Weekly Wringer 92: It's so hard to say goodbye

We love the games we do because we’re invested in them. They bring us in, tell us a story, and maybe even teach us a few things in the meantime. It’s no wonder that it’s so damned hard to say goodbye once we’re through with them. This week, the Commodore looks into the worlds we all hate to say goodbye to while asking just what makes them stick with us so strongly. So many great games, so little time. And then, it’s a question that’s about not playing games for next week. It’s the Weekly Wringer!

Mp3 Version here: Weekly Wringer 92


  • Man with a harmonica Man with a harmonica
    Posted March 18, 2013 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

    I have elaborated on my ideas about games and the first-person experience before, but in too detailed a matter, so what follows is a considerably abridged version.

    Given only the strict context of the question, my answer would be a clear and crass ‘no’. The one unique thing that video games offer you is control, and that is often central to the appeal of them. Some may view being robbed of control as being robbed temporarily of the internet – greatly diminishing the amount of possibilities but by doing so opening up a new world – but even in the context of that analogy it should be admitted that the situation *with* the internet is invariably the superior one. Thief: The Dark Project remains one of my favorite examples in this situation, because it so perfectly exemplifies every concept I need to convey: you really feel like you are the thief; you really feel it is you lurking in the shadows, you really feel you share every part of his shrill and demented experiences on his thieving escapades. (I am not, as it may appear, claiming that a first-person *perspective* is inherently more ‘immersive’ – a term Commodore rightly commented on as being overused when referring to video games – but I am claiming many games aim to give you a feeling of *being* the first person.) I believe it to be somewhat self-evident that games like Thief cannot properly convey the feeling I just described when you are watching someone else play. Thus, no: watching is not as good as playing, in this scenario.

    The rare exceptions include games that do not at all attempt to achieve immersion in the world they have created, relying on the conflict that happens outside of it. Fighters are the primary examples here, and this applies to party games too. Here watching is often a great amount of fun, especially when this watching (this is were the limited context of the inquiry hurts the possibilities again) happens with friends, as is often the case with the two genres I mentioned.

    However, these are rare exceptions, and they require knowledge of the games you could have only gained by playing them yourself first. I rarely like action films, and similarly dislike seeing people play them, but controlling the action myself sometimes manages to please me. Thus, when looking at it generally, when I am alone and we rule out somewhat rare genres: no.

  • DTX180
    Posted March 18, 2013 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

    Good question. There are a few criteria for a game to be just as fun watching as it is playing. But the main thing to me is that it depends on the genre of the game.

    Some genres just aren’t very interesting to watch. For example, I love classic and some modern JRPGs (like most here). But lets face it, they aren’t that great to watch. Actually, I’d say the most recent reminder I had of this was during your SNES charity marathon. We all love Earthbound and Chrono Trigger (hell, we just spent an entire wringer giving CT love). No offense but honestly they were probably some of the dullest parts of the marathon due to the slower paced nature. The time spent walking around in dungeons or towns, reading chat, it just doesn’t translate very well to somebody watching and not playing the game. When you were playing Super Mario World blindfolded, Mario Kart, Mega Man X, Act Raiser, Illusion of Gaia, etc it was a lot of fun to watch.

    JRPGs are meant to engage the player, but I don’t see the genre engaging to an audience.

    A genre that I think translates fairly well for an audience is real time strategies. I think South Korea’s love for Starcraft shows that. My disgust towards modern day blizzard aside, I can still enjoy watching my friends play a game of SC2, or the occasional pro matches. I don’t play SC2 as much as I did in my youth with SC and Brood War, mainly because I don’t like the “everything is a hard counter” game design. But I can still enjoy watching SC2 matches like I did in the early 00s with the first SC.

    I have a few answers for this question, but I’ll just leave it at how enjoyment in watching a game can depend on the genre.

    • TheBeerNinja TheBeerNinja
      Posted March 19, 2013 at 10:48 PM | Permalink

      Watching the Duke fail over and over during the blindfolded Super Mario World challenge was amazing drama. There was a buzz in the chat and we were all rooting for him to conquer the absurd challenge. It was visible that he would not stop until he was victorious. Even Mrs. Roo felt every disappointing fall into a pit. The Commodore was in the zone calling out the commands and each time he said to jump at the wrong time, it seemed like he took it personally. I hope Roo isolates the clip and puts it on youtube. It was silly and honestly one of the most captivating things I have ever witnessed.

      Posted March 22, 2013 at 12:30 PM | Permalink

      Absolutely agree about Starcraft and South Korea. Those matches can get pretty epic. In the same vein, those Evo fighting game tournaments are also fun to watch. I`m sure those players are enjoying themselves quite a bit, but watching two pros go at it can be pretty special, and it can be more exciting even than watching my friends play. It`s almost like you`re not just watching the game anymore, but you`re watching the game AND the people playing it.

      Then, is that what makes an RTS game exciting to watch? The whole human vs. human aspect? I mean, would you enjoy it as much if the pro was playing the regular one-player version of the game?

      • DTX180
        Posted March 23, 2013 at 3:44 PM | Permalink

        A good RTS game I think has the appeal because multiple things are going on at once for just about the entire game. Starcraft/Brood War has a bit more “multitasking” imo than SC2, as good micro oriented players always lose to good macro style imo. But both SC and SC2 have appeal from the multitasking aspect.

        I think there is less appeal in watching a pro play single player because there is less going on. One, the computer has a stricter play style due to it being an artificial intelligence. Also most single player RTS missions aren’t as “start from scratch” as the multiplayer games are. Single player matches usually start with the player already in a certain situation, which usually means they have to do a specific thing to get out of it (usually involving the new units to the specific mission).

  • Mr. K Mr. K
    Posted March 18, 2013 at 11:42 AM | Permalink

    Hah! Personally called out to contribute a story! It took me about half an hour, but I know the story I’m going to tell.

    From 1991-1997, I lived in Oxford, Mississippi. My dad was a PhD student in biology at Ole Miss and I loved everything about the Grove, the campus and life in Oxford. It was a great place to spend some of my formative years. Dad got his PhD and stayed on with the university at its environmental field station, studying the reproductive habits of the Southeastern Water Moccasin. Which is really interesting stuff, if you actually look into it. Lots of snake species have male on male sexual contact.

    Woot woot, SEC basketball champs for the second year in a row! Hotty Toddy! Though I still love my alma mater more. I just made the choice to become an Alabama fan. I simply was an Ole Miss fan. Though being a Bama fan still wins out in the end.

    I hung around with college students most of the time, because my parents had just gotten divorced and I was living with my dad. Being there really helped to develop my love of learning.

    A lot of the professors had children and it seemed like most of us children of the professors hung out with each other at the public schools. We were almost like a little cabal, compared to the children of native Oxford residents.

    Anyway, there was a law professor named David Ford who was pretty good friends with my dad. He was black (not that it matters, but just adding flavor to the story), incredibly intelligent, posed and respectable. He had a son named John Ross. They lived in the same subdivision we did. David and my dad were both single fathers, but David’s wife had died in a car accident a year before we moved there.

