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More enjoyable "watching" of playing games

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More enjoyable "watching" of playing games

Postby Urre » Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:54 pm

Not uncommonly, people get together to have gaming-nights, in this case specificly the more casual category of gaming rather than "serious" LAN playing.

This means for example bunking in front of a large-screen TV fitted with Wii or splitscreen Halo 3 and whatnot. However, very often singleplayer games are played as well, where there's a large audience watching and commenting the game being played by the one person, and the controller is often passed around.

The thing is, while I'm a huge fan of watching others play, perhaps even more so than playing myself, I'm not sure everyone is as excited about it as I am.

I'm interested in hearing:
1. To what extent do you like to watch others play games?
2. Have you had similar experiences as I described above?
3. What's interesting to watch and what is not?
4. How do you believe the experience of watching someone else play could be made more interesting?
5. Last but not least, could the audience be made part of the experience somehow, perhaps even crucial for success?
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Postby leileilol » Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:09 pm

1. As long as it's not a Let's Play video done by a nasaly teen who think he's a gaming vet whose first game is Halo or Sonic Adventure...
2. No because Halo 3 sucks :D go play a competitive CAPCOM game.
3. Slow-paced fighting games are fun to observe, especially the ones without health bars.
Artillery games (i.e. worms, scorched earth) are also entertainment.
Turn-based war/tactical games, not as interesting, plus a comment could spoil the game for one side.
Anything Quake3 is actually stupid to watch. "ooh let me jump and get these items while you're dazed at my fov120 view and leet rocket/rail combos and awesome rocket jump scripts"
4. The social dynamic is key. This might offput games that require precision and twitch under the watch of a lot of peers, though.
5. They can write out suggestions for Scenes from a Hat or something.
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Postby Lardarse » Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:34 am

1: I tend to watch speedruns, and people playing games that I'm interested in.
2: Not really, no.
3: I prefer watching when there is being some "skill" exhibited. Not necessarily "best in the world", but at least "reasonable". As for what I like to watch, I tend to stick to FPS games and puzzle games, although watching games I'm familiar with is also common.
4: A better understanding of the game. If it's a game that I'm not familiar with, then it's often helpful to hear some sort of commentary, but if I know the game well, then most of the time, I'd dather just hear the game.
5: Probably not. Unless the audience is playing against the person playing somehow...
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Postby gnounc » Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:38 am

Speed runs, especially of old school platformers.

RPG's and the like are painful and infuriating to watch.
there are a few other gametypes that can completely ruin the experience as well.

Also...games I had planned on beating before anybody else I know...
strictly off limits. I had a friend that wanted me to watch him play snake eater. I was like you are out of your fucking mind.
Then I went and rented it so I could race him to the end.

The upcoming game spy party...sounds like a lot of fun to watch.
Subversive games are entertaining to watch, like spy vs spy for NES.
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Re: More enjoyable "watching" of playing games

Postby frag.machine » Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:36 pm

Urre wrote:I'm interested in hearing:
1. To what extent do you like to watch others play games?

Not many nowadays. But I used to be an avid fan of the QdQ series.
Urre wrote:2. Have you had similar experiences as I described above?

Yeah, but not with Quake. I recorded and even made some battle reports for Starcraft games I played with friends, most for the lulz factor.
Urre wrote:3. What's interesting to watch and what is not?

Basically, any skilled gameplay is fun to watch. Seeing people doing things that I usually wouldn't be able is always fascinating.
Urre wrote:4. How do you believe the experience of watching someone else play could be made more interesting?

I think this depends a lot of the kind of game being played.
Urre wrote:5. Last but not least, could the audience be made part of the experience somehow, perhaps even crucial for success?

Hmmm, hardly in a positive way. I think is easier to affect someone who's losing a game in a negative way than the inverse.
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Postby Spirit » Wed Jun 02, 2010 2:27 pm

Guys, I am 103.167% sure that Urre is talking about same room & same time interaction, not watching recorded gameplay.


I often meet with a friend whose got a PS3. Recently we played Uncharted 2 and passed the controller on every death or on occasion. It's great fun to play that way imo. You can solve puzzles together, rely on the other person to keep track of some things (eg health/mana in Diablo 2), warn about incoming hazards, "wow, look at that thing over there" etc. In racing games (I can read your mind) you can be the co-driver. Announcing turns, memorising the track while the driver does the realtime and "narrow" driving.
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Postby frag.machine » Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:00 pm

Spirit wrote:Guys, I am 103.167% sure that Urre is talking about same room & same time interaction, not watching recorded gameplay.


