Hey everyone! So this has been a super exciting post for me and has been in the works for a little while! I’m stoked to finally be able to share it with you all! One of my biggest inspirations for starting this blog is the wonderful Gamerfreak0x! He has shown me so much kindness and support for starting this and through him I have made so many awesome friends 🙂 I was chatting to him one evening and I decided I wanted to interview him and give you all a snapshot into his world! Here we talk about his journey into streaming and what it is to be a streamer from his point of view. I hope you find it as fun to read as we did recording it 😀
A = myself (Arty) and G = Gamerfreak0x
A: Wagwan and waddup :D, for those of you reading, this is my interview with the wonderful Gamerfreak, so do you want to go ahead and just introduce yourself a little bit? Y’know? Who are you!
G: Wagwan, sure thing! *laughs* so my name is Gamerfreak0x (zerox) or as some people call me gamerfreak ox, I’m a UK streamer who does mainly Nintendo stuff, so MarioKart, we do Legend of Zelda, but we do throw in some odd extras every now and again. We do some Grand Theft Auto or Tony Hawk! So anything random basically! Whatever people want to see and whatever I feel like playing on the day.
A: So it kinda changes according to how people are feeling?
G: Very true, yeah that’s it! I always try and do what I’m feeling like doing because I feel like I can give a better experience like oh shit man I’m dying to play y’know Super MarioKart and if no-one wants to watch then it’s like come on man, I’m going to make them want to watch!
A: Just drink some beers isn’t it? (a common theme on the Gamer stream!)
G: *laughs* That’s it, it’s all about the beers and the Mario and more beeeeeers!
A: Can you tell us a bit about what got you into streaming?
G: Okay, it must have been about 3 to 4 years ago, I started watching the speed run events of AGDQ and SGVQ and I never knew that speed running was a thing and I found it really interesting, I was like oh man these people are beating y’know games like Super Mario World and Mario 64 in record breaking time, like stupidly fast! And after some time I realised ok cool there’s this website called Twitch and these people were doing these things live! So yeah, I used to watch people all the time and I wanted to start streaming to be a speed runner originally. I used to play…I used to do the Metal Gears solid twin snakes on the Gamecube and I tried to do Tony Hawks underground, but it was sort of…off my own head, I didn’t know any tactics or anything regarding the games. I then started mixing up different games and found loads of enjoyment out of it and I thought y’know I’m going to get off the speed running wagon and just play random games because I sort of… enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would.
A: Yeah, it becomes y’know quite a community feeling environment isn’t it…
G: Yeah I think once you, especially once you develop your own sort of community, it gives you more reason to do it. At first it was very personal, I was like, okay cool I may only have one or two people watching but I’m doing this for myself and as you get your own community and it grows, you do it more for them as well and you sort of think right maybe they’ll be up for watching me play some Mario and stuff and I’ll be up for it as well. That’s definitely a very addictive feeling, which I think a lot of streamers would have.
A: Yeah I can kind of get that vibe when I’m watching people on stream, you can see people get a bit of y’know excitement going for a game and kinda all doing it together and watching someone complete a game!
G: That’s it yeah, cause its in some ways, its sitting like you would as you were a kid and you’re sitting next to your friend and one of them is playing a game and your watching them and your sort of, y’know getting excited about it. Like I used to be watching and they’ll be playing GTA3 and I’d be watching and being like oh my god man that was crazy! It gives it that kind of effect and I think that’s really cool, I love watching people play.
A: That’s what I grew up doing, watching my brother play it all (because he never let me play!)
G: Yeah and that’s such a nice feeling isn’t it, especially watching someone like an older sibling, I used to always watch my brother play as well doing all like the 18+ games…when I was like twelve.
A: *laughs* well lets be honest none of us ever listened to those age ratings of games!
G: Never! But my kids, nah they won’t be playing GTA at the age of 10…they’ll be playing proper games like Mario!
A: True that…so what’s the current setup that you’ve got at the moment? PC and streaming wise?
G: When it comes to PC’s I don’t honestly know a lot about it, I’m a bit of a n00b when it comes to PC setups. I have a very good friend who gave me his old gaming PC basically, it could be a lot stronger, I definitely do need to upgrade it a bit! I basically run everything that I do through that and the capture card that I have (Elgato HD) and that will run any console I pretty much own with a HDMI so if I’m doing something on the Xbox, Nintendo Switch or even the SNES Mini. I do need to look more into PC stuff and learn about it
A: It’s a very daunting area!
