Question for people who watch game videos

I’m thinking about trying to make a video. It’s pretty scary because my voice is pretty bad. Now I know everyone says that, but for me it’s true. In any case I have some questions about what type of videos people like to watch.

  1. Do you prefer an edited video that highlights the features of a game, or more of a continuous video that shows a game from start to finish?

  2. Do you prefer when the video creator knows the game well, or is going through the learning process while playing?

  3. How important is it for the player to discuss their thought process?

  4. What’s about the max length video you’d watch?

  5. Do you watch videos that are informative without the player trying to be funny, or do you need the person playing the game to inject humor (or what they think is humor at least)? I can’t be scripted funny. In real life people have told me I’m funny when I’m playing off of other people. I don’t think I could be funny on a video or in a planned way.

I guess some of these things break down along the lines of, “Do you watch videos to learn about the game, or to learn how to play the game?”. Can a video be both of those things successfully, or just concentrate on one?

Thanks for any input. I’m not sure I’ll have the guts or not to put a video up. Scott does such a nice job with his videos so it’s a little intimidating :-)

1.) Continuous. Raw footage.
2.) Either is fine. I watch Trump and Calandale, one is always learning a new game the other is an expert. I like both.
3.) Very important to me. Then again I only really watch strategy type games where it matters a lot.
4.) No max I DO have a minimum though, I usually will never bother watching a lets play thats less than 30 mins long. Longer is always better. A solid 60 minutes is a good starting point.
5.) Dont care about funny. That tends to happen naturally in most games.

Oh and you didnt ask but 6.) PLEASE turn the damn music off in the game you are playing, preferably also turn off or way down the sound effects, I am tuning in to listen to you not some crappy game music over and over in the background.

Good luck!

I actually like all of the above, and I’m fine with whatever length. What really matters is what works for the creator, I think. I’ll watch videos of someone going through their first game and someone who’s an expert at a game if they’re good at their specific thing, so that’s what you really gotta figure out. I’ve been doing this for a while and I’m still learning what works best for me. My advice would be not to worry about that sort of stuff. Make a bunch of videos and find which format works best for you and what you’re trying to accomplish.

Edit it to have something interesting to say, or have interesting content to watch. While it’s annoying to listen to a Youtube step all over some narrative content, it’s also annoying to listen to a Youtuber go “um… /silence for a minute um… well, ok, i did that thing you just saw me do. I’m just speaking out loud my actions…”

I watch some videos, mainly those of Quill18. Here are my thoughts.

  1. Continuous without a doubt.
  2. Either is fine so long as they are narrating the game well.
  3. This is a necessity. There is little worse than watching a video where the narrator clams up and ends up just recording a video of them playing the game.
  4. 30 minutes or so is a good number.
  5. I will watch either. I think it depends on the type of game. JackSepticEye’s Turbo Dismount series is quite literally laugh-out-loud funny and it works in those genres but it would not work well in a game like EU4 or Civ. It also depends on your personality. In short, know your audience and yourself.

To answer your final question, I watch for both. I watch to see if the game would be a good purchase for me. I also watch to learn how to play the game or play it better than I currently do. I believe you can do both in the same video.

  1. Depends what I’m looking for but generally highlights. If you’re gonna do continuous then adding the chapter time stamps to the video description is a great idea.

  2. I prefer it when the author knows the game. If I’m watching a game related video it’s likely because I’m looking for specific information.

  3. It’s always nice to hear someone explain the logic behind their thinking. That way you get an idea of where they’re coming from and what their objectives are.

  4. Again, depends. Please add time stamps with chapter descriptions :).

  5. Doesn’t matter, but a lighthearted tone is usually preferred.

Just be authentic, and the authentic you will either appeal to a lot of people or just a few - pot luck really, same as all popular entertainments.

1.I prefer edited take out the fluff because my time is limited.

