Highlights Twitch’s decision to allow non-gaming streams in 2016 made it a viable contender to YouTube, resulting in the introduction of new categories like Just Chatting and IRL. IRL content on Twitch has become one of the most watched categories, with streamers finding unique ways to entertain viewers through bizarre challenges and spectacles. The Twitch Closet Challenge where streamers sit in a dark room for hours and are startled by various items gained viral attention, but participants ultimately failed to complete the challenge, raising concerns about the impact of these brutal challenges on the mental health of streamers.
Though Twitch initially launched in 2011, it didn’t truly find its footing until February 2014. For the first few years, the Amazon-owned streaming platform was predominantly focused on gaming content and doing well with it. However, in 2016, Twitch made the decision to allow non-gaming streams which helped make it a viable contender to YouTube. This also resulted in new categories being introduced like Just Chatting, IRL, Music, and Creative.
IRL content can vary quite a bit, but it has quickly become one of the most watched categories on the site. Over time, some streamers have found unique ways to entertain their viewers such as Ludwig’s record-breaking subathon, filming pets playing video games, and exhausting tests such as the Dark Closet Challenge. While a lot of these bizarre challenges can be thrilling to watch, some may not understand how they originated.Twitch’s Closet Challenge Is Incredibly Strange
Challenges in which people have tried to sit in the dark for multiple hours have been around for years. In 2019, a poker player by the name of Rich Alati attempted to do this for a month for $100,000, though he ultimately quit at 20 days in. Popular YouTube Channels such as Mr. Beast’s have also promoted similar strange behaviors. For example, acting like NPCs on TikTok even has its own supply and demand now. Many of the people who attempt such content make sure to create a spectacle that usually benefits them monetarily.
During the month of August, the Twitch Closet Challenge went viral after streamer ERBY bet one of his moderators, C0usta, that he couldn’t stay inside a dark closet for three days. The reward was to be a 2005 Chevrolet Suburban car. Not only did he have little entertainment during this time period but C0usta was also directly affected whenever a subscriber goal was reached. For example, for every gifted 25 subscribers he would be flash banged with a bright light while amassing 2,500 subscribers would earn him a fast food meal.
Though this Twitch stream garnered a lot of attention, C0usta didn’t manage to make it all 72 hours. A few minutes after the 20-hour mark, he admitted defeat. Even though he didn’t win the car, the commotion caused by the stream attracted the attention of another streamer who goes by the name of Izidore.
Izidore happens to be a friend of ERBY and is well-known for trying insanely difficult challenges. Videos in 2019 saw him eating a whole stick of butter and in 2021 he refused to end his stream until he could beat all of Minecraft. Just a day after ERBY’s moderator failed the three-day closet challenge, Izidore announced he wanted to take it on.
On August 28, he went live but the constant barrage of ping pong balls, flash bangs, water shooters, and a leaf blower proved to be too much. Izidore tearfully explained to his audience that he was having trouble breathing, sleeping, and seeing. By August 31, he had to tap out after experiencing a panic attack. It likely didn’t help that the available punishments were a lot easier to achieve than C0usta’s, as a flash bang only cost 25 cents.
While this stream definitely helped push Izidore’s name into the headlines, it clearly didn’t end like he wanted it to. Not only will he have to total his car for not completing the challenge, but his mental health has been greatly affected. Pokimane, a fellow Twitch streamer, commented that there was no way that these challenges and subathons “are healthy for a human being to do.” Though this does bring up an important question of whether people should be encouraged to do these brutal challenges, it’s likely some Twitch streamers won’t be deterred from continuing.