So for this article I wanted to highlight something crazy that happened on Wednesday of this week. A mass viral sensation occurred when a well-known streamer was bad at a recently popular game.
If you haven’t heard of Fall Guys, it’s the latest multiplayer stream game phenomenon to hit the internet. A lot of streamers are playing it and a lot of non-streamers are also enjoying playing it. It’s a simple multiplayer game that turns the battle royale premise on its heads – instead of a bunch of people shooting each other until they’re the last person standing, it’s a bunch of beans competing in game show-like obstacle courses and other silly activities until they’re the last bean standing. If you’ve seen Wipeout or Takeshi’s Castle, think that, but with weird bean guys.
It’s pretty simple and fun for anyone to enjoy and also happens to be free on PS4 if you have PS+. It’s the perfect maelstrom of people still being stuck indoors along with simple mechanics in a fun wrapper. It’s kid-friendly and super easy to market and draw appeal. And since summer is desolate for new games in the best of times, of course this’ll take off in popularity.
But this isn’t just about Fall Guys’ surge into the mainstream. This is about one specific streamer’s quest for a single win.
Ok, you got me, I just wanted to show off my sweet Gungeon skin.
Tim the Tat Man is one of the most popular streamers on Twitch. He’s friends with Ninja (and would often stream with him when Ninja was on Twitch) and mostly plays shooter games – Overwatch, Fortnite, and Call of Duty have all been mainstays at different points in his career. He’s loud, he yells a lot, and he’s often griefed by the people he’s playing with for being bad at whatever he’s playing (although he’s not really).
From his Twitter page, it looks like he first played Fall Guys on stream sometime last week. This makes sense because every streamer has played Fall Guys at some point since it became a success. People love watching these little beans flop around and they also love watching people get their first wins.
Tim didn’t get a win in his first stream which…you know, isn’t that big a deal. I don’t know how many times exactly he streamed and didn’t get a win, but by August 15th the official Fall Guys twitter account noticed, and:
The roasting had begun.
Now there are a lot of opinions about the Fall Guys twitter account. To me, it’s like the 8 year old at a party of adults that did something to get all the adults attention and now is desperately trying to keep all that attention by talking and repeating what it did the first time.
And I mean, I don’t blame them. When you’re the public face of a piece of media that’s taken off, you’re going to do everything you can to keep engagement as high as possible and ride the wave. It’s a little much for some people, but not bad for others. You do what you gotta do before the fad wears off.
Anyway, the Fall Guys twitter roasting Tim became a story unto itself, until Tim swore he would get a win to shut them up.
In Fall Guys, you get a crown for every win. Not only are they a symbol of victory, but there are certain outfits (like my Gungeon one) that can only be bought with crowns, so victory means cooler shit for you to strut your Fall Guy stuff in. Tim was crown-less and now the internet was jumping on the train of ragging on him.
On August 17th he streamed Fall Guys for the majority of the day (I want to say he said 9 hours but don’t quote me on that) and still didn’t get the win. At some point people playing got wind of Tim’s losing streak and started griefing him in-game, resulting in this clip that got circulated widely after it happened:
It’s pretty easy to mess with other Fall Guys players in the game. There’s only a few buttons: run, jump, dive, and grab. The floaty, wiggly physics of Fall Guy motion makes it easy to stumble and each character bounces off the others in weird, goofy ways. Grabbing other Fall Guys to throw them off is a legit strategy to remove competition, and people were starting to take it to the next level just to troll Tim.
So Wednesday came around and the legend of Tim sucking at Fall Guys had reached its apex. Before he even started playing Fall Guys (he regularly opens his streams by talking to his chat and reading donations from his viewers) he reached over 100k people just waiting to see if he’d finally catch a crown.
Then the mayhem began.
While I was working I sat with Tim’s stream going on my home computer to keep up with whether he got a win. He came very close in one of his first couple attempts of the day (see here) but that was early enough before the stream had really taken off. Because once word got out that Tim was playing and he STILL hadn’t won, people began flocking in to the point that nearly 250,000 people were watching him be bad at Fall Guys.
Some cynical people might say he was being bad on purpose since this organic viral craze was driving a lot of new eyes to his channel. I personally don’t think he was, but to each his own. Anyway, soon enough he wouldn’t have a choice in the matter because with 250k eyes on a stream, the stream snipers would come out and play.
