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Video game walkthrough

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A video game walkthrough is a guide aimed towards improving a player's skill within a particular video game and often designed to assist players in completing either an entire video game or specific elements. Walkthroughs may alternatively be set up as a playthrough, where players record themselves playing through a game and upload or live-stream it to the internet. Walkthroughs may be considered guides on helping to enhance the experience of players, to assist towards unlocking game achievements or simply as a means to socialise with like-minded individuals as a distraction from everyday life.

Walkthroughs originated as text-based descriptive instructions in magazines for playing through a video game. With the growth in popularity of computers and the internet, video game walkthroughs expanded to digital and video formats, with the typical average age of watchers being 23 years old and predominantly male, according to a study undertaken in Finland during 2015. Some individuals and companies have been known to earn lucrative income through the process of recording and offering guides publicly.

History[edit]

Video game walkthroughs were originally included in video game magazines or on text-bulletin boards.[1][2] In the late 1980s[3] through to the mid 2000s,[4] video game walkthroughs were also available through telephone 'hot-lines' in the United States.[5] Despite the rise in popularity of internet-based guides,[6] text-based walkthroughs are still present today in both print and digital formats.[7] Examples of print publications include strategy guides published by Prima Games, whereas text-based digital guides are hosted on gaming websites such as IGN,[8] GamesRadar,[9] and GameFAQs,[10] often in the form of wikis.[11] Until its closure by parent company Future plc, Computer and Video Games (CVG) also created and hosted digital guides on their (now defunct) website, computerandvideogames.com.[12]

Player created digital walkthroughs are typically designed to assist other players in accomplishing certain feats within video games[13][a] and are similar to text-based or telephony-based walkthroughs, except they can also be solely for entertainment purposes.[14][15] These digital walkthroughs are typically uploaded to video sharing websites such as YouTube or live-streamed playthroughs to media streaming sites such as Twitch.tv. Let's Play videos are a special type of walkthrough generally more focused on entertaining rather than informing the viewer through humorous commentary given by the video's host as they complete the game.[16]

Format[edit]

Cover of Prima Games text-based video game guide magazine.

Given there is no standardized format for the creation of text-based walkthroughs, guides exist that contain extensive examples and step-by-step instructions on how to write text-based walkthrough content.[1][2][17] Prima Games and Computer and Video Games have produced walkthroughs. Prima Games produces official, dedicated text-based video game walkthroughs and strategy guides for a variety of video games in both print and digital formats.[18] Computer and Video Games (CVG) published both text and video-based walkthroughs of video games on their website and official YouTube channel until their closure by Future in February 2015 in asset consolidation between various Future brands.[19][20][21][12] IGN also creates and publishes video game walkthroughs in both text and video formats.[8]

When it comes to video walkthroughs of games, gameplay may be recorded in multiple ways,[13] such as through the use of screencast software, built-in recording features in some emulators or via a video capture device[b] connected to a console or another computer. Some video games also include built-in recording features, such as Grand Theft Auto V (2013),[22][23] which included in-game recording and editing features in its PlayStation 4 and Xbox One re-releases, allowing players to record and edit gameplay to share with others.[22][24] Video content is typically shared over the internet via streaming, using video sharing and media streaming websites such as YouTube and Twitch, where the content has a potential audience consisting of millions of people.[25][26]

Motivations[edit]

Video example of a walkthrough, narrated by a computer voice.

In a study on the different motivations of walkthrough viewers conducted by Max Sjöblom and Juho Hamari from the University of Tampere in 2016, numerous viewer motivations were discussed. From the findings, the five the most significant motivations were found to be improving player experience, confidence, knowledge about a particular game, socializing and creating an 'escape' or distraction from their everyday life.[27][28] Walkthroughs may also guide players throughout an entire game or only certain sections[29] and may be guides[15][30] on finding rare collectables or unlocking achievements.[31]

According to Barbara Ortutay of the Associated Press, players "not only see the live and recorded video sessions as a way to sharpen their abilities, but also as a way to interact with star players in chatrooms or simply be entertained."[32] According to Business Insider and The Verge, viewers of this genre of video content and live streams use them not only for their entertainment value,[33] but also to assist with a variety of things ranging from purchasing decisions to "get[ting] better at playing games."[34][35][32] GameRadar+ has called the watching of video game playthroughs the "Netflix of video games"[36] and CNN declared the watching of video games being played by other people via videos and live streams "must-see TV".[15]

Some video game players have been able to make a viable business model out of playing video games as both a guide and for the entertainment of viewers.[37][38][39] As a result of the influx of players uploading or streaming their content, multi-channel networks were formed in order to assist content creators in multiple areas,[40] in exchange for a percentage of the advertisement revenue generated.[41]

Demographics[edit]

