The Let's Play culture in America, and in pockets around the world, has become its own badass entity, with several groups of people hosting awesome streams and channels. There are even numerous one-shot stars who do their own thing within the same format, while not being exclusively gaming channels. If you're a fan of the genre, life is probably getting problematic for your viewing habits to cram it all in, as YouTube and Twitch might as well start their own 24/7 channels dedicated to highlighting new content. (And not YouTube Red, but that's a discussion for another day.) I'm going to start focusing at least one post a month on local gamers who are playing cool games and making great streams. Today we chat with Alisaurer about getting into gaming, starting her own Twitch channel, the experiences she had and where she intends to take her work. (All pictures provided courtesy of Alisaurer.
Alisurer on Twitter
Gavin: Hey Ali, first thing, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm 26 and grew up in northeastern Ohio. I have a license in cosmetology and briefly went to school for graphic design. Besides gaming, I'm a pretty avid NFL fan and have a fascination with history. I enjoy learning in general.
What first got you into gaming as you were growing up?
My parents gave me a Sega Pico, which was an educational console from the early 1990s. I was really fascinated by it for a few years, until they bought a Nintendo 64 for Christmas on launch. I haven't looked back since.
What were some of your favorite titles to play throughout the years?
, Mischief Makers
, Zoids: Battle Legends
, and World of Warcraft
have been pretty big staples for me.
For those who may not know, you're dating another gamer known as Sp00nerism. When did the two of you meet and eventually become a couple?
Back in 2012, someone on Facebook linked a Minecraft video with him in it, and I was intrigued by his voice. At the time, he used to never share his face or anything about himself with his audience. I've always been drawn to people who can make me laugh, and I wanted to get to know him better. I decided to Tweet at him one day and I felt shocked when I saw a reply. It's been a handful of years but we've been living together happily in his home state of Utah.
When did the idea come about for you to start gaming for a living?
I thought with Nick's (Sp00nerim) guidance, I could do it. I never did make a real living off of anything, but I didn't have that goal of making money in the first place. I really just wanted to entertain people like he does.
What was it like for you getting all the additional gear you needed and upgrading what you had in order to do it?
When I think of my old PC, it's laughable. I bought it for $400 on Craigslist without any idea of what I was doing. I somehow played games with a choppy framerate on medium at best. I also had a Dazzle to capture footage and edit it all in Windows Movie Maker. Everything would be upgraded one piece at a time, with most of it being hand-me-downs from Nick after we moved in together. It's very expensive to have a decent PC along with all the equipment you need, so I imagine everyone had a similar beginning.
What were some of the first titles you started playing for your videos? What did you think of the content you were making at that time?
A lot of it began with "Drunk playing ___" because I wasn't sure how to be entertaining on my own. I deleted most of those videos because they were unoriginal and boring. I just didn't know how to get my foot in the door.
What was the initial fan reaction like? How was it for you building up your audience?
Starting off on YouTube, it's pretty difficult to build an audience initially. Most of my viewers had been directed from his channel but I eventually started to see a steady growth on my own. This was a handful of years ago, however, and I imagine it's more difficult without that head start. Initial reactions were positive, so I felt pretty motivated for a while.
At what point did you decide to abandon YouTube and go strictly Twitch? What brought on that decision?
I really despised editing videos, and Twitch offered something fresh and interactive. Being able to have some company in the chat to talk with, and not just ramble to yourself, seemed more ideal.
How do you go about deciding what game you want to play for the stream?
Honestly, it came down to whatever I felt like playing at the time. I've noticed the same goes for almost everyone else I know who streams. The only exception to that is new releases.
Do you like to play games all the way through, or do you like skipping around and playing whatever you feel like regardless of whether you finish?
I've yet to finish a game on Twitch or YouTube. I move on to something else and forget about it completely. There's always a couple people who message me asking "When will you finish ___?" and I don't have a reply. There's always a chance I'll revisit it.
What's your relationship like with Twitch and it's community as you've continued to grow?
The Twitch community is comparable to one big loving family. They've really made going to conventions all the more exciting, because it's like a giant reunion. The entirety of our time is easily spent greeting people and catching up. My personal growth isn't that big, but they accept me and even encourage me. There are no social barriers between smaller streamers and bigger ones. I've been treated with nothing but exceptional kindness by everyone.
What's your interaction like with other professional gamers? Are people usually cool or do you find a lot of extreme personalities that don't quite gel?
From my experience, professional gamers are just as laid back and even more humbled to be there. I'm going to use Lassiz
, a pro-SMITE
player as an example. After the launch tournament, he gave his jersey to a young fan who came there to support him. I remember feeling so touched by the sentiment. You'll hear rumors about those personalities but I've yet to actually witness one.
For those who may want to start doing their own channel, what advice do you have for them?
Consistency is key. Imagine if your favorite TV show aired sporadically (think pre-Netflix). Chances are you'd lose interest.
What do you hope to do with your channel going forward, both as a gamer and an entertainer?
I prefer short-term goals. What I really need is to push myself to where I want to be, which is somewhere modest at best. My biggest milestone is to get partnered on Twitch. If I want to think bigger, maybe surpass Nick someday? Haha.
What can we expect from you and your channel over the rest of the year?
My aim is to motivate myself again and end this hiatus. It's been a struggle to find stability after uprooting my life and moving cross-country, but I don't regret it. Hopefully, in small steps, I can resume where I left off and continue to grow.