If I’m not getting my life back, y’all are coming down with me

Oh dear, I’ve been sucked back into Shandalar.

Let me explain. Shandalar is a Magic the Gathering video game from 1997. MtG has had many other video game properties since 1997. Battlegrounds was weird, real time stuff. Didn’t work. Duels of the Planeswalkers (later known as Magic: Duels) was okay, just straight games with a story mode and deck builder. Sometimes neat little bonuses. Then that got discontinued. Magic Arena has been amazing. It’s like a streamlined version of Magic Online. It’s colourful with cool effects. The UI is mostly pretty well done. It’s free to play with in game currency. They’re hunting for their white whales, and the rest of us plebs provide a player base for them to battle. It’s a working eco-system and a pretty huge deal for the future of Magic. I’ve spent innumerable hours in the past year on this game. I love it to bits. It’s not Shandalar.

Shandalar is my forever mistress. It’s hard to escape, because it’s so fucking fun. For people who haven’t played before, I figure I might give some tips. First of all, if you want to play on Windows 10, here’s a really good tutorial from streamer Gaby Spartz. It’s an old game, there’s some finagling required. Okay, the gist of Shandalar is that it’s a MtG based RPG. You wander around a world map battling cronies of evil wizards, building your deck up over time. Eventually you battle the wizards and save the land. Sometimes you’ll find dungeons, which have old cards very few of us get to play in real life. Black Lotus, Ancestral Recall, etc. The game also features an ante system, which means you can lose your precious cards, or steal cards from opponents. The ante system, while heartbreaking in real life (and thus has been expunged from paper magic) actually makes the game really fucking exciting. You’ve got skin in the game, and you’ll feel super shitty losing a Mox Sapphire to some dork on a horse.

With that out of the way, here are some tips for the game:

  • Money. Money is a thing in this game. It helps you buy cards in towns, or from vendors. You can use it to buy food, which helps you keep a good speed walking around the map. Money is important.
  • Towns have different economies based on their size. It’s a good principle to buy cards you want from smaller towns. Or if something’s a good card in a small town, you might be able to flip it for more money at a larger town. Buy your food from small towns if you can.
  • Liquidate everything you’re not gonna use, and try to sell your more expensive cards at big cities. You’ll get a lot more for them.
  • Once you can consistently beat enemies, they’re a great source of revenue. Sometimes you’ll randomly get really powerful cards from them too.
  • Travel by roads. It’s faster and you can evade enemies.
  • The honest to god best thing about having money in this game is being able to pay off enemies instead of battling them when you’re trying to get around the world map. When you start out, your deck will be shite. A multi-coloured monstrosity. You can streamline it eventually. Before you do, however, your win loss rate will be pretty rough. If the choice comes between risking losing a good card to ante or paying 40 gold, the gold is well worth it. I mean, you’re in the game to play Magic and have fun, so do that too. Just don’t lose your key cards to errant druids.
  • The upside of paying people off is that it frees you up to do quests for towns. This will help you power up faster.
  • Quests: Take quests that give you mana links. Your life starts at eight or ten. Each mana link you get raises your life total permanently by one. Once you have 15-20 life, the game gets more reasonable and you’ll find yourself actually winning games.
  • Quests: At the start, do the dorky quests that just require you to take messages around in exchange for single amulets or mana links. When your deck gets good enough, you can start doing battle quests where you’ll get two or three amulets for defeating powerful enemies. It’s great. You can use these to buy new cards.
  • Amulet rates: Vendors sometimes sell cards by type and amulet colour. Rares cost three (very occasionally, four) amulets, uncommons cost two and commons are one. It’s a good idea to have multiples of three amulets whenever you open dialogue with a vendor. Once you choose to engage with a vendor, you won’t be able to engage with that same vendor again.
  • Contract from Below is in this game. It is fucking insane. Take a chance to play with it, because you’ll never, ever get a chance to play it in real life. The extra ante is irrelevant. If you’re drawing 7 cards for B, you’ll usually be winning that game.
  • There are different random locations that appear on the world map. Little mountain crags, sunken ships, graveyards, alabaster columns or little forest hovels. They’re random events, and usually have a more positive outcome than negative. Sometimes you’ll wander into a thieves den and they’ll steal half your amulets or gold. Mostly though, you’ll find cards, merchants who’ll sell cards for gold or amulets, or dungeon clues. Sometimes you’ll find a powerful monster with good spells up for grabs.
  • When you have a random encounter with a powerful monster, you usually don’t put cards up for ante. It’s risk free. You might as well take the battle and sell the cards, because otherwise the monster will just disappear for good.
  • Dungeons. Get dungeon clues so you know what you’re encountering. Life losses/gains are carried over between matches. There are dice that will give you a bonus of either extra life or a card to start with. You can accumulate life bonuses, but once you have something to start with, getting a new dice replaces that entirely, even if it’s another life bonus.
  • Dungeons, cont: The best practice in a dungeon is to entirely avoid battles if you can. Scope out every available hallway without taking dice if you’re able to. Leave dice scattered around, and once you have no choice but to battle someone (to get a treasure (which in this instance is always an amazing rare card)), collect dice until you have something good to start with. It’ll make the battle a lot easier.
  • You can run as few as 40 cards. Once you’re below 40, the game will start randomly adding in lands to your deck. Try to keep at 40-43 (in case you lose a battle out in the world and want to stay above 40 cards). You can run up to three of each card until later.
  • Worldmagics: There are a bunch of worldmagics. They’re not all created equal. The ones to get are:
  • The one that lets you walk through swamps faster.
  • The one that lets you walk through mountains faster.
  • The one that stops you consuming food when you’re walking through a forest.
  • The one that makes cities offer more cards for sale.
  • The one that lets you run up to four copies of each card in your deck.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY: The one that makes the evil wizards require five conquered cities instead of three. It’ll give you so much more time

