If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you may have seen a post or two (or dozens) about "Paranormal Twitch." The most common response is usually, "what is a paranormal twitch?" People have asked if it's a new piece of paranormal equipment or some kind of dance (I suppose it's being confused with twerk. And I assure you, it has nothing to do with twerking). It's actually a live online channel dedicated to paranormal gaming.
Sometime after I had hip surgery, in June, a colleague of mine, Gracie, along with Serg, suggested an idea called Twitch. I kept mispronouncing the name, so if you're not familiar with Twitch, don't feel bad. I'm probably the most uneducated person out there when it comes to games and online gaming. Serg had even heard of Twitch.
I like playing games, but I've rarely had the time. Or the patience. Every once in a while I'd dust off the X-Box or PS3 to play something. We're talking perhaps once a year.
It took them a few months, but since recovering from hip surgery required a lot of sitting, I was talked in to it. They explained to me that you can broadcast yourself playing a game while viewers can watch and interact with you. I couldn't imagine anyone wanting to sit and watch me play a game. But I went ahead and tried it out. They recommended a terrifying game called "Outlast." So I sat before a computer and broadcast myself playing it. I felt like an old dude trying to work a computer for the first time. But, surprisingly, a good amount of people showed up.
Over the summer, I continued to pick up and play the game here and there. Every time I did, I enjoyed it. Finally, sometime in early September, we committed to hosting what we now call "Paranormal Twitch."
It's becoming its own unique community. We mainly seek out paranormal/horror-themed games. And games people enjoy. After I beat "Outlast" (a great game, btw), Serg came on to play "Amnesia," both games that have regularly forced us to jump and scream, to the amusement of our fans. We started creating raffles (where people can spend the points they earn through watching and participating) and hosting group game plays.
And of course, there's a little gem called "Five Nights At Freddy's," perhaps the go-to game to make anyone jump or scream in terror. Viewers (or para-twitchers) recommended the game to us for weeks, but I put it off because it looked cheesy. That judgment easily faded after I played it for the first time. What is "Five Night's?" Think Chuck-E-Cheese meets "Chucky." The animatronics are literally trying to kill you. As the overnight employee, your shift starts at midnight and your goal is to make it to 6am. Far, far easier said than done. And when you do finally make it to 6am, the cries of the children squealing "yyyyaaaaayyy" give you a sense of accomplishment. And then you have to do it four more times! We officially retired "Five Night's At Freddy's," but one awesome fan made a video montage of myself, Serg and friend VJ screaming as a result of "Freddy's."
And as you can tell from reading this, Paranormal Twitch has become its own phenomenon. And we quite like it. I've never really considered myself a gamer, but I'm enjoying the hell out of Twitch nights. I love interacting with the fans and inside jokes have become a part of the culture among the regular viewers. It really does feel like a community.
It was originally supposed to be an occasional thing, but it's grown so fast. Now we broadcast regularly three nights a week: Thursday's (8pm EST), Friday's (9pm EST) and Sunday's (7pm EST). Our non-Twitch days (Monday-Wednesdays, in particular) leave us feeling like something is missing.
I even got to meet one of our Twitch fans at my speaking event at Penn State last month. Something I was quite excited about.
I love multiplayer games because it makes the experience more rewarding. Plus you get to talk with your viewers.
If you are to ask me, now, if I'm a gamer, I'd have to say yes. And I enjoy it. As I wrote earlier, I didn't really have time for gaming. Now that we're making time for it and it's also become its own income resource, I couldn't be more thrilled. Who wouldn't enjoy getting paid to play video games?
I'm thrilled to discover that people from all walks of life within our fan community have checked us out. And now some of them have created their own channels and are connecting with other fans who enjoy gaming. My fame or work may not be associated with gaming, but nonetheless, it's such a different approach to what we normally do. And that is a plus. I like doing things out of the box. And who doesn't enjoy a good game (or Gassy Goat) from time to time? Paranormal Twitch is not for everyone. But that's okay. For those who enjoy it, we have a great time. It's a special niche, but I'm currently having the time of my life.
For all my Paranormal Twitch fans, I'm looking forward to getting to know all of you more as we cross the six-month marker, and beyond! And for all of you who have yet to watch, you can check it out by visiting: http://www.twitch.tv/ThePRSBureau .