Have Your Tastes In Streams Or Games Shifted Since 'These Uncertain Times?'

Have your tastes in content noticeably shifted this year?

By Daavpuke, Posted 30 May 2020

I think it's safe to say that we all need some distraction lately. Often, live streams are a way for people to not only hang out together, but also cope with stress and outside factors. Streamers can be seen shifting to a low-level version of online therapy, if for no other reason than to acknowledge a viewer's aching. "I'm sorry to hear that," you'll often hear while watching someone play their favorite game. 

In an increasingly more stressful environment, I've found that the games and streams I've been drawn to have shifted as well. Normally, I'll be more enticed by competitive games and shooters; primarily Overwatch or Valorant. The action, combined with the speed and strategy involved, always keep me tuned in to see if I can keep up with someone's quick thinking. These games are also known to have some truly goofy, face-palming moments emerge. There's a good mix between intensity and comic relief when watching a streamer with semi-competent skills play these titles.

Online Streaming, Games, Taste

Lately, however, it's become harder for me to concentrate on the gameplay. The heightened pace induces more anxiety than I can handle most days. Especially when gameplay is only broken up with the streamer responding to other people's pain in the chat, there's not enough downtime there for me to have a vent for my stress. I feel myself getting more anxious, without that knot ever going away. It's hard to imagine what the increased burden on a streamer's mental health must be right now, having to tend to viewers every time they log on. So, instead of action on screen, I've sort of fallen into watching games that I would normally play myself for comfort. Particularly, I've been enjoying streams of builder simulations, like Astroneer and Minecraft. The latter was pretty surprising to me, because I don't even like Minecraft all that much. There's just something about watching players mess around with the blocky sim that feels soothing. It's as if, through watching multiple players bond, I become a silent part of that group as well. I feel like I'm hanging out with friends, even if we've never met. More than just the video game, the sense of companionship has become the main draw for me consuming content.

Additionally, going through the motions of the building simulation also gives me structure, if you'll pardon the cheesy pun. My default option to play myself is City Skylines, where creating a city isn't as much a goal as it is just part of the process. The open-ended nature of the Paradox Interactive title gives me a guideline to follow, without it being a necessity. Having that plan, without the stress of needing to pull it off immediately or forcefully, is part of the zen charm for me. Therefore,  clear but optional stepping stones are also what attract me to watch someone stream; seeing how they will solve the puzzle and what aspects they'll prioritize.

Even when falling back on Overwatch or other games, like Apex Legends and other battle royales, I'll gladly forego game skill for a stream where I can be constantly conversing with either the streamer or the people watching instead. Hanging out is always part of live streams, but certainly right now, it's become the one main aspect, above everything else. I'll still try to follow the action and make sure to congratulate a streamer when they're doing well, because they need reaffirmation as well. Especially when fewer viewers are concentrating on the game itself, it can feel as though the content creator is playing for nothing. Having a pointed comment on their specific actions is often met with a heartwarming response. As always, it costs nothing to be nice, certainly not if that person is your "friend." The "smaller communities" tab on Twitch in particular is a great way to find a cozy place to chill with a stranger friend.

Have your tastes in content noticeably shifted this year? If so, feel free to shout out your favorite places to hang out in the comments. We could all use some good times.

Daav Valentaten, NoobFeed

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General Information



Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): Blizzard Entertainment
Developer(s): Blizzard Entertainment
Genres: First-Person Shooter
Themes: MOBA, PvP, 6v6 Brawl
Release Date: 2016-05-24

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