    One Saturday during the summer of 1994, my dad let me go over to John Ross’ house. David was doing some work on campus that day. Sonic The Hedgehog 3 had just been released and I was so anxious to see the game, because at that time, I only had a SNES (though I did get a Genesis for Christmas that year).

    Holy cow, was Sonic 3 friggin’ awesome. I watched John Ross play all day. My excitement as the game went on was palpable. He didn’t have a second controller, otherwise I would have been Tails. This was one of the most amazing afternoons of my young life. This game was blowing my young mind.

    I had to be home by 5pm, or something like that. My dad was going to call and I’d have to leave. But we lost track of time and we either weren’t able to hear or were ignoring the phone. Undoubtedly he’d even gone by the house to get me, but we didn’t hear (or ignored) him knocking on the door. In retrospect, I’m really not sure what the case was.

    The next thing we knew, it was dark and someone was beating heavily on the door. It was a police officer. My dad hadn’t been able to get in touch with David all afternoon. The cop took me home.

    I was grounded for a week. I also didn’t get to go back to John Ross’ for a while. I also never missed the phone when it rang again.

    Anyway, as for the question, in the right circumstances, watching a game can be pretty fun. Though my tolerance for watching, while still there, is not as high as it was when I was younger.

    I can look to Metal Gear Solid 4 as an example of watching a game and hardly getting to play when you’re the one actually doing the playing!

  • Markies
    Posted March 18, 2013 at 2:29 PM | Permalink

    Ultimately, I think my answer is No.

    At first, I thought my answer would be different because I remember experiences where it was fun to watch somebody play video games. For example, my younger sister used to ask me play games so that she could watch many of times. I cannot recall how many times she would do that with Dr. Mario. And I remember fondly playing Super Mario Brothers 3 with her just watching when she first noticed the sun in the desert level before it ever attacked me.

    On another note, my friend and I loved the dialogue in the original Disgaea game. So, we would play that game together so that we could watch the cut-scenes. That is a distinctly single player game, so much of the time one of us would be watching while the other one was playing.

    Besides COTGW, one of my favorite websites is Backloggery.com. It is a fantastic websites that lets you catalog your video game collection and helps you keep track of your process in all of them. Well, every Monday, the two site runners do a live stream that they record on Twitch.tv and I watch every Tuesday while at work. They play all sorts of video games and I am just watching them play.

    During all of these instances, I care more about the personal interactions than I do the actual game itself. Whether it was my sister, my friend or the two site owners, I enjoyed listening to and participating in the conversations more than the game itself.

    I have tried watching random people play games that I love and it is incredibly boring. It is not that exciting mostly because I do not care about the person doing the video even though I love the game.

    So, I think that is proof that watching a game is rather boring as I much prefer the person playing the game than the game itself.

    With that being said, I would be 100% behind either you, Roo or the COTGW doing some live streaming. For example, watching the marathons are very exciting!

    • meinerHeld meinerHeld
      Posted March 21, 2013 at 11:23 AM | Permalink

      First, I have to second the LIVE STREAMING! I loved the marathon. I would love to see you guys get deeper into toe-to-toe action on whatever gets you going. All I can think of is Mario Kart and Goldeneye, but I’m sure there are dozens of games that would fit that. (And btw…some kind of sequel to Commodore storytime is an inevitable desire.)

      As for the big question, hmm…watching someone play videogames is something just as personal as playing them, in my opinion. Therefore, I must agree with you Markies, but I’ll substitute for your “no,” my own answer that “it can be.” Normally this means people trading off play, but I’m sometimes surprised by someone who doesn’t want a turn, and would rather just watch. I don’t think that’s your typical bystander, but it happens. Recently I bought an NES and a roommate watched me play StarTropics (haven’t beaten it yet), and he did that. It was kind of odd to me, but maybe that’s just because I would always want my fair share of play? Idk, but at any rate, I do enjoy watching if I know the person, and the conversation can definitely add to the game. (So can the gasps as I or they narrowly escape oblivion.) 🙂

  • Zork86
    Posted March 18, 2013 at 2:46 PM | Permalink

    This is a tough question to answer for me, as I think there are a lot of different ways and situations you can be in to watch a game being played. I know a lot of people are going to say “No” to this probably but I don’t think it’s that simple, and I can totally understand why somebody would think to play will always be more fun to watch. You’re in control and you’re experiencing the game personally, you can’t do that when you’re watching. That is true and pretty much inarguable.

    Also like DTX180 mentioned, some games aren’t that fun to watch be played but I don’t really agree with his picks, I’d say that’s more left up to personal taste. I can think of some games that for sure aren’t fun to watch at all and those would be Puzzle games and Simulation games. A lot of the gameplay is very static in those types of games or it’s very heavily menu driven. There’s no story or action going on, not really anyway. Puzzle games (like Tetris or something) are more of a personal challenge but they can also be played with a friend. Sims or management sims like Sim City or Railroad Tycoon are more about you simulating the responsibilities of a very high level job like running a city or Railroad. Not so much fun to watch as a spectator.

    But I do think almost any other type of game can be fun to watch, even JRPGs and WRPGs. Personally, I think it all comes down to the situation you’re in or how you’re watching exactly. For example, a big new thing nowadays on the internet is Let’s Plays. People record themselves playing a game usually with constantly rolling commentary on what they’re doing. It can range anywhere from dry and boring, to trying too hard to be funny and failing, to irritating, to actually being funny.

    The quality of a Let’s Play really depends on who is behind the controller and personal taste. It’s a new phenomenon, I’ve heard that people spend days watching Let’s Plays. But some people watch them to see what game is like in very detailed manner, some watch for help or hints when they get stuck in a game, some people watch for entertainment purposes, and I think some may even watch because they’re not skilled enough to play said game or whatever. I’ve watched a couple myself, it’s not really for me. One of my favorite Let’s Plays though is Spoony’s Let’s Play: Phantasmagoria A Puzzle of Flesh which is a terrible FMV Adventure game, but he makes it funny and does an MST3K style riff on the entire thing.

    As for me though, what I prefer to do is get together with my friends and we’ll hang out sometimes and take turns passing a controller on a single player game. It’s fun because we all know what we’re like and we’re able to heckle when one of us makes a mistake or cheer someone on when they do something awesome. Right now we started playing Resident Evil on the Gamecube because the three of us all really like the classic RE games but one of our friends were never able to finish the remake for the Gamecube, so now we’re playing through it together. In the case of RPGs though, usually it involves us riffing on the dialogue or making jokes at the expense of the characters and their contrived motivations sometimes. Or just plain making something up about the game to be funny, anything goes really.

