How To Do Let’s Plays Right
Ever since Pewdiepie has become the most subscribed to YouTube channel of all time, Let’s Plays have fallen under a metaphorical spotlight. Suddenly there are teenage girls that are into One Direction watching gameplay footage of indie horror games and big release narrative games. But, of course, with great success comes great imitation. Hermit level PC gamers now have ambitions to become one of the most famous people on Earth purely for playing games and doing voice overs.
I have never done a Let’s Play myself because I lack the equipment, but I am (or rather, was) a big consumer of Let’s Play videos. I would come home every day and watch people play games rather than play them myself and I found it very entertaining. It’s an entertainment form now rather than the previous function which was to show off skill or gameplay experiences. But following the massive successes that some YouTube gaming channels have gathered, the website is now full of wannabes that think that they will have the same success as the more “bigger” YouTubers.
I’ve seen a large number of the content on offer and I have to say it’s pretty abysmal. This may sound arrogant or something, but the quality of some of the content I have seen is either one of two things: blatantly derivative or just boring as all hell. So I would like to offer some guidelines that would not guarantee success, but get the ball rolling to some truly great content. These is simply observations of a viewer, however, and I don’t have the experience to really comment on it, but I think that the viewer is the most important aspect.
Here are some guidelines that I can give to any budding Let’s Player.
Don’t Expect Instant Fame
Gathering an audience is a laborious process. You either have to go viral or produce the best content ever conceived to gain instant fame. But more often than not, gathering fame is going to take a while. It certainly won’t happen overnight, that’s for damn sure. Keep yourself humble and don’t think that fame and riches are waiting for you simply because you make some content. Have patience and don’t try to force it.
Nobody Cares About Your Scorestreak
The case of the infamous Call of Duty tryhard. There are so many videos out there that have people just playing a multiplayer game of Call of Duty or Battlefield that it will make your head spin. Most consumers of gameplay videos have seen hundreds of these videos already. There’s nothing special about them. Unless you are legendarily good or put a new interesting spin on it, Black Ops Quickscope videos are going to get you nowhere.
Avoid The Trendy
Minecraft, specifically. It’s basically the same principle as the Call of Duty videos. There’s so many of them already that they are nothing special. The only real chance you have to gain any sort of audience with them is if you are either insanely creative or you once again add an interesting spin on it. Perhaps doing comedy skits or storylines within the game. But if you want to be a successful Let’s Player you have to go outside the comfort zone and play games that are not as popular. That’s how Pewdiepie gained his initial fame. He also only really posted Call of Duty and Minecraft videos, but after a while he started playing indie horror games such as Amnesia and he exploded because of it. No great art has ever stemmed from comfort and if you remember that, you will have much more success than you think.
Have A Personality
Nobody wants to watch a video of you narrating a game that they can easily play themselves. Loosen up a little and add some flair to the video. People are attracted to personalities and if you’re just going to sit there saying “okay I’m moving to the next objective. I shot that guy. Let’s move on to that building. Okay my support character died. Shot that guy in the face.” That’s not interesting or entertaining. Let the entertainer within you come out for a while. Make jokes, react to events in a funny manner, do something abnormal or just simply be yourself.
Don’t Try Too Hard
You might not see it, but people notice when you are trying too hard. Don’t go overboard with how you present yourself. Ignore the camera and just be yourself rather than putting up an elaborate attempt to be different in some way. You will just drive people away when they see that you are just trying to become famous by being awkwardly quirky and stupid. If you are not yourself, people will notice it and deter away from your content.
I’ve seen literally hundreds of Pewdiepie or Tobuscus imitators. Some have even gone so far as copying their names (one guy I’ve seen called himself Piediepew) and playing exactly the same games they are playing. Why would people watch a cheap imitation if they can watch the real thing just as easily. Be unique in the sense of the games you play, what you do, how you present yourself and what you can do differently than the norm.
You may feel that I can’t comment on how Let’s Plays should be done because I don’t do them myself, but from a pure observational standpoint, I firmly believe that these guidelines will help all budding Let’s Players. The content on offer these days is just full of imitation, oversaturation and people just trying to become famous in one way or another. If we can create new and interesting content for people such as myself to enjoy then we would all be better for it.