Watching Others Play Video Games: Fun or Dumb?

Steve Schoen – I believe the pleasure of watching another person play a video game is tied directly to one’s personal interest in the game being watched. For example, you might have a younger cousin or niece or nephew playing a beloved childhood favorite of yours for the first time, such as Super Mario Bros. 3. Watching them play all the same levels you did would likely fill you with excitement, and perhaps a little nostalgia. You would give advice, point out hidden secrets, and become secretly resentful when you see them effortlessly handle something that took you many tries.
For those of us with non-gamer spouses or significant others, endless laughter can be gained by sitting our loved one down in front of the television, sticking a controller in their hand, and watching them try to do what you do best. As a for instance, I had my wife play Dragon Age: Origins. I started her out in an empty space with no enemies, just to teach her the controls. Once I explained them, I said, “Okay, run a straight line,” and she proceeded to weave and wobble all over the screen, providing me with some of the best belly laughs I’ve ever had.
The flip side of this is being in a situation where you’re watching someone play something boring or dreadful. Most times, if you’re bored watching someone, you can just get up and leave. But occasionally, you’re just stuck where you are for one reason or another: Babysitting, family gathering, etc. Sometimes you’re just bored because you’re fifth man in the room when everyone else is playing Mario Kart. These are times when it’s handy to have a handheld gaming device.
Now, watching another person play was a part of co-op life once upon a time. Before the days of single-screen co-op, playing Super Mario Bros. games with a friend meant sitting and waiting for them to either complete the level or die before you got a turn. Thankfully, the majority of games these days do not employ such mechanics.
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Victoria Grace Howell – I love watching people play video games. As a kid for the longest time, that’s all I did since I didn’t think I’d ever be good enough to play them. It wasn’t until a while later that I played my first video game, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. One of my younger sisters and many of my cousins are really good players and I have many fond memories watching them play and cheering them on. Despite the popular opinion that video games are antisocial, I’ve been very social with friends and family as we watch each other play video games.
Concerning watching them online, this has its benefits too. For me this has been a way to come to know games I don’t have the system for like Enslaved and Kingdom Hearts. Games like these have such a good story and the playthroughs I found had well-versed players so it was like watching a movie.
The only annoying thing about either of these is if the player you’re watching is bad. I had a cousin that was horrible at video games who stole the controller from me and kept falling numerous times, or while watching an online game play I saw the player do things in the game I wouldn’t and that irritated me.
In summary, I believe watching other people play video games can turn a solitary form of entertainment into a memory-making, relationship-building experience.

 

Dumb

Wesley Wood – I may be in the minority and judging from the other writers, I am. But I cannot stand watching others play video games. Why waste my time watching when I could play the game myself? Now to be clear, watching others play video games just for fun is dumb. Watching a video review makes sense since in a matter of minutes you can see the gameplay and hear the pros and cons of a game that you may want to plop money on.
Watching someone play a game online while you just sit there? I don’t get it.
I have never enjoyed watching others play games in general though, whether it is online or at home. I have heard the argument that it is the same as watching professional sports. It is not the same thing. There is no way I can get a bunch of professional athletes together to play football, baseball, or basketball with me. While I enjoy playing those sports, watching professionals play is a whole other ball game. Watching a guy on YouTube or Twitch play Call of Duty is plain ridiculous when you can play it yourself.

 

Mixed

Josh Mors – Watching people play videos games can be both dumb and fun at the same time for me. If I watch my brothers play video games at home, or if I’m at a friend’s house and he is playing a game, I would like to also play instead of just watching. Sometimes this is because the game is accessible and within your reach to play at any moment when they are done. It also makes me want to play some video games if I’m watching someone near me like a family member or a friend play them.
Although it can also be fun to watch people play video games at times. I mostly watch people stream on Twitch games that I don’t have or just checking out to see if they’re any fun. I really like it when the host of whoever is streaming interacts with you, and answers your questions.
You can also meet other people from watching people stream on Twitch, and talk to them in the chat if it is well stable, and multiple people aren’t talking. Sometimes, you’ll get a new perspective out of a video game that you never thought you would experience while watching it, and it might influence you to buy the game yourself just from watching someone stream on Twitch or any other streaming network.

 

What do you think? Is it fun, dumb, or do you have mixed feelings on the subject?

Wesley Wood

Wesley Wood is an aspiring film director. He would love to make GOOD films to help spread God's word and help Christians grow.

3 Comments

  1. dundy on February 27, 2015 at 12:55 am

    I have to agree with Wesley. I have very little time to play, so when I do actually have time, I’d rather play myself than watch somebody else play.

  2. Maddie on February 26, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    I’m a bit mixed on the subject. Sometimes it can be boring, but if you’re watching the right person it’s fun.
    I don’t regularly watch Let’s Play channels because I get bored easily and go to a different video. But with this obe guy I found on YouTube, Scykoh, makes it fun with they way he commentates.

    • Wesley Wood on February 27, 2015 at 12:41 am

      I just don’t understand the appeal at all.

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