Feature: Grandma Shirley, the Skyrim storyteller



How’s it going everybody, Adrian Simple here from The Gaming Observer. I can’t do any news today, head over to Twitter @gaming_observer to find out why and content schedule. Today, we’re going to be talking about a very special woman by the name of Grandma Shirley. If you’ve never heard about her before you’re in for a treat. Head over to thegamingobserver.com for links and a transcript of today’s audio.

Shirley Curry, otherwise known as Grandma Shirley, is an 83 year old Skyrim let’s player. That’s right, every single day, she boots up Skyrim and plays through the game on camera. She starts every episode by saying “good morning Grandkids”. It is just as awesome as it sounds. And this might sound like a novelty or a joke or something, but when you listen to her talk about it, she really loves gaming. I mean, she played Civ II for years before Skyrim came around, and she’s always tweeting about how great Elder Scrolls is. Pull up any of her videos and you’ll see she’s legit.

So how does this actually get started, okay so a few years back she’s watching YouTube Let’s Plays and commenting on them. Eventually people see that she’s this older lady, and I guess she became somewhat popular in the comments sections of these videos. As this goes on, people tell her that she should be recording her own videos. So she does one, and it explodes, it goes viral. As of this recording it’s sitting at 1.8 million views. So obviously she keeps going, and now she’s at half a million subscribers, she’s got a Guiness World Record for oldest videogames YouTuber, she gets constantly recognized at all the conventions that she goes to, there’s been a documentary on her. Perhaps the biggest news of it all though, is that she’s going to be an NPC in the next Elder Scrolls game after Bethesda saw a change.org petition. So just some really really cool stuff going on here.

And I guess what I want to talk about from this is the universality and unification that gaming can provide. Shirley is influencing thousands of people today, she gets tons and tons of letters from youth who say that she helps them with their mental illness. And that line of communication was able to happen through Skyrim, of all things. Too long has gaming culture been stereotyped to the young male. I truly believe that the narrative of video games, just like movies, just like TV shows, can bring us together to celebrate. Celebrate art, celebrate fun, you know, celebrate each other.

I find Grandma Shirley truly inspiring, and I love her videos. I hope that you go check her out and join one of hte most positive communities on the internet. It’s one of the last few places where you can feel safe from the toxicity that plagues our industry. One of my favourite quotes from her is that she responds to haters like a grandchild that didn’t have any brains. I hope to foster a community much like her’s one day.

That’s going to be all for today, thank you for listening to this in the interim while I’m away. Like I said before check out @gaming_observer for a content schedule of the next week, and until then, have a wonderful day…And happy gaming everyone!

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