The first interaction and memory that I have of video games come from a very young age when my parents used to host LAN parties at our house for their friends to play Unreal Tournament and Diablo. Me and my sister would always beg to play whenever they would take a break, and I just remember how fun it was to have all these people around to hang out and just sit beside to watch them play. Although I’m not a shooter kind of player today, I did play my fair share of Unreal Tournament “Capture the Flag” growing up as well.
My very first own console was a transparent purple Gameboy Color, that I had begged my parents to get me for my 9th birthday. I vividly remember waking up that morning and opening my gift. It came with 2 games that I had also wished for - Pokémon Silver and Rayman. After that day you would never see me without my Gameboy - I brought that thing everywhere. Every year we would go on these 6-8 hour long drives to our relatives up north, so I bought this really obnoxious bright green worm light that you had to plug into the Gameboy, otherwise you wouldn’t see anything in the dark since those screens didn’t provide any light. For a long drive like that you just had to remember to bring enough batteries to last you the trip.
After that came a lot of years with all kinds of games. My sister and I were really into snowboard games at one point, that we played on my Xbox but the one game that stuck with me early for a longer period of time was Tibia that I played on my PC. Me and my best friend, Antonia, got into playing Tibia back in high school, and we would both sit up late at night on our summer breaks, hoping that our parents wouldn’t wake up to scold us about not going to bed. This was also the first game where I met players online who later even became close real life friends living in the same city. Antonia was always my partner in crime when it came to gaming, and we’ve played so many games together over the years. Even though we live in completely different countries today, we still get together over voice chat and play games together. I don’t think we will ever grow out of that habit.
I think that all those good moments that we had together really sparked my passion for games in general. Just being allowed to dive into another world for a couple of hours and be whoever you want to be with no responsibilities. Gaming has always been an escape of reality for me, when I just want to wind down after work or hang out with people - I just can’t remember any bad memories from gaming.
How I got into streaming is mostly just a coincidence of knowing certain people and being at a point in life where I was really unhappy. I had recently gotten a sick-leave from my doctor because I was burnt out at my work as a self-employed hairstylist. In the beginning of my sick-leave I mostly slept and played World of Warcraft to take my mind off of things. That’s where my online friend told me about this game called osu! I had never heard about this game before and wasn’t particularly interested in music games but seeing him play sparked an interest and after playing the first map for myself it didn’t take me long until I was hooked. Playing this game almost became obsessive and I would play it hours on end everyday. It helped my mind tune out all the stress and anxiety I had, making it one of the best therapies for me.
One day I logged into osu!, just talking to random people in the general chat when I suddenly got a message from “TheBigFatLoser”. A lenny face. Nothing more - nothing less. Just this weird set of symbols making up this face that I had never seen before, and it made me giggle.
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
We talked for a little while, and the next day he started inspecting my gameplay. He was really impressed with my skill in the game and I remember my friend from WoW streamed osu! on Twitch so I just thought “heck, why not stream it then”. This is probably the part in my whole streaming journey that I am the most proud of. I had no prior knowledge to streaming, I didn’t even know what Twitch was a week before I went live - plus I was in a very bad mental state at the time. But I just took a leap and hopped on a train without knowing the direction at all. I basically fixed everything myself. I read about OBS and how to set everything up, created my own overlays and panels, connected my terrible 5fps webcam and clicked the button to go live. I didn’t even have a microphone! It was truly a poor setup, but it only took about a week until I got my first donations that covered both a new microphone and a new camera and suddenly my stream looked much more professional.
There are truly so many people to thank in the early stages of my streaming career, and you all know who you are. From being there and supporting from the start to investing in my equipment and encouraging me to keep pushing. I would’ve never started streaming if it wasn’t for “TheBigFatLoser” (today known as Shrugfish) who encouraged me and showed up for every stream after that. And now, 5 years later, we’re engaged and living in Germany together with our cat Merlin.