Speaking of time, that’s all I have right now. If you’re into Magic I implore you to check this game out. It’s sincerely amazing, and despite (or even because of) the graphics, it’s a riot. It’s very exciting, gripping, and I don’t think Wizards of the Coast will ever make another game like it. It’s not a lucrative enough system.

Happy casting, friends.

Well it ain’t sham-dalar

I’m swimming in spare time, but I did also drink a ton of coffee, so I’m very distractible (for a change). I want to get this done, so it’s a regular ol’ stream of consciousness deal.

Yesterday was great, today’s been great. I guess it’s hard to have a shitty time when you have regular four day weekends, but I haven’t gotten bored yet. Turns out there are other people with non-standard schedules. A bunch of them are my friends, too. It’s neat. I met a writer friend for brunch. We hadn’t caught up in ages, and tend to do a lot of JFL42 stuff together. She’s always a blast to hang with, and it was worthwhile comparing JFL42 must sees, etc. More importantly (because let’s be real), the food was awesome. As soon as I mentioned brunch she was like LEON WE’RE GOING TO DONNA’S FOR ROAST BEEF SANDWICHES. I didn’t argue. It worked out. The sandwich was incredible. The meat was succulent, and a lovely jalapeño spice pervaded each bite. There were crispy onions and soft, thinly sliced wedges of parsnip. It looked like cheese, but the texture was awesome. We had a pea salad on the side, which also featured solid quotients of both crunch and spice.

Then it turned out I was around the corner from another friend who I was gonna have a late lunch with. I biked a literal two minutes, and hung out at hers. We put on sunscreen, then headed out to walk the streets. Our goal was to hang in a park, and we did errands while we walked. She’s trying to learn Latin, so she picked up a copy of Winnie Ille Pu she’d booked from the library. I stopped by CAFE (a local pot shop) who’s been forced into weird sidewalk sales stuff by archaic provincial laws. I put an order in for a gram of indica (it’s been great for powering down and getting rest after late night work shifts) that I’d be able to pick up half an hour later, then we kept walking. I got some cash out, my friend bought a spinach pastry, she got a “Fat Mac” slice from Apiecalypse Now, and we lazed in Christie Pitts park. It was fucking great.

