Since the early 2000s, video game content creators have been uploading videos of clutch wins and breathtaking snipes in video games. Today, we see those pro moves play out live by streamers from all around the world.
One of the first games for people my age to show off their skills with was Halo: Combat Evolved. Insane plays in Halo were the first viral videos for many video game kids in the early 2000s. My friend and I spent countless hours at LAN parties trying to recreate these pro moves we saw online.
One of the most underappreciated phenomena of Halo was the advent of Red vs. Blue, created by Rooster Teeth. Red vs. Blue was the first large-scale lucrative venture into creating a show out of a video game. Even 14 years after its conception, Rooster Teeth continues to tell funny stories that connect to new audiences.
Many modern-day content creators, like Dunkey, started off on Newgrounds over 12 years ago. They went from making no-budget flash videos to entertaining millions on YouTube and Twitch. Every month, 100 million users flock to Twitch to see over 2.2 million broadcasts, but why do viewers keep returning?
Some of the biggest content creators on the web are streamers. To people who are not already into streaming, it can seem odd to watch another person play a game instead of playing it themselves. South Park addressed this spectacle when Ike prefers to watch Pewdiepie than play the new Call of Duty with his brother Kyle in Season 18, Episode 9 #REHASH.
The truth is, there is a lot more to modern streaming and content creation than playing a video game. These streamers have created an on-screen persona that makes it fun to watch them play. Or, they are professional gamers and people watch them to learn how to get better at playing the games themselves. A lot of gamers even help support charities, which gives their unique position even more value!
There are streamers like DrDisRespect who don a huge Tom Selleck mustache, a mullet, sunglasses, and a bulletproof vest. Mix this outlandish outfit in with his over the top commentary, and you have a great program that is loads of fun to watch.
On top of how fun streams are to watch, we get the added layers of suspense, thrill, and action that come with a live performance.
I never understood why a magician going into a water tank and struggling to get out was appealing to anyone. It was clear he was going to escape and, in the end, be safe. It was just a trick, right? Then I saw The Escapist from the Broadway act, The Illusionists, perform the trick in person. It was horrifyingly thrilling! I was not sure he was going to get out, and while watching him struggle upside down in a tank of water, I was drawn to the edge of my seat.
That same level of unknowing and tension is what is brought into competitive streaming. You do not know if you are about to see your favorite streamer crash and burn or pull off an insanely clutch win that you will talk about for weeks. Watching someone rage quit a game has never been so much fun and so interactive. Then when your streamer wins a game, it really feels like you won by just being there to watch. Much like a professional sports team, viewers latch onto their favorite streamers and bask in the glory of their wins!
This new generation of streamers is doing exactly what Rooster Teeth did with Red vs. Blue back in 2003. They are using video games to create a show.
Every channel on Twitch and Youtube has been meticulously crafted by the creator to be entertaining, engaging, and rewarding to the viewers. Many streamers have special clubs you can join to get even more out of watching.
Streamers and content creators give us nerds a way to engage with like-minded people, while watching something we love. We will keep coming back because they entertain us in a way no other venue ever has, and for that we thank them!
Who are your favorite streamers? Do you prefer Twitch or YouTube? Let us know in the comments!