If you’re not familiar with Twitch or streaming, the biggest streamers who have the most views often get “stream sniped.” This basically means people who are watching will try to queue into multiplayer matches with the streamer for the purpose of griefing them and making it harder for them to play. Usually it’s just to get the streamer’s attention or get more eyes on their own channel, and sometimes it’s just because people on the internet like trolling. It’s why big streamers often do things like have a short delay on their stream or queue off-camera so people can’t jump in and do things like that.
So Tim was not only battling his poor skill at the game, but he started battling other players as well who were invested in keeping him from winning because, well, it was funny. At one point, Tim and the people he was playing with all turned their Fall Guys into the default skin, default color so they could try and hide Tim and people wouldn’t know which Fall Guy he was. That resulted in this:
While I was rooting for Tim to get a win, it was also pretty hilarious to watch him get screwed over. And over. And over. The griefing was slowly driving the man insane.
(Yes I clipped a bunch of times he got screwed over. Don’t judge me, I’m a writer. I knew I’d get an article out of this ahead of time!)
The funny thing about all this was the game seemed to know how to maximize the drama. There are four “finale” rounds in Fall Guys: Royal Fumble, Jump Showdown, Fall Mountain, and Hex-A-Gone.
Royal Fumble and Fall Mountain are crap shoots – in Royal Fumble somebody has a tail and you have to grab it off them, and after 2 minutes whoever has the tail wins. Fall Mountain is a race up an Aggro-Crag-esque mountain where balls are flying down at you, and it’s basically RNG to see who has the fastest time up the mountain to grab the crown at the top. Jump Showdown is currently removed from rotation to fix an exploit.
Hex-A-Gone is the most skill-based finale, where all the combatants start at the top of several layers of hexes. Whenever a person steps on a hex it disappears after a second, meaning more and more hexes are disappearing as the round progresses. Fall all the way through all the layers and you land in slime and are eliminated. Last Fall Guy standing wins. It’s fun. It’s hectic. It’s intense.
Tim got it every time he got to the finale during Wednesday’s stream.
Not once did he get a luck-of-the-draw finale. And the entire stream he was complaining about how much he hated Hex-A-Gone and wanted Fall Mountain because it was his best chance for a crown. But the game kept serving him Hex-A-Gone over and over.
And then, finally, at around 4 pm towards the end of his stream, he did it.
His stream hit about 290,000 viewers during the final round of Hex-A-Gone, and the viewer count peaked at 347,000 after he won. “HE DID IT” and “I WAS HERE” ended up trending on Twitter because of his win. This confused a lot of people who don’t pay attention to video games, let me tell you.
I also want to remind you that two years ago I wrote about Ninja streaming Fortnite with Drake, and that broke Twitch records with 600,000 viewers. Tim brought in half that by himself by simply not being able to win at Fall Guys. Those are absolutely crazy numbers.
The catharsis of Tim winning was an incredible you-had-to-be-there moment. Much like your favorite sports team winning a championship after decades of failure, there was this pure joy from everyone who witnessed it and was a part of the viewership. I was so glad I had the stream running the entire time, as I was white-knuckling my keyboard during that final Hex-A-Gone round, on the edge of my seat rooting for him to win.
2020’s been a wild year. This was such an organic movement over the course of a week and it ended with a satisfying conclusion that couldn’t have been scripted any better. It’s why people watch sports and other entertainment to begin with: to get their minds off of other serious stuff in solidarity with other fans. It’s why video games and streaming are important and not a waste of time. These games aren’t silly, or if they are they’re just as silly as baseball or soccer or anything else people dedicate their lives to rooting for.
I originally thought this was going to be a shorter article than I normally write, but whoops. Anyway, this is one of those moments in time that is hilarious but also ends on a feel-good beat. As an epilogue, Tim’s numbers on Thursday hovered around 100k for most of his stream as he attempted to get a solo win (since he played with a party Wednesday). (Spoilers: he didn’t get a solo win.) The gravy train hasn’t fully stopped rolling yet for him, but regardless he’s probably cemented himself in Fall Guy and Twitch history after this past week of attention.
As a viewer, I’m glad to have been a small part of the fun story that happened on Wednesday. And not to brag or anything, but I’ve got 8 wins under my belt in Fall Guys. So Tim, if you need any tips feel free to hit me up.