How Cliff Nowicki’s video-game obsession led him to record gaming videos for his family’s YouTube channel
Cliff Nowicki on his video games channel
I’ve always been a fan of video games since my parents first got me and my brother an Amiga 500 as a kid with Pluto and Firepower. Video games come as a way to relax after a day of designing and switch my thinking to puzzle solving or fast reactions. Being able to play with family and friends is what drew me in more towards online gaming and eventually the family gaming channel we set up on YouTube [called The Now Gaming Zone].
The idea for a gaming channel started when all three of my boys would play Minecraft together and then watch other people play it to get ideas on how to create their worlds. They would pretend they were making their own videos on YouTube talking amongst themselves. I figured: “Why can’t we do that? I’m sure it’s not too hard.”
I did some research and within a few days, we started streaming on Twitch. It was primitive but I would take the saved videos from Twitch and upload them to YouTube. The video quality was awful but we were on YouTube!
After a while, we invested in an Elgato capture device for the Xbox and a Yeti Mic. We made just about every mistake you’d expect from a new YouTube channel such as bad audio, bad resolution and a load of garbage videos. We kept at it, though, and made an effort to create a video or two every week to keep the channel current.
The channel started out primarily focusing on Minecraft and has evolved alongside our family gaming habits. We’ve touched on games like Call of Duty, Plants vs Zombies and more recently Fortnite PVE and Battle Royale.
I find it a great creative way to spend time with the family while coming up with ways to promote the channel. Starting the gaming channel has been a great way for the family to bond and spend time coming up with ideas for videos to create.
To help make more gaming content for the channel on the cheap, I’ve also had the chance to play more indie games. The amount of innovation in these small games is astounding. It’s a great source of inspiration as I’m able to think about design interfaces in a new way as well as how interactions can work on the web and mobile. I think starting the channel and playing indie games has made me become a better designer these past few years.
Cliff is a designer who enjoys crafting visually appealing and user-friendly experiences.