Austin Hargrave, better known to the YouTube community as Peanut Butter Gamer, creates hilarious video game shows where he makes comedic comments while he is playing a game on his YouTube channels, PeanutButterGamer and PBGGameplay, with a combined following of over 2 million subscribers. Alongside his funny gaming videos, Austin has created videos for top 10’s, hacking, and more. He plays on a wide variety of games and is a big fan of playing Nintendo and Zelda, and has played other games including Minecraft, Terraria, and more.
In a previous Twitter Q&A, Austin mentions that he first started making videos in school while taking on a part-time job in pizza delivery. Here, Austin dives in a little further on his amazing journey becoming a YouTube phenom, how he creates his content, and how he partners with brands to promote ideas and products he believes in.
Mediakix: What was your first video game? How did you get hooked?
Peanut Butter Gamer: The first game I remember playing was Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt for the NES. I grew up playing mostly co-op games with my older brother. Metroid, Final Fight, Ninja Turtles beat em’ up games, things like that, but it wasn’t until I played Mario 64 that I really became hooked on games. Running around in a 3D castle, jumping into different worlds through paintings really sparked my imagination and made me realize just what video games could be.
What does your gaming station look like? What are your essentials?
I have just about every major console, as well as a few obscure ones like the CDI. But if I’m playing games for fun then I usually play on my PC. Unless it’s a console exclusive game of some kind.
How do you come up with comedy material and then incorporate them into your videos?
Hard to say, honestly! It varies from situation to situation. I usually play whatever game/games I’m discussing in the video and jot down whatever funny stuff comes to mind in the process. Sometimes I’ll come up with things later when I’m finalizing a script, or even improvise while filming or recording voice overs.
How did you come to the decision to drop out of school to pursue your YouTube channel?
This was a pretty tough choice for me, honestly. I never planned on making YouTube into a career. It wasn’t even something that was possible when I first started. But I wasn’t happy in school, and I was focusing so much on my videos that I ended up dropping out of a lot of classes and just generally wasting money on tuition and textbooks. My biggest aspiration for my channel originally was to get big enough that a website or company might hire me to work for them, but once I started making a bit of money it almost seemed like a waste to start working for someone else. I didn’t know if it would work or not, so when I dropped out to do YouTube, I went back to my old job delivering pizzas for a while. After about six months I quit to focus on YouTube full time. I knew that if I wanted to make it work I needed to go all out on it. I didn’t want to look back 10 or 20 years later and wonder about what could have been.
What made you realize that YouTube could be an amazing career for you?
I didn’t need convincing! My whole life I loved making silly videos and “movies” with my friends. It was one of, if not the only thing I loved more than video games. I just like to entertain people. I was always the class goof-off in school.
How do you distinguish your style from other YouTube gamers?
When I first started making videos my “silly game reviews” and silly top 10’s were pretty standard. In more recent years however, this style of video has become less common in favor of let’s plays that are easier to produce. YouTube likes long and frequent content, and this current system really favors that style of content. So channels that spend 1-3 weeks making scripted content have become somewhat of a rarity. I think I’ve distinguished my style simply by sticking with the kind of content that people originally subscribed to my channel for. I’ve always attempted to improve and I’ve become more comfortable in my own skin and on camera over the years, but I’ve never drifted from what my audience expects and wants. I think that alone sets my channel apart. I’d rather upload 2 videos a month that get viewed hundreds of thousands of times than upload 31 videos that get 30-50k views each.
How do you choose which brands or companies to work with?
Choosing brands for me is pretty simple. If I like the product or service, or think my audience would enjoy it, then I’m generally open to working with them. I’d rather not pitch something to my audience that I know they won’t like because not only would it be a waste of time for the brand, I’d also hear all about it in the comments. I’d rather it be a win-win for all parties involved.
How do you handle so many accounts on different social platforms?
It’s not too hard for me! I just check them periodically throughout the day. I generally follow other friends and accounts that I’m interested in as well, so I’d likely be checking my social media stuff regardless of whether people were tagging or mentioning me.
In what ways do you like to engage with your followers?
I usually reply to some comments on new videos for the first day or two, but generally I use social media to interact with people. I also do livestreams and interact with the chat in that way. I tend to prefer this because it’s more natural, and I don’t have to limit my words to fit a certain character limit.
What is the coolest experience you got out of your YouTube channel so far?
To me, the most satisfying thing has always been seeing how many people my silly videos affect. I’m constantly blown away by how many times a day someone sends me a message about how my videos cheered them up when they were in a rough place or going through something tough. This was definitely not the reason I started making videos. I made videos because I wanted to entertain people. I never imagined that I could also impact people’s lives in any way.
If you could create a game, what kind of game would it be? Any particular elements you would want in it?
This is a tough one! I have a handful of different game ideas that I would love to see, but honestly…If I was going to dedicate time into actually making something then I think it would be some kind of classic adventure game.