It seems like everyone and his uncle streams on Twitch, Mixer, or YouTube these days and I often wonder why. As a middle aged woman who’s seen her share of life’s ups and downs, it really looks to me like the majority of people who stream are a bunch of young people hoping to gain fame a la Ninja or something. Young people have an absolutely amazing capacity for dreaming and optimism, which is my nice way of saying that young people are stupid. While luck is certainly a part of it, fame and success are tied to hard work more than anything else. Today’s gaming youths seem to have this notion that since they’re good at video games, they can become rich and famous just by playing them. That’s not how it works.
Do I want to become rich and famous by playing video games? Of course I do! Who doesn’t want to get paid for doing something they love doing? But on the other hand, I DON’T want video games to lose their fun factor. First and foremost, I stream because I enjoy it. I love chatting with random people who are into the same things I am. Prior to streaming, it was difficult for me to find people who loved video games as much as I do. Most of the people I regularly interface with IRL are not into video games AT ALL. If they DO have any experience with games, they consider it some weird thing that they don’t understand, but their kids are REALLY into it. (I’ve tried encouraging them to play with their kids, but that’s a topic for another day…)
Several years ago, I was out having coffee with a high school classmate and she spent the entire time complaining to me about the fact that her husband played video games. According to her, video games are for children and as a grown man, he should have grown out of them by now. She was ranting and raving about how immature gamers are and I sat there thinking, “Are you REALLY saying these things to ME of all people?” She knew I loved games. I never hung out with her again. Now I certainly don’t expect all my friends to like games. (I have quite a few non-gamer friends.) But I DO expect my friends to be respectful of me and my interests. I don’t judge my friends who are obsessed with sports, for example, even though I don’t understand at all why someone would care so much about whether or not a certain team wins a championship.
So streaming gives me a place to hang out with like-minded people and talk about games. 🙂
Another reason I stream is to hold myself accountable for working on my video game backlog. Even when no one is watching, I feel obligated to stream my progress because I SAID I WOULD. What kind of person would I be if my actions didn’t back up my words? Integrity is important to me. You can scoff at my desire to actually finish video games, but integrity isn’t really integrity if you cherry-pick the situations in which you exhibit it.
And I’m actually making progress! Prior to committing to streaming my backlog, I would start games and never finish them. If I was lucky, I’d actually FINISH maybe one game a year. That’s ridiculous. Since April, I have completed SIX GAMES and I am making progress every week. Not gonna lie, that feels REALLY GOOD.
The final major reason I stream is to hang out with my son. Maintaining a relationship with an adult child is challenging. Not necessarily because it’s inherently more difficult, but because there simply isn’t any guidance. There are books, websites, videos, and all sorts of media on how to parent babies, small children, teenagers, etc. but no one ever talks about how to relate to your kids once they’re out of the house. I think the rationale for that is that the grown child should be able to take care of themselves and don’t really NEED their parents anymore. That’s complete bullshit. Having some kind of meaningful relationship with your parents is important for your ENTIRE LIFE. Sure, it’s going to change and be very different than when you were a kid, but it’s still necessary and extremely valuable.
Nico loves games as much as I do, so playing together gives us common ground. This creates a space where we are comfortable talking to each other about other things, too. Not just games. That’s the best part. It’s really important to me that he feels that he can talk to me about anything. I don’t want to be one of those parents that has no idea what’s going on with their kid. On the flip side, I always try to respect Nico’s independence, as well. He’s too WAY too old to be coddled and cared for, but I DO want him to know that he is loved and that I have his back.
So why do I stream? When it comes down to it, I stream for me: my social interactions, my game backlog, my relationship with my son. And I love it. It’s fun and it energizes me. Sure, it can be exhausting and it certainly isn’t for everyone, but that’s okay. So come hang out! I always enjoy the company. 🙂