Here's a secret from an old person who loves games: video Let's Plays existed long before the Internet was widespread. They were, however, far lower-tech than what we're familiar with today.
We didn't have emulators that captured footage, let alone any kind of fancy hardware that recorded directly off an NES at pixel-perfect resolution. We didn't even have basic video editing software. All we had were well-meaning parents with camcorders and shaky arms. Heck, a tripod mount was considered high-tech capture equipment back in the '80s and '90s. And we liked it that way!
Actually, I lie like a rug. Nobody "liked it that way." Once the footage was recorded, it was usually forgotten alongside the family's similarly captured footage of family barbeques and school presentations. Ill-recorded footage of cable TV movies and WWF Pay-Per-Views got top billing on shelves, and precious family moments were committed to a cardboard grave and buried in the back of the garage where they were quickly done in by moisture and mice.
When surviving footage of these grainy play sessions do surface on YouTube, they're pretty fun to look back on. One YouTuber, Gaijillionaire, recently uploaded a play session of his young self playing Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers in 1990. He doesn't just play the game, though: He offers tips and tricks while he does his thing. Jump on the faucets to turn off the water, everyone!
This is fun, relevant footage now that we're a week away from seeing The Disney Afternoon collection on Steam, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One (but not the Nintendo Switch – boooo).
It's also a lot of fun to look back at bits of history like this and observe how childish pastimes ultimately translated to adult pursuits and careers. Gajillionaire went on to make lots of game-related videos, for instance (nothing else recorded off a camcorder). I have piles of game-related writing from my childhood, most of it bad – but still full of swear words. There are probably more than a few game developers who kept graph paper notebooks full of custom Super Mario levels.
Just goes to show you should never throw anything out, ever. Wait, that's terrible advice.