REVIEW: ‘Let’s Play’

REVIEW: ‘Let’s Play’


By Maggie Davis
eSomethin Staff

Lately, entire websites like YouTube have become dominated and flooded by footage of ordinary guys and girls playing games that are on sale at the local GameStop or on Steam.

Many parents probably see their kids watching Youtubers play, instead of doing their homework.

Late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel came out and voiced his confusion on his show,  Jimmy Kimmel Live!,  asking why do people bother filming these, and why do kids watch them instead of experiencing games for themselves?

Let’s look at some of these Youtubers, many of which you may already know. There’s PewDiePie, Cryaotic and the Late Night Crew, the Achievement Hunters, the Game Grumps, Jacksepticeye, the RPG Minx, and Markiplier, among some of the most popular.

Usually, Let’s Plays seem to run for various amounts of time, sometimes ranging from 15 minutes to hours on end. They usually feature commentary, though vulgar at times, especially times of frustration or fear, and some Youtubers opt to include a facecam that is usually placed somewhere on the screen for fans to see their reactions. Some videos aren’t intended for a younger audience, though.

What about what’s getting played? Games like Minecraft, and indie horror rpg (role-playing game) games like Mad Father or The Witch’s House. The Grand Theft Auto series is popular, as are older games like Super Mario Galaxy, new releases that are heavily choice-based and aimed for a more mature audience, like Until Dawn. Others include Toby ‘Radiation’ Fox’s Undertale, and unsurprisingly, Scott Cawthon’s Five Night’s at Freddy’s series (Mark is the proclaimed ‘King of Five Nights at Freddy’s’, and his play throughs of the games have more than 1 million views).

The games come from everywhere and have various ratings given, but most Let’s Players try to avoid flagged content and usually give warnings to viewers about heavy or triggering images, dialogue, and ideas before their videos begin or in the descriptions. There are some websites devoted to giving watchers and gamers warnings as well.

So, what’s the appeal to kids and teens?

“Many people don’t understand the difference between a walkthrough and a let’s play,” said sophomore Aaron Pollauf. “A walkthrough is simply a guide through the game, which can be boring unless you are playing the game.

“Though a let’s play can serve as this, it mostly involves the Let’s Player saying something funny, or talking about his or her life. That’s why I enjoy let’s plays. You can make a personal connection to the person playing the game, they’re almost like a friend you play video games with.”

Many of these people do great things with their videos, too.

Markiplier created a charity called ‘Markiplier’s Heroes’ and regularly does livestreams with his fan community to raise money to help hospitals. They even held their yearly ‘Extra Life’ 24-hour charity stream Nov. 7 to benefit their local Children’s Miracle Network hospital, Dell Children’s. Some Let’s Players also aim to help with other causes they feel are important and reach out to fans to offer their support in rough times.

YouTube and other websites have become a new arcade to the younger generation, where you could sit down at a computer and watch friends play games, rather than going out with everybody and a roll of quarters. It seems foolish to some parents, really.

Kimmel, after receiving a huge uproar from the online gaming community, was invited to meet with some Youtubers to try to come to an understanding about the new trend in online entertainment. The group tried to guide him through a few rounds of Rocket League and left, well…some room to improve. Let’s Plays have become a huge part of Youtube’s identity, and have a large following.

If you’re looking for something new to watch, check out some of their channels! (

There’s usually something for everyone. So, let’s play!

Other Maggie Davis postings:

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