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MABW: Marche's Adventures in Streamland (and "Why Watch Streams?")

You might be wondering what the heck a MABW is, seeing as it's the first word in the title of  this blog. I'll tell you, right now. This is a week I am dubbing "Marche's Absurd Blogging Week", where I feel the intense need to blog like crazy and am writing a blog post a day (although, actually, I'm writing them before the actual day I post them, since I'll be kind of busy later this week). So, I'll just stick that sucker right in front of my blogs for this week.

The only problem with this way of writing is that I feel the strong urge to post them all at once, because I think this one and the one I have for tomorrow, especially, are two of my best blogs. They get personal and heartfelt, and that's what I'm all about. Unfortunately, I can't crank these out all in a row and push other peoples' blogs down, so I'll just have to live with the pain of patience.

A question we have all asked or thought at one time or another.

So, the other day, Sephzilla brought up a good point, although I can't quite remember where, about the fact that when he goes into the Destructoid stream, he hardly recognizes anyone there. I can relate. It's actually fascinating that at most, I only recognize maybe one or two people out of everyone there.

Well, I don't know if everyone's just busy or if people here just flat out don't like to watch streams, but I, for one, have been watching streams almost religiously for the longest time. I'm going to recount my adventures in streaming, here, and at the same time try to convince you why you should watch some streams.

This is where it all began, one August afternoon.

So, I used to frequent a website called Starmen.net, back when I used to have a strong hunger for Earthbound, which I no longer have, since I've played Mother 3 more times than is healthy for a human being. Anyways, one August I saw that they had an advertisement of sorts for this marathon being run by a group called TheSpeedGamers. Great group of guys. They generally stage marathons and raise money for various charities.

This marathon, however, focused around bringing Mother 3 to America by encouraging people to call in to Nintendo as much as possible to ask if they were bringing Mother 3 over or to ask if they had plans to. You know, drum up support. It was dubbed the PK Siege. This was where I had my first real streaming experience.

The thing that I noticed immediately, and one thing I love to this day, is the interaction between the streamer/commentator and the viewer. Most streamers constantly communicate with the viewers, and that really establishes a sort of connection that's unrivaled by Let's Plays. Don't get me wrong, Let's Plays are fine and all, but getting to know the streamer, getting the opportunity to help them out if they need it (as long as you're not backseat gaming) and even to simply chat with them about random topics is great, and it can be a lot of fun.

Don't ask me what's going on in this cha-ZOOOOZOOOOOOOOOOOO.

But even beyond just the interaction between the viewer and the streamer/commentator, one thing that I love to death about streams is the opportunity to be a part of a chat. Situations like the one shown in the screenshot above are not totally uncommon, where the chat is totally in sync. I have a lot of memories with the various chats I've been in, and I've shared a lot of laughs with many people that I've met in the chats of streams.

Another great thing about the chats is that you can forge some great friendships there. I know I've met some good friends through chats in streams, and it's cool to be able to go into the chat of a stream you frequent and say "hey, I know that person". That's not to say that you can't meet mortal enemies in a chatroom, but that's what mods are for, right? To clear out the ruckus.

So long as you aren't acting like a jerk or an idiot, stream chats can be a great place to meet new people, to interact with them, and to really create some lasting memories. In fact, I'd say that the chats are a big part of why I even watch streams in the first place. There are times where, if the Twitch chat isn't working (which is 50% of the time), I won't even watch a stream. It's that vital to having the full streaming experience, in my opinion.

The times they were a-changin'.

So, I was a part of TheSpeedGamers community for about three or four years. I had watched their marathons since the PK Siege of 2008, and I joined their community officially a year or so later during the Megaman marathon (I remember I said that I would join if they beat this one Megaman within a time-limit, or something. Like a dare.) Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. I left the community a little over a year back.

I had some personal issues to attend to, and I felt that the community had been dwindling to a halt for some time, which was frustrating for someone trying to be an active member. So, I turned, instead to Twitch.tv. Twitch had used to be Justin.tv, I think. Justin.tv still exists in some capacity, I think, but it redirected, for a time to Twitch. I don't know. It's a weird situation. Anyways, I came across Twitch, and I decided to settle down, there.

For a time, I was lost. I had no idea of where I should go. Gone were the days where I watched Twitch streams from community members of TheSpeedGamers. I was like a newborn babe. Innocent. Curious. Ready to be molded.

And thus, I found yet another reason that I love streams.

