Streamer Allan Alvarez Is Not Your Average Speedrunner

With a handle like 'Cheese' you just know there's so much more

The person behind the humanlike cheese avatar, appropriately named 'Cheese,' and the high octane Super Mario 64 speedrunning is Allan Alvares: a young man hoping to buck the conventions of what it means to be a content creator on Twitch. He rejects the label altogether. Instead, opting for the term' influencer.' It's a title he thinks more appropriately suits his motivations. 

Allan Alvarez
Allan Alvarez.

Allan Alvarez

"I call myself an influencer because that's what I like doing. I don't care too much about what kind of content I make. I love influencing," Alvarez said in a phone interview with Lifewire. "I want to do something and show what I can do and, hopefully, make people want to do it as well. And I do get that a lot [from people saying I influenced them], and I love it."

Aside from being an inspiration for speedrunners in gaming, Alvarez wants to help educate the gaming world. He wants to teach his audience about the reality of life in developing countries and give them a little perspective. From Venezuela to island life on the archipelago of Trinidad and Tobago to finding respite in the historic city of Madrid, Alvarez has an uncharted point-of-view that he brings to his 230,000 followers on YouTube and Twitch

Quick Facts

  • Name: Allan Alvarez 
  • Age: 26
  • Located: Madrid, Spain
  • Random Delight: Alvarez characterizes himself as an exceptionally competitive person. With a history in competitive sports like soccer and volleyball as well as live music with his band Feedback, the 26-year-old streamer adores "high-intensity, stressful disciplines." 
  • Motto: "Hard work always pays off."

Life on the Go 

Alvarez has learned a lot about the world around him. He described life in Trinidad as particularly difficult due to gang violence, what he deemed "regressive attitudes," and a general lack of resources. 

"Growing up on a small island that a lot of people don't even know exists, there are a lot of things you have to learn the hard way. I had to learn tough love. There was no safe space," he said. "Add in that the Caribbean is one of the most homophobic places on Earth, and being a gay man growing up trying to accept myself? It was so difficult."

The young streamer was lucky to have an accepting family—namely, his father's three gay siblings, who he would eventually connect with in Spain. But while his family fostered his personal side, his gaming ambitions remained untapped. He recalled his parents seldom allowed him to play video games.

However, his natural talent was something that could not be denied. He discovered Twitch in its infancy around 2013 and began his storied journey in speedrunning in May 2014. The young Alvarez channeled his discontent into the thrill of competition. The competition aspect had always been the most exciting feature of gaming for him growing up.

Allan Alvarez streaming on Twitch

Allan Alvarez

He broke his first world record in 2015. Cheese rang across the community, and a mass of fans flooded his streams and live events to see his fast-acting gameplay. Yet, his personal life was not as glamorous. After his father's family moved from Venezuela to Spain, the budding streamer decided to join them, hoping for a fresh start. 

"I was depressed for years in Trinidad. The stream was going great, but I didn't want to be home anymore," he said. "The difference between going from a third-world island in the Caribbean to a first-world metropolis in Europe was immediate. I remember crying because I was so happy. I always tell people, my life started once I got to Spain."   

The Brie-lliant World of Cheese

Cheese was on the rise. Throughout his seven years on Twitch, Alvarez has broken Super Mario 64 speedrunning world records while maintaining a sizable audience. A relaxed audience that Alvarez says avoids the more “volatile meme culture” of the speedrunning community. A typical cheese stream combines real-life social issues with high-velocity gameplay for an interesting cross-section of disparate worlds—a natural byproduct of his own diversity. 

“I like to bring up topics that some streamers would call controversial. It’s more fun, honestly. It’s just fun to talk about interesting things. It’s really boring to me to stream and talk about a video game the whole time. I’m already playing the video game. I don’t want to talk about it as well,” he said. 

I call myself an influencer because that's what I like doing. I don't care too much about what kind of content I make. I love influencing.

Alvarez is not afraid to offend people, but he does so with a sense of purpose. Learning how to have difficult conversations with difficult people is what a life of constant change has taught him. The most important lesson, he said, is education. “[That] is how you defeat bigotry. Not just yelling at people.”

Controversial topics (which he deems are not controversial at all), live events, and his superb gameplay are the ingredients needed to make this batch of fine cheese. In this instance, Cheese is more than just an appetizer. It’s something special. Something more fulfilling.

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