As my YouTube channel Handheld Players is celebrating its 10th anniversary, I want to tell the story how it all begun.
2012 – How it all begun
Back in October 2012, I ordered two new games for my beloved PS Vita console: Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward and Silent Hill: Book of Memories. As both of these games were only available on PS Vita (except VLR on 3DS), I thought it might be a good idea sharing those games on YouTube to get more awareness for these games and the PS Vita.
At the end of October 2012 I created my first video games channel with the name I Play PS Vita and started uploading PS Vita videos for Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward and Silent Hill: Book of Memories. As I already had a personal YouTube channel where I was uploading some concert videos, YouTube wasn’t really new to me.
For the videos, I was using my PS Vita in a stand and my Sony Camera DSC-8to on a tripod. I used duct tape on the PS Vita and the stand that it won’t move when I was playing while recording. And the stand was also fixed with duct tape on my table that the it won’t move when I was playing a game. This was worked quite well.
Originally, I had no intentions to do a full walkthrough for Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward and also not for Silent Hill: Book of Memories. I don’t remember it well but I think at Virtue’s Last Reward video number 9 or 10 I told my subscribers that I will stop doing those videos because I thought I had to stop as this game is over 40 hours long and I was not even half way through. And I was also doing a walkthrough for Silent Hill: Book of Memories as well es for Persona 4 Golden (which was released in November 2012), it was just too much doing videos for all those games after my normal work.
But my subscribers were begging me to continue the walkthrough as they don’t have a PS Vita so I kept playing at least Virtue’s Last Reward. And I don’t regret it as the more I played it, the better the story became and I’m glad I finished it as Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward is one of my favorite games of all time. Also, because my subscribers and viewers were commenting and interacting a lot with my videos it was an extraordinary experience for me I have never experienced before.
When I reached the end of the game, I began missing the characters, the writing was so good that they felt like they were alive. Kotaro Uchikoshi has created a masterpiece with Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward and anyone interested in good games should definitely play this game (as well as 999 of course).
So but why I am celebrating the 10 year anniversary of my channel only on December 1, 2022 and not October 2022? Well, because the developer or publisher of Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward probably had a problem with the upload of my full walkthrough of the game. I know this is pure speculation but it’s the only explanation why my YouTube channel was suddenly deleted on November 30, 2012 after the upload of Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward video number 63.
On Saturday December 1, 2012, I woke up in the morning and saw messages and tweets on Twitter of users that told me my YouTube channel was deleted. I had no idea at this time what has happened and I really felt miserable. I already had a few hundreds subscribers and maybe hundred videos on it and from one day to another, my channel was gone.
But although YouTube has told me, that I’m not allowed to create another channel, I didn’t care and I thought no matter what YouTube thinks, I will continue with my videos. So I started uploading my older and new videos for Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward, Silent Hill: Book of Memories and Persona 4 Golden.
But one video I couldn’t upload anymore. When I tried uploading Virtue’s Last Reward video number 63, YouTube told me, this video is blocked due to copyright. So this was the reason why my first I Play PS Vita channel was deleted. So I had to upload video number 63 on Dailymotion where it still is to this date even under the channel name I Play PS Vita:
But my uploads continued and as internet speed was still quite low where I was living (country side) at these times, it took between 6 – 8 hours for one video so I only could upload 4-6 videos per day. I kept my computer on 24/7 uploading all old and new walkthrough videos from December 1 until December 17, 2012. I’m glad that I could finish uploading before christmas as I was planing to travel to Peru to visit Machu Picchu.. As the Mayan calender predicted that the world would possibly end, I wanted to visit Machu Picchu at least once in a life time. But although the world didn’t end, I’m glad I have been to Machu Picchu, it is truly a magical place and worth a visit!
2013: Finish some walkthroughs
After my visit of Peru, I was doing less videos on YouTube as I was more interested in learning Spanish and getting to know more of Peru as I fell in love with the country. I still finished my walkthrough for Silent Hill: Book of Memories and did a few more videos for Persona 4 Golden as well as some demo versions for PS Vita games.
2014: Time for a break
This was my weakest YouTube year. I only did a 7 videos walkthrough for PS Vita of my favorite first-person shooter Dead Nation which I finished several times on PS3. Besides that, I only did a video on Velocity 2X.
