Samuel "raocow" Tanguay is a Canadian YouTuber and artist, and founder of the Talkhaus. Since 2007, raocow has produced Let's Play videos, making him one of the longest currently running Let's Play channels. He is notable for playing Super Mario World ROM hacks, and Touhou fangames. He is also known for his non-sequitur style of commentary, as well as his schedule of uploading approximately 45 to 60 minutes of content every day. Outside of his YouTube channel, raocow is the creator of the A Super Mario Thing series of games and co-creator and illustrator of two webcomics, Artificial Time XS and ARICELLE: By Her Wandering Blade.
His most notable series of LPs include SMW hacks such and the VIP series, and The Second Reality Project. While he does not usually play games sold commercially, he has played Kirby's Dream Land 3, Commander Keen, VVVVVV, and Half-Life 2.
Early life and career
Raocow grew up somewhere in the near vicinity of Quebec, Canada, before moving to the town of Saint-François-Xavier-de-Brompton, located about 10 kilometers north of Sherbrooke, at the age of 24. He lived there together with his cat, Gaston, in a small house with 4 separate apartments for about 4 years. Previously, he had graduated with distinction in fine arts at the Bishop's University of Sherbrooke in May 2009 and, during his stay at Saint Francois, was struggling to make ends meet. It is known that he has been commissioned with a few art works over the course of the years, but this was no regular income for him, and he mentioned having been helped out by his parents every now and then.
It was during this time that Raocow signed up at the SomethingAwful forums and started getting into the Let's Play community. Initially, he would only post comments on other LPers' videos, but as he became more of a known member of the forums, people would ask him to start an LP of his own. Finally, on the 9th of June 2007, he posted his first LP video, back then on GoogleVideo. His initial LP of "The Second Reality Project" was received very well by the SA community, and with each update, he slowly gathered more and more views. Back then, his videos were mainly made for the LP community of SomethingAwful, and Raocow, as a new LPer, didn't have as much of a distinct personality as he does nowadays. Sadly, little of his interaction with the forums is known from back then, as SA doesn't make their archives available to the general public - nonetheless. The earliest otherwise publicly archived Raocow thread is of "The Second Reality Project Reloaded" from mid-2008. Comparing this thread to his first one, it seems that he's gotten a lot more confident with himself as he developed a more distinct internet personality.
Most of his change of character can probably be attributed to him opening a Youtube account in 2008, where he started rapidly gaining more views thanks to a wider audience and word of mouth. His first Youtube-only LP of VIP1 gained almost 1000 views in its first week - back then, a quite impressive number for a new LPer. By then, he had already developed a very concise style of commentary, something that would later become known as "Monkey Cheese" commentary. It consisted of Raocow pretty much saying the first things that came to his mind, which would often lead to very non-sequitur sentences that most of his viewers found funny because of its randomness. If there is something that has stayed with Raocow since then, it's his talent at making almost any game just seem fun, simply by so directly and honestly relaying his enjoyment through his commentary, unlike any other LPer could.
Still, while he had found his own style by mid-2008, he hadn't really gathered that big of a viewership. His daily uploaded videos would receive maybe 200 to 300 views, but that was the upper line. One day, however, his account experienced an unexpected surge of subscribers - and it was thanks to one man: At the end of 2008, the highly popular LPer ProtonJonSA announced his retirement from LPing after finishing a romhack called "Mario's Wacky World", because he was "sick of romhacks and LPing in general". For his disappointed subscribers, he left a video explaining these circumstances and linking to Raocow's Youtube page in an effort to suggest his fans another LPer whose videos they might enjoy. Consequently, views on Raocow's videos skyrocketed just as he started his new LP of VIP4. His subsequent episodes of VIP4 gathered over 1000 views on their upload days as Raocow took over a good 10% of ProtonJonSA's subscribers.
It was also around this time that a new upload format emerged on Raocow's channel: That of the A- and B-Side, meaning he would simultaneously LP two games at once, meaning two new videos per day. This first started with his LP of VIP3 and the Hard-Hack-Rack (a SMWC hack compilation), but didn't become the norm until almost half a year later, where he chose to play Koutai 2 as a B-Side to Super Marisa World, saying "THIS IS FOR WHEN I HAVE LESS TIME OR I'M FRUSTRATED ABOUT IT OR WHATEVER. OKAY?".
2009 was an uncertain, but at the same time highly important year for Raocow and his fans. It started with him finishing his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the Bishop's University, followed by him moving to Sant-Francois in May. There, however, he found himself unable to get hired, and as such, was starting to experience serious economic problems by the end of June (see this video). As a consequence of his financial situation, Raocow asked his fans if they would be interested in him setting up a coffeepress store where they could purchase shirts and similar things with his by then very known catchphrases on them. The community took up on this idea, and the comments quickly filled up with suggestions on what designs to use for the shirts and so on. Things were getting a bit hard to keep track of, and Raocow had played with the idea for a while already, so when one of his friends came up to him and offered to host a website for him, the Canadian happily agreed.
On the 12th of July 2009, [raocow.com] was born, along with the talkhaus. Registration for new users wasn't available until the 15th, however, when Raocow also made a video announcing his new website. This was the start of a whole new age for Raocow and his fans. The community around the Canadian LPer became a lot more structured thanks to the new forums, and, seeing as all of them had a shared interest in LPs and romhacks, a collaboration hack was quick to be suggested - this was the birth of ASMT.
Sometime in 2010 [when?], Raocow finally found a job opportunity in Sherbrooke. He worked as part of a cleaning staff for little under a year, and then switched to his current work at a customer phone hotline. The surroundings of his current work environment can be seen in this video.
Raocow in other communities
Besides being active in the Talkhaus, Raocow also frequents many other internet communities. The most important of them are listed here with short descriptions of Raocow's role and activity status.
DeviantArt (2006 - 2016)
Even before joining SomethingAwful, Raocow had gotten wind of the then highly popular social network for artists called DeviantArt. He joined it on the 23rd of October 2006 and posted his first journal entry on the 16th of March 2007. For the next 2 years, he only used his account there to give occasional updates about his work on [ATXS], an internet comic run by AoD and him. Eventually, he also started posting the comic panels themselves on DeviantArt, and by 2010, it had become the main hub for all his art. Some of his non-comic-related works can be found here, here and here. Raocow has not posted on his DeviantArt since April 5th, 2016.
SomethingAwful (2007 - present)
Raocow started his LPing career on this website and has been an active member ever since. For the most part, he only posts in the Let's Play sections, commenting on other people's videos. He stopped making threads for his LPs after his switch to Youtube in 2008 with "The Second Reality Project Reloaded".
Super Mario World Central (2008 - 2012)
In 2008, Raocow decided to try his hand at making a romhack himself (which eventually led to the creation of What the Hell, and decided to join the biggest western community of SMW romhackers, called SMWCentral. Between 2009 and 2010, he joined the first SMWC-wide collaboration called "An SMWCentral Production", creating a few levels for it.
Tumblr (2012 - present)
In mid-2012, Raocow decided to join tumblr under the name of fastforward, where he still actively responds to questions. There, he mostly posts art from the creation process of his comic, but sometimes also converses with AoD who goes under the name of drsunshine.