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Monday, September 28, 2015

Jimmy Kimmel Falling Flat on Watching Gamers Play?

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I think he stood tall, or tall enough anyway.

Some weeks ago, the comedian Jimmy Kimmel (I was almost done with this article thinking it was Jimmy Fallon, and had to go and change all references of Fallon to Kimmel. ...Who the hell is Jimmy Kimmel?) made fun of the new YouTube Gaming feature. It's basically a much-worse Twitch. He had this whole comedy bit over how strange/pointless it is that so-called gamers (really "watchers") would watch other people play videogames and spend a lot of time doing that. And because the mainstream gaming community is incredibly sensitive, he got a ton of hate comments and death threats. So he made a response video, got more of that, and then made another video featuring him and YouTube gaming celebrities.

So there's three videos in this whole scenario, each with millions of views. That's THREE things to respond to! And that's convenient for Rule of Three. So I'll give my thoughts on it all, and if you've been following my KoopaTV columns you probably won't be that surprised at my thoughts. But they're good consumption anyway, and a better use of your time than watching some Let's Player. So let's get started.

Video 1: YouTube’s New Video Game Watching Service

(Warning, this video has blasphemy in it.)

In this video, Kimmel makes the following clear points. 
  1. If you like videogames, play them yourself.
  2. Watching other people play videogames is boring.
And for normal Let's Playing, I agree with Kimmel. Watching ordinary people play videogames is boring. If they're extraordinary speedrunners or they're e-sports professionals, that's another story because they are capable of feats you are not able to perform. There is value-added to that. But there's nothing really interesting about watching some guy out there play a game and try to keep you engaged through a forced, fake personality. On my YouTube channel, when I used to do Let's Plays, I did things that were either never Let's Played before (hard to do that now) or went through a very unique set of circumstances.

I always had the philosophy that it's not about me, but about the games I was playing. Today's Let's Players have the opposite philosophy. It's entirely about them and not the games. When the opportunity arises for them to partner with the companies who made the games, they reject the offer and cry about the companies wanting a more game-centric viewing experience.

People don't watch Let's Players and streamers for the games they're playing, but their personalities. That's why Kimmel's point #1 is out-of-touch. That said, the videos out there of commentary-less quality footage gameplay are wonderful for KoopaTV's screenshotting purposes. We utilise those videos particularly for dialogue scenes, which make enrich many articles.

Video 2: Video Game Watchers Are Mad at Jimmy Kimmel

This time, Kimmel makes more points.
  1. At the time of this video (September 1, 2015) the first video had 52,000 thumbs down. This is the most disliked video they've ever put up.
  2. The comments section of the video is filled with ridiculous vitriol from really angry gamers, including death or disease.
  3. Jimmy Kimmel doesn't have the skills to play sports, or else he would. Gamers do have gaming skills, so they should play and not just watch.
  4. Game-playing is "one more step removed" from a guy watching sports on TV. 
First of all, we'd like to point out that Jimmy Kimmel is a male. So the whole Feminist Frequency "Benefits Of Gaming While Male" clearly don't apply here. If they did, then Jimmy Kimmel wouldn't be receiving this abuse that matches or is even worse than the abuse that Anita Sarkeesian receives. The similarity between Kimmel and Sarkeesian? They're both perceived as bashing gaming culture, and the gaming community thinks that neither of them are "gamers". That's what's in common. Gender has nothing to do with it.

Now then, let's see how many dislikes the first video has now.

Jimmy Kimmel YouTube Gaming service video comedy dislike bar backlash
Almost three times as much. Is Jimmy Kimmel in protective custody yet?

We know that gamers can have terrible comments to things they don't like. Check out some of the worst comments we've gotten right here on KoopaTV! (Plug: You get rewarded on KoopaTV for making GOOD comments with free codes you can redeem for digital money to purchase videogames!) So it's completely believable that Kimmel would get these kind of responses. The gaming community has a lot of... idiots. KoopaTV wants to enlighten them and shower 'em with THE TRUTH. If you're a regular here, chances are you're smarter than these commenters Kimmel points out.

As I mentioned before, watching professional gamers is fine. It helps inspire your skills. I've watched Hungrybox a few times to get ideas on how to improve my Jigglypuff playing in Super Smash Bros.. Clearly, I don't have the skills he does. I have enough skills to play Super Smash Bros. but not at the level I want to. I'm sub-par and want to improve, so I watch others. Again, this is fine and I'm not sure how Kimmel would object to this. Unfortunately, this does not apply to the majority of gaming videos watched by people. A lot of people laughed when Egoraptor was in the Nintendo World Championships because he's apparently terrible, and he's also a YouTube gaming celebrity.

