“Fighting, killing things and looting. That’s my preference.”
If I were to tell you that these were the words of a hit new gaming personality on YouTube, you’d probably imagine some wide-eyed young thing hollering into their mic while gurning for a facecam.
But you couldn’t be further from the truth.
No, these are the deceptively calm words of 79-year-old grandmother Shirley Curry, an enthusiastic PC gamer whose soothing tones and chilled-out playthroughs of epic fantasy RPG Skyrim are going down an absolute storm with viewers.
Her first video went viral this week, with more than 650,000 views as a result. She already has 30,000+ subscribers to her name.
But don’t think this is just some attention-grabbing gimmick.
What’s wonderful about Shirley’s fledgling channel, in my opinion, is that it is both utterly genuine and refreshingly engaging.
It’s not some staged novelty whereby someone presses a control pad into the hands of a non-gaming elderly relative and films their reactions. Nor is does it have any of the grating, attention-grabbing nonsense you’d associate with plenty of other rapidly-expanding gaming v-loggers.
Instead, Shirley – despite self-deprecatingly referring to herself as a ‘noob’ – is clearly a committed lover of video games, with “a beast of a gaming computer” no less, who is simply keen to share her adoration for them with the wider world.
And she’s doing so with an approach that is at once absorbing, dryly humorous, and as interested in the detail and impact of the gameworld as anything else.
Just look at her video exploring a captivating landscape in a game called The Lost Valley:
There’s also something to be said here for our attitudes and assumptions about what a ‘gamer’ really is.
As many of us know, and have been arguing for years, video game enthusiasts span all ages and backgrounds these days. Hell, many pioneers of the medium are now into their sixties or seventies.
Yet it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of that fact when a fixed stereotype and image of the ‘typical gamer’ persists.
As Shirley herself says in her ‘About’ section:
“I want to start a blog for older gamers, like myself, because I feel we are not represented enough on YouTube.”
For a long time now, I’ve enjoyed watching videos of other people play games. Regardless of how you may feel about that, and I know there’s been plenty of derision poured by the mainstream media, I find it a really fun way to spend an evening – providing entertainment, insight, or sometimes helping me appreciate a game I love in a new and surprising way.
Shirley seems like a breath of fresh air. Not merely because of her age either – but because her style of commentary is actually a refreshing contrast to the hyperactive and borderline obnoxious approach that many popular YouTubers take.
I’ll certainly be following her from now on anyway. If you’d like to check out her channel yourself, you can find it here.