G: It really is! Especially with everyone I know, they’re like yeah dude I got this CPU and all this Capture Card and I’m like ok I got a PC man and I can play games on it! *laughs* I’m more of a console gamer, that’s what I grew up with, that’s what I learnt!
A: What consoles have you got?
G: Oh man, I own every Nintendo that isn’t handheld so from the NES to the Switch, I’ve got 2 PS1s, a Ps2, a Ps4, Xbox One, I have a Sega somewhere and I think I may have a PSP or something!
A: You’ve got a quite a good collection then
G: Yeah I’ve got quite a few, the annoying thing is I haven’t got any of the original boxes to them except my Sega and new-gen consoles. I kick myself because they’re all the original ones from when I was a kid!
A: Ahh noo, yeah I’ve got like no boxes from about Wii U backwards
G: Yeah wouldn’t you love to have like the N64 boxed up!
A: I did actually have an N64 boxed, with original Styrofoam and everything and I sold it all!
G: Ahh man you crazy? Sheeeit! I almost closed the phone call!
A: *laughs* yeah well it was either food or gaming, and y’know…
G: Well I think you learnt your lesson, next time to go without food!
A: Definitely…who needs food! So aside from streaming, what do you get up to outside of streaming? Y’know…you’ve got a job or anything outside of it?
G: I don’t do much at the moment! Streaming, in a good way takes up so much of my time, I revolve a lot of things around that so I do work full time but my work are very understanding and they only give me morning shifts. That means the rest of my day I can do stuff for Twitch. If I’m not streaming I’m generally just chilling! If its sunny outside I’ll be out in the garden, have a beer and chill with babygirl. We may take a trip to a different town but we don’t do anything crazy at the moment. I think I’m trying to just put everything I can into Twitch and just put a break on everything else, if I’m going to make this a living, I need to stop going out. I won’t be going out to like theme parks or concerts… which again I probably wouldn’t do anyway…I’m quite boring *laughs* When I was a kid I used to skateboard and stuff but now I’m just like nah man, I’m chill!
A: *laughs* yeah I mean if someone was thinking about doing streaming full time job, do you think it is something that they have to really revolve the rest of their world around, it needs that dedication?
G: In my situation I sort of started from the bottom, I didn’t have any Twitch friends or know any other streamers. I think in that case then yes, because you are building up from nothing essentially. I had no background of followers whether it be from Twitter, Instagram or YouTube and I think you do get to a point, especially if you are working fulltime and you don’t have or live with your parents for example to support you…you kinda do have to revolve everything else around Twitch. If I am going to do a day trip somewhere for example I think ok cool but that’s going to be my day off from Twitch. So I need to do 5 to 6 days of Twitch prior and afterwards if you know what I mean. I do worry and I’m not sure if other streamers worry about this, but I worry if I stop or slow down and I don’t stream enough then I won’t become as successful as I’d like to.
A: It’s kind of like loosing that momentum a little bit
G: Definitely and it’s definitely happened, way before I was at the level I’m at now. I stopped for about 3 months and it was such a struggle to get back into it and I was really like oh do I want to do this again? Luckily I managed to push myself which was a good decision, like I said, I’m kind of addicted to it now!
A: You get that adrenaline going! Like yes I’m going to stream and get all these people watching…
G: I’m legit the kind of person who when I wake up it’s the first thing I think of! I’m like right ok today I’m going to stream this and I’m going to try to do this and stream for this long…
A: Amazing. Have there been any moments that have really stood out for you in streaming? Best moments where you can say this…this is why I’m doing it?
G: I think there’s been a couple of similar situations and I think it’s when I hit a high viewership level and everyone’s buzzing off each other. There’s been odd times when I’ve hit 30 to 40 viewers which can be quite a lot for my channel and everyone’s enjoying the stream. I sometimes sit back and think oh man this is really good and this is something I’m doing this for – I can get the enjoyment out of it. I haven’t got a specific one, I think the first time I remember of being a really good stream was when I was doing a Mortal Kombat stream and I had 60 viewers, this was before I had a 100 followers. I was like oh shit man I’m going to be partnered tomorrow y’know what I mean? *laughs* I was head over heels like sheeit yep this is it, this is my future. But yeah, I think best streaming moments is just generally when I have a good amount of people watching, everyone’s enjoying it and everyone’s getting on and getting involved.
A: Yeah, when you get loads of subscribers in one evening or y’know loads of bits?
G: Mmm those are great moments! I love those, they’re perks but amazing perks!
A: Or when certain people…we won’t name names *laughs* go a little bit crazy on those bits!