It’s crazy how such a small interaction with a person online can have such a huge impact on your life and how you move forward in life. He has been my biggest supporter through my whole streaming career and I’m so thankful to have such a loving and supportive fiancé who will always pick me up on a bad day and cheer me on no matter what. It definitely isn’t easy I think, to live with a person who streams full-time. Streaming is not just those 5-7 hours that you are live, there’s so much that comes after the stream and your mind is constantly thinking “how can I make it better?” You need to be a very driven and disciplined person I think to be able to balance a streaming career by yourself - and also be aware of finances and taxes. That’s why I never really encourage young people to start streaming, cause you do need to have a thick skin and a lot of knowledge. I do however encourage people to try it without thinking too much, take that leap and have fun playing your games as a hobby at first - and if you like it, you can pursue it further. You will never know until you try.
I am definitely very proud of how far I’ve come by myself, but if there’s one thing I always mention as my proudest - it’s my community. They are the reason I keep streaming and without them I wouldn’t be where I am today. That’s why it’s really important to me, as a streamer, to recognize the people who push me forward everyday and make it possible for me to pursue this dream at all. It’s easy for any streamer to say “my community is the best on Twitch” but I can say this with 200% certainty - they are the best community on Twitch. You will never see such a wholesome loving bunch of people all gathered up in one chat. It’s just magical how they can be so selflessly supportive of one another without knowing each other, and never expect anything in return. They definitely inspire me and motivate me to build my community even bigger and better.
Every morning that I stream, we start by saying good morning to each other for about 10 minutes. I know I don’t speak for myself when I say that this is the best part of the stream, cause it is! And it is what keeps us all in such a happy mood until the stream ends. Every single person who joins the stream after that is greeted by good morning’s from both me, the mods and my chat. My community is very good at including new people and making them feel like they’re part of the group immediately.
After our good morning’s are shared, we usually sit and talk for a little without any real direction. Just generally chatting about the past week, what happened and so on. Although I am a variety streamer from the beginning, the game that brought me to partner status was Animal Crossing New Horizons and I will always keep streaming it as long as there’s enough content to put out. Other games that I have played or thought about playing is any game that can continue to make us feel comfy and connected. Let it be Minecraft, Breath of the Wild or Stardew Valley - as long as it’s chill and gives me an opportunity to focus on my chat every now and then. I definitely think I would still play these games if I wasn’t streaming since they’re all exactly what I look for when it comes to games. But there are also other games that I play that I have decided to keep off-stream because of its competitive side and because it doesn’t merge well with my cozy and comfy vibes.
I play with my viewers every now and then and up until recently we didn’t have a specific “play with viewers” day but now I’ve added community Sundays to my schedule, so there will be more interaction with my community in the future.
I never aimed to stream as someone I’m not, I have always been myself on stream for the 5 years I’ve been online. I know I’m not a perfect person and I never try to be either, I just embrace my flaws and try to laugh about them instead. I’m a very chaotic person and that’s where my name BakaMaica originated from. When I started streaming my name was MicaOsu, but it didn’t take long until people started calling me Baka Maica. This was basically created as an alter ego to MicaOsu. Maica was the derpy chaotic persona that would be called out when I forgot to change my scene or just messed up in general. Maica was meant as a dumb way of saying Mica and Baka means idiot in japanese. When I started to move away from osu! into streaming various games I wanted to change my name and BakaMaica came to mind. It just fit me perfectly and was always free on every platform.
When I started streaming there was no affiliate program. It was either being a partner or not being a partner. So when the affiliate program was launched, I got it immediately cause I had already reached all the goals necessary to become an affiliate. After that I basically streamed 4 years with no major growth cause I never stuck to a strict schedule or game and I always heard or read that if you wanted to grow, you needed to be consistent. I knew this would make a major difference, but it was always difficult when you’re working full-time. It wasn’t until the Animal Crossing New Horizon release was announced that I just knew this would be a game for me. Up until March 2020 I only streamed part-time cause I was working 4-5 days at a cinema and I never had any extra energy to spare for streaming before work. But the cinema couldn’t stay open since the spread of covid was rapidly increasing and It wasn’t until the cinema closed that I could focus 100% on my stream.
