My somewhat strange relationship with games and gaming content


Most the media I consume online is video game related. Whether I frequent sites like Polygon, Kotaku, and Waypoint or I watch video content from funny, if somewhat questionable, personalities like the Game Grumps or Achievement Hunter, I view gaming related content everyday.

The thing is that I only occasionally play video games. For example the only game I’m currently playing is The Evil Within and I only play it once a week if that. I used to sometimes play more arcade-y indie games when I’m listening to a podcast, but now I’ve just kinda stopped doing that. It’s not even about time management, I’ve just been playing less games than I used to.

My question is: is that weird? Is it strange that I surround myself with video game content yet only have a slight interest in actually playing games?


I don’t think its weird. Watching or listening to something is a much more passive activity than playing a game and sometimes we just aren’t in the mental space to want to play a game. Watching a lets play lets us engage with those feelings still, but also is less mentally exhausting. Just as much, let’s plays and similar gaming content are often more focused on the people playing them than the game itself, which is an entirely different form of entertainment than playing a game.

I go through periods where all I want to do is play a game, I also go through periods where all I want to do is watch someone else I enjoy play a game. It all has to do with where I am emotionally and mentally I think.


I know plenty of people who don’t act but enjoy watching acting (wait, I think actually this may describe most people), even to the point of primarily engaging with fiction via the works of actors (playing out scripts) and following that stuff in press coverage (way beyond what might be considered an interest in deepening their understanding of the medium they follow via secondary coverage of it). An appreciation of Friends at the Table doesn’t require you to play tabletop RPGs (and if you used to play then listening may well be extremely appealing even if you’re not interested in playing again yourself).

Enjoying gaming related content without playing much possibly used to be less common (what with the widespread distribution of content only coming along with online platforms, previously being limited to a few events and the sofa while a friend was playing something) but I think Top Gear is a good point of comparison. Decades long, extremely popular, (fronted by people who are, let’s say, not necessarily the nicest) and often watched by people whose interest in cars is maybe secondary to the actual focus of the show (a semi-scripted comedy around the “middle-aged bloke”-themed interactions of the hosts). A semi-scripted comedy show that’s about the chemistry of the hosts but formatted around a genre activity (that you have a basic understanding of but do not need to be an active participant in) sounds a lot like the big LP channels (eg Achievement Hunter). The line between unscripted and semi-scripted (what naturally emerged vs participants having a general idea of structure they’re playing to) being kept murky, especially when popularity really explodes.