One of Zelda's Greatest Speedrunners Was Just Banned From Twitch


#1

For years, if you were following the speedrunning scene for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time or Wind Waker, you were intimately familiar with Narcissa Wright. She discovered the infamous glitch that allowed speedrunners to escape the opening forest area without beating the Deku Tree, regularly broke world records, and over time, became one of the public faces for speedrunning—Zelda or otherwise. Yesterday, Wright received an “indefinite suspension” from Twitch, essentially banning her from streaming on Twitch for the foreseeable future.

“Based on review of community reports about your activity or content,” reads a statement shared by Wright on Twitter, “we have issued a Community Guidelines strike on your account for Reason: ‘Nudity or Sexual Behavior/Attire’ and indefinite suspension from accessing or using Twitch services.”

Wright told me she couldn’t pin down what exactly prompted Twitch’s ban, wondering if it could have been related to reading healthcare documents with gender reassignment surgery imagery; “questionable things” like watching the anime Hunter X Hunter, after already getting in trouble for watching another anime with sex scenes, Berserk; streams where the “shape” of her nipples were visible through a shirt. In other words, Wright figures she’s been on Twitch’s radar for a while now, and admits to “probably” breaking Twitch’s terms of service.

Twitch declined to comment, their usual response to questions on community management.

Her streams have changed substantially over time, and no longer focus on what Wright originally became known for: speedrunning Zelda games. Around the same time Wright came out as transgender in 2015, a public transition that regularly lead to vile harassment, she experienced lingering pain in her hands. The pain was most acute after long, demanding sessions with her fingers, which made her bread and butter, speedrunning, a real problem.

“I don’t have health insurance right now. I’m trying to get that settled,” she told Kotaku in 2016. “I walked into a physical therapy place, but they told me I need a doctor’s note and insurance. I want to get that figured out in 2016. In the meantime, I’ve been doing stuff like hand exercises—just trying to stretch my hands and take care of them. I also took a two week break from console gaming, and that’s helped a bit. But I still can’t do those long sessions.”

Wright didn’t entirely walk away from gaming—she streams casually, and briefly held the world record for speedrunning Breath of the Wild in 2017—but putting speedrunning largely on hold meant she had to become more creative when it came to streaming, finding new sources of inspiration and fun. Sometimes that meant vlogging, other times it meant painting.

Her relationship with streaming has only grown in the months and years since. Some of her streams will go on for hours without sound or meaningful interaction with the people watching. A recent stream from May 12, for example, is nearly five hours long, and largely features Wright staring at the computer screen in various positions and eventually sleeping.

“When I'm not ‘online’ I feel like it's not even real, in a way,” she said. “I'm just like, wired in.”

Wright speculates one of the reasons Twitch banned her was because of all the bandwidth she was taking up on the service, without making a lot of money for Twitch. (Her numbers have understandably dropped post-speedrunning.) Her streams could go for more than 24 hours, with Wright occasionally letting the camera roll on for hours, while she idled or walked away. She called this a mixture of “content” and “non-content,” a form of experimentation.

In April 2016, Wright briefly shut down her Twitch account, following harassment.

"I've been so unhappy on the internet and it sucks because I feel like the internet is my home," she said on Twitter at the time. "I feel like I can't be myself without getting shit on constantly. I feel like I have to constantly apologize for being myself."

This part—getting shit on constantly—hasn’t changed much. You can’t read the comments on Wright’s videos without coming across rampant abuse, transphobia, and other toxicity, and whole corners of the Internet dedicate huge amounts of time to documenting everything she does. Many comments cite her lack of speedrunning, wishing she’d return to what she was known for, as justification for their words, but that’s obviously bullshit. It’s just a cover.

“I probably could have handled things more elegantly to begin with,” she said, “but the amount of venom that can be seen online kinda gives me a feeling of despair at times.”

But in the midst of this harassment, she’s doubled down on streaming every move, as she works to find a public identity for herself, albeit increasingly an online one, beyond speedrunning.

