What makes a good Let's Play?


Back in 2010 I tried making my own Let’s Play of Super Mario Galaxy 2, because it’s a game I loved and wanted to share with others. Thing is, I was only 11 years old at that time. I am not a native english speaker and those things combined meant that when I browsed YouTube for Let’s Plays in my language, I was luckily to have found 2 others who were doing the same thing.

Standards were unimaginably low. My recording method was to aim my laptop webcam towards my TV and record footage that way. The result was barely recognizable footage with no audio. This, somehow, still got me a couple of viewers because nobody else in my language was doing it. Things got somewhat better after I asked my dad to let me use his camera to record the Let’s Plays I would do after that. I stopped a couple of years later, because at this point my videos were no longer even remotely passable and if I’m not mistaken I got some pretty “negative feedback” which, at that age, I couldn’t handle very well.

The thing is, I had a lot of fun making those videos. Even if they were made pretty lazily. They made me forget about anything bad that might have happened to me during that day. Fast forward like 5 years and I feel like making another attempt at an “actual” Let’s Play. Now, I have seen and read a lot of tutorials to get quality footage from games and I own a pretty decent microphone if I do say so myself. So I believe I’ve got all the required hardware and software to record and edit video’s that are up to standard.

But hardware can only get you so much. Commentary is still something I’ve got to work on. Although I’m uncertain what it is that makes someone invested in a Let’s Play and that makes them stick to watching new updates. Back when I did it you only really had to repeat in words the actions that were happening on screen. Is there anything you believe to be highly important to the enjoyment of watching a Let’s Play? Or does it all come down to personal preference?


A lot of the appeal of LPs does come down to personal preference of the viewer and LPer but it also helps if there’s some sort of general idea of what the LP wants to be. Whether it’s a casual and chill runthough you can listen to on the side, an in-depth look at a game, or anything else that can pop up, it helps focus on what the LP is about and can potentially garner interest in it.

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The way I put it is that the question “Why would people want to watch this video?” is something you have to answer for yourself in order to make the video. I try to focus on games that I think most people won’t be familiar with, so that my answer can be “Because they want to see a game they otherwise wouldn’t know about.” Sometimes I play really bad games, and then my answer is “So that people can experience the game without having to play it for themselves.” Sometimes I play really good games, and then it’s “So that people can see how good the game is and hopefully get a copy.” Most of the success on Youtube seems to come from alternate answers, like “Purely for the personalities of the people playing, regardless of what game they’re playing,” or “To see an expert performance of a difficult game,” or even just “To get a full walkthrough so they can see how to play better.” There are plenty of niches you can fit into.

And there’s always the universal answer if you can’t come up with anything better. Why would anyone watch your videos? “Because they’re there.” It’s not as likely to draw a huge audience, but if you’re making Let’s Plays because you want to, and you enjoy doing it, then the audience is a secondary concern. If you don’t enjoy making them, then it’s probably best not to.