Entertainment Internet

5 Interactive YouTube Games That Still Work

Ben Stegner Updated 25-06-2020

When you think of YouTube, interactive games probably aren’t the first thing that come to mind. However, clever creators once came up with many games you can play on YouTube. Similar to classic “choose your own adventure” books and interactive fiction games, interactive YouTube games let you make choices to move the story forward.

Unfortunately, YouTube made a change that renders almost all of these videos unplayable. Let’s examine why, then look at the interactive YouTube games you CAN still play today.

Interactive YouTube Games Died Without Annotations

Unfortunately, most interactive YouTube games no longer function correctly. This is due to YouTube retiring the annotations feature.

If you’re not familiar, annotations were text boxes that creators could add to their videos. They were often used to link to a related video, note a correction, or make a joke. However, annotations didn’t show on YouTube’s mobile apps.

This, combined with declining use, led the company to discontinue them in 2017. And then later, in January 2019, YouTube completely removed annotations from all videos.

While YouTube now offers features like cards and end screens to replace some of this functionality, the fact that annotations no longer appear means that many interactive videos simply don’t work. They relied on annotations to provide links that you clicked to progress the narrative.

A few creators have replaced annotations with the newer cards or end screens, but this isn’t the case for most of them. As many of the popular games were years old, the creators might not actively manage their channels any more. You can see an example of this below; the interactive card trick video simply doesn’t work as intended without annotations.

Chad, Matt & Rob’s Interactive Movies

As it turns out, there is one notable YouTube channel that still features working interactive games: chadmattandrob. While this channel isn’t active these days, it features some of the best-known interactive movies on the site. The first one was uploaded all the way back in 2008.

While these videos initially relied on annotations, the endings have been reworked to use modern ending screens. Thus, this channel is your best bet for interactive YouTube experiences.

Let’s quickly look at the premise for each of these experiences so you know what to expect. We’ve linked the starting videos for each one, so begin with those and your choices will take you through the narrative.

1. The Time Machine

Chad, Matt & Rob’s first adventure was also one of the first of its kind on YouTube. In this experience, your goal is to get the guys to a meeting safely. Along the way, they discover a time machine and travel to different time periods while trying to stay ahead of the authorities.

2. The Murder

During this adventure, Chad, Matt, and Rob are witness to a murder while filming. Compared to The Time Machine, this one features extra branching paths and more possible scenes to see.

3. The Birthday Party

Join our heroes for their third adventure, where they must get to their boss’s birthday party unscathed. During the journey, they encounter a lot of wild scenarios you might not expect.

4. The Teleporter

The channel marks The Teleporter as a “mini-adventure.” It’s notable for being a branded video; the story features AXE products. Aside from that, it centers on the guys running away from a UFO.

5. The Treasure Hunt

The final interactive adventure tasks the group with facing off against a veteran treasure hunter as they look for an ancient treasure. It was uploaded in 2011.

Interactive YouTube Games Are a Thing of the Past

As we’ve seen, games that you can play on YouTube almost completely died out when YouTube killed annotations. Thankfully, you can still enjoy the Chad, Matt & Rob videos, so at least they aren’t all gone.

There’s more good news too: interactive movies are alive and well outside of YouTube. As you can see with our list of interactive movies you can control online 10 Interactive Movies You Can Watch and Control Online Here are several of the best interactive movies you can watch and control online right in your web browser. Read More and the best interactive movies to watch on Netflix The Best Interactive Netflix Shows to Watch Right Now These are the best interactive Netflix shows, all of which let you influence the story from the comfort of your sofa. Read More .

Related topics: Interactive Fiction, Online Games, Online Video, YouTube.

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    December 13, 2010 at 10:54 am

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  3. Samsung mobiles
    October 4, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    wow... nice I did not know this... :_)

  4. Hrishikesh Dani
    September 24, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    that is a very good list there.. you guys might want to check out my Interactive audio only gamebook based on one of the CYOA stories here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... ... it was my final dissertation for post grad sound design course so did not make it public.. i hope you guys enjoy it..cheers!

  5. Hrishikesh Dani
    September 24, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    that is a very good list there.. you guys might want to check out my Interactive audio only gamebook based on one of the CYOA stories here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZi3L69O6PA ... it was my final dissertation for post grad sound design course so did not make it public.. i hope you guys enjoy it..cheers!

    • Aibek
      October 1, 2010 at 10:53 am

      just checked it out, the sound quality needs an improvement. or is it supposed to be so?

      • Hrishikesh Dani
        November 20, 2010 at 3:54 am

        It is supposed to be so only for the first page (it is supposed to be off radio)... later pages are more like an audiobook. Thanks for checking it out

  6. Saikat Basu
    September 24, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Didn't know too much about YouTube games, and then went out and searched for a few more. There's someone's personal blog - YouTube Games which lists quite a few more.

    Then you can also play its Easter Egg ('the snake game').

  7. Saikat Basu
    September 24, 2010 at 6:04 am

    Didn't know too much about YouTube games, and then went out and searched for a few more. There's someone's personal blog - YouTube Games which lists quite a few more.

    Then you can also play its Easter Egg ('the snake game').

    • Angela Alcorn
      September 24, 2010 at 8:09 am

      The YouTube games are great fun though. I'm kind of excited about where it will lead & what sort of games we'll have in a few years time when it's more streamlined and a few more keen people have had a play with it. :)

      • Saikat Basu
        September 24, 2010 at 10:00 am

        One day who knows touch technology and YouTube will come together. I know you are crazy about YouTube games. You lost half a day playing Trivial Pursuit on YouTube :) And because of your mention, so did I!

        • Angela Alcorn
          September 24, 2010 at 11:31 am

          Sorry! Or, You're welcome. :)