When Twitch ambassador AshSaidHi (a.k.a. Ash) was growing up, she and her parents loved gaming together. In fact, even though she’s now a pro streamer, her mom is still an avid gamer and often is the first person to tell her about the newest and hottest games. That’s why, when she first decided that she wanted to get into streaming on Twitch back in 2019, she had a clear vision: “I wanted it to feel like friends and family hanging out on the couch,” she said during Thursday’s R29 Twitch stream. “That’s why my name is AshSaidHi, which is an acronym for Ash. I want it to feel like if you see your friends, don’t forget to tell them that Ash says hi.”
She started streaming while playing Breath of the Wild and Tetris 99, because other than her we’re-all-friends-here mindset, she wasn’t sure what direction she wanted her content to go in, Ash told Refinery29 Entertainment Director and Twitch host Melissah Yang. But the deeper she explored retro gaming — older titles that don’t see as much play or buzz now — the more she felt connected to a kind and welcoming community. Fellow retro gamers that she met were so accepting and supportive, helping her figure out how to stream using different hardware as she found her voice.
Now, Ash is known as the Queen of Retro on Twitch and loves everything Nintendo and classic gaming and it’s all because of the community she’s found and made her own. For her, the appeal of retro gaming is simple. Yes, it’s partly nostalgia, but it’s also about shared experiences. People love watching others play games that had a huge impact on them growing up
So when Ash hosted the first-ever Tuesday Takeover on R29’s Twitch on April 11, she knew she had to choose a game that people loved back in the day, but would also capture the interest of newer gamers. She landed on Spyro the Dragon, a 1998 PlayStation game about a purple dragon trying to save the world’s elder dragons. “That kind of stuff really resonates with people who watch Twitch right now,” she said. “When you find something that people still remember but they might not really know, you hit a sweet spot.”
Motivation is a sine wave — there are days when it's high and days when it’s low. How do you push through even when you’re feeling like it’s low? Showing up is the key, so show up, be you and just do the things that you love.
Outside of classic games, Ash also streams newer indie games that have a retro-style aesthetic. Through the “magic of Twitch,” she says, she’s met so many like-minded retro gamers and developers who put cool work on her radar, work that’s fun but also teaches her about the history of the industry. Showcasing smaller titles, like Shovel Knight, is her way of giving back to the community. “The [retro aesthetic on newer games] makes game-making more accessible. You don’t have to have super-heavy hardware or 3D modeling skills. It allows you to create without having to invest a lot of money or use tools that are not accessible to you,” she said. “To meet and talk to people who are super passionate about making games and are able to make games — it’s wonderful to see their dreams come true and to help support creators like that.”
That’s also why being one of only 146 Twitch ambassadors on a platform that sees over 31 million daily visitors is something Ash holds dear. It’s how she shares her joy for gaming and streaming, while trying to make these more inclusive. (Anyone can apply to be a Twitch ambassador by filling out a form, and their application will be added to a long-list for further consideration.)
To keep the community growing, Ash hopes to see other people take the leap and start streaming. What advice would she give to others hoping to get started? First, come up with a plan about what success looks like for you, and how that can be achieved in small steps while staying true to yourself. Big plans, she said, are great, but can be overwhelming to tackle at once. And, if something doesn’t happen the way you envisioned it, learn how to be okay with that.
“Being friends with failure is extremely important to whatever you do in life,” she said. “It can be hard. Motivation is a sine wave — there are days when it’s high and days when it’s low. How do you push through even when you’re feeling like it’s low? Showing up is the key, so show up, be you and just do the things that you love.”