While the word “porn” was initially associated with something sordid, it has recently become representative of any number of images that stirs feelings of lust in the viewer. Food porn, for example, is pictures of food all trussed up and lit in such a way to show only how awesome the food looks.
I have an addiction, well, maybe a compulsion, to video games. I love those things! Whether it be building and defending in Minecraft, shooting n00bs in Halo, or spending late nights promising “just one more turn!” with Civilization, you’ll probably find me with Xbox controller in my hand…if I’m in the house, my work is done, and the kids are either asleep or distracted.
And when the stars don’t align, and I can’t play games?
I watch people play them.
Like the smoker who is trying to quit but likes to watch other people smoke, or like the dieter who likes to watch others eat pie, I go to YouTube and watch various “Let’s Play” videos. My current favorite flavors are Rooster Teeth (those guys that did the Halo machinima Red vs. Blue), for their Minecraft and Halo videos; Game Grumps, for their awesome theme song and ridiculous babbling and wordplay while playing games; and GameInformer’s Replay and Super Replay, for their perspective on games as industry professionals.
Sometimes my wife will be watching a TV show that I’m uninterested in, so I’ll jump on my laptop, pop in my earbuds and start watching people play games. She generally just looks at me sadly. She’s never told me that I have a problem, but she’s definitely thinking it.
I’m not sure what need is filled by watching strangers play video games. After all, when I’m watching people I know play video games, I generally want to go nuts and yank the controller from their hands. Maybe watching people who are at least as good (probably better) at these games is a decent surrogate. I don’t know.
But, as long as these guys keep making “Let’s Play” videos, I’m going to keep watching.