Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Left 4 Dead 2: Minecraft Style


Monday, June 25, 2012

Let's Play: A Rising Trend in Gaming

Video sharing online has undoubtedly revolutionized how we communicate. It’s also beginning to affect how we perceive and play games. 

Game trailers, walkthroughs, previews, and highlights have been around for a while but growing in popularity are unedited play-throughs. It’s not uncommon to see a video compilation of a player’s best, most impressive moments (headshots, streaks, stunts, or wins) but these seldom show average play performance or failures. Being referred to as Let’s Play videos, it’s becoming more common now to see videos that feature unedited gameplay with player commentary. 

Let’s Plays can be presented in a variety of ways for a variety of reasons and aren’t necessarily restricted to video format, but essentially they show how a game is played normally and with commentary. They can be the afore mentioned previews that give people a better idea of what to expect from the game before purchasing it, or 
walkthroughs that guide the player through the game levels, but they can extend beyond that and serve as after action reports that pick apart the gameplay to reveal strategies or techniques, like this Team Fortress 2 gameplay video and commentary from Jerma985:

Others may feature live commentary with natural reactions from the player. Depending on the player or game, Let’s Play videos can be humorous, interesting, or informative.

What’s been most interesting to me has been to see how people play games differently. Because of their inherently interactive nature most games can be played a number of different ways making each player’s experience with the product a bit more personal. These videos reveal how unique a game experience can be depending on the player’s mood, skill level, imagination, and play style. Paulsoarsjr is another channel I watch that features many video series of Minecraft gameplay. The video below is his "Tale of Kingdoms" series where he role-plays as a medieval king and uses his imagination to explain game events or even justify game bugs.

Paulsoarsjr's videos were particularly enlightening to me because of how he treats a game's shortcomings. He seems to have a sense of humor about them where I would normally become frustrated. Watching what others enjoy about the games we play can help us appreciate our games even more and in ways we didn't know we could. The Let's Plays I watch remind me that games are about having fun.

Game companies, especially indie developers, may benefit from this if they've made a good game because chances are someone online will be interested enough to make a Let's Play of it and give other gamers a chance to see what can be enjoyed about the game. Helping both ends of the industry, Let's Plays give the developers free advertising and give the consumers more knowledge about the product.

Watching your friend play Battlefield 3 on his Xbox is one thing but actively watching a player talk about his experience as he’s playing a game is unlike anything we’ve see before. These videos are presenting to the world a variety of unique player perspectives and can really affect how developers, gamers and non-gamers perceive what it means to play videogames.