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Friday, March 25, 2016

Why I Don't Watch YouTube Personalities

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Well, I can only speak for myself... but it's for your benefit.

If ya have read select previous KoopaTV articles, you might get the impression we got something against YouTube personalities. And you'd be right.

Whether it was Rawk (RIP) with his very selective war against JonTron, or me repeatedly deeming YouTubers as “talentless” or comparing them to slaveowners (which is not a compliment given KoopaTV's slew of pro-Confederacy articles — not to mention our KoopaTV-exclusive game Capture the Confederate Flag), we got a distinct anti-YouTuber attitude here. I mean, I even went and wrote an article more-or-less agreeing with Jimmy Kimmel about how lame YouTube Gaming is. There's nothing inherent about a video-sharing platform that results in losers rising to the top, but that's apparently the case and what's happened.

So when people ask me “What YouTubers do you watch?” — and multiple people have asked me that, because it's culturally a standard thing to follow YouTubers like it is to drink coffee and/or tea — and I respond “None”, I get weird stares or emoticons. And it's not just not watching “gamers” on YouTube — I don't watch people in general.

There's a little difference between Twitch and YouTube Gaming, by the way. Twitch streamers admit it's about the game. They show off the game. YouTube Let's Players have it all about the person, using the game's existence as an excuse to show off the player.

Right now, I have YouTube open in a Firefox tab. What is the video? It's the complete soundtrack to Kirby: Triple Deluxe. (I already wrote about how much I like the soundtracks to the Kirby series!) What are my recommended videos? Put another way, what does YouTube's algorithms want me to watch?

YouTube home page watch it again recommended videogame OSTs
It's all Videogame OSTs... and some Super Smash Bros. content. ...And uh, Fox News.

I wouldn't consider Fox News personalities to be YouTube personalities (and... I don't watch them that much! They're just sometimes embedded on political web pages I visit!). There's ZeRo there, but believe me, I don't go out of my way to watch his stuff. He's not really a YouTube personality — he's a competitive Super Smash Bros. player that uses YouTube as a platform to talk/demonstrate things in that game. From an expert's perspective. Experts provide unique and informative perspectives that are presumably well-founded, and may teach you how to do something.

That's very, very different than your average Let's Player. They aren't experts, and probably know less about the games they play than a lot of the viewers. But I also don't watch other YouTube personalities outside of gaming, even though MULTIPLE people recommend nitwits to me like The Amazing Atheist.

They do that, as you might imagine, because they want to outsource their arguments, critical thinking, and belief system to a few pretentious morons talking in front of a camera. I mean, it's easier to do that, right? Have some charismatic jerk who may or may not have production values just tell you what to think. You'll eat it up.

Ultralink1000 Twitch Tom Clancy's The Division
Twitch also has Kamek playing The Division with a KoopaTV advertisement.

But, wait. KoopaTV asks you to eat up the stuff I write, and KoopaTV also would love if you shared our articles to your friends, enemies, and everyone else. What's the difference between KoopaTV and The Amazing Atheist?

For all of the supposed “scientific method” and inquiry that Atheists supposedly believe in, they don't question their own belief system. There is no back-and-forth. There's the comments section, but you're competing against videos. The medium isn't equal.

On KoopaTV, the articles are text. The comments are also text. People are encouraged to think for themselves and accept or reject the article premises. They can also write guest articles if they feel they need a bigger platform for their side than a comment.

You don't see YouTube personalities hosting guest videos from their fans or random people. It's one-way communication that you are told to accept. That communication is all about them. It's not about you.

Quite frankly, if I got my opinions from some of these YouTubers or other “thought leaders”, what would the point of KoopaTV be? Regurgitating those people? I'd much prefer for KoopaTV to add value. I can't add value if I don't have my own opinions. People — and companies — literally are just obsessed with certain YouTubers and what they think. I'm not.

As such, I consider myself... free. Free to think independently and originally.

In general, I also don't think most things people do on YouTube are funny or entertaining. I'm just grumpy that way.

Ludwig has a YouTube channel. You can watch it, but, really, most of the stuff uploaded nowadays is embedded to KoopaTV anyway, so you're not missing much. As long as you stay tuned to KoopaTV, you won't miss anything! Follow KoopaTV's social media accounts, too.

Ludwig's anti-YouTuber stance doesn't apply to Jareditton, and that's probably because he's covered KoopaTV content in the past.
It seems, from polling data, people actually get their opinions on what games to buy from Let's Players.


  1. Objection!

    KoopaTV has a high amount of points as a one-time reward for people who do Let's Plays of your games. And what do I spy on Ludwig's Youtube channel but a few Let's Plays.

