Saturday, March 2, 2024
DIGIPRIDE 2021Streamer Spotlight

Streamer Spotlight: DeeNugLife

Welcome to a new Streamer Spotlight where this time, the spotlight falls on DeeNugLife!

DeeNugLife is a British LGBTQIA+ POC caster who is a massive fan of MMO’s. On his stream, healthy discussions about topics that are traditionally dodged while maintaining a light hearted comedic undertone are welcomed, while banter, chaos and occasionally tears are expected!

I got to chat with Dee about his work as a streamer, the importance of South Asian Heritage Month, and his obsession with chicken nuggets!

Hi Dee, thanks for joining me. Let’s start off with an easy one, when and why did you start streaming?

I started streaming in November 2017 incredibly casually. I had no idea what I was doing, I would load up my OBS as my World of Warcraft raids started, not be under a game category, or back then “communities”, and just stream for 4 hours and close down OBS once raids finished.

All I knew is that I wanted to find people to play and hang out with. I had just finished university and landed my first full-time job and moved away from my friends and family. And if there’s one thing people don’t tell you, it’s that making friends as an introverted adult is not an easy feat so I hoped to use a common love for video games to find some more friends.

What games do you prefer to stream?

I LOVE MMO’s! My main game I stream at the moment is Final Fantasy XIV, I came over to FFXIV almost 3 years ago now, after burning out on WoW after almost 14 years. I didn’t have the “typical” exposure to single player story games a lot of people had on their consoles. My console history went Gameboy Colour, Gameboy Advance, Nintendo DS and then PC. And once I got my PC, I was almost exclusively playing online MMO’s and so I lived and breathed them. That said, because of streaming and being exposed to people with varying gaming backgrounds I have started to go back and play some of the story based and falling in love with them!

What can people expect from your stream?

We’ve fostered a very inclusive community! Personally, as someone who falls under many umbrella terms, I make every effort to ensure that people feel safe and seen in my spaces. I’m an LGBTQIA2+, BIPOC neurodivergent streamer… say that five times really fast! Having spent MANY years in the MMO scene and knowing the normalised behaviour that really shouldn’t be normalised, I make every attempt to curate the spaces I am in.

We have a quintessentially British sense of humour as a community, who gently tease one another. It’s our way of showing affection, I promise! I vary from doing the “end-game” competitive content to some more relaxing slower paced activities in-game to crying at story games… It’s the allergies…

How would you describe your relationship with chicken nuggets? 

Unhealthy, that’s my relationship with chicken nuggets! I’m a 29 year old man whose palate really hasn’t matured at all and I’m kind of ok with it haha. I once went to my parents 20 year wedding anniversary to a 4 Michelin star restaurant and asked for the most “chicken nugget’esque” meal. I’m pretty sure I’ve been blacklisted.

How do you find being an out LGBT streamer?

An uphill battle, but a battle I’m prepared to fight. I’m also a minority within a minority which increases the incline of that hill. With the addition of tags, having the LGBTQIA2+ tag now acts as either a bigot filter or a bigot target. It has not been easy, but being part of the amazing Rainbow Arcade stream team, where there are a lot of amazing content creators who have walked and are walking the same path as myself, makes me feel supported and less alone. 

First time streaming
What do you do off stream? 

Out of stream, I live in my work which isn’t the healthiest, but I work in clinical research, so the hours are long and hard but worth it. I was incredibly grateful for the chance to be on the Twitch front page raising money for ExtraLife4Kids and we raised £11,000 for them which was a really proud crossover of worlds for me.

The moments I find I’m able to relax, I spend a lot of it community building with community movie nights and game nights, which during lockdown has been nice! 

We’re currently in South Asian Heritage Month here in the UK, why is it important to you to celebrate this month? 

I love that you know this! It’s a month that’s never celebrated in mainstream media and always overlooked. The word “asian” is always used as a blanket term, but imagine covering over 50 countries each with their own cultures and history with one word. I think it’s important to differentiate and understand the struggles and cultures that different regions have. I was very fortunate to have been invited by Twitch for Asian and Pacific Islander Month to be a team ambassador and even had myself on a billboard in Times Square which was a very humbling experience!

South Asian people are often excluded in the games world, how have your experiences been of being a South Asian queer streamer? 

I made a conscious decision when I first started streaming that I was going to be streaming with a webcam. I needed people to know who they were watching. I know that by having my webcam on and being visibly BIPOC, there are people who are not going to click on my stream, and adding being a queer streamer, as well as someone with ADHD, I understand I will always struggle to “see myself” represented in the gaming world which is why I make every attempt to make sure I don’t hide it.

What more would you like to see the games industry do to include South Asian representation? 

Trying to incorporate every marginalised group into the games themselves is a very optimistic hope. But having them in the gaming spaces isn’t. I think it’s the bare minimum. Having better representation in gaming panels, in dev teams, or in storyboard meetings are a good start. BIPOC and LGBTQIA2+ individuals offer insight, value and perspective into stories and story-telling and visualisations that are invaluable. 

What’s your main goal as a streamer for the future?

I’d love to be able to grow my corner on Twitch perhaps someday work towards that elusive checkmark, but my focus is to increase some visibility for not only South Asian broadcasters, but also those who sometimes feel like they aren’t seen or represented when scrolling through a directory, be it BIPOC, LGBTQIA2+, Neurodivergent, or invisible illnesses, and be a voice and advocate for them, and to show people that we occupy these spaces too!

What do you enjoy the most about streaming?

Connecting with people is definitely the thing I enjoy the most about streaming. I would never have thought that when I started 4 years ago streaming to 2 people, that I’d now be talking to people from all over the world. I’ll see a pickle and think of that one Australian viewer who we had a 1 hour rant about pickles with. I’ll see ketchup and think of my Swedish friend who eats ketchup with pasta… I know, we’re working on it. Looping back into why I started streaming in the first place, it still remains to me the most enjoyable factor. The ability to share my life and my experiences in games with people has allowed me to fall in love with story games I had previously though not possible for me to enjoy alone.

What have you learned about yourself through streaming?

Streaming has actually taught me to face a lot of insecurities I had always had growing up, and even as an adult, but just learnt to suppress. “Do they like me for me?” “I need to make sure everyone likes me” “You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea”. I learnt I had a lot of insecurities surrounding ensuring that people liked me, and on a platform like Twitch where your success is, to an extent, based on how approachable or likeable you are, there was a lot of soul-searching I had to do in terms of who I wanted to surround myself with.

What’s the game that defined your childhood?

Runescape and Maplestory are two games which taught me from a young age what a true experience grinding in MMO’s where. Both of those games where also my first introduction to appreciating everything about a game. The background music, the interaction with other people, the grind, the effort in and the reward out. To this day, almost 18 years later, I still listen to the Maplestory and Runescape background music to just unwind

What are you looking forward to most this year?

So the MMO gamer in me is super excited for the late half of this year with all the MMO’s planned to release! Blue Protocol, New World and of course FFXIV’s Endwalker expansion! But as a whole, I’m hoping that the world soon gets a grip of the COVID situation so I’m able to go out and visit friends I’ve not seen in a while, and excited to see where my journey in content creation takes me. It’s been a rollercoaster, and I’ve met some amazing people and looking forward to see what the future brings!

To find out more about DeeNugLife, head on over to their Twitch channel.

Robin Gray

[He/Him] Robin is the Founder of Gayming Magazine. He's on a mission to fly the LGBTQ flag proudly over the video games world and drive forward authentic representation in the industry, in the press and in the games we love.