Image Description: The Jingle Jam and Yogscast Logos
Each year at Christmas, many of us appreciate how lucky we are to be able to celebrate with our family, receive presents and eat a ridiculous amount of food. This often brings us to sobering thoughts of the less fortunate which has led to the other defining feature of Christmas – philanthropy.
One group hoping to give something back are the Yogscast. The first Yogscast Youtube channel was founded by Lewis Brindley and Simon Lane, and began as a way for them to share their escapades in World of Warcraft. “Yogscast” as a name was derived from their WoW guilds’ name – Ye Olde Goon Squad. As time went on the focus of the channel around the guild led to other members of the guild founding their own channels. More than 10 years later, many of the content creators within the Yogscast family were part of the original guild that inspired the first channel.
The structure of the group is likely a large reason for its success on Youtube. If you watch almost any gaming channel on Youtube now, they are often part of a larger group of friends who make videos together, giving their videos well established dynamics as well as allowing viewers to identify with and follow specific points of view. This has always been an aspect of the Yogscast, and many longtime viewers specifically cite the founders’ friendship as what got them invested in the first place.
In 2011, the Yogscast was the most subscribed Youtube channel in the UK and, due to their Minecraft content, alongside some fortunate changes to the Youtube algorithm and the growing popularity of Minecraft, were continuing to gain subscribers rapidly.
Looking to use their new platform meaningfully, in December 2011, Lane, Brindley and the other Yogs held the first series of livestreams to raise money for charity. That year they raised over 100,000 dollars. In 2012, they did it again, raising almost 400,000 dollars.
The success of these livestreams encouraged the Yogscast to found a tradition. Each year the Yogscast Christmas livestreams for charity have represented one of the most positive forces of the Christmas season. By 2013, the growth of the channel and the use of the website humblebundle.com, allowing them to reward donors with games, meant the amount raised exceeded 1 million dollars. Since then, the Yogscast and the Jingle Jam has only grown, raising a total of almost 18 million dollars.
Since 2011, the Yogscast and the Jingle Jam has only grown, raising a total of almost 18 million dollars.
This year, albeit slightly shortened by Covid, the Jingle Jam once again raises its snowy head, with 14 days of livestreams, and a new bundle of games available to be earned by donating. The bundle, which usually costs around $25 (~£19), though larger donations are appreciated, contains over 40 games this year, which, if sold separately would cost $570 (~£430). This is possible due to developers generously donating these games to be distributed to donors, which shows how the Jingle Jam is a true centre of positivity for the gaming community.
Something extra special about the Jingle Jam as a charity event is how it allows donors, and content creators, to donate to something they truly believe in, while still contributing to a larger effort which inspires others to get involved. This year there are twelve different charities that will be donated to, and the best thing about it is that you can choose how your money is divided up between them. This is great for two reasons. Firstly and obviously, if there is an issue you really care about, or a charity you really believe in, you can donate there.
Secondly, and importantly, whichever creator is on stream can encourage you to support a charity close to their heart. This leads to every member of the Yogscast, and the many guests involved, working incredibly hard and putting out some of their best work.
For example, a Yogscast member I have enjoyed watching for years is Zoey Proasheck. As members of the LGBTQ+ community, her and her partner, Fiona, have used their stream each year to create a positive space where anyone can feel at home, while encouraging people to donate to specific charities important to their identity – such as ILGA and the Mental Health foundation. If you get a chance to tune in to any of the streams, especially Zoey’s, you will see how happy they are that they can use their job to deal with issues they truly believe in.
As the schedule begins to fill up for the first week of the Jingle Jam, I am extremely excited for December. As someone who absolutely loves Christmas, the Yogscast live streams are one more thing that make this time of the year the best time of the year. I could happily recommend any of the streams this year, from the small group streams playing games in the bundle, to the massive tournament streams with up to 40 Yogs.
I could happily recommend any of the streams this year, from the small group streams playing games in the bundle, to the massive tournament streams with up to 40 Yogs.
This year’s Jingle Jam began officially on the 1st December at 5pm with the annual event of Lewis and Simon watching stupid christmas cat videos. Catch the streams from 11am-11pm every day until the 14th December, at twitch.tv/yogscast. And, if you are feeling generous (and selfish in wanting some games to try out), buy the bundle and help them reach a total of 20 million dollars in 10 years raised for so many good causes. Find out more here.
Image Credit – The Yogscast