    A recent example of a funny story spinning out of this is when I had one of my friends over last week and we were playing OutRun on the Genesis. I was driving of course and all of a sudden I crashed and me and my girlfriend (Or whatever) flipped out of the car violently. This led to my friend playing up a caricature of a catty, self centered, irritating bitch for lack of a better word. It was causing me to laugh and crash more, we ended up making a whole story and character out of such a simple game. I later explained to him in the newer OutRun games that your girlfriend actually gets mad at you and yells at you when you crash or run out of time and it made things even more hilarious.

    So, that’s my take on whether or not great games can be as fun to watch as they are while being played. I say it all really depends, but chances are if you have a good group of friends who enjoy simply passing a controller around, you’ll have just a good of a time, if not more fun than usual.

  • Mog Mog
    Posted March 18, 2013 at 4:09 PM | Permalink

    Can depend heavily on the game alot of the time (like DTX talks about), but a huge YES. It can sometimes be even better to watch someone else playing a game than playing it yourself. At least for me. Examples.

    Horror games like Amnesia: The Dark Decent. The story and atmosphere of some of these type of games are just awesome, but the gameplay and gameplay mechanics annoy me and hinder the experience to the point it renders them unplayable for me. Really enjoy watching “Let’s Plays” of them though. A guy named Cry (ChaoticMonki)’s LPs especially. His great voice and reactions really add something to the experience as well.

    Minecraft. I like the game alright, but it’s the exploration element I mostly enjoy which doesn’t have a real lasting appeal. I don’t have much interest in creating things. What got me interested in the game was a series this group called Mindcrack did called Ultra Hardcore. Really funny and entertaining. Since have found myself enjoying alot of Minecraft LPs. I like seeing what others create and how. Same sort of thing with Simcity. Was always rather bored by the game, but have been quite enjoying watching a Mindcrack guy named DocM77 play the new one.

    Call of Duty. Despite what alot of internet hipster types might say, they’re popular games for a reason and at least the one I’ve played (Black Ops 2) is quite fun. Playing doesn’t hold a candle to watching COD trolling/griefing videos though. The COD community has a bad reputation for a reason and seeing them wound up is often hilarious. My personal favorites are done by a teamkiller called GeneralMinus. The calm, pleasent way he griefs is just masterful. I can’t get enough of hearing people rage at him. Also good are some videos done by those using a gun most “hardcore” COD types don’t like. Amazing how little it takes and how easily they’re upset. I do grief/troll a little on the game myself, but maybe because of the personal guilt or just the humor of the individual youtubers, it is much more fun to watch. (Oh and don’t take me the wrong way. Picking on little kids is not funny. The ones making those type of “COD trolling” videos are real toolbags.)

  • Lioran Waters
    Posted March 18, 2013 at 4:28 PM | Permalink

    I have so much Past experience to back this fact of game being fun/unfun to watch and it seems to be mostly fun with games that I consider Legendary. I remember when I was like 10 I would go to my cousin’s place and I would sit there watch them play Super metroid all the time. It was so immersive and it’s part of why I’m a big metroid fan nowadays. It gave me a feeling that no other games managed to capture, seeing all those scene such as crocomire dying in the acid and mother brain really left an impression on me. That feeling followed me throughout my childhood and teenager even, which would trigger everytime I played a Metroid game,which started just from watching my cousins play it.

    I also remember my friends loved to watch me play castlevania SOTN, It seems to be the case with most game that revolves around exploration and even Horror style games which most of the time revolves around some kind of exploration too.

    Hect, I’m not much of a gamer anymore and I’ve been watching live on twitch lately. I just got finished watching that guy play through Castlevania SOTN and I made him discover a few things. Those Live stream manage to capture something that could only be captured when playing with 2 or more people in a room. You’re there with them and you all try to figure how you’re going to do the next action,where do we need to go next and all sort of thing.

    But on the other hand. It’s not the case for games like Diablo, world of warcraft or any of those games that are really single minded and repetitive where the person watching is more like “Man i’d rather be doing something else than watch this” or “I’d rather be the one playing”. The fun created by playing those game can only be enjoyed by being the player himself. Compare to a Horror game where just watching can create a different type of experience such as the being the supporter or just being scared of the game and thinking “is he going to make it?!?… omg run!”. These kind of experience can be quite enjoyable.

    So yeah that summarise it, There is certain kind of experience that can only be obtained by watching others play.

  • LudwigKoopa
    Posted March 18, 2013 at 6:13 PM | Permalink

    Ultimately, I’d say playing games are much more fun than watching. As stated above, you’re in control and the fate of the game depends on you and how invested you are in the experience.

    However, there are 2 similar, yet different ways that I get enjoyment out of watching games being played. First: speed runs. There’s just something amazing about watching a video of someone absolutely destroying a game with their skill. That famous video of the 11 min or so Super Mario Bros 3 run is just amazing to me. Platformers in general are just fun to watch. Another example is finding unintentional shortcuts or glitches that push you to a later stage in a game. Ocarina of Time for one, just blows my mind when someone pulls off an insane trick to plant them right in front of Ganon as a child. Also in Super Metroid getting powerups early and being in areas not meant to be explored until later. Stuff like that makes me applaude those who figured it out.
    Secondly, in kind of the same vein, is gaming in the same room with other people, and witnessing someone’s prowess at a certain game. For example, I’m not a great Super Smash Bros. player, but in a multiplayer setting, watching one of my friends beat the living hell out us is both frustrating (since I’m so competitive) and funny because it’s so easy for them. One thing I am good at is Super Mario World, and occasionally I’ve found that some of the moves and tricks I know amazes some of my not very gaming savvy friends.

    I’d saying cinematic cutscenes, provided you know their context, are also fun to watch.

    All in all I’d rather play the games, but sometimes it’s nice to watch someone else kick ass.

  • Cit_Yo Cit_Yo
    Posted March 18, 2013 at 8:53 PM | Permalink

    That depends on many factors. The main ones I can think of are: What kind of game it is, whether or not you are actively interacting with the player and who are you watching play. I’ll now try to explain what I mean by these factors and why I think they make the difference in this subject.

    First, the game itself. Some of my fondest video game related memories are of playing Crash Bandicoot with my friends on my good ole’ PS1. Crash is a hard game (that or I just sucked), so it was always interesting to watch, cause I was always wondering what was going to happen next, if my friend was going to be able to be able to get past that really hard portion of the level and so on so forth. And that takes me to the second factor: interacting with the player. Using Crash as an example again, while watching someone play, I was never passively observing. I was talking about the game, cheering and saying what the player should be doing, and that was a game by itself. Now this is kinda of subjective, because some people are happy enough just watching someone play judging by the success of let’s play channels on you tube. And now for the most important part: who are you watching to play. I consider this to be extremely important, because when you are with someone you enjoy being with, the game stop being the most important thing. It is suddenly an excuse for a real life social interaction. You can talk about the game or you can talk about some cockroach you squashed last week, it doesn’t really matter.