I have the rest of the day off, with zero commitments. I’m realistically gonna get pulled back into the world of Shandalar, a 1997 Magic the Gathering game that to this day is still the best MtG video game ever created. One of my favourite streamers Gaby Spartz plays it periodically, and it whets my appetite. The system is so old and clunky, and it features rules that’ve been long since updated in the card game. I’ve played the game so much that it’s a total nostalgia blast. It’s a fun RPG where you wandering the land trying to take down evil wizards and their cronies by battling them in a card game. There are elusive mythical cards you can find out of nowhere, and old ante rules means you can lose your top cards suddenly. It’s exciting, and a weirdly compelling game to view on Twitch.

Oh shit, she’s playing right now. I think I know what I’m doing this evening. See ya.

I shall not fall for your siren song

Do you ever drink enough coffee that your absent minded thoughts get super arrogant?

I legitimately had the thought today “I need a new hobby. Maybe I should become a volunteer firefighter.” Easy as that. Just become a volunteer firefighter. No doubt, just should I? And ok! But then I thought again, once I realised the audacity of what just trailed through my head. I could probably pass the fitness test. I’ve got enough logical aptitude to do okay at the other tests. I’m not saying I couldn’t get the position (I’m also not saying that I definitely could either). I’m saying that in that kind of crisis position, unless I had extensive training, I’d just be dumb. Maybe I’d misunderstand the physics of a set of charred stairs and tumble through. Perhaps indecision would have me stupidly standing around in a domestic inferno scratching my helmet and waiting for instructions. Would I take off my gloves because I was sweaty? I’m not sure of anything, except that I’d find some way to screw it up.

Honestly though, it’s not the first time I’ve absentmindedly considered joining an organisation just so I could take a fitness test. They sound fun. As long as it’s not the Beep Test, I like the idea of doing drills to see where I’m at. I’ve actually thought about both the military and police force, just for said tests. I haven’t followed through on either because a) I think war is bullshit macho bollocks and b) All Cops Are Bastards. Still, their boot camps sound like fun. I sincerely would like to know if I’m fit enough to do immoral things for the inscrutable purposes of the asshole men running these organisations. Sure, they’re bad guys, but gym memberships are expensive.

I’ve never wanted to be a firefighter before. Or a cop, or army recruit for that matter. When it all boils down to it, I just want to know that I could if I wanted to, which clearly is not on my agenda. It’s not that I dislike the idea of helping others, but more my innate disincentive to put my life on the line to do so. And hey, it’s not even that I don’t want to die. I’ve made it abundantly clear by now that’s on my agenda. I just want to go out doing something I love, which is more along the lines of being crushed by rubble while singing that Quad City DJs – “Space Jam”, or eating too much cheese. I don’t know that any of the above institutions condone eating cheese on the job, y’know? I need to stick to my guns, which involves not wielding guns whatsoever.

But as I said, I like the idea of helping people, I just don’t know how to do it. Years ago I had some naive idea that for my 20s and 30s I’d be selfish and pursue a lucrative media career, before transitioning into something more compassionate like counselling or psychiatry. Now that I’ve been in media for a while, I know how lucrative a field it isn’t. I may love it deep down, but it hasn’t really done much for me career-wise. The jobs have been consistently low paying, and I’ve spent maybe 2-3 years in total since graduation working a media job I actually enjoyed. It paid $30K a year. Despite my above sentiments, money has never been hugely motivating as long as my basic needs are being met. I don’t think any part of this post is a sudden epiphany that I’m following the wrong path. But maybe it wouldn’t be a silly idea to consider other stuff I could do.

But let’s save that for another entry, shall we?

