We had a great interview with gaming YouTuber SoupaSoka.  Some insights on creative fulfillment, gaming related self-improvement, and even tips on narrowing down your Niche – keep reading for more!

Tell us a bit about yourself and your channel

28 years old, Illinois/USA. I’m a full-time scientist; I’ve published around twenty peer-reviewed scientific papers and the vast majority of my life that isn’t spent with my wife is spent in my lab or at home working on a research-related task.

I love to talk – and if you look at my numerous gaming videos on my channel, you’ll recognize this very quickly. Primarily, I play vanilla World of Warcraft aka WoW circa 2004-2006. During my play sessions, I mix game-relevant discussion with non-game musings… After all, there is only so much you can say about the 10,000th fireball you’ve launched in the last half hour!

How long have you been gaming? What are your top picks right now? Top Picks of all time?

I’ve been gaming for as long as I can remember, my earliest memory being Duck Hunt for the NES.

Besides legacy World of Warcraft, I’m hyped for Hearthstone as it moves into the Un’goro expansion, and I’ve lately spent way too much time playing Game Dev Story on my phone… I find myself revisiting GDS every few years for some reason.

Bar none, my all-time favorite game is Master of Orion II. It’s a 4X turn-based strategy game for PC/Mac that came out in the mid-90s. I’ve played it to death and usually pick it up for a few weeks every year or so to replay it more. Super Mario Galaxy (the first one) and Metal Gear Solid (the first one for the PlayStation) are my 2nd and 3rd all-time favorites, respectively.

 Favourite character(s) and why?

Never really considered this before… If I had to pick, I’d go with Mario. It’s cliche, I know, but he’s been around for more than my lifetime and he appears in so many consistently good games, it’s hard to not love him. I think I dressed up as him once as a kid for Halloween, but thankfully, those photos are lost to time.

How long have you been steaming or creating content? What are your goals?

I started creating content in spring 2015 with a few Hearthstone/Heroes of the Storm gameplay videos. I did it at the time to show a few online friends a backdooring trick you could pull with Abathur, a character in Heroes of the Storm. Very quickly that video racked up a few thousand views and I thought “whoa… that’s cool!” From then on, I started making content weekly. My goals, however, are not too complicated: I just have had a ton of fun narrating my play throughs, and so, I plan to keep making videos for as long as I’m enjoying myself. I am 100% not looking to turn this into a full-time career; I am very fulfilled with my career in scientific research and wouldn’t let that go for any other career path.

How did you get started / what made you want to do it?

I guess I answered this with #4… basically, once I saw that you could find an audience if you had a niche, I started to commit to consistent content creation. I’m far from a big-time channel, but it’s really fun to see my videos earn positive feedback from the community. Likes, comments, subscribers – they make you feel good as a content creator. I need to look into it more, but I believe there are legitimate scientific studies that show we have an increased happiness (brought on by increased dopamine levels) when we receive praise on social media; I think this absolutely applies to content creation on YouTube/Twitch as well. It’s a good feeling.

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What has been the most challenging part about youtube ?

Being consistent. It takes a lot of effort to create content on a daily or weekly basis, even if it’s just a simple “let’s play” style video. I work 50+ hours a week at my job – throw on top of that your standard chores/responsibilities as an adult and social obligations, and you find your free time to sit and play video games/edit videos can disappear really quickly. I will say, all the positive feedback I get from the community keeps my motivation very high… and I have a ton of fun doing this anyway. So, the major challenge isn’t the motivation or enthusiasm, it’s just finding time to fit it into my schedule.

What about the most rewarding?

The social interaction! I’ve met a lot of people online through my YouTube channel that I would absolutely consider friends. More than anything, I really appreciate and enjoy just chatting with people about our similar interests. I try to be a helpful person, so most of the time if someone contacts me in-game, I’ll take a moment to at least respond to them with a greeting – sometimes, that turns into longer conversations, which I almost always enjoy assuming I’m not too focused in the middle of a recording 🙂

What are some things that you attribute your success to?

