• Graeme Mason

Antstream Arcade Twitch Superstar: Trista Bytes

Updated: Oct 19

In the first of a regular series, we talk to one of the bright stars spreading the retro gaming glory of Antstream Arcade via streaming platforms. This week, answering questions on her gaming

history, favourite games, Antstream Arcade and more, is super-geek Trista Bytes.

You can catch Trista on Twitch (twitch.tv/tristabytes) and YouTube (youtube.com/tristabytes).


Antstream Arcade: Hello Trista! What are your earliest memories of gaming?

Trista Bytes: Hello! My earliest memories are being with the neighbour’s kids, loading up cassettes into these magic boxes that plugged into the TV screen. As soon as I realised I could control a character on screen, I was hooked! I have so many fond memories of playing with my friends and neighbours, taking turns on everything from Dizzy and Excitebike to Super Mario Bros. and Aladdin. I was in awe of what I was sure was the future.

AA: Which console did you first own?

TB: The first in my household was the Sega Master System II with Alex Kidd In Miracle World built-in and light gun pointing at our huge rented TV! It was technically my sibling’s, but as it was in the living room, it was effectively shared – unless we had a fight! We used to take turns playing Alex Kidd, swapping whenever one of us died or got to a level they didn’t like. We basically played the game co-op, something we were still doing when we played Tomb Raider on the PlayStation.


AA: What about your own first console?

TB: It’s the boxed Mega Drive you can see in my video and stream backdrops, and it was the first

thing I ever saved for in my entire life – no more spending my weekly £1 pocket money on chocolate and Opal Fruits [for youngsters, the colourful sweets known today as Starburst – Sweet Toothed.]!


AA: That must have taken a while!

TB: I can still remember my mother’s shock, seeing me so determined, and after we picked up my

shiny new Mega Drive from Argos with Sonic 2, she was so impressed she bought me a copy of

Mega-Lo-Mania to go with it. I entirely credit Sega for my ability to manage my money as an adult.


AA: So you’re a Sega fan?

TB: Sonic The Hedgehog captured my imagination and cemented me as a Sega fan. I bought Sega

consoles from that point on while my sibling had Nintendo, and while I loved both, Sonic had the

biggest impact. I watched the cartoons, read the comics and drew pictures of the characters. I even used the sound test to record all the tracks and make little cassette albums of each game, complete with little hand-drawn covers and track listings.


AA: Wow. You really do like Sonic!

TB: Ha! Everything about it had me hooked: the graphics, gameplay, music and that little hedgehog’s big attitude! Just don’t talk to me about that Sonic drowning music…it still makes my heart race with fear today.

AA: How and why did you start a YouTube channel?

TB: I wanted to try and build up a bit of confidence and push myself, not really expecting it to go

anywhere, and figured I could just delete the videos if I changed my mind. I wanted to present for an indie comic company and we did a test video – in the end they decided not to go the Youtube route, but I'd got a taste for presenting so I started making videos myself, interviewing indie comic and game creators I saw at events. I figured that even if they only got a few views, it might help them and be good learning for me. Fast forward five years, and I have to accept I’m a YouTuber!


AA: And streaming?

TB: Basically, everyone who met me started saying I should be on Twitch. But I’d hardly used it and

didn’t get why anyone would want to watch me play games and chat. So I began to find channels I

really enjoyed and started to understand it more, and gave it a go. Now, 18 months later, I’m full-

time, doing seven shows a week, working with some wonderful people and loving every minute!


AA: And that brings us neatly to one of your partners – us!

TB: I’m not gonna downplay it – I love Antstream. There isn’t a show that goes by where I don’t lose hilariously at challenges from viewers, or find a new hidden gem because of their suggestions. I love that there are so many arcade games – as a kid my only real experience with arcades was those 2pmachines, and the one go on Street Fighter we got in the leisure centre if we behaved after swimming. So having a load of these games available to stream and play at home has been brilliant.


AA: What’s it like streaming Antstream Arcade?

TB: It’s been wonderful. A lot of my audience grew up playing Speccy and Commodore 64 games, or were in the arcades every weekend as teenagers. They alternate between cheering me on or

laughing at me as I try out games like Ninja Hamster or get way too excited being a four-pixel Godzilla, stamping on buildings in Crush, Crumble and Chomp! I really feel like it’s the closest you can get to being back in the neighbour’s living room, loading up random games and discovering them for the first time.

AA: This week we have begun our Metal Slug X and Liquid Kids tournaments, in partnership with

yourself, and raising funds for the charity Special Effect. Have you taken part in any Antstream

tournaments?

TB: Oh yes! I’ll tell you how I’m not competitive and don’t care about winning – then you can see

clips of me playing a tournament challenge for three hours straight to beat my last score because a viewer says they’ve overtaken me! They’re a great way to discover new games, and I love how friendly they are – we are all cheering each other on, marvelling at the top scores and sharing tips. I honestly never thought I would be a fan of competitive gaming like this, but so far it’s been great

fun.

AA: On the spot time! Trista Bytes – excluding Sonic, which we know you love – your five favourite

games of all time – GO!

TB: Um, ah, um. Oh, right. OK. Rescue Mission has to be there. And Mega-Lo-Mania – the vocal clips from that are burned into my memory. Then Tempest 2000, as I played that enough to dream entire playthroughs, then next it has to be Soul Calibur, which I used to play winner-stays-on with my friends until the early hours of the morning. Was I any good? Well, let’s just say I wasn’t sitting there without a controller very often! One more? I’ll go for Quake 3 Arena. In my late teens I discovered LAN parties, and that became my social life for several years.


AA: Final questions! On a scale of 1 to 10, how geeky is Trista Bytes?

TB: 9! But only because sometimes I think about food.

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