I actually get asked this pretty often so I thought I'd share how I got into this hobby, what I think of it, my impressions of other styles, and various other useless bits of information. Please don't look at this as me promoting myself or anything like that; it's actually the opposite - I'm kind of at the end of the road when it comes to LP. I don't really have the time to record commentary so I kind of had to stop. I'm still thinking about doing SSLP's at some point, but I'm taking my time getting into it. I'm kind of enjoying this hiatus, actually. Anyway, that's enough about me; let's talk about me.
In the very beginning I was actually just looking for some kind of video walkthroughs (like a lot of others); I eventually found one with voice commentary. It was McGammar's LP of Golden Sun
which drew me in. Looking back on it now, I have no idea why because it contains all things pretty terrible (VLP of a VERY LONG and WORDY JRPG, no editing, and freaking voice acting for the characters!) but I guess it was because it was the first of that kind of thing that I saw. This was back in 2008 when things had already gotten started and had spread to Youtube. After that, I looked for more of the same; I eventually landed in the horrible horrible world of Super Mario World Romhack videos. The likes of ProtonJon, Goron50, Raocow, etc... were pretty prevalent at the time. I was kind of hooked on the watching LP thing by now, yet I still hadn't made any of my own. That would change relatively shortly, though.
Super LP Bros/Let's Play Forum
I heard about Super LP Bros (SLPB) from a Goron50 video and decided to join up. It was the sort of site that was designed just as a place to dump videos and share them with each other. At the heart of it all, it wasn't a bad idea it was just executed poorly. During my time there, I eventually started my first real VLP (Let's Play Earthworm Jim
). I got some pretty rave reviews and learned a lot. I took the criticism I received in stride and worked to better myself. I learned very quickly that what I wanted was at odds with the goal of the site and I sought out other sites to join. A lot of my friends on SLPB (the ones who knew what they were talking about) were members of the Let's Play Forum (LPF) which was supposed to be a "step up" from SLPB in terms of quality and such. I joined up (as you can see from my join date) in 2009. Back in 2009, LPF was a different place than it is now. It was (if you can believe it) much harsher, but you were also able to get away with things back then that you couldn't now (mostly because quality standards have evolved over time). LPF really helped mold me and solidify my own quality standards. I owe a lot of my product quality to this site.
At this time, I was becoming relatively popular on SLPB and was granted a Moderator position. It was then I got to see the behind the scenes operation there and realized that the leadership had no real goal or direction beyond "let's just dump LPs and share them." I worked to establish quality standards at the site and even got a lot of members and a few staff on my side about this. I eventually got up to the rank of Admin (don't ask I don't even know what the hell). My efforts were met with opposition and complacency from the others. I even left the staff a few times, only to come back and try again. I have no idea what was wrong with me, but I actually agreed with the general concept for the site and acknowledged that there needed to be a place for the "newbies" to come and learn the craft in a slightly less hostile environment. I tried to build that there, but there was just too much disorganization in the leadership. I eventually stepped down for good and the site inevitably fell apart (don't let my inclusion of me stepping down imply that that was what made the site fail, it was doomed to fail from the start). It was at this time that I also joined Something Awful (SA) and started posting on their LP Sub-forum.
With the death of SLPB, LPF kind of became the place for newbies to show up because SA was still harsher and cost money ($10) to join. I think that's why we kind of toned down the harshness over time yet retained the quality standards that SLPB seemed to have such a hard time setting. Over time, LPF evolved into what it is today, a good starting pad for those newbies who really want to take the hobby somewhat seriously and improve their quality. Eventually, someone accidentally clicked a button and now I'm a Moderator somehow. I abuse this power regularly.
I started out at SA in 2010. When I joined up, I stopped all LPs that I was doing and made a fresh start. Much to the behest of some of my Youtube fans, I ended come projects like Tails's Totally Bitchin' Adventure (which was becoming quite tired and drawn out to be honest). I started off with Metroid II
and took off from there. I was received well and had a ton of fun making more LPs. This was the point where I basically stopped taking it so seriously and moved into just having fun with it. I LP'd games that were "overdone" (Zelda, Metroid, etc...) and a few not so overdone (Rocket Knight, Vectorman, etc...) and had a blast. The LP that I had the most fun making was Link's Awakening
. I had the idea from reading Metroixer's Breaking Blue
(pro click, btw) to make a VLP of a glitched out game. I couldn't think of any other more glitched out than Link's Awakening. It was probably the LP that most on SA remember me for (and it spawned a ton of avatars and even went gold for some reason); that being said, it was probably the easiest LP for me to make (go figure). After a while, I got the the point where I am now where I still love the hobby, but I just don't have the time to record commentary for VLPs. As I mentioned earlier, I want to dip into SSLP but I'm taking my time.
Current State of LP
Overall, I think that LP is getting very saturated. There are now so many people out there doing it that I could probably find someone IRL who has heard of it or is actively doing it if I asked around enough. That being said, there is still quality to be found. SA is not the end-all be-all of Let's Play, but a lot of the really good ones are there (and in the Archive
). You just have to know what you like and stick with it. If you're having fun making it and you're entertaining people, then just go for it. Yeah, people like PewDiePie aren't quite my cup of tea, but I'm not mad that he's there. I think he's an idiot and terrible at Let's Play myself, but obviously he has garnered some kind of following. The same could be said about anyone. I'm sure there are a ton of people out there who would say that MeccaPrime is not my cup of tea and he's horrible at making Let's Play. There's still room for more although it is getting harder and harder to be innovative. I don't watch a lot of LP's nowadays, but the ones that I do follow tend to be the ones that stand out or are for a game that I really like. I don't typically follow for the LPer (although a few exceptions are made for some).
Advice for the Newbies
Be yourself. Don't just do something because others request it. Play the games you want to play and make the LP that you want to make. If people like it, they'll follow you and tell others. Pushing yourself on others is a bad idea; it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. That being said, do
listen to the criticism of your audience; actively work to make your Let's Plays better. You have to be the judge, however, over what criticism is actually trying to help you and what is just white noise (it's easy to spot as long as you know how to look - that's why sites like this one are helpful; we don't care how successful you are, we just want to see a good LP). Always look for the next thing and try to be innovative. Just don't make Minecraft LP #374.
I want to end by thanking anyone who did enjoy my videos, I'm glad you had fun. I want to thank anyone who gave me critical advice, you helped me get better. I also want to thank you for reading all these words, holy shit you have the patience of a saint. If you have any questions, I would love to answer them just leave a comment and don't forget to LIKE and SUBSCRIBE!
tl;dr - I made the videos for the internet and some people liked them and some didn't. I want to help you get better.