After the face behind PogChamp took to social media to invite continued “civil unrest” from its followers, the popular Twitch emote was removed from the live streaming service. Twitch has promised to work with the community to find an emoticon that can capture moments of the hype on the platform, and plenty of performers are offering suggestions – if not coming up with their own faces.
Twitch streamer Sean Plott wants to see a variety of faces when users type “PogChamp.” But there is also worries that linking an emote to a real-world person (or people) can lead to similar issues down the line, as it’s unclear when or if someone might pull a Milkshake Duck.
I @Tic suggestion for PogChamp: create a database of streamers and / or general faces. Every time someone types PogChamp, display one of these random faces. Would make a PogChamp spamming chat very crowded and allow the sense to be linked to all of us instead.
– Sean Plott (@ day9tv) January 7, 2021
But highlighting a specific personality could also be a great opportunity to encourage inclusion within the community. Natasha “Zombaekillz” Zinda, the content creator who led the charge by asking Twitch to remove the emote, tells Polygon she would choose Kahlief Adams, host of the video game podcast Spawn on Me, to be the new face of exciting moments on the platform.
“He’s been a voice for change in the black community,” Zinda said, just Adams used his platforms to have “important” conversations about the gaming industry. “He’s the epitome of the joy and inclusion in our space, ”she added. Adams seems to welcome the suggestion, not only by retweeting the nominations for his cartoon emote on social media, but also offering a potential photography option.
Likewise, some hope that Twitch is highlighting a black creator of sorts to succeed PogChamp, ideally someone who is also part of the fighting game community. The FGC has a number of black personalities, some of whom are prominent players in space. And as PogChamp’s original face has grown in popularity for playing Street Fighter, it might be a good idea to follow it up with something reminiscent of those roots. In the past, Twitch has been criticized for supporting black creators only after national attention was paid to police violence – and even then, the platform made the mistake of initially centering white voices. PogChamp could be a great way to ease some of these tensions.
While replacement suggestions run the gamut, almost everyone wants to see the new PogChamp present someone – or something – with an equally puzzled face. Many nominations on social media feature faces with the same expression as the original PogChamp. If it doesn’t show a real person, the artwork or emote still looks loose.
Then again, it’s also possible that Twitch is tracking PogChamp with an emote that doesn’t use this label at all. Polygon reached out to Twitch about their plans for the new hype emote, whether it’s an entirely original design or if it could use another real-world personality.