A recent post shared what we’ve done for previous GameBlast marathons.
We’ve attempted a lot of different things since first taking part in the event for SpecialEffect in February 2014. But although we choose to switch up the format and duration each year, there have been two things which have remained consistent over the past decade.
The first is how close the charity is to our hearts. It transforms the lives of people with physical disabilities through the innovative use of technology. The team’s mission to optimise inclusion, enjoyment and quality of life by helping individuals to control video games to the best of their abilities is inspiring, not only bringing families and friends together but having a positive impact on confidence too.
The second is that we’ve always streamed our GameBlast marathons on Twitch. Playing video games for an extended period can be a physically and mentally demanding experience, and I’m always so grateful to our awesome mods and lovely friends for pushing us on. It’s also them we have to thank for putting enough friendly pressure on Pete so he reluctantly dons his Pikachu costume each year.
To prepare ourselves for a 24-hour marathon for GameBlast24 on Saturday, 24 February 2024, Pete and I recently started streaming again once a week. This will help us get back into the habit of doing it while also thoroughly testing our set-up. We’re finding it difficult to stick the same day and time each week though. My training for the London Marathon involves early nights on Saturdays and longer runs on Sundays, so we have to work our schedule around these dates to make sure I’m getting enough rest.
It can also be tricky finding a free spot when one of our friends isn’t already streaming. We’ve never enjoyed going live when someone we know is already on, as we don’t want to seem disloyal or as if we’re trying to enter into a competition. The situation can be uncomfortable when you’re a viewer too. For example, if two of your friends decide to stream at the same time one evening, how do you make the decision of who to watch and will the other person be disappointed?
This is something which happened to us last week and it got me thinking. As more gamers are choosing to give streaming a try, it’s incredibly likely that you’re going to clash with the schedule of someone in your circle at some point. Is there any kind of etiquette we should be following in such situations to keep our friendships amicable? Our streams are something we do for fun and charity so I’m never going to be an expert, but I started to reflect on how I can improve as a streamer and supporter within the gaming community.
Communicate your plans
Continue: regularly updating our Twitch schedule
Start: discussing our plans with others
While I always update our Twitch schedule as soon as we’ve decided on a stream date for the following week, I’ve realised that what I haven’t been so good at is actually discussing our plans with streamer friends. This simple act of communication could prevent potential misunderstandings and make it clear that any clashes aren’t intentional acts of competition. Going forward, I’m going to make more of an effort to regularly talk to those in our friendship group about our schedule and seek their approval.
Avoid direct competition
Continue: avoiding schedule clashes where possible
Start: showing that we’re not interested in competition
Multiple people from the same circle going live simultaneously can create a tricky situation for both them and their viewers. It’s therefore really important to be able to distinguish between simple schedule clashes, friendly rivalry and direct competition. As mentioned earlier, Pete and I hang out on Twitch for fun and charity so the latter two have never been what we’re interested in. We’re going to do more to promote others during our own streams to show that this is the case – which leads me on to the following point.
Promote your friends
Continue: shouting out friends during our own streams
Start: raiding more regularly
We make a point of mentioning events hosted by our friends during streams and encouraging people to watch them if they’re live at the same time as us. Additionally, Ellen from Strength in Sarcasm is an awesome mod who’s always ready with the relevant links and shoutouts. What we need to get better at is remembering to check to see who we can raid when we’re finishing. This action demonstrates unity and support within the community, a gesture which can foster a sense of togetherness among streamer friends.
Be flexible and understanding
Continue: being aware of our viewers’ situation
Start: being better viewers ourselves
Flexibility and understanding are key virtues when it comes to coexisting with friends on Twitch as they can help create a positive and supportive atmosphere. As streamers, we need to be aware of our viewers’ dilemmas – and that means encouraging them to prioritise their own enjoyment. And as viewers, we need to stop feeling as though must watch our streamer friends every single time they go live. It’s important to understand that your friends will be just as understanding as you are, and will appreciate your support no matter when you tune in.
Continue: coming up with ideas for collaborations
Start: prioritising and finding the time to see them through
Streaming at the same time doesn’t have to be about competition – it can be about collaboration too. Over the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure of working on projects with some great bloggers and streamers who I’m now able to call good friends. There are a couple of new ideas for joint streams in the pipeline but finding the time to progress them is tough. As mentioned in last month’s post about my upcoming apprenticeship, I’m going to need to prioritise and possibly drop several things to make space for others.
Stream and watch with respect and kindness
Continue: streaming and watching
Start: doing all the things I’ve committed to above
Streaming on Twitch is a shared experience and respecting each other’s space is fundamental. Streamers should be able to go live at times that suit their lifestyle and be inspired to promote others within the community. Alongside this, viewers should feel unburdened by guilt when deciding which stream to watch and should be encouraged to explore other content. Going live doesn’t have to be a competition; it can be celebration of our love for video games and the friendships we’ve made through them.
Reflecting on our experiences and looking for ways to improve is an ongoing process. But we’re committed to supporting our streamer friends and avoiding any unnecessary competition, while making our Twitch channel a welcoming space for all. Streaming will always be something we do just for fun and as a way to raise awareness of SpecialEffect’s work – and possibly get Pete back into his Pikachu costume on an annual basis for GameBlast.
Do you stream alongside friends? If so, I’d be interested to hear how you handle schedule clashes and the actions you take to keep Twitch friendly.