Streamer PointCrow Turned ‘YouTube Into a Video Game’

pointcrow eric morino
Courtsey of Loaded and PointCrow | Shutterstock/aqilahsalsabila

Eric Morino, known online as PointCrow, is a glutton for punishment. On his Twitch streams or on his over two million subscriber YouTube channel, subscribers watch the 25-year-old physically, mentally, and emotionally push himself—and the video games he plays—to their absolute limit.

He’s beaten “Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” blindfolded, watched ice melt for 10 hours, live-streamed himself for 564 hours, and even recreated “Mario Party” in a monstrous real-life set. Sometimes he likes to bring others into the madness: He’s had a goldfish play the complicated “Elden Ring,” made his fans’ terrible Pokemon ideas into reality, and even let his viewers control a surgery robot. 

But watching his videos or streams, all you’d see is a guy truly happy to play and break the rules, a loving hospitality that welcomes you into his content to explore something you never would have seen otherwise. 

“All the stuff that I put out, it takes weeks, maybe months to come out with,” Morino told Passionfruit. “I turned YouTube itself into a video game, and I can now do pretty much whatever I want.” 

For Morino, it’s all about taking the time and effort to create high-quality content. With quick edits, a clear taste for storytelling, and a desire to constantly move the medium forward, his content is one of a kind. 

Although, that hasn’t always been easy, and PointCrow has met some formidable foes along the way. 

How the Timer Started

When Morino started streaming and posting in 2019, he wanted to stand out from the crowded room of content creators. He said he gravitated towards speedrunning, an arduous showing of stamina where gamers attempt to play a game as quickly and efficiently as possible. But the basics of just completing a game bored him, so he tried doing something a little different: creating in-game challenges that made the game, and his content, feel unique. 

“I take the speedrunning concepts that a lot of people are interested in, and then I explain that to a more casual audience, and then do something with it,” Morino said. “It’s like, ‘This is a weird glitch that allows you to duplicate something but in this only weird way that won’t be useful to a speedrun,’ but it’s still something that’s really cool.”

Soon, videos of him pushing “Breath of the Wild” to its absolute limit were pulling in hundreds of thousands, beating the game without core features like bombs, stamina, or even weapons. To Morino, a game is a sandbox where you can play with the tools given to you or you can just start shoveling the dirt right outside the box—it’s entirely up to you. 

A Boss-Level Battle

Using glitches and mods makes a game feel special and new according to Morino, allowing him to continue creating content for games that he’s already beaten with his eyes closed. But some developers don’t necessarily feel the same way, which he’s learned the hard way.

Nintendo is a Japanese video game company known for Mario, Zelda, and not taking kindly to what it designates as copyright infringement. As Passionfruit reported, in April, the developer blocked multiple PointCrow videos on YouTube that modded “Breath of the Wild” after he released his own mod allowing the game to be run with multiplayer. Over the next few days, Nintendo would escalate the problem issuing claims to a total of 29 videos with 55 million views, taking them off Morino’s channel. 

“Essentially I couldn’t do anything because it was either risk my career or just move on. And I like what I do, so I just moved on,” Morino said.

In Japan, modding games is illegal and can result in a 5 million yen or around $46,000 fine for each infringement. According to Morino, it’s also considered “disrespectful to change the work of art that is a video game,” though he disagrees with the overall premise. After all, games like “Skyrim” that were released over a decade ago still have a massively popular fan base and community because mods give gamers new and exciting ways to play, like replacing a dragon with Thomas the Tank Engine. 

The Zelda sequel to “Breath of The Wild,” titled “Tears of the Kingdom,” was released just one month after the scandal and Morino was originally not going to make any videos on it. But he took a “risk” because he “loves the genre” and made 10 videos on the title without using any mods. These will be his last for “TotK,” feeling that he’s pushed the game as far as it can go. 

“Maybe I’m not on good terms with the publisher, but I just couldn’t help but play it,” Morino said. 

The Next Save File

Since then, Morino has avoided modding Nintendo games and will continue to do so in the future. He does feel like there was “good news” in all of this: It forced him to get more creative with his content. “Breath of the Wild” and its mods made up a large chunk of his videos, and now he has to push himself to make the same level of content in new arenas.

Morino is no longer just some gamer doing gaming challenges, he now has six employees for the PointCrow channel and has decided he needs a bit of help. So this month, he’s decided to join the talent agency Loaded, which represents some of the top streamers and creators to help ease some of his workload. Because of their partnership, he’s already been able to get Pokemon (owned by Nintendo) to sponsor one of his latest videos.  

“PointCrow is one of the most innovative and entertaining streamers and YouTubers in gaming right now. We love that he’s not afraid to experiment and is always pushing the limits of the games he plays and real-life events he puts on, resulting in a truly unique and captivating experience for viewers,” Bridget Davidson, President of Talent at Loaded, told Passionfruit.

As for what game he’s going to painfully chip away at until his hands are nothing but bloody stumps, Morino has some ideas that he’s not willing to spoil. The most popular games of the past few months like “Baldur’s Gate 3” and “Armored Core VI” would make for easy clickbait, but he hinted he’d rather spend his days chipping away at games from the past. 

“I have YouTuber brain rot and watch my videos because I really put all of my effort into them,” Morino said. “And I think they’re fantastic.”

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