    Going back to my Crash fueled childhood. Back then, I kept wishing for my friends to die so I could play, but looking back now, I see that watching them play, while interacting with them was what really made that experience unforgettable. Because of that, today I’d rather watch my friends play and actually interact with them then play by myself.

  • CaptainKirk Captain Kirk
    Posted March 18, 2013 at 9:12 PM | Permalink

    While it can depend a lot on the person you’re watching and the type of game you’re playing, I think watching someone play can certainly be as good as playing it yourself, but for different reasons.

    For example, I spent a lot of time watching my sister play Kingdom Hearts back in the day. She has always been a huge fan of Disney movies (she still collects them on VHS to this very day), but she was never really into video games. She loves playing Kingdom Hearts, but hates some of the technical details like managing items and skills, upgrading the Gummi Ship, and worst of all, jumping puzzles. Even though I wasn’t the one playing, I actually got a lot of enjoyment out of helping her through the game, offering advice, and squeezing every last ounce of firepower out of that freaking Gummi Ship (it didn’t look like much, but it had it where it counts!). It made the game much more of a co-op experience, which is not something you get just playing by yourself.

    So yes, I would say that under the right circumstances, watching someone play a game can be just as enjoyable as playing it yourself.

  • Lord of Nothing
    Posted March 18, 2013 at 10:16 PM | Permalink

    Running a little accidental social experiment of my own, I answered this question a while back. When the PS3 came out, I got one for the next Christmas along with a few games like Infamous, Assassin’s Creed and Killzone. A friend of mine, Colby, who was mentioned in Weekly Wringer 65, was interested in a few of them, but not big on playing them. We sat and dissected tons of games this way. He sat in on the runs for all the Assassin’s Creed’s, including a pair New Years Eve where I would play the game the whole way through, and he would sit back anaylsizing the story and characters we would meet the whole way.
    This story does have a point, because after we did this for a while, he went, got his own system and bought many of the same games I had played with him watching. Albeit many of them were RPGs like Dragon Age where he wanted to play his own story and his own character, but he also got linear games with linear story like Darksiders and Infamous. I can’t wait for him to get back from Italy so we can do this again with game that we never got to play from the Baldur’s Gate era.
    That said, I can’t say that watching is just as good as playing it, but with the right game and the right friends it can be a blast!

  • Red Mage Red Mage
    Posted March 18, 2013 at 10:17 PM | Permalink

    First a few comments on last week’s wringer response, Super Mario Land is a lot of fun, I recently just revisited the game on the 3ds Virtual Console myself. I had forgotten all about the two horizontal shoot em up levels. Re-experiencing those levels got me thinking about a question in the Q&A of the last Echo Screen about a good new genre for a Luigi game. A more advanced shoot em up game starring Luigi with Mario Bros/Kart style or inspired powered ups could be an interesting twist for the Mario Bros franchise. At the very worst a more fun sounding idea than Roo’s idea of a Luigi Tax Collector game 🙂

    On to this week’s wringer question, ultimately I like to play games rather than watch them played but it can be enjoyable to watch people to play in its own way.

    It really depends on the genre. Some genres are much more enjoyable to watch than others. Games that focus on story rather than gameplay tend to be more accessible to viewing.

    Oddly, some of the fondest memories of watching my friends play games are the old FMV based games that were on Sega CD, 3DO and early PS1 like Night Trap, Psychic Detective, Ground Zero Texas etc. I know the question was if it was just as fun to watch a GOOD game as it to play one and these types of games were FAR from being even FAIR rated games let alone GOOD to say the least. However, these had so little gameplay anyways, the game was almost the same experience for the viewer as it was for the player. Those games were fun to experience in a group setting MST3K style at poke fun at the goofy acting/stories and cameos of desperate 80’s sitcom actors.

    On the other hand, games that are almost gameplay can be dreadful to watch like puzzle games. The horrible childhood memories of my dad hogging the NES to play Tetris or Dr. Mario. Sooooo boring! The same song and graphics repeating for hours just makes for a boring experience to watch. Great games to play though, just don’t expect much of an audience. Ah, I remember several times being sprawled out on the floor in boredom waiting out for my turn to play Mega Man II or Mario Bros while my dad had a 2 hour game of Dr. Mario or Tetris going on. Level 18 of Dr. Mario is just as interesting to watch as level 20 or 24 as forth. Not at all. As you might imagine, one of my next Christmas gifts I asked for was a Game Boy!

  • Posted March 19, 2013 at 1:15 PM | Permalink

    I am the “Let’s Play”er. I really enjoy playing games a lot more than I do watching them. But here’s the catch… I like being watched. That’s the simple answer so… let’s complicate things!

    I get a lot of fun out of passing through the living room and seeing my mom play a game (like Final Fantasy 8) and pointing things out or giving her tips on what to do next or how to improve her characters and/or experience. I even stop what I’m doing often times and sit there for hours co-piloting her through something. There is something fun about having a second set of eyes just casually observing and getting to enjoy the scenery you yourself just have to plow through or die trying.

    It’s not as fun (for me) to watch a game being played usually. I do need to be in control, and I like it that way. But, the game my observers are getting – my family and friends – they do enjoy it as much as I do (I think.)

    I remember visiting my friend Aubrey in NY once, and her sister Sam watched me play Mega Man X4 beginning to end. I’d played the game numerous times and finished it with X and Zero, both in their normal armor and black armor suits. I considered myself very good at the game at the time, but Sam’s reactions were amazing. She couldn’t believe I got through it all in one sitting (for starters. Also, considering I was playing the game at like 3 AM was another factor). She played games too, but she was completely enamored watching me play! I got the biggest thrill from seeing how much she enjoyed my playthrough. I remember I did very well, and I was using Zero. I don’t recall dying at all during the play and my fun was her fun.

    I’m aware when I play a game and someone is watching, what they’re doing, and how engaged they are (or not). My mom physically winced when I would flub something in Mario Galaxy 1/2, or just shout out in amazement when I’d do something perfectly that looked flawless. (And sometimes I did wonder ‘how the heck did you do that!?’ too)

    What made those games so enjoyable was not the game itself. It was the experience. I was doing something, creating something by playing for them, that they themselves couldn’t duplicate. My mom’s hands aren’t good as they used to be, she has arthritis. She just can’t play the Mario games anymore like she used to, but she still loves them. My play skills were above Sam’s at the time I played X4 for her enjoyment. So what I did, I gave them the experience they couldn’t get alone.

    And you know, a lot of the games I do enjoy watching others play are the ones I’m not so good at, or aren’t my cup of tea from a gameplay standpoint. I like watching MGS for example, but I don’t like playing it.

    So yes, a game can be as fun to watch as it is to play, even though my preference is to be the one playing.

  • VeryCleverUsername VeryCleverUsername
    Posted March 19, 2013 at 3:27 PM | Permalink

    It all depends on the situation and type of game being played. For example watching someone play civilization 2 is not going to be as entertaining as playing it.

    I thin that if your watching a friend playing a video game you can have a fun time, because you can directly enter act with that friend. Either helping them out with the game or heckling them.

