Guelph gamers build online community amid COVID-19 pandemic
GUELPH -- A pair of gamers in Guelph are behind a popular Twitch account that's helping some people get through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brenin Edmunds and Laura Schnablegger host a Twitch account called "Angry Unicorn." They're better known by their screen names, Doc and LaLa. Their popularity has grown as more people are staying home due to COVID-19.
"People started getting sick or knew people who were getting sick," Edmunds said. "That support, that us being there to talk to you about it."
The platform is used to watch people play video games live. The pair is focused on connecting with the community in chat sessions.
"I think that's what made the channel succeed and grow so fast, especially during COVID when everyone is at home, feeling so powerless and meaningless," Schnablegger said.
Their account has nearly 4,000 followers and recently became a verified Twitch partner.
Follower Joshua Howard started to watch with his wife while they were out of work due to the pandemic.
"It was fantastic. It completely took our minds off of what was going on," Howard said.
Angry Unicorn recently raised $3,000 for a follower in the United States whose baby was born with heart defects.
"That all went to that family and helped them pay for these extreme medical bills in the States in the middle of COVID," Schnablegger said.
The online approach also encourages accountability.
"With YouTube comments, it's very dangerous sometimes because people feel like they're anonymous and people can do whatever they want," said Lennart Nacke, an associate professor at the University of Waterloo's Games Institute. "In that channel, you're not anonymous. They can see you as a person and interact with you directly."
"It really doesn't even matter what game we play, because we're there to talk to people," Edmunds said.