I was really surprised by how much fun I had doing the Xenogothic birthday stream last week. Having a few drinks and sitting with some of you going through my records was one of the nicest online collective experiences I think I’ve had in years. I was expecting I’d last about an hour, awkwardly and drunkenly, but once I got into the swing of things, we ended up with a three-hour stream that seemed to be somewhat entertaining? I didn’t realise I had it in me…
I definitely want to do something like that again and the idea is becoming more and more attractive right now as I’ve currently got a really full weekly schedule. As much as I blog a lot, I’m not quite a workaholic. I try to keep evenings and weekends for myself and my own headspace. Filling up every hour of the day starts to quickly feel like presenteeism and, having had a bumpy few months of mental health this year, I know I need to have concrete times when I can switch off and unplug, because it doesn’t take much for me to burn out.
… That being said, if I can make content for y’all to enjoy and relax and look after myself whilst doing it, that sounds pretty perfect to me. This was the joy of last week’s stream and why I’d like to incorporate streams into the weekly onslaught of stuff I put out. But this is not to step on Justin Murphy’s toes. I want to make stuff more specific to my interests and concerns. This has partly been the attraction of doing the radio shows recently but these are also overly scripted and so writing for them tends to stall, just like the writing of posts, when my day jobs take over. If anything, they take even longer to put together with my current work schedule…
Enter Twitch. This was an idea I had about a year ago and remember talking to Nyx about but a recent Wired article about kids learning about climate change via a Fortnite stream has sealed the deal and made this something I want to get into now rather than keep putting it off.
So, I’ve bought an incredibly fashionable gaming headset and, after a load of people asked about Bloodborne in the birthday stream last week, I thought I’d have a go at playing it tomorrow night whilst I have the flat to myself.
I’d initially planned to just play the game alone and then write about it but it turns out a lot of people on Twitter are far more conscientious about form and content than I am and the demand was clear immediately. So, with the confidence boost of last week’s hangout, we’re gonna dive in and Twitch stream it!
I’ve opened up a Twitch account here — give it a like and a follow and all that stuff — and I’m going to use it to play through a bunch of games that I’ve got on the PS4 (and maybe we’ll occasionally do some PC games too) on Wednesday evenings (GMT).
I’m very, very new to this so I’ll have to think about structure and schedule as we go, and feedback is very much welcomed.
My taste in games is pretty predictable if you know this blog. I currently have six PS4 games — The Last of Us, Resident Evil 7, Fallout 4, Horizon Zero Dawn, Bloodborne, Prey. I have only spent a good amount of time with The Last of Us and Fallout 4 so far — I’ve peeked at the first hour or so of Resident Evil 7 and Horizon Zero Dawn but didn’t get fully immersed — and so I’m quite keen to explore these other games blind with you all.
So here’s what we’re going to do:
I don’t just want to play through these games and that be it. I want to talk about what these games are doing, what questions they pose and how the makeup of the games themselves allow us to experience the implications of these questions in a certain way. Put another way, I want to use these games as prompts for thinking aloud about some of the broader concerns of this blog.
Horror games are great for this, obviously, but I don’t want to just stick with those. A lot of this year was spent writing about the “New West of Westworld” and the fragmentary subject of the American Frontier so you know that Red Dead Redemption 2 is getting a stream next month.
The first episode of this twitch series will be starting with Bloodborne, as promised, and I’ll be playing it through for the first time so excuse any n00b teething problems. We’ll start off getting a feel for it together, talking through it and seeing what questions come up that we can carry forwards into future streams.
Some of the questions I already have in mind are concerned with the aesthetics — having a bias towards the British Gothic, a lot of the tropes of Japanese horror games remain totally alien to me (why are swords always so big?) — I wanted to think about the affects of such a pronounced irrealism / surrealism, and how this game — from what I’ve already seen of it — combines this Japanese Gothic with an obvious reinterpretation of explicitly European stylistic tropes. I want to think about how this game fits into — and perhaps extends — the notions of the Gothic that I think I know and we think we know.
Discussions about this and whatever else comes to mind are actively encouraged in the stream chat. Also, I’ll hopefully figure out a way to put these streams on YouTube as edited videos but I want to emphasise that this is something to do collectively. Games requests and tips are welcome for future streams too.
Come hang out!
Xenogothic Premiere Twitch Stream
20:00 — 17 October 2018 — ~3hrs