By Kieron Gillen on September 20th, 2008 at 1:00 pm.
The PC Podcast masses are crying out in despair: their leaders have left them. The much-respected GFW Radio has decided to close its doors with the final episode. After lynchpin Jeff Green leaves journalism for development at Maxis, Shawn Elliot has sodded off to
2k Boston Irrational. The episodes are all up still up if you want to catch up, but there’s a “best of” compilation over here.
And some thoughts about it from someone who’s never listened until literally right now beneath the cut…
A number of people have asked us to post about this, and I held off for reasons the top-image makes kinda clear. While I’ve followed the debates and adulation that the GFW podcast has recieved with interest, I’ve never actually sat down and listened. As I’m doing the post, I’m doing that for the first time. I’m actually surprised that I’m not surprised – it’s exactly what I’d thought it’d be, and can see exactly why people dug it so much.
I also see why I don’t listen to it. If I want to hear people talk smartly and funnily about videogames, I’m lucky enough to be able to talk to one of the RPS guys. This is the sort of dialogue which is my natural environment, so I don’t need to go to a podcast to get it.
Listening more though… well, it’s interesting to come on the Final Episode of something that’s most loved. Like most sitcoms, the final episode tends to be self-congratulatory… and justifiably so. There’s a lot of how that despite the podcast having far less listeners than the magazine ever had, they get far more contact from it. People felt a genuine human connection, and expressed deeply personal stuff to them.
Which I find fascinating, really – because pretty much since I started writing for the British press, that’s been a constant. And not just me – it was just a common thing for people to invest and open up to the writers. Which makes me suspect an old theory I had actually was built around a kernel of truth: podcasts have allowed the American games writers to get used to the concept of microcelebrity, which had always previously been a Brit thing for games journalists. British magazines, traditionally, have been far more personal (cf: unprofessional, if you’re someone who dislikes the style) than the US ones. Conversely, the podcasts are a beacon of humanity – and for the first time, it seems, the Americans are experiencing what we’ve had all along. The listeners buy into the humanity; the writers realise that they’re actually connecting with people.
All of which makes me think the growth of US podcasts is another enormously positive force in the discussion of the form. And I have to salute GFW Radio for pushing it. Well done yous.
To throw it to the floor, a couple of questions:
1) You’re a podcast listener. What’s the best PC related podcast available? Why would you recommend it?
2) If you had to construct a dream podcast, what would it be like? What would it include?