Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Drama of the Week Debrief: Grills Streaming

So the Weekly All In is taking a two week break while Nicolas has some other projects to finish.
This, of course, leaves me with a bit more free time on my hands than usual. Going to try and get a little hit ahead and do some mini features.

The grilling article from Issue 27 is THE article I've been wanting to write since we first started the paper. I actually pitched it for a fake ad in one of our first planning meetings, but I think Nicolas must have misunderstood me, because he wrote it off as sexist at the time, but was very gung-ho when I suggested it as a Drama of the Week a few weeks ago. I'm super happy with the result. Details after the text. Props to the people who catch the Pride & Prejudice reference.

A report of a most alarming nature reached me two day ago. Not only that grills of every kind all around the world were suffering untold prejudice as they attempt to stream StarCraft, but that I, Mike Harrell, was to become the champion to their righteous cause. A response in the affirmative was demanded. Needless to say, I was speechless except to say that I had no idea what they were talking about.  

For the next several seconds, I became forcefully acquainted with the plight of many grills, new, old, gas, electric, were being subjected to gross injustice. As the drama writer for the world’s #1 digital esports magazine, I feel it is my duty to make the community aware of the plight of thousands of would-be professional streamers who are constantly belittled and objectified, and that’s when they’re given a chance at all. And why? Because they’re cooking appliances. 

Grills, not Girls 

First, we will highlight the dreams and struggles of my own grill, who wishes to be known only by its StarCraft II handle, “DatGrill.” On its invitation, I went out back behind my home to check out its setup and see for myself the kinds of unique issues that it has to deal with on a daily basis.  

It began immediately in the very first game. DatGrill gave the standard “GLFH” and its opponent responded with “Girl?” DatGrill gave its canned response, as it has done so many times in the past, “grill.” The would-be casanova responded with, I kid you not, “hi baby.” Fortunately Player 2’s attempts at forming a romantic relationship ended there, but, as feeble as it was, it represents yet another member of the StarCraft community who doesn’t understand the difference between a girl and grill.  

“I mean, so I look feminine to you?” DatGrill lamented, “Do I even look like a human being? I’ve got friggin FIRE coming out of my insides! Some noobs eat cheetos and drink Redbull while they ladder. I ignite and evenly distribute methane gas to roast chicken, burgers, and ribs all day long. Let’s see one of you nerds manage to do that from your mother’s basement while you marinate in your own farts.”  

Marginalization of the Marinader 

When it’s not blatant speciesism, it’s out of control marginalization of the accomplishments of appliances. The most popular streaming grill, “Georgie4,” is always on the defensive. “When I hit GM for the first time, do you know what people said to me?” Georgie4 vented, “That I must have been boosted by a human. I can’t even understand why they would said such a thing. I hit GM live on stream! It’s just blatant prejudice. And when it isn’t an accusation that I can’t play as well as I do, it’s people saying that I ought to go back out to the patio, or worse, that I shouldn’t even try.”

Indeed, just like some of the other marginalized members of the community, many people say that if a grill can make GM, it must not be much of an accomplishment after all. “That’s BS!” sizzled Georgie4, “I make GM every season now, which only 200 people do. And somehow that means I’m not good? I’m in GM! That’s the definition of being good! And I don’t even have limbs! Those hypocrites on Reddit can go eat tofu.”
Yes, the old arguments continue to make their rounds: Why would I watch a grill stream when I can watch a real pro? Why would I watch a grill when I could watch a human? Why would I watch a grill stream when I could watch grillz strimming? It seems to have no ending. 

Eyes on the game, not the meat 

“The worst of it is when the accusations about appearance start up.” Georgie4 continued, “I was roasting up some bacon a few weeks ago and my owner left my lid open and you could see...pretty much everything I’ve got going on in there. You would have thought the world exploded. Every single troll on Twitch was in my chatroom accusing me of just trying to use my body and my bacon to get viewers.  

I’m a grill. I’m not ashamed of what I am. Yes, I’m what you would probably call a ‘larger’ model. Yes, I have a non stick surfaces. Yes, I cut down on grease. Yes, said grease will drip into my tray while the cooking is going on. It’s completely natural people. It’s not that I need to change myself to keep from offending you, it’s that you need to grow up. I get viewers from my gameplay and commentary. Everything else that you see is just gravy (which you could easily make using those same drippings).” 

Fire in the bones, but also the keyboard 

On top of all this, there are further handicaps that of grill streamers overcome: like the fact that there’s freaking fire everywhere.  

“It’s something that you learn to live with very quickly,” lamented DatGrill, “but safety must always come first. As a matter of fact, we’ve created a safety checklist to try and cut down on the number of ruined dinners (and builds).” I took a gander at the checklist. It was a lot less exciting than I’d hoped.  

#1: Keep clean to avoid flare ups. #2: Insulate to avoid melting the computer hardware.#3: Set a timer to avoid burning food. #4: If you must use an extension cord, be sure to use only heavy duty, all weather, cords.  

“Well what did you expect, that we would tell grills that they should just be flaming people all day?” rebuffed DatGrill when I asked for some clarification, “No, we’re just like your average stove or oven. We just like pwning noobs while we go about our business. And yes, every grill has a story about the time things got out of hand and that $100 Razor mouse that became a melting fireball and put the kibosh on a family reunion. But the fact of the matter is we wouldn’t be in either of these businesses if we didn’t have skins of iron on the outside and smoky, delicious, #passion on the inside.”

In case there is one person in the StarCraft community who doesn't know exactly where the idea for this comes from, I'll explain it now. There was spambot from Twitch.tv chatrooms that is now long gone, but the legacy of referring to girls as "grills" remains. Originally, the bot would put in a message like, 'See hot girls streaming!" accompanied by a link that was certainly to download malware or something. Once Twitch started getting wise and began to block the message, the message changed to "See hot girls strimming.", and then to "See hot grills strimming." and so forth until it was finally blocked altogether.

"Hot grillz strimming" always left an image in my head of a gas grill playing StarCraft while cooking something, using tongs and a brush for arms and whatnot.

I'm a pretty happy guy anytime I get to make a stupid pun, and this article was just BEGGING for them. Holy crap I had a good time writing this article. the more puns, the merrier! All of the photos of the grills are, of course, from my back yard and kitchen. And we ate the food shown in the pictures. Truth be told, I actually made two attempts on the grill + laptop shot. I had hotdogs at first (from lunch) but they didn't look substantial enough. So I ended up taking pics again with the chicken (from dinner). I think the chicken is definitely the better picture.

The in-game text pictured and mentioned in the article was the result of my trying to build a "DatGrill" account as quickly as I could for screenshots. I didn't want to the account level to just be 1, so I played a couple of games against the AI and did the 5 placement matches. I kid you not, the very first game I played against a person resulted in me getting hit on by some idiot. I couldn't believe it. Unfortunately for the story, he shut up and proceeded to drop mines into my worker lines. However, there was definitely enough there to add to the story itself.

Finally, I'm glad I got to show off some of my own StarCraft swag in the webcam photo as well. The autographed Wings of Liberty, unfortunately, came from eBay, as I didn't attend the launch event and I didn't buy a Collector's Edition right off the bat. That said, I'm still extremely proud of it. I got those stupid SWAG glasses at a Claire's a couple years ago looking for a gift for my niece. My son's high chair is in there too because I thought it sold the idea of a George Foreman playing games from its natural habitat even better.

I think that's about it for this post. As always, thanks for reading, and be sure to tell your friends about The Weekly All In!

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