Streaming at my age!

Let’s have a break from the ‘My weird life’ series and have a quick blog about something which I have been thinking about for a while. I know that age is just a number and that you are as young as your feel, but I sometimes do feel that I was born in the wrong era! Why? well many of the things to do with technology I wish had been available when I was a lot younger and, if this had been the case, maybe what I would be doing in life would be slightly different now. I wrote a blog post on my ‘professional site‘ some time ago titled, I have a confession! It was a popular ‘waffle’ mainly because of the title I think, rather than the content. One part of the content of the post was my confession about being a streamer and I wanted to share with you all the positives and negatives of streaming…at my age!

I really enjoy streaming, YouTube (both personal and professional accounts) and broadcasting on my radio station. Many of my colleagues support my radio station although few see the point or reason for me to stream my games or produce YouTube videos and live shows. I guess there is some sort of performer trying to get from deep inside my psyche and it manifests itself in these social media sites. Although much of what I am going to talk about relates to all aspects of my ‘social media’ activities, I’m going to focus on streaming as a basic starting point. Being ‘old’ (nearly fifty) does have an impact on streaming and, as always, here is a summary in three points…

  • Time and Money – I work full time in a job which I really like. This definitely has its advantages when streaming because it means I am not solely reliant on streaming for cash and as a job. Its more of a hobby which I do in my spare time. Because I have a full time job, it does mean that I have an income, which helps me finance my streaming. It would be nice if the stream was more self financing, but to be honest, it seems very strange to be asking people to donate money to my stream for me to do what I really like doing. I was watching a Valikinfx’s Stream the other day – this is a bit of a tangent – and I noticed he had a target to donate money to ‘update’ his site. This seems strange to me, since if I wanted to update my streaming site, I think I would try and save up some cash to implement this. Obviously, I’m not a main line streamer and don’t understand the complexities of the industry. Although I do have some spare cash (notice the word ‘some’) I have very little time! I have a full time job and life to engage in and this takes time and often has to take priority. I try to stream on a Saturday 15:00 – 18:00 but if I am required to be in work that day, then I’m afraid the stream suffers. If I was a lot younger, I feel that this would be reversed – I would have little cash and lots of time. I guess this is where the business model for the target and donation comes in. When it comes to time and money, being older definitely has both a positive and negative impact on my streaming.

  • Jokes and Audience – Anyone into advertising and marketing will tell you that the most important aspect of promoting your stream etc is it know your audience. When I am broadcasting, depending on the show, I have a good idea of my target audience. However, when streaming this causes me somewhat of a problem. I’m not a top class gamer, I frequently go the wrong way in games and I don’t really know what I am doing half the time. Indeed my playing style was once called unorthodoxed! Many people watch streamers to learn how to play or to see achievements. This is definitely not what I provide – which means I am not attracting that audience. Talking about attracting – I’m also not young, handsome, pretty or glamorous and so don’t attract that audience either! Finally, I doubt that there are many people watching Twitch of my age, so I am thinking that my audience is quite….unique! Hopefully I attract some people who enjoy watching me play the game, but when it comes down to an actual audience, I’m not sure that I fit into a ‘box’. I do attract some people who frequently come into the stream and make jokes, usually using the words ‘dad’, ‘ancient’, ‘old’ or just ‘OMG’. One thing about being my age and growing up being ‘unique’ is that I am used to this. Insults and jokes are almost part of the streaming I think. Luckily I have some great moderators and followers who either engage with these people critically or just hit that ban button before I have to suffer too much.

  • And finally….

  • Reactions and Suggestions – I have mentioned before that I really enjoy streaming and, believe it or not, it is something which I actually feel quite relaxed when I am doing it. For me, streaming is like other people’s walk in the garden or sitting quietly watching television. When work is busy and I have lots on, streaming actually reduces my stress. Sometimes people sees streaming as a job which I do and suggest that I should stop and go and relax…usually on a walk. This is a misinterpretation of what I do, and for me it is just as valid for me to relax as someone else walk in the garden. Notice, I never say to people – “Why don’t you relax and stream this weekend” (smiley face) each to their own. I think the younger generation recognises that streaming is a thing and few would query it and established streamers would not have to justify it. To many of my colleagues, my activities on Twitch appear to be ‘pointless’ and even ‘unnecessary’. I’m not the sort of person to be secretive about things and I am more than happy for people to know what I do. But sometimes reactions are…well difficult to absorb. I do wonder, as I write this, whether this is actually a misconception of mine which I put down to age. Maybe everyone who streams has the same reaction when they tell people what they do, but for the purpose of this blog post I’m going to put it down to age…so…hard luck.

