There are a lot of things that I’ve discovered in quarantine that I never thought that I’d be into in the “before times,” whether they just seemed out of my league or because I didn’t have time for them. Watching streams on websites like Twitch was one of those things. I had a pretty limited knowledge of or interest in video games and spent my free time watching the latest Netflix show, with little wiggle room for anything else. How/why was I going to watch someone else play video games for hours on end?
However, with the copious amounts of free time that I now have in quarantine, I’ve been watching more and more streams! The transition was pretty obvious: because I had already been sucked in by YouTube earlier in the year, I started watching YouTube clips of gameplay that I realized were pulled from livestreams, then started tuning into the streams as they were happening every night.
The easy examples here are Disguised Toast and Sykkuno‘s Among Us content. I’ve found it much more fun to watch streams when either (1) I know the game or (2) the streamer’s personality makes it interesting, and these two, along with their group of friends, check both of those boxes. I’ve even started watching LilyPichu‘s content, which skews less toward games and more toward music and art, and I’ve found it to be very soothing and wholesome, especially near the end of the night as I’m winding down my day.
My boyfriend and I have taken to sometimes just putting on Sykkuno’s stream in the background while we work or play other games with friends. At first, we were drawn in by their clever gameplay, taking notes for our own games, but later enjoyed watching them simply mess around with each other and doing dumb things just to see if they would pay off.
I even started watching non-stream content, like silly competitions on OfflineTV’s YouTube account or Valkyrae’s non-gaming content, which I think feels extra relatable because we are about the same age (which I still can’t believe!).
I’ve even done a bit of research on parasocial relationships because, yeah, watching these streams makes me feel like I’m part of their friend group! Which I definitely am not! But I have come to understand and appreciate the appeal of streamers, and have welcomed their content into my life in a way that I did not expect would happen this year.