    I remember playing an adventure game called five days stranger with my brother, and it was a lot of fun figuring out puzzles, and cracking jokes. But if I was watching a lets play of the game it would not be the same experience.

    I think watching games is most fun when you are watching a friend play a game because of the aforementioned heckling, and helping.

      Posted March 22, 2013 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

      I`m with you on watching a friend play over watching a let`s play. I had similar experiences with a lot of adventure games that involved puzzles, where I enjoyed it because I could help them, or yes, heckle them! I definitely remember Lost Vikings in that way. I think I got more enjoyment from watching friends play that game than actually playing. I guess some could argue that with a game like that, you`re technically playing with them if you`re helping them figure stuff out. But without a controller in your hand, that still counts as watching, right? 🙂

  • Maze Maze
    Posted March 19, 2013 at 9:47 PM | Permalink

    There have been a few Let’s Plays I’ve enjoyed watching but not really my thing.

    What WAS a lot of fun was back in College watching my future husband utterly destroy all our roommates at every fighting game known to mankind. I didn’t even mind that he slaughtered me too; it was just so much fun listening to them rage.

    Also we all usedto have contests on who could get farthest in Survival Mode in Bushido Blade. Being knocked down to one leg was a plus.

    Nowadays I like watching my kids play games. My daughter is hilarious when she’s really getting into something. She jumps up and down, dances around, emotes. It’s an experience just watching. She has this song she made up when she was playing Minecraft, that just KILLS. It’s about burning villagers w/ lava. Is it wrong that I find this so amusing? Probably. She still gets upset when her Pikmin die though, so at least I’m not raising a completely amoral creature.

    My oldest usedto cry when he was little if he didn’t get an S rating for a lvl in Sonic Riders not so much fun, but damn is he good at racing games. Not my fav. thing to watch, but I admire his skill. I also love that when he gets stuck on a REALLY hard boss, puzzle, or lvl in rpgs and action/adventure games he still comes to Mommy for help.:-D

  • TheBeerNinja TheBeerNinja
    Posted March 20, 2013 at 12:13 AM | Permalink

    This week’s topic of watching video games being satisfying needs to be separated into two categories being live viewings and Let’s Plays. The answer to both for me is a huge YES. I was not able to finish most games with a narrative until more recent consoles starting with the Xbox. It may be games are easier now or that many games now use an RPG element so the player can get stronger as one levels up. Watching someone else play a game allowed me to see more of a game when I was younger, but now I watch others to see a different experience or get a glimpse of a game I won’t play.

    Let’s start with watching someone play a game in person (also watch the person react to the game). I am surprised no one brought up the music games like Rock Band and if one is started during a party, a crowd of twenty people will always gather to watch someone bang out Springsteen’s Born to Run. As a kid, I loved to watch my step brother play games I was too young to understand. Open games such as Castlevania 2 : Simon’s Quest, Kid Icarus, and the first two Zeldas were nearly impossible to navigate for someone that lacked the knowledge of Nintendo Power. Other games were too weird or difficult like Out of This World (couldn’t pass the dog at the beginning) and Flashback on the SNES. The Lucas Arts PC graphic adventure titles were a cooperative effort with me helping solve the puzzles like giving the Monkey Island cannibals the brochure How to Get Ahead in Navigating in exchange for their severed navigator’s head. As I got older, I still sucked at narrative titles so I would watch my friends (my step brother was in college when I hit 14) play games like Resident Evil 1 and 2, The Ocarina of Time, and Super Mario RPG. That fucking dickhead Tyrant busting through random walls in the second playthrough of Resident Evil 2 was absolutely nerve wrecking.

    Now, we can move on to the Let’s Plays seen mostly on Youtube, which have replaced so much of my television consumption that I no longer have cable (save over $800 per year too). I first discovered the concept of a Let’s Play after seeing the whole Spoony and Angry Joe Betrayal thing about X-Com. Wanting to get a glimpse of this sacred cow, I fired up Youtube to discover the Necroscope’s run of the original X-Com. The video featured a new soldier, Vladimir Romanov, with a bravery of 60, which the Necroscope thought was amazing for some reason. After 15 minutes, I wanted to see Vladimir crush some alien scum, so I kept watching. Unfortunately Youtube deleted his original account with that Let’s Play, but he replayed it and is entertaining me with Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis now. Spoony’s Swat 4 was the second Let’s Play I watched and it was just so perfectly stupid and hilarious. From there I discovered Spoony’s Bayou Billy video and subsequently Lordkat’s Until We Win series that reminded me of watching my step brother beat really tough games. Today, I can’t get enough Minecraft videos especially Paul Soares Jr’s tutorials and RoosterTeeth’s raunchy Mincraft challenges. Video Games Awesome is a series I enjoy with games like Mass Effect 3 and The Ocarina of Time being played now. I have destroyed Skyrim, beating the game with three level 81 characters (two without using the Oghma Infinium glitch) and my first character finishing the game entirely beating all the possible quests available not including quests removed due to story choices ie: the Imperial quests. Despite experiencing so much in Skyrim, I have enjoyed the Video Games Awesome, Necroscope, and currently Paul Soares Jr’s runs to see the PC version with mods or lower level, but more focused characters roll over lower scaled enemies.

    There is definitely fun to be had playing video games and controlling the character for oneself. I have gone back to finish the Ocarina of Time along with Resident Evil 2 on my own to see if I could handle the challenge. Seeing the Let’s Play of the original X-Com made me buy the series on Steam and ravage the alien menace with my own super soldier Oscar Thompson’s psychic might. I really recommend catching even a portion of a Let’s Play to relive a cherished title through someone else’s perception or to discover a new game for yourself like I did with X-Com. Even The Commodore’s beloved Full Throttle has multiple Let’s Plays.

  • TreuloseTomate TreuloseTomate
    Posted March 20, 2013 at 9:16 AM | Permalink

    StarCraft 2 is one of those games many people enjoy watching more than playing. I think it’s a great spectator e-sport because it’s easy to understand. Player 1 moves forward with big army, Player 2 loses ground, Player 1 blows stuff up, explosions!
    Playing SC2 can be really stressful. You have to do so many things simultaneously that you don’t have time to watch your own exciting battles because you are supposed to build more things in your base, look at the minimap, keep an eye on your supply, etc. When you are watching a pro match the focus is always on the battles and you can just enjoy a good game. There is also the illusion of strategy. I myself couldn’t find much joy in the multiplayer because on a low level (everything below master league) it’s not really a strategy game. Your strategy doesn’t matter much. You can just build mass marines – the lowest of low-tier units – and overrun your opponents base, if you are fast enough. If you lose it’s usually because you didn’t have enough stuff. Once your mechanics are good enough, only then strategy becomes a bigger factor. The game doesn’t really open up until you reach that point. Maybe that changes or changed with HotS, I haven’t played it yet. When I do I might try the multiplayer again.
    But, yeah… SC2!

