Who would have imagined that people could make a living by playing video games online? Certainly not TimTheTatman. Tim fell in love with gaming as a child and as he entered into adolescence, it became his passion. When the opportunity to stream full time presented itself, he went for it and today, he's one of the biggest names on Twitch. We caught up with Tim to learn about his favorite games, his insight on the future of gaming and his heavily discussed tattoo collection.
How did you get into gaming?
The first thing I ever remember playing was Super Nintendo, that had to be when I was 3 or 4. I specifically remember trying to sneak off to play “Mortal Kombat,” hoping that my parents wouldn’t find out. I fell in love with it and from there, I went to N64 and eventually I built my own computer when I was 13. That’s what really hooked me and once I built that computer, I barely left my room.
How did your family feel about your love for gaming as a kid?
My dad yelled at me so many times when I was 15 or 16 to get off those games. In his defense, there wasn’t any way to make money from games back then, maybe just for a select few. I started steaming full time when I was 23 and my dad was kind of skeptical, as most parents are. When I was working 40 to 50 hours a week in a normal job, I was making more streaming for like 20 or 30, so I told him I thought that I could do this full time. I don’t think anyone could have foreseen what gaming turned into and I barely even saw it coming, to be honest with you.
Besides the money, what made you think that you could make streaming your full-time job?
When I first started, I was making a little more than I was at my full-time job and it was something I loved doing. Then, I think that streaming went mainstream when my buddy Ninja was on “Fortnite” and blew the ceiling off of everything I thought I knew about streaming. It really opened up doors that I’d never seen because everyone was talking about “Fortnite.” Before “Fortnite,” I was doing pretty well and when I would go out, people would recognize me, but "Fortnite" turned it up to this whole different level and it’s been a crazy journey.
What games were you playing when you started streaming full time?
The first game that I really played a lot was “Call of Duty.” I’ve played that for a long time, since I was 16 or 17. It’s always been a game I was decent at, I’m definitely not as good as some of these pros but I can hold my own. It was “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2” that I really started to sink my teeth into and get an audience for.
What are your favorite games to play now?
Oddly enough, “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” and “Call of Duty: Warzone” are my main things right now. “Call of Duty: Warzone” is their battle royale game and I love it because it’s really well done. Battle royale is a cyber genre that I really enjoy. I also dabble with “Fortnite,” every now and then, I’ve not been playing as much as I was. “Overwatch” is a game that I’ll always be able to boot up and it’s been a big part of my career as well, I owe a lot to it. “Valorant” is the last one that I’ve been messing around with lately.
What do you look for in a game that keeps you coming back?
For me, I have to enjoy it. If I’m not enjoying what I’m doing or what I’m saying, that affects my overall demeanor and my mood. It makes it somewhat less entertaining for people to watch because I’m playing something I don’t want to. Usually, I look for FPS (first-person shooter) games or battle royale games. I like my fair share of MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games), but I will say that I don’t stream those hardly as much because they’re much more low key.
Which games do you think are underrated?
In gaming, I feel like there are waves of games that have a lot of popularity. “Fortnite” burst this whole bubble and everyone was playing it. “Overwatch” is a game that I love and a lot of people love bashing it because it’s an older game. I also think “Valorant” is going to do really well, especially when there’s more regulation and we can have tournaments again. I’m curious to see how that does in the next couple of years.
What games do you think are overrated?
I’ve tried to play “Minecraft” a couple of times and I just can’t get into it. People say the reason that they like “Minecraft” is because you can do anything but that’s almost bad for me because I have no direction. A lot of people have asked me to play it but it’s just not my cup of tea.
If you could game with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?
I think the person that I would love to game with would be The Rock. I’m a huge fan of Dwayne Johnson and he seems like a guy that knows how to kick it and have a good time.
Where do you see the future of gaming going?
The future of gaming is only going up. There are a lot of people who have been getting into streaming and gaming. You’ve got someone like OBJ who’s playing football weekly, but also streaming games on the side. There’s so much interest in it and a lot of people love video games. Right now, gaming has a lot of eyes looking at it and a lot of ears listening to it.
What was your first tattoo and what’s the story behind it?
My first tattoo was with my dad, we got the same thing together. I’d talked about getting a tattoo and he ended up being the person to say, "let’s go do it." It’s a crown of thorns that goes around my arm, a typical late 2000s era tattoo.
You have a very unique chest tattoo. Where did that idea come from?
The bear lion eagle? I saw on [Inked’s] YouTube channel that there was a video of artists reviewing streamer’s tattoos. One guy went from talking about my chest to talking about how it looked like the tattoo was pinching my nipples, which cracked me up. So it’s a bear lion eagle and in the Bible, God described a couple of different animals. I wondered what would happen if you combined a bear, a lion and an eagle, so I went to my artist with the idea.
What’s your favorite tattoo?
One of my favorite tattoos is on my right thigh and it’s a half-creature, half-woman. I like it because it looks eerie, half the face is dying and decaying, while the other is alive and beautiful. I’ve always liked the idea of life and death. I also like my whole left arm, which is the story of Samson, and my favorite part is the lion down my forearm.
Do all of your tattoos connect to religion?
Most of them do, but my next tattoo is not going to be. In the next few months, I’ll be doing my entire left leg and that’s going to be some of my favorite anime characters.
Do you have any tattoos related to gaming?
I actually don’t. I don’t know why I haven’t but I still have a lot of real estate. I was thinking that I’d do my right leg with my favorite video game characters that I’ve played throughout my life.