Back in the saddle for a bumpy ride

Be proud. I went and did an open mic set all on my very own. It went fine.

I guess the meds are doing something, because I woke up on Wednesday wanting to try out some new material. It’s been a while. The last time I did a set was at the insistence of my therapist. I did the set, things went fine. Then I was too depressed for months and found the drive to get back up was beyond me. I knew that while I wanted to really try my hand at improving, it wasn’t gonna happen if I didn’t push myself out of my comfort zone and do something about it. So I did nothing. Consistently. I realised that I’d first tried it out maybe 10 years ago, that if I’d kept at it I’d be a lot better by now. But I wouldn’t get better at all without actual practical experience. So while it would be tough to sign up for open mics, stay out late listening to white dudes make shitty rape jokes, and deal with potentially mediocre sets for a while, it’d be a necessary evil.

Last night I had no real plans. My girlfriend was gunning for a burlesque game show, but I wasn’t in a burlesque mood. My friend runs an open mic that’s within walking distance from my home. I’d never been, but I knew that if I did bomb hard, I could very easily run home and cry. Always have an escape plan. I looked up some jokes I’d been considering telling. I worked over some of the wording, and practised one in which specific wording would lift the performance. I weirdly didn’t feel as nervous as I had in the past. This was all low stakes, just a Friday night open mic at a bar. My friend was hosting, and I had every hope she’d put together a pretty friendly room. At worst I had backup plans to go drink with friends afterwards. Plus it was a venue I hadn’t tried before. It’s cool to take the temperature of new places.

I walked in 5 minutes after sign up, and joined a line of white dudes. Assumptions confirmed. The scene hadn’t changed all that much. By the time I got my name on the list, I was 13th. After all the booked spots, and with a show that rightfully pushed non-cis males to the front, it’d be a while. The show started at 9.30pm. Spoilers, but I didn’t get on until around midnight. Once again, the scene hasn’t changed.

It was a mixed bag. I tried to sit up front so that comics would know they had someone listening. For the most part, the bar was filled with dudes just waiting to do their material and leave. Most of them weren’t listening to whoever was onstage. They were just thinking about their own sets. However, as other attentive comics did their sets and left, it was basically just me sitting up the front while a rowdy bar talked over whoever had the mic. Rough. I felt awkward being so close. Still, I tried to give everyone the respect they deserved for getting up and giving it a go.

I felt pretty shitty for the people who got drowned out. They had some great jokes, and probably felt like they were pounding sand talking to a bustling room. One of the female comics got a temporary reprieve by calling out one of the dudes at the back. “Hey ________” she started “should I tell everyone how you’ve been blowing up my Facebook? Maybe shut the fuck up, or I’ll start reading your messages verbatim. I’ve got time.” Hell yeah. People filtered out, the room quietened down. By the time I got on, people were at least half listening.

The set went well enough. I’d had two beers in the two or so hours I’d been sitting there, so I was a little looser than I’d expected. Still, I didn’t step on my own toes or fuck up any punchlines. I naturally fell into a very singsong-y Rhys Darby style delivery. Was it pandering? Some. Did it catch people’s attention? It did. All of my jokes landed, and got somewhere between a chuckle and a laugh. For such a sparse room, I was pretty happy with the reception. I’d written notes on my hand, and this morning I still have the following scrawled but faded:

  • Winter Gloves
  • Video Game Saves
  • Hakuna Matata
  • Ghost Crowd
  • Office
  • Kegels
  • 50 Cent

Maybe I’ll try this again soon. See if it sticks this time.

If you have an interim job in a bowling alley, would you call it tem-pin’ bowling?

I don’t normally think of Bowling as a drop in activity.

