I believe the moment has come to acknowledge that I no longer have a connection to today's kids. I often look at TikTok. I like Fortnite. I am adept at using slang terms like "No Cap" and "Deadass" in everyday speech without coming across as foolish. On the surface, I am totally OK with kids, but when it comes to Minecraft YouTubers, everything is different.
Last night, Minecraft YouTuber Dream unveiled his face in a video, and since then, it has received tens of millions of views and sparked discussions that are more popular online than most major international news topics. Although I have no clue who this individual is, this is a significant occasion.
It seems I'm not alone in this uncertainty, and my understanding illustrates a generational divide between those who entered adulthood when this kind of entertainment was just getting off the ground and those who grew up with Let's Play personalities rather than more traditional superstars. The popularity of artists like PewdiePie and Markiplier, who performed games like Slender and Happy Wheels Game with millions of viewers, was growing while I was finishing up secondary school. Overreactions were all the rage, but I didn't get it.
Although I could see the attraction, I didn't want to watch whole playthroughs of well-known games when I could instead play them myself. I didn't develop the same parasocial ties that enthralled so many others, and it seemed like a waste. I chose to stick with earlier websites like Giant Bomb and GameTrailers instead since they were innovative in terms of the video material that YouTubers would later freely use. I eventually realized that I was too young to properly observe how the times were evolving.
Creators like JackSepticEye were not merely playing video games for the audience to observe; rather, they were conversing with them, treating them as roughly equals, and letting them inside a little portion of their life for a few minutes each day. Even if it was only to see them advance through a game, it was a little moment of humor that viewers grew to appreciate. A generation fell in love with these designers because of their personality rather than their skill at video games. Fun fact: JackSepticEye was a really nice man who I once sat next to at an event. Even a bag of gourmet popcorn was given. But this essay isn't about us becoming best friends; instead, we're here to speak about this Dream man. His celebrity astounds me, but maybe I'm simply old, out of touch, or just don't hang out in those circles anymore. He eclipses the world's top performers and pop stars in terms of sheer numbers.
I never really got into Minecraft. My friends and I had a server in school where we developed a little community, but neither I nor the majority of people my age at the time ever interacted with professional content producers or had a desire to fully explore the possibilities of this game. When it comes to individuals like Dream and TommyInnit, they appeal to a much younger audience who grew up with emerging video games like Minecraft and Fortnite. At the same time, content producers began to normalize the act of logging onto YouTube and viewing new uploads as we would the most recent episode of our favorite television programs. I don't mind falling behind as I frantically attempt to comprehend a new generation of gamers who will go on to transform the medium much as I did. The torch has been passed. Dream's reveal is comparable to The Red Wedding in Game of Thrones or the end of The Inbetweeners; it's a pivotal event in popular culture from an age from which I am distinctly disconnected.