    How can you criticize "your average Let's Player" when you've been an LPer in the past AND you encourage it on the site? :P

    Not all Let's Players are trying to pass themselves off as experts. They're there to entertain. And some DO encourage conversation and interactions with their audience.

    I think you should make a clearer distinction about who you're criticizing...

    1. ...!

      *I* don't watch Let's Players, but I know a lot of other people do. Everyone — game developers and YouTubers alike — knows that Let's Playing can be one of the biggest ways that players even know about your game. Lots of indies have described how there was a large increase in sales after being featured by Let's Players.

      In KoopaTV's case, the reason we want people to Let's Play our games is actually less for exposure and more for archival. Exposure is a secondary concern. When we asked Jareditton to Let's Play Trayvon Tyson's Punch-Out!!, the dude had pretty much just started his channel. Obviously that wouldn't get anywhere near the exposure as someone well-known in the YouTuber community, but we did get our archival wish.
      (And it was hilarious.)

      As for my own Let's Playing, notice the... dates of those. That was years ago. Now, let me tell you this: That was way before Let's Playing became this big business. Also, I always, even then, had the philosophy that my videos were about showing off the games. I was merely the vessel that put the games to life. It wasn't about me.

      Also, even then, I didn't watch other Let's Players or YouTube personalities. So obviously I developed my own unique style independent of what came before me.

      I think I should continue to be vague and generalising about who I'm criticising because it's more fun that way.

      I will say this: Continuing to use The Amazing Atheist as an example (obviously, he is a YouTube personality and is not involved with gaming — actually, for some reason he has (a) video(s) bashing Anita Sarkeesian so I dunno), I look in his comments section and his discussion page on his channel and the dude never replies. That's not encouraging anything but the mass media broadcast model.

    2. Thank you for your clarification. :P

      But what is wrong with people watching Let's Plays for the LPer's personality? If you're watching something for entertainment, does it matter which part makes it entertaining?

      Okay, so The Amazing Atheist doesn't encourage conversation and discussion. That doesn't mean they're all like that.

    3. I'd say the bigger you get, the less encouragement there is. Last I checked, Pewdiepie has comments disabled.

      You're right, if your goal is just a general sense of entertainment, then it doesn't matter. That part matters for other things, like if you think it's Fair Use or if you really want to watch gameplay of the game without a knucklehead screaming.

    4. That's possible. My favorite LPer, derangedband, is so audience-focused, he refused to ever put ads in his videos because he didn't want to make viewers sit through them.

      And that's when you find silent walkthroughs instead.

      I'm rather opinionated on this issue since Let's Plays got me into some of my favorite series. And some of them, I might not have stuck with long enough to get interested in the games if I hadn't found the LPers entertaining to watch in the first place.

      In particular, I didn't really like Resident Evil when I first saw it, but I kept watching because I liked derangedband's sense of humor. I ended up hooked on the series and bought all the classic Resident Evil games to play. XD

    5. See, derangedband has less than 4,500 subscribers! That's nothing! That's considered small-tier. So, as I said, the bigger you get, the less encouragement for audience-focused there is. Which makes logical sense, right? You won't have the time or ability to respond to everyone if you're at 400,000 subscribers vs. 400. (So hopefully KoopaTV doesn't get that big because I can't scale it.)

      (That's the list indie game devs use when sending out free codes to try to get their games featured.)

      So you feel that you need to defend Let's Plays because without those you'd never get into Resident Evil?

      See, I don't buy into the argument that people who are going to watch someone play through a whole game will then want to buy it. Why would you buy it when you could watch someone else play it? Most (or, since I'm lacking data here, a lot) "gamers" nowadays don't even play games, they just watch other people play them and then say they're a gamer.

      Certain games are more vulnerable to “well I watched it so why bother buying it?” than others, including Ace Attorney. That's why it's absolutely acceptable that gaming companies do revenue-sharing.

      I'll write a whole article about this poll later, but you're going to claim that Let's Plays are proxy for "Previews"?

    6. I see your point about derangedband.

      But how can you say "I don't buy into the argument that people who are going to watch someone play through a whole game will then want to buy it" when you're talking to someone who does just that?

      I strongly support that position, because I watched FULL LET'S PLAYS of 10 games I then went out and bought BECAUSE I enjoyed the Let's Play so much I wanted to play them myself. There are other games I watched pieces of Let's Plays before deciding to buy them. There's at least one game I started a Let's Play of specifically to SEE if I wanted to buy it or not (I did).

