In the second of our Antstream Arcade Twitch superstar features, we talk to another of the bright
heroes spreading the retro gaming glory of Antstream Arcade via streaming platforms.
This week, answering questions on his gaming history, favourite games, Antstream Arcade and more, is Vaughan Jackson, AKA Hitch On Twitch. You can catch Hitch on Twitch (funnily enough) at https://www.twitch.tv/hi7ch and on Twitter @HitchOnTwitch. On with the retro inquisition!
Antstream Arcade: Hello Hitch! What are your earliest memories of gaming?
Hitch: Hello! That’s going back some! One of the Grandstand Pong consoles around 1976 is the earliest – I got it for Christmas and absolutely loved it. It was literally four different types of Pong with two paddles, and I played it to death, mostly solo against the wall, but also against myself using two paddles. It sounds a bit sad now, but it was a lot of fun back then.
AA: It sounds awesome! But apart from the Grandstand, what were your other early gaming consoles and computers?
Hitch: I vividly recall the first handheld I got in 1981: the Entex Space Invaders! Its red LEDs made it look as if the invaders were actually moving but in reality it was just the LEDs turning on and off. At this point I was also into home computers and the first one I owned was a Sinclair ZX80. It came in kit form and I built it myself with no parental help at the age of 12! That led me to the ZX81, and of course, the legendary ZX Spectrum, which led me to programming and becoming a true gamer.
AA: What game first really captured your imagination?
Hitch: Manic Miner by Matthew Smith. Such a simple game that in my opinion has some of the most enjoyable gameplay I have experienced. It was incredibly hard, and you had to be pixel perfect with the timing of a god, but I finished it back in the day and still play it today. I also have to credit the likes of Berzerk and I, Robot from the arcades.
AA: On the spot time part 1: what has been your favourite era for gaming?
Hitch: Once upon a time I’d have said 1982-1984 with the Spectrum, but now looking back it is without doubt 1993-1998, and that’s because of two consoles. My all-time favourite retro systems are the Sega Saturn and Panasonic FZ-1 3DO. The 32-bit era paved the way for all we see today, genres were defined and limits were pushed – not always for the best, but man, looking back I am so happy I experienced them as an adult, able to play whatever I wanted.
AA: On the spot time part 2: favourite game of all time?
Hitch: Unfair question! This is one I ask my viewers when they first find me, so I guess this is payback! It changes depending on my mood, but if I had to tie it down to one game it would now be Shadow Of The Colossus on the PlayStation 2. I love it because of the simple gameplay entwined with mystery and puzzles. Finding the giants, killing them and moving on is pretty easy, but the gameplay is perfect and when combined, what’s not to love?
AA: How and when did you start streaming?
Hitch: Remember Justin.tv? Before Twitch, there was Justin and it was pretty awful. It got somewhat better of late but for me it started small. I gave up on Justin.tv after a while but then came back when it became Twitch. The ‘how’ is half ego and half the need to entertain. I used to be a broadcaster on radio and then internet radio prior to streaming, so I already had the basics down. And as radio became automated, I was lucky that I had a new way to let myself be ‘out there’.
AA: How do you choose which games to stream?
Hitch: I drink too much vodka and play what I fall over first, ha-ha! Ok, that’s not it but it would be so much easier than the occasional anxiety I feel when trying to choose. I enjoy playing real original hardware and I get to choose between the 26 plus systems I own, but it’s normally what I feel I will enjoy right there and then. Sometimes it’s awful and I have regrets, but more often than not it’s hilarious and entertaining for both myself and my viewers.
AA: As an original hardware fan, what do you think of Antstream Arcade?
Hitch: I love it. I always regarded emulation as the lesser option due to my preference for real hardware but Antstream changed my mind and lets me enjoy things in a new more convenient way. Before Antstream came along, we used to talk in my community about how Stadia would be actually useful if they went full retro and then, boom, along comes Antstream Arcade, doing exactly what we’d been talking about for a long time. I like the idea of the challenges and high scores most, but rarely do better than mid-scores in the tournaments because I have less time than some seem to have to perfect that score. I do like the idea of special tournaments with old champions like Becky Heineman or the developers themselves – still waiting for Jim Bagley to get his own game on one!
AA: Maybe one day Baggers will achieve that glory! Do you get a good response streaming Antstream Arcade?
Hitch: From day one the response has been excellent from all corners, whether they be real hardware fans, emulation fans or other. I think the ease of use, huge choice of games and systems helped, but my biggest positive feedback comes from the social aspects of the service. We all just love pushing each other off the top of the following tables!
AA: Any requests?
Hitch: I would like to see more Speccy games on there: Deathchase, Jet Set Willy, Odd Job Eddie (that’s for a viewer) and Jet Pac. I also see the possible upcoming PlayStation games as being the killer apps for Antstream.
AA: Finally, Hitch on Twitch, on a scale of 1 to 10, how geeky are you?
Hitch: Turn it to 11 please. I stream console and computer repairs as well as gaming, and can talk for hours about games and retro in general. I love hearing stories about anything nerdy, from movies, sci-fi, music and more. I stream retro on Twitch: I have to be a nerd, otherwise they would call me out as a faker!