We tried, yesterday. We were walking out East with no particular designs on the day, when we stumbled upon a bowling alley. A simple sign advertising a bowl-o-rama or bowleria or whatever. We walked down the stairs into a small establishment, perhaps eight lanes. The music was loud, the lighting was cosmic. There was probably a kid’s birthday party going on. A mustachio’d gent who looked like he’d been churned through an algorithm to be the perfect bowl-o-runner (one who runs a bowl-o-rama, obviously. It’s in the name). Did you know that it costs about $20 for half an hour to rent a lane, and that shoe rental is $3? Did you realise that you could probably get a game finished in 30 minutes? Especially with two people. You could 100% throw down $13 and have a game of bowling out of nowhere. I haven’t gone bowling in years (the last time was part of a planned “low class date”), but it’s apparently more accessible than I thought. If I’m prepared to drop $5 on a coffee, $13 isn’t as much of a stretch for some good ol’ fashioned novelty entertainment.

Of course, for a ton of people bowling is a pretty regular activity. At least, movies have taught me that bowling leagues are commonplace, especially for dysfunctional men with a ball-and-chain mentality. I’m not one of them, so bowling rings in my mind as a mainstay of children’s parties. It’s funny to think of how subjective “regular” is. Our hobbies and interest help us find delight in the world, to meet other like-minded folks. I’m sure most would find the amount of time and brain space I devote to Magic the Gathering to be pretty weird. I’m one of them. But it gives me an area to focus on, and helps keep me engaged. To me, Magic is like an endless puzzle, with nigh infinite pieces (but realistically, over 18,000 unique ones. It’s actually relatively quantifiable). New sets are released on a regular schedule, which means constant recalibration and adjustment. Novel options arise to change decks that’ve held in their form for years. Archetypes shift, and the metagame is in a continual state of flux. I’m sure this is exciting for exactly me, and the hordes of players worldwide. I’ve found a niche I like, for others, that’s bowling.

I truly know nothing about the life of an avid bowler. Are there variations in strategy? Or is it all getting that technique honed to a fine point, then lather, rinse, repeat? Do people at high level ever make mistakes? Or do they dole out constant 300 point games? When you’re of such a calibre, where does the excitement come from? Are there hair trigger differences that can throw a match? Is ball technology important? Are there specific resins or chemical compounds that make for better balls? What role does superstition play? Or do players know that technique makes the difference, and superstition takes a backseat to physics? Are high level bowlers held with the same esteem we reserve for NBA players? Does the sport have legends, competitors who rose above and beyond? What of controversy? Is there a Tonya Harding of bowling? What of gender bias? Does the difference in ball sizes eliminate score differential between genders? Since everything’s turn based, does that mean women and men compete in the same leagues? Or is there still a massive disparity, like so many sports? Hell, what does an ideal bowling body look like? Would the Sports Illustrated Body Issue of a bowler have one massive arm? Are there specific body parts that get toned? Do they have super rigid wrists from keeping the ball aligned? Or are there surprisingly jacked back muscles that help send the ball straight and true? I have so many questions.

But I’m just a filthy casual who now thinks about drop ins. Will I ever learn who the Michael Jordan of bowling is? Have I ever had the impulse to know these things before?

Guess I should strike while the iron’s hot.

It’s what you’d get if you told New York to dream small

I’m exhausted after a day of whimsical adventure. My girlfriend and I unintentionally walked around 11km on a quest for nothing in particular. So the last thing I have on my mind is a topic.

Thankfully, commenter Miiesche asked around for info on Toronto. I’m always happy to source writing prompts, so here we go. They asked for info on Toronto, or more specifically (in their own words):

“1) What is like to live in Toronto (e.g. Is it expensive, how is the living situation)
2) How are the taxes?
3) How’s the weather, different neighbourhoods and work?

That’s basically it, I think… I’m happy for anything even if its random but something you should know, if you’re thinking of moving to Canada/Toronto in general. I don’t mind if you write a blog post or just answer in the comments about it.
Have a nice day!”

1) What’s living in Toronto like?

