Weekly Blog May 20th, 2018: Watching Others Play Video Games

Hello Internet!

I hope everyone had a fantastic week! Here on the website, we had another great week thanks to all of you lovely people who come back week after week and read my stuff. If you’re new here, don’t worry, I appreciate your views as well. Welcome. Anyway, no matter if you’re new or old, I hope you got a chance to check out what I published this week. If you didn’t, let me tell you all about those pieces you missed. Last Sunday, I published a Weekly Blog talking about Road Trips in which I told stories about my trip to Ottawa Canada and another trip to Virginia Beach and Washington DC. I also get a little mushy about what Road Trips mean to me and why I love them so much, so if you love to travel or if you just want to hear about my travels, give that a read. On Wednesday, I published a Poem all about a Soldier Returning Home. I was a little worried about portraying PTSD correctly, but people seemed to really like it, so I hope I did a good job. On Friday I published a Writing Prompt/Image Prompt about a Date Night in Japan in a not too distant future. I don’t know a ton about Japan, but I think I nailed a general atmosphere of a Japanese city. If not, I’ll just blame it on the future. Things change. The world becomes more and more worldly each day, so maybe the culture has changed between now and when the story takes place. Anyway it’s a cool story with a few science fiction elements mixed in, so check it out. Ok that’s enough talking about this past week, let’s move on to this week’s Weekly Blog.

Before writing this Weekly Blog, I had a few different ideas floating around in my head about what I was going to write about. To give you some insider knowledge about me, my writing process, and history of the blog, there was a time where I had a hard time coming up with subjects to write Weekly Blogs about. I like to talk about my week and what’s going on with me as well as relate it to some kind of subject. For example, last week I was thinking about Road Trips while reflecting on the anniversary of the trip up to Canada. I also thought that it would be relevant because summer is right around the corner and many people are already planning trips or going on trips to kick off the summer season. But in the past, I did hit a few rough patches with Weekly Blogs. I mean at one point I wrote about Sarahah. Literally an app that was popular for maybe a month and then fell off the face of the Earth once it was bogged down in scams and ads. Anyway, I thought about talking about the whole Yanny vs. Laurel debate (#TeamYanny) which is the White/Yellow Dress vs. Blue/Black Dress of 2018, but I figured that it had already been beaten into the Earth by now. We’ve all seen it. We’ve all heard it. Time to move on to the next thing already. That’s how fast the internet moves. One day we’re obsessed with visual or audio illusions, the next day we’re making memes about it, and then the third day it’s old news. By the fourth day it has hit Facebook and your Grandma is sharing a meme about it. I know I’m getting off track, but all of that was to say that instead of talking about that, I wanted to talk about another thing that is sweeping the nation: Twitch Streaming.

Now Twitch Streaming is nothing new just like the idea of watching someone else play video games is nothing new, but Twitch hasn’t been around forever. I remember when I first heard about Twitch. It was the phenomenon called “Twitch Plays Pokemon.” Now this didn’t shape human civilization as we know it, but for many people like myself Twitch Plays Pokemon put Twitch on the map. Watching the internet control the player as they fought Pokemon, spun around on spin pads, and fail to get past a ledge lead to many people get interested in the platform. Even the event of the character releasing Pokemon from the PC lead to memes, fan art, and the start of a religion (#PraiseHelix). This also lead more people to get interested in Twitch and the idea of streaming video games. Now people had uploaded video game footage on YouTube and the era of Minecraft Let’s Players was all over the internet. Big YouTubers like Pewdiepie, Markiplier, and Jacksepticeye were already putting up videos of them playing and reacting to video games and making it big. But Twitch seemed to offer another place for content creators to grow and thrive off of playing video games. Plus this was live gameplay, not uploaded, edited footage of people playing video games. Twitch began to gain ground as a legitimate platform and many large Twitch streamers grew in popularity, but Twitch didn’t really hit the mainstream in a large way again until more recently. This happened when Ninja, Drake, and Fortnite broke the internet.

Now if you didn’t understand a word of that, let me break it down for you a little bit. Fortnite is one of the most popular battle royal video games right now alongside games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) where you drop onto an island, find guns, and kill everyone else on the island as the island’s area grows smaller and smaller. Fortnite has an island where a raging, purple storm forces players to come together closer and closer as the game goes on. Your goal is to find guns, collect materials to build structures, and survive until the very end. The cartoony style, the building mechanic, it’s price tag being zero dollars, and it’s huge fanbase makes Fortnite a very popular game and it gets a ton of views on Twitch. Now one of the biggest players of the game is named Ninja. He was already pretty popular on Twitch, but his popularity blew up even more when he played a game with the rapper, Drake. Their combination star power and the game’s popularity came together to launch Twitch back into the limelight for people like me who had put it in the back burner of my mind following Twitch Plays Pokemon. Hundreds of thousands of people tuned in to watch Drake and Ninja play Fortnite together and it even reached the attention of mainstream media who covered the event in the days prior.