I know that, but most of my past experiences of collective gameplay in the same physical location were in LAN parties, and in this case is very rare someone just looking at others playing, let alone sharing the controls, and the only moment when people would stop to watch gameplay is something recorded previously.
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Postby scar3crow » Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:26 pm

I find it frustrating to watch others play. Typically I am a very thorough and very conservative player "Oh you missed a closet, under the dresser and the back left corner of the bathroom! Anything could have been in those places!" "Don't pick up that 25 health pack, you have 77 health! That's a net loss of 2 health!" No seriously, that is how I play. I'm like Sherlock Holmes meets Scrooge McDuck, and it pains me to see others being what I would call "reckless" or "uncaring" in their play.

At one point I had a friend who was into Diablo2 at the same time as I was. He could sit and watch me play for 4+ hours and enjoy every moment of it. I however would get bored within 5 minutes of watching him play. It simply had no entertainment value to me. I sometimes do watch snippets of Lets Play, for games I played a while back and have nostalgia value for. I can enjoy watching people play stock Hexen or Doom2, but its mostly passive enjoyment, and falls behind the opportunity to play it myself.
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Re: More enjoyable "watching" of playing games

Postby Sajt » Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:11 pm

Urre wrote:I'm interested in hearing:
1. To what extent do you like to watch others play games?
2. Have you had similar experiences as I described above?
3. What's interesting to watch and what is not?
4. How do you believe the experience of watching someone else play could be made more interesting?
5. Last but not least, could the audience be made part of the experience somehow, perhaps even crucial for success?


1. It seems kind of odd, but I get profoundly nauseous after about 15 minutes of watching a person play, or a speedrun. I think it might be only FPSes, I'm not sure. I feel miserable and sick for hours afterwards (that sounded metaphorical, but it's not, it's a feeling like having the flu, I guess). I don't have such problems when playing FPSes myself (the only problem I get is trouble and pain in my eyes when I'm tired).

2. No. It's my conclusion that games are stupid. I used to be into games before "everyone else" I knew was. There was a point when all of the previously-not-interested-in-computers-etc. people all simultaneously got into Halo et al, and from then on going to a party meant split-screen Halo. This all happened not long after I stopped really enjoying games (my preference is for games made between 1990 and 1996/7, I think). And I can't think of much more nerdy than going to a "LAN party". I'm glad that such things never existed here. Also, there was a more pure age earlier, when all of us liked NES and Super Mario Bros. to a casual degree, but most people didn't actually OWN it, we'd just play it if we happened one day into an abandoned church with a working machine in the lobby.

3. I like watching speedruns. I just get nauseous and/or bored within 15 minutes. Usually it seems I watch speedruns in order to get an "in a nutshell" impression of a game in less than an hour, so I don't have to actually play it. Games shouldn't be fun to watch. There are a lot better things to do with your time. Either singleplayer/coop, or go out and frolic naked in the woods. (Note I didn't mention deathmatch and the like, that is also a supreme waste of time.)

4. See above.

5. See above. Get a life!
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Re: More enjoyable "watching" of playing games

Postby goldenboy » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:19 pm

Urre wrote:Not uncommonly, people get together to have gaming-nights, in this case specificly the more casual category of gaming rather than "serious" LAN playing.

This means for example bunking in front of a large-screen TV fitted with Wii or splitscreen Halo 3 and whatnot. However, very often singleplayer games are played as well, where there's a large audience watching and commenting the game being played by the one person, and the controller is often passed around.

The thing is, while I'm a huge fan of watching others play, perhaps even more so than playing myself, I'm not sure everyone is as excited about it as I am.

I'm interested in hearing:
1. To what extent do you like to watch others play games?
2. Have you had similar experiences as I described above?
3. What's interesting to watch and what is not?
4. How do you believe the experience of watching someone else play could be made more interesting?
5. Last but not least, could the audience be made part of the experience somehow, perhaps even crucial for success?


1. I like to do that a lot. It's almost as entertaining as playing myself, AND I can get food and drink at the same time.

2. Yes. From playing DOOM / DOOM2 all night long with a friend (drinking and taking turns at the keyboard with bouts of sleep in between, then going to the baker in the morning) to playing Tekken 3 on the PSX with 6 people all night long, to playing all the way through Diablo 1 with my brother and beating Diablo together - me fighting and him filling in the health packs - to playing Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 with my little sister, building and comparing our own skate parks, playing Need for Speed on the gamecube against each other during holiday... or even playing on my own, with people casually asking "were there any helicopters yet?"