    As for Let’s Plays. The only LPs I can enjoy are those where the player knows and plays the game really well and has interesting things to say. No “blind” LPs where they don’t have a clue what they’re doing. One of the best ones that I’ve seen is Beaglerush’s XCOM Ironman/Impossible series (for the new XCOM). It’s presented in a fun way. He gives his soldiers personality and tries to tell a story, explains how and why he engages the aliens in combat, why he picks certain skills, and he cuts all the boring stuff out. In that case it was just as fun watching as playing the game myself.
    If someone’s interested: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXctaw5JGF4LcidFVdkQMV1tc2DfC8x3D

  • Swizlet
    Posted March 20, 2013 at 6:21 PM | Permalink

    It depends on what constitutes a good game. For me I am a huge fan of RPG’s like this weekly wringer i love being absorbed into games and having a terrible time saying goodbye at the end. I believe that feeling would be impossible to obtain just by watching, even if you sat through beginning to end every cut scene, every fight. It’s just not the same not playing through your characters eyes, there’s no way to compare it to something else. On the topic of action games and shooters, again of course not. The whole point of a good action game is to through you in there so you can hack and slash out of there (or gun) thrilling the player and forcing him to make quick decisions. Watching doesn’t do any of this, you know? I feel video games are kind of like movies with all the romance, comedy and action taken out and transferred to the player over a prolonged period of time. It would be like if someone here were forced to watch a movie of my friends telling inside jokes to one another, its just not the same unless you were there and really felt the experience that caused that inside joke. It all boils down to, is it fun to watch another person live their life and have no control over it. Absolutely not, not having control diminishes experiences, lessens the huge plot twists, softens character deaths, eliminates love interests. It is just not fun to watch someone play a video game, but I mean what in life is more fun to watch than actually participate in (other than manual labor and is your passion), who gets engaged in something they don’t have a part in.

  • The Male White Mage The Male White Mage
    Posted March 20, 2013 at 6:38 PM | Permalink

    Before my answer to the Wringer I have a couple of comments first. Commodore one feature that was lost during the redesign of this site was join dates for users so it is only natural that your one hundred and twenty eight kilobyte memory can remember so much. The other thing is what is this about building in survival mode of Minecraft not being on a grand scale as creative? (Insert link to my current build from survival mode. Which I cannot upload since one image hosting site I use will not let me unclick the ‘stay signed in on this computer’, and the other image hosting I used to use is giving me an error message.)

    Onto this week’s Wringer, for me if I am in the same room as someone else we would be playing a multiplayer game together. As for Let’s Plays I watched some Sierra adventure games like Space Quest or King’s Quest since I tried to play them and wanted to see the game to the finish but another reason I kept watching was for the people playing them. Another Let’s Play I watched through was Skyward Sword since I don’t plan on getting a Wii and wanted to see the game.

    Going back to the topic of Minecraft again this week I do watch some videos daily but the reason I watch them is for something I can not experience in Minecraft since I don’t use mods, find playing adventure maps boring, nor was able to get the game in beta…(beta 1.7 terrain generation oh how I would like to build in that terrain.)

    Rereading what I typed I realized the reason I watch people play videos games is for an experience I can not have.

    • TheBeerNinja TheBeerNinja
      Posted March 20, 2013 at 8:35 PM | Permalink

      I think Minecraft could support a 24 hour television network or at least fill a daily broadcast. I used to love the old Tech TV when they would show hours of gameplay late at night. With all the mods and scenarios Minecraft can offer, there is something interesting. Watching a group work on a massive build with some music in the background would be so relaxing or there could be commentary detailing certain steps and the design choices. I would love to see a show dedicated to a Clan of the Gray Wolf server to see what the community can do.

  • chaindog_2003
    Posted March 20, 2013 at 11:53 PM | Permalink

    The big dog is back. I’ve got a lot of stories I could tell about watching other people play games or having others watch me. I remember as a kid watching two of my friends playing the old NES and SNES Final Fantasy games. I found them boring and didn’t get the appeal until years later when I played my first RPG, Final Fantasy 7. After that, I understood what they enjoyed so much.

    It’s not always boring to watch others play games though. The original Disgaea, for instance, is just as fun to watch as it is to play because of how hilarious it is and how well the story plays out. It just depends on the game and how engaging/entertaining it is.

    Another good example is how my wife used to sit and watch me play through the Xenosaga games. She has no interest in video games normally and typically watches TV in a different room while I play, but the Xenosaga games were different. Something about the characters and story pulled her in so long as she didn’t have to read it all. She got so engrossed in it that she forbid me to move ahead in the story if she wasn’t there watching, which was fine by me because I love those games.

    Then there’s also the time when my grandson (whose father is older than I am) used to come and watch me play Disgaea because he liked the little animations and voices. He was only 3-4 at the time and didn’t understand the story, but he still found it entertaining. It even got to a point where he would go around the house saying, “Dooood!” because he heard the Prinnies of the game say it so much.

    • chaindog_2003
      Posted March 21, 2013 at 9:25 PM | Permalink

      An example of watching somebody play a game being better than playing it yourself can be made too. A friend of mine has the 8-bit remake of FF7 that was developed in China or Korea or somewhere like that and the English patch for it. He brought it over to my house to try it out for the first time so we could both experience it together. The game was hilarious to watch and riff on, but almost painful to actually play. Had he tried it out by himself he likely would have deleted it and never thought about it again, but because we had so much fun talking about it while passing the controller back and forth he held on to it. Good thing to because apparently a number of other patches have since come out for it that fixed a lot of the gameplay flaws.

  • zero zero
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

    Watching games can be easily just as fun as playing under a lot of different conditions if not more so in certain situations. Whether you’re watching something new or leading your friend though a game you’ve played, even taking turns. Sometimes the world can only be enjoyable to watch because of something as simple as the difficulty. In the case of something like kaizo mario it’s just fun to watch people fail probably more so than actually going through yourself.

    In other senses videos of tool assisted runs or a let’s play are a good example of the fun it can provide. Tool assisted speedruns are especially fun for me in seeing just how far you can push the game’s limits. A let’s play could also give you the chance to see a game you’d otherwise never be able to play, or provide new tactics to enhance your gameplay further.

    I always enjoyed taking turns or just watching if I had someone else around. Taking turns was especially fun for me, seeing that little bit of gameplay got me hyped for my run through whatever. Though I enjoyed watching FPS’ much more than ever playing them. Eh food for thought.

