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Let's Play
aka: L Ping
"[...] have you ever seen a DVD, you know, how they do director's commentary and stuff? Well, imagine if some jackass who was not involved with the creation of the movie at all decided to just comment on what he thought watching the movie would be like. Well, that's kinda like what we are here now."

We play games so you don't have to.

Let's Play is a relatively recent revival of an old concept, which became mainstream (for a certain value of mainstream) due to the Something Awful forums, and has since branched out to independent players on YouTube as well as other forums. Essentially, it's a screenshot or video Walkthrough with entertaining commentary; The goal generally isn't to Speed Run through it, but to show off how the player plays the game normally. Mistakes and multiple deaths are often left intact, for sake of humor, but better LPers will edit around un-funny screwups. The Let's Play Curse leads to a large number of mistakes, often of the hilarious variety because of the stupidity of the mistakes.

The tone and style will vary greatly with the nature of the game and those playing them. Some use screenshots and captions, whilst others use videos, or a mix of both. Some of those videos have voice commentary, and some use subtitles. Some players may already know all there is to know about the game and attempt to show off everything about it; others are going in completely blind and have no idea what to expect (horror games are most often LPed in this manner, as the candidness of the player's reaction may be more engaging to the audience than the game itself); and still more may deliberately invoke both with co-commentators - the player showing off all that they can while being accompanied by a friend who has never seen the game before. Depending on the quality and style of the game, the LP may be in-character Fan Fic of sort, or closer to a MST, the latter especially common if there's multiple commentators involved. And often they have some degree of fan input; the viewers may submit their own side material, vote on a certain course of action to take, or offer suggestions.

Emulation and heavy use of save-states is often involved (though making use of the latter incredibly obvious is commonly discouraged), as most of the consoles and games able to be emulated currently don't have a save or password feature. For the most part, cheating is discouraged, though doing boring parts (like grinding for levels in RPGs) "off-camera" is encouraged. On the other hand, some LPs embrace cheats and hacks as their gimmick to mix things up.

Computers love to attempt suicide by any means possible partway though, and video hosts that are not Youtube tend to delete all game footage or die entirely shortly after becoming a reasonably popular host for Let's Plays. Sturgeon's Law is in effect, and many Let's Plays on forums won't last long if they're not gripping.

In July/August 2011, Nintendo of Europe became what may be the first company to use the Let's Play phenomenon as a way of actually promoting their games. For the release of Xenoblade Chronicles, in addition to the usual trailers and such, a 7-part mini-Let's Play showcasing portions of the game was released. Later, they even held a "Make Your Own Let's Play" contest for the same game. From niche Internet hobby to promotional tool—if nothing else, it shows how far this hobby's come.

See also Web Video, which covers general examples of online videos.


Let's Players with their own pages on the wiki:


ItashaFan WorkMachinima
Lee Of The UnionTurnOfTheMillennium/New MediaFreelance Astronauts
WalkthroughVideo Game CultureGame Cola
Widget SeriesAwesome/Video GamesYou Shall Not Pass
Journal RoleplayWeb OriginalMachinima
    Web VideoWeb Animation

alternative title(s): L Ping; Lets Plays; Lets Players
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