The rise of playing games as content has created a series of problems about how we think about what to play. Play as performance runs the risk of letting the performance get in the way of fun. In this essay I examine a particular facet of this problem through the idea of avoid particular games because they are “bad” for streaming. The purpose will be to show how this focus on performance leads to otherwise poor decisions on our part.
With all sorts of successful streamers and YouTube channels, watching video games for entertainment is a major industry. And it’s no surprise that so many people want to get in on that, often in the hopes of being the next big success. But it’s useful to ask…why do people watch any of this stuff in the first place?
The ability to watch people play games on the internet has given us the opportunity to forge all sorts of communities. But in engaging with these communities there lie several problems, and one of them is the urge to be “helpful.” In this essay I explore how the desire to help others can be counterproductive, and some ways in which we can address these problems so that both players and viewers can have a more enjoyable experience.
A lot of people like to record themselves playing games, and a lot of other people enjoy watching those recordings. But how does the mere act of performing change the way we relate to video games, whether when we’re being observed or even when we’re playing on our own?