Every VTuber is a precious, unique snowflake (in a good way) with their own wonderful talents to offer to the world. But there are certain obvious trends that appear to run through the community so far as the games they play are concerned — whether it’s due to corporate directives, paid advertising campaigns from publishers or simple good old-fashioned word of mouth.
By this I mean a lot of ’em seem to end up playing the same games. So I thought we’d take a quick look at some of the most popular titles for VTubers to play, and contemplate why these titles might be so popular to play in front of a live audience!
While first-person puzzler Superliminal was released back in 2019, a lot of people doubtless had their first contact with it thanks to Hololive EN’s Amelia Watson, who played it as one of her first games on stream back in September of 2020.
Superliminal is a game about optical illusions, where you can pick up and manipulate the size of objects by making clever use of perspective. It also has a lot of fire extinguishers, and Amelia took great delight in clicking on each and every one of them during her playthrough. Aside from that, it’s a great game to play on stream, because the strange, surreal nature of the game’s mechanics are enjoyable to watch — plus everyone secretly enjoys the frustration of watching someone get stuck on puzzles!
Since Amelia played the game, a wide variety of other VTubers — mostly from within Hololive — have also taken on the challenge of the game, including Gawr Gura, Ookami Mio, Pavolia Reine, Usada Pekora, Amano Pikamee, Elira Pendora and, of course, the one and only Kiryu Coco, forever will she live in our hearts.
It’s tricky to pin down exactly which VTuber played this first because so many of them have played it now, but the first time I saw it on my YouTube subscription feed was when the delightful Pomu Rainpuff from Nijisanji’s English branch LazuLight played it along with her genmate Finana Ryugu. Horror games are an obvious choice for streaming due to their potential for enjoyable reactions from the hosts!
Night Delivery is a Japanese psychological horror game with a retro VHS tape-inspired aesthetic — although you can turn these retro effects off if you so desire. The game casts you in the role of a 30 year old delivery man on his last stop before calling it a night. Unfortunately, the apartment building your last five packages are scheduled to be delivered to appears to be haunted…
Night Delivery is the work of Chilla’s Art, who have produced a wide variety of interesting (and cheap) horror games for PC over the course of the last couple of years. Night Delivery appears to be the one that has particularly resonated with the VTuber community, though — because a lot of them have played it to date, including Ninomae Ina’nis, Mori Calliope, Veibae, Pavolia Reine, Gawr Gura, Amano Pikamee, Tsunomaki Watame, Houshou Marine and plenty more besides!
Night Delivery is available for PC via Steam.
The Henry Stickmin Collection
Published by Among Us developer Innersloth, The Henry Stickmin Collection is a compilation of remastered “choose your own adventure” games that first appeared on the popular Flash animation and games site Newgrounds. The compilation first appeared in August of 2020, with Amano Pikamee (above) being one of the first VTubers to play the game on stream.
For some reason, the game didn’t seem to gain a huge amount of traction on its original release, but in the last month or so it appears to have exploded in popularity. At least part of this can probably be attributed to the fact that Hololive English’s Gawr Gura — now the most popular VTuber in the world, don’t forget — streamed the game and has bagged a mighty 1.3 million views in total as of the time of writing. And if it’s good enough for the best, it’s surely good enough for everyone else!
The Henry Stickmin Collection is available for PC via Steam.
51 Worldwide Games
51 Worldwide Games, also known as Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics, is the perfect icebreaker — and ideal fodder for collaborative streams. Everyone knows how to play at least one game in this complete collection, and as the collaborating participants develop their confidence in working together, many will attempt to explore less familiar games together.
It’s likely for this reason that 51 Worldwide Games was picked to be the backdrop for the first ever collaboration between Hololive’s English branch and VShojo, with Takanashi Kiara’s cheerful bullying of Nyanners not being something anyone is likely to forget in a hurry.
Sure enough, 51 Worldwide Games has helped establish, cement and confirm many solid friendships between VTubers since its release — including pairings both within a single agency and across organisations. Particular highlights from the last year or so include Calli x Ame, Korone x Okayu, Ina x Ame, Ame x Gura, Okayu x Pekora, Flare x Noel… the list goes on and on and on.
Friday Night Funkin’
Friday Night Funkin’ is another “Newgrounds game gone legit”; after enjoying somewhere in the region of 15 million plays in its original Web-hosted incarnation, the project managed to raise an astonishing $2,247,641 via Kickstarter in order to make “the full ass game” back in April of 2021. It’s around this time that the mainstream audience outside of Newgrounds started to pay a bit more attention — and thus a prime opportunity for VTubers presented itself.
Friday Night Funkin’ is a rhythm game that describes itself as a “playable cartoon”. You play the role of Boyfriend, and your job is to impress Girlfriend’s various demonic relatives into appreciating you via the medium of your funky fresh beats. I’d say it has a “cult” following, but 15 million plays is one hell of a cult. You know how devoted those rhythm game players are, though.
Plenty of VTubers have felt the funk over the course of the last couple of months in particular, including Gawr Gura (above), Ayunda Risu, Mori Calliope, Finana Ryugu, Amano Pikamee, Shirakami Fubuki, Himemori Luna and many more besides!
Honourable mention: BeamNG.drive
Sadly, this is not a game that many VTubers have played, but having witnessed the glorious chaos and carnage that VShojo’s Nyanners created over the course of this three-hour stream, I most definitely want to see more VTubers play it.
For the uninitiated, BeamNG.drive is a vehicle simulation that has a particularly detailed damage model and no real fixed way to play. There are a series of scenarios, time trials and races you can take on — plus an active modding community continually making more — but the real fun is in just experimenting with the game, its maps, its vehicles and the many, many many settings you can fiddle around with.
Whether you’re in the mood for some serious driving, feel like flinging a rocket-propelled bus off a cliff in Utah or want to see what happens to a family saloon if the Earth’s gravity were to rapidly switch from zero to ten times its normal strength, BeamNG.drive has you covered — and with many VTubers’ creativity and talent for entertaining audiences through “freeform” gameplay in titles such as Minecraft, it’d be great to see BeamNG.drive get some more love on streams.
In the meantime, we’ll always have Nyanners.
BeamNG.drive is available for PC via Steam.
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