Podzilla 1985

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Commentary on video game commentary.

   Whenever I'm really "into" a video game and I'm away from home unable to play it, I occasionally like to bring up YouTube on my phone and watch a little gameplay just to sate my thirst for more.
I would rather not get into whether there's an underlying game addiction there or if the developer is just really good. That's not what this is about.
It's not really anything other than wanting a little taste of game's atmosphere, music and all, to hold me over.
I did it with Fallout 3. I did it with Red Dead Redemption. I did it with Bioshock Infinite.
But I take issue with a currently popular trend.

   I'm not sure how many of you are aware, but there's a thing that's kind of taken off and I'm not sure when it did. That thing is Let's Play videos.
Let's Play videos, according to Wikipedia, are recorded videos of video game plays including a commentary by the gamer.
Not to be confused with a walkthrough which I'm not sure has a real specific definition. Could have commentary. Could not have commentary.

Let's Plays and Walkthroughs are popular enough at the moment that it's pretty common to have to wade through tons of them just to find gameplay that doesn't have someone between the ages of 15 and 30 blathering on over it.
That's where I take issue.
Let me be honest here. I don't REALLY have a good reason for complaining about this topic. The only reason I take issue with commentary is because of the small amount of effort I now have to put into just finding simple quality gameplay videos and the saturation of YouTube with people trying to become "sensations".

You may be asking "What do you mean 'sensation'? How does one become a sensation with video game videos?"
(Just pretend you asked that and pretend you didn't already know the answer.)
Well, it happens. A couple of currently popular YouTube personalities are Tobuscus...

...and PewDiePie...

(Can I just say, I hate most YouTube video thumbnails. The ones that involve a real person. I'm easily annoyed by them and it makes me not want to watch the video. But I digress)

Okay. So as you can see, people love people who do commentary over video games. They like them enough to then subscribe to certain people or make their own. The relative ease means nearly anyone can do it. This love of watching them though is something I just can't wrap my head around.

I like the occasional TV show/movie commentary. I LOVE Mystery Science Theater 3000. The difference is in the case of MST3K, the commentary(jokes) are the focus. In TV show/movie commentary, you usually go out of your way to listen to it because you want to hear the thoughts of those who worked on the product.

Let's Plays and other commentary videos are just... nobodies. Nobodies talking over a game about things ranging from how THEY play it to jokes to real life issues. And the part that boggles my mind the most is people seem to actually prefer this to just straight forward gameplay videos. I'm not talking about instructional videos on getting past certain sections of a game. I'm talking someone just...talking. Commenting.

I like to sometimes do a thing where I'll have a specific thought or opinion and I'll Google it... you know... just to see if there are like minded people out there.
Apparently there aren't when it comes to this particular subject. The internet loves them some chattering unknowns mixed with gameplay videos. The recurring thought process is "If I wanted to just watch the game being played I'd just play it myself."
I understand that...but...but...that's not really the point.

All of that being said, I GET it. I get the whys. I understand that people like to hear other people's thoughts on a game as it's being played. Heck, I've even enjoyed a few myself... given they were either bad games being played specifically for the humor of it or the Yogscast guys playing Minecraft. I hold that those are completely different things.

To get back to my ranty point:
-I have a desire.(To watch some gameplay from a game I'm currently playing)
-I go to YouTube and search it.
-Suddenly tons and tons of videos with commentary.
-I'm sad.

And to put it in an even simpler way:
I. Don't. Care. About. Your. Thoughts. On. A. Video. Game. Or. Your. Jokes. Or Your. Take. On. Real. Issues.

I MIGHT care about a developer's thoughts(I listened to the commentary track that you could listen to on Monkey Island 2 Special Edition with Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert). I like them. It's one of my favorite games. I was interested to hear what they said. It makes logical sense.

Why does it bother me so much?
Maybe it's the narcissism of people thinking anyone cares about their thoughts getting in the way of me wanting a simple thing. Then I find out no one else seems to be against the narcissism and they feed it.

I'm fully aware that this is basically a non-issue and I'm fully aware that I'm a hypocrite who, if I found out people liked hearing me commentate on gameplay videos, would dive into it head first.
It probably wouldn't even be an issue for me to rant about if YouTube wasn't A.) Flooded with them and B.) It was easier to find straight gameplay videos minus commentary.

It's basically me being an old man yelling at the kids to get off my lawn when the reality is that the old man wishes he was young and still had the energy to be out on the lawn playing....or an old man giving a really bad, inaccurate analogy.

So...c'mon people. Just start putting up some quality gameplay videos without you talking on them. Do it for me. You owe me...you know... for that thing I did for you.

Post a Comment