How I fell in love with Lets Plays

Video games used to be a huge part of my life. I preferred handheld gaming and had every iteration of the Game Boy right up to the 3DS XL but also owned a Gamecube and a Wii. But I was never what you’d call a ‘hard-core gamer’.

Slowly but surely as other commitments such as music, the 9-5 and a relationship started to creep in, the gaming crept out. I still keep the 3DS and it’s loaded with some classics incase of a surprise long journey or if I get the sudden urge. But I also stopped because I felt that the time spent on playing those games could be used for something more productive, like writing/practicing/composing or spending time with the good lady.

One day when researching reviews for a game, I came across a video by a Youtuber called That One Video Gamer, a.k.a, Jirard Khalil, who presented a show called The Completionist. In these shows, he not only reviews the game, but completes it 100% to show all content the game has to offer and will subsequently give the game a rating depending if he feels it’s worth your time trying to 100% it.

I found the videos really insightful and entertaining. Here was a guy who was doing what I wished I had the time to do, but he edited it to a 20 minute video. I then discovered he had reviewed literally hundreds of other games, meaning there was lots of stuff to catch up on. During an episode, he mentioned a ‘Lets Play’ channel that he did with his friend Alex Faciane called Super Beard Bros.

Now I’d heard this phrase ‘Lets Play’ before but had never really considered it something that I’d enjoy because I mean, c’mon, why would you watch someone else play video games? Well, after watching them play a Super Mario mod called Kiazo Mario, I was hooked. I felt like I was there in the room with them and we were all playing the game together. It was the perfect escapism.

Then one day, they mentioned another Lets Play channel called Game Grumps. I had an awareness that there must be other Lets Play channels out there but naively assumed that none of them would hold a candle to the Beard Bros.

Well, over the course of about a month, I slowly stopped watching Beard Bros and became consumed by all things Game Grumps. Again, the main show is presented by 2 guys, Arin Hanson and Dan Avidan. They play through the games in a similar fashion to Beard Bros, but neither considers themselves to be fantastic at video games. This is why I think I eventually stopped watching Beard Bros and now religiously follow these two.

I never considered myself a professional or even a casual gamer. I preferred to watch others rather than play. And now I can’t wait to see what games they’re going to play next, or look back at games they’ve played before. I can watch the videos whilst doing other things, so my productivity doesn’t feel like it’s being affected. It sounds bizarre, but I can’t wait to watch other people play video games.

“It’s hard to have an existential crisis when everything’s so pretty.”

Dan Avidan


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