Exploring Twitch TV, the Internet’s very own reality show

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If you want to watch a group of people wrapped up in some seriously juicy drama, you don’t need a cable subscription anymore: the next generation of reality TV is hiding on Twitch.

Twitch.tv is a massively popular streaming platform where anyone can broadcast themselves playing video games, and though it might sound like a niche interest, streamers have made entire careers out of it. In fact, some of the most popular creators have garnered millions of followers and have racked up thousands of dollars, so for many it’s a legitimate career path.

But the fact that it’s all live, and the fact that some of these streamers are so aggressive, means that hidden among hours of speedruns are crazy moments on par with anything on Monday Night Raw, including co-hosts fighting with one another and personalities having their fans turn on them. The only difference is that none of this is scripted, making it all the more cringeworthy.

Pop some popcorn as we count down 10 of the most hilarious and horrible moments of drama that have happened on Twitch.

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Is there anything more despicable than faking a disability for money? Twitch streamer ZilianOP apparently saw nothing wrong with it, as he pretended to be paralyzed in order to garner sympathy donations. It totally worked, and he had made over $20,000 until one night when he was exposed live in front of all his fans.

During a normal broadcast back in 2013, Zillian seemingly meant to turn off his webcam while he got up to leave the room, but he remained on camera so that viewers witnessed this supposedly crippled man suddenly walk. His girlfriend immediately yells, “Oh my god!” As in, “Oh my god, you just exposed us you fucking moron!” Realizing her outburst isn’t helping, she starts telling a strange story about a dog peeing on her at the fish shop. What an amazing bit of improv.

Of course, Zilian wasn’t going to cop to the scam, so the excuse he came up with was that his dog spilled water and he threw himself out of the wheelchair to clean it up. That may be the worst cover in history considering the video clearly shows him casually standing rather than lunging forward. I guess he hoped there was no recording of the incident and his fans just had really poor memories? Twitch proceeded to ban Zilian and he went into hiding, only to emerge years later to nothing but angry comments and pitchforks.

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One of the lessons you have to learn as a Twitch streamer is that at least 10% of your audience is out to get you. A guy who goes by the name Mr. Boss found that out firsthand while trying to broadcast some Grand Theft Auto V gameplay.

Rather than starting the stream with the game already installed, Mr. Boss figured he would talk to viewers while getting things ready in the background. That makes sense, but the problem was that his Steam key was visible almost the entire time. That’s the activation code you get after your purchase, and anyone who has this code can download the game even if they didn’t pay for it. It’s the equivalent of accidentally showing the whole world the numbers on a gift card, and then everyone rushing to use it before you can.

About a half hour into the stream, Mr. Boss is finally ready to start, only to get the error message, “Code already in use.” The only explanation is that someone else took it, and that’s when he realizes the code had been up on screen for about a half hour. Oops.

He proceeds to sit there in silence not knowing how to react, which is only interrupted by his co-hosts laughing at his stupidity. Apparently, Rockstar ended up giving him another key to the game, so it worked out for everyone (especially the guy who got a $60 game for free).

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Innocent pranks can be fun without causing any real damage, but then there’s the kind of “prank” that involves getting a person arrested just for kicks. During a World of Warcraft live stream from a guy known as Swifty, the doorbell suddenly starts ringing like crazy. Swifty’s Skype companions instantly think some jerk ordered a bunch of pizza to the house, which actually happened earlier in the night, but it turns out to be the Seminole County Sheriff’s office.

Yeah, a troll evidently called the police and said that Swifty was threatening someone with a knife, which he obviously wasn’t. It was just a “prank” to get cops to show up on camera. The police officers proceed to search his home and then take him down to the Sheriff’s office for questioning, and he did not return to the live stream that evening.

This horrible act is so widespread that calling the cops on a streamer and watching the consequences play out is referred to as SWATing. It’s unclear if the perpetrator was ever found in this case, but there was one instance last year when a 15-year-old caught SWATing was convicted of domestic terrorism and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Remember when kids’ idea of a prank was calling into a radio station with a goofy name?

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Anyone who was watching Sajedene’s stream of DOTA2 in June 2014 was met with a horrifying turn of events straight out of an HBO drama. In the middle of a match, screaming can suddenly be heard off camera and unseen men shout, “get on the ground!” With Sajedene now gone to investigate, viewers can actually see men with guns wearing all black rummaging through her belongings. Eventually the room goes dark, as it appears one of the robbers turns the lights off. The stream is disconnected, and that was it.

Can you even imagine how startling it would be to see this live, thinking you’re just tuning in to watch a woman play a video game? Dozens of viewers immediately called 911, and police were able to make it to the apartment in time to arrest one of the criminals. Luckily, Sajedene wasn’t harmed, and she later released a 50 minute video explaining the incident and describing how scary it was. Who would have thought Twitch streaming could be so dangerous?

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Every year, an organization called Games Done Quick hosts a marathon where participants speedrun through games on Twitch, taking donations that all go to charity. The event is a fun time for all and it’s for a great cause, but considering it’s broadcast live, some screwups and awkward moments are inevitable.

During Summer Games Done Quick 2014, a speedrun of Tomba 2 was low on broadcasters, so some random guy from the audience (Chibi) was allowed to sit in and commentate. He turns out to be well meaning but incredibly awkward, and all throughout the broadcast, none of his jokes are met with any laughter. They can’t even offer a light chuckle to be polite?

Growing annoyed with the guest host, the speedrunnner (Caveman DCJ) is super passive aggressive towards this guy in front of thousands of viewers. He says “Alright” or gives a bothered look after every single one of Chibi’s comments, and at one point, Caveman even sarcastically says, “good joke,” This is just brutal.

