1530 Let’s Be Grumps.

Let me start off by saying that I enjoy watching people play video games online. I like that I can see a game being played that I don’t own. Having someone else figure out a puzzle I can’t is also useful to me. There are lots of reasons why Let’s Plays are good. The problem with them is the same thing there is with everything in the world now: there are no gatekeepers. On balance the world is better this way. Anyone can rise to the top if they have something people want. It’s the same way with webcomics. In the world of my youth drawing comics like mine would be a hobby at my skill level, especially when I started. Because the net has no one keeping the scrubs at bay there’s a constant deluge of people of all skill levels whipping content at your faces. Sometimes a person like me gets lucky, and enough people enjoy whatever it is about me that makes up for my other deficiencies. That was nearly impossible two decades ago. It could be done but you had to be absolutely driven to do it. Marvel and DC had a stranglehold on comic books, and syndicates controlled comic strips. They weren’t prepared for the internet the same way that television and movies also weren’t. So, here we are, in a world where you can get famous by being any number of things on the Internet. Unfortunately the downside is that the viewer has to swim through a sea of garbage while looking for the few treasures.
In comics there’s more of a skill gap than with videos. Virtually everyone can play a video game and the tools required to document it are not nearly as price prohibitive as they once were. So there’s a constant flood of people hoping that they have whatever magic it is that makes Game Grumps popular. Odds are they don’t, but there’s no one around to slap them down anymore. Excepting for the deafening silence on their youtube channels… which takes much longer to dissuade someone.
In spite of the annoyance caused by everyone thinking they can play Pok√©mon for money I still think the world is better this way. Having lived in a time when you were told what to watch, and when, I know that the people making choices rarely speak for the tastes of the people. In spite of this, I can’t help but to roll my eyes so hard you can hear it when someone tells me they’re starting up a youtube channel, or a podcast, or a comic, or whatever. No matter how easy Markiplier makes it look he has a set of skills and abilities that most people don’t. His cheery attitude, good looks, and panty dropping voice, give him a head start that most people were not born with.
In fact, you can go down the list of what it takes to be a successful video game personality:
Number one: Personality.
Most of the people who are big online had a pretty clear idea of what their shtick was going to be from the start. A Jontron video from the start of his channel is essentially the same as one from two days ago. He just learned to be Jontron better.
Number two: Looks.
Of course not everyone who makes it has this one. Since beauty is not objective there’s a lot of wiggle room, plus you can get by on intelligence, or personality. Basically you only need to have a few attributes for things to work. ProJared is not what most people would call traditionally handsome. He’s not a monster, but he looks a bit like a chicken that is wearing the skin of a man like a suit. His other attributes make up for that. The fact of the matter is, however, that being pretty is always better.
Number three: Smarts.
Now we’re in the wheelhouse of your Mattpats and Projareds. Presenting really well thought out content is a skill. In fact, I would say that this is the hardest road to travel as a video game personality. If this is the skill that sets you apart then you’ll have to work much harder than someone who is naturally funny. I like statistical analysis and Mattpat brings that shit on a level you rarely see in any field. Projared presents some of the most concise reviews of anyone online, and he does it without being needlessly mean. When he says that Sonic Boom is terrible he gives you a list of well thought out reasons, and tries to showcase the things that might have saved the game as well.
Number 4: Comedy.
This one is the one everyone thinks they have. It’s also the most deceptively difficult to maintain. It almost always requires two people to work. If you don’t have two it makes things so much harder. Game grumps is a brilliant idea because all it takes is one person to be chatty and the other to react to them. The inherent ridiculousness of games can fuel laughter over a long period of time and people will wait a long time to get to the next big laugh. It’s almost like reverse horror, because you never know when the next big laugh is going to hit. When someone drops the story of The D Club in your lap it’s like a comedy bomb. Comedy is probably the absolute most important trait of them all. You can get by without it, but your content has to be really functional. It needs to have a point and get to that point in a way that makes people want to use it. The best tutorials edit their videos in such a way that you can watch what you need to see and get back to your own game as fast as possible. They are also incredibly rare. So much so that I’ve only ever seen IGN do them well, and they’ve essentially given up on the format in favor of making their website annoying an functionless.
Anyway, that’s a very cursory overview of the things that makes someone good at being really any kind of online personality. In spite of whatever you may think of him Pewdiepie has a set of skills and abilities that give him the ability to stay popular, and you probably don’t have them. I know, it burns. That said, you never know until you try.

