An insight on gaming culture


Claire Chang and Julia Kremenetsky

   Although internet culture influenced our society long before the pandemic, social platforms have notably grown in influence—one instance being the spark in popularity of the gaming industry. Many students from West Ranch can be found within this community.

   As technology has advanced, video games are played globally. People from all backgrounds and beliefs can collaborate and challenge each other on gaming platforms. These online interactions foster connections with people who share common interests.

   Clarice Kim, a sophomore at West Ranch, has interacted with many people online through the game Valorant. “Some of my school friends initially introduced me to Valorant during quarantine, and I found it really fun,” Kim said. “From there, I tried out other popular recommendations and enjoyed a lot of other games. I found that I was actually able to meet new people and get closer with many people I know from school.” 

   Kim represents how individuals can foster new relationships with others who share mutual interests. Online multiplayer games typically encourage verbal interactions between players, where they can bond. Whether it’s through voice chat, over the phone, or even face-to-face, members of online communities have a variety of ways to keep in touch.

   In addition to gaming communities, others find themselves spending a lot of time on online platforms such as YouTube and Twitch. Many West Ranch students find themselves invested in this media outlet because they are able to find a reliable source of comfort in the new connections between players and creators. 

   West Ranch freshman Tanvi Gurav explained how online creators have influenced her. “Honestly, every time I watch big creators and influencers they make me feel a little better about my day. They’re all unique in their own way, but they all collectively have this overwhelming vibe to make things better,” she said.

   Such an extensive number of people find comfort through online creators that the term “comfort streamer” has been coined. On Twitch, a popular streaming platform, a comfort streamer is a streamer who a viewer especially loves watching or a creator who always brings a smile to the face of a viewer. Generally, online platforms can offer distraction, pleasure, a feeling of community and a sense of anonymity. 

   Sophomore Makaela Meeks remarked on the character of variety streamer and YouTuber Ranboo as well as Minecraft YouTubers Dream and Technoblade. “For me, Ranboo is one of my favorite [content creators] alongside Technoblade and Dream because of how they tell jokes and interact with their audiences,” Meeks said.

   Students at West Ranch make up a small percentage of millions of fans. The extent of these content creators’ influence is exhibited by their surges in follower and subscriber counts. Content creator Ranboo (YouTube) or RanbooLive (Twitch) grew from 1,000 subscribers and 100 followers in Sept. 2020 to 3.9 million and 4.3 million respectively (Wikitubia). YouTuber Technoblade grew from 2 million subscribers in July 2020 to today’s 10.3 million.

   Gaming culture can be a source of inspiration, comfort and relaxation to millions of followers, including some of our own Wildcats.