G: I love those odd nights, usually on a Saturday night! I get a bit lucky with those bits and those are good moments. I get into bed and I’m like ahh cool there we go yeah I definitely got my moneys worth *laughs*
A: Exactly it makes it worth it! But do you feel like money wise, if you want to be a Twitch streamer then you’ve really got to take a step back from the thought of earning anything in the first instance…like it’s not something you can just go in and start earning loads of money from?
G: No and that’s true, I’ve spoken to another streamer of mine who’s a friend and he’s had an opportunity to go fulltime and one of the things I did say to him was just because you’ve got that time doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be a millionaire within the year. Especially at the level I’m at, you can’t rely on the money, I wouldn’t be able to do it. I also think that if you are going to get into this type of industry, you shouldn’t go into it originally with the thought of money. When I first started, money was the last thing on my mind and it still is! Like I can go weeks and weeks without seeing a penny and it doesn’t bring me down in any way…
A: You’re doing it for the love of it
G: Exactly, you do it for the love of it and that is obviously a perk when it does happen when you get a subscription or get a donation. You think ok cool that is a good perk and that does help me think ok maybe I can get another game for the channel, it never really goes on myself in a sense.
A: I mean it’s hard because Twitch are quite lock down on how much streamers earn and how much they keep of it – it’s not something you see a lot of information about – but then there are a lot of articles about Twitch streamers who have made it big. I don’t think it’s a good representation because it gives all these people the idea that they’re going to earn loads of money, but what they don’t realise is that a lot of these people have become famous in other ways.
G: Yeah, a lot of other streamers have been doing it before Twitch was a thing, a lot of streamers were speed runners before for example so they already had a slight following. So once Twitch became a thing, they blew up and had loads of followers and subscribers – it’s similar to YouTube stars, they may do Twitch as well as YouTube. There are some Twitch streamers I see that make a stupid amount of money! and I think it does give people the wrong idea. I think a lot of small time streamers will be like oh why am I only making this much money or its easy to make that kind of money. I think if they’re already thinking like that, then probably they’re in the wrong industry if they’re thinking of only the money. You’d be better off selling out and doing something else.
A: I think you really have to have the community mind set…
G: You’ve gotta have the community mind set, you have to have a passion for it and you need to be really comfortable with the idea that you may not make any money, but still be satisfied with what your doing.
A: On the topic of community, you’ve built quite a community now! The beautifully named “Freakz”. We’ve got the Snapchat group, WhatsApp, Discord etc… how does that feel for you?
G: It’s weird! It’s something that I didn’t see happening because I have had regular viewers for quite a while now that and some that have been watching me from almost the beginning. It’s been really cool to watch it evolve. In a sense I remember each one of these people from this “Freakz” group for example following when they did or what game I was playing. They’ve all buzzed off each other, we’ve all had these similar jokes with each other. Everyone’s on the same level and it’s been really cool! Again I sometimes sit back and think man like I got this community based around my channel and these people wouldn’t necessarily know each other if it wasn’t for my channel! Sometimes I feel that’s a lot of pressure! But I do feel blessed and happy for them, I feel like they’ve all got friends out of each other. It does make me think that ok, more for the community now, I need to try and push myself on Twitch as much as I can and give them the best content I can. It means I’ll always give my best, I want my community there, I’m always bummed if one of them isn’t there or they have to go early… it’s a good push!
A: It’s crazy that there’s people that without you…they’d never have met!
G: That is the weirdest part! Like without me…there are people that now talk outside of the group and it’s just crazy like I could have created best friends! It’s almost like I’m hosting my own show of Big Brother! I see the little conversations going on! *laughs*
A: *laughs* Yeah it’s so nice! Ok… so aside from the best moments…have there been any challenges that you’ve faced? (In the last few days there have been a few internet issues for Gamerfreak0x which has prevented him from streaming)
G: So last year, this is why I’ve been a bit anxious the last couple of days, last year when I moved into this place, we had internet issues for about 3 months. I originally moved out of London to where I am now with the mentality of cool I’m going to have a more chilled out lifestyle so I can put more time into Twitch. I was still very low down compared to where I am now and I couldn’t stream at all, every single day had issues! It really annoyed me and upset me because I was so determined! This was before the big community I have now but I was trying to keep in contact with people to tell them I’m still around and I’m trying. It went on for 2-3 months, that was a big challenge.
A: It’s one of those things that unfortunately is out of your control right? unlike a PC break for example where you can fix it fairly quickly…
G: That’s exactly it, I would have people coming to my house to check on it from the Service Provider. They couldn’t understand what the issue was! That was what made it more frustrating for me. I would get jealous too because I would be watching other streamers and be like oh my god man I’m sitting here doing nothing! It was the biggest relief to get the internet sorted out and get back on track…I managed to stream for hours and all the old followers came back! 100% It was a good feeling! I’ve got good, unique followers now who won’t give up on my channel if there are short term issues.
