Zot the Avenger: the OG streamer

Before Twitch streams, there was this kid.

Gaming

Alexis Ong interviewed Zot the Avenger, the boy behind a 90s public access TV show called Video Games and More.

“I really like this nickname people are giving me—’the original streamer,'” says Zot, better known as J.J. Styles. It’s 2 am in Arizona—his AI assistant just announced the time during our Zoom call—and the original streamer is telling me about the first documented instance of videogame streaming. Our interview was conditional: he wanted to get to know me before agreeing to be interviewed, and we spent close to an hour talking about my background. When I tell him I used to live in LA, he immediately tells me about his memories of living on Venice Beach. Styles is enthusiastic about the cyberpunk ethos, technology as a great equalizer, and the importance of archiving. He’s currently working with the Internet Archive to make a permanent online home for his series.

Video Games and More was born in 1993, long before the widespread idea of the internet as a utility. “My main hopes for Video Games and More were to get on the air and say, ‘Hey guys, I’ve been doing this thing that is really cool, and I think there’s other people that might enjoy it that might not know about it, and I’m going to tell you about it,” he explains.

I like this because any trash talk you hear is childish if anything and about the games. Hell, it was all about the games. And as Alexis said, “because of his age, Styles had an innate understanding of his core demographic: other kids.”