The mind behind CodeMiko reveals the worst part of becoming a streaming sensation
“She's very innocent, and a dick at the same time.”
In the world of Vtubers, or virtual streaming avatars, CodeMiko is a true wild card.
Created using Unreal Engine software, her ‘quasi interactive’ digital rendering has amassed a large Twitch following of more than 350,000 subscribers. Her developer, known only as The Technician, uses motion capture technology to give Miko her eccentric personality, a trait that makes her notoriously unpredictable character. By participating in chat, CodeMiko’s viewers can manipulate her streams in a myriad of comedic ways, like muting her audio or making her dance (or fart).
“The fact that anything can just happen and steer the interview in a weird direction makes the interactivity really fun,” The Technician tells Inverse.
Having recently announced she’ll be joining G4 as one of the gaming network’s newest hosts, we turned the tables on the irreverent interviewer. The Technician revealed what makes CodeMiko such a relatable character, the process behind her on-screen antics, and the gender obstacles women streamers face.
The interview below has been edited for brevity and clarity.
For the uninitiated, how would you describe yourself and what you do as a Vtuber?
CodeMiko is an NPC, and she’s basically trying to make it in the Twitch world because she failed as a game character. So now she is Twitch streaming to try to make it and, you know, learn more about the humans — they fascinate her very much.
She also recently got her first official job on G4, though she herself doesn't know exactly what to do for G4. She thinks she's an intern Padawan for Adam Sessler, which is not the case, but in her mind work just means doing nothing and getting paid a lot.
What do you think makes CodeMiko so likable and interesting for viewers?
She's glitchy, meaning she can't really control what her glitch says. Pretty much the overall scuff of her character is what makes her likable, I think?
She's very innocent, and a dick at the same time. Also, her role allows a lot of humorous situations to happen because she doesn't really understand them very well, and so she misconstrues the people she interviews in a humorous way. I think that's what makes the audience laugh, and I think that's why they like her.
What draws you to CodeMiko’s chaotic interviewing style?
So for CodeMiko, the interactivity is created by The Technician, with CodeMiko having no say; she basically lives inside the Technician's game. She resides there because she's got nowhere else to go. So, she herself has no control over interactivity.
But for interviews, the interactivity makes it funny because the viewers themselves kind of create the content by giving her a surprise in the middle of the interview. For example, her and her interviewee will be talking about something and the audience decides to mute her.
It's kind of like a gotcha for them, and I think they really like that factor. They find that very entertaining, like when they make her dance or force her into these awkward positions. They find that hilarious.
Do you find it easier to be interviewed as the technician, or as CodeMiko?
When I get interviewed as CodeMiko, I'm usually fully suited up, and I need to get into my mindset of being CodeMiko, if that makes sense. I can't just switch to CodeMiko. I think for these casual interviews, it’s definitely easier to be The Technician.
What have you found the most challenging about portraying CodeMiko, both technically and mentally?
Definitely wearing everything was the hardest part, because I would feel like I was being strangled in my suit a lot. If you stream for six hours every single day, the trackers keep hitting the same pressure points. Those trackers would actually start hurting my skin, which becomes really uncomfortable.
Mentally, I think it's all super fun! You get to play a different extension of yourself, like the playful extension of yourself that you normally wouldn't show. When you're playing as yourself, you're way more reserved because it's you, right? You feel like you need to act a certain way.
Do you feel you’ve had to negotiate the same kind of obstacles that other women YouTubers do?
Yes and no. I think women on the platform definitely have obstacles that if you're a male, you wouldn't have.
It's interesting with CodeMiko because I feel like her character has fewer obstacles than Technician does. When I play as CodeMiko, a lot of the misogynistic comments I would see when I play as Technician are a lot less. It's actually like 90 percent less. I'm not sure why that is… Maybe it's because the trolls don't find it funny. The worst thing they say is "Oh, that's just a guy playing as a girl," or "why aren't you showing your face? I bet you're really ugly."
But overall, it's not stopped me from anything. I definitely would like not to have those comments in chat, but it hasn't really demotivated me in any way.
When it comes to YouTube, I feel like it's harder to get your impressions up when you’re a comedic female YouTuber. Most of my higher impressions are from when Technician has a pretty selfie or when CodeMiko looks good on the thumbnail. It's hard to get a lot of impressions through comedic thumbnails and titles, which is kind of unfortunate.
What was your reaction to CodeMiko joining G4, and what you think is going to be in store for you both next?
It's her first official job, this is a job where she actually feels like part of the team. And she's incredibly excited. G4 and I are gonna be streaming on the channel as well, and we're going to plan some collaborative content. I think it'd be really interesting to see how CodeMiko does at a human workplace.