A: Are there any other challenges you feel you’ve faced in the build up of your stream?
G: I think just, daily basis challenges to keep myself motivated and positive about it…not like its a drag but if I’ve had a long day at work and in some ways I just want to have a shower and get into bed. I sometimes find that a challenge but I easily overcome that, I usually put a bit of video game music on and it puts me in the mode of playing games!
A: What would you say your favourite games then? Do you have a favourite or is it too hard to pick?
G: Ahh I don’t have a favourite game, I think its obvious that Mario is my favourite guy! Love Super Mario. One of my favourites is Super Mario World, its a game I grew up with, I play it regularly, every year and finish it all the time. I’m also a massive fan of old Tony Hawk games! This is something I haven’t done yet on the channel but I’ve always thought about it. I love those old skateboarding games! There’s too many…I could sit here and mention loads! Goldeneye, Super Smash Bros…
A: I mean if someone doesn’t like Goldeneye…I mean what are they even doing with their life…
G: *laughs* They shouldn’t even be chilling on games…just like…go work full time!
A: So true. Are there any upcoming games coming out that you think you’re going do a stream on?
G: Yes! Red Dead Redemption 2! Completely the opposite of Nintendo. I’m a massive fan of anything Rockstar actually…I feel like any game I’ve ever played from them which…I’ve played all the GTA’s, Bully and then Red Dead as well. I love those games…I saw the trailer for Red Dead 2 and almost broke down into tears of how excited I am.
A: *laughs* I think Breath of the Wild has been the game of the year hasn’t it?
G: That could win the Century for me I think, that was such a good game. Then the DLC, which is quite new to Nintendo, I was unsure about it but then I got it and that was the best bit of money I’ve ever spent on a game, just buying that extra content. It was actually amazing, I’ve finished it about 2 or 3 times now and I constantly want to go back to it and play it… and Odyssey!
A: Ahh Super Mario Odyssey with those speed runs!
G: Ah man I wish I was a good speed runner at that game!
A: *laughs* you’ll get there! So Nintendo have just announced the online content charge…what are your thoughts about that?
G: I think it’s fair enough! I mean, they’re in their own category of gaming… you look at PlayStation and Xbox together, both very good consoles and both unique but very similar in the games they bring out. Nintendo stands out a lot more to different people with a strong family, community vibe. I do understand where they’re coming from…because everyone else is doing it…you want to go online PlayStation or Xbox then you have to pay. You do get some good stuff out of it though! You get free games and discounts. I feel like it was going to happen, especially when they started bringing out the DLC’s. I don’t mind, the amount I play MarioKart online, I’ll get my moneys worth!
A: The games are too good, I don’t think Nintendo is going to lose anyone by doing this. MarioKart 8 Deluxe alone…I think you have been personally responsible for about 3 or 4 people buying Switches to play online! (myself included!)
G: Hello Nintendo! *laughs*
A: We just need that Mario Party online!
G: Yeah, if it’s not in development already it needs to be done – but old school like the first Mario Party. Killing it with the music, sheeit!
A: Definitely…so awesome! Ok well I think we are coming to the last question! Which is what would be your advice to budding streamer wannabes? If they were thinking about streaming?
G: I would say…let me think about how best to word this…
A: “Don’t be better than me?” *laughs*
G: Yeah, don’t be better than me *laughs* no, I would say, if you like it, keep going! At the beginning stages it can be quite tedious and you can feel let down sometimes if you stream for 4 hours and no one watches. That’s normal! It’s all about keeping on going and enjoy it while you do it! And one thing I do say is play the games you want to play, I think that’s the biggest thing. I wouldn’t jump on anything for views. I refuse to jump on anything like Fortnite unless I want to play it, even though I could get a bunch of follows and viewers, I don’t want to do it for that reason. Most streamers feel like playing what they want on the day! I know I can give a better experience if I’m playing what I want to play!
A: Amazing, well I think that just about sums it up! Now…are you wearing a shirt and tie as you said you would!
G: Erm… no I’m not *laughs* I should have been! But I am in my work uniform so I’m smart looking!
A: *laughs* that’ll do! Well thank you so much Gamer for sharing all your thoughts with us! I’ll catch you on the stream!
G: Definitely dude, Peace!
And if you want to catch Gamerfreak0x on stream or any of his social media just click on the links below!