The popular video broadcasting service known as Twitch has become one of the largest communities where gamers can interact with one another. From live-streaming Let’s Play segments, to game reviews, to weekly video series’ hosted by the biggest outlets in the business, Twitch is now an important hub continuously showcasing amazing video game-related content and events. Some of these events in particular exemplify the meaningful bonds formed between members just from meeting together in a strictly online capacity. Such is the case with the following group of streamers, who have spent the past few weeks successfully hosting 48-hour benefit streams to help out members of their online community.
The first benefit started after a fellow Youtuber/streamer who goes by the name Exotix began having some trouble with his laptop. Exotix is the founder of an annual charity event called TwentyFourForIndie, where a group of streamers focused on playing indie games broadcast live for 24 hours in an effort to raise money for Child’s Play. “I have been producing content for about a year and a half on the internet on a low tier laptop,” Exotix explained. “I think all the hours of recording and rendering took it’s toll on the poor guy. My sound card broke about a month before the stream, and my USBs stopped getting power.” The stream he’s referring to is the surprise 48-hour benefit his fellow streamers hosted to raise money for a new laptop.
On Oct. 25, what was originally supposed to be a 24-hour stream known as 24forExotix turned into a 48-hour benefit due to an outpouring of support from the community. What’s equally amazing is just how quickly the whole thing came together. When asked about how much planning went into Exotix’s benefit, event organizer JennS90 said that it all happened, “surprisingly quickly, to be honest.” She further explained that, “when I had the idea for Exotix’s stream, I never thought it could have come together as fast as it did. I mentioned the idea and people were on board almost instantly, and everyone was so amazing at keeping his a secret from him.”
And keep it a secret, they did. Exotix said he had no idea the stream was happening until after it started. “Well, I didn’t know about it during any of the planning. I got a direct message on Twitter with a bit.ly link from JennS90,“ he confessed. “I clicked that link, and I was in awe. I was shaking for about an hour!” By the time the benefit ended, 24forExotix managed to raise about $1300 dollars, more than enough to pay for a new laptop. Exotix mentioned that the rest of the leftover money went to help pay off medical bills for his mother.
Shortly after the Exotix benefit, the spark for another event burst to life thanks to a man named Syama Mishra. Syama, also known by his Twitch handle McSpidey, is the brother of Sanatana Mishra, a member of the indie development team Witch Beam currently working on a twin-stick shooter called Assault Android Cactus. As the unofficial spokesperson and one-man PR team for Cactus, Syama found himself joining the chat stream for a member of the community named Biwinningism, or Biwi for short. At the time, Biwi was streaming some footage of the game – which is currently available for Early Access purchase on Steam – when Syama got the sense something was wrong. “I joined the stream and noticed she wasn’t her usual self,” he said. “Essentially she rage quit the game, turning off her mic and webcam, and ended the stream way early apologizing to everyone. I watched it happen and felt really bad”
As it turns out, Biwi was frustrated by more than just the difficult boss fight she was stuck on. “My son has been sick for over two months now and we have yet to find out what’s wrong with him. Medical bills have piled up and a lot of things got put on the back burner to get paid,” she shared. “Plus my landlord saying I missed a month of rent and me not being able to prove otherwise, we came up really short this month. I needed $600 extra to make things work this month or Jason and I would be homeless.”
It took a bit of work on Syama’s part, but eventually his persistence managed to persuade Biwi it was okay to open up to her friends and the community about her situation. Little did she know, her friends were already planning an event because they realized something was wrong. “As I was telling him what was happening, I assume he was talking to Jenn and Gozita about setting up a stream to help me. He convinced me to ask Jenn for help anyways. All I said to her was ‘Hey’ and she said ‘I’m already on it, 10 people have already signed up’.” The other streamer Biwi mentioned, Gozita, helped coordinate the Exotix benefit and became the primary event organizer for Biwi’s stream. “As far as organization, Jenn started it off once she found out everything and contacted a few people,” Gozita said. “Then I took over and got all the streamers in and I handled making the channel, setting it up, sending out the stream key, and handling any codes that were donated to use to give away.” After just days of planning, 48forBiwi kicked off on November 9th.
It didn’t take long for the benefit to reach its intended donation goal of $600. In fact, the community managed to pull together a large chunk of it even before the event went live. “Before the stream started, we had already reached $250,” Gozita recalled. “Within the first half hour we had $378.06. By the end of the first 3 hours, we had $561.05” When 48forbiwi finally wrapped the next day, the event raised nearly $2,300 for Biwi and her son Jason. Recalling her feelings during the closing moments of the benefit, Biwi joyfully explained that, “I have never witnessed such kindness from a group of people. Not just directed at me, but to others there as well. Huge packages of games were given out. People were teaming up and splitting the cost of the packages and then not keeping the games for themselves but passing them out to everyone that couldn’t pay.”
The packages of games referred to came from a number of sources. Many games were donated both by the streamers themselves as well as other members of the Twitch community who joined the chat room and just wanted to help. Even members of the indie development community were happy to be a part of the event. David Gallant offered 100 codes of his game I Get This Call Everyday so that anyone who donated got at least one free game for helping out. Syama managed to secure a few Steam keys of Cactus to give away as well. Aside from that, many folks offered up their unused Steam keys and Humble Bundle codes for games they didn’t need.
In addition to game giveaways, both events kept audience members engaged with a variety of activities; ranging from the occasional karaoke to a few rounds of trivia. At one point during the Biwi benefit, Black Ice developer Garret C jumped in for an impromptu Q&A. Additionally, a streamer known as Hired Help offered to draw some joke art for those who pledged $5 or more. In the case of the Exotix stream, fellow streamer Maximus kicked off the event by donating a key for the recently-released Batman: Arkham Origins. In order to win this extra special giveaway, Gozita put together an extremely difficult round of Batman-related trivia.
After successfully hosting two exhausting benefits for members of the community, this close-knit group of streamers have yet to feel burnt out by the long hours and event planning. “We all love hosting them and it really gives us a chance to hang out together and make new friends,” Gozita said. In all likelihood, it probably won’t be long before the community gets together once more to help out a fellow gamer and friend. Finally, as a special thank you to all those who participated in the 48forbiwi benefit, Biwi recorded the following video for IGM:
To see the full list of streamers who participated in the events, be sure to click on the event links themselves contained within the article.