First, I’d like to say that I don’t think I’m by any means wildly successful. However, I do recognize that I’ve carved out a niche in the very saturated YouTube gaming market. With that said, I think a big part of my success is my attitude. It’s really, really hard for me to get tilted/salty/angry/etc when gaming – gaming is my outlet/fun-time, so if I’m not having fun, I just stop playing or play a different game. I think this makes things fun for my viewers, because they can watch/listen to someone play a game while narrating with a relative calmness. I can certainly appreciate the more “in your face” style streamers/content creators (e.g., Amaz of Hearthstone fame), but that’s just not who I am as a person. So, while I may never be as entertaining as the louder folks out there, I do what I do because it’s what I enjoy, and thankfully, it’s something that at least a small subset of YouTube viewers seem to enjoy.

Can you speak to any resources that you used to help you get to where you are today?

Honestly, I used YouTube. Every time I have an editing question for my software of choice (Sony Movie Studio 13 Platinum, Audacity, etc), I just search for help on YouTube and almost guaranteed, someone has a tutorial. I’ve also found some Discord channels that are relevant to my games/topics and there are a lot of helpful content creators lurking in said channels. I’ll also plug EpidemicSound.com here real quick; I get all of my music from there, and it’s a great resource.

What has been the most fun, or interesting experience you’ve had while steaming or putting together some content?

My most fun experience was the time I hand-illustrated a ~20 image video. It was a video explaining the basics of grouping in World of Warcraft. I had some free time one morning but wasn’t able to access my PC, so I pulled out some Crayola markers and blank paper and started coloring/drawing. I’m an awful artist by the way, but capable of at least making my point clear. So, I drew out about 20 pictures, scanned them in later that day, then recorded about 10 minutes of narration to go with the illustrations. It wasn’t my most popular video in terms of views, but it was one I’ve had the most fun making. I mean, think about this: real, actually-talented painters/artists would kill to have thousands of people view their art… and here I am, a terrible artist with some crappy Crayolas, having my “art” viewed by thousands of people. I’m very fortunate to be in a situation where I can relatively easily be creatively self-fulfilled.

Interview With SoupaSoka
Interview With SoupaSoka

Who are some of your favourite streamers / content creators?

FalconPaladin (StarCraft 2), Brian Kibler (Hearthstone), and Husky (Starcraft 1, back when he did Bronze League Heroes regularly).

What can we expect to see from you next?

Recently, I’ve started exploring modern World of Warcraft aka Legion. It’s… an interesting experience, seeing how WoW has changed, since I never really played past ~2007-era WoW (The Burning Cursade). I plan to keep up a little more Legion content until I get bored with it, but my bread and butter will still be Vanilla WoW. Otherwise, I’ve got a series of videos I am slowly working on which use video games as a tool/example of ways to improve your real-life; that sounds a bit vague, but the general idea is to use something gamers are familiar with/can relate to (e.g., Super Mario Bros) as an example to improve themselves as people. Basically, a series of self-help videos using video games as the reference material. I’m not sure if it’ll go over well, but I tinker with this in the background while keeping up my usual upload schedule.

 What programs / tools / gear / specs do you use for Youtube

Video/in-game audio recording: Shadowplay
Mic recording: Audacity
Webcam: A cheap 720p Logitech webcam. It’s bright pink.
Video editing: Sony Movie Studio 13 Platinum (I don’t recommend it… it’s buggy as hell and rendering takes forever. I use it because I know how to use it and don’t want to spend time learning other software)
Audio editing: Audacity
Microphone: Blue Yeti (I know, so cliche!)

What tips do you have for an aspiring steamers, youtubers to help them if they’re just starting out.

Find a niche and run with it. Upload consistently – daily is ideal, but even a couple times a week could be enough to get the ball rolling. Don’t be afraid to try new ideas – I started my channel with Hearthstone/Heroes of the Storm, but I released a random World of Warcraft video that, for reasons still unclear, took off quickly. I saw an opportunity and ran with it, shifting my channel to primarily focus on WoW. Once you’ve got your niche going, keep shooting out random unrelated videos occasionally in case any of them get hot – if they do, consider adding those videos as more regular content. It’s a tough balance branching in a new direction without alienating your current subscribers, so just keep an eye on your videos’ views and subscriber count (plus, read video comments)! And, most importantly, if you aren’t having fun, you aren’t going to be successful: so, do what you enjoy, views be damned.

Follow SoupaSoka:
twitter: twitter.com/soupasokagaming
youtube: youtube.com/soupasokagaming