Making words come out of my mouth, as opposed to my fingers, really isn’t my thing. I also enjoy being on camera about as much as Bigfoot does. The idea of doing both at the same time, while also playing a video game, is about as nightmarish a concept as I can imagine. Thus, I thought I’d attempt to see what it’s like to talk and appear on camera while playing a video game by playing another video game: Youtubers Life, a sim about becoming the world’s most popular YouTuber.
Creating myself isn’t easy beyond the baldness, beard, and glasses, because being a tongue-tied introvert isn’t one of the personality choices. I’m forced to pick from traits like ‘sociable’ and ‘superstar’ and ‘party animal’, none of which capture my intense personal desire to sit home alone undisturbed glumly refreshing Twitter for 15 straight hours. I can’t really think of a cool name for my channel so I base it on my real life YouTube account's viewing history. (Six of the views are me watching my own video.)
The game begins with me living at home with my mom, something pretty much anyone who has played games has been accused of at one time or another. In this bizarro universe, PC games are sold on physical media, delivered to your door in a box(?), and placed on a shelf. Weird! My shelf has only a single game, but from these humble beginnings I shall build a mighty empire of likes! Probably. Time to record myself playing my only game!
Hey guys! Recording is basically a card game, where your place the cards you are dealt to into what feels like the appropriate on-screen situation. At the beginning you only have weak cards like 'Unfunny Comment' but as you progress you earn better cards. Like 'Funny Comment'. Cards have a point value, and you only have so many 'idea points' per session, which increase as you gain experience. You also edit your video, trying to fit it together as best you can based on the tabs sticking out of each slide. Finally, add as many post effects as you can, render it, and upload it. Then sit back and wait for the sweet, sweet likes to roll in.
Of course, it's not all fun and (literal) games. I need to sleep and eat, or else I lose idea points and become sluggish. I have to study for school, and I need to do odd jobs to earn money to afford to buy more games, decorations for my room, clothing, and better parts for my PC. If I don't make enough videos, my subscribers become unhappy, and if I don't study enough my mom gets miffed. It's a delicate balancing act, the kind where you're constantly miserable, tired, there's never enough time and everyone is always disappointed in you. Just like life!
There's also a social life to be lived, and I begin by chatting with one of my contacts, a cute girl named Isabel, who I then invite over to my (mom's) house. Naturally, while I'm trying to seduce Isabel, my mom walks in and begins lecturing me about how I need to study more. "Moooooom! Get out of my room! You're ruining this!" shouts a bald 43-year-old man living with his mother.
My humiliation continues as Mom finally leaves but my computer breaks, shooting sparks all over my desk. I can't fix it myself so I have to call some Geek Squad asshole and pay him to fix it right in front of my prospective girlfriend as I stand there cloaked in a hoodie and helpless impotence. Isabel considerately averts her eyes but it's hard not to feel the damage has been done.
Isabel and I go to a movie premiere, though she makes it very clear it's not a date, just friends hanging out. She's not kidding: when I hopefully offer her flowers she recoils in abject disgust. On the red carpet, I pose for pictures, and the bouncer is happy to drive another shame-nail into my lame-coffin by loudly pointing out that no one knows me or gives a shit about me. As simulations go, this is all beginning to feel startlingly accurate.
Well, at least my career is going well.
Uh. Remember to hammer that like button? Guys?
Okay, things aren't going that terribly. I do post some moderately successful videos, I study enough to pass a test with a C+ (that's like a 78/100, still considered terrible in some circles), and earn enough money to move into an apartment with Isabel (not like that, we are just chums who have separate rooms). I'm still striking out socially but since I now have to pay rent and buy my own food like a real live adult person, I'm working longer hours and have less time to spend on being devastatingly rejected by everyone I talk to.
There's new work, as I intern for a game company, and I'm tasked with making a 'vlog' while at an event. I don't know if people still say 'vlog' so I title the video "Do People Still Say 'Vlog?'" which goes over well with the exception of the one guy who dislikes it. There is always that one guy. I hate that one guy. Money continues to be an issue, though I manage to buy a console (yuck!) and upgrade my PC's microphone.
Again, the simulation feels startlingly real at times. Except for the hat, this is a completely accurate depiction of my feelings at every single social event I've ever attended.
Little events pop up now and then, prompting decisions. One fan offers to buy one of my shoes (uhhh), and I'm hard up enough for cash to sell it (he immediately puts it on eBay). A neighbor asks to borrow a game, but I say no, and they promptly trash my reputation on the internet. I'm accused of only making videos for money (perish the thought!) and have to choose between ignoring the slight or trying to dispel the rumor. At one point someone dressed like Robin Hood breaks into my house and shoots my PC with an arrow, so displeased is he with my videos. Who knew people got so irrationally mad about videogames? Oh right, we all knew that.
Finally I have a little romance! I meet a woman named Scarlet, we talk, we dance, we hug, we kiss, we begin dating. I have a girlfriend!
Yes, granted, at one point Scarlet publicly strangles me in a nightclub. But I have a girlfriend!
Being throttled by Scarlet in front of friends and onlookers is unfortunately the high point for the rest of my game. My computer completely dies and I have to sell most of my belongings (including my console) to buy a new one. I finally gain enough experience to do my first real video review, but I then have to delete it due to a copyright infringement issue, else risk my entire channel being de-monetized. And suddenly, the rent is due and I've got a negative account balance. Just like that, my YouTube dreams of being a YouTube star on YouTube have gone straight down the... oh, what's the word?
Turns out I'm not YouTuber material. Though I got to nearly 30,000 subscribers, I never made enough money to support myself, I never earned the respect of event bouncers, and the guy I sold my shoes to never even bothered to sniff them while masturbating. Fame eludes me, I lost my apartment, I'm being stalked by a Robin Hood cosplayer, and I'm afraid my girlfriend might choke me to death.
But. uh... hey guys. Hammer that like button.