Natalie Wilde editing a new video YouTube. Natalie Wilde/Courtesy
In a time where most kids and young adults are stuck at home, it makes sense to want to find some creative inspiration. If a child is asked what they want to be when they grow up, the chances of them saying a YouTuber is high. However, many may not know how to begin or what content to release.
Natalie Wilde from Oceanside, San Diego, started a YouTube channel as nothing more than a hobby. As a fan of the video game “The Sims,” she decided to use its mechanisms to tell her own fun and creative stories. As of the time of writing, Wilde’s YouTube account NatalieFirexx has received 6,802,306 views and has obtained over 30,000 subscribers.
In the YouTube world Wilde would be considered a Sims machinima, which is a word to describe these types of content creators.
“I never planned on becoming a YouTuber; I just watched a lot of Sims machinima videos when I was twelve and thought to myself ‘Hey, I wonder if I could do that; it looks fun’,” Wilde says. “So I tried it and ended up having so much fun and before I knew it, people were watching it and enjoying it too, so it only encouraged me even more to keep making content.”
Not only was it family and friends watching her videos, but she was able to obtain a small audience. After receiving a couple of hundred subscribers, Wilde was inspired to continue making creative videos throughout her teenage years. Ultimately, her audience grew to a point where she saw potential in what she did, and it became more than a hobby.
“I think it was when I had around 2,000 subscribers when I realized I wasn’t just making these videos for myself anymore,” Wilde says. “To this day, I still don’t understand how I gained a following as big as I have, but I definitely ain’t no PewDiePie. I think the only reason I gained followers was that I was uploading so often, and the genre of what I was writing about was popular at the time, which were teen pregnancy stories and emo teenagers.”
The videos Wilde makes can be seen as unique as there are not many other YouTubers who make content such as her. As unique and fun as her videos are, she is inspired by everyday life, which inspired her “My Life” series. She makes many characters based on people she knows or story plots based on actual events of her life.
“The majority of what you will find on my channel is Sims 2 machinima, mostly related to my series ‘My Life’,” Wilde says. “The story of the series started as pure fun but eventually created realistic and relatable characters facing real situations with a touch of supernatural themes. The series has always been pretty dark, so I address topics that you might not see in everyday media.”
Using a game that is over 15 years old comes with its difficulties. However, Wilde prefers this instead of using newer versions due to game mechanics and the overall aesthetic of how the characters look throughout each game. Not only are there many difficulties in the creation of these types of videos, but it is very time-consuming.
“Making Sims machinima is more tedious than anything,” Wilde says. “I’m working with a decade-old game that constantly crashes and breaks just to tell a story. You gotta manipulate the game’s mechanics into making it serve as a medium of art for cinematic purposes. Filming a five-minute scene usually takes me an entire day, so if I sat down every day to film a scene it would take a week to finish an episode and I don’t usually have the time for that plus editing.”
Although Wilde does not see herself doing this forever as a career, she enjoys the creative freedom and people she has met because of it. She has also been able to make a decent amount of money from it and her fans supporting her Patreon. She intends to work on her series for many years to come.