When you think of YouTube, interactive games probably aren’t the first thing that come to mind. However, clever creators once came up with many games you can play on YouTube. Similar to classic “choose your own adventure” books and interactive fiction games, interactive YouTube games let you make choices to move the story forward.
Unfortunately, YouTube made a change that renders almost all of these videos unplayable. Let’s examine why, then look at the interactive YouTube games you CAN still play today.
Interactive YouTube Games Died Without Annotations
Unfortunately, most interactive YouTube games no longer function correctly. This is due to YouTube retiring the annotations feature.
If you’re not familiar, annotations were text boxes that creators could add to their videos. They were often used to link to a related video, note a correction, or make a joke. However, annotations didn’t show on YouTube’s mobile apps.
This, combined with declining use, led the company to discontinue them in 2017. And then later, in January 2019, YouTube completely removed annotations from all videos.
While YouTube now offers features like cards and end screens to replace some of this functionality, the fact that annotations no longer appear means that many interactive videos simply don’t work. They relied on annotations to provide links that you clicked to progress the narrative.
A few creators have replaced annotations with the newer cards or end screens, but this isn’t the case for most of them. As many of the popular games were years old, the creators might not actively manage their channels any more. You can see an example of this below; the interactive card trick video simply doesn’t work as intended without annotations.
Chad, Matt & Rob’s Interactive Movies
As it turns out, there is one notable YouTube channel that still features working interactive games: chadmattandrob. While this channel isn’t active these days, it features some of the best-known interactive movies on the site. The first one was uploaded all the way back in 2008.
While these videos initially relied on annotations, the endings have been reworked to use modern ending screens. Thus, this channel is your best bet for interactive YouTube experiences.
Let’s quickly look at the premise for each of these experiences so you know what to expect. We’ve linked the starting videos for each one, so begin with those and your choices will take you through the narrative.
1. The Time Machine
Chad, Matt & Rob’s first adventure was also one of the first of its kind on YouTube. In this experience, your goal is to get the guys to a meeting safely. Along the way, they discover a time machine and travel to different time periods while trying to stay ahead of the authorities.
2. The Murder
During this adventure, Chad, Matt, and Rob are witness to a murder while filming. Compared to The Time Machine, this one features extra branching paths and more possible scenes to see.
3. The Birthday Party
Join our heroes for their third adventure, where they must get to their boss’s birthday party unscathed. During the journey, they encounter a lot of wild scenarios you might not expect.
4. The Teleporter
The channel marks The Teleporter as a “mini-adventure.” It’s notable for being a branded video; the story features AXE products. Aside from that, it centers on the guys running away from a UFO.
5. The Treasure Hunt
The final interactive adventure tasks the group with facing off against a veteran treasure hunter as they look for an ancient treasure. It was uploaded in 2011.
Interactive YouTube Games Are a Thing of the Past
As we’ve seen, games that you can play on YouTube almost completely died out when YouTube killed annotations. Thankfully, you can still enjoy the Chad, Matt & Rob videos, so at least they aren’t all gone.
There’s more good news too: interactive movies are alive and well outside of YouTube. As you can see with our list of interactive movies you can control online
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