KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The gaming industry has exploded over the last few years, creating hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue while universities and professional sports teams launch e-sports teams.
Before those developments, Kansas City’s Norman Caruso was in college, working at GameStop, studying history when he decided to combine those interests in his YouTube channel The Gaming Historian.
“It was just a fun hobby in the beginning,” said Caruso.
Now, his channel has 918,000 subscribers and some of his most-watched videos have 3-6 million views.
“When you put it into perspective, it’s like if you filled up Arrowhead five times over,” said Caruso.
It’s stunning, but it makes sense, given how popular gaming has become in the United States and around the world. Caruso’s videos focus on the consoles and games that led the groundwork for today’s bustling video game industry.
Caruso has documented the history of Tetris, various aspects of Mario and his friends, and old consoles and their accessories. His most recent video is about Super Mario World and has 1.5 million views after three weeks.
“I think that’s my new record, I hit a million views in about nine days,” said Caruso.
“The videos can take a long time to research and produce, depending on the subject. For the video about Super Mario World, I got a bunch of Japanese magazines translated, I transcribed interviews, I talked to anybody I could,” said Caruso, who added that it took roughly five months to get that video finished.
They pull on a nostalgia from video game enthusiasts of a certain age that keeps them coming back.
“I had a comment the other day where a guy said, ‘I watched this and it made me feel like I was five years old again waiting for the Super Nintendo to come out and I haven’t felt like that since’,” said Caruso.
Caruso says he plans on making videos about the first generation of newer consoles, like the early Xboxes and PlayStations.
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