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"Thanks to my depression, I struggle with being alone, but Let's Plays help me feel like there is someone else in the room talking to me," Sedillo said."The Let's Play community has also brought me closer to people both online and off," she said.

"LPs are something my sister and I share, even though we're living several states apart.

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In a world where playing together on the couch is becoming rarer and rarer, You Tubers offer a substitute by straddling the line between reality stars, critics, and comedians. The tenor of conversation, for the Grumps and a lot of other Let's Players, runs the gamut from irreverent to the personal, moving along the same uneven lines as real conversation with friends. It's not community, exactly, but it's a proxy of one, and I think it's easy to devalue that unless you personally need it.

Proxy communities, through mediated relationships and art, create a space for people to see themselves more clearly and to build a sense of connection with the broader world.

When you're in isolation, proxy communities can help you find real ones.

That's what happened to Alyssa Sedillo, a twenty-something from Colorado who cops to watching LPs regularly.

In fact, the perspective of the viewer is suspiciously absent from most discussions of this new genre of digital media. I had just moved to a new city to work a lousy job.

I was much lonelier there than I expected; the connections I thought I had in my new home proved to be more flimsy than I had anticipated.Like all he needed was friends and something to tie us together, and from that he had a home.Let's Plays remind me of that moment, that connection. They remind me that even a shadow of home is worth the time you spend in its shelter.About the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins, who put on an incredible display of fast, tough, competitive hockey befitting two of our sport’s best teams.Instead we’re talking about Brad Marchand doing something that has nothing to do with hockey.Every now and then, an article in some local paper or business journal will pop up, listing the major players in the industry like Markiplier or Pew Die Pie and asking, with more than a little handwringing: How is it that an entire cabal of young entrepreneurs can make six figures just playing videogames in front of a camera?

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