From my perspective the relative ease with which let’s players generate income is irritating. Especially the ones who don’t even edit what they make. They just play video games with their friends and people watch it. While I spend my time making up the adventures of imaginary people, then drawing those adventures… They build on a foundation that other people made for them.

58 Comments

These are literally the only reasons why I cant just throw videos about me being stupid playing videogames on the internet with my friends. Theres too much already and it would be drowned out. Plus it would cost more in the end than Id make.

Wanna join my weird Let’s Play cabal? If we get stupid and silly enough You, Jackie, and myself can take over the internet with sheer oddities.

I used to see LPers but grew bored with most of them. There’s nothing really bad about them except for screeching idiots. I prefer to watch people who talk about th e games… and wish I could do the same, but my life situation does not allow me the luxury. (Well, that and the “You sound like Ray Romano!” jokes got old real fast.

You need to make at least one because I want to hear that so bad I can taste it,

I have a YouTube channel. Same user name. Look for the Portal 1 video.

You don’t sound nearly enough like Ray Romano for it to be hilarious as I hoped. I am disappoint. The glitch video reminds me of… fuck what’s it called? The Good Boy Show? It was called something else but I forget. Anyway, all he does is showcase glitches and he’s seems really strung out and weird. It’s fun.

I like Game Grumps and JonTron but find I can’t sit through most of the others. Playstation Access is actually my new favorite but they mostly do lists. There’s also a dude that talks about Dark Souls that I have fallen asleep to a few times….

I like GG as animated shorts now. Once Jontron left I couldn’t watch entire videos anymore. I like the other guys, but for whatever reason I just can’t make it through a whole session with Aaron and Danny, or whoever.

lets mlays have gotten me to get games i otherwise wouldn’t have touched and i’ve been happy about it every time

I bought that new South Park game after watching it on Game Grumps, or something. I was on the fence until I actually saw how much like playing in the world of the show it was. I also finally tried Minecraft after watching hours of PBG and Projared of it. Then letsplaycatgaming got me into State Of Decay, which I played for the better part of a year and still go back to from time to time, which is rare for me. Plus I watch people playing it when I work.

The big problem with Let’s Players for me is that mostly tread the same ground as the popular ones. If you’re playing the EXACT same games as Markiplier, why should I bother watching your content?

The thing is, I have a few games that not only have not been “Let’s Played”, they don’t have much or any footage online at all and I’m tempted to do one just for the sake of having them online . ^_^;

That’s half the reason I want to do Let’s Plays honestly. I love old, stupid games, usually Yugioh, and there is often only one or two people playing it. It is better than it used to be, I can actually find people who have played Spongebob Games, but there are often only a few. Also, I would have to do it with a friend, and I have often wanted to record our conversations for posterity, even if only we would find them funny.

I have a lot of trouble thinking of a game that I know of that has not already been lets played (at least once anyway) on Youtube. Blood, System Shock 2, System Shock 1, Marathon 1 all have lets plays. Even “The Void”, a very weird and obscure game (made by Ice Pick studios, who also made Pathologic) has at least one lets play on Youtube.

The only things that I can think of that have not been lets played off the top of my head are a majority of interactive fiction games and a few TRS-80 games (Labyrinth, Asylum, Asylum 2).

I’m pretty sure you already did but did you try Angry Video Game Nerd ?

Now that’s a man that created the foundation that most of the LPers today thrive off of. James is legendary tier for his craft though, almost all of his work is mastery of cinematography rather than letting screen captured gameplay make the channel for him. Heck, some of my favorite works from Cinemassacre are the “Board James” stories which have nothing to do with video games but are still movie level entertaining to watch.

I don’t like AVGN. When I watched it in the early days it seemed to rely too much on creative cursing, which doesn’t really do it for me anymore. I don’t know what it evolved into though. Maybe I should look into it again. I will say this much for AVGN though, I like that he did Fester’s Quest because at the time no one really talked about it. Of course that’s kind of the problem now. There’s not enough obscure material to go around. After he did Fester’s Quest I saw a ton of videos about it. He basically went down the list of terrible NES games as far as I know. Amagon is the only one I remember as truly terrible that no one seems to do anything with. Only ever seen one video about it, but it was my number one worst game I ever played for years. Even now I have a hard time thinking of something that can top it in that respect.