I love it. Gaming as a social event is my preferred type of gaming, although I'll also play on my own.

I fondly remember Bomberman on the Amiga with several people, or Ballerburg on the Atari ST.

Oh, and Prince of Persia, Leisure Suit Larry etc. way, way back on the first family PC, also usually one person playing and the others watching.

3. Single player games are usually interesting to watch, as are fighting or racing games. Also watching two people with Wii steering wheels is pretty funny (unusual types of controllers). I actually watch youtube videos about people playing Doom3, FarCry, Crysis, Tomb Raider, and whatever else. Often enough I pick up things that make my own game experience more fun. I like seeing how other people play a game, both in a social setting and in videos. I used to watch people play CCGs.

4. Food and drink and friends watching.

5. They are, as I understand it. Or are you asking for technical improvements? Dunno really. With Tekken 3, afair, there was a team setup where players would take their spot in a fight on a sort of schedule. Two controllers, six people, two teams, after each fight both controllers change hands. We did this several times.

What are you planning?
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Postby Downsider » Thu Jun 03, 2010 4:06 am

Well, although the social aspect is emulated, Counter-Strike is essentially watching other people play, as you die and don't respawn. So I guess that's not a bad indication, as CS is damn popular.
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Postby leileilol » Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:48 am

Downsider wrote:Well, although the social aspect is emulated, Counter-Strike is essentially watching other people play, as you die and don't respawn. So I guess that's not a bad indication, as CS is damn popular.

yeah, watching the remaining people sit and camp for the rest of the time with an awp. booring.
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Postby frag.machine » Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:30 pm

leileilol wrote:
Downsider wrote:Well, although the social aspect is emulated, Counter-Strike is essentially watching other people play, as you die and don't respawn. So I guess that's not a bad indication, as CS is damn popular.

yeah, watching the remaining people sit and camp for the rest of the time with an awp. booring.


booring.[2]
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Re: More enjoyable "watching" of playing games

Postby Wazat » Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:41 am

> 1. To what extent do you like to watch others play games?

On occasion. Sometimes watching people play a game can sometimes be very frustrating for me, especially if they're not very good or they are very slow/etc. However, watching a skilled player tear it up, or watching a friend explore a favorite game of mine for the very first time, can be fun.

More often than not though, I'd prefer that the experience involve me in some way. Being a passive observer generally sucks with video games. Unless watching the other person's play style is extremely engaging, I'd rather be gaming myself instead of watching. Other things that help are:
*swapping places: super smash bros, for example, is lots of fun when people are constantly swapping out. Same for fighting games even if I'm just watching and not playing. I don't like most fighting games, but they can be interesting to watch when two very good players go at it.
*Talking about and commenting on the game: My friend and I enjoyed talking about Blue Dragon, and I had fun watching him play and explore the game. We would talk about the game's features, strategies I'd discovered and rules I'd learned by playing, and different skill combinations. This is what makes an RPG fun for me -- the exploration of power and strategies and combinations that make my character/party powerful. My brother once watched me play Blue Dragon and thought it was incredibly boring. He's not so much into RPGs, but I could also understand why he wouldn't be interested in what he was seeing. He didn't understand what was going on under the hood the way I do, and he wasn't drawn in by these invisible elements. He just saw me killing monsters, and it got boring for him pretty quick.
*Offering advice and/or learning from the player
*Rooting for the player. Well, sometimes. I'm not into sports AT ALL and I find it difficult to root for someone playing football etc. In fact, I hate watching sports. I hate it with a passion. Video games are more relevant to my interests, and I can occasionally root for someone while they're playing. What's important though is that I'm in the room with him, offering advice and interacting. I don't understand how sports fans can watch a game from across the world with which they have no interaction and get any level of satisfaction from it.

*edit*: And ye gods YES to the counterstrike comments...
I *like* counter strike but I HATE being an observer and waiting for the round to end. For all of counterstrike's good points, it really, truly sucks getting killed early, especially from a cheap shot. AAARRGH!
It also sucks that you have to have a large group to play an effective game. I mostly play games with my 3 main friends; I don't often play with people I don't know. It just doesn't come naturally to me. So it's hard for me to play games that require a big group of random strangers, most of whom will be making lewd jokes or griefing the whole game anyway...
But I digress.

