Watching the Game: How we may Understand Let's Play Videos
Rijk, B.J.S. de
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Let’s Play videos have enormously increased in popularity over the last few years, becoming an important part of online gaming culture. So far little attention has been paid to this phenomenon by media scholars. This thesis outlines three possible media studies approaches to Let’s Plays and argues for each that they provide valuable insights that other approaches could not, based on a textual analysis of a select set of Let’s Play videos. Firstly it sees Let’s Plays as paratexts to their games and argues that by using the lens of game studies, the specific relation of the Let’s Play with its game can be better understood. Secondly a categorization of Let’s Play producers is put forth and it is suggested that this can form the basis for explaining the differences of focus in their videos. Thirdly the phenomenon is set within the wider context of online video sharing, studying the relations between the various producers and other stakeholders, like YouTube and game developers.