  • Wow, that was a bit of an epic! I’m been storing it up for sometime, so thanks for sticking with it and either reading the whole post or listening to the audio version. As always, I’m interested in hearing your views on the topic. Do you think it is strange that older people stream? Is it essentially a young person’s world? Should only people with expertise or good looks stream? As always, there is a comment box below for your responses or you can contact me through the usual social media site – including Discord! – yes I do have it, although i’m not partnered like some streamers.

    You can keep up to date with my content by following me on Twitch, Twitter and Facebook. If you are interested in joining or playing Minecraft, then you can join the server and website here. Of course any subscribers to my YouTube channel are always appreciated.

    2 comments for “Let Me In! – Simon’s Cat – YouTube

    1. February 19, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      Would be cool to play an one off, one of the dungeon crawls you made! Maybe the 8 level one!!!

    2. March 21, 2017 at 12:05 am

      I miss those early days so much. The current state of rpg’s , the rpg xubculture if you like, doesn’t feel like it did back then. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

      I was introduced to Advanced D&D 1st Edition, by my sisters boyfriend (the BEST boyfriend of the many she had IMHO..), who showed me S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks module after discovering I enjoyed computer based adventure games, I was hooked immediately and it wasn’t too long before I was hanging around the local game shop, Games Gallery, from which I was invited to join in a game run by the assistant manager, who was to become my long and good friend Steve, who was coincidentally, the reason I got to work at the local branch of Games Workshop for a time. Working there, in those days, before it became a Warhammer only shop, was amazing. It was the proverbial kid in the sweet shop!. Staff discount made it even sweeter – 50% off GW’s own products, and 25% off everything else. We also ran a great rpg club, with about 60-80 members at its peak.
      I was always the GM for my main group as no one else had the time it took to prepare a game properly, though after a few changes to the group, and people from the club popping up, I eventually got to play. Games by a company called Fantasy Games Unlimited (FGU) were very popular in all of my groups. FGU sold games such as Bushido, Aftermath,Space Opera, Chivalry & Sorcery, Freedom Fighters, and Bunnies & Burrows, but there were many many more games, by many different companies, covering all sorts of genres – and I still have them all. Many were, as was the style back then, table and chart and rule HEAVY. We loved that. Comparing themto the current crop of “rules lite” systems, I would certainly go back to the old games instead. We played these games sometimes 5 days a week, as for a time we were all unemployed. It was all we did.
      I often spent days creating scenarios, making maps, creating player characters as well as npc’s. I found it quite therapeutic, as is miniature painting – thousands of the little buggers packed away testify to the time I spent doing it. My “toy soldiers” as my brother in law calls them…
      I used to get quite attached to my favourite characters, and whilst one or two died over the decades, most did not.
      For almost all of my characters I would go overboard by most people’s standards. I like to have an image for my characters, whether a photo or artwork. Sometimes I will see an image and that is the base for the whole character, built around the image.
      I always believed as a player, that giving the GM a detailed background, list of goals, motivations, friends, contacts and enemies, will help the GM bring my character into the game more, by using some of what I have given him in the game. As a GM I like to see what players come up with for their characters, and will often use it in the game. It involves the player more, makes the game more personal if part of the game is suddenly about them, and it can help the players become more invested in their characters.
      For myself, I would often map out the characters home, create a family tree, siblings, etc.
      For our Star Trek RPG (by FASA Corp), I created the whole crew of a 500+ personnel star ship… All as detailed player characters. Unnecessary and a bit OTT I know, but it helped bring every department on the ship alive, every member of the landing party was a person not simply a red shirt.

      I am often bemused whilst watching streams when I see the gm of a streamed game pull some “new” idea out of his box of tricks, and the players are like “wow!”, “that’s original”, “I would never have thought of doing it that way!”, knowing we did it 30-40 years ago.

      The games my most recent group and I played/ran, were very detailed games with a lot of depth. Quite dark games too, mature themed, and often very emotional and intense. Having played with the same people for nigh on 20 years, you create a bond, a closeness and familiarity that allows you to communicate in a way you couldn’t, with people you don’t know very well.
      I have been brought to tears several times in recent years during the last (decade long) game we played ,as some scenes were simply too emotional or powerful, overwhelming (GM was a bastard – but an EXCELLENT GM).

      Sadly the group folded, but the GM offered to keep the game going for just me, which he did for a few years, which to be honest I really needed, as it helped me through a bad depression at that time).
      Over the years I have experienced a lot of things because of rpg’s, and made some great friends, too. I have a lot to be grateful for, regarding rpg’s. I was discussing with my brother in law, my collection of rpg’s and miniatures. When he realised how much they are worth, (some regularly sell for £100’s!) he always tells me to sell sell sell. He doesn’t grasp what they mean to me .
      Yet I won’t. Part of me hopes and prays that I will get a local group together (even some of the old group!) and start using them again. But aside from that, as my memory fails, little by little each year, these boxes and books and miniatures on the shelves are my constant reminders of happy and sad and exciting moments, and great fun, and more importantly, great friends.

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