Life is really hard. Sometimes I’d like to play a game but am just too mentally exhausted to actually play it. I know I’m not alone because this world is exhausting and video games are more people are playing games than ever.
I found a weird way to still play games even when all I can do is stare forward, watch, and listen. No-Commentary playthroughs have been an obsession of mine for a few years. And I know it sounds weird because video game streaming exists but this is different.
No-Commentary playthroughs aren’t really filtered through anything. There’s no conversation happening about what’s happening. The playable characters just kind of happen to automatically do exactly what they are supposed to do.
Many of the playthroughs have very little errors, if any at all, which is another interesting part about seeing games through this lens.
Playing Games — Without Doing Anything
I finished Resident Evil 2 (2019). It’s one of my favorite games. I’ve finished it several times. But I’m not super good at it. I’m above average but don’t feel like investing time to be better at it.
I’m tired. I’m busy. I don’t have enough time. I don’t want to spend it getting better at some games. I can watch effective No-Commentary playthroughs of this game and other titles I’d like to experience again but under different circumstances.
A different character, ending, or quests entirely — and I’m just propped up and fully engrossed without having to use any of finite daily energy. The biggest way I use No-Commentary playthroughs are for games I know I will never, ever play but would really like to.
It’s usually something I missed at the time that was cutting-edge or technically impressive, but now the game has aged. Technology constantly changes and improves and game design does the same.
Developers are constantly innovating and building off of previous ideas to try to create something better. Some games age really well, like Super Mario World or Tetris (there aren’t any bad Tetris games and it’s always been good!).
There are a lot of older games that haven’t aged as well, especially if you didn’t play it while its ideas were closer to what’s considered accepted in terms of compromises.
Some games are able to exist comfortably within their limitations, which can affect from how many enemies can be on-screen at once to how convincing the game looks within the presented art direction. I tried playing the first Resident Evil several times. I can’t do it.
The tank controls weren’t my only personal hurdle. I also didn’t like the resistance I felt with progression in terms of item management, exploration and puzzle solving. It felt like I could completely love it though if someone else dealt with my issues though.
I don’t mind how tank controls look and I can fast forward through backtracking if I don’t like it. Most NC playthroughs are near perfect runs though with all the unnecessary deaths and wrong turns skipped entirely.
I was able to enjoy Resident Evil with no issues whatsoever. I loved it. It felt like a night of gaming but nothing went wrong. And it was still me that ran through that mansion and went through all the bonkers boss battles that are just as ridiculous entries!
These playthroughs aren’t perfect and so fall a little short of a full interactive playthrough. Player agency is lost since you’re on rails. But you’re still on the journey and feeling almost everything, which means virtually every game is available to “play” even if you don’t want to hold the controller.
It helps you re-experience classics you might not feel like dealing with and connects you to gaming history since virtually everything is available to "play" with no issues or limitations. It’s also how I know that Resident Evil boss battles have always been ridiculous.
There were gigantic spiders and snakes in that game and you all know it! No-Commentary playthroughs can help you experience more games by removing obstacles or parts that can otherwise prevent you from experiencing it.
Or maybe you just would like to save money, instead of purchasing something more expensive, like Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, when you could experience a perfect playthrough without any problems (Longplay Archive is one of my personal favorite channels for NC playthroughs).
Play more games and get non-gamers into video game stories and experiences with No-Commentary playthroughs!