaining to watch folks play video games. Sure, it may also be “dumb,” but it’s no dumber than watching television or listening to a podcast.
Whether you’re sitting on the couch beside your sibling or significant other as they work through a rough patch or you watch someone play through the magic of the internet, it can still be entertaining. It doesn’t matter if you’re watching a novice streamer (*cough* JoeKnowethGames *cough*) or a professional, it can always be an enthralling experience. Many of the smaller streamers will engage their audience on a more one-to-one basis while the big wigs can employ all kinds of tools to give their viewers a clean, professionally produced experience.
If you’ve not watched others while they play a game, I’d like to encourage you to set up an account, follow our own streamers here (or our official Geeks Under Grace Twitch) and see what it’s all about. Maybe you’ll have some dumb fun.
Silas Green – When I was a little kid, I would watch my older brother play RPGs for hours. He would play things like Dragon Warrior, Wizardry, and eventually Final Fantasy, and I’d sit there talking to him, asking him what was going on, caught up in the experience. Well, it was also about spending time with my brother.
I cherish those memories now that we live in different states. Gaming can be lonely, especially if you prefer single player games like I do. I’m probably allergic to co-op, but I’d still like to share my gaming experience with someone I care for.
For me, the main reward in gaming comes from the narrative. I like games with stories. I solve puzzles and defeat bosses so I can find out what happens next and this is something you can enjoy even from the backseat. I also like playing with an audience. When I got to the end of Bioshock Infinite, my younger brother was watching, and when he got to the end of Final Fantasy IX and Necron showed up out of nowhere, I was there. It was something we could do together, even though those games were single player.
Perhaps hypocritically, I’m not particularly fond of Let’s Plays. They provide the illusion of social interaction without any real relationship. A friend of mine tried to defend them by telling me watching them was like “having a friend in the room.” I’m not convinced.
I’m sure many single player gamers are introverted enough not to care about this kind of thing. Most of their relationships are probably online these days anyway. But it’s still nice to sit in a room with someone playing a game and watch them, perhaps giving much needed advice once in a while…
For instance, my younger brother was watching his best friend play a game once and helpfully informed him, “There’s a gun over there…” and when his friend went to pick it up, he was blasted. “…that shoots at you,” my brother finished.
See? Watching others play games can be fun.
Mike Pyatt – Is it dumb to watch somebody else play video games? I don’t know… Is it dumb to watch somebody else play football? Is it dumb to watch somebody act out your favorite TV show, or motion picture? I don’t think it’s dumb to watch video games. As a matter of fact, I think there are multiple benefits to watching somebody else play.
For starters, like watching a TV show, or motion picture, I am entertained by watching somebody else play sometimes. I can’t tell you how many times over the years I have watched my relatives play a game like Final Fantasy, or Nights, or Resident Evil, or whatever, and I just sat in amazement at the game play. I am not a hardcore gamer like most of the staff here, so I have no problems watching someone play.
Another reason is for educational, and improvement purposes. I learned how to beat some games by watching others play. Why do you think Twitch is so popular? Why does YouTube have thousands of video games on their servers? People get stuck sometimes, and instead of wanting to waste time, or buy strategy guides like we did back in the day, people just go online to find out how to get that last star coin on Super Mario Bros. Wii U.
So if it’s for entertainment purposes, educational purposes, or passing time until it’s your turn to wreak havoc on the sticks, I don’t think it’s dumb to watch games at all.
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