Performing as video game players in Let's Plays

Josef Nguyen


This article examines the fan practice of Let's Plays—video recordings that video game players create of themselves playing that include live commentary or riffing. I argue that the riffing accompanying game play footage in Let's Plays highlights how players play idiosyncratically by constructing and performing game-playing personalities. These videos emphasize the performative nature of video game players as fans who actively negotiate with the video games that they play through presentations of individual playing styles and experiences. I show that in accounting for how and why they play the way that they do, Let's Players demonstrate what I suggest are various modes of playing in which players can engage with video games generally. Consequently, creating, sharing, and discussing Let's Plays can render visible a wider diversity of game-playing identities, experiences, and styles.


Fandom; Performance; Riffing

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