      So for me, personally, yes. I've used Let's Plays as previews.

    7. I can say it without thinking and when making grandiose generalisations.

      (You keep track of the number of full Let's Plays you've watched?)

      'kay, good for you. >_>;

      Would you prefer to watch a Let's Play to see if you wanted to buy something, or a silent walkthrough?

    8. :P

      (No, but I opened up my list of video games and counted the number I watched LPs of before buying.)

      If I want to buy something and am using the video as a preview, probably the LP (or something shorter and designed specifically to be a preview, like Game Informer's Test Chambers) to get player commentary on whatever I'm seeing at the same time. Game Informer did one Test Chamber where they introduced the game and then fell silent to give us the pure game experience, and it felt odd to me.

      However, if it's a game I've already played and I'm looking for a video to double-check something, relive a cool moment, or share part with a friend, then I always seek out the silent ones.

    9. (I thought your list was just the backlog. Your list is backlog + finished stuff? I don't keep track of that, I just remember it. I know there are sites out there that encourage you to log that info in, though.)

      So you feel like you need the player to tell you his reaction, instead of you just feeling a reaction, or coming up with your own commentary/thoughts/reaction? I mean, it kinda sounds like "tell don't show" with that.

      Yeah, if I can't find a silent version of a game showing the particular scene I want to screenshot for something, I'll probably just mute the whole video.

    10. (I have a list of every game I own. I also started using How Long to Beat to get the hours and exact number in the backlog, but for quick things like this, I refer to my personal list.)

      I enjoy commentary in previews. I don't know why, exactly. But that silent preview from GI felt really strange. I wanted to hear more about the gameplay mechanics and how playing it feels. Or reactions to the world. Reactions to characters.

      It might be in part because you can't tell how a game FEELS, mechanically, just by watching someone else. If something has really clunky controls, for example, you might not pick up on it by watching them. But when they say, "These controls are clunky," you'll know it's at least one opinion.

      Even in Let's Plays, I often find it disconcerting when they voice character dialogue. No, please don't speak Shuu's dialogue out loud, I know what he sounds like in my head and it's not this... XD

    11. I mean... as I said, I don't need a dude from GAME INFORMER (of all crappy outlets) telling me how to react. I can figure it out myself. >_>

      I dunno, my Let's Play of Donkey Kong Country 3 had me totally puzzled on how to play the game, controls-wise, for the whole first part of it.

      And I apparently went through the game without ever knowing how to properly use Ellie the Elephant.

      I think the impression I gave to my viewers is that I'm either awful at games, or Donkey Kong Country 3 is an awful game. I hope it was the latter.

      DO you know what he sounds like in your head if you've never played the game before? :o

    12. I don't want them to tell ME how to react, but I want to know how THEY react. Don't worry, I don't let other people make my opinions for me... many times I've heard the player express their dislike of the game while I'm happily searching for copies to buy.

      But I think a big part of it is entertainment. Like I really like blind Let's Plays because I enjoy watching the player get stuck and try to figure things out. XD And when Game Informer plays a really really BAD games? That's the best to watch!

      Oh, my voice example is more for games I've already played.

    13. I suppose if you care about the person you're listening to and have respect for them, you'd want to know how THEY react.
      I just assume the average YouTuber is an idiot dissimilar to me, so I don't care what they think or react to. From what I can tell, it's standard YouTuber practise to OVER-REACT. You really just can't think anyone is being genuine. If they aren't being genuine, then what good is it?

      Yeah, Game Informer playing really bad games like The Thousand-Year Door...
      Well if you want to see a Let's Player struggle, that's the entirety of my LP of Donkey Kong Country 3. That's why I don't talk about it much.

    14. If I start watching a video and think the person is an idiot or annoying, I usually stop watching. I've stopped Let's Plays because I couldn't stand the player.

      Overreactions I usually find annoying, except for mangaminx, who even explained to fans that normally she wouldn't be screaming out loud while playing a horror game if it wasn't for an audience. XD

      No. I mean actual bad games. Not something the reviewer happened to dislike. You will never forgive Game Informer for that, will you? :P
      Maybe I should watch you struggle through that LP then...

    15. No, you shouldn't watch me struggle through Let's Play Donkey Kong Country 3. You'll think I'm an idiot or annoying and stop watching.

      And yes, you are correct that I will never forgive them for that. Reminder that Game Informer gave Sticker Star one of its highest review scores at 8.75/10.

    16. XD Maybe I should try the first episode...

      Game Informer and I don't always agree on games. I still don't understand their criticisms of Xenoblade Chronicles X. But I still like them.

