“Videorec as Gameplay: Recording Playthroughs and Video Game Engagement” – Menotti

In “Videorec as Gameplay: Recording Playthroughs and Video Game Engagement,” Gabriel Menotti analyzes Let’s Plays as sites of superplay in which users both compete and collaborate and as such should be considered an essential component of game culture and development. He argues, “the recordings might constitute a legitimate way of engaging with the game, as well as an intrinsic part of its experience” (83).  Menotti notes that the recording of game play began around 2005 when speedrunners documented their skills as a means of proof. While this was used as a form of competitive documentary primarily, it was also used as a way to learn and approve upon game skills. Yet, as Menotti points out, as games and their spaces have become more advanced, they have provided new backdrops against which representations are staged. Menotti state, “The very idea of machinima seems to have developed into forms of virtual puppetry and interactive performance” (82). This performance should not be trivialized as the context of interactions surrounding play inform the gameplay itself. Essentially, Let’s Plays keep the channels of dialogue between the game as system and the game as a culturally situated object open.

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