When 99.9% of our time in the Twitch-verse is spent online, it may seem unnerving to some when a local Twitch meetup is heading their way. The idea of meeting your local streamers (and potentially viewers) in person can seem like a daunting task for some.
I am quite a shy person and while I can be fairly open among friends (or behind a screen), I find it hard to make friends spontaneously out of complete strangers in my day to day life.
When I discovered the first ever Twitch meetup in my city was happening at my local eSports bar, the Manabar, I was both excited and nervous. Excited because the Manabar itself is quite a new addition to my city of Saskatoon on the ‘ole plains of Saskatchewan. We are not a hot spot of Twitch-ers and eSports enthusiasts compared to the larger cities in Canada such as Toronto, Vancouver, or Calgary. I was nervous because I had no idea what to expect at the meetup. Additionally, this wasn’t an event I could ask my group of friends to come join for social support as none of them (except one) are invested in the culture of Twitch like me. The one friend who mods for me and is into Twitch couldn’t make it. So I was left to fend for myself and had no clue what to expect.
Having been to the Manabar a number of times before and being one of its featured streamers, I was at least familiar with the place, its owner (Chris), and even got to know one of their servers who happened to be a streamer. Maria AKA Nakatron was the first streamer on Twitch whom I met in person so at least I wasn’t going into this meetup completely blind.
That being said, there was a big difference in meeting one person who worked there and meeting a whole bar full of Twitch streamers and viewers in person.
Rolling up to the Manabar I was getting more and more nervous. After a few deep breaths I stepped out of my car and crossed the road. When I opened the door, I was already greeted by many faces staring back at me. The social anxiety in me was already screaming.
As most of the tables were taken I decided just to rush to the bar. Luckily one seat was left and as I snagged it I greeted the first person I saw. I figured I might as well use the small streamer Twitch advice of “fake it till you make it” and apply that to my confidence right about now.
I was greeted by Nolan AKA The_Hansard and he was a pleasure to hang out with most of the night! At first it was the awkwardness that I expected. Found out he was there for the Twitch meetup (as was everyone) and then…nothing. Maria was supposed to be hosting but she was running late and Chris (the owner) had no plans so all we could do was wait.
After ten or fifteen grueling minutes of awkward, Maria shows up and we finally get the ball rolling!
Right away Maria gathered everyone up and took a tally of who was a streamer. Almost everyone put their hand up. It was great to see such a good amount of streamers show up! We moved away from the bar and joined each other at the tables that weren’t already occupied by groups.
I ended up at a table with Nolan and another streamer who quickly introduced himself as Devin AKA Overcooked_cat. After everyone settled (and a little shove from Maria), people started warming up to their company at their table. There were a few outliers who seemed to be fine on their own but in retrospect I think I should have invited them to our table. I guess my social interaction was at its limit with Devin and Nolan.
As Maria went around and started discussions among the small groups, I thought I might as well get to know my two table mates.
While there were quite a few times where we just sat in silence, quietly watching the streams running on the TVs, there was still plenty of discussion. Why I love video games and Twitch is how it brings people together. It connects us in many different ways.
Devin was into FPS games and was just a casual streamer with a family and full time job. While he plays mainly on the console, he was quite excited to be saving up to be buying his first PC! (#PCMasterRace). Nolan was on the other side of the spectrum, streaming mostly retro games. He is a big supporter of Extra Life; a charity organization which I also raise money for every year doing their 24 hour Gaming Marathon challenge. It was awesome to hear how he raised $7,400 in their most recent Extra Life United Tournament!
As we’re talking, more people start trickling into the bar. Some of whom I was happy I recognized!
Teh_Martini, an awesome MMORPG streamer and Megilino, a super chill variety/PokemonTCG walked in as the night went on. Thanks to the @TwitchYXE Twitter account I already interacted with these two awesome people over Twitch!
Additionally, Natalie AKA Alinity showed up which actually was quite the surprise to me. The reason is because she is likely the only full-time streamer in Saskatoon and one of the larger streamers on Twitch with 400,000+ followers. Like I said, Saskatoon is not a hotspot for many streamers. I mean, with only ~1350 followers I was probably one of the “larger” streamers at that meetup! It actually wasn’t only until recently I found out Alinity lived in my city. I used to watch her back in her Hearthstone days so it was a bit surreal to see someone so large on Twitch there.
It was a nice testament to how broad Twitch is though. Many of the other streamers I talked to actually didn’t even know who Alinity was, despite her size on Twitch. On the other side it showed how small the world can be!
Sadly, Devin had to leave quite early but soon after Nolan and I were joined by Maria (making her rounds) and also two others; Carter AKA SilkyMitts and Blake AKA Dazaninator. Blake was actually another server at the Manabar so I was already sort of familiar with him. What I didn’t know was he and Carter were casters for SKLeague. A provincial (Saskatchewan) eSports organization that I heard of back when I played League of Legends long ago. It was awesome to talk to both of them about what goes behind the scenes of the organization and their plans for growth. I may actually feature them in an article for those interested in streaming more eSports related thing!
Carter and Blake had a movie night to get to but again their vacated spots were quickly filled. Aaron and Attila AKA LaChestyRue joined us. Aaron was more of a viewer of Twitch but is looking into more of the streaming side of things. It was nice to see someone so excited to dive into becoming a streamer. Attila on the other hand was a more focused streamer, mainly doing Rocket League content. From speaking with him he was extremely knowledgeable and for those interested in high level competitive play I recommend checking him out. The man even had business cards which looked awesome! Both Aaron and Attila were super friendly and easy to get along with.
Soon Maria brought Alinity around to the table. It was nice to see Alinity speak to pretty much everyone at the bar. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how she would interact with the rest of the crowd. She was very nice and is just one of those girls who likes to have a good time! Additionally it was nice to get some insight on the full-time streaming side of things and it was interesting to hear her decisions on moving away from Hearthstone since that was how I found out about her in the first place.
As the night wound down and the majority of people left, soon it was just a handful of us huddled around the Switch. Megilino was at the helm, playing on one of his saves. He even had a partner in crime, Aaron (a different one) AKA OpticalFlash who had tons of hours on the game and was helping him out. It was nice to talk to both of them and finally talk to Megilino in person! It’s always nice when you find out the streamer is just as awesome in person.
We even got some Switch party games going to end the night and many laughs were had as we milked cows, shot each other, and ate subs.
Sadly every good thing has to come to end at some point. We all said our goodbyes and made our separate ways.
Even if the night had to end, it was awesome to know that just in one night, many friendships were made. If you’re thinking of going to your local meetup I say just DO IT. You won’t regret it one bit. Enjoy yourself and have fun being in a room filled with other people that share your passion of Twitch and games. It felt like everyone there knew each other longer considering how easy the conversations were.
The thing I love about games is how it can bring people together. The Twitch local meetup was one of the best nights I’ve had and I am looking forward to more events like this. Support your local scene and get involved in your community. You never know what awesome relationships may come out of it!