2 & 3. Want expertise; hints strategy etc

  1. Short - could break down long demonstration into smaller segements

  2. Prefer lighthearted but not essential

  1. Continuous is preferred. But it also depends on the video. Sometimes I like watching the development of a park in Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 by a guy called Silvarret, and he’ll timelapse some of the boring bits. I guess what I’m saying is there is a lot of value in actually seeing the change in development from beginning to end, in that circumstance.

  2. Knowing the game well is preferred, it makes the commentary better as they can explain the reasons for doing what they have done. If they are learning a game, then they must make it interesting.

  3. Very important. There is also a fine line between being succinct with explaining, and filling a video with a lot of “waffle” as I want to call it, essentially British (and by extension Australian slang) to talk on and on about nothing in particular.

  4. I like 20 min videos generally, but it depends on the nature of the video.

  5. Don’t try and be funny, be yourself, and most importantly, be enthusiastic. The interest factor for me is based on how well the person talks.

It is dependant on the type of video of course. I like ‘learning game strategies’ kind of videos, so this is for that:

  1. Edited, cutting out loading and mistakes. Most videos are too long and too slow for my tastes, so I’ll download them first so I can watch in 4x speed, or skip around more easily.

  2. I prefer videos that teach me something. I don’t like watching someone else bumble around figuring stuff out.

  3. The thought process is important to me. Tell me the overall goal and how each step is moving towards that goal. Don’t show me how to use the interface - I can figure that out myself easily enough.

  4. I prefer <10 minutes. Most videos could be this if they were planned and edited.

  5. Informative beats forced humour every time. Though for a video designed more around entertaining, I’d say humour works better combined with “2) going through the learning process”.

I’m personally most interested in video playthroughs that demonstrate mastery of a game complete with informed commentary, so while they should be edited to prevent repetition or boredom (unless demonstrating just how bad a section of a game is is the point), they should contain as much of the unique game content as humanly possible. I’m there for a vicarious experience of the game, ideally with an experienced tour guide. If you’re just delivering information about the game - hints, locations of secrets, or whatever - just fucking type it with some occasional screenshots. Video is a terrible way to convey that sort of thing.

Thanks for the feedback!

It looks like there is a slight preference for edited, but it is close. I think that would be my preference to watch, but it may depend on the intent of the video. I’d need to be careful with the editing though. I watched a Heroes of M&M VII video and it was so edited the guy jumped from one feature to the next so quickly it felt disjointed. If I edited, I think I’d try to be more conservative.

It also seems like people either prefer the video to show a player who knows what they’re doing already or don’t have a preference. I was thinking I’d only do a video for a game after I learned it so I think I’m safe there.

Everyone preferred to have the player’s though process explained, which is what I figured would be the case.

There was a variety in preferred lengths from <10 to an hour+. I was thinking if I had more than 30 minutes (which would probably be the case), I’d break it into 30 minutes segments and have chapter / timeline breaks so people could jump to sections if they wanted something particular.

Question for anyone who has made videos: Would it be a pain to add the commentary after capturing the video instead of during the capture. It should be easy enough to extend the frame out for a longer duration to match the commentary. Maybe that would be too inefficient and with practice it would be easy to record the commentary while playing.

I’ll graze on almost any video if it’s something I’m looking for, but generally speaking:

  1. Continuous
  2. Knows the game well
  3. If I’m just looking for some gameplay, not at all and I prefer raw game footage with no voice. But if it’s something like Hearthstone or a strategy game I like to hear the thought process more than not, usually.
  4. I watch hour long Dice Tower videos when the mood strikes me. If something seems a bit long I’ll either skip ahead, watch/listen at faster speed, or watch some and come back to it later. Half an hour generally seems ok for gameplay videos though.
  5. Don’t really care if the person’s funny or not, and it’s generally better if they don’t try to be.

I’ve only dicked around with making videos, but adding commentary after would be a large pain. It wouldn’t be difficult at all technically to do, but it would be really time inefficient (One hour of playing a game, one hour of talking over the video, X hours to encode/upload/process video) and may make your commentary worse, assuming you forget why you did such and such. And dead air while you’re playing the game normally isn’t as big of a deal since you’re concentrating on the game, but you would probably feel inclined to fill dead air if you were talking after the fact, which could get clunky since the gameplay is moving on without control by you at that point.

