Why “Let’s Plays” are great

This is kind of a different topic for me, so if my information is off-base, please forgive me and give me proper sources below.

Let’s Plays: I cannot think of a more decisive topic in my house. I think they are fantastic, my dad thinks they are a waste of time. He wonders why I am willing to watch someone play a game for a day worth of video as opposed to play the game myself. I get it, I really do.

My reason for watching someone play a game comes to only three reasons. The first of which is I am always broke. It would be fantastic if I had all of the money for every console and game that my heart desires, but I do not even break cost of living most months. Seeing how most games that hold my interest are either 70+, or on a console that I don’t own (see the Switch), I have no ways of actually playing said game. The only way I can experience it is by watching others play it. Most Let’s Play(ers?) already play in a similar way that I do: they search all of the dark corners for hidden bits of lore. That is a (mostly) free way I can get the entertainment that I crave.

The second reason is time. Most games that I want to play (Persona 5, for instance) take hours, if not days, to finish. With the cavalcade of games that come out every quarter, I do not have even a quarter of the time required to play everything. Throw in old games, open-ended games (Minecraft, Terraria, Grand Theft Auto) and games that piggy-back off of older titles (Life is Strange) and I would not have time to sleep or eat, let alone write. Watching someone play for an hour while describing the lore surrounding the areas that peak my interest satiates that part of me that craves all the games.

The third reason is just simply skill. For instance, I love the concept of the Dark Souls franchise. I own all of them, and I have put dozens of hours into each. I am not good at Dark Souls. I have put the dozens of hours into them and die incredibly quickly, sometimes not even being able to get out of the first place. They are made to be very hard. Part of why I love them is that they do not hold the players hand and refuse to guide anyone to anything. I still love the atmosphere, art, and worlds of these games. I can ONLY experience these games through a third party.

For these reasons, and I’m sure that I’m forgetting more, I love Let’s Plays. I get my shots of lore, as well as get to experience the parts of games that I would love. I still play games like Tetris or Hearthstone myself, because watching someone else play would just frustrate me (Everyone has their own way of being “good”).

I have not done the research, but I am curious how Let’s Plays effect game sales in the long term. I have a pretty good feeling that the explosion of popularity for Minecraft was partially fuelled by groups like The Yogscast, but I remain ignorant to if Atlas’ refusal to allow anyone to publish gameplay of Persona 5 has effected longterm sales.

Let’s face it, anyone who wanted to know anything about Persona 5 has bought Persona 5.

Journey: Nihilism at its Finest

I should preface this by warning those who care that this will contain spoilers for the game Journey.

Yes: Journey. The game by ‘That Videogame Company’ which came out in 2012. I love everything about this game: The art style. The soundtrack. The narrative.

To those who don’t know or never cared to know, Journey is a game where you direct a nameless, voiceless character from the beginning of a map to the end. The path is full of puzzles and various clues to a past. Nothing is explained, in a tradition sense, and the clues are there for you piece together as time goes on.

It is a simple game in every way. That is what makes it so daunting and stressful at times. I do find that part mildly ironic. I first was introduced to this game by someone who sold me on it by claiming it is relaxing.

Due to the fact there is no narration and little text, the player is taxed with finding the correct path from point to point. You are doing so while trying to complete the task.

What task?

Well, the game does not tell you. Ever. You assume it is important. You assume that it will be explained as time goes on. However, you get to the end and…

Yep.

The game concludes with a cinematic recap of the environments you just tread while the credits roll and beautiful music plays in the background.

It is kind of an anti-climax, but I still found it incredibly satisfying.

You see, I took the game to artistically depict my views on life.

All that matters is now. The events that happen later are, yes, in consequence of what now contains. This does not change the fact that whatever you are feeling now is all that matters.

Journey displays this by telling the player to go on an adventure. One that does not contain any direction except for the walls of the environment. The player has to then endure many difficult trials with NO rhyme or reason except to get to the end. Then, there is end. You die. Well, maybe not DIE, but you do stop existing in the ‘physical’ realm.

The strangest part of this ending was what I felt when I realized what had just happened: I felt accomplished. I felt like everything that needed to be done was done. I had a tonne of fun playing the game, and when it was over, I realized that I could play it again if I wanted to, but there was not that longing to.

That sounds so much worse than I intended it to. I played it again because I WANTED to. Not because the game was taunting me with a ‘maybe’ further play-through. I know I missed secrets on my first play, but my second I knew I was playing as a new character. My previous character was dead, and that was fine.

I cried just as hard the second ending as I did the first. Yes, me, an adult male, cried at the end of basically a cartoon with the bleakest outlook on existence that I have ever seen portrayed in that artistic medium.

Recently, I started following a play-through of someone playing Journey. It had been five years, give or take, since I had played, so of course I was compelled to watch. His commentary was annoying at times, he missed things that I noticed in the background, he went ways that I remembered as being wrong ways, but I will still link as many people as I can to the playlist because I think the game is that important.

To answer the question preemptively: yes, I wept at the end. I wasn’t even embarrassed, even though my dogs were looking at me like I had something wrong with me.

So, why did I open with a bold comparison saying this bleak, beautiful game is anything like nihilism? The game shows that there is no reason for anything we do. Like the game, life is a bunch of attempts at things until something sticks. In the end, it really does not matter what we have done. What does matter is how happy we are at the time.

I will take this opportunity to say that this is a blog, not a direction on how to live. If you are going to take my words to heart, talk it over with someone who understands the direction in which you are taking it. I am just kind of waffling through this post wile I keep my pets away from things they should not eat.

Also, I would like to point out the irony in me saying ‘only now matters! later means nothing!’ as I write this post one week before I post it.

I HOPE YOU HAVE A GOOD HALLOWE’EN!

Motivation

I need some ways to focus my attention onto my next book. I currently have 7,695 words and am only on chapter 4 and only 17 pages in. I love the characters; I love the world. What keeps distracting me is life and the internet. I have not even played video games much in the last month, even though two games I was frantically looking forward to have presented themselves (Mass Effect: Andromeda & Persona 5).

On a side note: I do plan on giving a kind of review once I actually get through those. I really love both series and seem to hate having a social life, so I do not quite know why I am being tardy on playing them through. I think I am just afraid of getting to see an end of the characters even though they are two new worlds I haven’t become invested in yet. Maybe I’m just done with the worlds?!
HA. NO.

Anyway, I just thought I’d let you know.

{EDIT A FEW DAYS LATER!}

I just scrapped over 5,000 words from my next story. I really liked the first few pages, but it got so complicated too fast. The difference I am noticing between fiction vs. non-fiction is because I am creating the story, it is hard to continue with little direction. My planning has turned into almost tricking myself that it really happened, then writing my fabricated memories.
I am just shy of 25 hundred words and 7 pages in.

(I can do this.)

{Edit}

Know what has amazing music? Persona 5. Seriously. I have played about 2 hours of campaign and I have fallen in love with the music in this game. It is like a happy trip-hop or a mildly dysfunctional lounge soundtrack. It is similar to Persona 4, but a bit busier and a bit smoother(?). Due to my strange addiction to this game, Mass Effect has kind of gone the way-side. I am also waiting for all the bugs to have been eradicated. I know the game-breaking vacant stare has been fixed, but I also know of a million other bugs that I have witnessed in the little bit of spoiler territory I have let myself see.

{Another Edit An Hour Before Publication}

I have posted the first page of the new work over on You’re Not Dead. Read it over, let me know how I am doing.