  • Posted March 21, 2013 at 6:25 PM | Permalink

    This is the exact thought that was in mind when I started my video series on VideoGameAuctionscom less than two weeks ago. I suppose this counts as a “plug” for my videos (which makes me look like an ass) but I have no other way to answer since the question is so dead-on with the purpose of what I’m doing on VGA.
    Growing up, my brother and I were gaming as much as our parents allowed. While one of us played, the other watched. This would always be a great way of sampling a game before actually playing it. I watched my brother play to the end of Chrono Trigger before playing it myself for example. By the end, I realllly wanted to play it myself based on his reactions during the weeks before.
    Having a friend say, “I have got to show you this game. It’s amazing!” has always been something that grabs my attention. That kind of experience (watching a friend play a game) is far better than reading what the game got as a rating out of 10 online which can often be misleading. I’ve pushed games on other people many times before; trying to share a game experience with someone else I know can appreciate it. But there are times where I suggest a game without being able to actually show the game. This rarely works. You would not believe how long it took me to get my brother to play Shadow of the Colossus because of this! If I sat down and defeated the first colossus with him watching, he would have played it the very next day. Seeing the game being played live is a unique perspective.
    With this in mind, I started making live broadcast game reviews. No editing to cut to the interesting moments, fake failure or success. Also the chat is open to discuss the game being played.
    It’s also a good excuse to play random games for the hell of it.
    Sorry for crashing your barbeque with a silly plug Commodore! The question highlighted the entire purpose of the live reviews I’m doing.
    BTW, yes I’m “that” Andrew from VGA. Nice to finally put a face to the name I hope. 😉

  • Ted_Flintstone
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 7:26 PM | Permalink

    I can easily watch and listen to someone else play a video game. Of course the game has to be something I’m interested in. When I’m thinking of buying a game from GOG or something brand new, I always wait for a “lets play” video on You Tube. Total Biscuit has saved me a ton of money. Granted, he can be annoying at times, but I get a good look at the game. Commodore and Roo AREN’T annoying, so I’d watch and listen to them play games. Bring back “Boomer” and put him on RPG’s. I think there is a niche for a more mature take on games.

  • Posted March 22, 2013 at 2:03 AM | Permalink

    I hate “Let’s plays”, those are out. People are either showing off and stating everything ahead of time about how good they are, ramble about nonsense just to talk or just keep laughing in groups even though nothing said is really funny. There may be good ones, but I have not come across them. So this form of watching is just not going to happen here.

    Sitting in a room with friends, if it is something like Chrono Trigger, I am fine with it. The experience of a game like that is not really devalued when not playing. The experience simply by viewing is sufficient as the control of the characters does not create the suspension of reality to immerse the player; the atmosphere, music and story do.

    However, if you told me that Shadow of the Colossus is just as good to watch as play, great hornytoads I would think you are a fool. The power struggles, planning of routes, the haptic feedback, the control is integral to the gaming experience. Sure the game is proper tidy with its music, map and boss compositions, but that control making you feel like a fly on a person is so important. The game is designed to instill power with the player through playing, not viewing. No controlling, only watching SotC? No, just no.

    So I suppose my answer is: it is circumstantial. It depends on the game design and how essential control is to the experience.

    PS Seriously, I hate “Let’s Plays”. If you find a good one, I would love to check it out though.

    • TheBeerNinja TheBeerNinja
      Posted March 22, 2013 at 6:52 PM | Permalink

      Maybe you would enjoy a shorter game from the 8-bit or 16-bit eras. Necroscope86 on Youtube has a bunch of fun Let’s Plays. I’m watching his Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis playthrough here

      Paul Soares Jr has a good Minecraft instructional series here


      He also has a Minecraft Let’s Play here


      These are just two of the Let’s Players I find interesting. I guess it is about finding someone that is tolerable. I find the slower paced games more fun and I like hearing someone else’s memories or account of a game. Mr. K could probably
      put out a fun Let’s Play.

    • Ted_Flintstone
      Posted March 22, 2013 at 7:24 PM | Permalink

      I’m pretty sure that I stipulated that I’d trust that Commodore and Roo wouldn’t be juvenile or annoying. I even offered “Total Biscuit” as an example.

      Here’s a link: http://www.youtube.com/user/TotalHalibut

      Look for the “WTF” series. These are mostly new or very recent releases. If the Clan is looking to increase content, I would definitely view something along those lines. If it’s new or retro wouldn’t really matter that much. It would be nice to see them trying out any new releases that they both find interesting.

    • Mog Mog
      Posted March 23, 2013 at 2:47 AM | Permalink

      Most LPs do suck pretty hard. I think it’s just about finding people you personally can relate to as funny or interesting. Aside from the one’s I talked about already, have you seen “Continue?”? I’m not sure it is a “let’s play” really, but my favorite show.

      • Posted March 24, 2013 at 1:00 AM | Permalink

        I sent a long reply and then the internet kicked out when I clicked post. I do not feel like typing it again. Thanks for the reply and yes I did check it out a while ago! It is nice that they edit their work.

  • widdowson91
    Posted March 22, 2013 at 6:02 AM | Permalink

    A lot of people seem to find my name difficult to pronounce. Think of it this way. Think of the word ‘widow’, then add ‘son’ at the end. Nice try though Commodore, a lot of other people have found my surname far harder to pronounce ha ha 😀

    as for the question, there are only a few video games that I’ve enjoyed watching as much as I have enjoyed playing. My mate played Mass Effect while I was at his house, and even watching I got totally engrossed. I was so engrossed in fact that it made me decide to play the game again myself. But there aren’t many. As much as I love Final Fantasy I hate to watch people play it, that is the type of experience you only want if you’re playing it.

    Posted March 22, 2013 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

    To echo what many have said, it depends on the genre. If you`re the kind of person who`d be willing to watch someone else play to being with. Many people mentioned how RPGs aren`t exactly the most spectator-friendly, but I have a slightly different take on why they aren`t. Some people mentioned that in the end, the characters belong to the person with the controller, so someone watching isn`t quite as involved or can`t get the same experience. I`d say that`s certainly half-true, and I`d call it completely true if the character is an original one, either by name/appearance or by choices made. Elder Scrolls games tend to have a bit of both involved, so it`s only natural that an observer isn`t going to care as much when they weren`t the one who chose that character`s race/faction/hairstyle/relative evilness/whatever.

    But in many RPGs, the characters and their stories weren`t created by the user, so I think someone can enjoy watching those stories unfold just as much as the person playing. I think the problem lies in leveling and improving equipment. That`s where the characters start to “belong” to the person playing and not to any audience member. If I`m watching a friend play a game, I can feel every emotion that they feel when they`re watching a cutscene, and I can celebrate just as much as them when they finally beat a difficult boss, but I`d have a hard time matching their excitement when they find a sword that raises their attack power by 42.

    So if we`re looking for the kind of first-person game a spectator can enjoy just as much as the player, I`d say we have to look for a game that levels the playing field in terms of making the character your own, and a game where somehow the spectator can feel some sort of excitement even without the controller. That`s why I have to agree with the point by Lioran Waters on horror games, because people watching can feel exhilarated just by wondering if the player`s going to make it or not.

