Since its launch in 2011, the live streaming service Twitch has become an indispensable online platform for gamers, serving as a hub of entertainment for viewers who want to watch others navigate popular games. By October 2013, the service boasted some 45 million unique users who were watching gameplay both live and on-demand, with a multitude of fun games, from “e-sports” like football, baseball and basketball titles to first-person role-playing games like Grand Theft Auto and multiplayer games like Fortnite.
Of course, success breeds competition, and today, Twitch is not the only platform that gamers can dive into. YouTube, for example, offers everything from gaming tutorials to live gameplay of popular titles like Call of Duty. The social platform Discord, which debuted in 2015, gives players the ability to communicate via instant messages, voice calls, video calls and text massaging in private or public chats, trading tips (and even a little trash talk) as they play.
Nonetheless, Twitch still serves as the primary forum for introducing new titles, showcasing how specific games can be played and elucidating strategy as well as providing gaming tips, tricks and secrets. There’s even a biannual convention known as TwitchCon where fans can play and compete with one another. Here are seven of the best games to enjoy on Twitch.
Known for its nefarious protagonists and seedy missions, GTA5 allows players to control one of three characters as they contend with corrupt government agencies while attempting to complete various heists on foot, in a car or even while flying a plane. This is an open-world multiplayer game that offers myriad options and places to interact with and venture, and it’s a popular title to not just play but to observe, both to learn the ins and outs of the strategy and for those who may not want to partake in the often-brutal missions. Do you want to be an actor or a viewer? Both are fun, but one may just require a stronger stomach. Check it out here.
This popular title offers three modes: an everyone-for-themselves “battle royale,” a cooperative “save the world” and a build it yourself “Fortnite creative.” As with many modern games, there are countless intricacies to each that require a level of comfort before one can attempt to be successful, and especially since players can enjoy Fortnite online against opponents all around the globe, it’s smart strategy to watch some gameplay style before diving into the deep end. Check it out here.
This is what’s known in the industry as a “sandbox” game, meaning that creativity is at the core and just about anything goes in terms of options and strategy. Players explore “blocky” infinite terrain to build structures, invent machines, fight computer-controlled enemies or even cooperate with players against other human-controlled adversaries. Minecraft is as big as it gets when it comes to the vastness of gaming possibilities, so watching others play it can be informative for later gaming, or it can be viewed simply as the longest animated movie ever, with action around every digital corner. Check it out here.
This latest addition to the Call of Duty franchise offers something that previous iterations didn’t: a focus on the accumulation of in-game currency. It also supports up to 150 players, up from the previous 100. The game’s “battle royale” mode pits players against one another in an ever-shrinking map with the objective of being the last player standing. Players want to avoid the yellow gas, which in turn forces them into tighter and tighter spaces. Needless to say, there is a big learning curve and a lot of strategy necessary to compete and win. It’s also action-packed and rich with refined graphics, making it a compelling war story even if you choose to just observe instead of playing. Check it out here.
This multi-player first-person shooter pits two teams — the Terrorists and the Counter-Terrorists — head-to-head in order to complete various objectives. The Terrorists can plant bombs while their opponents work in unison to stop them. Or, in another plot, the Counter-Terrorists attempt various hostage rescues that their opponents have captured. Officially, there are nine game modes in this title, all involving distinct details and plots. It’s a fast-paced game, with bullets flying and potential enemies around every corner, so for those who may not want to wield a digital gun or involve themselves in the game’s espionage, watching it unfold can be a better (or at lest less heart-pounding) approach. Check it out here.
This title requires a sense of the big picture. Players work to develop a civilization from a smaller settlement over the course of thousands of years to become a world power. Goals include military dominance, technological prowess and cultural superiority. Players compete against the computer or other human opponents by exploring vast worlds, developing new cities and civilizations, building infrastructure, developing the military culture and strengthening defense systems. All these can, however, be difficult tasks without a strong sense of how the game works, which is why you may want to view it on Twitch first and then develop your own order of operations based on the experience of others. Check it out here.
A bit of a lighter offering compared to the (mainly) war-themed titles listed above, this game involves a human character living among anthropomorphized animals in a village. Players collect items, plant plants, catch bugs, fish and socialize with the local furry residents. Created by Nintendo, this open-world game is played in real time and involves various holidays and slower events like the growth of trees. It’s highly customizable too: a player’s house can be furnished, decorated or expanded; clothes can be made, accessories and hair styles changed. You may not need to observe Animal Crossing online for strategy or tips, but it’s fun just to enjoy its entertaining details. Check it out here.