TwitchCon becomes gamers haven

by Sydney Olmstead, Staff Writer

A sea of purple flooded the San Diego Convention Center when TwitchCon took over last weekend.

Gamers, artists, musicians and fans spent three days exploring the expo hall, listening to panels and meeting their favorite video game streamers.

Being very new to Twitch, deciding to go to the convention was somewhat of a last-minute decision for me.

Twitch is the world’s leading video platform and community for gamers and describes the type of gameplay that tests the player’s reaction time.

As a gamer, I was excited to go, but wasn’t sure what to expect due to my lack of Twitch knowledge.

I don’t have any favorite streamers or friends in the Twitch community and I haven’t begun to do my own streams.

What I’m trying to say is: I wasn’t overly hyped for this event. I just thought it would be something fun to do over the weekend. Upon entering the expo hall I almost burst into tears at the beautiful sight laid out before me.

An ambient purple glow washed over the giant room and most of the decorations nodded to Twitch culture, such as its popular emotes. The hall was a gamer’s paradise, filled with game demos, product showcases, company exhibitions and live tournaments.

Art from Twitch Creative streamers was on display as well. There was a main stage where different events took place each day, as well as a smaller stage by all the charity exhibitors where a charity marathon stretched across the weekend.

The funniest thing I saw on the floor was the Bob Ross section in the art area. There was someone conducting Ross-like painting lessons to groups of people.

Better yet, there was a merchandise stand where you could buy funny Ross-themed shirts with pictures of the happy painter on them and phrases such as “Painters gonna paint.”

The H1Z1 invitational was also going on at TwitchCon. An impressive display of a hill of skulls bathed in red light provided fans with a photo op and a place to watch the video game tournament. I also watched the Mario Maker finals, which were interesting.

For those who don’t know, Mario Maker is like other Mario games, but far more infuriating because its levels are created by ordinary people and fans that love to put Mario through nearly impossible challenges.

I roamed up and down every aisle countless times throughout the weekend and every time felt like a kid on Christmas morning.

I soaked in all the games I could, from indie to virtual reality. I talked to people I probably would’ve never met otherwise and learned incredible things everywhere I went.

Most importantly, I couldn’t believe how inspired I was by Sunday night after it was all over.

There is a place for everyone on Twitch. Originally, the platform was a home for gamers.

It was somewhere people could live stream their gameplay and form their own communities.

Today, it has kept that core quality and built on it. From the original gaming culture on Twitch, new cultures and subcultures were born. Now, people live stream music, art and even this thing called “social eating.”

The most interesting thing to me about Twitch is its dedication to charity.

Last year, fundraising drives on the site raised over $17 million for various charities and non-profit organizations.

I attended a panel about this topic, where a group called Zeldathon talked about its experiences with gaming for charity. It amazed me that something like video games could do so much to make a difference in the world.

Learning about Twitch and its family-like community was an incredible experience and I would highly recommend checking out the site.

It’s a great place to hang out and talk to like-minded people.