I’d also tentatively recommend running your recorded footage through Handbrake to marginally reduce the file size without having any real impact on Youtube quality. That was what I was testing most recently. Raw Shadowplay footage (Different recording from the other two though, deleted it before I started messing with encoding before uploading to Youtube) Normal Windows Movie Maker on the Youtube setting (Awful) Handbrake on regular/normal (Not much appreciable difference when I compared it to the raw footage before Youtube touched it, other than the raw footage is 4.9 gigs and this is 1.4 gigs)

The only videos I watch are the Giant Bomb Quick looks, so I suppose something like that is what I like.

I have recently become addicted to Dark Souls 2 play thrus. I have watched videos by 6-7 different people. I think they boil down to three different types.

  1. the Blind play…Kay Plays is a great example of this.
  2. the expert …EpicNameBro is an example of this
  3. the I have played it before and am trying it again play…there are many examples of this one.

Each has something good about it but offers a different experience depending on what you want. For pure entertainment nothing beats the “blind” play, as seeing someone experience something for the first time is special. Seeing how they handle adversity. I have seen three of these, and two of them abruptly ended at a certain point in the game. Strange but both at the exact same point. The “expert” play is great is you are trying to learn a style or if you are trying to figure out how to do something or find an object. But I can’t imagine watching one of these prior to playing the game a first time yourself. But judging from the comments many people do. The third type has been the most annoying for me, as these people tend to fly through the game, halfway between the other two styles depending on how good they are at the game.

For me…well…for entertainment purposes only I like the "blind’ method, with someone who is good at games and who, while not a comedian or trying to hard (PewDiePie comes to mind) can ad some levity to the walk thru. One thing I have noticed with Dark Souls is that someone may start the game light hearted and joking and by video 25 be a cussing cursing mess. Even one female blind play thru ended up that way.

Kay Plays talks thru her thought process, explains why she is doing what she is doing, somehow remains calm, has a touch of humor but never tries to hard, and overall demonstrates a competency with the game that allows her to do what she does. You could do much worse than emulating her style.

I like 20-30 minute videos.

As for editing…I think raw footage is best. I think you can cut some repetitive action but don’t cut out any informative action. I have seen edits made when someone died over and over to the same boss which can be funny and show how long long and hard you worked on a battle, but showing those in real time works as well.
I do think over editing is worse than under editing.

The biggest pet peeve I have is when the gamer puts their dumb face in the corner of the screen. Why do I care what you look like, especially while you wear your headphones? Seriously? I don’t get that.

Otherwise, yeah I like continuous videos, don’t mind if you know the game well or are just learning it (both can be useful and fun), keep the videos under 20-30 minutes unless it’s a long form game (like a Europa Universals or Age of Wonders type of thing, maybe). Humor is great of course, but let it happen naturally.

I actually like all of the above, and I’m fine with whatever length. What really matters is what works for the creator, I think.

Yeah, I mean, I watch all kinds of game videos for different reasons and get different things out of them. If I’m stuck on a level or mission I obviously want unedited footage and don’t care about commentary (unless it’s about tricks to line up a difficult jump or something). If I’m curious about a game and want a preview, I want edited footage and insightful commentary. If I already love a game and want to see how somebody else plays it, I want mostly unedited footage and an explanation of the player’s thought processes as they make decisions. If it’s a competitive multiplayer match I want good camerawork and an understanding of why players might be doing what they’re doing and what would counter it.

So basically what I’m saying is don’t worry (yet) about what your viewers might want (other than basic production values). Think about what you want to put out there.

When the gamer is funny, I want to see their reactions and antics. I only watch one game streamer, but I can’t imagine wanting to see their face if comedy wasn’t a factor. Here’s an example of a guy failing a Kerbal Space Program mission (another example).

I would like to chime in that I dislike face-cam as well.

Yeah, I have NO desire to have a face cam.