It’s fun meandering through media, finding yourself in another person’s world, and having a blast. My purpose behind writing Media Meandry essays was fixing a realization – I spent most of my time writing more serious essays. These essays are a good way to write less serious essays. As I got back into meandering through worlds more frequently, these meandries helped me learn to appreciate other people’s worlds whether I was having a blast or not.
One thing I enjoy about watching friends’s streams is having a more inside baseball look into the streaming process. Namedghost streams primarily Steam games, so his setup is fairly straightforward. Collector streams a variety of games from his console collection, so sometimes he tries settings that might mean streaming at a higher framerate or bandwidth, so I’m an audience member that can give him advice on how his stream looks. Collector was streaming Super Mario 3D World recently with a configuration that left the stream choppy – it wasn’t a consistent stream of video and audio. After he adjusted some settings, it was fun watching the game.
The thing with these streams is that it’s like vicariously playing the game.
I’m not sure if I’d play this Mario game, or when I do, it would be out of mild curiosity. Sure, that does mean less profit for Nintendo, but I’m not overly concerned over wanting to give money to companies “just because” – I’d rather buy a product I know I’ll enjoy. Watching Collector play BotW is fun, too, because it satiates any curiosity I have in playing the game. It might be fun, and I tend to stop watching when Collector goes into dungeons in case I do want to play the game later, but the whole open-world concept in media doesn’t appeal to me as much as a game with more of a narrative. It’s also fun watching Collector play Contra without the Konami Code, in part because it’s inspiring enough for me to want to play through the game, but I doubt to such a level of mastery.
Watching streams, too, is like a casual dipping of toes into the waters of new media.
When NamedGhost first played Fall Guys, I knew it was a game that I… would not enjoy playing. I usually don’t check out the latest games, even though I read and watch some reviews, so it’s fun having a rather reliable source that I can interact and joke with that is good at playing a game so I can see if it’s worth my time and money. NamedGhost and some of his friends have been playing 7 Days To Die. Although it’s not a game I’d want to play excessively, because it seems like more of a gameplay-style game rather than one with a narrative or story I’d want to meander through, it does seem like it’d be fun to play with them, even if they are playing at a rather high level.
What if you don’t know the streamer?
I think it’s important to remember parasocial relationships when watching people stream content that you can interact with in real-time. I enjoy watching the near-nightly streams of Pink Gorilla for a few reasons, including that I’ve been to their stores many times over the years, the streams have an upbeat community surrounding them, and I’ve talked with the owner that runs the stream a few times. It’s nice seeing a face I recognized from years ago livestreaming, and living a successful life, but although seeing his success is inspiring, I sometimes have to remember that we were never really friends. Everyone has that potential for everyone else, so it’s not like we were enemies, but I was a frequent customer. That’s about it.
Watching these and other streams is a fun way to see outside my own world.
That’s another reason why I made this Media Meandry series and I’m glad that I’ve turned it into a regular feature: I was writing about the same topics because I was almost getting too much inside my own head. Although I was often working full-time and around other people, my focus was on writing the next essay, then the next, rather than expanding my worldview and considering that someone’s world where they like playing this game or watching this show might be beneficial for me, too. It’s not like I ignored all media, but I used to only consume media if I could write a review or do something with it, where now, I still try to use media as a springboard for some essays, but if it doesn’t happen then I’m not worried about it.
It’s almost like I’m learning to not work so hard by working a little differently.
I could be watching a 7 Days livestream right now, but I’ll catch it after I’m done with this essay. That’s the thing with livestreams, too. There’s an almost addictive nature in how instant they are, and how you can interact with your friends or famous people, but I think part of the meandering process should involve practicing meandering at your own pace. That’s not always possible for some media. We have to watch movies at their pace. One can only go to a museum during certain hours. But, generally, I think it’s more important for the meandries to happen when you’re most curious to give the media your fullest attention.
Writing these essays is almost like a way of emptying my cup of filled-curiosity.
Once I’ve “reported the news” or written my thoughts on something, those thoughts could change, but they’re no longer tied to my mind, so I’m free to try on new thoughts. That’s been my way to remember that even if I’ve meandered through some media before, I can stop, assess the situation, and think to myself, “yeah, I dismissed this media before. Can you tell me more about it?” Media is multifaceted.
Their worlds can be approached through multiple perspectives.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: I was talking with someone today about a piece of media that I had previously been less-than-interested about. When this happens – someone loves something, I don’t – I like to ask them to tell me more about what they like about it, and try to focus on that. After some meandries in that world, I didn’t change my mind much, but I did think about this and other topics.|
|Related: Other Media Meandry essays.|
|Screenshot: Collector’s stream, after he had some technical difficulties. I liked how the screenshot looked.|
|Written On: 2020 September 06 [8:13pm to 8:57pm]|
|Last Edited: 2020 September 06 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|