I haven’t been reading comics this week because my time has been split between studying and delving into the fascinating world of Let’s Play. So, please allow me to speak on the latter.
Let’s Play began as an idea on the famous Something Awful forums, where someone had the idea to record game runs not for competitive reasons, but as a form of entertainment or education.
LP is a form of theater gaming (that’s really the best term I could come up with) where a person will run through a game and record it via video or screenshots while adding commentary. It could be a “blind” run, where the person has never played the game before and records commentary while playing, or the normal kind where the LPer knows the ins-and-outs of the game and records after filming. Personally, I prefer the latter, they tend to be better thought-out and technically competent. More on that later.
I’ve watched and read some LPs in the past, and I found them interesting but lacking. After all, what is the point of watching someone play a game that you’ve already played or plan to in the future? It’s silly. Then I noted a few LPs that Yahtzee linked to and found new life for my interest. Oh, and I know that this sounds like I’m copying Yahtzee; his article just prompted me to finish actually publish this draft.
It turns out that I was looking in the wrong places. I thought that LPs were supposed to make fun of the game, and while that is certainly true, it’s not their only function.
I can best explain this by using the videos of Chip and Ironicus. I went through their videos for MGS4, a game I thoroughly played and enjoyed, and found a wealth of interesting information that I would have never noticed before.
Because, kids, there’s always going to be someone else that knows more about a game than you do. And while you could play the game with one hand in a strategy guide, it’s much easier to just watch the LPs. Chip and Ironicus have an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the MGS series and was able to provide a ton of insight into the easter eggs and references that stuff the game to bursting.
And what if you are unable to get a hold of the game, but want to understand the culture around it? Or what if you have a sequel but not the original, and you are lost for plot? Both of those issues explain why I’m going through OatmealRaisin’s LP of the original Dead Rising; I have very little interest in actually playing it, but I want to see the good bits.
And that’s really what the good LPs do. They poke fun, yes, but they are there to show of the good bits and some of the laughably bad without making the watcher wade through the tedium. While LPs will never replace actually playing the game, it really does help flesh out the world in ways that you might have ignored before.
In all, it’s a fun timesink if nothing else.
The best place for you to access LPs would be the Let’s Play Archive at http://lparchive.org. It’s basically all of the LPs that the Something Awful forums collected over the years; it’s pretty massive.
Other than that, enjoy!