Skybilz started gaming at age three with games from the Mario and Castlevania series. Her love of retro games grew stronger over the years, and in 2012 she was introduced to Twitch and speedrunning through Awesome Games Done Quick (AGDQ) while on a break from grad school. Since then she’s participated in GDQ herself and held a number of speedrunning world records, most interestingly, for Oregon Trail on Apple II, the “original hardware.”
“As a kid, I had always tried to see how fast I could finish the games I played, but I didn’t realize speedrunning was actually an organized hobby until seeing it at AGDQ. I saw what the players were doing and I thought, ‘you know, I think I can do that, too.’”
After seeing GDQ, she immediately became involved in the community, first by watching and supporting streamers like Trihex, Jay_Cee, and TheMexicanRunner, and then by moderating and enforcing channel guidelines in their chats.
She became staple amongst the community, and they encouraged her to start speedrunning (and streaming) herself.
“There’s a lot of practice involved and, in some games, if you make a mistake you have to restart. It can be very daunting, and without the community, I don’t think I would have had the courage to even start trying. It’s the community that kept me focused, driving me to be better.”
She kicked off her first stream in August 2013, collaborating with TokyoScarab, focusing on adding in other retro games alongside her speedrunning practice. Like many broadcasters, her first streams were held on her personal laptop she used for school, and the quality was less than stellar. The community banded together, fully funding an upgraded streaming rig for her.
After meeting her boyfriend, authorblues, through the SpeedRunsLive races on Twitch, they both wanted to expand their involvement in the community and participated in their first GDQ in January 2015. At AGDQ 2015, Skybilz hosted for her first time at a major video gaming event, sparking a new desire to focus on charity work.
“When hosting, I love to make someone’s day, and the best part is that it is for a good cause. A streamer hearing a donation from a family member can help the run be more successful. Certain donation messages can inspire others to donate as well as motivate the runner to perform better and reduce nerves.”
She also continued to be involved in the community, assisting with and attending the Southern Speedrunning Summit, which focuses on networking and building relationships with creators located in the Southeastern United States.
In 2016, both Skybilz and her boyfriend had family members fighting cancer. Around the same time, St. Jude kicked off its second PlayLIVE summit for Twitch streamers. Eager to do something, Skybilz decided to begin her own charity event journey. In addition, she opted to celebrate achieving five thousand followers with a “5k Strong for St. Jude” event, where her goal was to raise $1 for every follower she’d gained. With the support of her community, they surpassed her goal.
“When people in both my family and my boyfriend’s had cancer at the same time, I saw how hard it was on them. If adults were struggling with cancer, I can only imagine what kids go through, aside from just billing and treatment. I’m happy to support any cause that relieves that burden and lets kids focus solely on getting better.”
It was after this event that Skybilz was partnered, and her drive to continue working on bettering the community using her platform was even greater. In addition to still working in Education and focusing on maintaining her own speedrunning skills, she’s hosted nearly every GDQ since then, and continued to create events to raise awareness for St. Jude.
To date, she’s raised over $30,000 for St. Jude and other charities.
“My goal in streaming is to think about what I can do to raise awareness within the community about the valuable research and treatments St. Jude provides.”
You can find Skybilz at TwitchCon this year, where she’ll be sharing her knowledge on speedrunning, raising money for charity, and balancing work and streaming on Twitch. Get your tickets now and meet her in San Jose!