Pushing Buttons: Your Favorite Games to Watch Other People Play | Games
Welcome to Pushing Buttons, the Guardian’s gaming newsletter. If you’d like to receive it in your inbox every week, just insert your email below – and check your inbox (and spam) for the confirmation email.
It came to mind recently when I was reading a press release about the billions of hours spent watching popular movies Tic streamers, that there is now a generation of gamers who have probably spent far more time watching other people play games than they have actually played them.
It’s a thought that makes me feel like I’m around 400 years old – when I was a teenager, it took several minutes to upload a single screenshot to a website via a jerky dial-up modem. I was in my early twenties during the whole YouTube and Twitch phenomenon, and I worked for IGN, the biggest gaming website at the time. I was one of the presenters for his very first livestream, a 24-hour Dark Souls marathon that started with my flight to San Francisco to get settled in the studio and ended with my nearly missed flight home because that I had fallen asleep in the middle of the day in an airport hotel.
This was around the time Twitch first became a thing and a few years after YouTube’s boom in gaming videos, driven by Minecraft, which I wrote about curiously. Who are these young guys playing Minecraft for armies of teenage fans? Why are so many kids watching people scream into their microphones in front of Five Nights at Freddy’s?
It was a new way to engage in games, removing many barriers to access; an 11-year-old might not be able to afford a console and all the games she wants, but she can watch as many YouTube videos or Twitch streams as she wants. I have now met teenagers who have developed a passion for games mainly through second hand experience, only playing more games when they get a bit older and have more money and self-determination .
Live streaming is now, of course, a deeply ingrained part of gaming culture for just about everyone under the age of 25 and many older people as well. I don’t mind admitting that I still haven’t really obtain Tic; I barely have time to play games, let alone watch someone else play them. But watching people play games has been a big part of my life. My brother and I would work our way through most classic Nintendo 64 generation games, maximizing our playtime by sharing experiences. I know a lot of people in their thirties who started by watching a friend or family member play Tomb Raider, The Sims, or Doom. Despite the stereotypes, gambling is rarely something we do entirely alone. Games are experiences we share with each other, whether as cooperative partners, competitors or spectators.
A while back, I asked readers which games they like to watch rather than play. The responses reminded me that watching other people play games has been part of gaming culture since arcades. Here are a few :
“I love watching any Monster Hunter series when I’m part of a group of skilled hunters. For my part, I’m so old and slow that all I can use as a weapon is a hammer (basically, hit him on the head until he’s dead.) The other players use a whole variety of sophisticated weapons and intricate techniques that I just sit and watch in awe. Iain Noble
“I remember really enjoying watching my partner play any kind of horror game (reminiscent of the early 2010s when every YouTuber was playing Amnesia on camera). Amazingly, watching her play the last of us 2 (before playing myself) was also very enjoyable. I liked the story, and some encounters were puzzles where we could either cooperate or get confused. I [already] had a good mind map of the game, and that made it easier than a blind game would have been. Disco Elysee was also very fun to follow. I was the first to get my hands on that one – she started it after hearing me laugh so much – but watching her decisions, her reactions and the dialogue that followed (some of which I completely missed) was great fun!” nell
“I like watching NetHack, which I don’t play because I find the hunger mechanic way too stressful, and Mega Man 2, because I get frustrated if I try to play – tricky platforming isn’t My thing Ocarina of Time also works really well as a spectator, as you can get involved in the puzzles and just enjoy the pretty relaxed atmosphere. nora
“I’ve been watching my husband play games for 11 years, and before that my college roommate. BioShock, FEAR, and Dead Space games were very atmospheric back then. More recently, Detroit: Become Human was entertaining due to the cinematic quality of its story. Similarly, Life Is Strange was equally captivating (and easy) to watch. I’m not an experienced gamer, but watching someone else play it turned out to be quite entertaining. Gwen
“I’m also a total back gamer – but my partner really enjoyed watching me play Persona 5 during lockdown I think because it was so chill and the music was soothing. He quickly became familiar to us to both of us. When we were locked in, it felt like a cozy escape. Sophia
what to play
shark card is a beautifully illustrated game about the scam of the French aristocracy at cards, which I have just started but really enjoy. Here is what our reviewer Phil Iwaniuk has to say about it: “Developed by the people behind the delectable right-swipe storyteller Reign, Card Shark is essentially a collection of mini-games comprising 28 tricks, taught to you in a gleefully contested adventure from a caravan in the woods to the king’s banquet hall. A simple way to start: pick up the spread hands in the correct order so that your partner ends up with the trumps. Later, you will discreetly fold the cards so that they rise to the top of the deck and indicate the values to the count by the way you hold your glass. The trickiest cheats are feats of memory – first load the deck with duplicates, then sneak those cards out before dealing them again… All beautifully staged with expressive, scribbled character portraits, backgrounds, and more. wine-colored planes and a cozy, mock-serious score that suggests a chamber music troupe lurking just across from the living room.
Available on: PC, Nintendo Switch; Developer/Nerial
Estimated playing time: About six hours
What to read
I’ve been away for a week, so I’m catching up on the news; if I missed anything, it was because I was completely disconnected from the internet – which I enthusiastically suggest. Anyway, Blizzard Entertainment released its dungeon-crawler Diablo Immortal on smartphones last week, which did pretty well, except everyone hates as you might expect lucrative micro-transactions.
Sega has unveiled its next open-world Sonic game, sound borders – but it didn’t go very well. Fans are asking for it to be delayed so the developers can “fix” it. It’s more interesting than the usual “authorized fans exploding on Twitter” kind of story, because it was fans dismayed reaction to the original design of Sonic in the new Sonic movies which led to a complete redesign of the character – and which certainly contributed to the success of the Sonic movies at the box office. A mediocre game won’t do for that fanbase anymore, it seems.
Pokémon Go, the viral phenomenon of summer 2016, has now made $6 billion — most of that in the years following its sudden heyday. It still has one of the friendliest and most active player bases in the world.
You’ve heard of Eve Online, right? It’s a spaceship MMO where players run the game – so instead of the developer creating wars, missions and events, players create their own complex web of societies, conflicts and power structures. The game has been home to some of the most interesting stories to emerge from video games, including this one incredible heistand these breathtaking virtual murders. I’ve spent a few years attending Eve FanFest, the annual gathering of Eve gamers in Iceland, and I’ve always found it fascinating to write. This year, Tom Regan returned with a story about real-world powerful people – corporate types, military types, actual rocket scientists – who are lured into the unscrupulous world of Eve to live out their imperial fantasies.
What to click
Block of questions
This week’s very interesting question comes from Pagebird: “What is your favorite unconfirmed theory about a game? »
I love a wild video game theory – especially fan theories because sometimes they change the way you look at a game. Here’s a good one for anyone who’s played Limbo, the punishing black and white platformer classic from 2010: the game starts with a little boy waking up in a hell full of traps and monsters, and ends with him approaching a little girl under a shack in the trees. After that, it returns to the beginning. A favorite theory is that the entire game is the boy’s punishment for causing an accident that killed him and his sister – which is why he is trapped in Limbo. It makes me shiver.
#Pushing #Buttons #Favorite #Games #Watch #People #Play #Games