    17. You shouldn't try any episode.

      ...Hmph, if you say so.

      Anyway, I see a lot of "recommended" videos from YouTube from over-reacting screamy-people. That's another thing that bothers me: YouTube's algorithms obviously promote people that YouTube already has a relationship with (popular partner people). That just further makes it harder for newer people who may be less cringe-y to stand out.

  2. All LPers are FRAUDS imho

    Seriously I actually think there was an interesting shift in the last several years, probably due to the rise of casual gaming and ease of microblogging/video capture. At this point I would make a distinction between game commentators like Pewdiepie and Markiplier and "LPers" like the GameGrumps. Honestly I think the era of "informative LPs" was probably dead even by the time I was active, and throughout my own history there was definitely a slide from "I'm gonna play through games I like/have a lot to say about and do a mega-review/strategy guide" to "Me and my friends are gonna react to new/weird games", and although I find both enjoyable, I typically won't go for the latter unless it's a game I'm really interested in or I just want white noise.

    Regardless of that, I think the more reactionary casual playthrough LPs are a step above like... LPs where the reactions are the focus, which I think is definitely the case for the super popular channels. I think a reasonable standard is: if gameplay is being cut out becaues there isn't a "funny" reaction, it's just a youtuber reacting to a game and not really a LP of it. Another reasonable standard is if you appeared in the YouTube year in review video you are a YouTuber and more integral to the "youtube community" than the gaming community...

    On a side note, as an atheist and person with otherwise polarizing beliefs who tries to engage in discussion on them as much as possible, over the past few months I've been thinking of submitting a guest article with a "liberal" perspective on some stuff like the Fire Emblem censorship if that would be of interest. (On an even more side note, after some two years of isolated meditation in desolate Indiana, I'm actually planning on recording and uploading TTPO sometime soon!!!)

    1. Oh woah Cthulhuigi is ALIVE. :D Happy days~!

      I think the reason for that shift is that, at the start, LPers competed on who could Let's Play the game first. I'm proud to have Let's Played Donkey Kong Jr. Math before anyone else, for example.
      Obviously, as time went on, everyone's already covered everything people would want to watch, and many times over. So a change in style had to happen. So now people are playing weird indie games packed with jump scares or whatever — games basically designed from the beginning to be Let's Played.

      Oh, yeah, I've seen a few videos where the Let's Player actually edits out footage, which was always "what the hell?" to me. That's the very definition of “yeah, this isn't about the actual game experience.” If half the game is backtracking that's something I want to know about. Let's Players claim that they do game companies and audiences a favour because people will supposedly want to buy the game — but are you doing people a favour when you're not showing what the game is actually like?

      It's taken you months to think of writing a guest article? :p
      Now, when you say “liberal”, I think I already have the liberal perspective. Though that may be because I'm thinking of “classically liberal”. (Actually, I might not be that with regards to the Fire Emblem “censorship” because I'm actually arguing that it's okay!)

      Awesome news on Trayvon Tyson's Punch-Out!!. Be sure to check out the other games that have been released on KoopaTV since then, too. :p

      ...W-Were you r-really meditating?

  3. People who just regurgitate what an internet personality says without thinking for themselves is so annoying. Also I find people throwing out TVTrope terms rather than explaining themselves is equally annoying.

    I remember getting so upset that one of these internet personalities was also a major in film and hated one of my most beloved movies even though the majority of critics loved it. I wondered if those in the film industry or those who merely studied film in university have more of a say of how good or bad a movie is then someone like me or a film critic who might not even majored in film but majored in literature instead. Thankfully over the years I learned to accept my thoughts about things.

    1. So... I know people who like to spam TV Tropes terms like it's a self-evident argument. I dislike hearing from those people. (I kinda hope the one I have in mind doesn't read this comment, but I think I've done us both a disservice by not telling him to stop. He's been doing it for years though so I'm mildly worried he wouldn't know how to talk if he couldn't spam terms.)

      I guess if the film critic has a bigger audience than you do, they have "more of a say" in influencing other people.

    2. This happened on deviantart on a anti-KH stamp. I explained my reason for not liking anything past KH1 which was mainly how Disney has barely any influence on the main plot when compared to the first game and all this person could say is "They changed it, now it sucks" which is a TVtropes page.

    3. ...See I'm sort of hesitant to say anything that resembles bashing TV Tropes because, uh, KoopaTV and TV Tropes have a relationship and stuff.

      But yes, people do misuse it. Saying tropes is supposed to start or support a discussion — not be the entire discussion.


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