'Youtubers Life' Is 'The Sims' for Sociopaths

I played a game where I watched an avatar play games so that others can watch him playing a game.

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May 21 2016, 1:00pm

Image: Youtubers Life

Youtubers Life, a new management game that simulates the experience of becoming a YouTube celebrity, comes across like The Sims for sociopaths.

Youtubers Life sees you balancing life with filming yourself for the digital public's consumption. Views, subscribers, and revenue are the primary metrics. And with only so many hours in the day to eat, sleep, and edit videos, hunger, fatigue and friendship seem like speed bumps en route to the more important goals of vlogging.

Excelling in YouTube stardom destroyed my in-game social life. For some weeks, I was under the impression I was doing well, staying on top of school, eating normally, and filming myself playing video games on a regular basis, when suddenly friend after friend texted me with "Good riddance, have a good life." My in-game heart winced. Initially I could only use my computer for one thing at a time, including video rendering, shopping and speaking with pals. I neglected the latter. My videos buffered while my friendships died.

The majority of the game takes place in a bedroom. Until moving into my own apartment, my mother regularly stormed in, upset she hadn't seen me studying lately. Parents just don't understand. I'm not sure I do either.

Next stop: Hollywood! Credit: Youtubers Life

Though it's framing of a modern human lifestyle comes off as deeply concerning, the specifics of creating in-game YouTube videos are novel. Every non-YouTube activity earns you ideas for comments and the energy to execute them. When you film, this manifests as cards representing "reactions." They bolster certain factors, scripting, editing, sound, and you want to weave these cards together as seamlessly as possible. Editing videos involved fitting the segments together like literal jigsaw pieces, and creating better flow between the clips amplified their qualities. Some of these cards, like using a licenced song or video clip, have huge stats, but come at the risk of getting busted for copyright violation. That seemed hypocritical coming from a game that will probably get some letters from the legal teams at Nintendo and the New York Yankees over in-game apparel.

The current version of Youtubers Life only has the Pewdiepie-type, Let's Player mode available, meaning the celebrity lifestyles of makeup tutorial makers, ASMR role-players, unboxers, and the human punching bags who do shoebox ukulele covers are hopefully on the way. Of course, this also means I played a game where I watched an avatar play games so that others can watch him playing a game, which makes me feel exhausted and old.

Perhaps the YouTube stardom life simply isn't for me. I got many positive comments on the fake videos I made, but the revenue was sluggish chump change. While gossip websites asked me to confirm or deny rumours about me, I still lived with my mom with only a PlayStation and a waste bin to my name. Maybe I should appreciate the life I am leading, as an uncelebrated person who writes about games in a worn sweatshirt instead of a better dressed person playing video games shrieking and doing Christopher Walken impersonations over them.

Youtubers Life is in Steam's early access program, meaning you can buy it for $15 and play it, but it's still being developed. It's a surprisingly creative grind, and while there are many small bugs that could be ironed out I am more concerned if it's too late to give the title proper style and grammar. It should be YouTuber's Life. The current title's not even possessive. God in heaven.