The Culture of Gaming Interview: Phil “DSP” Burnell
Over the last 10 years, the Let’s Play Community has been home to Phil Burnell. He has created two communities on many places of the internet. One side supports him by interacting in streams and frequenting the official forums theKingofHate.com. The other group finds an identity in trolling not only Phil himself, but the fans as well. He has several nicknames that he’s known by: DarkSydePhil, DSP, the King of Hate. He’s the number one US Street Fighter II Super Turbo player of 2005.
Since the middle of 2017, YouTube algorithms have changed the way ad revenue is distributed for the worse. DSP has found new life by live-streaming on Twitch.tv. He has adopted a much more interactive style than he had been known for in the past. This led to a community forming around him that grows all the time. As his Twitch presence has grown, his YouTube channel has become more of a stream archive.
Everything is looking bright for DSP. Culture of Gaming recently was able to ask him a few questions about his past, present, and future. Here it is, direct from the King of Hate himself.
COG: Tell us a little bit about your gaming history.
DSP:My first exposure to video games was through my Uncle, who in the early to mid-1980s was heavily into computer gaming. He showed me flight simulators on his PC and gave me my first console, the Atari 7800. Later I became exposed to video arcades, falling in love with beat-em-ups and, in particular, Street Fighter II. I later became a competitive Street Fighter player from 2000-2007, when I finally hung up my mantle and decided to get back into console gaming. For the last decade, I’ve been a gaming content creator for YouTube and a full-time streamer on Twitch, covering all the major new gaming releases that interest me, as well as retro throwback titles and more.
COG: What are some of your favorite video games, either that you’ve played for videos, or just for fun?
DSP: My ultimate faves are all on the Super NES: Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link To the Past, Final Fantasy 4 and 6 (which were called 2 and 3 in the USA), Chrono Trigger, and Earthbound. However, the game I’ve always been best at competitively and was a tournament-winner at (4th place at EVO World Championships) is Super Street Fighter II Turbo, and that is my favorite fighting game of all time.
COG: What 2018 games are you most looking forward to?
DSP: God of War, Red Dead Redemption 2, Detroit: Become Human, and the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary collection. There are actually tons more, but most of them don’t currently have release dates.
COG: What is your streaming setup?
DSP: I primarily stream console games, from PS4 or Xbox One, although I also still have my Xbox 360, PS3 (which I use to play a lot of PS1/2 classics over PSN), Wii U, and Wii (which I use to play Gamecube games). I rarely play PC games, although I do dabble in Indies from time to time. My PC is primarily used to run OBS studio and capture the game feed (using an external USB capture device called the Avermedia Extremecap U3, which is pretty old). I usually sit on my loveseat (which is very different from most major streamers who sit in front of their PC setups) and use a webcam for facecam, and a professional Audio Technica studio mic. I also have soundproofing foam all over my office to make it a recording studio, of sorts.
COG: I’ve never seen a gaming personality that has garnered so much love and hate. Why do you think you have developed such a rabid following, both fans and detractors alike?
DSP: Many factors: longevity (I’ve been around since 2008) and not changing my upload style, which is “raw and unedited” instead of what most other gaming YouTubers now do; being an outspoken guy who doesn’t sugarcoat stuff or “sell out” to anyone, which can get both positive and negative attention; and being the ultimate underdog. I only got REALLY popular on YouTube after losing my office job of 5 years in 2010 and not knowing how I was going to make ends meet, and I didn’t really start to draw any real negativity until I became one of the most popular gaming YouTubers/Let’s Players over the years of 2011-2012. Now in 2018, my Twitch channel is doing well and steadily growing, because again I’m being viewed as an underdog in a positive light, for the first time in a LONG time.
COG: If you had to do it over again, is there anything that you would change? Why or why not?
DSP: I would have reacted a lot better to the initial wave of hatred/trolling/criticism I received starting in 2012, which I do believe I reacted poorly to, only helping to further spearhead the entire “This is How You DON’T Play” movement. And I certainly would NOT have put out as much personal info about myself and my loved ones as I have, which led to insane amounts of trolling and personal attacks. Today, I hold back a LOT of stuff and things are honestly a lot better because of it.
COG: You’ve said in the past that the moniker “The King of Hate” comes from the strength you draw from hate thrown your way. Is that still true, or after all of these years, is it getting old?
DSP:It’s definitely still true, and for fans, it’s a badge of distinction and experience. But sadly, for the drama-seeking masses who don’t do 2 seconds of research, they actually think that it means I’m the “King of hating on games/game devs unfairly” and raging/ragequitting at games. In reality, that’s about 10% of the actual content I put out there, and it’s genuine reactions; but when all you watch are one-sided, slanderous negative montages that ONLY highlight those moments, it’s easy to see why some people would think that’s what “The King of Hate” means. However, after being known by this name for over 10 years on the internet, it’d be impossible to part with
COG: Looking forward, what do you see on the horizon? What’s next for DarkSydePhil?
DSP: Live streaming and crowdfunding IS the future. I’ve had more success over the last year when I became a far more interactive live-streaming presence on Twitch.tv, than I’ve had in the last FIVE YEARS of focusing on being a content creator on YouTube reliant on ad revenue. To put it frankly: if you are entertaining on Twitch (and play by the rules), you can make a living from cheers/subs/tips and merch sales from your fans. If you are entertaining on YouTube, you are at the MERCY of their algorithms, which can overnight destroy your entire channel and livelihood. I’m a 10-year-long running YouTuber, and I can wholeheartedly tell you that YouTube is VERY much the past, and the crowdfunding of Twitch is the future.
COG:Thank you very much Phil.
Is there anybody you would like for Culture of Gaming to interview? Are you a fan of DarkSydePhil? Let us know in the comments or Facebook.