What Games Do You Watch More Than You Play?


The rise of streaming culture has introduced brand-new ways to enjoy and appreciate games.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/43dxxn/what-games-do-you-watch-more-than-you-play


Honestly I tried watching a little of the flurry of PUBG streams but got bored rather quickly. Antics are good fun for a little while but I find myself watching skill games more frequently over time.

This reminds me of Battlefield. It’s got the same elements of, “Whoa! Did you see that?!” while play over time also tends to show skill based play that sorta lets me learn how to play. PUBG streams are just often the same antics with zero learning curve by the streamers.

I’ll be honest here. Skilled PUBG play is actually boring AF to watch. As the delightful Mary Kish describes it, the best way to play is hiding in a bathtub for over half the match. So I don’t hold it against any streamer who’s aware of their audience to not jump in a car and do stupid things for the sake of entertainment.

I will say that I’ve fallen into a Paladins hole on YouTube recently since I’ve decided to try my hand at this game. I’ve probably watched more DefNotHanzo videos than is healthy and certainly watched more than I’ve played actual Paladins… but my game has gotten better so there’s that!


HITMAN is one of those, even though I play it frequently too. It’s just so much fun to watch people get themselves into bad situations and try to get out. My friends and I will occasionally play by the rules in GB’s Hitsmas special and nothing beats watching your friend try to sneak around the underground lab as the mime to try and destroy the virus.


When Minecraft first came out I was just starting college & didn’t have a PC to play it. My partner & I began watching various Minecraft lets plays until we bought it ourselves & played it for about a week before going back to watching the lets plays.

Breakfast & Battlegrounds is now our go to show to watch together before bed or during dinner if none of our other shared shows have updated.

Hitman was another one we watched together a lot which lead to us buying it and not playing yet.

Not having access to games in high school though I watched a ton of stream & lets plays of games although that has stopped for the most part now that I have access & can afford my own games. Most games I watch are from series on Waypoint, Polygon or Giant Bomb now rather than individual people.


I don’t own it, so maybe that’s a bit of a cheat, but I’ve been really hooked on Friday the 13th streams as of late.

I kinda feel this way about Overwatch though. I’d like to think I put a lot of time into it (lord knows what I’ve put into loot boxes…) but watching matches is less anxiety-inducing.


Basically all Grand Strategy Paradox games. I can lose hours of time watching someone like Quill18, J2, or Arumba go from a single county of, say, old Norsemen surrounded by Catholics and Suonomeno (SP?) into a reformed Norse Empire that’s waging war on the Pope over the course of a few hundred years.

And when I try to play them myself? Gah, all the systems and moving parts just befuddle me. It’s much more satisfying to watch someone who can play those systems like an instrument than me doing the equivalent of running my hands up and down a piano.


Paradox games are a huge one for me too, though for me it’s for learning purposes. I’ve been trying to finally understand Crusader Kings II after Stellaris made GS more accessible to me and Arumba’s tutorial is ridiculous, but helpful! The learning scenario’s in CK II and EU IV just don’t really do it for me and watching someone else think through everything really helps me figure out what playing these games is actually like.


Hitman! I loved watching Giant Bomb’s videos of HitDan but every time I tried to play I would get frustrated. It’s a game I want to get into, but with all of the amazing games coming out in the last two years, games with high skill ceilings are frustrating for me.

Although I have over 150 hours in pubg so maybe I’m just difficult.


At this point, with 3 children ranging from 4 to 16 months old, I end up watching more streams/LPs than I end up playing. I’ve found a couple of good Mario Maker streamers (Aureteur, Hi5ToSafety). For recent/variety streams, Cohhcarnage and MANvsGAME are my favorites.


I would disagree. I noticed the people who are labeled as being among the best not only are good at shooting but they are almost always moving. Getting kills not only thins out the competition but you are hopefully getting supplies you need. The best being medical supplies because it allows you to come in much later from the blue which in turn means you catch people off guard further compounding your medical supplies.

Yes sitting in one place and camping means you are at a lower risk of dying but it means you are not getting better gear or putting yourself in a better position. When it comes time for you to move there may very well only be thirty people left but if you only have a UMP and a pump shotgun you are not getting very far.

Plus sitting in a bathroom is just asking for a grenade once someone finds out you’re in there.


Stellaris is the only Paradox game I’ve been able to actually get into consistently. CK 2 I’ll watch some tutorials, play a couple games, then forget everything, then repeat. EUIV, whooooooooo. That game is tough.


I’ve definitely watched more League of Legends and Hearthstone than I’ve played. The esports scene draws me in and it’s so easy to watch a little bit before bed. Although I’ve tried to cut down a bit to catch up on my TV show backlog (Hearthstone only now, I’ll fallen off of LoL).


Street fighter and tekken because I dislike playing them online as opposed to in person and I don’t have an infinite stream of friends to play against.


Fighting games definitely. Specifically in Blazblue and King of Fighters 13, I have the largest ratio of watch to play time. A large part of it is definitely watching people who are really good. But it was mostly because, without a dedicated group, I couldn’t get good at them if I wanted to. Thus increasing the allure. For Blazblue in particular, there’s just so much footage Japanese arcade, and most of if not all ,much better players than other tournament footage.

I don’t watch nearly as much anymore though. Playing and getting good at fighters does satisfy my need to one I don’t play. I still catch tournaments sometimes and watch various finals, but those two games were probably my favorite to watch. Ironically, I find KoF 14 to be more fun to play ,but less fun to watch than KoF 13. Meanwhile, Guilty Gear has surpassed Blazblue as the anime fighter of choice(its also easier to play) so I just stick to that.


I love point-and-click adventure games, and I think the rise of YouTube & Twitch has been one of the things that helped to revitalize that genre in a weird way. The fact that every game now comes with an unofficial “auto-play” feature built in standard, simply by virtue of streamers recording playthroughs, has been a godsend.

My usual m.o. with adventure games now is I’ll either stream them out with a friend right from the jump, so that we can see them together, or I’ll play alone up until the first puzzle that stumps me and then pull up a Let’s Play to see the rest. That’s waaaay better than the old days, when all you could do was futz around for hours rubbing everything in your inventory against everything in the environment, until you’d memorized every permutation of the you-lose screen.

I still enjoy playing through Telltale-style games on my own-- those solve the issue by simply eliminating most of the frustrating puzzles and backtracking all together. With those I get just as much enjoyment, though, from going back later and watching other folks react to the set-piece moments and debate over their choices. (e.g. Giant Bomb’s playthrough of Life is Strange w/ Austin, Vinny & Alex remains one of my favorite Let’s Plays ever.)


Oh also, I’ll always find myself watching some of TI even tho I have played like one game of dota in my life


I enjoy watching fighting & platforming games because I suck at them!!! I’m not fast enough (never have been) to play them well myself. Heck, what is it, 30 something years Mario’s been around, & I never could get get him to hoist one flag!!!

Can’t watch turn-based strategy games, though, because I want to grab the controller & do it myself!!!


That is why I watch turn based tactics games. I am terrible at them, but I love the idea of them. Watched XCOM and Shining Forces 2 recently.


All horror games. I love what is happening in the genre, but the more potent the scares and tense gameplay get, the more I bow out of doing it myself.


I’d have to say Rocket League. First esport that I have actually read up on and followed. I don’t follow man RL streams, but I do make sure I watch any/all RLCS matches throughout the seasons.