2015 – 2016: The return of I Play PS Vita
In July 2015, my love for the PS Vita came back and I started uploading videos for Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & The Monster Seal demo and Söldner X2 Final Prototype. This is when I learned that you can get games for free from publishers or developers to showcase their games. Before, I’ve always paid for the games I was showing on my channel. Of course this was a nice surprise because at these times I was struggling financially and couldn’t afford to buy new games.
I also created my I Play PS Vita website where I was posting news and later on reviews for the latest PS Vita games. It was a new experience for me becoming a journalist somehow although I mostly used text from official press releases or other popular websites like Gematsu and credited them in my news. As I really was loving the PS Vita, I wanted to help that more gamers would get to know one of the best consoles of all times.
I also continued uploading more and more videos for the PS Vita as I got more and more free games from developers and publishers.
2017: PS Vita Capture Card + the change to Handheld Players
In March 2017, I was able to get a modded PS Vita from Japan with a capture card. This has cost me $500 USD but it was worth it. I finally could record PS Vita videos without my camera equipment as the quality wasn’t up to the standards I wanted it to be. So I continued doing videos for PS Vita as well as news on my website.
But as the PS Vita was already on its way out as Sony was less and less supporting it, I had to think about the future of my channel and my website I Play PS Vita. I was really enjoying working with video games but I was also being realistic that with the PS Vita, this dream wouldn’t be sustainable.
That’s why I decided to get myself a Nintendo Switch with the last savings I had. I bet all my money on one horse and luckily for me (but sadly for the PS Vita), it was the best decision for my channel.
In June 2017, I changed the name of my channel and website to Handheld Players as I still wanted to support the PS Vita but didn’t want to create a new YouTube channel mainly for Nintendo Switch. The reaction of my subscribers and followers were not all positive. Some were saying it would be too soon and the PS Vita still would live on. But from my experience, it was the right time. From that moment, I did new videos and news for PS Vita and Nintendo Switch and tried to support both consoles as best as I could.
2018: The only way is up
I continued doing videos and news for Nintendo Switch and PS Vita and the support for new PS Vita games was still strong.
My channel was doing better and better and I was happy that my Switch videos were also getting more and more views.
2019: A huge impact in my life
In 2019, it was obvious that the PS Vita was on its way out as less and less games were releasing on the console. Mainly Ratalaika Games and Kemco were still regularly releasing games for PS Vita.
The Nintendo Switch was booming and my channel became more and more successful mainly due to my Nintendo Switch videos.
Sadly, in August 2019 my life had a huge impact. Together with lots of stress and some personal issues, I had experienced a heart attack as it all became too much for me and I couldn’t take it anymore. This was one of the worst experiences of my life but I’m glad I survived and that I came right on time to the hospital that no damage was done to my heart and my health.
After my rehab, I had to stop doing news on my website and I only could do videos on my YouTube channel from now on. At the beginning, I really had to be careful and don’t stress myself. But as I love playing video games, it also helped me to get over my illness. Slowly but surely I uploaded videos again and I was thankful that I still could do what I love, playing video games and share this with others. It would have destroyed me if I had to stop this.
2020 – 2021: I was glad I could work from home
During the pandemic, I was glad that I could work from home and that my work had not to deal with any lock downs or other problems due to the pandemic.
Actually, as many people were staying at home, my channel got a huge increase in views and subscribers so basically I was doing well in these two years.
2022: The Nintendo Switch is still strong
2022 was another successful year for my channel as lots of interesting and new games were released for the Switch. As I’m also showing indie games, there are always lots of new releases that are worth checking out.
I also try to release a few new PS Vita videos from time to time as PS Vita classics. But as the Switch is still so strong, I often don’t have the time to play lots of PS Vita anymore. But the PS Vita will always have a special place in my heart and of course, there will always be new videos for PS Vita whenever I have the time.
As the Nintendo Switch is now in its 6th year, I think it’s time for a successor or at least a Super Nintendo Switch. Valve is showing with its Steam Deck that there is demand for a better handheld although personally I’m not 100% convinced of it yet and I have no plans at the moment getting one.
Obviously, Nintendo is already working on a new console and I really hope that it will be launched in 2023 as we need a technically better Nintendo console. Of course I will be trying to get my hands on it as soon as it becomes available to do videos for my channel. But I will also support the older Switch as this is the console that made my channel a success.
And who knows, maybe one day Sony will realize that they made a huge mistake quitting the handheld space and that they will release a new portable console one day. I would be the first person on the planet to get my hands on it.