Looking for a new gaming channel to sink your teeth into? Well, have a Penny for your thoughts – a Penny Starr, that is.
Penny Starr‘s YouTube channel Starrlett consists of a collection of let’s plays, personal vlogs, and short films. While the channel is just five years old, her YouTube origins have a much more – how do we put it? – interesting history, with her first videos being Sims music videos – remember those gems? What, no?! We’ll let Penny explain: “[They were] the types [of videos] where you pick a song (in my case, it was Avril Lavigne’s I’m With You), build a set and create characters in The Sims, then record a bunch of clips and mash them together to make a music video!”
Unfortunately, the videos are no longer public. However, as a forfeit for a recent charity livestream, Penny has uploaded her old teenage vlogs and they’re just as gloriously cringey as you’d imagine. So it’s a good thing she’s made a playlist filled with them all.
What types of games does Penny play? She loves horror and indie games, including The Forest, fan favourite Minecraft, and Dead by Daylight, as well as storyline-heavy games like Remember Me, Transistor, and American McGee’s Alice – that is, when she can be torn away from playing Overwatch. Her bright and bubbly personality is infectious in her gaming videos and vlogs, and she isn’t afraid to bring about raw honesty and be open about fears, insecurities, and mental health, which is evident in her breathtakingly beautiful short films.
As if that wasn’t enough, she also solo livestreams three times a week, participates in group livestreams, and founded the charity fundraising group Kapslock Gaming with friend and fellow gamer Benjy Wilson. Kapslock Gaming, which originated back in 2013, has raised over £10,000 for a range of charities, including Special Effects, Take This, and Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. They hold two annual live streams – 2spookython and Brits ‘n’ Butts – where they play games, interact with viewers and participate in challenges, all while raising money for a good cause. It’s this ability to make a difference that’s the greatest thing about YouTube for Penny.
“I remember, back in high school, we had a sports day to raise money for a local charity,” she says, “where family and friends sponsored us to complete sports events, such as running or swimming. I must have raised no more than about £20, but I felt so much pride for every penny. And now that I have a much wider reach than local family and friends, I love using [it] to make a difference. It’s incredible to see the community so supportive of these events, and being able to tell my family ‘Look, we’ve raised over £10k for charity’ really makes me feel like all this work is worthwhile.”
Hang around for any of her videos or livestreams and you’ll soon realise you’re being welcomed into a tight-knit community, which is present on her Twitch, Patreon, in her YouTube comments, and on her social media following. She’s close to her audience and loves the feedback she gets from viewers. “I thrive off feedback and support from my community,” she tells us. “I upload videos because I want people to watch and enjoy them, and I’d much rather have an active running commentary with my community than just blindly doing what I want.”
As for who inspires her, Penny cites a range of video makers. As a creator, she says Canadian vlogger Shawna Howson is her biggest inspiration, while Mark Fischbach is a huge influence when it comes to gaming. “Mark puts incredible thought and time into his videos,” she explains. “I love how, whenever he plays games which may have deeper messages or inspire strong emotions, he has a few minutes of reflection at the end of his video to discuss what happened with viewers and what meaning he’s taken from it all.” Not one to forget her community, she also expresses her love for fellow gamers TheMobCave, HiMyNameIsEdson, and Bethany Wellard.
Penny’s love for gaming, YouTube, and her community is clear and genuine. Having already achieved as much as she has, where does she see the future of her channel?
“Right now, I’m a new graduate job-hunting, so even though I have more free time for YouTube, there’s always that worry I won’t be able to keep it up once I get a job. But I’ve managed to continue growing, even whilst at university, so I’m confident I can find a balance when we get to that bridge.
“Filmmaking is a huge part of my life and I love being able to share some of my projects on my channel, but my hope is to weave that even more into my content. There are lots of gaming channels out there, so I want to make sure I really solidify my identity as not just as gamer but a filmmaker too.”
Penny champions the belief that gaming is for everyone, and her work is evidence that you can have fun whilst making a difference. So set up that Steam account, level up, and get gaming!
It’s a good thing we love promoting YouTubers then, isn’t it? Check out our other channel spotlights and prepare for your sub box to be filled with hours and hours of entertainment: