More Thoughts on the Podcast

Voice actor for Dan Carlin.

Bill Barrett, the voice actor for Dan Carlin.

I talked yesterday to Bill Barrett, the same awesome voice actor who does the liners for Dan Carlin’s podcasts. I was expecting his fees to be far beyond what I could afford, but it’s actually not bad at all. So, now all the pieces are in place–just need to start thinking about how I want to go about the podcast.

My purpose here is to create a rather excellent podcast that will be entertaining, informative, and inspiring. To that end, I’ve started re-reading my favorite books and articles on the subject, including my all-time favorite: Hackers by Steven Levy. If you haven’t read this book, go ahead and order it now–I haven’t read anything nearly as good on the topic. Levy does a superb job making his history read like a great novel without skimping on the details. It’s the kind of book that’s much more than just a good read, though–you almost can’t resist doing some coding or messing around with some hardware after you put it down. He also does a great job sketching the personalities involved. I’d love to capture some of that style and energy in podcast form.

I know from my own experience that often the greatest obstacle to starting or finishing a project is motivation. No matter how good we are at doing something, if our motivation tank runs dry, the engine sputters and the project ends up on the side of the road. What I find motivating when it comes to coding, writing, or pretty much anything, is reading or hearing about the great exemplars and how they overcame their own obstacles to achieve greatness. I’m hoping that this podcast will help others discover their own heroes and find the motivation to open those old projects and get back to work.

There are a few big decisions I still have to make, though. First, what to call the thing. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to come up with something better than “Matt Chat” for this! Second, I’m wondering how far back I should start. I could cover stuff that came before videogames, especially pinball and other early coin-op games. I guess I could even start with the earliest known games and work from there. Or would it be best to start with Spacewar! or Pong, the games most people argue really laid the foundation for the industry.

Actually, I’m wondering if I should just focus on the history of CRPGs, since that’s more or less my specialty. However, since my goal is to attract as large a subscriber base as possible, perhaps sticking to more general topics would be the best idea. Hm..

So much to think about!



6 thoughts on “More Thoughts on the Podcast

  1. Alchemist

    Hi Matt – I’m a long-time watcher of your show, first-time commenting. I for one would love to hear you do a podcast dedicated to CRPG history. The history of this genre is endlessly fascinating to me as RPGs are my passion and I’m working on a classic-style CRPG of my own. I started playing them in the early 80s and it would be really interesting to hear an in-depth podcast series on the genre from the beginning (starting with the mainframes I suppose?). Also, classic CRPGs are hardly represented at all in the podcast offerings out there right now. Of course, as you say, motivation is key and you need to do what motivates you the most. Maybe you’ll want to cover a wider subject and that’s fine too. Whatever you do I’ll certainly be a listener! I really enjoy Matt Chat and I’m certain I’ll enjoy your podcast too. Keep up the great work!

  2. Chris Freeman

    I’m torn, as a fan of CRPG’s and their history, some of my favorite shows are when you delve into them, so obviously I think that should be the heavy end of your podcasts etc.

    But I’ve learned about some neat bits of non-CRPG history watching as well, and have gotten to try some games I might not have thought of because you brought them to light.

    So, I guess go 80/20 or 90/10 on that one? Besides sometimes CRPG’s have been heavily influenced by Non-RPG’s…. Can you really talk about going into the First Person RPG’s without at least acknowledging Wolfenstine or Doom? You can’t really do Baldur’s Gate without bringing up the the Gold Box games, which brings up Wizards Crown, which brings up strategy games.

    And the Gold Box also brings up Hilsfar, which had minigames, in an arcade style of play, that points to influences from there.

    Or Questrion/Legacy of the Ancients and their arcade minigames.

    As the term RPG blends more and more into other genres… I wouldn’t be to quick to cut them off.

    Just my 2 cents.

  3. ruthan

    Internet is full of more general topics.. and another bla, bla, bla. You should acquiesce that your market is relatively nitche and try enlight new players and try create big herd, or try harder (i realy dont thing that crpg are nitche, because of Skyrim 10M+ sales.. ).. or simply, if you need more money, get those elsewhere.

    If im saiying enlight, there is probably only one main way, and this is show how features from old crpg evolve into new game and try to describe this way.

  4. ruthan

    As i said few times, i think you should more focus on core of games, some more design, philosophy would be good, not just say that something is fun.. I suppose that from your students, you also required some better analysis of text, that history of this novel is.. and it is just statement.
    Also bear stuff, is realy no core, non raw and you should create dedicated beergeek podcast..

  5. Derrick

    Matt Chat rocks! Love to watch them during my lunches.

    Just wanted to chime in with a few cents worth of feedback regarding a potential podcast. I like the idea, but to me – and this is only my personal preference – I like podcasts that have some hint of news or developments in them. So I think a section on each show for a bit of ‘gaming news’ would contrast well with your historic angle. Ie- interesting Kickstarters, industry developments, teams & personnel changes.

    And as an amateur gamedev, I also do appreciate game development stuff as well. I suspect your audience contains a good number aspiring game-devs like me.

    Name? Hmmmm…. ‘PODCRAFT’ or ‘PODCASTLEVANIA’ or maybe ‘PONGCAST’
    (sry I tend to default to the name blender when coming up with product title ideas)
    Maybe something a bit more broad: ‘Game Hackers Podcast’

  6. MazokuRanma

    Great to see Hackers referenced. Without question one of the greatest books ever written about the computer industry. I love the entire thing, but the first section about how everything first began at MIT is my favorite part by far. I may have to go give it another read now that I’m thinking about it again.

    As far as the podcast topics go, I think you really have to just talk about what you love. If that’s primarily CRPGs then go with that, and you can sprinkle other stuff in as well whenever it feels natural. I know you’re a big fan of adventure games as well, so you can add those into the mix. The thing is, if you go for a wider range of topics that you’re not as enthusiastic about, I think that shows in the final result. When people are passionate about something it shines through and makes the product better as a whole. I was a big fan of the Armchair Arcade podcasts for this very reason. Everyone you guys had on was discussing something personally important to them. It was a shame the views weren’t quite up to par, but I think that’s partially a function of the gaming podcast landscape these days. There is just so much out there now that it can be really difficult to have your voice heard. Hopefully you can use Matt Chat to give you a boost in the beginning. Just make sure the podcast is about whatever you most want to talk about that day and it will be better for it. Looking forward to when they start coming out.

    This last bit is unrelated, but hopefully someone will know the answer: At the end of the Tales of Illyria video, the bit talking about the EPROM being the issue, what is that from? I’ve searched high and low and can’t figure it out and it’s driving me crazy! >.<


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