In 2006, I finally upgraded from free dial-up to a cable Internet connection, and just the year prior, a little ol’ site called YouTube began to take off. It wasn’t the first, it wasn’t the best, but today it’s the biggest video-sharing site in the world. I remember signing up for YouTube in 2006 to ‘favorite’ a Laibach music video to my account, Geburt einer Nation, saving it to my profile page. I naïvely thought I wouldn’t be able to find it again.
Soon after, YouTube seemed to explode in popularity. I found myself with endless numbers of music videos to watch — something that I used to have to source over IRC or an FTP half a world away — and not long after, I found myself spending more time watching YouTube videos than doing anything else online.
I made another YouTube channel sometime later and started making real-world videos with my camera, mostly b-roll stuff, and then another channel where I did some video projects. I also started uploading gameplay footage to my original YouTube account, CHKilroy, around this time, all of which has since been deleted.
In 2009, I joined Shack Tactical, an Arma community, and would go on to create video recordings of our sessions for others in the group to watch. I was inspired by the ShackTube videos on the ShackTac site, which I watched before joining the group, and specifically, if I recall correctly, I was inspired by the videos of FormerHuman, a fellow member. YouTube’s video quality had always been garbage, so for a while, I also uploaded my session videos to one of my own websites in higher quality, as Dslyecxi, the group leader, wouldn’t let me upload them to ShackTube.
Sometime around 2010, my YouTube gameplay videos began to garner an audience of people who weren’t in ShackTac. I thought it was strange, but it was cool that others enjoyed them, and I actually introduced a number of people to the group through my videos. A few of my videos made from us playing a game other than Arma caught some attention on Reddit a year later as well, and my channel grew to an even larger audience because of that.
In 2012, Dslyecxi was invited to play a new persistent gameplay mod in development by the Arma leader of USEC, a multi-game community. That mod would go on to be DayZ, and my videos from our first day playing would introduce the mod to many, despite the game soon playing very differently from those videos. At least two of those USEC members, Dean Hall and Matt Lightfoot, would go on to work at Bohemia Interactive Studios to produce a retail version of the mod.