I don’t know how many of you out there love audio podcasts as much as I do, but I’m a big fan of the history podcasts by Dan Carlin, Mike Duncan, and, more recently, Benjamin and Adam. I was thinking that it’d be pretty fun to do my own dedicated history podcast about gaming and computers. If I go down this route, I want to really make a determined effort to get it right the first time. In short, I want to do something really slick and polished that would have a decent shot at getting featured on the iTunes store.
As far as I can tell, most of the existing videogame podcasts out there are not anything like what I have in mind. The ones on the page linked above, for instance, are mostly hosted by panels and are less formal and structured than what I have in mind. Personally, I don’t like multiple hosts in podcasts because there’s a tendency to ramble. The only real exception I know about is the Stuff You Should Know podcast. Though Josh and Chuck do go off on plenty of tangents, the chemistry between these guys just works well enough that I’m willing to overlook the occasional digression into rabbit holes. In any case, I usually prefer listening to a single, well-practiced speaker than a group of folks interrupting and talking over each other all the time.
Another problem with the existing lineup (and almost every videogame-related thing on the internet!) is the myopic focus on Japanese games and spastic or “irreverent” commentary. Honestly, I don’t think I can stand another expletive-filled rant from some “angry nerd” on some obscure, poorly-localized Nintendo JRPG I neither know nor care about. I’d rather hear about the people behind the games–what they were like, what they were thinking, and so on. I also love exploring the “what if?” questions–what if, for instance, Nolan Bushnell had said “Yes!” to Apple, or if Atari had agreed to distribute the NES?
In short, what I think is missing is something that takes the subject as seriously as the podcasts mentioned in my first paragraph, but also with the excitement and passion of Dan Carlin. About the closest thing I can think of is Shane R. Monroe’s various projects, though to my knowledge he’s never set out systematically to cover a whole period or era.
If I were to do what I’m conceiving of as my “Podcast History of Videogames,” I’d try to emulate my heroes Carlin, Duncan, and Monroe, offering something polished, passionate, and deep. I’d try to get into the hearts and minds of the developers and engineers who made it all possible, building on the research I’ve collected by interviewing so many designers and reading so many books and articles on the topic–to say nothing of playing so many games and collecting so many systems myself.
At any rate, I’d love to hear your thoughts on all this. Do you like the sound of the podcast? Or do you think I should just focus on Matt Chat?