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How Twitch Works


Author's Note: How Twitch Works

I'm no stranger to video games. I played "Pong" and "Breakout" on my aunt's early Atari consoles when I was little, moved on to Atari cartridge games, spent all my quarters at the arcade by the corner gas station (they used to be everywhere), pulled more than a few all-nighters trying to finish text-based Infocom games in my teens, clocked time at Monolith Burgers in "Jones in the Fast Lane," and later spent days building and accidentally destroying cities in various versions of "SimCity." "Wolfenstein 3D" and "Marathon" were my introduction to first person shooters, and I went on to multi-play my friends in "Doom 2," "Quake" and "Unreal Tournament." I don't game enough to reach expert level in any of them, but I never quit trying out the new stuff and buying most of the popular gaming systems. I still dabble in a variety of games -- and revisit the old ones when I'm feeling nostalgic.

Being somewhat shy of multi-playing with strangers, it would never occurr to me to broadcast video of myself typing "kill troll with sword" or getting slaughtered by my friends on the virtual battlefield. But while researching this article, I got sucked into more than one Twitch streamer's channel for hours, got interested in the chat conversations and learned a couple of potentially useful game tricks. I even did a little test streaming of Minecraft myself on multiple broadcasting software applications. Some of them took some doing, and some had me streaming in minutes. I'm not sure my fumbling gameplay and intermittent muttering would hold an audience for very long, but it was kind of fun being an exhibitionist for a few minutes, and a little exhilarating when someone actually popped on to view and chat during that brief time. Long story short, I see the attraction of gaming in a public forum, and whether you are a viewer or a broadcaster, Twitch and other streaming platforms are a lot more engaging than I expected. I can see why some people are eschewing TV for live-streaming. One day maybe I'll do the same.

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