A Good Let's Play Is More Than Just a Video of Your Favorite Game

Postscript is Cameron Kunzelman's weekly column about endings, apocalypses, deaths, bosses, and all sorts of other finalities.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/nepzwb/a-good-lets-play-is-more-than-just-a-video-of-your-favorite-game

This was a good article and nothing highlights the trouble of putting together a good Let’s Play like this quote: " Cracking jokes, editing video for best effect, and thinking through the best ways to communicate game information is work ."

If you’re like me you mix up the best content in post-production where you have more time to think and even write dialogue to play over game footage.

Something I never thought a lot about was having a ‘game plan’ before recording footage. Thing is having a plan and knowing what to expect and discuss only works if you know the game so people going in blind won’t have the advantage.

One of the reasons I would choose to Let’s Play over stream (beside not possessing a good enough internet connection) is that Let’s Plays are something that can be more than footage of someone playing a game. You can edit it to be more streamlined and “get to the point” quicker.

It’s funny and I almost wish you’d delved into it in the piece, but Chip and Ironicus’s Metal Gear Solid V LP is perhaps the most comprehensive work I’ve ever seen an explanatory LP attempt. The concept of playing through each mission in multiple ways inspired by narrative personalities; just brilliant. I find myself imagining a Breath of the Wild LP with Big Link, Venom Link and Vapor Link.


I feel like C&I are just really good examples of LPs done right. A good player providing footage, and two people with a good rapport talking about it. Their MGR:R LP is probably my favourite LP, still


Over time most of the people whose LPs I watched in high school have moved over to streaming and abandoned the highly-edited, explanatory style. I understand that’s mostly because Twitch is vastly more lucrative, but I miss the older stuff sometimes.

If we’re talking about Supergreatfriend, his Deadly Premonition LP was how I first experienced that game and is an absolute masterpiece.

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I like Super Best Friends so much because they’re REALLY good at expressing why something is great or interesting. Their later stuff is pretty great, especially Woolie and Pat’s recent playthroughs of the entire DMC series and whenever Matt gets to get the gang to play dated PS2 shooters.

It also got me thinking on more of why I was getting tired of any non-versus episode of Game Grumps, and then it clicked. Arin rarely ever bothers to engage with the games he plays, leaving Dan to pick up the slack, and he often doesn’t do that. SBF highlights the games and discuss them while going on weird tangents, while Game Grumps whole thing is instead based almost entirely on the fresh reactions of Arin and Dan, which is way more scattershot and usually does a disservice to a game. Their style works better with multiplayer games and quickly made quiz games, where the two get a lot of fun banter from natural situations.

Arin and Dan only work outside versus episodes when either they get something Dan really clicks with, or when Dan is sharing the stuff from his childhood - which is usually Commodore 64 games and weird stuff almost nobody has ever heard of.

I think a major part of what makes a good LPer is them being able to tap into an enthusiasm they have for something and their ability to get the audience to gel with their point of view, either positive or negative.

There was a rather famous LP of Half-Life 2 and it’s episodes by a YouTube user named GooseGoose. It was both super informative and generally entertaining, even playful at points. There would be asides where he would show off character models in Garry’s Mod. He would also turn some of the action sequences into musical montages (he set the buggy portion to Dune Buggy by Presidents of the United States of America). He also let all the dialogue play out without talking over it. As a cherry on top, he had a really pleasing British accent. Check it out, the original videos have been re-uploaded and remastered by fans.

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I’m a big proponent of Voidburger’s early Silent Hill subtitle LP. I’ve noticed a big drop off in the subtitle Let’s Play as of recent, but I think it worked really well for her series because that game is so atmospheric and letting commentary come through without affecting the auditory bits of that atmosphere is very effective in capturing Silent Hill’s spirit.

I truly adore the LP format and have since the SA forums. C&I are the godtier, no doubt, and seeing the work that goes into some LPs people do, it becomes so boggling that people malign them. They are very clerly transformative works.

The whole idea of “lost sales” just does not fly with me and I don’t think that you can get hard numbers on it if you tried. To my knowledge, the LPs I consume fall into three categories:

  1. Games I have already played and want to re-experience through a good commentator.
  2. Games I will literally never play in my life and would not play if the LP existed or not.
  3. Games I bought after watching the LP of the game.

I don’t think there’s ever been a situation of a “”“lost sale”"" on me. Like, I watched the SBF LP of Detroit: Becoming Human because I was never going to give that game money. That’s not a lost sale, and I’m there to see how some decent folks react to the game. I’m not there for the game itself.

There is a very strong and important difference between an LP and some uncommentated gameplay footage. LPs are not banking on games, they are banking on their personalities and their work transforming the original media.


A good LP should either be reminiscent of MST3K or Pop-Up Video, and a great LP imo is both.

One of my favourite Let’s Plays is from Bobbin Threadbare and the “gimmick” of his Deus Ex LP is that he is talking about all these conspiracies and where they come from. I think when your Let’s Play has a standout quality like that you are doing good work.

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That Deus Ex one sounds amazing.

I’m not a huge fan of Let’s Plays simply for the fact that the majority of them are really annoying people reading out every line of text in that annoying YouTube voice.

I was a really big fan of Robert Florence’s (semi-meta iirc?) LP of Raw Danger

also my experience of watching Retsupurae’s Dark Seed 2 LP over a number of weeks was genuinely a high point of last year for me. I remember watching a bit of it at this little part-time job and creasing in a university study space.

I guess, for me, it is very much just about seeing how someone sincerely responds to a game (without being all internet humour / memey about it). What I love about that Dark Seed 2 LP is just that its two friends making each other piss themselves laughing.

Performative LPs - one where the person doing the LP does voices for the characters, for example, like old RPGs - can also be really fun, and also take a lot of work.

(With my own LP of Super Robot Wars V, I’ve found that doing some of the villain voices have beaten the hell out of my throat, and I’m planning to learn some vocal warmup exercises to help my throat).

I’ve loved a good informative or narrative LP for a long time, and Chip & Ironicus’s LPs are, broadly, what got me into watching LPs and other long-form video game-based video content in general, years ago. I’ve watched the majority of their LPs and am still following their work.

Something else I haven’t really seen a lot of though is the LP as a more experimental art form. I absolutely love TieTuesday’s Super Godzilla: “Special Edition” LP, which, if you haven’t seen it for yourself, is a heavily edited and “modified” playthrough of a near-unplayably-bad game, with full commentary by the player and a rotating cast of guests. I don’t want to spoil too much but it’s a fascinating and funny take on what a Let’s Play can be, with some pretty absurdist leans throughout. It starts slow and relatively straightforward but escalates in consistently hilarious and surprising ways.

I would love to see more LPs in this vein if anyone has any recommendations!

I’m doing something like this for a LP of Card City Nights, and since everyone in the game is ridiculously silly, I just go with whatever voice first pops up into my head. I’m amused by the results so far.

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I’m a big fan of Research Indicates’ Trespasser Let’s Play. His channel was never popular and now practically dead (he hasn’t posted anything worthwhile since Trespasser), but it really deserves more attention IMHO.
Both entertaining, informative, and fascinating to watch because Trespasser is such a beautiful train wreck of a game.