You want to talk about bad games? Try “Psybadek”, “Spice World”, or “Cleopatra’s Fortune” for the PlayStation. Those aren’t even bad games; they’re butchered digital atrocities! The first one has horrible controls and can be cheated through, not to mention the lackluster story. The second one isn’t even a game by any definition. At very last, the third game mentioned has an unbeatable level in the campaign mode, and there are no videos for it.

I remember selling the first two, but not the third. We always seemed to be selling used copies of spice world. There was an endless supply.,,

what even is your point? i see you saying its ~great~ someone can try their hand at something new but most of your commentary here just seems to devolve into you being angry there’s people more successful than you in a line of work you seem to assume requires no effort dedication or refinement.

i fail to see the difference between someone starting out and learning to be an entertainer(because thats what lets players are, same stand up comedians) and your Totally Original Webcomic About People Working In Retail Talking to Each Other with tryhard anime style and coloring flatter than month old soda. like its so weird you seem to think you’re re inventing the wheel with your comic and have no foundation to build upon when im pretty sure Megatokyo and Questionable Content beat you to this particular genre years ago

My point is that I know how much actual work goes into making something, but what you choose to do, and who you are, all make the playing field uneven. Of course I know that life isn’t fair, but I also don’t like that I’m not as good as I want to be, I’m a jealous, petty, little monster, but I’m aware of it. I just like to bark from behind the fence and cause trouble from time to time. I don’t claim to be making anything groundbreaking, and Mega and QC weren’t either. The workplace comedy goes as far back as workplaces. I was just talking to see if I could get any thin skinned gamer types to bite. Just to see what would happen. What happened? Not much, other than someone living up to a stereotype.

I am super angry all the time that people are better than me, or doing well at something that looks easy. It fills me with rage every day and helps me keep creating this tryhard, unoriginal, flat, failscape that makes it possible for me not to have to have a real job anymore. If I can do that then anybody can, and even though chances are you’ll just add to the sea of shit if you try and do something you won’t actually know until you do.

Lol reminds me of “History of the World, Part I” where the first art critic was depicted. Pissing on someone’s creation is about all some are good for.

I’ve gone through your comic three times and always find enjoyment and insight. I care a lot about the characters. Especially how even when they’re not likable, they’re always intriguing.

So I applaud whatever sincere dissatisfaction or striving or envy or whatever you may have goading you along because your work has improved and your creation is terrific.

You worked hard for years to get tgis comuc where it is. And I gather those years started long before you posted the first page when you designed your characters, your world, and your plot.

Doing that well, and you do do it well, isn’t something most people are capable of.

Don’t sell yourself short.

The thing about “let’s play” is it either needs to be a rare game or you have to be a YouTube personality. Although I would watch a let’s play with the between failures cast.

The best I could do is make one myself, and I am not as enthralling as a single entity as I am all separated out into attractive 20 somethings. XD

You don’t start out as a famous personality. You’ve gotta start somewhere and build. As Robert Schuller was known to say (even wrote a book with the title): “Beginning is half done.”

Remember the days of kids pointing cameras at tv screens for Mega Man 2 yet again? We’ve come a long way, baby. I would say personality would be numero uno when it comes to successful LPers. Simply put, people that have more animated, genuine reactions to things tend to be more entertaining than someone droning on in a monotone voice. Being knowledgeable is probably #2, though still pretty important.

Being neither a gamer nor a golfer, I’m afraid Let’s Play! would be lost on me. The concept seems about as thrilling as watching paint dry. Speaking of paint, I used to be able to draw and even paint, so I found watching videos of Bob Ross or Morris Katz create their art was actually a high.

What one relates to, I suppose,

Did you know that The Joy of Painting is streamed on Twitch? I didn’t until someone mentioned it in a youtube comment.