The idea of watching someone else play video games and commentate on them or react to them is becoming more and more mainstream. South Park had parodied Let’s Players in December of 2014 when YouTubers like Pewdiepie were already pretty popular, but since then more and more people have gotten into streaming games and/or watching streamers play videogames. Twitch has continued to gain in popularity and YouTube took notice adding their own live streaming branch called YouTube gaming. More and more people are watching live streams for entertainment and I’m fully on board with it. Sure there is some push back from people who don’t really understand why someone would “watch someone play video games instead of playing them yourself” as they watch a sporting event on their televisions, but for the most part, I’d say that people are becoming more and more open to this new realm of entertainment. I for one have started to watch more and more of Ninja streaming Fortnite. I’ve never played the game in my life and I have no interest in the battle royal, early access model Fortnite embraces, but for me it’s just something I can have running in the background as I write or play my own video game. Ninja seems like a really cool guy who is both skilled at the game and entertaining to watch which is really the 1-2 combo. Plus he seems to stream a lot, so whenever I have some downtime, I can go to Twitch and watch him play. The matches are pretty quick and his stream usually have a really good pace to them. He interacts with his chat, reading donations and answering questions, while also playing a game he seems to really enjoy. Again, I don’t have any interest in Fortnite, but I love watching him play for the entertainment value.

Another thing I’ll say about watching someone play video games is that it lets me experience video games I’d not experience otherwise. For example I watch a few different YouTubers that play video games for a living. Markiplier is one of them and so is the Game Grumps. Both play video games and uploads their footage after editing. I’ve watched many of their videos of video games that I’ve never been able to play due to not owning particular systems or not having money to buy the game. These videos allow me to watch the game get played as well as get entertainment from the people playing the games. Another channel I’m a big fan of is The Game Theorists. Normally MattPatt uploads theories about video games, but he has embraced the YouTube Gaming model where throughout the weak he will play video games live on his second channel (third if you count Film Theorists as well.) This has allowed me to watch Matt and Stephanie play a whole variety of games that I wouldn’t have been able to play on my own from fan games, strange Indy games, and games I wouldn’t normally be interested in. One of my favorite video games is Life is Strange and I’ve never played it. I’ve only seen it be played by Matt. It’s one of my favorite games, but since I’m not a PC Gamer and I don’t own an Xbox or Playstation, I’m not able to play the game. However, since I got to see it get played, I got to fall in love with the characters and the story. Now I’m hoping it comes to Nintendo Switch, so I can play it for myself.

To give some final thoughts, I’ll say that I’m a big fan of watching other people play video games. It might not be for everyone, but I think a lot of people are embracing it. Even when I’m at my friends house and have the chance to play the game, I’d rather sit back and watch my friend play though it as I watch. I get to see the game be played as well as interact with the friend that’s playing it. It’s a win-win in my book. Live streams and Let’s players are here to stay, at least for now. Maybe the internet landscape will change and Twitch Streamers will be thrown to the wayside. Who knows? But for now great content creators are rising to the surface and gaining massive followings doing so. More people are reaching celebrity status thanks to the internet and places like YouTube and Twitch and for the most part it’s a good thing. There’s obviously demand, and the supply is rising to meet it. I’m a fan of watching people play video games, while also being a fan of playing video games myself.

Thank you so much for reading that Weekly Blog. I hope you enjoyed my thoughts about Twitch Streamers and YouTubers playing video games. If you liked this Weekly Blog, feel free to give it a like or leave a comment down below. You can tell me about your thoughts about Twitch and whether or not you like to watch others play video games. If you have a favorite Twitch Streamer or YouTuber, feel free to shout them out in the comments. If you didn’t like this Blog, you can also leave some constructive criticism in the comments. I’d love to hear your feedback either way. If Weekly Blogs aren’t really your thing, feel free to explore the website and check out the other things I’ve published. There are a ton of different Writing Prompt posts, Short Stories, Poems, and other creative writing pieces to check out so give them a read. If this is your first time reading my stuff, welcome again. You can follow the website on WordPress. That would be amazing. I really appreciate all your support no matter if it comes in the form of a view, like, comment, and/or share. All of it makes my day and leaves me smiling.

Thank you for all the support and I hope you have a wonderful week!




Header Photo Credit to Twitch

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