Live streaming saved my life
My entire life is crammed into a 2001 Ford Falcon sedan right now. I’m surrounded by comic books, clothing, a blanket and various other papers and junk as I try to fall asleep in a carpark by the ocean. I come here at night because it’s the end of Autumn, and as we move towards the Winter months, it’s likely that I’ll be left in peace. I’ve been living in this car for weeks now. I’ve never felt this alone before.
My life has fallen into a routine. Stash my car in a free parking zone at 6:00AM, walk an hour to work. Slip into the shower and prepare myself for another day in the office. Free coffee and a kitchen means that I’ve been cooking my meals here, and thankfully as I work in a creative space, It’s not unusual for people to be working odd hours. I eat in my office. I watch Daredevil Season 2 on Netflix. I stay here to use the internet. The Division just came out. I want to play it, but I can’t afford to pick it up this month.
Sunday is laundry day. I wake up in my car and then drive down to South Melbourne, where I visit a laundromat and wash my clothes. While the cycle is running I’ll walk down to a nearby park and just write. I write about all kinds of things: how I ended up in this situation, how the hell I am going to get out of this endless loop, and how I wish my parents lived close enough that I’d have a bed to sleep in for once. Eventually, my clothes are done, and I drive into my office and spend the weekend watching Polar Bear Cafe, drinking the cheapest whisky just to forget this horrible cycle I’m in.
Life is pretty shit right now. I’m lost. I’m drifting through this routine without any purpose.
That’s when I made a conscious decision to focus on streaming. I had been streaming on and off again for over a year at this point, and now I literally had NOTHING to fill my evenings, I talked to Treechime (my lovely community manager) and decided that I was going to give this a real shot.
We set up a schedule, with the aim to stream four nights a week, for approximately three hours per show. As a former games journalist, and a current indie development person, I didn’t want to be tied to one kind of game, and I wanted the chance to dive into some form of critical analysis. So we started. We kept on going. Slowly, but surely, our community began to grow.
I started to realise that certain games were performing well, and others weren’t. I also started to see some folks really loved certain types of games, and not others. A lot of our community weren’t even there for the games, they were hanging around to just listen to Treechime and I shit talk back and forth for hours on end. So that’s when we started to adopt a “show” structure on rotation.
This is when streaming became a viable, creative outlet for me personally. Our stable of shows allows me to play through entire games, yet keep my stream fresh and varied. It also ensures that our audience is diverse and getting what they want. IndieTuesday has the indie game fans tuning in religiously, The Adventurer’s Club has a mix of new and old adventure games, meaning our fans are either nostalgic for their childhood favourites, or perhaps checking out a new TellTale or indie stab at a classic genre. Scream Stream has decreased my life expectancy by at least 10 years, but playing through The Evil Within and Alien Isolation have brought with it so many great times.
Before long my routine changed. I’d come to work, I’d stay at work. I’d stream until 1AM and then go to sleep in my carpark of solitude. No longer did I feel alone. No longer did I feel lost. I had a family of friends on the internet, a family that gave me purpose to keep persevering.
Eventually I got enough money together to move into a place, and a few months later HotRice and I founded PIXELHAUS which has been insane. But it wasn’t until a month ago when we made the switch to Beam I really reflected on just how much this crazy ride has changed me.
We experimented with Beam for a few weeks, and just three weeks ago we took the plunge and ditched Twitch in favour for a smaller, yet more technologically advanced platform. Why? Community, 100% community.
The vibe at Beam is one of a large family dinner. Everyone is talking and yelling, but having a great time as they pass those potatoes down the table, breaking bread and making sure everyone gets their share. Amazing artists, hilarious entertainers, streamers working together, fans that are getting involved in positive ways. Beam is everything I always try to push in our own community — diversity and positivity. There’s something magical being involved in this place, something that just can only be described as love.
I think back to six months ago. I think of the first night I slept in my little carpark by the water’s edge. I remember tossing and turning in the cramped back seat, listening to Tycho and wondering if life was even worth living at that point. I’ll never forget that night. But when I log off from Beam every single night with Treechime by my side, I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life.