Nothing challenges the body and mind of a streamer like the 24-hour stream, a true feat of endurance. In this installment of our Meet the Marathon Streamers series, we’re getting safety tips and advice from Kiratze, a streamer with a background in health and fitness who focuses on playing story-based games.
Kiratze’s streams are full of positivity and advice regarding wellness, and so he clued us in on the keys to a happy and healthy marathon stream.
Studio@Gizmodo: How did you first get into streaming?
Kiratze: Back when League of Legends first came out, that was when Twitch also sort of started coming up. One day I came across this streamer, CohhCarnage, and I said “hi” in the chat. Out of his thousands of people in the chat he noticed me. And from there I got started talking with other people in his community — I never had that experience before — and I thought: This is awesome. I love the communal aspect of gaming. So I decided why not try it out for myself? My internet back then didn’t allow me to stream at a very high quality, and no one came to watch me, but it was a lot of fun.
What kinds of games do you like to stream?
I’m a variety streamer but I do have a focus on roguelikes and also story-heavy games. Anything with a really good story is what I really like to stream on Twitch, and also walking simulators like Gone Home and What Remains of Edith Finch. Being able to experience a story with someone, I think that’s really, really awesome.
How did you get into marathons?
I’ve been doing them annually for four years now for the Extra Life organization. They benefit the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, and they have an annual game day in November, whether it’s board games or whatever, [when] people play for 24 hours straight and try to raise money. In my city we have a Miracle Network Hospital and I actually went to it as a kid. So I thought if I’m going to do a marathon stream I want to do it for a good cause.
How did the Miracle Network Hospitals help you as a kid?
They’re nice because they help families that may not be financially able to go somewhere else. As a kid I had asthma, allergies, things like that, and they were able to help us.
What gear keeps you at the top of your streaming game?
It’s definitely evolved over time. Right now it’s been upgraded a lot. I’m running two monitors; an XLR AT2035 microphone on a Rode PSA-1 mic arm, which is hooked up to a Focusrite Scarlett Solo audio interface; and a logitech C920 webcam — that’s the main equipment I use. Software-wise I use OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) and I run my microphone audio through a digital audio workstation called Reaper. But really streaming is whatever you want it to be, and how passionate you are about the hobby, so you’ll make do with whatever you’ve got and can afford.
What are some keys to ensuring a healthy and safe marathon stream?
I’m training to be a personal trainer, so I’m coming from a place of fitness and health. A very important factor is that you have to treat your body well outside of streaming. The nature of the hobby is so sedentary, and many health issues come from that. Even doing 20 to 30 minutes of cardio every day and taking care of your body outside of this will help with marathon streams. These are feats of physical and mental strength. We’re not meant to stay up for 24 hours.
Are there any foods or drinks you recommend marathon streamers stick to?
I like to have a decent amount of carbs before, because it’s a good source of long-term energy.
Any to avoid?
Sugar is something to stay away from, at least until the very end for an extra boost.
How do you keep a long stream entertaining?
The benefit I have is that I have a friend with me. That’s something I recommend. It’s great to have a friend, whether on Skype or in the room with you. Everything’s better with friends!
When you’re doing a marathon stream with a story-driven game, does that help you? Or does having a story make it harder to follow?
A story makes things easier. Things are moving forward, it’s always changing, and it’s a lot easier to bounce commentary off of because things are happening in the story that you might have opinions on. When we’re planning a marathon stream, we make sure we have a few big story games, like Mass Effect–type games, that’ll be the main portion of the stream.
What’s the most challenging part of a marathon stream: mental or physical?
Both. For new streamers, it’s definitely a lot more mental for them. Don’t be afraid to end it early. You want to make sure you’re taking care of yourself first and foremost.
Five Ways to Have a Healthy and Fun Marathon Stream
1. Treat your body well outside of streaming.
2. Carbo-loading beforehand can provide long-term energy, but avoid sugar during the marathon — at least until you approach the end.
3. Make sure your equipment and streaming setup is in good working order before starting the stream.
4. Don’t be afraid to end it early.
5. Stock up on Energizer® Ultimate Lithium™ AA batteries. As the #1 longest-lasting AA battery, you won’t have to worry about your gear dying mid-stream.
When’s the hardest part?
In every 24-hour stream, no matter when you start, there is that three- to four-hour zone where it’s the hardest. For me, it’s usually at about two or three in the morning.
What advice do you have for people who want to get into marathon streaming?
Do your [equipment] tests. You’ll always have technical difficulties during a 24-hour stream — those are to be expected — but you want as few, and to be as prepared for them, as possible. Make sure your sleep’s in check, eat properly, and get decent snacks.
To watch Kiratze in action, check out his Twitch channel. And if you want your gaming peripherals to maintain peak performance without fail during a marathon stream — or any gaming session, for that matter — be sure to power up with Energizer® Ultimate Lithium™ batteries.
Giaco Furino is a writer living and working in Brooklyn. He contributes frequently to The Creators Project, Tribeca Shortlist’s Outtake, Rhapsody magazine, and more.