I don't know if it's an adage or anything, but yes, in pretty much all fiction, the characters are top priority--all the best stories ever written are stories with compelling and relatable characters. Same goes with nonfiction: Sports and reality television become a lot more popular when they cover the participants and who they are.
As it stands, since the streams kind of assume you know who everyone is, there's no introduction to anyone, and to an outsider, everyone (except Escher) would come across as the same.
In addition, I'd like to see a "Favorite Table" too, which can change if the player's preferences change. This seems to be very common in pinball surveys already.
At least with Defense of the Ancients, once you get the gist of it, you can understand why players are doing what they do. Watch a competitive match of the Pokémon video games, and it'll be like trying to understand grandmaster chess without having heard of chess before. What may seem illogical is actually because the players are thinking three or four turns ahead. Jack has Tapu Lele and Bob has Scizor. Bob decides to switch Scizor for Primarina. Why? Because Bob figures Jack will most likely switch Tapu Lele for Arcanine, and he'll be ready with a type advantage that isn't affected by the immediate Attack drop from Intimidate once Arcanine enters battle. Jack will have Primarina use Hidden Power Ground (which can now be done AND have a competitively-viable Pokémon thanks to Hyper Training, which was introduced in Generation VII) rather than Sparkling Aria or Oceanic Operetta because he knows Jack also has Magnezone ready, whose Steel/Electric typing gives it a x4 weakness to Ground-type moves. (Also, Sparkling Aria hits its partner in a double battle, which is what official tournaments run on.)
I got back into tournaments for Pokémon video games a couple of months ago, and I discovered they now do play-by-play commentary for it. I never figured out where the commentary was going though, and I was a participant myself so I didn't have time to find out. For the record, said commentary is the quiet golf type, which is fitting considering how slow and methodical it all is. One of the commentators even had that classy British accent.
For the record, the commentators were watching through a live feed of the players' Nintendo 3DS systems and were in a corner behind a dark blue screen. The players they were covering were across the room (they always talked about the match going on at Table 1 during the elimination rounds) and likely could not hear the commentators, but I was placed at the table right next to that corner during the second round and could hear everything.
Yeah, I'm kind of used to seeing statements like that over anything. You get a lot of trolls wherever there's a lot of people, especially since Yahoo! doesn't moderate the comments. You also get a lot of losers who get to feel big and important by putting other people down. "This kid'smade the news on Yahoo! when he was 13 years old. I need to find something I'm better at than him, or I'll REALLY feel like a loser!"
A lot of those bitter comments come across to me as very similar to the classic jock putdowns directed at nerds and geeks.
And the Indians too.
That was a wonderful post! I'd like to point out, though, that competitive Tetris exists and is occasionally streamed, and that is arguably even taller and narrower than pinball (though it depends on the version being played). Falling-blocks puzzle games in Japan get quite competitive too, though in cases like Puyo Puyo or Puzzle League, they're head-to-head so you don't reallyhave to worry too much about their vertical nature.
I think it'd be best if they're shown between matches or if there were quick, one-sentence definitions that either the commentators talk about or is briefly displayed onscreen if the term ever comes up.
One example is if you're playing Lord of the Rings and the display tells you to shoot the VUK. Only pinball fans know what a VUK is. That would be a great time to explain what VUK stands for (and it isn't obvious it's an acronym), what it does, and where it is on the table.
Which reminds me: Will there be any legal troubles if streaming gets more popular? I mean, it's full of various licensed games.
I think that's the single biggest problem currently: There isn't much feedback from outsiders. I would love to hear what more outsiders say. Unfortunately, whenever I try it, they get completely lost in the jargon and trying to keep up with what they're seeing.
(And the way I see it, I try not to ever forget what it was like to be a beginner at anything that I do, because once you forget the beginner's experience, it becomes a lot harder to explain what you're doing.)