To be clear, I’ve got a pretty central Toronto focus. Or rather, non-suburban. Toronto’s suburbs aren’t viable locations, they’re purgatory or where you go to raise kids, have a lawn and give up on fun. Toronto’s a great city that caters to a vast array of socioeconomic statuses. PSYCHE. Toronto’s pretty expensive. Or somewhere in the middle. It really depends what you’re looking for. Downtown locations are gonna be pricey. I’d expect to pay at the very least $1600/month or more for a one bedroom downtown. Fortunately, downtown Toronto is a shithole. Or rather, it’s bland. Filled with franchises and finance types. If you start moving out to alternative neighbourhoods, things even out. This of course, depends if you’re renting. Also how new the place you’re renting is. The provincial government (would rather not talk about them) have lifted rent caps on new properties. So properties built after a certain date can charge whatever they want. Rental prices have skyrocketed. It’s getting pretty competitive out there. In some of the quieter neighbourhoods, you’ll get by flatting with others. Or finding a basement apartment. You might be able to get a room in a shared place for somewhere in the realms of $600-$900, but prices are rising. There are also more expensive places than this. It varies. I’m not here to sugarcoat things, housing within a 40 minute radius of downtown isn’t particularly cheap.

Going out isn’t cheap either. Don’t get me wrong. You can get great food for a reasonable price, but drinking adds up. A beer at a bar would be $8-$10, wine probably around the same. Brunch would usually be around $12-$14 before tax/tip (tax is 13%, tipping is 15% or more standard). I’d expect a dinner to go for $15 and up up up. Great local food if you know where to look, and this can end up cheaper. Awesome Asiatic cuisine of all varieties, especially in the neighbourhoods (but I’ll get to this during question 3).

2) How’s the tax, maaaan?

I mostly answered this for goods and services. I think you’ll pay between 20-25% tax on your earned income, but it varies by said income. If you’ve got an idea of what you’ll be earning, try looking here.

3) Where, work, weather?

Weather is a series of extremes. The winters can be either unremarkable, or slushy nightmares without end. Fall is lovely. The food is spectacular and hearty, while temperatures drift around 10 degrees or so. Bring a few layers and enjoy. Spring is nice, and becomes patio season as soon as 8 degrees comes along. Summer can get pretty hot, but there’s a lot of blissful park day drinking. Festivals are always going on, from TIFF, the various arts festivals, Taste Of [Insert Neighbourhood Here]. It’s a good time. Lots of great dogs walking about. The green spaces in Toronto are way more abundant than you’d expect.

Work depends entirely on your industries. A bunch are hyper competitive. There’s also a deep start up culture if that’s your kink. Younger people often feel displaced by the system, jonesing for fair paying opportunities. Once again, it’s a big city. This is kind of dependent on what you do. Many thrive, many scrape by. It’s a mixed bag.

Neighbourhoods are the lifeblood of Toronto. A ton of awesome culturally dense areas with names like Little Portugal, Little Italy and Stuart Little. Two truths and a lie. They’re all TTC accessible, and distance of course depends on where you live. There’s a lot of Toronto to explore, and it’s worthwhile. You can journey about to find new spots, line up for brunch somewhere, or develop old favourites. Or you can stick to your radius and have a shit time, wondering why anyone would live here. Your call.

I wanna put a special note, that Toronto will provide if you’re willing to meet it halfway. While it sounds pretty woo woo to say you need to put out energy to make it livable, it’s true. There are amazing local scenes for all manner of art and performance. Wicked local music, theatre, comedy, cult film, dance. Like-minded and welcoming communities. Weirdos abound. There are gloriously niche dance parties happening all the time. You can find your tribe if you do a little digging, and it’s like discovering treasure. Once you find that resonance, it’s hard to let go. Toronto can be a generic city placeholder, or it can be a life defining place called home. It’s all about what you’re looking for.

Like, y’know, wandering 11km with no general agenda.

