We love Selen Tatsuki’s retro gaming adventures

Every new VTuber eventually develops something of a “specialism” — sometimes unintentionally. Often it’s something that comes to the fore as they get more comfortable with their audience and perhaps allow more of their “true” personality to shine through the character they’re playing — but sometimes it’s obvious right from the outset.

Such was the case with Selen Tatsuki from Nijisanji EN’s second generation OBSYDIA. While she almost immediately positioned herself as something of a “toxic gamer” — and indeed, she certainly has some formidable skills at Apex Legends — she also explained to her audience that she grew up watching her dad play older games, and thus had quite an interest in those older titles.

“Hmm,” I thought. “That’s interesting. I wonder if she’ll actually explore those retro games on stream?”

Selen Tatsuki from Nijisanji EN OBSYDIA
Fanart by Pokeypokums — source

I was particularly intrigued by this possibility because, to my knowledge anyway, there hasn’t yet really been a high-profile VTuber who specialises in retro games rather than today’s titles — at least not in the English-speaking VTuber world.

Hololive’s Inugami Korone has hosted a number of obscenely long endurance streams playing challenging retro titles like Mega Man and R-Type, as well as shorter sessions on games like Final Fight and Streets of Rage. She even got legendary composer Yuzo Koshiro to compose an Actraiser-esque arrangement of her background music for her birthday, so she definitely has some respect from the more longstanding members of the gaming community.

Korone is fantastic, but her Japanese-first nature puts some English-only viewers off from watching full streams rather than subtitled clips — though as her career has developed, she has started doing more “English Only” streams to include those all-important overseas bros. That still left us with a bit of a hole waiting to be filled by an English-first VTuber, however.

Enter Selen Tatsuki, who played both the retro-inspired Shovel Knight and the actually retro Onimusha: Warlords in her first week online — she beat the latter in a single sitting, and followed up the first session with a lengthy endurance stream.

It’s interesting to watch Selen play stuff like Onimusha in particular, because it seems she was fairly young when she watched her dad play them for the first time. As such, she has fond memories of them, but hasn’t played them so much that she’s simply going through the motions — she’s discovering a lot of things about those games as she plays them for herself for the first time.

One interesting thing highlighted by Selen’s streams of retro titles is that VTubers like her are subject to fairly strict “permissions” rules on what they are and are not allowed to stream. The reasons for permissions being granted or denied vary, but some Japanese titles have particularly stringent restrictions on them due to the presence of famous or high-profile voice actors. While she didn’t say as such, some suspect that Selen’s recent playthrough of Capcom’s classic Resident Evil 4 had to be put on indefinite hold for this reason.

Fortunately, she’s found plenty of other things to play in the meantime — and in theory games that don’t make use of voice acting would be easier to obtain permissions for, though there still may be issues relating to things like soundtracks or even developers and publishers simply not wanting streams of their games monetised for one reason or another.

On the one hand, this is understandable, because VTubers can pull in an astronomical amount of money through Super Chats and other donations over the course of a single stream, and without some sort of pre-existing arrangement with the game developer or publisher, not a single cent of that goes to the original creators. While you may question whether or not any of that money should go to the original creators, given that a public stream is effectively free advertising for the game in question, it can be good for them to see some sort of financial benefit — particularly if the game in question is no longer being sold.

On the other hand, how many copies of games that VTubers have played on stream have been sold as a direct result of those streams? I can certainly vouch for myself as having picked up a number of games that I’ve watched some of my favourite VTubers play — and I doubt I’m the only one. That sort of unplanned viral advertising is the holy grail for people trying to market software — particularly once said software’s “long tail” has fizzled out after its initial flurry of purchases.

And coming at things from a different angle, streams like Selen’s exploration of StarCraft Remastered seen above can allow people to revisit or discover things about longstanding classics of gaming without having to give money to companies that are in the spotlight for less-than-desirable reasons, to put it euphemistically. While StarCraft Remastered is indisputably a fantastic game, I suspect with all the revelations that have been coming out about Activision and Blizzard of late, a lot of people are more than a little hesitant to pick up their own copies and be seen as “supporting” companies with such a formidable blot on their copybooks.

So far Selen has played an impressive variety of retro games on her stream — and hopefully there will be many more for us to enjoy in the near future. She seems open to a wide variety of genres, too, from the real-time strategy of the aforementioned StarCraft to classic survival horror, run and gun and platforming funtimes.

Here’s hoping she can continue to get those all-important permissions so we can enjoy some classic favourites through the eyes of the dragon with the most infectious laugh in all of the land!

What would you love to see Selen play?

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Pete Davison
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