    In this respect, the first Metal Gear Solid comes to mind. Just like Sonic Rose`s story (with the roles switched), I actually watched my friend play through the first Metal Gear Solid from start to finish in one sitting. I was just getting into gaming at the time and preferred watching others. And man, did that game keep me hooked! I friggin` made popcorn while my friend played until the wee hours of the morning. It had tons of story, provided by tons of cutscenes, which kept me just as engaged as my friend. The fact that there wasn`t anything like customization or leveling, combined with the exploration factor, really made me feel just as involved in Solid Snake`s experience. The gameplay made for a watching experience that I felt was just as exciting for me, if not more: “Is he gonna get caught by the guard coming around the corner?” “Look out, there`s a dude over there! Hide, quick!” “Gosh darn that Sniper Wolf!”

    There might not be many games that I can fully enjoy as a spectator, but that`s certainly one of them.

  • I Feel Asleep I Feel Asleep
    Posted March 22, 2013 at 6:24 PM | Permalink

    I think that without some interaction between the player and watcher the answer is no. When I was growing up with my 3 brothers you had to watch more than play and we had just as much fun ripping on some crappy games like Dynowarz as we did playing the greats like Super Mario 3. It’s like reading a choose your own adventure book, the story might not be great but its the feeling like you made a difference in the outcome even though you didn’t control anything directly. I might not have been using the controller but I still got to feel involved in the outcome. I suppose that’s why I dislike the whole let’s play idea, without feeling a little connected I am mostly indifferent to whats going on.

  • Failedlegend The Eternal Gish Failedlegend The Eternal Gish
    Posted March 22, 2013 at 6:40 PM | Permalink

    I’d say it all depends on the game, for example my favorite genre is RPGs but there boring to watch to much down time for the viewer…I’d say competitive games like Starcraft or Call of Duty are out too as they really not much to seeits all about the competition (although the campaign of CoD would be bearable to watch..still not optimal though)

    I’d say the best kind of games to watch is games with a little comedy in it or something very flashy.

    The former (Comedy) I’d say games like Sam & Max or Monkey Island would be perfect…actually any point and click type games or similar that take thinking could work if you work with your audience to figure things out together even those PETA games would be great or something like the Bard’s Tale on PS2 despite being an RPG would be pretty good since its so humourous

    The Latter flashy or artsy games some thats just interesting to watch Braid is good, fighting games are fun to watch as well…especially if the Player(s) are really good. Kingdom hearts.

    In short if something interesting is happening its ghood for the watcher…some games have certain sections you want to show of…glitches are GREAT for this.

  • Jerome Flintsteel Jerome Flintsteel
    Posted March 25, 2013 at 10:28 PM | Permalink

    For me, watching a game being played usually just makes me want to play it myself. I don’t think I get the full experience of the game by just watching it. I saved up for an bought my N64 back in the day because of watching my cousin play Ocarina of Time. I thought to myself, “I just have to have that game.” My cousin let me play sometimes of course, but for that game, the few times I was at his house just wasn’t enough to satisfy me.

    On the other hand, my wife would much rather watch me play games than play herself. She keeps guard over the player’s guide and if I get stuck will give me little hints. (She probably likes the feeling of power over me that gives her.) We have spent many fun hours together playing games that way.

    So to sum up, I’d say that for my personality type (whatever it is) I can’t fully enjoy the game unless I’m playing it. As for my wife’s personality type, she’d much rather watch than play, and the few times when I’ve basically forced her to play (i.e. Zelda Four Swords, Mario Kart, you get the idea) she says it makes her feel dumb? ?? ??? I guess ’cause she thinks she’s not good at it. ?? ??? I don’t know where she gets those ideas. Kind of like Mrs. Roo, I guess. So if you asked me if watching a good video game is just as good as playing it, I’d say “No.” But if you asked my wife, she’d say “Yes, maybe better.”

    So there.

  • Jerome Flintsteel Jerome Flintsteel
    Posted March 25, 2013 at 10:38 PM | Permalink

    Oh, I just have to add that I do really enjoy watching my sons play video games. They are still pretty young, and I’ve only really introduced them to Super Mario Bros, but watching them is a thrill. It’s like experiencing the newness of it all over again as I watch them struggle with the difficult parts, and see their excitement when they make it past an area that they couldn’t before. Plus their facial expressions and body motions can be hilarious. My youngest son always physically moves the controller in the direction he wants Mario to go, and gives it a particular jerk when jumping. It’s hilarious. I even have to tell him to tone it down a bit so he doesn’t pull the plug out of the controller port! So, in that way, which is really rather new for me, I do enjoy watching someone else play. But it’s also a lot of fun to take the controller and wow them with my seasoned skill. 😉

    • Man with a harmonica Man with a harmonica
      Posted March 27, 2013 at 3:01 PM | Permalink

      That’s a great story, I had never thought of that! I particularly like how it makes you relive the thrill of starting with gaming, maybe I should try it once :p

  • Young-blood Young-blood
    Posted March 26, 2013 at 2:42 PM | Permalink

    So… I finally remembered my password…

    Personally, I’ve never found watching someone play a game as good as playing the game myself. I’ve found it both hilarious and/or impressive at times, but it’s never felt the same as actually playing.

    I once promised to show my friend the Resident Evil series. I load up my file on nemesis, teach him the controls, and sit down to watch. Ten minutes later, I’m up and halfway across the house doing chores, because I just got bored. He’s not even really getting lost or making any mistakes. I just can’t watch anymore w/o wanting to play myself.

    If I walk into the room, you’re playing a game, and a cutscene starts, never put your controller down.

    However, on the flip-side, another friend of mine has a list of games he wants to see completed. He’s constantly updating it, and he doesn’t really care who beats them. He’s sat there and watched me die over 100 times to one boss on my first RE4 Pro difficulty run. And he only left to get more coffee so that he didn’t fall asleep before I beat said boss.

  • TwilightLink21xx
    Posted March 27, 2013 at 4:44 PM | Permalink

    That’s a really touch question Commodore.

    I think to get to the core of the question, we have to ask what exactly are we watching. Are we really just observing someone playing a game, or are we watching someone overcome a challenge? What makes watching someone beat that secret boss or win a round of Starcraft fun to watch isn’t what’s going on-screen. It’s the fact that this person that we have some kind of connection to has overcome the challenge presented by the game. They have either beaten the machine, or bested the challenger/champion. Watching that happen is fun to me.

    Granted, the type of game does matter a lot to me. I’ve never been fond of watching a story-driven game until I have had the change to play through it myself first, and I’m not entirely sold on DotA games being “broadcast friendly”. But I will gladly watch (and help) a friend play through a story driven game I’ve beaten, as well as tournaments in the fighting and FPS genre.

    Bear in mind that I have also disregarded one of the most fun ways to play games with friends: hot seat single-player. Because each person is in a way playing the game, and ultimately gets a turn to have the controller, I don’t consider it watching someone play. But even when you’re not the one playing, because you’re so invested into the game, it just has that extra level of tension that casual observation just cannot replicate. And it makes getting to the next level all the more satisfying (or a relief, depending on how many times the weakest link died in that corridor).

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