Let's Plays (colloquially referred to as LPs) are playthroughs of games that can be found on multiple video-sharing sites. Participants are referred to as Let's Players.
Let's Plays are videos of recorded game footage and narrative audio of a person casually playing a game, usually in a humorous tone. The intention has been described as trying to replicate the feeling of going over to a friend's house and watching them play.
Commentary can range from casual monologues, to advice on particular parts of the games being played, to humor, trivia and quirks about the respective game.
Let's Plays are typically live-commentary, as opposed to walkthroughs are post-commentary. Depending on which is used, a different effect can be created, adding a comedic undertone when an LPer fails a certain task. Post-commentary, however, usually excludes any failed attempts or will only briefly mention it.
Some LPs are "Blind" runs, wherein the player has not played the game before. These are usually for people interested in watching someone attempt to figure out a puzzle for the first time and give their initial observations on the game itself. However, Let's Players usually avoid doing blind runs because of the complications of working with unfamiliar material. A general consensus among the community is that blind runs are more likely to fail because of this.
Collaborative Let's Plays are when mutliple LPers come together and play multi-player games or modes. Similarly, LPers may Co-Commentate with guests either in person or online. In this case, they usually do not participate in gameplay.
While not a direct rule, many Let's Plays follow standards of high quality, such as:
- The avoidance of "uh/um," and letting commentary fall silent; maintaining lively conversation keeps the LP interesting.
- Usage of Capture Cards to record footage instead of video camera for better quality.
- Usage of S-Video cables instead of RCA composite connectors to avoid lag and maintain consistency between audio commentary and visual gameplay.
Additionally, many LPers go out of their way to buy top-of-the-line equipment, which, while it improves the quality, makes Let's Playing console games expensive.
Let's Plays originated in 2006 on the Something Awful forums when people began posting screenshots of the game they were playing along with commentary of the game. Since then, Let's Plays have evolved to footage of people playing games and giving audio commentary.