Does life imitate art, or does art imitate life? It’s the chicken or egg question for the modern age, but after a certain point, the answer ceases to matter. That point, it turns out, is when you’re really fucking sick of doing real jobs inside a video game, as Twitch mainstay Chance “Sodapoppin” Morris can attest.
Yesterday, Morris announced that he’s once again quitting the resurgent Grand Theft Auto role-playing scene — or, at the very least, taking an indefinite break and retiring his longtime character, Kevin Whipaloo. The concept underlying Kevin is a unique one: He’s a restaurant (and casino and vineyard) manager who just happens to get caught up in all sorts of crime-adjacent capers. He also recently met Solid Snake and nearly got mind-controlled by an alien because, for all its problematic impersonations and drama, you can’t fault GTA RP for being predictable.
But even when the game was at its most fantastical, Morris felt like he’d backed himself into a corner.
“GTA RP, in the position Kevin was in, was a true job,” he said during yesterday’s stream. “It was an actual job. It was brutal. It was ‘manager this, manager that,’ fuckin’ ‘employee this, cop problem that.’ I can think of five scenarios I actually got to do whatever I felt like, and that was going on the alien hunt and the couple of times I got to go to the police station. But the only reason I got to go to the police station was because I told my managers, ‘Hey, handle it. Handle the shop while I’m gone.’”
It’s true: As Kevin, Morris spent a lot of on-screen time talking to employees and doing business — although a fair amount of that business involved surviving violent altercations and bribing the police. Morris explained that it was fun for a while until it wasn’t.
“I enjoyed it, I did, but it got to a point where I don’t want to do it anymore,” he said.
There’s something extremely funny about the idea of a person who got rich by eschewing traditional work to play video games accidentally miring themselves in a life of traditional work. But streaming, for all its appeals, is also a gruelling job, albeit one where big names get many more opportunities and affordances than those toiling away in the lowest tunnels of Amazon’s ad mines. It makes sense that Morris — somebody who is fortunate enough to be able to call his own shots — didn’t want the worst of both worlds.
So, he’s not going to do it anymore. His original plan was to “perma” Kevin during a recent stream — that is, dramatically kill the character in such a way that, per the rules of GTA RP’s ongoing, streamer-driven narrative, he’d be dead forever — but the opportunity did not present itself. Instead, the Kevin Show is going on hiatus sans a big series finale.
He also discussed factors that went into the decision on his stream. He could have, for example, informed other players that he had too much on his burger tray and needed some space, but he didn’t want to harsh the server’s vibes by causing other players to “overthink it.” He also said the developers of the third-party, Rockstar-unaffiliated server offered to “get rid of people” who were bothering him just because he’s a big streamer. But he didn’t like that idea, either.
“The fault is mainly on me,” said Morris. “I simply put myself in a position of serious obligations. It got overwhelming to the point I don’t enjoy it anymore. I overestimated myself, and I don’t like it anymore. It’s too much. I like doing stupid things. I like dumb RP. I like playing with a lot of my friends outside of RP. But when I play Kevin, I’m not in a position to be able to do that because I have employees. I have fucking customers. I can’t just be like, ‘Hey, I feel like going on a bike ride.’ I can’t do that.”
RIP Kevin Whipaloo. He died doing what he did not love: working. In that sense, he is truly a fictional character for our times.
Grand Theft Auto Role-Playing Is Big On Twitch Again, Starring, Uh, Johnny Silverhand From Cyberpunk
The scene: Grand Theft Auto V’s iconic city of Los Santos. People mill about outside an apartment building, likely plotting crimes. Nothing seems out of the ordinary — except for a lone figure. Clad in suffocatingly tight leather pants and a bulletproof vest, he looks prepared for anything and nothing...Read more