“The more you put yourself out there the more fodder malicious people have to use against you, is one downside,” she told me, before citing concerns with copyright, storage space, and how so much of what now define her is based on the whims of large corporations.

Streaming isn’t just a side gig for Wright—it’s the whole gig. Her work is supported by a few dozen backers on Patreon, but it’s not enough to feel stability. Sometimes, a big donation during a stream comes through, giving her some room to work with, but it’s not reliable. She made a little bit off cryptocurrency, but her current situation is a “shitty patchwork of income.”

“I'm not bothered by this suspension,” she said. “I'm just gonna move to YouTube for now. My income will be hurt by this but I feel like I'll manage or be okay maybe? Hopefully. I'm an optimist.”

Earlier today, Wright streamed Breath of the Wild on YouTube for a few hours, testing a new setup. She hasn’t ruled out a return to Twitch, but for the moment, Wright remains banned.

“I feel young,” she wrote on Twitter this afternoon. “And pretty. And powerful."

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/7xm9yd/one-of-zeldas-greatest-speedrunners-was-just-banned-from-twitch

#2

It sucks, I love her, but she’s trying to basically livestream her life and twitch doesn’t like even a microsecond of someone’s life to include “the shape of a nipple visible through a shirt” lmao so it’s kinda not the platform for her in a way.

The other thing is I used to religiously follow her, tried to catch her almost every day at least for a few hours, but she doesn’t moderate her chat she just sort of lets toxic people have a run of it for a while before banning them, and it got to be too much. There are genuinely good people in her twitch community, there just isn’t any of them she seemed willing to give the banhammer to and her own use of it was…sparse, and too little too late very often. It’s sad because she’s genuinely really vulnerable and open and real about shit in her life, and it’s amazing to see, I just wish she was less willing to entertain the bigots and assholes for as long as she is. Guess it might not matter now if twitch doesn’t let her back, but she’s been banned before and returned so who knows.


#3

Good of Twitch to be so transparent about why she was banned. /s


#4

Sounds like the anime sex scenes would be the biggest problem, no?

Hopefully she’s not banned for long.


#5

These big platforms sure are opaque and vulnerable to potentially malicious flagging of content for reasons other than actually maintaining terms of service / content moderation.

Today, on YouTube (being resolved):


#6

The wording is a bit confusing in this article, but for clarification Hunter x Hunter doesn’t have any sex scenes lol


#7

This is one of those “healthcare in America has been in a dystopian nightmare state for so long — and has been so normalized — that people don’t even notice that this is a horror story” stories.


#8

this is a real shame to hear (and equally so for the geek remix channel – thanks for the link, @Shivoa); i also couldn’t really get engaged with her chat the handful of times i stopped by, but i don’t see as much of an issue with the 24 hour “leaving for a little bit”/art-piece kind of streams as some people on twitter might have, personally.

i recently saw an overwatch streamer run a consecutive 40 hour stream the without rest or really stepping away, and it being pretty clear that his chat was kind of just there to see the spectacle of an adult man playing a game he apparently “hates now” for so long – what she’s experimenting with seems like a kind of natural extension of that 24+ hour stream phenomenon, imo. kind of sad her chat/community didn’t really incline me to come back often and i missed out on at least hearing her thoughts about it in-stream.


#9

Really deeply hate the Twitch policy acting as moral police and its only getting worse it seems like since the initial policy statement addressing the non-issue of ‘titty streamers’.


#10

Maybe she could use mixer? It sounded from three Waypoint podcast that they’re a bit more community oriented and up front about their guidelines.


#11

If you want to support Narcissa during this time where Twitch is actively pushing marginalized people from their platform, you can find her on these platforms.


#12

This quote strikes me deeply sad and worrying. I’m not familiar with Narcissa, but this sounds like a line from an ep of Black Mirror. I hope she finds what she is looking for, either online or off.


