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‘Mom, I want to be a shoutcaster’

Video gaming as a career is still far-fetched for many. How much more so, then, for live commentators of gaming? asks ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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We all know that many of the job descriptions of tomorrow did not exist just five years ago. But we are almost comfortable with the idea of a solar energy engineer or robot supervisor or body part printer. Now, how about a shoutcaster?

That’s someone who provides live commentary of a video game being streamed or displayed live. The name comes from having to shout over the sounds of gunfire, explosions and monsters screaming as they’re being shredded. And, of course, from sheer excitement as the action reaches climactic moments.

At the recent rAge gaming expo at the Dome north of Johannesburg, one could barely move without coming across a video game being fought on a huge cinema-style screen. If that were not sensory overload in itself, the cacophony of shoutcasters keeping the audience up to speed on the strategies being played out made sure of it.

Often, the shoutcaster is something like a sports commentator, merely providing an additional soundtrack to the main action. Sometimes, though, they become one of the attractions. Top shoutcasters are in demand across the world, and are able to build entire careers on this very particular skill.

Enter Sam Wright, South Africa’s first woman to become a full-time professional shoutcaster. She goes by the name Tech Girl, also the title of her tech blog for women. She is both shoutcaster and host – a presenter in the “old-fashioned” sense of someone who introduces teams, interviews players, and chats with experts while the game is on.

Read more about Sam Wright and her experience of being a shoutcaster.

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