The only one I subscribe to is Frankomatic, who fills a niche of playing really old/classic/arcade games. He doesn’t use a webcam for the most part, but he’s got a very good voice, which I suspect comes under “Looks.” And his running commentary is pretty amusing…which is a good thing, since a lot of the games he LP’s are so old the graphics are hopelessly out-of-date.

All Youtubers I watch or did watch. You’re the second of three webcomic creators I’ve found out watch or watched Game Grumps. I am uncomfortable with my internets touching like this.

These guys are extremely popular. It’s only logical that people who work primarily online will at least know of them. I mostly listen to stuff since I’m looking at my drawings most of the time, but I’ve heard a lot of videos. XD

Oh, I know it makes sense. I’m just seeing it now. In the last day or so, two artists I follow have somehow mentioned Game Grumps. Incidentally, I find I follow a lot of comics that use your same scroller of comic links, yet I never actually use the scroller to find them.

Not to begrudge this potential plot or anything, but they could just emulate all those old games, Chrono Trigger included. Not only would it then not require a capture card for Let’s Play purposes, but they could then sell the games still in their present condition, make back the money Jo spent on them, and still get to technically enjoy them.

BUT, it’s generally frowned upon by the gaming public, and technically illegal, though some sources say it’s legal if you own a physical copy of the game you’re emulating (which brings Jo’s plan of play them, then sell back onto the table).

Unless the game is almost impossible to play any other way I avoid emulation. It seems disingenuous in the context of a lets play. There’s also more to Jessica’s little plan…

There’s also the technical problems with emulation. There exists an emulator of the PS2 for the PC by the name of PCSX2. Unfortunately as you might expect for a rather recent console, it doesn’t emulate many games well. It can emulate some of my games well (Shinobi for one), but one of my favourites barely plays at all on the emulator (Primal specifically). Emulators are simply not 100% compatible with all games.

Additionally, there is the nostalgia aspect of playing the game on a physical console. And then there’s also the reduced electricity consumption (I imagine a SNES itself would consume far less power than a personal computer running an SNES emulator :P).

Emulators do however have their plus sides. They can support higher resolutions and faster frame-rates than the original consoles. They make developing homebrew for the console far easier than for a physical console. You have have multiple emulators on one machine; there exists a few consoles that support doing this for old games, but they are much harder to come by. And setting up an emulator is usually a little easier than setting up the physical console.

To have gotten all of what Brook managed to get for only $150 USD though… she is one lucky girl >_<.

I figured there was, I just thought I’d point it out. My SNES died around the era of the PS2, so I got into emulation a lot during my teenage years to not only play a lot of the classics I missed, but to also try out games I never owned, like Earthbound, Super Metroid and the early Final Fantasies.

The keys to being a successful Let’s Player is quality audio/visual, possessing the gift of the gab with a voice people will enjoy listening to and being willing to post new content as often as possible.

The lack of one or more of these keys is why the vast majority of Lets Players fail.

I prefer the sea of garbage to the conttrol method of TV,radio and print syndications. too often good content gets cut for dumb reasons. reaching huge amounts of people is one of them. I mean any system that cancels Invader Zim is not working for the consumer.

After I started doing it myself on a lark, realizing that Parasite Eve 1 didn’t age well, I just kept going and ended up with only a year’s worth of videos. I wouldn’t consider myself a master entertainer or a comedian. I just play whatever I feel like playing, summon a co-host and we fuck around for a while.

I’m content with that. I’d love to make money, obviously, but my first concern is enjoying myself and hopefully making it enjoyable for everyone else, you know?

I was just trying to decide if I wanted to keep my copies of PE and PE2 the other day. I actually finished one, but only ever watched the intro to 2. It just kept getting pushed further and further back until now, and I know I’m never going to play it…

It’s alright if you’re like Classic Resident Evil games mixed with some RPG elements. When I was a youth, that shit was great. Nowadays, well, it’s a big of a slog for me and it’d be boring as shit for anyone watching.

There is the bullshit that the Fine brothers are currently trying to pull with let’s plays. So I wouldn’t say that there’s nobody to slap anyone done (yet). Just some rich assholes trying to kick the ladder down who are known for this sort of shit-dickery.

Jo and Ed, they’re two friends who play together, laughing, learning and junk.
One is nice, and the other one is less nice, but who wouldn’t love Jo and Ed?

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