Playing a video game for 57 hours sounds like heaven or hell, depending on who you are. But when it generates a massive online buzz, attract the attention of a sitting US parliamentarian and Hollywood celebrities, and a $ 340,000 transsexual charity, it is safe to assume that you have done something good for the world. "Hbomberguy", the pseudonym of Harry Brewis, essayist on YouTube, did not want to attract the attention of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Chelsea Manning, Mara Wilson, and Diana. other popular personalities. But he did it.
When I spoke to Brewis, he was still shocked by the attention, but he seemed optimistic and delighted with the experience.
Brewis' work on YouTube consists of critical video essays on everything from Sherlock of the BBC has a 45-minute demystification of modern flatlands. His channel is one of the most popular against the increasing tide of the manosphere and the right. He is also a passionate and insightful critic: he wrote a one-hour essay on why Fallout 3 is bad, and a shorter one on why The braid is excellent. With other leftist video test chains, such as Shaun, Contrapoints, and Philosophy tube, Hbomberguy's choice of topics is not limited to a specific genre or media. Instead, the only consistent element is Brewis itself – or rather its "Hbomberguy" character.
For Brewis, since games often contain the bundled worldview of their creators, they are a way of talking about a whole range of problems. "It turns out that video games play an important role in the lives of many people," he said. "They are certainly part of the way I have learned to grow and change as a person. Speaking of games in this broader way, in addition to talking about politics, I end up inadvertently leading people to think of things that I could not have done otherwise. "
Last weekend, he chose Donkey Kong 64 because it's a game that has been haunting him for years. He spent hours there, but he never finished. He chose to donate the proceeds of his profits to Mermaids, a UK charity that supports transgender and transgender children and youth: "Living in Britain, I find the media discussion around this problem terribly wrong. informed, "he says. Graham Linehan, who helped orchestrate an email campaign, saw Mermaids refuse funding for the lottery late last year. It may have been this advertising that has drawn attention to Brewis' fundraising efforts.
A group of transgender people helped him behind the scenes. Streamer Fellow and Twitter Personality Casey Explosion was at the heart of the operation: managing the server, organizing discussions to interest interesting people, watching for longer than anyone, including Brewis himself – all without being asked. Brewis considers her the hero of the stream. Speaking to EscapeExplosion said: "It seemed like all the internet had come forward to get trans rights."
"What I expected was that we would have a maximum of $ 3,000," says Brewis. "When we received $ 75,000 and realized that it was not going to stop, and there was still a day and a half to go, I almost fell. You can see in the stream, I had to have a moment. I realized we could maybe finance a year of [Mermaids] project by ourselves and that would make a huge difference. So for me, the event was more than a success. Success for me would have been three thousand.
Brewis did not want to become a leftist critic of pop culture, he says. "I started doing it with the intention of laughing and making people think about complex issues. Then a disproportionate amount of people came to support me and it became what I did to make a living. I was interested in bits of media that I found amusing and then one day I woke up and I was socialist. "He laughs and says," They fooled me! "
Given the extent to which Internet discussions around pop culture and politics have become polarized, the work of Brewis and his left-wing colleagues, the YouTubers, is important. When you talk to young men who have begun to challenge the right-wing ideas that dominate in some places where players gather on the Internet, they will often say that Hbomberguy has begun to change his mind. Looking at his videos, it's easy to be lured by his humor and friendliness. "I try to be as friendly and open as possible to people so that people feel safe … How can I welcome into my lap people who would otherwise be my enemy?" He says. "The less I condemn people, the more I give them an option."
The extraordinarily successful Donkey Kong branch of Brewis proves, for him, that there is hope: "There are many more people who care that we do not believe it." as the most famous people in both the gaming community and the outside, you could see it struggling to believe what was happening.
"[Alexandria] Ocasio-Cortez and [Chelsea] Manning was lovely and probably the most amazing moment, "he says. "But what really mattered to me was that game players care about it, which I never even realized. Josh Sawyer who worked on Fallout: New Vegas – that [game] had a gay character, which meant a lot to me. Someone who worked on Rock Band or Guitar Hero came to say "I'm looking to help [trans] creators enter this space. " [Doom creator] John Romero has arrived! "
"I discovered that so many of my personal heroes in the game, which, in my opinion, had a penchant for regressives, have always been here. It was the real thing for me. "