Reconnecting With Video Games Through Twitch

I recently checked something off my “To Do” list that has been laying dormant on there for quite some time. With a more professional set up finally available, and a hesitant sense of confidence, I decided to final start streaming on Twitch.

Setting up what is essentially a live broadcast form of entertainment, it can be and was incredibly daunting to finally click on the “Start Stream” button – least of all for the myriad of technical challenges that comes along with it. Nonetheless, as I endlessly travel along the career path of games journalism, I felt a sense of duty to myself to push past any anxieties and stream some games.

At this time of writing, I have now been streaming for little over a month. Across that month there have been challenges, issues and my sense of confidence still hasn’t reached any peaks. However, streaming has become an immensely interested prospect for myself as it stirs up an in issue between me and the reasons I play, that I’m not sure I was fully aware of.

As I sit down to a four-hour stream of The Last of Us Part 2 on Grounded Mode, or curiously wait upon a midnight launch for a Marvel’s Avengers, it highlighted something that has been missing between myself and videogames. As I have exponentially increase my workload regarding articles, videos, podcasts and so on, relating to the various types of media I consume, among them games of course, I find my own personal time spent playing them for fun dwindles. It has been years since I have sat down for a twelve hour session on Destiny 2, and I can’t remember the last time I played a game past six in the morning just because I was insanely hooked on a new game.

A lot of this can be chalked up to being an adult, as bills, jobs and a social life can often get in the way of things you held so dear as a younger person. However, as games journalism has taken over my life, those games that I was and still am so passionate about, have aligned themselves with the purpose of content over enjoyment. That isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy most games I play, but when faced with the choice between an evening of a game that I will enjoy but in the end get nothing out of professionally, and a gameplay recording session for another video, the choice makes itself for me. There is a disassociation that for obvious reasons should never have been there.

This is when Twitch comes in. Yes, Twitch in many ways still acts as a catalyst for professional content creation, as streams often come with the secret purpose of recording gameplay for videos, or to be used as a professional outlet as yet another strand on the good ol’ portfolio. However, it also allows me to lose myself in games for hours, without any worry of deadlines, content or relevancy. In many ways, Twitch is killing two birds with one stone, as I get to quench my thirst for gaming entertainment, whilst satisfying that professional aspect. Furthermore, outside of my two streams a week quota, it also frees up time for the games that I do want to try out. Bingeing myself on Apex Legends has become more often, and I even found myself furiously tapping away on a game like Hades for hours on end with no care in the world – other than escaping the Underworld of course.

I now find myself looking back on games I may have missed, skipped or otherwise feared wouldn’t be “worth” my time. To much of my shame, I have owned The Division 2 since launch, a game that excites me immensely, yet having only barely reached the endgame content, as I struggle to commit myself to a title that will devour so much of my time. Twitch is making me rethink that.

My first month of streaming, has been an interesting learning experience. Watching back through highlights and seeing how far the stream has come since that first night is rewarding in itself, but the boost in confidence both personally and professionally has been a Godsend that in many ways has helped me rediscover my love for games. As I creep ever closer to the Affiliate mark or try out another game just for the hell of it, I feel thankful that Twitch is there to help me stay connected with my passion, and realise why myself, and all other gamers, play in the first place.

Published by Aaron Bayne

I’m a film and video games journalist based in Scotland. I write stuff about them on my website, talk about them on my podcasts and film videos about them for BBC The Social.

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