Let’s Plays and Their Players

The best games when I was growing up were not multiplayer. I spent much of my childhood watching my brother play through the different Zelda games, Batman games, Assassin’s Creed games, etc. Multiplayer games were usually limited to racing games or easy battle games like smash. For me, the transition to watching Let’s Plays was seamless. I went from watching someone next to me play a game that I liked to watching someone online play a game that I liked. I was able to form opinions and experience games that I didn’t want to or couldn’t play. But this also leaves me and much of the audience of our favourite Let’s Players in a strange predicament: what do we do when the people we follow become problematic? Someone whose commentary you enjoy and whose gameplay you relate to, but has said or done something racist or homophobic on their stream, or even more ambiguously, is friends with someone who has. I personally am a huge Jacksepticeye fan. He plays games I find interesting and he’s an upbeat and giving person in general, which is nice after a long day of stress. However, he frequently is referenced in connection to, and continues to collaborate with PewDiePie, who has used racial slurs and made anti-Semitic comments in videos and streams. As someone who claims to be an advocate for equality and standing up to Bigotry, is it my duty to unfollow and block Jacksepticeye for being friends with someone who goes against my values? or are there enough degrees of separation that one is able to say that he isn’t prejudiced, so it’s okay to continue to follow him? Where do personal interests end and social duties begin? In a time and climate where everything is instantly available, how quickly do we have to make judgements about the people whose every action are under our speculation.

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