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Let's Plays: A gamers personal diary?
Posted by ZeVanillaBear: 23/01/2015 at 18:00pm
A recent post on reddit got me thinking. Are Let's Plays used as more than just reviews and entertainment?

The other day I saw a post entitled "Finally" on /r/letsplay that the submitter was finally able to get back his new upgraded computer which has been away for repairs since Boxing Day (nearly a month at this point). Quote from the article "Let
This to me seems perfectly normal, a person finally getting their computer (especially a newly upgraded one) back after a considerable time frame is ecstatic about the long arduous wait coming to an end.

If it was left at that then that wouldn't have gone on my radar or made my brain wake up at all but since you're reading this and I wrote something then obviously something piqued my interest.

The phrase "And none of my friends understand my struggle with being unable to record" made me stop and go through the typical routine I do when it comes to something that catches my eye on the /r/letsplay subreddit.

Step 1: Re-read entire post.
Step 2: Look at persons channel (primarily first video at hand and sub count for initial flash judgement of quality)
Step 3: Most likely scoff and think person is either attention whoring or speaking above their level.
Step 4: Re-read post
Step 5: Read comments
Step 6: (If I deemed it objectively stupid in this process) Laugh

Now, I'm aware that this is really quite a dickish thing to do but there is a perfectly good reason for this procedure. I'm a cynical, pessimistic arsehole. The whole process I go through is a bad habit and I'm working on breaking it. I've been making gaming related videos on and off for near 4 years and have researched into a lot of the tech and design side of things. The volume of people who have clearly not put effort into anything and with minimal experience giving advice to others is ridiculous (this is what I meant by "above their level").
Eventually you get past the point of trying to offer advice and point others towards people with better knowledge after the same question has been asked for the 57th time. Sometimes even by the same person but that is a rant for a different time.

It was the use of the word "struggle" that really got me. How is it a struggle to not be able to record. By the nature of creation it is effort to create something. By not having the means necessary to record and edit, he has well and truly removed the element of any struggle in creating gaming videos. Is he referring to the struggle of keeping to a schedule? Is he referring to the struggle of a challenge set by a friend that he may now lose? Is he referring to the struggle of failing to keep to a personal goal? What struggle is this?

I personally see the struggle as keeping up with the backlog of footage and motivation. To me, personally, that is where the struggle lies within Let's Play creation and in all creative work that requires regular content output.

It was the comments that slowly started to trickle in that really got me thinking though. People were agreeing and encouraging him to get back into recording in the same vein as you would relieve pent up stress and similar to what you may find in an AA meeting.

"You must have loads you want to record built up whilst you've been waiting."

That's when a few theories formulated.

What if some Let's Players use their content as a gaming diary but more than they realise.
It's obvious that people Let's Play to create an archive of their gaming accomplishments and journeys for themselves and others to experience. That's what LPs are all about at a base level but consider this; what if Let's Plays act as a personal diary.
A deeply personal and (ironically in the case of LPs) private part of someone's life. Somewhere where the person doesn't need to hide what they think and rely on it to vent their thoughts and feelings when needed.
Minecraft book and quill with text

Now this concept isn't exactly ground breaking and has multiple flaws and long existing comparisons to suggest this is nonsense. For example, a video diary... a video log... a vlog. These have been around for years and act as a video diary. Direct comparison. An obvious flaw is that this concept relies on the creators' intentions for producing content. Do they do it for a cheap attempt at e-fame and the sweet, sweet Google monies? Or do they do it for their own enjoyment and fulfilment of creating something they enjoy that by proxy others can enjoy too.

Why I believe this is different from similar formats currently out there is because the person is 'actively logging'. They aren't just sitting discussing a thoroughly thought out topic or scripted piece, they are actively creating the piece from their own experiences in real time through reactions from which you get to truly see who the person is, their personality and their psyche. It's a real time, experiential diary entry.

Do people really need this in their life though?
Do people really build up repressed urges to "vent" through recording?
I'd say yes. Definitely.

Everyone has their own way of venting stress and other emotional needs or be it plain and simple desire to just 'do something'. Let's Plays are a relatively new format that hasn't much been directly studied and is an infant format that could fulfill many unforeseen needs.

That's just my opinion though, what do you think?

Do you find yourself feeling the need to record after a period of time?
If so, what are your reasons?

Also, do you think this is baseless speculation or do you feel the area should be looked into more?

Tell me your thoughts and ideas on this idea here: Discuss this on the Forum

There was a lot of other topics that I omitted from discussing as otherwise this article would be tremendously large. So if you would like for me to write about more concepts, theories and discussion points please tell me so.

Thanks for reading.

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