Setting up a game plan
Article from the Sun daily by Jeremy Cheong (posted on 22 March 2016)
OH, how times have changed! Playing video games for a living is now a legitimate and viable career. Other than competing in tournaments with prize money that goes up to thousands and millions of dollars, avid gamers could opt for the gamecasting route where they record themselves playing games, and upload the videos to sites such as YouTube or live-stream them via Twitch.
In Malaysia, we too have our very own YouTuber who focuses on gaming. Zakhren Yazid (pix) started his channel at the tail end of 2011 and after five years, GamerZakh now has over 30,000 subscribers and over 8 million total views.
"Honestly, I started a YouTube channel because I needed an excuse to start playing games again, as I was occupied with my career. I thought if I made it like work then I wouldn't feel so bad, and it grew from there," said the 27-year-old.
What was initially a side project has become his main focus as he recently gave up his job as a teacher at an international school. Zakhren is now looking to go full steam ahead with creating content for his channel.
"2016 is the first year where content creation for my channel is my primary job. It's scary but also exciting. I'm trying my best to improve the quality of my content, and I'd love to make new friends and connections nearby and around the world to collaborate with," he added.
As a former teacher, what are your thoughts on the misconceptions of gaming and how it affects students' grades and performance in school?
The negative perception of video games is understandable. It's a relatively new form of media but like anything else – there are good games and there are bad. Grades are another issue. It really depends on what's being assessed.
If we're talking about history, there are plenty of games that can foster an interest in the subject such as Civilization and Age of Empires. There's also plenty of games that involve science, business management and even literature as some of the best stories are told in games.
Sure, they aren't always 100% accurate to what's coming up in the test but they aren't meant to be textbooks. They provide context for students to understand the ideas and concepts being taught in class.
What is the major appeal of gaming to you?
The big draw of gaming really is that it's a limitless supply of content. There are always new games coming out or you could go retro and talk about games from the past. If you get bored of a game you can just move on to another.
How do you come up with ideas for new content and is it difficult?
Coming up with ideas for new content was difficult at first. There are already so many gaming channels out there. I realised it's not about doing things first. It's about creating your own unique view on things. You can talk about the exact same topic as someone else but your personal experiences, skill set and opinions set you apart. YOU are the real content, not the topic you're covering.
Do you feel like gaming is a bit more of a chore now that you depend on it for content?
For the first few years I never played a game without making videos about it. Gaming was more like work and it wasn't relaxing. Every time I played a game I felt obliged to record it, and when I was doing anything else I was constantly reminded that I could spend the time working on another video! Recently, I've discovered that I can still relax and enjoy the game when I play with friends.
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