Lessons from inspiration

Inspirations, role models, whatever word you wish to ascribe, there are always people you look up to and say, “I want to do what you do, and you have given me the encouragement to do it”. Throughout my gaming life, 2 people have stood out to me, who’s views on games and just the way they approach games have really inspired and challenged me.

Take a bow Ray Narvaez Jr.

I first got to see Ray’s work through Achievement Hunter (AH). His passion, his laid back style; everything about what he did just made it all so much more enjoyable. It’s no stretch to say that he was the main reason I watched AH and I think many would say the same. Just over 18 months ago, Ray left AH to start a full-time career streaming on Twitch and he brought his passion with it. He is probably my favourite streamer on Twitch. Over the time, I have been increasingly inspired by him to take up streaming myself and if you’ve been reading my previous entries, you will know that I have recently started doing so.

When you first embark on any project, it takes a while to gain momentum; it takes time to build a following and to hone your skills, and it was no different for Ray. Before working for AH, Ray made achievement guides and uploaded them up to YouTube. He then did the same for Community Hunter (the community section of AH), before he was approached to produce them for Achievement Hunter. That was about 2/3 years worth of work just to get to the hiring stage. He was then with AH for nearly 3 years which is where he really built up his reputation and following. He moved on to Twitch, and the hard work hasn’t stopped; he continues to build his Twitch following through the base he established at AH. He gets a couple of thousand viewers a stream and has his own merchandise line. I asked him during a stream whether he would be streaming if he hadn’t worked at AH. His answer was pretty unequivocal:

No, absolutely not! Definitely would not be streaming if I did not work at AH

So step forward Danny O’Dwyer.

I’ve become a huge fan of Danny’s work since I watched his series “The Point” on GameSpot. He looked at games in different ways than many in the industry and tackled subjects others dared not tread. His video “Gaming through your stress” really resonated with me and much of his work has inspired other blogs that I have written. A couple of months ago, Danny left GameSpot and embarked on a project called NoClip, a project funded entirely by gamers, for gamers (including, I’m proud to say, myself); through Patreon. NoClip is a project to create dynamic and insightful documentaries about video games. I didn’t donate to NoClip because of the premise (though that did play a part), but because Danny O’Dwyer was the creator behind it. He has an established reputation for high quality work, but that started even before he got to GameSpot. He was a member of the GameSpot website before he started working there and he ran his own video games website called CitizenGame. Much like Ray, he did a lot of hard graft to even get into the industry he loved and then worked even harder to establish himself. I asked Danny if he felt he could have done NoClip without his time at GameSpot, and this is what he said:

I’m not sure I would have, no. I think the only reason Noclip got as much support as it did was because I had somewhat proved my ability, or at least pointed in the direction of what I was trying to achieve, via my work at GameSpot. I also think GameSpot, and Giant Bomb exposed my work to much wider audiences which is 9/10ths of the battle sadly. Marketing is everything. I also wouldn’t have had the ability to do this work without years of doing it under a stopwatch at GameSpot. So I really don’t think I’d have done much streaming at all – at least not professionally – had it not been for GameSpot.”

Being inspired to take on a challenge because of the success of another is not wrong, but sometimes the graft, hard work, dedication and time those people have invested to get there is overlooked. We want to jump straight to the successful part which is not guaranteed to arrive. Without keeping their journey’s in mind, it’s very easy to become disheartened when you aren’t having the same level of success they are. So I know this will take time, and I’ve only just begun my journey in becoming a successful Twitch streamer. As Danny has pointed out, marketing is the big battle but whilst marketing gets people there, it’s the quality of the content that keeps them coming back and this is where my work is focused; improving the quality of my work but again, that takes time and lots of learning from my mistakes. I guess my equivalent of working for AH or GameSpot, marketing wise, would be having a streamer with hundreds or thousands of viewers host my channel or raid my chat after one of their streams. But that is something I have to earn or possibly just get lucky with. You could say Danny and Ray both got that stroke of luck when they were offered positions in Gamespot and AH respectively, it gave them an audience to present their skills to. But they also earned that position and through hard work cemented their reputations for providing quality content and are now being rewarded with dream undertakings.

If it never happens for me, then it never happens but I don’t want to have any regrets, or think “if only I tried harder”. Some things are just out of my control; it doesn’t matter how hard I work or how good I (hopefully) become. We all started somewhere, and if I can achieve a fraction of what Ray and Danny have, then I will be very, very happy.