If you’re in a household with teenage video game players, you will know the sound of Twitch streamers and YouTubers. Right now, my sons seem to live on a steady media diet of wildly enthusiastic young men, playing the same games, in the same ways, using the same slang. Over lockdown I have heard the words “What’s up?” and “like and subscribe” enough times to last me until the heat death of the universe.
Last weekend, my wife emerged from my youngest son’s bedroom and said to me, between clenched teeth: “Is there no one different for them to watch?” And true, from the outside, game streaming can seem like a monoculture, dominated by energy drink-sponsored dudebros. Here are some other streamers and YouTube video makers to throw into your household’s gaming media mix.
When I asked on Twitter for everyone’s favourite Minecraft streamers, FalseSymmetry was the name that came up most. Mainly building on the Hermitcraft server with other keen Minecraft architects, she has a really friendly, accessible presenting style, her builds are interesting and she’s totally family friendly. Other recommended Minecraft streamers include LDShadowLady, PearlescentMoon and Scottish gamer Emzberri.
A veteran gamer and sci-fi fanatic, DeejayKnight has a relaxed, affable style, meandering into entertaining and interesting trains of thought while playing games such as Hitman and No Man’s Sky. He has also fostered a genuinely positive and supportive community.
Black Girl Gamers
Founded by Jay-Ann Lopez in 2015, Black Girl Gamers is, rather self-evidently, a community for black female gamers, which runs regular gaming events and advocates for inclusivity in gaming spaces and the games industry. It also promotes a variety of brilliant streamers through its Twitch channel so it’s well worth dropping in and picking up on new talent. See also NNESAGA.
Alongside the likes of Pokimane, xChocoBars and Loserfruit, Swedish streamer Loeya is one of the female stars of Fortnite. She’s on Twitch almost every day and her style of play is extremely watchable. She interacts a lot with viewers and she explains her tactics clearly, so you learn a lot about the game. Also, I’ve started watching Londoner GWENLDN who streams a lot of Fortnite and makes the game feel fresh again.
Lisa is a professional footballer who played for AFC Wimbledon and Fulham before being sidelined with a serious knee injury. She now plays on the esports Fifa team set up by Leicester City defender Christian Fuchs, and has spoken out about sexism in pro gaming.
Well-known esports event host Frankie Ward is also a regular Twitch streamer, focusing on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, but also straying into Dota 2. She brings professionalism and superlative knowledge to her videos. Charleyy is another excellent events presenter who also streams regularly and really knows her stuff.
YouTube streamer Tianna is another name that cropped up several times when I asked for recommendations on Twitter. A big Call of Duty fan, mostly playing Warzone right now, she has a calm, almost laconic style while out of firefights, which makes a welcome change. I also like Gabby, Braderz, C9EmZ, AlishaKins (who does the absolute best Warzone TikToks!) and CasCandy for their excellent CoD content. All of these are for older teens only and cautious parents should watch first before sharing links.
The incredibly prolific YouTube video-maker EnglishSimmer plays and talks about all of the current Sims 4 add-ons, as well as venturing back to previous titles in the series. Her presenting style is family friendly and inclusive, and she really digs into what makes the Sims titles so compelling. I also recommend Clare Siobhán , Xmiramira and Ebonix for excellent Sims content.
I’m always trying to get my sons to watch Eurogamer’s polished, witty and knowledgable video content and they are totally on board now. From fun list features to insightful playthroughs, all beautifully written and presented, this is as close as games streaming gets to old school, television-quality professionalism. See also, Yogscast, another well-established UK-based collective of streamers and podcast makers.
Streaming four hours a day, five days a week, Leah brings pace, humour and zest to her playthroughs of sci-fi shooters such as Valorant, Destiny and Outriders. She’s currently long-playing Halo 2, which will be a valuable education in classic shooter mechanics for Gen Z kids.
The Creative Blerd
Creative Blerd brings such an authentic and focused sense of joy and enthusiasm to the games she features, whether it’s Hitman, Cyberpunk 2077 or Yakuza: Like a Dragon. Her long play of Heavy Rain, as someone encountering quick-time event controls for the first time, is really interesting, too.
This is a large and varied collective of LGBTQ+ streamers and video-makers, which emphasises community safety, empowerment and positivity. A huge range of games and styles are represented and the well-designed website makes it really easy to dip in and find new streamers. As for specific LBGT streamers, try Rainbow Arcade co-founder Justin Nick, gay couple ZoeyProasheck or BiggusBennus, an English teacher living in Cardiff who streams relaxing games such as Minecraft and Story of Seasons.
Denny streams a lot of games I’m not great at – Dark Souls, Bloodborne, Mortal Kombat 11 – but he draws you into the experience and provides a calm, friendly introduction if your teens are just getting into darker, more challenging titles.
Propelled to fame by a memorable meme and recently celebrated for her takedown of a sexist commenter, Negaoryx is such an entertaining and emotive streamer who really lives every second of the games she plays, whether it’s The Last of Us, The Witcher or current favourite, co-op horror thriller Dead By Daylight.
A successful singer-songwriter as well as a Twitch streamer, Maia (or mxmtoon as she’s known online) plays a variety of games such as Valorant and Little Nightmares and often performs her songs as she goes. She’s a really fun, thoughtful presenter, and was recently part of the Twitch event, ‘An open dialogue on violence against the AAPI Community.’