Tha Twitch does not kill. Makes you stronger

Had to do a little write up of something media related for a team meeting tomorrow. I decided to write about Twitch, because it took the least amount of effort and/or research. If you ever wanted to know a little more about the medium, here you go:

What is Twitch?

Twitch is an online streaming platform, primarily dominated by video games. At its most basic, Twitch allows viewers to log in and watch their favourite professional gamers just play games. There’s a chat function hardwired into the format, whereby viewers can actually start a dialogue with these notable personalities. Owned by Amazon (bought for $970M in 2014), it’s mostly ignored by the mainstream, but concurrently happens to have a steadily growing audience:

Who is Twitch?

Let’s look at some stats quickly.

Top 5 streamers with the most followers:
Ninja – 13.6M
shroud – 5.96M
Tfue – 5.22M
TSM_Myth – 4.92M
summit1g – 3.67M

Streamers with the most viewers (average concurrent past 30 days):
OverwatchLeague – 121K
Riot Games – 58.1K
shroud – 53.7K
CSRuHub – 47.2K
Tfue – 46.6K

Twitch streamers with the most channel views (all time):
Riot Games – 1,105M
ShadbaseMurderTV – 659M
Ninja – 426M
Sarladder1 – 397M
BeyondTheSummit – 386M

When is Twitch?

Always. Twitch doesn’t turn off. Individual streamer schedules vary, but the framework of Twitch is set up to reward networking. Like YouTube personalities, Twitch streamers typically build up interconnected rings/clans/groups for the purposes of mutual cross promotion. A streamer may be online for 5-8 hours, then handshake with another streamer at the conclusion of their broadcast. In short, they’re passing their audience onto a friend, a movie that seeks to keep the viewer on the platform, and can potentially bolster subscribers for each channel.

Not only is Twitch live, but it has a comprehensive VOD section to catch up on past broadcasts. Viewers can even submit clips from the stream, cataloguing highlights and virtually giving free promotion to streamers.

Where is Twitch?

The beauty of Twitch, is that the system is set up with a low barrier to entry. Most of the successful streamers are simply broadcasting from their bedrooms. The production values aren’t high. If you have a USB mic, a camera and maybe some basic lighting, you’re set to go. Having a “professional” operation is accessible, and there’s not much of a ceiling. Green screens and larger production elements aren’t verboten by any means, but as a young medium they have yet to become standard.

Why is Twitch?

You better believe that money is a big part of the equation when it comes to Twitch. First off, subscribers. Subscribers typically pay $5 a month, which translates into a base income for streamers. Not to be confused with Followers, Subscribers usually get some kind of token VIP advantages like custom emotes and whatnot. It’s more of a way for fans to support their favourite streamers as opposed to concrete perks. Donations are also a common part of the economy, whereby viewers will just donate to the streamer in question in any quantity (the largest donation I’ve seen on stream was $2000.00).

There are sponsorships galore, integrated advertising and uncapped marketing potential.
I’m not gonna argue that Twitch is the future of broadcast, but I think it’s worth considering the medium as a path that some broadcast could take. It’s community based, and lowers the barriers between talent and audience. Unlike standard broadcast models, it offers certain amounts of two-way communication with effective immediacy. It has a primarily younger audience, with opportunities for growth. It’s wildly customizable, and innovation is encouraged. At the same time, it’s rife for marketing opportunity. Drake famously did a drop in session with popular streamer Ninja, which opens up all kinds of promotional potential.Twitch, like any good social network medium worth its salt, collects personal information that it can 100% use for marketing purposes.

From a broadcasting perspective, a Twitch style broadcast allows for access to new and different markets. It’s a personality driven medium with incredibly low overheads and high potential. The Just Chatting category also hints at possible simultaneous directions for the format. It’s merely streamers holding court and chatting with their audience. Twitch itself is not revolutionary, but it is an emerging entertainment medium with a lot of untapped potential.

And yes, as a primarily Magic the Gathering viewer, that pun was intentional.