Defining let’s play


You hear this term a lot if you’re a videogame goer who uses youtube to watch videogame videos. But what does it really mean? Is there a way to define it? Let’s find out!!

In defining what a “let’s play” is, we must first look at a few things. First of, what people refer to it as, and how it’s used. Second, to look at what can be inferred from the term. And third, try to look for any official source that defines it. If there even is such a thing.
Keep in mind that i’m just some schmuck who knows nothing about nothin’. So take it for what it is.

Videos labeled “let’s play”

To me, it seems that people will use the term”let’s play” in their videos to essentially mean a very loose walkthrough of a game, that focuses more on the individual and the individual’s relation to the game, than it does the game itself.

Some people do it better than others, but no matter what, it will always be some kind of playthrough, be it only playthrough in the sense the game gets completed. They’ll always include someone talking over it. Never in the way that you’d expect from a guide, but rather, someone talking more loosely, sometimes not even about the game.

The spirit of it

It’s in the name: Let’s play!

Let us play! Let’s just pick up the controller, and play some games. Let’s relax and just do it! At it’s core, i would say that a let’s play is just someone or some people sitting down, playing a game while talking. That’s basically what a let’s play is.

But a lot of people do more than that. Some decide to include an entire guide section to their videos, and some look up info on the game to tell about, and some even 100% the games, rendering it a perfect walkthrough.

So even if the spirit of it is to just play it and not bothering with the walkthrough part so much (Unless you’re a living walkthrough, like i know a lot of you nerds are), there still is a huge subsection of people that are accepted as let’s players, and label their videos “Let’s plays”, who focus a lot on the walkthrough part, and really, do walkthroughs along-side the personal commentary.

Another thing that sets it apart from pure walkthroughs

Walkthroughs of games often include extensive editing for the perpose of just including the parts that explains how to get through, or solve parts of the game. While a let’s play does ligther editing usually to break the monotony of grinding/retreading old ground/or seeing the same enemies (If it’s an RPG). Some let’s players don’t even do that very often, and tend to feel guilty when doing it, due to it not being very “let’s play like”. Which again proves (For the lack of a better word) my point of the spirit of let’s playing.


There is a wikipedia article on it which explains it in very simple terms  Someone recording while playing a game and commentating over it.
Other definitions i found were outdated, and talked about picture walkthroughs. Basically the origin of the term. Although i can debate and argue the legitimacy of “the origin”, i will just assume it’s true for now, seeing as it doesn’t matter.
In either case, i don’t think it’s what most people refer to it as anymore, and my reasons for thinking that is the wikipedia article and the fact that the popular among let’s players do the whole recording and commentating thing. So yea, it’s outdated, from what i could find outside of the wikipedia article.


I don’t know if i’ve made any sense in this article at all. But in case it didn’t make sense, here’s a quick summary of what i mean: Basically, a let’s play is a more loose form of walkthroughs of a videogame, which will be more inclusive of the player, rather than just explaining how to complete individual parts of the entire game.

In conclusion

I’ve been using the word “walkthrough” to mean guide in this post. Even though all you can infer from a walkthrough is that you’ll walk through the game. Which is in actuality more loose than Let’s playing. But in practice, i’ve noticed that “walkthrough” is usually what you say when you mean guide.

I could be wrong on everything here, like i said earlier, but at least i got to write down something a little more extensive than what’s out there, and hopefully spark up something in another person who can actually do more research, and who knows more about it than i do.

Maybe i am just reading too much into it though. It really doesn’t matter if you think about it. In this day and age, terms can change meaning very quickly, so i guess there’s no point in trying to define a term that refers to something so young that no one else can truly define anyway.


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About Get a Grip

Code monkey. Opinionated.

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