For years now people have been playing games, recording their efforts and posting the resulting videos online (often with a hilarious voice-over) for the entertainment of others. To many, and for the sake of this week’s Stuff to Watch, they’re known as Let’s Play videos (LPs) and share the title with the Something Awful forum of the same name.
Those who contribute videos to the ever-growing collection provide a personal touch with their choice of content and commentary, such as mocking a truly awful game or completing the hardest levels with minimal equipment.
Here I’ll be highlighting a couple of users who have produced some epic LPs over the years, as well as some hand-picked videos to start you off if you’re in unfamiliar territory.
Lewis and Simon have been producing light-hearted audio and video podcasts for a while now and have enjoyed success on both YouTube and iTunes. As well as taking quick looks at new games (much of the time those that appear in Steam sales) they also produce regular features which focus on current trends and the latest big releases.
The video above demonstrates the humor and style employed in a typical Yogscast video, and the uploads come thick and fast. The game in question here is fantasy horse simulator Secret of the Magic Crystals, and is definitely worth a watch for comedy value alone.
Minecraft fans will also be right at home here as various elements of the game are covered in depth on a weekly basis.
Link: The Yogiverse
Have you ever heard of an experimental Japanese game called Seaman? It was released in 1999 for the Sega Dreamcast and remains to this day one of the only games to use the console’s microphone attachment. Oh yeah, and the English version was voiced by Leonard Nimoy. Intrigued? Good, because now you can watch the whole spectacle unfold in front of you thanks to The Freelance Astronauts.
Other games covered in depth include classics like the original Sim City, Space Quest IV and modern marvels like Just Cause 2. Unfortunately some videos on the main site don’t work, though a quick visit to YouTube rectifies this!
YouTube Channel: SAMaxwellAdams
There are so many good games covered here that it’s hard to choose between them. Of the collection a couple stick out – especially 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand. In this third-person action adventure, our protagonist, 50, has had his diamond-encrusted human skull stolen and he must retrieve it – at any cost. A combination of a dodgy game and hilarious commentary that takes place over 10 separate episodes makes this one extra special!
For those of you who don’t own a PS3 but fancy gawping at a full playthrough of Metal Gear Solid 4, well they’ve covered that too. Also worth a watch is a playthrough of Sega’s terrifying frightfest Condemned (if only for the shopping mall level), especially if you’re too jumpy to usually see a scary game through to the end.
Gigarast Plays: Project I.G.I & Chaser
These two stand out for their depth and presentation, not to mention the author’s ability to take two old first person shooters and dissect them in such a way. Project I.G.I. was a fairly well-received FPS released in 2000 (I.G.I standing for… I’m going in).
This LP analyses different approaches to situations and how the game handles them, as well as some hilarious video editing that makes the original cut scenes far more entertaining than they were ever meant to be.
The other, Chaser – a fairly average FPS from 2003 – is handled similarly, and also makes for great viewing if you enjoy Gigarast’s cheeky Irish-accented approach.
The Let’s Play Archive is home to years of effort from Something Awful forum members and you’ll be sure to find a game you like amongst the backlog. In particular the Jurassic Park game Trespasser makes for an entertaining watch as forum member Research Indicates walks you through the game’s quirks (such as the ability to use objects in the environment as weapons) and problems (tons of bugs).
For comedy value the co-operative playthrough of Daikatana (one of the biggest flops of all time) by Proteus4994 and Suspicious is also heavily recommended.
For the very latest and currently ongoing Let’s Play videos don’t forget to check out the appropriate board on the Something Awful forums.
You are not alone if you enjoy watching other people play games and talking about it. There are thousands of videos available at the LP Archive just waiting to be discovered. If you have any favorites then don’t forget to share them in the comments and let us know why they’re so good.
Do you like Let’s Play videos? Any favourite authors? Leave a comment below.
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