So, this post is a little different, as I wanted to just take this time to talk about Twitch… Specifically, I wanted to talk about getting my head around retro gaming on Twitch.

As you may or may not know, I’ve started streaming on Twitch as well as YouTube. The reason for this is because there seems to be a very big retro gaming community on Twitch. There are a lot of streamers on the site who are playing retro games, which is awesome. So I wanted to try out both sites to see which I can grow on more.

However, there are a few things I am now learning, and other things that I’m still confused about when it comes to Twitch.

Casual Playthroughs Versus Speed Runs

The first thing that I’ve come across is the split between stream styles when it comes to retro gaming. Now, I’ve never professed to actually being particularly good at games; I simply play them to enjoy them. I could never do a successful speed run of a game as I get distracted and just like to explore the world and lore of a game.

However, there’s a huge amount of retro gaming streams on Twitch who use it to do Speed Runs. This also means that there’s a massive community of viewers who prefer to watch those Speed Runs.

From what I’ve seen so far, there are a lot more people interested in watching Speed Runs than what is known as “Casual Playthroughs”. At least, that’s why I have seen when looking through Twitch’s Retro category. I may be wrong, but looking at the viewer counts for various streamers, that’s what I have experienced.

The thing is, I’m doing Casual Playthroughs as I find them more interesting to play. What I haven’t worked out is whether that means I should list my streams in the Retro category, or in the category for the actual game itself…

Variety Streaming Is Tougher

The next thing I’ve learnt so far when it comes to Twitch is that people who focus on just one game for every stream are more likely to grow quickly. This is because they get followers for that specific game, and then continue to provide content for that game. Things are very different for Variety Streamers, from what I’ve seen.

The reason for this is because you may get a few followers who are interested in a game you are playing on that day. However, for your next stream, you’ll be playing a different game. That means that your content might not remain interesting for those followers.

Now, every Saturday I stream a random retro game. This is continuing after I put up a poll on Twitter and the majority voted to keep the Saturday streams random;

So, in order to try and find the best middle ground, I’m now going to play through Final Fantasy VIII (to begin with) on Friday night streams and keep Saturday streams for random retro games. It’ll be interesting to see which streams are more popular…

Overlays Are Super Important

The final thing that I’ve learned so far (apart from the fact that you need to be part of the community, which is obvious) is that your stream overly is actually really important. For modern games, it’s really easy to create a simplistic yet stylish overlay as the game footage can fill the entire screen. This isn’t the same for most retro games as they output in 4:3, rather than widescreen.

This means that the game footage is basically a square (or at least very close to a square) so it can’t fill the widescreen resolution of Twitch’s video player. Therefore, you need to find ways to build your overlay around that. Originally, my overlay was very busy, with the gameplay footage in a TV in the middle, as well as a chat window, corner image reminded people to follow me, and a text scroller across the bottom.

However, having spoken to other streamers (like DJS2k8), I was advised that simplified and decluttered overlays are generally better. Now, I have been told be my followers that they like the TV idea of my overlay, so I tried to find a middle ground again. This involved taking out the corner image and text scrolls, moving the TV across, making it larger and extending the height of the chat.

Watch Highlight: Resident Evil Jill Gameplay – Weekly Retro Gaming Showcase from 16bitdad on www.twitch.tv

I think I’ve found a nice middle ground with that overlay, but again, we’ll have to wait and see how well it goes in the coming weeks.

And That’s All Folks

As someone who is just getting started with Twitch, there’s still a lot more for me to learn. So I am planning to write more posts every now and then as I figure more things out. Hopefully that will be interesting to you all, and maybe even a bit helpful!

If there are any tips or tricks for Twitch that you have found out, let me know in the comments below!

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