ThumbstickMafia is dedicated to supporting and promoting diverse women in gaming – we’re happy to introduce a spotlight to gamers, content creators, streamers, developers and members of the industry.
Today’s Spotlight is on TokenPsycho, another building block in the foundation that is ThumbstickMafia.
In her own words: My name is Monique and I am a proud content creator currently in the Boston area. I am a newly minted gamer, only having been able to fully embrace it for the last two console generations, but I am an addict all the same. I play many different game types, including RPG, FPS, and puzzle-platformers, but my heart will always have a soft spot 2D sidescrollers.
Tell us how you got into to content creating / broadcasting?
I’m still new to the stream scene, but I have been a podcaster for over two years now. At first, my podcast The Slacker Society was a way for me to keep in touch with my best friend, who lives a few states away. It was like a weekly best friend appointment that grew into something I could never have imagined. The camaraderie I have found in my corner of the content creating world is unlike anything I have ever experienced.
When I found out about Twitch in 2015, it was during a time where I found myself with very little to do day-to-day at the office. And as a brand new Destiny player, someone suggested that I check out Twitch, and watch some people play the game so I can learn how to play better. The more I watched, the more I thought about how similar it was to podcasting. The community aspect is what drew me in. As an introvert, it has always been hard for me to make friends, but I find that through my podcast I am able to shine, and I feel like I could thrive even more on Twitch.
What game was the most difficult for you to complete on stream and why?
The Last of Us was definitely the most difficult to play on stream, and I have yet to complete it. It was a completely new game type for me, I don’t really play action-adventure platformers. So on top of the game being scary, I had no idea what I was doing. I’m not used to being sneaky in games, so that was a new concept to me as well. I got frustrated with myself because I was trying to figure things out on the fly and it did not go as planned. I have taken a bit of a break from it, but I do plan to go back and stream the game to completion at some point. I’m not a quitter.
What game or game type would you recommend to a new gamer?
I think the most important thing when it comes to new gamers is to find something that interests you, and challenges you, without frustrating you too much, and that offers enough of a payoff in the beginning to keep you from feeling like you are working hard for no reason. And that is something that no one can pick for you, it is something you have to find on your own. For myself, though I wasn’t heavy into video games before my Xbox 360 Halo 3/Borderlands days, my first gaming memory was with Super Mario Bros. Simple mechanics, addicting and challenging gameplay. A run and jump platformer, or an endless runner like Temple Run or Subway Surfers (both mobile games) are relatively low stress, cheap, and accessible to new gamers.
How do you choose which games to cast?
Right now, my choices for games to stream are ones that I feel I can play while being active in my chat and low stress enough not to add more anxiety for me as a new streamer. Also, multiplayer games are fun because on top of the interaction with the chat, I can talk to my friends and I won’t feel pressured to be “always on”. It’s the same rule with podcasting. A single host has to carry the show. A show with two or more hosts is usually more engrossing because each party can bounce off of the other. It’s less dry that way, especially if your chat isn’t very active.
What is your end goal with streaming?
At first I wasn’t sure if I would want to be a full time streamer. But the more I watch streams and the more I podcast, I have decided that ultimately I would love to be a full time content creator. I know it won’t be easy, but I have faith I will get there one day. I would love to make it to the point where my content supports my livelihood and more, so that I can help others do the same.
What do you think of the current state of streamer culture?
I have many thoughts on streamer culture, most of them revolving around how white, and how male dominated it is. As a black woman, I am very aware of how different things are for me. White men think they can decide what is appropriate for me to wear on stream, how I am allowed to act on stream, how I should only stream if I am actually good enough to beat guys in whatever game I’m playing, how I’m not allowed my natural voice (which is on the cutesy side at times) or else I’m pandering for horny teenage boys on stream. Just being myself means I am already pushing back on so much of the “culture” that is forced upon us as woc gamers and streamers. Streamer culture dictates that I can’t exist in my natural state, so streamer culture can kiss my ass.
Advice for women now coming into gaming / streaming culture?
My advice with streaming would be that no matter what, your stream should be you being unapologetic-ally you. Don’t be afraid to dictate the kind of interaction you will and won’t accept, from viewers, gamers, AND other streamers. Your channel should be where you feel comfortable and happy. Also, reach out to other women of color because I have found that we are the best at understanding our particular struggle of breaking into the world of game streaming.
As for gaming, again, reach out to other women of color. Having someone around who gets you is important. That particular intersection of being a black woman or woc brings more than just support when things go bad. There are jokes, references, and conversations that will happen while you game that you can’t find with any other group. It’s something very special and completely underrated. As a gamer, you realize that sometimes games get stale if you play them for a long time. But the friendships you gain? That won’t get old.
What other projects are you working on?
Well, I mentioned that I am a podcaster. I am 1/2 of The Slacker Society podcast which is a comedy podcast where we talk about entertainment, life, and random things that we find around the internet. It is so much fun and probably one of my favorite past-times ever. l am also 1/4 of the Gaming and Then Some Podcast where we talk about games, tech, and general nerd culture. Basically 4 Negroes who gather round to nerd the hell out for hours. If any of those topics interest you, I think you should check us out.
Interests outside of gaming?
I love art. Visual art, (playing, and listening to) music, reading, writing, etc. I am a big fan of creative hobbies. I’m a writer working on my first YA fantasy novel. It’s taking the back seat right now since I can only focus on so many projects while I work a full time job. But it’s there, and I always find my way back to it.
Anything you’d like to add?
Support Black owned businesses. Especially black owned businesses run by women. And understand that sometimes things may cost a little more when buying indie because small business don’t usually have the mass market discounts that are provided to larger business for bulk inventory purchases. (Also if you are buying handmade goods you are paying for labor, talent, and materials used to make the item.)
Where can we find you?