If you’ve been on YouTube in the past 10 or so years, you’re bound to have run into at least one “Let’s Play.” For those who may not know, Let’s Playing (now more commonly called LPing) is when someone documents their playthrough of a game through videos, and less often, screenshots, all while adding personal commentary and focusing on their experience with the game as an individual. This has become a hobby and passion for countless gamers of all genders, races, languages, and cultures across the ever-growing internet—to the point where it has gained so much pull within gamer culture that it’s also become some peoples’ careers thanks to things like Google AdSense and Twitch. Unfortunately, though, this community, like most, is not without its faults.
Picture this: you’re a 15-year-old girl who’s been playing games like Tomb Raider, Portal, Minecraft, Pokémon, Final Fantasy, World of Warcraft, Smash, and more your whole life, and you just found out about the online gaming community beyond troll-filled forums and online walkthroughs. Your brother has also just started creating his own Let’s Plays. Initially, you think it’s kind of silly, but after he introduces you to his and other LPs, you warm up to it. In fact, you’re really excited to start making some! So you start finding LPers that you like and befriend some of your brother’s friends on Twitter and YouTube because they, too, share a lot of your interests. Upon befriending them, however, you find yourself extremely uncomfortable with their idea of jokes, as well as the scrutiny you face within the group.