Over the course of the semester, I’m looking to not only learn about the subjects of my courses, but also to kind of understand myself and where I am right now. A big part of my free time and social interactions right now have to do with video games. My focal point this semester follows that same logic and is drifting more towards my speedrunning, but it overlaps into any sort of video game media.
One of my first introductions into streaming games with voiceover was the gaming group Achievement Hunter and their parent company Rooster Teeth. The first digital story I’m going to critique is one of their productions, a kind of documentary simply called Let’s Play Live (here is a link to the trailer). It’s the story of the group of six gamers renting out one of the largest halls in Austin, Texas and having live let’s plays, or segments of video games that are voiced over for comedy and storytelling. It was the first ever production like that. They sold out the show, having thousands of people come and watch them play video games on a stage like it was a concert. It follows their planning, set up, and clips from the event including the audience’s reaction.
It was an amazing story to watch unfold. Video games are becoming so mainstream that you can sell out arenas to watch some one else play video games. To me that’s absolutely incredible, and since the launch of their first Let’s Play Live, they have had 3 other successful shows, and other gaming groups have done the same. Maybe sometime in the future, we’ll be able to just see touring groups of gamers come to your city.
For the evaluation part of the critique, I am focusing on Originality, Sense of Audience, and Story.
- Originality/Voice/Creativity: The entire reason that they filmed the process and development of Let’s Play Live was because it was so new and original. No one had done this sort of thing before. In creating the story, they gave a new perspective on how exhausting, exhilarating, and exciting it can be to be just some nerds who play video games together to being more or less rockstars. The entire story is told by the creator, Jack. He set up the entire show, the setlist, getting the word out to people. It was something I would have never guessed someone could actually pull off.
- Sense of Audience: In order to watch the video in its entirety, you have to be a part of their website, so the audience for it was their audience, the people who watch their shows and keep them in ‘business’. They would directly explain all of the technical aspects of the show, and even showed how they built the rigs that allowed for the gaming devices to be split into six and projected onto the large concert screens. They had the ability to switch between everyone’s screens or had them all on the same screen and the story told that specifically and showed it off.
- Story: The story from a listeners standpoint worked really well. I felt like I was going on the journey with them from their office of 12 people to a concert stage with thousands in the audience. It was engaging and interesting. I wanted to watch the whole thing because I became invested in what was going on. They didn’t just show everything that went right either, they showed off the tension between everyone that erupted into emotion. They showed the technical difficulties and how the show almost didn’t happen. They wanted to involve the audience and show that something like this is possible.
Overall, I really enjoyed the video. It was clear, concise, and told me exactly what I was looking for. Since the production of the video, they’ve had two other successful shows in both LA and Chicago, with one in New York coming up very soon. Sometime next year they might even be coming to Denver.