As we comb the ‘Tube, we find all manners of great Let’s Play (LP) gamers taking their own unique approach. One of those is Hark, AKA angelarts, who burst onto the scene in 2012 with the world’s first Gay Let’s Play (GLP) featuring Mass Effect 3. In another exclusive, Youtuber Review sits down with this pioneer to get his thoughts on a variety of topics.
The LGBT community continues to break barriers in high profile areas like marriage, but there is a quiet movement that’s been building in the gaming world.
There are now major studios like Bioware that have released LGBT characters and delivered on storylines that 15 or 20 years ago would have been almost unimaginable, even though the first video game gay characters appeared in the 1980’s.
But, then you ask yourself, “Why should that be unimaginable?” After all, the LGBT community has always been playing games and the characters in any good roleplaying game (RPG) should reflect real people. And some people are gay…shocking, I know! Though, sadly, that may actually surprise some folks…
One of the things about the LGBT movement in gaming is that it hasn’t become a big deal in society, especially within the gaming community. There aren’t any mainstream soapboxers shouting about the end of the world. Now, there are definitely @ssholes out there but overall, I believe since gaming skews towards a younger audience, there is more tolerance.
YouTube can be a brutal place.
It’s anonymous (or, we like to think so at least) and it’s instant – no waiting for surveys or polls to come back to hear feedback, as Hark noted. And so far, the viewers of angelarts have been a pleasant surprise with solid support since airing the ground-breaking Gay Let’s Play Mass Effect 3.
Before Hark got into Let’s Play, he built up his video skills making spoofs and even creating a biography short film for one of his friends. This is actually where the name “angelarts” comes from. It’s a legacy mock studio name Hark created when he was first getting onto YouTube.
Being a lifetime, hardcore gamer, Hark watched his first LP and got hooked.
Like chocolate and peanut butter coming together to make a tasty treat, Hark parlayed his two passions and skills into the next logical step: Let’s Play.
With so many LP’ers out there, it’s hard to differentiate yourself. Personality, voice, game choice, effort, and a bit of luck, all play a part in your success. There’s an art and science to making it work on YouTube.
With 300 hours of video uploaded per minute on YouTube, there are very few places that haven’t been explored and documented in video.
Hark took a look around and saw either what others either didn’t see, or what others weren’t comfortable doing, which was representing the LGBT community in Let’s Play.
The sad truth was that any LP that had mention of the LGBT community until Hark arrived was basically done as a joke or to exploit sexual fantasies of teenage boys.
Angelarts has broken barriers.
There always has to be someone who is the “first” to do something. That alone is tough for most people. Now, to make that “first” thing being coming out publicly on YouTube, it’s hard to imagine the b@lls it takes to do it.
Hark is a helluva brave dude to step up.
I’ll be honest, I hate being preached at. I hate people slamming their ideology at me. If you are going to tell me about your cause or your life philosophy, all I ask is that you do it in a cool way. Just don’t be a d!ck, and I’m cool with whatever you throw my way. I’m open minded and comfortable with myself to listen to others.
That’s been why I’ve liked Hark and his channel. He’s cool. I’ve spoken to him and he’s a personable guy without any agenda. That’s a nice thing these days.
Moreover, he has become a somewhat of a de facto leader in LGBT gaming. Trailblazers usually are. Youtubers like Katheelmms have sought advice from him when she made her brave decision to come out. That speaks to the quiet but enduring leadership Hark has shown.
While Hark is gay and recently married, he plays games to play games. Liking boys is just as natural as pressing buttons on a controller, and his LPs reflect that everyday attitude.
It seems his growing audience understands that too. With more than a thousand videos to his credit, Hark has amassed the world’s largest collection of GLPs, but also many “regular” Let’s Play videos that are worth viewing if you are into games like Sims.
In other words, angelarts is a channel for great content whether you are straight, gay or somewhere in between.
Hark tries to connect with viewers by responding on social media, comments and suggestions for video games or topics. He’s built his subscription base one by one by sharing personal aspect of his life.
His Let’s Play videos also dive into the stories and characters of the games he plays. It’s not just a superficial level. So, if you enjoy a particular line of games, his LP will most likely give you a perspective you’re not used to.
Angelarts has also expanded into live streams. In fact, his open Q&A at the end of each have become a surprise hit of the show because of the variety of questions that come in.
While Hark’s goal isn’t to amass a huge audience, he has advice for up and coming Youtubers.
“Watch a lot of other LPers. Then figure out your personal strengths and build off of that.” He goes on to recommend reaching out your favorite Youtubers and see if you can build a relationship with them. Doing a co-op Let’s Play or other collaborative project can only help you gain experience and users.
Hark advises all Youtubers to find their own style while still being comfortable in who they are. He acknowledges how hard that is but with time, practice and listening to advice you can continue to polish your craft.
While he’s excited for the upcoming release of Mass Effects 4, Hark does enjoy other Youtubers. One of his favorite is The Game Theorists. This channel explores all sort of wacky and fun aspects of games including this one about “What ARE Minecraft Creepers?!”:
Of course, like everyone, including yours truly, Hark has guilty pleasures. I’m man of enough to admit I love listening to Lionel Richie. When alone in the car, I’ll belt out his greatest hits like no one on this planet…and that’s probably a good thing. We don’t want more of Moonshine singing, plus it’s good to isolate my vocal capabilities in a car with windows up!
For Hark, he’s a sucker for mashups. Take some fantastic 80s song and throw another song or beat into. I have to admit, these are pretty fun too.
At the end of it all, what you like to watch – and who you like to watch them with – is up to you.
Enjoy life and enjoy YouTube. That’s my good, free advice for y’all.