It all culminates with Caveman finally saying, “I would really prefer if you’d be quiet,” completely shutting Chibi down. Oh fuck. What follows is some legendarily painful silence as Chibi is forced to sit there in embarrassment, having been totally eviscerated in front of 50,000 people. Some say he is still cringing in discomfort to this day.

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Apparently Twitch streaming is secretly the most risky profession there is. Here’s another example of a gamer being arrested live in front of his audience, except in this case, he experienced the one-two punch of being taken to jail and being robbed. Check off two spaces on your Twitch drama bingo card!

It all starts when a cop arrives at the door of a guy with the username Mr. Big, responding to a noise complaint. Despite the fact that the officer is just asking for the man’s name and for him to keep it down, Mr Big refuses to provide information, is extremely argumentative, and goes on about how outrageous it is that his rights are being infringed. Oh, brother. Is he one of those “sovereign citizens,” or does he just want to stir up some shit for his show? After seven full minutes of fighting, the officer asks Mr. Big to step into the hallway and arrests him as the camera keeps rolling.

That was already enough to qualify as some solid Twitch cringe, but it only escalates from there. Mere minuets after Mr. Big is taken away, his neighbor breaks into the apartment to rob him, taking his Nike Air Jordans, wallet, and headphones. Gaining confidence, the same dude comes back moments later to steal even more items. Viewers who saw the whole thing reported it to the authorities, and the neighbor was taken to jail. Talk about an eventful evening, huh?

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You know that feeling when you work really hard on a project and forget to save it, so in an instant that hard work was a compete waste? A streamer with the ironic name SigmaBlack felt that to the extreme when  a four hour broadcast ended up being all for nothing.

The Twitch streamer meant to show himself playing a game called To The Moon, but due to some technical difficulty, the footage of him appears in the broadcast but the footage of the game does not. Most streamers would check the chat, find out there’s an issue and then immediately fix it, but not this guy. He never interacts with his audience a single time for the entire four hours, meaning for that length of time, he thought we were seeing the game when all viewers could see was his face.

To make matters worse, the game he’s playing is extremely emotional, so there are several times throughout when he starts crying. Nobody has any idea what he’s reacting to, so they’re just watching a man sit on his couch and get emotional for seemingly no reason. It’s hard not to feel bad, but on the other hand, what’s the point of doing a Twitch stream if you’re never going to engage with your viewers the entire time?

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Twitch broadcasters are constantly trying to stream for as long as possible without stopping, but 72 hour seems a bit excessive, doesn’t it? In 2013, a streamer known as Oddler attempted to marathon Resident Evil for three straight days, and he just barely fell  short of that goal, passing out on camera 66 hours in.

What made this so hilarious is that his viewership skyrocketed while he was conked out, and the stream become more popular than it had ever been before. 1,000 people were tuned in while he was conscious, but as soon as he fell asleep, he quickly amassed over 13,000 viewers and ended up on the front page of Twitch. That’s a coveted spot reserved only for the most active channels, something any user would kill for. And he wasn’t even awake to see it.

The chat went absolutely wild the whole time, mostly filled with people yelling jokes in all caps and wondering if he was still alive. How messed up would that have been if he legitimately was dead this whole time?

After about forty minutes of this, Oddler finally wakes up and, without saying a word, stumbles into the other room, seemingly unaware that he is now one of the most popular channels on all of Twitch. Meanwhile, an audience consisting of people who just spent 40 minutes watching a man sleep seriously contemplate what has happened to their lives.

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Sometimes huge amounts of money get thrown around in online games, and so when players screw up, there are real stakes. That was the case during Mindcrack’s 24 hour long Minecract stream, which was conducted to raise money for charity. Basically, rather than just asking people to donate while they played the game, the streamers decided to make it a bit more fun.

If you donated specific amounts, you could help out the hosts by dropping items into their Minecraft server. That way, you’re giving to charity, getting your name on the broadcast, and helping the players out all at once. The most expensive item possible was a Notch Apple, pretty much the most powerful thing in the entire game. Eating it makes the player nearly invincible during combat, and some generous viewer decided to buy them this $1,000 item. Yes, that’s one thousand real, non-virtual dollars.

Now in possession of this incredibly important tool that someone paid a thousand bucks for, the streamer accidentally feeds the apple to a horse. Absolutely nothing happens if a horse eats the Notch Apple, and so in an instant, the thousand dollars was totally wasted.

Well, not totally. The money was still donated to charity, thankfully, but watching the guys’ frustration realizing that they just flushed such an expensive item down the toilet is simply priceless.

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This is a story that should be taught in every fire safety class for the rest of time. In Early October, a Minecraft streamer from Japan started messing around and showing off his new oil-match lighter. What could possibly go wrong? After accidentally lighting the whole matchbook on fire, he naturally throws the flaming thing into a trash bin filled with paper. Wait, what?

Things quickly spiral out of control, and it’s so hard to watch because the guy keeps making the worst possible decisions. He leaves to get water and really takes his time as if his room isn’t currently going up in flames, he hits the fire with cardboard , and at one point he fans it with a blanket. Has this dude never heard of the concept of “fanning the flames”?

The chat continues to yell at him, saying things like “Call 119, why are you doing that” and “stop doing that, stop it,” but it’s no use. The stream cuts out as the entire room becomes a glowing orange blur. Of course, anyone would probably make similar mistakes when in a panic, and thankfully nobody was killed and only 30% of the house was damaged. Hopefully he learned a valuable lesson about not trying to put out fire with freaking paper.

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