This is teh urn! FrankerZ FrankerZ FrankerZ

I came across this guy, Siglemic. You might have heard of him. He's a Super Mario 64 speed-runner extraordinaire. He's pretty well the best of the best. I couldn't tell you how many various world records for Super Mario 64 he holds, has held, and has reclaimed. Anyways, a big part of why I love streams is the spectacle of it all. And if you have ever watched Siglemic play Super Mario 64, you know exactly what I mean.

If you ever watch someone who's a seasoned speed-runner or even someone who just speed-runs a game regularly on Twitch, you'll see that they pull off some absolutely unbelievable moves. I'm still appalled every time I see Siglemic run Rainbow Ride in Super Mario 64. It's insane. Or Yoshi's Island, with TriHex. Some absolutely unbelievable stuff goes down in these streams.

It's a spectacle. It's awe-inspiring. It pulls you in. That's not to say that everything will pull you in. Like, I for one can't stay interested while watching Ninja Gaiden speed-runs. That's just not my kind of game. But even when watching them, I have to admit that they're hella impressive.

But even beyond speed-runners, there are many spectacles to behold in streaming. You guys might actually recognize this one, if you watched the Destructoid stream last night.

Party balloons? Clowns? This is my kind of stream.

Our very own Johnny Luchador streamed Outlast last night, and this was a spectacle, although a different kind than that from the spectacle of a speed-run. As you can see, he decorated the stream in party balloons and a clown. Besides that, he played smooth jazz while he played Outlast. Outlast, if you don't know is a horror game. Well...it was, at least, until this stream.

This particular night of streaming was a sight to behold. It completely turned the idea that a horror game stream has to be scary on its head. It was utterly ridiculous, and at the same time, it was highly enjoyable.

There are plenty of other streams that hold moments like this, as well. Moments you just wish that you were there to experience firsthand. Like, MANvsGAME playing QWOP for nine hours straight to a bunch of (sometimes) ill-fitting music, or bwana playing Euro Truck Simulator and getting plowed into by some cars that fly over some dunes to his right like bats out of hell.

It's all worth watching, but the more you watch, the more you find some true gems that provide some truly unforgettable experiences.

"Keep it classy." - Riptide

So, it's been approximately a year since I really settled down in Twitch, and I've pretty well got a lineup of people that I'll watch regularly going for me. RiptidePow, Dansgaming, Princezzxdiana, the Destructoid channel, Trihex, romscout, and so on. In travelling from stream to stream, I noticed one other thing that I want to touch on. Something that really makes a difference.

Within each stream channel, you basically have a family of people. A community. Not unlike that which we have here at Destructoid. You have regulars. You have people walking in, unannounced, simply passing by on their way. But no matter who you are, you're accepted. You're treated like part of the family.

I'm a moderator on RiptidePow's channel, and one thing that I consistently notice is how I could be gone for a month at a time, but it doesn't matter. Whenever I choose to come back, it's like I had never left. We're like relatives seeing each other after months of being apart. We're that knit together. And it's awesome. You can't go just anywhere to get that kind of treatment. That's the power of streams.

I don't know if they can beat that time estimate.

But, it's not foolproof. There are some jerks out there. Case in point, Awesome Games Done Quick 2013. The chat got really nasty at points. It was so bad that the regular chatters were begging the mods to put the chat into subscriber-only mode (you can subscribe to certain channels for like $5.00 a month, or something). That never happens. It was crazy.

But it brings me to my last point. You have to appreciate the mods and the streamers themselves who do all this. I have seen some mods in my time who have worked very, very hard to make the streams they moderate a very welcoming environment that's free of assholes, spammers, backseat gamers, and the like. In fact, I've seen people (and I've done this myself) send thank you letters to mods for working so hard to make the chat a safe, friendly place to interact with one another.

Even beyond that, there are streamers who really put a lot of hard work into their streams. Like, Riptide, for example, is trying to make a living off of his stream, so I know he works hard to make his stream as enjoyable as he can for the viewers, because it really comes down to the viewers when it comes to any profit that streamers may make on Twitch.

So, that would be the final thing I love about streams. It's not just a lackadaisical thing that people do for fun. It can also be a way to make a living, and a job. The idea of what a stream can be is a growing, living thing. And it's beautiful.

It's a ruff road at first when you don't know what streams you will enjoy, but with some time, I think you'll find yet another place you can call home.

I suppose that's about it. I've had a long, fruitful journey with streaming, and I hope to continue that journey for many years to come. More importantly, I hope that some of you consider taking the plunge. It's truly a wonderful thing.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.
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About Marche100one of us since 6:01 AM on 12.15.2011


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