I don’t watch a lot of streams. I have a very hard time engaging with a space like that, where there’s a lot of tangible avenues for human interaction that are all explicitly one way. It’s a byproduct of mostly only seeing and engaging with stream chat when it’s something that’s a big deal, like Desert Bus or Games Done Quick (oh yeah one of those is coming up and one of those just ended). It means that for all that the actual video content is pretty entertaining, when the volume of human engagement is high enough, I just feel like I’m being invited to engage with thousands of people all of whom will ignore me, so I’d much rather watch the whole thing on vod later, possibly at double speed to make up for the lack of crisp editing.
This year, Fox has managed to shift me off this thanks to our getting our TV fixed and now we’ve had, in the evenings, a streamer running. Being as we’re in Australia, that means our streamer content tends to be either real late night Americans, local Australians, or the occasional person in the United Kingdom. That’s not the kind of programming that holds my attention usually, especially if I don’t know the game.
Bless ya Argick, you’re a champ, I like hearing from you, but I’m just not into Sonic games that much.
Anyway, there’s been a streamer Fox has been watching in the evenings who has managed to hit my perfect strike zone for enjoyable, engageable content, and it’s someone who goes by TGH.
Teej’s streams have been, for the past few months, an attempt to beat a Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire hack designed to make the game as hard as possible; you can only take one single Pokemon, if it ever faints you lose, and all the moves and evolution patterns are random. This game is stressful and unfair and it’s based on lots of interactions that are niche and unimportant in most of the times people play the game. Teej is really good about handling this game’s failure state though –
and it does fail.
It’s funny because normally I bollock games for being failure-prone. This is like watching someone playing Betrayal at the House on the Hill over and over, and then watching the absolute collapse over and over again in the first encounter. But that kind of makes these runs engaging – there are these little’ hey, do you think this will kill us’ polls, there’s diversions into goofy jokes, there’s interruptions where Teej’s partner will provide commentary…
… and that’s Amber Cyprian, who’s a really cool speedrunner streamer, and part of how this whole community opens up into the speedrunning/queer support charity streaming space. That’s cool! I really appreciate knowing that the streamer’s not likely to drop a slur or apologise for someone else doing it.
The overall effect is that these streams are really good, low key chill kinds of content to half-pay attention to that nonetheless can still carry the vague gamer vibe of ‘oh wow, fuck this game.’
But what if your favourite type of boy on the internet isn’t someone you can watch playing videogames, but one who you can watch doing science?
There’s a thing where people who move from Tiktok often have a particular aesthetic and vibe that marks them forever as being ‘of Tiktok’ like how they’ll spell sex ‘seggs’ or something. That’s where Valkai started, but his content, largely, is split into three groupings:
- Reacting to anti-science content and providing explanatory debunks
- Explainers on complex science topics
- Looking at awful kids’ science kits.
He’s gentle voiced, he’s nice, he’s funny, and he’s also willing to just call things that are dumb dumb. I really enjoy his stuff and he also doesn’t seem to have the same powerful vibe of ‘probably going to say something TERFy’ that a lot of science atheists tended towards a few generations of creators back.
Finally, if you want someone who does long form videos with a very chill attitude and an unwillingness to be needlessly or performatively cruel, I have really enjoyed watching Sajam this year.
Sajam talks about fighting games, and his stuff tends towards being – well, like, fight games are already going to be full of tension and potential salt, right? It’s easy to get into a mental space of being angry and frustrated when you’re trying to learn how to play a game.
Sajam seeks to be an antidote to that. Sure, he knows what he’s doing, and he’s very, very thoughtful, but he’s also mindful and a lot kinder to people learning, and focusing on playing fighting games because they’re fun. It’s a really good channel and also a way to build some fundamentals.
Oh, and the 6th Graders’ Meta is a great story.