> 2. Have you had similar experiences as I described above?

Yes. See above.

> 3. What's interesting to watch and what is not?

Stupid players are not fun to watch. Unless their failure is funny.

Inexperienced players are more fun to watch if I can give advice and help, and they're receptive to the occasional suggestion (some people, including myself on occasion, prefer to figure things out on their own).

Skilled players going at it can be interesting... though I'm not fond of major pro players. They remind me of jocks... It scares me that video games are going that direction. O_o

> 4. How do you believe the experience of watching someone else play could be made more interesting?

As I said above, interaction. Taking turns; getting into a party group and cheering, swapping controllers, etc; learning from the other player's cleverness; giving advice to a new player. Otherwise watching is just watching, and there are a lot of ways to spend my time that are better than watching other people play.

One more thing that *sometimes* makes a game more interesting to watch is a good story. Then it's more like a movie that intermittently slips into game mode and back to movie mode. If I don't plan on playing a game myself, then I don't mind watching someone else play and getting the gist of the gameplay and story that way. I watched most of my brother's progression through Ico while I was doing my own thing on the computer (the ps2 & tv are only a few feet away). It was neat watching him go through the game, though occasionally frustrating. I don't know if I would have ever found the time to play the game myself, so this may be a good way to get that closure. ;) The problem is, now I'm sure to never go through it, now that the gameplay and plot are both spoiled. Bah. ;)

That said, if the game is fun to watch but isn't fun to play, it fails as a game. Too many games are like this... too many...

> 5. Last but not least, could the audience be made part of the experience somehow, perhaps even crucial for success?

Puzzle games. Competent audiences make puzzle games much easier, and it's fun to tackle a problem together with smart friends where everyone is contributing.

Stupid audiences (who won't shut up) make puzzle game players go on homicidal war paths. You've been warned.


Any game where giving advice and throwing out ideas helps can benefit from an audience. Games where trading controllers or watching in a party atmosphere (super smash bros, fighting games, lots of wii party games, etc) also benefit.

Single-player games that are highly personal and self-paced (many rpgs) can be all over the map, especially when experience grinding comes into play (oh dear god just advance the story already!). They may be interesting to watch or be watched, or they may have the audience and player clawing their eyes out in frustration. Games that require intense internal concentration are not fit for viewers unless they're far away and can't affect the player. Not all games are made for commentary or interaction.



As has been said above, a game's first priority is to be fun and rewarding to play. If someone isn't enjoying watching then so be it. If they are upset that my gaming is not entertaining them (and I've dealt with such people before), then they can go screw themselves with a running chainsaw for all I care.

If the game is fun to both watch and play, then that can enhance the experience when friends are around or you're playing at a party. That adds value for such social events. That does not, however, negatively reflect on games that are a blast to play but cripplingly boring to watch. Those are better than the games that are fascinating to watch but boring/frustrating to actually play (*erhem* Jak2/Jak3 *cough*).
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Re: More enjoyable "watching" of playing games

Postby Spike » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:57 pm

Urre wrote:1. To what extent do you like to watch others play games?
2. Have you had similar experiences as I described above?
3. What's interesting to watch and what is not?
4. How do you believe the experience of watching someone else play could be made more interesting?
5. Last but not least, could the audience be made part of the experience somehow, perhaps even crucial for success?


1: I used to watch my brother play computer games when we were younger... I'm not going to say which games as that would be embarasing.
I only watched it cos we only had one computer and he hogged it all night (different school (age) so he got back before me).
Also, see 2.
2: back during my uni years, one of the guys had a gamecube, and a few interesting games. Eternal darkness: sanity's requiem was more fun to watch than play, tbh - reason: the game feigns various hardware faults. It was also story driven to a fair extent, rather than being pure pure action.
3: story-based games, ones with naratives, where its more of a film that a game. Funny/comic stuff. But I'm not going to say it would not have been more interesting to each have our own copy of it.
Action games are not fun to watch, unless the person you're watching has lots of skill. Which isn't likely if they're just a school/uni friend, or so.
4: When you can egg them on to attempt hard stuff that will kill them in comic ways. When the game involves memory challenges or other puzzles which can be solved by spectators as well as the players. When spectators can actually help/hinder the player. Basically, when its a fairly slow paced game. Not Quake gameplay, at least not for casual games/situations.
5: By the game actually giving them a reason to do stuff other than purely distracting/annoying the actual player. See 4, basically.
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