#13

Yeah, as Narci says she’s losing a major stream of income and she’s subject to constant transmisogynist and homophobic harassment (I remember her having on another trans woman she was into and them kissing a couple times over the course of literally days of her being at Narci’s place, that brought out some of the most heinous shitheads the internet has to offer and inspired disgusting 4chan/reddit threads). It’d be nice if a ban like this, and the subsequent spotlight, actually gained her some $$ instead of a net loss.


#14

update: I joined Narci’s discord server with the link from her twitter and it’s just as much a toxic hell filled with ““ironic”” bigots as the twitch chat could be, literally posting transmisogynist and heavily misogynist 4chan/reddit memes without anyone caring enough to warn much less ban lmao sometimes Narci’s commitment to “freedom of speech” goes way too hard in favour of bigots and I just don’t get it, it’s stuff that targets HER


#15

yeah, i’m not familiar with this particular streamer but i also read that and went “huh”. kinda sad and spooky…


#16

I kind of get where they are coming from. If you’ve reached the point where you just don’t care what others say and associate no real value with their comments then why expend the energy dealing with them or managing moderators to deal with them when you know all they are going to do is make a new account and do it again?

If the majority of other people in chat are not willing to talk up and defend them then honestly I wouldn’t bother trying to salvage that community because it’s quite clear then how toxic it is.


#17

Other twitch channels deal with it via moderators with WAY bigger communities than hers, if you’ve watched her channel she seems to oscillate between wanting to like prove them wrong (which is futile, they’re trolls) or to psychoanalyze them (again, they want the attention so they love this) or otherwise engage with them to try and reason with them…and the other end where she like has meltdowns from the anxiety and stress of people saying mean shit about her, and mods would help big time she just never had them. Discord might be different, but even there it seems like it’s a culture thing where transmisogynists know if they cloak it in irony or “just kidding” consistently enough she’ll keep them around until she swings hard the other way and can’t take it anymore.

Very rarely is she “just not caring”, she just cares in wildly different ways from stream to stream and seems to want personal control and not trust that mods would be “fair” (based on, again, a pretty wildly varying definition of what should/shouldn’t be allowed), and as someone in twitch chats with substantially more of a following that delegate to mods, it’s very effective if you have a consistent set of rules. Narci seems to not want to have any (or at least varies on what the minimum thresholds are), and it results in the cesspools in which attacks that regularly incapacitate her to the point she just stops interacting and withdraws to cry on her bed are allowed to spawn.

I mean it’s her channel, and I guess I shouldn’t have said “I don’t get it” because I do, she wants to be fair and struggles with what “fair” means in the context of people spewing hate and trolling while she also is seeing whether a particular bigot or troll might be persuaded from time to time.

I don’t know if any of that is hopefulness on her part so much as curiosity, but either way watching her get burned (and being in chat to have to see the build-up to it, knowing where it’s inevitably heading) isn’t a pleasant experience…which, to go back to my first post in this thread, is a big part of why I don’t watch live very often anymore. I guess I expected the discord would be better moderated but it was actually worse, which I suppose shouldn’t have surprised me but…it’s just disappointing bc she’s hands down my favourite speedrunner and I genuinely love how open and vulnerable she is with her lifestreaming…it just sucks people see those qualities in her personality and stick knives in there so often. I’d even be willing to bet twitch had their attention called to whatever got her banned by some of those same bigots and trolls.

Like a reinstated Narci on twitch I’d be back to daily viewing and interacting with the chat community again if she just had mods, plenty of the regulars are sweet people who’d make great mods that just know the culture and fade into silence when that stuff pops off.

Just my two cents anyway.


#18

I’ve never really followed Narcissa but I heard about the weird 24 hours streams and found that pretty uncomfortable. I hope she’s okay.

People are mentioning Narcissa’s income, and it’s really scary to think of having your main source of income pulled out from under you for an indefinite amount of time. I worry a lot about the implications of these kinds of crowd-funding systems and the effects they will have.

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