Here’s a curious story any YouTube ecosystem dwelling technophile needs to see, a fascinating study into internet knee-jerk reaction culture if you will.
Purveyor of top-notch quality Amiga and other retro-related video content, Peter Leigh aka Nostalgia Nerd, really likes Doom. No, I mean he really, really likes it to the Nerdth degree. He desperately wants to play the latest incarnation, but is hampered by his current gaming rig as it doesn’t have the siliconial muscle to make it a reality. Only a brand new PC will satiate his overwhelming, blood-lusting, giblet-bursting cravings.
His cunning solution was to set up a crowd-funding campaign in the style of those melancholy, heart-string yanking, do-or-they-die charity drives usually reserved for saving donkeys with rare forms of oesophageal cancer, or sending three-tailed mutant penguins on a once in a lifetime trip to Disneyland.
Peter’s video plea is emotionally-charged, melodramatic and hyperbolic for comedic effect, yet the initiative is unexpectedly backed by a genuine ‘Go Fund Me‘ donation page where you can pledge your support and contribute towards buying Peter a Doom-worthy new PC.
The ranting, vitriolic backlash in his comments section is what makes the bizarre stunt so fascinating. If this had kicked off while I was writing my psychology thesis all those years ago, my motif would have been set right there.
The feedback is replete with words like ‘audacity’ and ‘cheapskate’, accusations of deception and selling out, threats to unsubscribe, and helpful suggestions like “get a job or do some overtime you lazy git”. The atmosphere only became more hostile when Peter uploaded a troll-feeding follow-up video response, unleashing another torrent of abuse.
What appears to have got people’s goat is the fact that he’s asking for help to buy a modern piece of equipment that is irrelevant to the channel’s core theme. Had he had his heart set on a vintage Amiga CD32 I’d imagine no-one would have batted an eyelid, much as they didn’t take issue with his ongoing Patreon page, which helps him keep the more on-topic nostalgia flowing.
What also hit a nerve is the back-your-horses-both-ways ‘joke’ angle. If you throw a wobbler you’re taking it too seriously, missing the point and need to get a grip. While if you see it as an opportunity to say “thanks for all the fish” regardless of the cause… ka-ching! You’re a wily, slippery fox-eel hybrid monstrosity, Mr Teflon …but I like the cut of your jib.
Nevertheless, the campaign is going swimmingly, and with only a few hours left to go it’s looking likely that Peter will reach his modest £400 goal.
So if you’d like to see a thorough tear-down and outpouring of nerd-love for Doom 7 (or whatever it is we’re up to these days), make sure you throw him a bone sooner rather than later.
What I’d like to see now is a graph charting the rise or fall in subscriber numbers before, during and after the charity drive. All in the interests of scientific analysis you understand.