N.B. The following was a comment I posted on my 10 year anniversary video, uploaded on January 10th 2021 – I thought it best to make a blog post too!
Ten years condensed into five minutes. I uploaded the first video to my YouTube channel back on 10th January 2011 which means it’s been a whopping decade of Let’s Plays, livestreams, collaborations and more. Whilst you might expect a big, blowout anniversary special for reaching the big 1-0, I figured a simple montage would keep it short and sweet. And that also means no incessant rambling from yours truly! I figured I’d be best off writing something down instead of babbling and losing my train of thought narrating. Let’s go!
I honestly can’t believe it’s been ten years. I vividly remember sitting on my bedroom floor with my Dazzle capture card nested amongst a mess of cables, wearing my crappy Microsoft microphone headset and mumbling my way through a playthrough of The Simpsons Game on the Playstation 2. In the blink of an eye it’s now 2021 and though a lot has changed in my life, mumbling my way through video games and uploading it to the internet has miraculously continued.
My original goal was to create content because it seemed fun and I was confident I could give it a go. In the process, maybe I’d get a bit better at designing, editing and post-production. But if anyone actually wanted to watch my videos? Well that was the icing on the cake! I think it’s that aspect which has led to me doing this for so long – I never had that dream of becoming ‘big’ and the inevitable disappointment when things don’t work out. Has that perspective hindered my channel growth? Absolutely. Has that perspective also been beneficial to my own health and wellbeing? Absolutely! 17,000 subscribers is nothing to be sniffed at but in the humongous pond that is YouTube, I am but a tadpole and by anyone else’s standards I think my channel would be deemed a failure after ten years of content creation. But for me there was no success threshold and no way to fail. I just did it because I enjoyed it. I could be sitting at 100k+ subscribers and having YouTube as my main source of income if I’d done things different but who’s to say if I’d be any happier?
All of that is to say that whilst my channel is still very small I don’t regret anything I’ve done, or not done, over the past decade. I’ve made exactly what I wanted to make and have never been coerced into doing something for the sake of the YouTube algorithm. Suck it, machine learning!
However that’s not to say things are going to stay exactly the same. I’ve hinted on a couple of livestreams that I have plans to change the sort of content I make because hey, after ten years, wouldn’t you start to get a little bored? It’ll remain gaming related though so don’t expect a drastic shift towards ASMR or makeup tutorials unfortunately. I’ll explain more in a future channel update video, so stay tuned!
One thing that boggles my mind to this day is when I receive comments from someone who has just binge-watched an entire series of mine and come to say thanks. Let’s face it, not all of my 1000+ videos have been top quality – far from it – but to know that on some occasions, I’ve created something that someone really enjoys is truly satisfying. The nature of Let’s Playing is a fickle business where an audience either watches content because of the game being played, or because of the person playing it. I’ve always accepted the fact that my subscriber number isn’t at all reflective of who watches my content. Some people watch one series and move on, others stick around for a bit longer. But at least I can look at it and say that almost 18,000 people have at one point thought my content was good enough to subscribe and hey, that’s pretty neat. Moreover, I’m hugely proud of the subscribers who stuck around and became part of our little community. Your comments and words of encouragement mean the world to me and I think together we’ve created such a positive and supportive corner of the internet. I look at other groups or communities and boy does it make me grateful for what I have thanks to you.
It would be amiss to write all this without mentioning the collaborative element of my YouTube history. In all honesty I had no intention of collaboration when I first started but I look back now and realise how much it means to me to have done so. I’ve made content with some brilliant, hilarious people like Honestom23 and his podcast as well as the many, many members of the JFS community. And what surprises me most is that often these digital friendships have transcended the internet and led to actual meetups and holidays together. If you’d have told me back on January 10th 2011 that eventually I would be in the middle of Brussels, unimpressed at the sight of the Manneken Pis with four other people I’d met through Minecraft, I’d have thought you were nuts!
World events aside, 2020 was a great year for my channel both in terms of growth and my own personal goals for it. New series like The Simpsons: Hit & Run + MOD have been really well received and I love any excuse to return to that game. Similarly, my video designing a sequel to it was a labour of love and something I’m really proud of. Towards the end of last year I returned to livestreaming on Twitch, which was something I had neglected for quite some time despite the fact I used to massively enjoy doing it years back. During my break there’s been such an improvement on the tools used to stream and the fun things possible that going back to it has been an absolute blast. From Pam emotes to Ned Flanders mowing across the screen, I can only begin to imagine what weird stuff we’ll make this year.
Last year I also took my first foray into accepting donations or monetary support from my audience by joining Patreon. I’d received many comments about doing so in the past and thought it was about time to give it a shot. It was a truly humbling experience to actually get a few patrons who thought my content was worthy of a donation. Unfortunately I soon realised Patreon was not the right platform for me – it’s functionality didn’t really suit my content and the finances involved were an absolute headache. I switched to a similar platform called Ko-fi (https://ko-fi.com/muckluck) which has been great and also let me sell my own merch. Wait…merch!?
Indeed, this was the year I finally made my own merch. Not some crappy t-shirt or mug, no no no – my very own enamel pin which, if you’re in the UK, you can buy here – https://ko-fi.com/s/720a34d810. I’ve already written a massive blog post all about the process of creating it but I think doing so has been one of my favourite things to come out of the mess that was 2020. Sorry to tease all those outside of the UK – once Royal Mail get their act together and become a bit more reliable I will allow for international shipping!
I’m going to stop rambling now, I think that’s pretty much everything I wanted to address. Thank you to each and every person who has subscribed, liked, commented, donated, chatted in a stream, shared, read my blog, tweeted, bought a pin and everything in between. Making videos on YouTube has been a part of my life for ten years now and it’s only continued for so long because of you. Here’s to many more years to come!