It was a slow start at first, but staying consistent with my schedule and game really made me gain momentum and before I knew it, I was moving towards a big goal of mine which was finally getting partnered. The whole partner process was really stressful and I got declined 3 times before I got the email of being invited to the program. For me it really helped being transparent about my application because it helped my community understand why I sometimes was very stressed or sad about being declined. But the really beautiful part about being vulnerable and open about it was that it made people really show their support and they all pushed me to keep going even though it felt like I would never get there. It’s been a very long and bumpy road to where I am today, but I’m so proud of everything I’ve accomplished.
I absolutely consider myself a full-time streamer and I’m hoping it will stay that way, but I’m technically still employed at the cinema. Besides streaming and the cinema I also run a small Etsy shop as a hobby called BakaMaica, where I sell handcrafted charms and jewelry.
A normal day for me would be to wake up around 9am in the morning and just take it easy until I start streaming at 12pm. On a really good day that means starting my day by going for a walk. In the summer I can always go outside after the stream since it’s still bright outside, but in the winter I have to do it before I start. It’s really important to get your exercise into your schedule, or you’ll eventually end up with a lot of pain in your back from sitting so much. After my walk I eat breakfast and spend time with my fiancé and cat Merlin. My stream lasts between 5-7 hours and it all depends on how I feel physically and mentally. I always listen to my body if I need to end my stream early.
Being a former hairdresser, I never had any issues with small talking to people and I think that’s why streaming comes easily for me. I can just pick a topic about anything and talk about it for hours. I also wouldn’t put myself in a bracket of being either an introvert or an extrovert. I’m a mix of both and my social bar still needs to be filled with face-to-face interactions every now and then. Even though I’m often socially exhausted after streaming, I try to meet up with friends and family on a regular basis.
I’ve been very lucky to have such encouraging and uplifting family and friends. My parents and sister have always been amazing and supportive of what I do, and occasionally show up in my stream to say hello. I’m also very blessed to have my fiancé who always cheers me on no matter what. He’s definitely my biggest motivator. My dream is to be able to work full-time as a streamer for many years to come as long as it makes me happy and is something I enjoy doing.
I use OBS Studio to stream and Streamlabs is where I get all my donations, alerts, and merch. I use Streamlabs chatbot as my main bot, but I also use Nightbot when it comes to giveaways. I have a Discord server with over 1000 members. It’s a server for literally anything although I mainly stream Animal Crossing.
Everything visual on my stream is made by me, except for my emotes and a chibi character that I commissioned from separate artists. I graduated in Graphical Design back in 2009 which has really come in handy when designing panels and overlays. I’m also a very picky person who updates my overlays constantly, so it’s very nice to be able to do it exactly the way I want it.
I would recommend triggerfyre for sound alerts, that the viewers can redeem with channel points. A second tip would be to start gartic or words on stream when you have to brb or take a break for 5-10 minutes. It’s been a great way to keep chat active and entertained while I go to the bathroom or make a quick snack. My third is BTTV where you can have up to 100 more emotes, great for affiliated people if they want to have more emotes.
I try not to look at my analytics too much, but I still think it’s important to know in what direction your stream is going. You will always have good and bad days, but if the general curve is going up - then keep doing what you’re doing!
Create a schedule that works for you and stay consistent with it. Don’t switch games every stream, you won’t be able to build a name if you switch too often. If you do start as a variety streamer then you should make a schedule that tells your viewers when you will play certain games.
But my best tip would be to find one game you really like and stick with it. You should also only play games that you enjoy, your chat will notice if you’re not entertained. So don’t try to force a game if you can’t have fun with it. Always try to talk to your chat even if it’s slow. If someone new comes in and you’re completely silent together with your chat, it will be hard for them to engage in a conversation. Never stop talking!
My last piece of advice would be to never give up. Keep doing what you love, it will pay off!
The Partner application process. It’s very straining and puts insane pressure on people applying. Even though I had great statistics with every application, I still got declined. They ask for one number, but expect it to be almost double. I’ve seen people with half the size of my numbers get partnered with ease, and people with double my numbers get declined multiple times like me. It was just a very rough and confusing process for me.