Kimmel compares watching people play videogames not to watching people play football, but watching people play fantasy football. Basically, the latter is watching a simulation of a thing you can actually do. This is assuming all videogames are Madden NFL 25. Most humans can't go out and do The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap in their physical world. You can try to do Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney but that'd be an enormous waste of money becoming a lawyer only to waste it acting like a clown. Not every client is George Zimmerman, unfortunately. Gaming provides a way to "simulate" things in a much faster, gratifying way than you could do them in the physical world.

The problem is that it's not really gratifying to WATCH someone do it.

Kimmel is incorrect that people who would watch Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney being played (and you're a loser if you do that instead of buying it and playing it yourself) are watching someone else playing a simulator of being a lawyer. They are watching someone else playing a videogame about being a lawyer, which is equivalent to watching someone else play a sport about throwing a football around and kicking it sometimes.

Video 3: Gamers Educate Jimmy Kimmel

This video is a total disaster. Jimmy Kimmel isn't satisfied and apparently wants to build bridges into the gaming community. Maybe his manager thinks gamers represent big bucks for their advertisers and don't want to piss them off. So Jimmy Kimmel enlists the appearances of YouTube celebrities "Markiplier" (I heard about him from people obsessing over him on Miiverse) and "MissesMae" (never heard of her at all, and her laugh in the video is really annoying) to show him what's fun. There aren't any points he's really making here.

Jimmy Kimmel Markiplier MissesMae YouTube gaming Let's Play
He does make a point about these people needing to learn how real people hug.

However, MissesMae shows an extremely boring video series that's supposed to be representative of why so many gamers watch Let's Players. It's of her parents wearing Virtual Reality gear playing Minecraft (which we all admitted was impressive technology) and them overreacting to how nauseating it is. Kimmel then plays some virtual sport game and sucks at it, which Markiplier thinks is really good footage because Kimmel is so bad, so it's funny to watch.

Basically, Let's Players think the prime attraction here are the Let's Player's behaviour playing the game, not the game itself. If they SCREAM or suck, it's good footage. If they play the game according to the designer's intention, it's probably bad.

Overall, Jimmy Kimmel is wrong about some details, but overall, he's pretty much right: Watching Let's Players play games is a total waste of time. They're talent-less hacks, and you should buy the games and support the game developers if you want to get the best enjoyment from the games they make, since watching them being played is substandard entertainment. There's also the point that Kimmel is a comedian. Gamers are terrified of humour (KoopaTV is trying to change that, too) that undermines their feelings and beliefs. Apparently they love the "humour" from these Let's Players, though.

KoopaTV hopes to be your go-to source for the levity you want relating to gaming. And also your place for the truth. And all that other stuff. Should KoopaTV have its own stand-up comedy show? Give your thoughts in the comments, and also give thoughts on KoopaTV's thoughts on Jimmy Kimmel's thoughts. That's going into the same kind of theme Kimmel had of watching people watch people watch people play videogames, right?

In a moment of total hypocrisy, watch YouTuber Jareditton (he is KoopaTV-approved) Let's Play KoopaTV's own videogame, Trayvon Tyson's Punch-Out!!.
...You're also more than welcome to just play it yourself. And encouraged.


  1. I support Let's Plays, in part because they've gotten me into some series I never would have tried otherwise. A friend talked me into watching Silent Hill Let's Plays, and I enjoyed them enough to want to play the games myself. Then there are games where I'm interested in the story, but dislike/no good at the genre, or games that are so difficult to find I wouldn't be able to play them anyway.

    Now, as for whether audiences watch for the game or the LPer... it's mixed for me. I usually watch an LP because I'm interested in the game, but if I enjoy the LPer's personality, I'm more likely to stick with them and watch their other LPs.

    1. So what, you support all LPers in general as the opposite of me blanket-dismissing all LPers (except Jareditton)?

      I will say I just used a guy's LP on Punch-Out!! on NES for the express purpose of getting a screenshot to edit in Paint for someone special. Didn't care at all for the guy playing it.

    2. Yes. I won't like every LPer, but I support LPing itself.

    3. I agree that I disagree with you. :o

    4. I find LPs in general boring to sit through. I am okay with visual walkthroughs for help, occasional speedruns, videos on glitches and silly stuff like Evil Red Plumber's brother wins by doing absolutely nothing.

    5. Well I wouldn't put Evil Red Plumber's brother wins by doing absolutely nothing anywhere near the same league as an LP.

      Let's Plays, as Markiplier explains to Jimmy Kimmel, are called "Let's Plays" because of the involvement of the guy playing/babbling/screaming over the microphone. So they don't exist for the game. The game is just a tool to:

      1. Lure people in to watching.
      2. Provide a discussion topic. Sometimes.

      People wouldn't watch these guys if they just babbled in front of a camera, so they have an interactive videogame that people would actually search for and they get views from that. Basically, Let's Plays are about the person playing but all the people really want to see is the game and they have to suffer through the person.
      The game is really doing the heavy lifting, talent-wise. Since no one would watch if not for the game.


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