Twitch Time: Students, teachers at CHS use video-streaming platforms such as Twitch.tv for various purposes
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Like many chs students do on Fridays, junior Tyson Schmelz goes home and fires up his computer to play video games. Unlike most students, though, Schmelz isn’t just playing for his own entertainment. He broadcasts his gameplay live on his Twitch channel, “imjstgud2,” for viewers around the world to watch and enjoy.
“I’ve been playing a lot of ‘Binding of Isaac: Rebirth,’” Schmelz said. “A lot of (first-person shooters) like ‘Call of Duty’ as well. ‘Portal 2’ was the first game I started on.”
Schmelz said his interest in Twitch began at a young age when he was using other video platforms.
“Since I was a little kid I have been watching YouTube, and when Twitch came around I started watching a lot of that,” Schmelz said. “One day I was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to start streaming,’ and Xbox One makes it pretty easy, having to use the console unlike having to set up a PC, so I decided one day that I’m just going to stream, just for the heck of it.”
Schmelz is just one of millions of users who participate in video-game streaming, through which people can watch and broadcast videos of someone playing a game. According to Twitch.tv, the largest video game streaming platform, the site gets over 2 million unique streamers per month and 9.7 million unique users per day.
Senior Brendan Yap is one of those 9.7 million viewers.
“I think I started watching Twitch streams probably around freshman year, when I entered high school,” Yap said. “I’ve always been an avid gamer, I’ve played a lot of different types of games starting with (massively multiplayer online games) when I was young, I played ‘RuneScape’ and ‘(The) Lord of the Rings Online.’ As I moved to ‘League of Legends,’ a (multiplayer online battle arena), which is a little more strategy intense, I thought it was interesting to watch how good players play. The first one I did watch on streams was ‘League of Legends.’ After I started using Twitch more often I saw there was actually a lot of other games that were being broadcasted at the same time.”
Yap said he believes there are several advantages to game streaming versus playing a game on your own.
“For poker, obviously, I could play poker but I won’t learn nearly as much by playing as I do when I’m watching professionals play, and you can look at their decision making, you can ask them, ‘Why did you make these decisions?’ Being able to watch high-level players, it just adds so much, and it’s interesting; it’s entertainment. It’s kind of like sports. You could just go out and play sports, but I would say a lot more people watch college basketball right now or just any sport. It’s just another form of entertainment,” Yap said.
However, video streaming isn’t just about entertainment. For example, Domingo David, computer science teacher, said he uses such streaming platforms to help students in his classes.
“I use (Twitch and YouTube) a lot, I use them to watch game streamers, especially in the days of Starcraft,” David said. “In education, I try to help students with concepts, practice problems by streaming me doing problems related to programming. Definitely last year, I used it more, where I would announce when I would be going over problems live, and that way they could email me their problems. I was just providing a platform outside of class for students to check in if they wanted to.”
“Don’t be shy,” Schmelz said as a piece of advice. “In the very beginning, you’re going to be really slow with getting viewers, unless you’re really popular for some reason. You just have to stick with it; you can’t expect everyone to be an Internet superstar. If you have issues talking about yourself, it’s really hard. Try to get friends with you because it makes it a lot easier. Do something you love to do; don’t just stream something; you don’t enjoy because it’s popular. Do what you love, and you’ll enjoy it.”