Tyler “Tyler1” Steinkamp is League of Legends’ most notorious streamer and, even though his fanbase is one of the most dedicated on Twitch, they wanted to see Steinkamp do something different.
Steinkamp’s April Fools’ Day stream certainly was outside the norm. He first teased the unique stream a couple of weeks ago, responding to complaints from his community that his streams were getting stale. Steinkemp promised that the elaborate production he worked on for April Fools’ Day, mentioning that he was taking weekends off from his normal streaming schedule to work on the project.
“I swear to God, this type of creative stream has never been done ever before on Twitch,” Steinkamp said in the clip below. “This isn’t even a game. I’m not gonna be playing any type of game April 1, just so you know. It’s a creative stream; I promise it’s gonna be one of a kind, never before done.”
The result is a 45-minute movie, which Steinkamp later uploaded to his YouTube channel, that shows the streamer dealing with President Donald Trump, fighting with Dr DisRespect’s goons and a floating Pepe the Frog head — a longtime controversial staple of Twitch culture — talking to his chat directly. It’s an absurd video; one that features Steinkamp never removing his headphones and clearly walking around in front of a green screen. The production quality is poor and the jokes don’t land, but it’s also a pretty good encapsulation of Twitch culture, especially as it relates to Tyler1, and the problematic provocateur culture he helped define on Twitch.
There are callouts over the sudden boom in subscribers thanks to Twitch Prime and Fortnite, for example. Some of Twitch’s most notorious streamers, like Steinkamp and Sebastian “Forsen” Fors, have called out the boost in subscribers casters like Tyler “Ninja” Blevins have seen thanks to the boost in popularity for Fortnite. The segment, which is narrated by a floating Pepe the Frog head, asks those watching to subscribe to Steinkamp before plugging a link to his merch site.
The stream is both interesting and offensive at times, elaborate and juvenile like many of Steinkamp’s broadcasts. There are digs at Dr DisRespect, another “face of Twitch” that Steinkamp has publicly called out in the past, and the use of Pepe the Frog jokes is eye-roll inducing. What’s more intriguing about the concept behind the movie, which Steinkamp dubbed “A Day in the Life of Tyler1” is part of the reason behind its existence.
Steinkamp addressed issues previously that subscribers had with his content, working on an elaborate project to try and give his viewers something unique and new. It’s an issue that many Twitch streamers face as they compete with other entertaining personalities on the platform playing the same game. It takes quite a bit of effort for streamers to differentiate themselves from other personalities on the platform — especially when trying to build an audience outside of Fortnite.
Even Guy Beahm, the man behind Dr DisRespect, acknowledges that part of keeping his channel fresh and ensuring his audience is entertained means working on expanding the character. Beahm told Rolling Stone he believes the future of streaming lies in strong personalities — like himself and Steinkamp — who work on crafting an entire show around their personas instead of just good players hopping on popular games.
“I notice a lot of interaction between influencers right now consists of good players playing with other good players that have easy, manageable personalities,” Beahm said. “I think that’s great, but that’s sort of the blueprint of modern-day streaming. I think interactions between ‘strong personalities’ would allow for a better narrative across the platform, and would really draw in people who are experiencing digital entertainment outside of hardcore gaming culture.”
While Beahm is looking to attract people from outside “hardcore gaming culture,” Steinkamp’s movie plays directly into the culture. The jokes are for insiders; the subtle nods to Twitch moments are for dedicated users of the platform. This is a movie made for Twitch kids by a 23-year-old man who also grew up on Twitch and gaming culture. That’s the heart of this production; it’s one, big inside joke that is slowly becoming more mainstream.
Steinkamp’s video ends with a tease for another episode. Whether or not Steinkamp tries to focus his efforts into a more variety-focused Twitch channel is unknown, but it’s clear that he’s trying to make an attempt to compete with some of the bigger productions happening on Twitch.