ByKen McDonnell, writer at
Now Loading's sentimental Irishman. I can't stop playing Overwatch, please send help.
Ken McDonnell

"Why am I even playing this?" Ever asked yourself that?

Some video games, while advertising themselves as interactive, can often be enjoyed without ever having to touch a controller – just ask the millions that watch let's plays on YouTube and Twitch! But even as an avid gamer myself who doesn't really engage with let's plays, there are some games I've played that probably would have been just as much, if not more enjoyable, without the controller in hand.

Here are just a few of those titles.

10 Video Games To Sit Back & Watch Unfold

To The Moon
To The Moon

1. Telltale's The Walking Dead

I've played Telltale games on my phone, on tablets, PS3, PS4, XBOX One and even on PC, and after having engaged with them on so many different platforms over the years I've come to realize that the actual playing of them can interfere with my enjoyment.

The gameplay in Telltale's The Walking Dead isn't exactly inspiring, but its narrative most certainly is. This is a game that everyone should experience, whether it be through let's plays or simply kicking back and watching your friend play through the adventure. The tense conversation choices are made far more compelling when you have no control over which option is picked and at what pace.

2. Firewatch

Some may consider Campo Santo's Firewatch a bit dull in terms of its gameplay, but this is an indie experience worth everyone's time. The compelling narrative, exceptional voice acting and beautiful scenery make Firewatch the perfect game to simply sit back and soak in. I did so with my girlfriend and the experience was in no way diluted (especially when you're splitting the game's cost).

3. Flower

ThatGameCompany know how to create a remarkable video game experience. Journey is one of the definitive video games of all time and we're excited to see how the game's creator fairs on his own with his new studio and upcoming project, ABZU. But their little indie title from 2009, while a very beautiful game in itself, can be a little frustrating to actually play.

Watching the wind carry these beautiful petals through endless fields and monuments is so damn chill, and why would you want to interrupt that chill with some bizarre motion control on the PS3 or PS4 controller? Better to sit back and watch a friend struggle, am I right?

4. Day Z

Let's face it, Day Z can be stressful. When you arrive essentially naked on a new server and are forced to scavenge the nearby surroundings for weapons, food, water, medication, all while contending with other hostile players and zombies, it could be argued that this is all nicer to experience from a distance.

Just find a friend who's good at the game and you can sit back and laugh at their misery. That's what I do, anyway.

5. Until Dawn

Until Dawn is one of Sony's trademark narrative experiences. It's filled with lengthy cut scenes, infuriating quicktime events and sections of endless walking and talking. But this is actually a fantastic horror game. The story takes some unexpected turns and the characters can be well crafted, in a stereotypical teen horror kind of way.

Until Dawn can be enjoyed just as well without having to deal with all of those quicktime events or facing the reality of having killed someone because you pressed triangle instead of circle. Who needs that?!

6. Everybody's Gone To The Rapture

In many ways, the PS4 doesn't have a more beautiful game than The Chinese Room's and SCE Santa Monica Studio's Everybody's Gone To The Rapture. The visuals are stunning, the soundtrack is excellent and the complicated and ambiguous narrative is great fun to interact with.

While I thoroughly enjoyed my time playing this game, much like The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, this is one experience that can be just as satisfying from a distance. Grab a friend and the two of you can enjoy this story together with some one else taking hold of the reins.

7. Counter-Strike

As someone who's never really gotten into Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, despite enjoying the odd shooter, this has always been a fascinating watch. Whether it be observing the famous players on the eSports scene or simply watching a friend obtain some pretty sick loot, CS:GO is one of the only shooters that is a ton of fun to watch.

8. To The Moon

Not only is this a game that is almost guaranteed to bring on the feels, To The Moon is one of the most perfect video games to watch. The gameplay in no way enriches the experience of interacting with its narrative. It's not unnecessary, it does provide a welcome narrative pause, but you don't need to walk through its levels collecting memories in order to fall in love with its characters. This is a must play, or a must watch, rather.

9. L.A. Noire

The driving isn't as good as Grand Theft Auto, you can't tear up the streets, and examining a crime scene isn't always the most exhilarating of experiences to play, but [L.A. Noir](tag:865020) is a fantastic game. The facial recognition technology that Rockstar employed was superb and its dark narrative that paid respects to so many Hollywood classics was something we weren't really accustomed to in video games. All of this is worth seeing, even if you don't take control of Detective Cole Phelps.

10. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

I can't even begin to explain how much the Metal Gear Solid franchise means to me. MGS1 is one of the greatest accomplishments in the history of video games and there are moments in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots that are truly dazzling to play. That being said, this isn't exactly for everyone.

MGS4 holds two Guinness World Records when it comes to lengthy cutscenes. The longest individual cutscene is 27 minutes which happens to be within a 71 minute long sequence of the game. Here are its records:

  • Longest cutscene in a video game, at 27 minutes.
  • Longest cutscene sequence in a video game, at 71 minutes.

Therefore, it makes a lot of sense that this would be the kind of game that certain players would rather sit back and watch. However, I would never take back the experience of fighting Ocelot at the end of the game to the soundtracks of MGS 1-3. That was a moment to remember.

What games would you rather watch than play?


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