Lost "Let's Plays"


#1

Around 2001 or 2002 I was a child living in Ecuador and would spend the vast majority of my time watching cartoons like Digimon & The Powerpuff Girls but I remember very distinctly that one night I stayed up later than normal & was surfing the local channels & saw these two men, maybe in their 20s, sitting on a couch in what looked like a studio closet playing Star Fox Adventures. I don’t remember what channel and I honestly don’t think anything else was broadcast on it but these guys would go on every couple of nights & play through the game until they finished. I don’t remember any other games they played but looking back at that memory I realize now that this may have been the first example of what we know as modern Let’s Plays.

My question to you is, does ANYONE know who these people may have been?

And does anyone have any other similar stories of people who broadcast themselves playing games before it became part of pop culture?


#2

I doubt it was aired in Ecuador, but where I grew up in NJ, our preview channel (a channel that would show stuff from channels not part of the cable network) had a late night video game show called Twitch that did reviews and stuff like that in that format. (as an aside I wonder if there’s any connection to the modern Twitch, but I doubt it.) I think they would do what was essentially Giant Bomb styled Quick Looks with commentary over live (or presented as live) gameplay.

It would not surprise me if other local cable providers had similar programming.


#3

Here in Canada we had a show in the 90s called Video & Arcade Top 10 which was basically a game show where three kids would compete at a video game for prizes. It was never really clear how they were competing, as the game would change week-to-week and played single player, so it was mostly footage of gameplay while the hosts talked about the game in the most 90s “tips n tricks” tone. But I loved watching these games I would never play, like Ballz or Uniracers, and dreaming of one day being the V&A champ.


#4

Sadly, you seem to be right: IMDB records the TV show Twitch as only lasting three years - until 1997 - and of course Twitch.tv only appeared as an outshoot of Justin.tv at the start of the 2010s. It’s just a good name for a video game media show!


#5

Awesome! Thanks for digging that up. There still could be a connection, like someone who worked on both or someone remembering the show from their youth, but that’s just wishful thinking on my part.


#6

The subject matter is maybe a little more corporate than the public access/larval-LPs mentioned above, but I really love Roman Muradov’s essay on Sergei Suponev and the melancholy of Russian videogame media during the Yeltsin administration: