Jackie, otherwise known as That Flighty Broad, is a talented freelance illustrator and gaming enthusiast with her own Let’s Play channel. We’re very pleased she agreed to help us officially kick off FemHype‘s series of interviews with women who game. Let’s get to it, shall we?
Hello, Jackie! Thank you so much for talking with us.
Where can readers find your presence online?
What (or who) initially introduced you to YouTube Let’s Plays? Do you have any particular favorites at the moment?
I became enamored with Let’s Plays when I first developed depression and began exploring different self-care techniques that worked for me. I sometimes found that playing the games I loved triggered my anxiety, but I would still want to envelop myself in the sounds, atmosphere, and story of those games. I started by watching other people play the classic Tomb Raider games, and eventually started watching LPs of different games in the background while I got work done.
I began seriously considering recording my own LPs after watching John over at HarshlyCritical, because I really enjoy his conversational style. His videos made the whole recording process seem more accessible, and after a while I buckled down to start recording and resolved to just have fun while doing it.
Did you design your current YouTube logo? How did you come up with the concept and/or what’s the story behind it? It’s adorable!
Why yes, I did! When I’m not talking to myself while playing video games, I work as a freelance illustrator. Drawing and designing were my first loves, as far as professional interests go.
The theme I chose for my Let’s Plays actually came to me by accident. I was looking around for royalty-free music to use as a title card for my videos, and I came across that really happy, 1930s-cartoon-inspired tune that I’m using now. It spoke to me really strongly when I first heard it, because a lot of my early childhood memories come from classic cartoons—Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, Friz Freleng, and the like. Once I had the music, I just started designing with that sort of fun vibe in mind.
I notice that a lot of folks doing the Let’s Play thing use a more contemporary approach in their work, and I thought it would be really fun to shake things up and give a classic twist to my commentary of a modern medium. It was especially awesome to do a self portrait in that whimsical black and white cartoony style!
What type of games inspire you to do Let’s Plays? Are there any types/genres you’ve tried to capture, but it just didn’t work?
I have always viewed video games as a storytelling medium, so any games with a strong narrative always pique my interest for Let’s Plays. I’m also a big fan of indie titles that stretch the boundaries of gameplay or tell old stories in new and interesting ways. I imagine it’s probably not as exciting as, say, watching me screech and skitter away while playing Slender, but it’s a niche that I really enjoy being a part of.
So far, the only challenge I’ve encountered when trying to capture games is my own completionist nature. I’m trying to overcome it so I can keep my videos as short as possible and to retain interest, but it’s been a difficult journey so far. It gets a little easier once I’ve had a couple of pre-game bottles of beer, though!
Is it strange keeping up a running dialogue while playing a game? Do you find it weird and/or difficult to essentially be talking to an unseen audience?
Considering I keep a running monologue with myself all day, every day, it wasn’t much of a leap to extend that outside of myself and start talking to the people who might watch my videos, haha. I approach recording my LPs like I’m sitting in my living room, playing a game with a bunch of friends while drinking and making smart-assed comments.
It’s also not uncommon for me to ask a lot of questions and talk at the games I play, even when I play them alone. It’s really just a matter of saying those things out loud while I’m recording, rather than keeping them inside of my head.
Where do you see yourself and your online presence in 5 years? Is there a specific accomplishment you’ll like to have made by then?
My only goal right now is to make the best content that I’m capable of and not worry too much about where it’s going to get me in the future. After spending close to a decade as a professional artist, I’m starting to learn to enjoy the journey and the processes, rather than striving for specific accomplishments.
I will say, though, that if I can help inspire people of varied backgrounds to record LPs, just as HarshlyCritical did for me, I will be incredibly psyched!
Do you have any suggestions for people looking to make their own Let’s Play videos?
There are a number of LPers out there who use a mix of casual misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and the like when they play, whether they realize it’s happening or not. Don’t do that. It’s gross, and effectively pushes away potential audience members.
Otherwise, just play to have fun! Make observations and ask questions about the games you play from your own unique perspective. Don’t worry about imitating other YouTubers while you’re recording—what works for them isn’t necessarily going to work for you, so you might as well do what’s most comfortable for yourself.
As far as the technical side of things go: It’s definitely possible to spend a lot of money to make a good recording, but it’s really not necessary. You can buy an average headset with a mic for a reasonable price (I’ve been using the same $30 pair for three years, and it still produces crisp, clear sound) and there are plenty of open-source and free recording and video editing softwares. I suggest experimenting to see which ones work best with your computer setup while running games, and see what is least frustrating for you to operate.
What’s been the most rewarding thing so far about sharing your love of gaming with a wider audience?
I’ve had a couple of young girls tell me that they watched some of my videos and were thinking about doing their own recordings. That is a huge deal to me! I love the idea of girls and women expressing their love of games in a public medium, because it paves the way for more women to help shape the industry that we have lovingly engrossed ourselves in.
Free-style! Anything I missed that you’d like to talk about?
I am always looking for game suggestions to feature on my channel, especially if they’re titles developed by women and minorities. I would be delighted to hear what viewers would like to see from me next!