Sideseat Gaming is the Worst, So Stop Doing It

It seems like every time I sit down to either play a game at a friend’s house, stream or watch someone else do it, there’s always that one person. It’s that one dickhead who’s always:

  1. offering unsolicited advice, and
  2. getting really pissed off when the player doesn’t do exactly what they told them to do.

Constantly having to sit in the same room with one of these chronic “helpers” over the years has prompted me to make a video decrying this deplorable practice, known to the community as “sideseat gaming“:

For many of us, we simply don’t know what constitutes sideseat gaming and what doesn’t. Luckily for you, we’re here to explain exactly what it is and why those who do it totally suck.

Let’s Plays Become How-To Plays

Oh wow! Your buddy’s online and is playing Devil May Cry, your favorite beat-em-up since Amagon! But wait a minute…they’re fucking up the combo again?! No, no, idiot! You already went down that hallway! You’re seriously doing THAT again?!

Enraged beyond belief, you jump into chat to tell your buddy exactly how they should progress, feeling like you’re the second coming of Gamer Christ. Stop right there…

Have you considered for a moment that maybe they’re enjoying the problem-solving aspect of the game? That perhaps their mistakes are made on their own terms in an effort to get better at their own pace, all while regaling you with amazing commentary that may have nothing to do with the game they’re currently playing? Maybe you’re the one causing your own torment.

If we all go into a livestream with the goal of enjoying the personality of the player opposed to the game itself, this wouldn’t even be a problem. Why not contribute something to your friend’s amazing taco fart story instead of telling them where to go or what to do? You just come off as a know-it-all and effectively make things awkward for the streamer and your fellow viewers.

You Mad, Bro?

But what about that cheese grater-induced feeling you experience when no one’s listening? Surely, someone must care.

Though your anger towards being ignored may be justifiable in any other situation, this is not the case when viewing a livestream. At that point, you are merely a spectator, not the player. Sure, the streamer may be nice enough not to call you out for all to hear, but almost all of them will cringe at the very sight of unsolicited advice, and even more of them explicitly state “do not tell me what to do unless I ask” in their rules.

A vast majority of streamers are creative individuals who enjoy artistic freedom colored with their personality, and sideseat gaming pisses all over that. You’re attempting to rip the controller from their hands via chat, and getting pissed off when they actively or passively resist. Reactions vary among streamers, but the mentality is the same: “Don’t tell me what to do.”

If you find yourself getting mad when the streamer isn’t doing what you want them to do, do yourself and everyone else involved a favor, and walk away. Have you ever walked out of a movie before because the trailer lied to you and you found yourself watching a heavy, coming-of-age drama instead of a glitzy action adventure? Same thing.

Screaming at the screen won’t change what it is, and it’s up to you whether you want to consume it or not.

Abusing Twitch’s Search Function

There are certain games that I won’t livestream because I know what will happen: I’ll eventually get raided by people I don’t know who found me based on the game I’m playing. It goes without saying that hugely popular games come with their own panel of so-called experts, and they all know how to use Twitch’s Search function.

The use of this function may attract new fans to a particular channel and garner new followers, but it was the game that drove that traffic, not a random mention on Twitter from a friend. Many of these new viewers may not have even taken the time to comb your social media profiles or Video list before popping into chat, so to them, you are a stranger who happens to be playing the game they searched.

It is not up to the streamer to pander to the needs of every single viewer who randomly pops in based on these searches. Streamers need to remember that they can’t please everyone, and shouldn’t take it to heart if their content is just not to some people’s liking.

As long as you are yourself 100% and you’re passionate about what you do, you’ll attract the right audience. And as for new viewers, you showed up because of the game, but do you enjoy the streamer? If not, you’re cordially invited to find another. Don’t ruin other peoples’ fun time by being a know-it-all dick.

Wrapping Up on Sideseat Gaming

Our community would be infinitely better if we remember that it’s the streamer that we show up for instead of the game itself. Glowing personalities that we relate to leave a far deeper impression than any game can ever achieve, even if we don’t want to admit it.

Sure, we’re all united by our love of video games, but did any of us ever appreciate it when some asshole at the theater blurted out every shocker right before it happened? The same thing applies to livestreaming. We’re there to enjoy the streamer while they play, nothing more.

If they ask for help, by all means, provide it. But until then, keep your mouth shut and enjoy the show, or quietly and gracefully kick rocks. But always, always, be respectful to your fellow humans. Lumpz the Clown OUT!


Did you know that I participate in annual livestream events? Check out Fxck Black Friday, Summer Brutality, and Fright Fest here!

Still buzzing with anger over that asshole viewer? Read some more of my angry Rants here and feed that rage monster until it’s dead!