Teacher: Matthew Little

Media Arts 12

Lesson ?:

Let’s Play! Retro PC Games

Lesson Time: 60+ minutes, lesson time does not include extensions, adaptations or potential scaffolding requirements.

Lesson Overview

Students in this Media Arts 12 class have been exploring the phenomenon of low production quality content creation. This lesson slots into a unit looking specifically at YouTube genres. Students have already prepared recording stations, chosen a classic PC video game to commentate, and – after some review and prompting – will be ready to make their first recording. Students will reflect on their complete (albeit brief) project in preparation for a second video – produced in a later lesson and class.

Teaching Summary

1. Attendance
2. Shape of the Lesson

3. Video: What is a let’s play?

4. Test Setup
5. Record Commentary
6. Playback Video
7. Self-Reflection

8. Wrap-up
9. Extension

Lesson Objectives

Click to expand, contract, or select tabs.

Students Will:

  • Create a low-production investment video (a let’s play commentary)
  • Self-assess (in preparation for peer assessment of future videos)
Core Competencies:

________ Highlighting applicable curricular competencies and content
________ Evidence for selection, generated with input from sample “I” statements in curricular draft documents


  1. Connect and engage with others (to share and develop ideas)
  • Opportunity to share and develop ideas around content creation, video games and media critique
  1. Acquire, interpret and present information (include inquiries)
  • Students ‘present’ their organic reactions to playing a game
  1. Collaborate to plan, carry out and review constructions and activities
  2. Explain, recount and reflect on experience and accomplishments
  • Students engage in a metacognitive process in order to organically reflect on their experience with a game, as it happens, and in the follow up to their experience


Creative Thinking

  1. Novelty and value
  2. Generating ideas
  3. Developing ideas

Critical Thinking

  1. Analyze and critique

Students critique a classic PC game

  1. Question and investigate

Develop and design


Positive Personal and Cultural Identity

  1. Relationships and cultural contexts

Students can interact with a medium which has an important cultural context for them (video games)

  1. Personal values and choices
  2. Personal strengths and abilities

Personal Awareness and Responsibilities

  1. Self-determination
  2. Self-regulation
  3. Well-being

Social Responsibilities

  1. Contributing to community and caring for the environment
  2. Solving problems in peaceful ways
  3. Valuing diversity
  4. Building relationships
First Peoples Principles:

Learning is holistic, reflexive, reflective, experiential, and relational (focused on connectedness, on reciprocal relationships, and a sense of place).

  • This lesson allows for an experiential exploration of content creation
  • Students reflect upon their work as part of a self-reflection

Big Idea Focus:

Tools and technologies can be adapted for specific purposes.

  • Students can utilize broadcast software (ie. Open Broadcast Studio) or screencast software to create a ‘let’s play’ video / presentation
  • Students may explore the typical design layout of a ‘let’s play’ video

Curricular Competency Focus:

Making: Identify appropriate tools, technologies, materials, processes, potential funding sources, and time needed for production, and where/how these could be available

  • Students explore a medium in which content creation tends to be on the low-end of time investment, but can use interesting technologies

Applied Technologies: Explore existing, new, and emerging tools, technologies, and systems and evaluate their suitability for their design interests

  • Students explore the use of video and audio recording equipment, broadcast or screencast software.

Curricular Content Focus:

Media Technologies

  • Students examine the medium of video games
  • Students utilize a variety of technologies (audio & video)



  • Discussion responses to ‘let’s play’ PBS video
  • ‘Let’s’ play videos themselves
  • Self-reflection based on let’s play video

Adaptation / Modification:

This section contains videos that may inspire you  to adapt this activity in a way that works for you, including live performance rather than a recording.

How to use console games
Live Presentation / Theatre
Group Let's Play

Teaching Guide:

Materials, Resources and Prep

For the Student:

  • A setup which allows for video games to be played with commentary and video recorded in a ‘let’s play’ format.
  • Self-reflection Handout

For the Teacher:

Most prep would have been done in lessons previous to this one. I have included some of the resources in this section that would have made getting to that point possible.

Getting Started: (5 Min)

1. Attendance
2. Shape of the lesson

  • We’re going to watch and discuss a video about the ‘let’s play’ phenomenon
  • We’ll have a chance to make a 5 minute recorded (alternatively can be done as a live performance) ‘let’s play.’
  • We’re going to self-reflect on our recording

Introduction: (10 Min)

Sample discussion questions:

  • Is it entertaining to watch other people play video games? Why?
  • Why are Let’s Plays popular?
  • What’s difference between a let’s play video and a live stream?

Content Creation: (40 Min)

4. Test Setup

  • Ensure that setup continues to work following through from the last class. Try recording a quick sample video to ensure your settings are optimal.

5. Record Commentary

  • Now it’s time to record the let’s play videos! Students will create a five-minute video showcasing their first impressions of their classic game.
“The best game to do a Let’s Play off, is always the game you love playing yourself. Whenever you are very excited about playing a game, it will show off in your commentary and you playing it. That is the most enjoyable thing to watch.

Besides that, there really aren’t any rules on what is the best type of game. It depends on your audience. Some prefer very gamey games with lots of different systems interacting with each other and watching you master them. For example, XCOM and Civilizations are infinitely replayable, yet people could potentially watch every single one of your playthroughs of those. Some prefer to watch you experience a story driven game like Mass Effect or even Gone Home. Yet others will want to watch you compete online in various games.

I like to watch the gamey ones myself. I have almost zero interest in watching someone play a story driven game. Slight exception being the BioShock Infinite stuff the guys did.

So, go play what excites you.”Zevvion

6. Playback Video

  • Students now have the opportunity to playback their video in preparation for the self-reflection portion of the lesson.
  • Students may want to read through the reflection beforehand in order to shape their thinking around the specific topics of discussion.

7. Reflection

  • Students complete a reflection handout and are also encouraged to give feedback in terms of the lesson itself. Appropriate suggestions can be used to iterated upon the lesson the next time it comes up, or may shape a future lesson – especially since a more substantial ‘let’s play’ is meant to be created further into the unit.
  • I’m calling the reflection handout a “power-up sheet.”
Power-Up Sheet

Wrap-up/Extension: (5+ Min)

8. Wrap-up

  • Consider playing a volunteer let’s play to the entire class…
  • Consider a class conversation in which students share their thoughts on the activity. Consider similar prompts to the review activity.
  • Collect copies of the let’s plays, possibly for formative assessment purposes.
  • Collect their reflection worksheets.

9. Extension

  • Consider editing the lets plays to improve quality (add an intro? Outro?)
  • Consider extending the lets plays with more gameplay footage
  • Consider a second lets play (flipping from student choice to a historical game or vice versa)

This document is available under a Creative Commons License.

This lesson plan was inspired by code.org’s programming units. The eagle feather and First Peoples Principles of Learning framework are assets of fnesc.ca.