Well, the time has come, various restrictions on our movements and daily lives are being removed after 3-4 months of what many of us have never experienced in our lifetimes.
Here’s a shout out and thanks to the many people within the WordPress community and further afield, who have helped me through this time, by creating amazing content. To be completely transparent, what follows is largely in chronological order.
For me, this is where it all started, with the 50-day challenge for Special Effect. Right at the start of 2020, I finalised the purchase of a house and had crazy fast broadband installed the day after. Going from 2.5Mbps to 350Mbps and finally being able to watch Twitch, I was hungry for live content. During the month-long DIY-fest, Kim and Pete were my constant companions. I didn’t catch every stream, but damn did I watch a lot of Twitch. I even joined in on several occasions, which was awesome after an 18-month hiatus from multiplayer gaming.
Once we’d moved into the house, this obsession continued, as Kim and Pete reached the end of their 50-day challenge and continued streaming. It was around this time I started streaming myself, with their help and encouragement.
I’m proud to call them my friends and always happy to cast their faces onto my TV!
Thanks, Kim and Pete ❤.
Then something I could never have predicted happened. A global event, one which would see me thrust into my conservatory instead of a cosy office in Bristol. You know what I’m talking about…
I was faced with working from home for an unknown amount of time, a situation I had only just changed to my liking in November 2019, after changing job and working from home 2 days a week instead of 5.
While some of us changed location and tried to carry on working, others were furloughed and suddenly found themselves with time on their hands. Gaming Diaries was one of these people and I’m so glad she picked up the microphone and started streaming. I honestly don’t know whether my mental health could have survived in that conservatory without Gaming Diaries and Zoo Tycoon at in the drive time slot for company.
Not just that, but everyone in the chat too, as more people were sent home or furloughed, her audience grew and grew. In just a couple of months, affiliate status was reached, which was no surprise to me.
What Gaming Diaries did for me during this time is something I’ll never forget. I’m so glad to see from her own post on this subject that it was a huge positive in her life too. I hope the streams will continue, so we can continue to be a welcome relief for her, as she was for us. Thank you, Gaming Diaries ❤.
Athena from The Ambi Gamer
Somewhere in the middle of all this, Athena did a charity stream to raise money against The Thing I won’t mention by name, for fear of search engine robots.
The streams have continued long after the success of the charity drive, I’ve caught some Fable sessions and Dragon Age, which I’ve never seen before.
Athena also sings, very well in fact, I’ll always remember the first stream I managed to catch because it featured an interlude of the song from Portal. Thank you, Athena.
Jett from In Third Person
I forget the exact moment I discovered Jett’s blog and Twitch channel, but I know it was at exactly the right moment. Despite the time zone difference, on many a sleepless night or Sunday afternoon post/pre-roast dinner, Jett has always been very entertaining to watch when I’ve been able.
Not just this, but his attitude towards knowledge sharing is exemplary. One of his posts, in particular, helped me over the hurdle of microphone troubles in a matter of minutes, where I may have struggled for hours otherwise. I’ve seen him help so many others as well. Over on the Support Role Discord, he has often jumped into the #streaming-and-video-advice channel to share his expertise. Thank you, Jett.
Ian from Adventure Rules
Jett helped Adventure Rules on his journey into Twitch streaming, despite his limited access to technology to make this happen. A discussion about this tech in Twitch chat prompted requests for a blog post, which was recently published. This post outlines just how low the technology bar can be to get into this streaming business.
What Ian brings is a delightful window and insight into video games I’ve never really played myself, such as Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door and Undertale.
Within minutes of catching his first stream, I had to ask if he’s ever had acting lessons. Turns out he has and it really shows, as he is quite the showman! He’s also very good at keeping up with Twitch chat during his streams. Recently stepping up from one to two streams a week, I hope Ian’s channel continues to grow as it has been a wonderful late night delight for me. Thank you, Ian.
Frostilyte from Frostilyte Writes
I’m not sure when Frostilyte appeared on my radar, but he was definitely someone else suddenly thrust into the working from home situation, similar to myself. He was also often spotted in the chat during Gaming Diaries’ streams.
He took to streaming on Fridays after work, which soon became Frosti-Fridays and another institution in my schedule, as it was around 9pm in the UK. I haven’t been able to catch them all because it clashes with date night (when the wife is interested), but I’ve watched way more Hollow Knight than I’ll ever play 😂. Thank you, Frost.
Support Role Discord and Support Role TV
Join the server here. Just do it, here’s why.
Kim from Later Levels and Luke from Hundstrasse started this Discord community some time ago, but it has become my number one Discord server and home throughout this time.
An extension and amalgamation of the WordPress/Twitter community hubs and spokes stemming from Later Levels, it’s been wonderful chatting in real-time with these folks.
