Nerd Street Gamers sat down with itsmeTroi aka Troi, a full-time content creator known for Sims news and gaming, for a lighthearted conversation about how she got started with content creation, how she developed her brand and what diversity in gaming means to her. This interview was edited for length and clarity.
Nerd Street Gamers: Which Sims game out of all of them is your favorite?
Troi: Bustin’ Out, for console and the handheld version. Just because I can play those all the time. Like, if I get in the mood, I can go back to the story.
Nerd Street Gamers: When did you realize that you could become a content creator with The Sims?
Troi: It may have been around the time I was watching other Black Simmers, so Xmiramira, Xureila. It was about four years ago, I was about to graduate college, and I discovered them. And I was watching mira stream, and she was playing with mods. And at that time, I didn’t know mods existed for the Sims. I’ve been through Sims to the console games, the complete lifespan of Sims 3. So I started live streaming myself around that time, and you know, they may look fun. They made it look fun with the mods, they may look fun with the content creating, and I kind of just did it on the side because I was a senior in college trying to graduate.
Nerd Street Gamers: How did you make the transition to creating full-time Sims content after college?
Troi: Well, it was hard at first, because when you’re first starting out, a lot of people think, “oh, you’re gonna make a lot of money, you got to do this, you got to do that.” And that’s really not the case. So it was a struggle, because as you know, graduating, you’re also trying to find a job in your field. And, you know, rejection after rejection. And then at some point, I was like, “you know, maybe if I stick with this [something will happen]” because it really is a grind. …
And you only make it big or you get to a point where you can actually make money in my opinion, if you’re really lucky or you know people because majority of time, like 99.9%, you’re trying to make a name for yourself … the money doesn’t come start[ing] the minute you say, “hey, I’m gonna make this video.” And plus, at that point, you kind of want to, I don’t want to say struggle, but you want to go through all that just to see what kind of content you want to do, what type of content creator you want to be, because I’m surely not the person I was four years ago, when I started.
Nerd Street Gamers: One of things I noticed is that once [news] pops up, next thing I know [a video] is on YouTube. How are you able to do that so quickly? What is your process like from hearing the news and putting a video out?
Troi: So it’s so even though I don’t really use my degree, my field of study was journalism and multimedia. And I worked in a newsroom on top of, you know, during the regular course work, you know, researching and getting the news out at a speedy time was kind of what you do in journalism. So that kind of helps with having Google alerts for certain keywords or just on Twitter, scrolling through looking at hashtags.
Sometimes The Sims will say, “hey, you know that thing is coming out tomorrow,” so I know immediately all right, I need to get up at 11 a.m. Eastern my time, that’s about 8 a.m. Pacific to be ready for that 1 p.m. Eastern patch drop. And I’ve done it so many times that I know every update and it’s just getting into a routine when things happen that helps me get out fast enough.
Nerd Street Gamers: How does it feel to be a visible Black woman online building your brand?
Troi: At first, sometimes a random comment saying you’re ugly or the generic racist term people use, you know, it brings down my day. Sometimes a little tear actually comes out because sometimes I just sit back and was like, “wow, OK, that’s how y’all feel?” Sadly, I have to go into my tabs, there’s a tab in YouTube where it hides some comments. And, you know, I’m reading and it’s like, wow, OK. It’s quite a few people who say s— to me that are banned. And that usually happens maybe once or twice a week.
Usually on Twitch it’s more, especially if, you know, I’m being promoted or other creators are being promoted some type of way. Or, you know, we’re just existing on any platform and it’s just there. And sadly, people will point out something bad before they praise you. When it happens, when people ask for advice, or they love the game community, or any community for that matter as a Black woman, you have to tell them like, you know, yup, it happens. It’s really like it’s like a cycle. You know?
Nerd Street Gamers: Then how do you keep going?
Troi: One, some people in the community do comment that they love the video and subscribed. I’m like, “you’re welcome.” Those comments you know outweighs the bad. And sometimes I just have to step away, especially on Twitter. Because social media is like a big part of what you do as a content creator. Or [if you don’t leave] you’re constantly scrolling, you’re constantly active and you’re constantly engaged. And there’ve been some times where I just had to like shut it off, sign out completely, and go do something else.
Nerd Street Gamers: What does diversity and inclusion for Black women look like in gaming or in the Sims?
Troi: Currently, gaming is still lacking even though there’s been some movement towards more inclusion and diversity in the gaming space. It’s still apparent that it needs work, especially when, you know, Black women are promoted. There’s usually negative comments, saying, “why are they here, somebody else should be here.” In the Sims they’re making changes with diversity and inclusion, of course with the skin tone updates, thanks to Mira, Ebonix and others. And then, of course, recently, like yesterday’s update, portrait variations were added for diversity inclusion, but, you know, it is still a long way to go with something that should have been in from the jump. And it really shouldn’t take, you know, a whole movement to get things done, but you know, you gotta do what you got to do.
Lead image credit: itsmeTroi