I started my first YouTube channel in 2006 when I was 15 years old. This short post will be about that channel.

Back in 2005, I started a “career” in Mario Kart for Nintendo DS (short: MKDS). It was one of the first Nintendo games you could play in online multiplayer. In the beginning, I just played for myself with no real intention, but then I discovered that there were online “clans” and people from different clans would fight “clan wars” against each other. I discovered this in a German Nintendo magazine where one of those clans was introduced. I joined them and they told me that I wasn’t bad and they could help me improve. Long story short: I got really into MKDS and eventually became one of the top German players, started going to in-person tournaments (some of which I have won), and the whole thing became a big part of my life.1

What I actually wanted to say is that for all of that, I needed an online nickname. What I chose was “exoskelett” (from a Magic the Gathering card called “Exoskelett-Rüstung”/”Exoskeletal Armor”), later shorted to “Exo”. That was the name of my first YouTube channel, and it’s still the name I use in the gaming community.2

My first video was called “exos first mkds movie” (apparently, 15-year-old me didn’t know about apostrophes and capital letters) which was a very bad recording of one of my time trial runs. Over the years, I uploaded many, many Mario Kart videos (only MKDS in the beginning, later also Mario Kart Wii), some other gaming videos, and some real-life videos (either with friends from school or with people from the LAN events I went to). All of that is still online, a whopping 163 videos in total.

Some of the videos have very large view counts, 174K views being the highest one, totaling 621,280 views combined for all videos. However, that channel never really went anywhere. It has 177 subscribers, most of which were probably people from the MKDS scene. I also freely used copyrighted music in my videos, so even if I wanted, I could never have monetized that channel. You have to consider that it was 1) early in YouTube history, and 2) I was between 15 and 17 years old when I uploaded videos to that channel. I don’t think I even thought about ever making money off those videos.

Still, I am kind of proud of having that channel. While you could say that playing Mario Kart all day every day is a big waste of time, it is still something that made me who I am today. I also met some of my closest friends only because I became part of the Nintendo gaming scene. I was also, as far as I can tell, the first person on YouTube that started to use a complicated setup to record higher quality video recordings of MKDS time trial runs (like this one).3 Not sure if anyone ever realized or cared though.

Do you have any interesting stories about your past or 15 year old content somewhere on the internet? I guess nowadays it’s a bit different, especially with video, because everyone has a smartphone and uploads everything to some social media platform. Back then, it wasn’t nearly as accessible, and just not a thing people normally did.

  1. At the time of writing, I am still on rank 57 on the Mario Kart DS leaderboards for NonPRB records. (Don’t ask about PRB vs. NonPRB, that can be a whole separate post.) 

  2. To this day, I go to the in-person LAN events even though I don’t really play games anymore. Unfortunately (but obviously), this year they all got canceled and next year is still unclear. 

  3. I used a real DS for playing, then transferred the save game to my computer, where I put the save game into an emulator, added a certain cheat code that added first-person replays of time trial records, then used a screen recording software to record the top and bottom screen of the DS emulator. In the video, I put those screens next to each other instead of on top of each other to make it more suitable to watching on a wide computer screen.