I’ve also discovered new blogs and streamers through this server who might otherwise have slipped through the net, thanks to WordPress Reader being awful and Twitter becoming a cesspit.
Support Role TV was short-lived as a broadcasting Twitch channel in its own right, but it was something to focus on for a time and helped me get to grips with Twitch’s various foibles, while I was getting ready to start my own channel.
Stream keys are available if you’d like to try streaming somewhere yourself, before going live on your own channel. We can help you configure and troubleshoot your setup. Head over to the Discord and ask!
It currently lives on as a place where I consolidate the various streaming schedules using the Twitch Schedule feature, giving an overview of the week’s streams coming from the community. I do this for myself mostly, planning my viewing for the week, but hopefully, this is useful for others too.
Other community mentions
As my obsession with Twitch has increased, I’ve ended up following quite a few streamers and bloggers within the WordPress community and beyond, but notable mentions are, in order of discovery:
I may have lurked in your streams, or I may have engaged to some extent and possibly played something with you, either way, I was there and so were you. Thank you for providing me with entertainment!
Beyond this community
When there were no streams or blog posts to read within this community, I ventured further afield with my newfound broadband capabilities, finally able to dive into the YouTube rabbit hole without fear of buffering.
I’m not into DnD at all, even a little bit, sorry not sorry. I just prefer video games. I discovered Critical Role because several of the members/players are prominent video game voice actors, such as Ashley Johnson and Laura Bailey. I’m slowly working my way through their Between the Sheets series, which is a wonderful insight into the lives of the people behind the video games.
Play, Watch, Listen.
You can find this podcast here on YouTube, but it’s also on the usual podcast channels.
Alanah crops up on my recommended videos from time to time, but with the release and subsequent obsession I had with The Last of Us Part II, this was happening every day.
One video in my watch history containing Troy Baker (the voice of Joel) caused the algorithm to point me towards this monthly podcast, started towards the end of last year.
During the current situation, they’ve stepped this up to weekly, which has been amazing for me. I binge-watched close to 16 episodes. The stories they have to tell about the industry are fascinating, covering voice acting, development, managing a studio, music and audio, journalism.
They’re the perfect blend of representation and I hope this continues for a while. If it doesn’t, there’s some great content about the development of indie games, The Last of Us, what working in video game journalism is like, so many topics.
I’ve mentioned Danny’s channel a few times over the years, but I need to call him out specifically here too. A former video game journalist, Danny creates awsome video game documentaries funded by Patreon.
During the last few months, he’s had to close down the physical studio space he was in the process of creating. It couldn’t be used for its intended collaborative purposes. This was heartbreaking, but I’m sure he’ll explore this again when he’s able to in the future.
Back at home then, like many of us, he’s continued editing and filming remotely for new documentaries and some archive footage. He’s continued to put out great content as a result, I’ve particularly enjoyed his series on The Outer Worlds.
Wait, isn’t this where you are now? Well yes, but along with consuming more content, I think I’ve been creating it more consistently as well. This has been a great comfort to me during this time.
Everything I’ve done, including the Twitch streaming, was going to happen regardless after the house move and broadband installation, but the current situation has allowed for increased focus on gaming, blogging and streaming thanks to the removal of my commute.
I’ve finished a few more games during this time than I otherwise would have, such as Dead Space, Spider-Man, SteamWorld Dig. I’ve chatted with many of you in your own streams as well as mine. I watched the PlayStation presentation with Gaming Diaries and Phil from Later Levels, something otherwise boring which was a blast with other people you know.
I’ve grown my blog followers by around 20, the biggest single leap its ever experienced, rookie numbers by some standards but a huge growth for this site!
We’ll never be huge, but we’re a small part of something much bigger now, something I never expected when I got into this video game blogging lark. The last few months have only been possible because we were part of this community.
I don’t know if I’ve ever taken the time to thank you, but here it is, a post dedicated to you, the readers, the WordPress community, those of you on Twitch, watching or broadcasting along with me.
All of you were there for me and others in the last several months. Content creation is not always easy, but for those of us who like to consume, a huge thank you for being there and doing what you do, we all really needed it.
On that note, I’ve spent over two hours writing a blog post when I should have been working, something I’m probably guilty of a little too often lately. This is almost as long as my The Last of Us Part II review 🤣.
I need to renew my focus on paid work, as exams and a new Chief Technical Officer joining my organisation loom ever closer. I also have a house to renovate, which costs money.
I’ll see you around on Twitch, Discord, Twitter, nowisgames.com a few times a month, and the comments sections of bloggers out there in the WordPress community.
Thank you video games, and thank you, everyone, who made it to the end of this post. Loves ya ❤.