In February 2015, a study of video game walkthrough viewers was conducted by the University of Tampere in Finland and recruited respondents through self-selection (over 93% reported to have a Twitch.tv account). From 1091 validated responses, the average age was approximately 23 years old, of which 92.3% were male. The majority of respondents earned less than ten thousand dollars a year with a secondary level of education. The majority of viewers have a secondary level of education (52.19%), with all other education levels tending to watch less.[27][c]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Complete 100% guide to a walkthrough". Venture Beat. Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  2. ^ a b "A Walkthrough the Past: Interviews with Former Writers on the Making of Strategy Guides". ZAM. Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  3. ^ Mcgill, Douglas C. (1988-12-04). "Nintendo Scores Big". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-07-28. 
  4. ^ "Radical! The Nintendo Power Line Is Back For One Weekend Only". The Roosevelts. 2016-11-08. Archived from the original on 2017-07-29. Retrieved 2017-07-28. 
  5. ^ "What was it like to be a Nintendo game play counselor?". 2015-11-21. Retrieved 2017-05-09. 
  6. ^ Biggs, John. "Internet Killed The Magazine Star | TechCrunch". Retrieved 2017-07-28. 
  7. ^ "Further decline for print mags". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  8. ^ a b "Game Wiki Guides, Cheats, Walkthroughs, FAQs – IGN". IGN. Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  9. ^ "GamesRadar+". GamesRadar. Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  10. ^ "GameFAQs – Video Game Cheats, Reviews, FAQs, Message Boards, and More". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  11. ^ Gerber, H. R. (2013). Fostering collaboration, cooperation, and independent reading and writing through sports video games. Voice of Youth Advocates, 36, 42–43.
  12. ^ a b Yin-Poole, Wesley (2014-12-19). "CVG to close". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2017-08-06. 
  13. ^ a b Niemeyer, D. J.; Gerber, H. R. (2015). "Maker culture and Minecraft: implications for the future of learning". Educational Media International. 52 (3): 216–226. doi:10.1080/09523987.2015.1075103. 
  14. ^ Muncy, Jake. "Why I Watch People Play Videogames on the Internet". WIRED. Retrieved 2017-02-22. 
  15. ^ a b c CNN, Christopher Dawson. "Why watching video games is must-see TV". CNN. Retrieved 2017-02-22. 
  16. ^ Finniss, David (2009-11-18). "What is a "Let's Play?"". Yahoo Voices. Yahoo News Network. Archived from the original on 2014-07-29. Retrieved 2013-12-23. 
  17. ^ "How to Write a Video Game Walkthrough". LevelSkip. Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  18. ^ "Prima Games | Free and premium video game guides". Prima Games. Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  19. ^ Lee, Dave (2014-05-21). "Computer and Video Games online magazine facing closure". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-02-21. 
  20. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (2014-12-19). "CVG to close". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2017-07-26. 
  21. ^ "Messages from the editors – CVG". 2015-01-29. Archived from the original on 2015-01-29. Retrieved 2017-07-28. 
  22. ^ a b "Introducing the Rockstar Editor – Rockstar Games". Rockstar Games. Retrieved 2017-07-28. 
  23. ^ North, Rockstar. "Rockstar Games Social Club". socialclub.rockstargames.com. Retrieved 2017-07-28. 
  24. ^ Jones, Gary (2015-09-11). "GTA 5: Rockstar reveal the bad news for Xbox 360 and PS3 gamers and talk future expansions". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-08-01. 
  25. ^ Mirani, Leo. "500 million people are watching videos of video games". Quartz. Retrieved 2017-05-10. 
  26. ^ Stark, Chelsea. "Who Wants to Watch Other People Play Video Games? Millions on Twitch". Mashable. Retrieved 2017-05-10. 
  27. ^ a b Sjöblom, Max; Hamari, Juho (2016-05-13). "Why Do People Watch Others Play Video Games? An Empirical Study on the Motivations of Twitch Users". Rochester, NY. SSRN 2779543Freely accessible. 
  28. ^ "A New World of Video Games: Viewers – Sekg". Sekg. 2016-10-28. Retrieved 2017-02-22. 
  29. ^ Injustice 2: Supergirl Gameplay Walkthrough – IGN First – IGN Video, retrieved 2017-02-21 
  30. ^ Schreier, Jason. "The Joy Of Playing Video Games Without Actually Playing Them". Kotaku. Retrieved 2017-02-22. 
  31. ^ "GTA 5 – Achievements / Trophies and Side Missions – YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 2017-02-21. 
  32. ^ a b "Watching others play video games the next big thing". Smithsonian Tween Tribune. Retrieved 2017-02-22. 
  33. ^ McCormick, Rich (2014-08-26). "This is why people want to watch other people play video games". The Verge. Retrieved 2017-02-22. 
  34. ^ "4 reasons people love watching video games online". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-02-22. 
  35. ^ *"Why We Watch Others Play Video Games | The Houstonian". Retrieved 2017-02-22. 
  36. ^ "No-commentary playthroughs are the Netflix of video games". GamesRadar. Retrieved 2017-02-22. 
  37. ^ "Dan Middleton's Minecraft videos a global hit". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  38. ^ COSTA, D. (2017). Video Gaming for Fun and Profit. PC Magazine, 6–8.
  39. ^ Radio, Southern California Public (2014-08-29). "How gamer 'The Rad Brad' makes a living playing video games". Southern California Public Radio. Retrieved 2017-07-28. 
  40. ^ "Multi-Channel Network (MCN) overview for YouTube Creators – YouTube Help". support.google.com. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  41. ^ YouTube, Neil Davidson in (2013-03-08). "Can a Multi-Channel Network Boost Your YouTube Marketing Success?". SiteProNews. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Examples of certain feats that this video content may help players accomplish are completing everything there is to do within a video game (usually involving collecting all 'achievements', also referred to as '100% game completion' in most video games), gaining specific achievements within a particular video game, demonstrating glitches within a video game and telling players how to reproduce such glitches.
  2. ^ Examples of video capture devices could be the line of Elgato Game Capture recording products or the Roxio Game Capture
  3. ^ 0.18% no education, 8.67% primary level, and 38.96% upper level education

Further reading[edit]