MatPat’s retirement: It was never just a theory, it was more than that

The icon, the legend, the man who created the catchphrase “That’s just a theory, a game theory!” along with around 1,200 pop culture theories for the past 13-years, known as MatPat, has announced his retirement as the face of the Theorist channels.  

On January 9, Mattew Patrick, better known as MatPat, posted “Goodbye Internet” on the main Theorist Youtube channel “The Game Theorist.” Upon seeing the video, fans began panicking for we knew it was time to say good-bye. Other major YouTubers have recently made similarly titled videos announcing their retirement, like Tom Scott and Stampylonghead.  

Many of us grew up watching YouTubers like MatPat and dreamed of becoming like them. Most importantly they made us realize we didn’t need to hide our nerdy side. They helped us find friends among the community they created while encouraging us to put ourselves out in the world. They taught many things like science, arts, history, which many of us would find boring or hard to learn at school but found such subjects fun and easy through them thanks to their personalities and content.  

Don’t panic if you’re a fan, the Theorist channels aren’t disappearing. Instead, it’s MatPat who is stepping down as the host of all five channels and passing the torch to his fellow Theorists who have co-hosted alongside him for a few years now. People we already know from the team like Tom Robinson. People that MatPat had been training to take his place for a long time since he knew that the time to step down was upon him.  

The community had been a bit suspicious about MatPat retiring since the very moment he teamed up with big company Lunar X to help run the channel. We all just chose to lie to ourselves that maybe the reason for such action was to help the channels grow more, not keep the show running in his absence.   

MatPat explained that for the past three years he was planning on retiring as the host of the channels due to not finding a work life balance. He missed the days where he could talk to his loved ones without the conversation transforming into a business conversation about potential content or logistics, and missed playing video games just for fun and not for work.  

But most importantly, MatPat reminded the viewer that over the past 13 years he has grown up just like us, for he is now a father and wishes to spend time with his son. Now he will be taking a role behind the cameras as a full-blown member of the creative team to allow him to find balance in his life while still being a part of the Theorists. He reminds us that he loves and is proud of us, his fans; he cherishes the bonds he has created and is honored to have been a part of many lives.  

Immediately after the video was uploaded the internet blew up. Fellow Youtubers like Ludwig VODs and Penguinz0 commented on how this change was like the first “Blues Clues” host change, making it feel bittersweet. As for the fans’ reactions, some were hilarious, others serious, or a mix of both. Social media was flooded with comments talking about how he was people’s childhood, how he created a safe space and/or an escape for them, was their comfort content creator, and idol. Some comments even talked about how his content has inspired them to start thinking critically and create content.  

Honestly, I’m one of those fans. Whenever I saw his videos where he would break down details that held secret elements that heavily impacted the lore of a video game or film I would write that down (and still do) in my creative writing journal. My goal was to see how I could implement such foreshadowing skill, plot twists, or even scientific elements into my stories to make them more interesting for readers.  

Seeing him leave the screen truly hurts me since it was thanks to him that I was able to not only gain ideas for my stories but also enjoy the science that he taught through video games and films I grew up with. Although MatPat claims to have apparently ruined our childhood through his theories as seen through “The Gamer Theorist” intro, he didn’t ruin it, he made our childhood. But the moment he published his stepping down video he ended our childhood.  

Before you start sharpening your pitchforks, let me explain. I’m happy for him taking this next step in life, he absolutely deserves to take a break and spend time with his family. This feeling is also seen in all the responses to his announcement. We are all happy that he is doing what is best for him even though we will miss having him as the face of the Theorists. The reason why I say he ended our childhood is because another common theme found in all the reactions is that realization that we’re no longer kids. We’ve all grown up, a realization which hit many like me like a slap in the face.  

Now, it’s not like we didn’t acknowledge that we’re adults now by continuing to act like children and forsaking our responsibilities. It’s more like we didn’t want to accept the change fully, we wanted to believe that we still held our childhood innocence and wonder towards the world before reality vibe-checked us, revealing its true colors. For many, content like “The Game Theorist” helped maintain our inner child as MatPat would dive into pop culture content of our childhood, revealing findings that we still miss as adults. These findings expanded our understanding of said content, made us see it from a different angle. His content and personality made us believe that there was still wonder left in the world, allowing fans to continue to heal their inner child wounds. I’m one of those fans. As someone who had to grow up extremely early, his videos proved a safe place for me to continue acting like a child when I was actually a child. And to this day, they still help make up for the time I lost, just like many others.  

He helped us not only keep our inner child alive by talking about games many of us grew up playing, like “Kingdom Hearts,” but also by helping us get into the newer games that the younger generation is playing like “Poppy Play Time.” He connected older and newer generations through his content about games that are still running, like “Five Nights at Freddy’s” (FNAF). Allowing us to feel like we’re still young in spirit with the curiosity of our past selves, . proving that what may have been a theory to him was so much more to many of us. 

But his goodbye video was a gentle way of reminding us that we must accept change while keeping our inner child alive. We must accept change or else we’re going to burn ourselves out by trying to avoid it, making us lose our love and passion for the things we used to enjoy when we were younger. Burnout can lead to us feeling miserable and potentially fall into a depressive state as Mayo Clinic states. Accepting change will allow us to keep moving forward in a positive way.  

MatPat addressed this during his video about “Earthbound,” as he describes the main character Ness’s Hero’s Journey. At the end of the game Ness sees the impact his journey had on other characters and returns to the same home he left at the beginning, where everything is the same except him. Ness grew up like MatPat, which means we all have to as well.  

“Change is scary, change is hard. But sometimes it’s the right decision and it isn’t the easiest decision,” said MatPat in this video. 

As a longtime fan, I can safely say to MatPat that his middle school dream of changing the world, even if it is a small impact, has indeed happened. His videos have built a community that is strong and positive, full of many people from different backgrounds. He’s united many under the banner of our interest and ambition to learn more and see things for not what they appear to be, but for what they could be. The past nine weeks where he posted “MatPat’s Final 9” videos have been a bittersweet adventure, since they touch upon video games he’s covered since the beginning like “Pokémon.” But the one that hurts the most for me is the FNAF video he released as the second to last theory, talking about the impact the game has had. Ironically, mirroring the same impact he has had. It truly won’t be the same talking about FNAF without his beef with Scott Cawthon. But things change, and we must accept change when it’s for the greater good. All we can do now is look forward to the goodbye party and welcome Tom, Santi, Amy, and Lee as the new hosts to their prospective Theorist channels.   

If you wish to say goodbye to MatPat, hop on to the celebration live stream that will be happening Saturday March 9, at 11 a.m. PST on “GT Live” YouTube channel.   

Playlist of short funny and emotional reaction videos towards MatPat’s announcement. Playlist by Karla; videos by nolshinguy09, Kryptonite, Pigeon, Error_ Toonz, CloudySlurp, S.I.L.L.Y, TEKKA, GuavaChicken gaming, vel, Isanity1 l Theboss, RieJS, WeekLongWind 647, BoogL, SuperiorSquish, DoClain, Jolo, RUPPEEY, Dr.Drizzy2, WatchMojo.com