Iris Amelia is a variety streamer who focuses on wholesome chaos with her community of Cosmonauts. She streams Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 7 p.m. EST at www.twitch.tv/irisamelia. You can also follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @irisplaysgames. Check out her stream for amfAR on Friday, October 8th at 11am EST at www.twitch.tv/irisamelia.
Tell us why you wanted to make a difference for amfAR?
My mom unexpectedly died of COVID-19 July 17, 2020. She was 62 years old. She was a social worker for nearly 30 years, and a good portion of her career was spent helping individuals and families navigate HIV and AIDS, whether it be through connecting them to resources, figuring out how to get them critical medication, and counseling. My mom was the first person to educate me about AIDS; she taught me how it was different from HIV, how it affects the body, and how it can be contracted (as well as how it couldn’t). She introduced me to the first people I knew who had AIDS. When her colleague and friend died of AIDS in his 30s, I learned about death and grief.
I never had a chance to talk in depth about my mother’s work with her before she died. I know she did research and presented at conferences, so I cannot imagine she was unaware of amfAR. I feel like raising awareness for amfAR allows me an opportunity to connect with my mom even though she’s gone. She always advocated for funding AIDS research—I feel I am just continuing that advocacy she fought for in her lifetime as a social worker.
What are your philanthropic goals for 2021?
With the help of family, friends, and my community of Cosmonauts on Twitch, we raised $700 for amfAR in May in honor of my mother’s birthday. On the one-year anniversary of her passing, we raised more than $1,000 for the CDC Foundation and their Crush COVID campaign. I am so excited to raise money again for amfAR and bring attention to National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day, which occurs during Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month. (I’m Cuban and Puerto Rican, so this event is really important to me!) I have other charity streams in the works; for example, I’m a member of a stream team and we’re looking to do a charity event in November or December, focused on the holidays and children. I don’t have any specific numbers in mind to achieve during these charity streams; right now, my goal is to connect with different organizations and do the best I can to raise awareness for their causes.
What sort of games do you prefer to stream and which ones are you most excited about this year?
I’m a variety streamer so I don’t have a specific type of game I enjoy most. I tend to play pretty much anything except first-person shooters and dungeon crawlers (but there’s one in particular I’m going to play soon), though I prefer “chill/cozy” games like The Sims 4 and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. I love streaming games with beautiful art—I’ve been playing Hollow Knight and Chicory: A Colorful Tale, and I can’t get over how stunning the worlds are. And I also love playing puzzle games and word games; because of some nerdy friends, I’ve started getting into crosswords!
I have no experience with this franchise, but I’m really excited to play Psychonauts 2, which was released in late August. It explores themes around mental health and I’m really curious to see how the game works these themes into its narrative. And oh!! POKÉMON. The remakes of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl come out in November, and I can’t wait to give that a go.
What makes a game great for streaming?
I don’t think a game needs to check off specific boxes for streaming, though I know some games, in my experience, are better to stream than others; I personally like streaming games that are a little more open-ended, like The Sims 4, because they allow me to interact with chat more closely. If a game is more involved, I try to find ways for chat to make choices for me—directions to take, dialogue to select, things like that. As long as you’re having fun while playing the game, that’ll shine through during the stream, and all the better if your chat is part of the journey, too!
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