Sound Quality: A Life Well Wasted

By Kieron Gillen on March 10th, 2009 at 8:42 am.

You say “gaming podcast” and what you’re probably thinking of is “a bunch of nerdy guys sitting in a room around a shitty mike and/or yabbering over Skype about what games they played this week”. It’s certainly what we do. It doesn’t have to be like that, as the scarily well-done Audio-Documentary approach of Robert Ashley’s A Life Well Wasted proves.

Each episode goes forth and interviews a variety of people on the subject at hand and professionally edits it together into a tight package. I’ll use the word “professional” again, as it’s something which few Podcasts deserve. Put it like this: if you turned on Radio 4 and heard this playing and you wouldn’t be surprised. While the first episode regarding the death of EGM magazine is a little US-centric, the second about gaming collectors – from academics to arts to just game lovers – is wonderful stuff and the perfect place to join in. Robert Ashely even has a proper soothing radio voice, which strikes the nasally crew of RPS as somewhat unfair. The bast.

Anyway, both podcasts are on the site, and you can sign up on Itunes It strikes me that it’s worth saying “if you only subscribe to one gaming podcast, this should be the one”, even if it’s somewhat suicidal for our own listening figures. It’s unlike anything else and demands your attention.

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38 Comments »

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  1. kyrieee says:

    Robert Ashley of GFW Radio fame of course… =)

    This is a really well made podcast

  2. ...hmm... says:

    Definately a great and well made podcast lol I love the ending of the second episode when he mixes speech from an earlier interview into some disturbing electronica :)

  3. icabod says:

    Nice stuff – I’ve been looking for more game-centric podcastery. So far my player contains just the PCG and RPS “mp3 downloads”. Oh, and the Radio 4 Friday Night Comedy podcast, but they rarely touch on gaming, preferring to take the satire approach to funniness.

  4. Aon says:

    “if you only subscribe to one gaming podcast, this should be the one”

    Nope, that belongs to the guys at idlethumbs.net
    This is pretty decent though

  5. Heliocentric says:

    is windows i-tunes better now? it used to be such a bloated piece of crapware that it was barely usable.

    I have sooooo many podcasts to catch up on with doing the last year of my degree. This, eat-sleep-game, geekbox(the last 3 are ex 1uppers) the current 1up stuff is a mixed bag but still quality, the pcgamer uk podcast. There are others i mean to try out but they are lovely to have running in otherwise fun but dry games (playing a CIV4 campaign for example). But lately I’ve not been gaming much so I’ve not been podcasting either… Its either this or get some nice headphones for my mobile phone and download them there.

    I’m currently 2 months behind!!! I need help :(

  6. MrDeVil_909 says:

    “I’ve been looking for more game-centric podcastery.”

    This is the one weekly podcast I bother with:
    http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/podcast

    Usually a very interesting discussion, and well produced.

  7. mcw says:

    Robert Ashley should be on this weeks GWJ Podcast by the way.

  8. Militant Camel says:

    Robert Ashley is always worth listening to.

  9. mrmud says:

    Indeed and it is interesting to see how much his new podcast contrasts with GFW Radio which was always very much improvised.

  10. fishmitten says:

    Robert Ashley is the dude.

    His insane rants were a joy to listen to on Rebel FM the other week.

  11. Xercies says:

    Actually i think John Walkers voice is really soothing.

    And now I’m embarrsed by saying that…

  12. Ginger Yellow says:

    Robert Ashley is the new Shawn Elliott. Or something. I really hope he finds a way to make money off his talent for radio. Also, that segment on the pinball museum made me insanely jealous of people who live in California. Is there anything remotely similar in the UK?

  13. pignoli says:

    Brilliantly produced podcast that, and I’d say there’s plenty of room for it along side RPS as it’s highly polished style is different enough from RPS’ more…. rustic approach:) Also, am discovering a whole new world of gaming podcastery through this comments thread, thanks everyone!

  14. teo says:

    I’d say check out the podcast of http://www.giantbomb.com and Listen Up at 1UP

  15. teo says:

    Oops, sorry for double post but go back and listen to the old GFW-radio episodes. best shit ever

  16. Tworak says:

    Rock, Paper, CONSOLE!

    UAHUAHUAH gonna go copyright it now and become a zillionaire in 2 years time.

  17. JonFitt says:

    It’s great isn’t it.
    I recall he and Shawn Elliott discussed doing shows like this while on the GFW podcast, so I’m glad he finally got to realise the project.

    On the RPS podacst front, it’s sounding much better, but can you crank that sucker up? For some reason you come out much quieter than other podcasts.

    Also, Alec sounds like quite like Julian Rhind-Tutt;
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Rhind-Tutt

  18. Dinger says:

    oohhh he tried to sneak the guitar solo from Marquee Moon in there.

  19. skizelo says:

    You clearly listen to a different Radio 4 than I do. When they talk about games at all, which is rare, it’s on the level of “They don’t cause your brain to dribble out your ears! Fancy”. Or it’s an arts program fronted by a man who very pointedly holds no truck with all that digital nonsense.

  20. Jerry Jackson says:

    Man, I found Robert Ashley’s voice to be one of the most annoying things in the world. I liked the podcast, but his voice…

  21. Kieron Gillen says:

    Skizelo: In terms of quality rather than content. If R4 was going to do a serious program on games, it’d sound a bit like this.

    KG

  22. skalpadda says:

    “Robert Ashely even has a proper soothing radio voice, which strikes the nasally crew of RPS as somewhat unfair. The bast.”

    John Walker’s sweet angelic tones make me fall in love a little every time I hear it. Then I have to remind myself I really like girls :)

  23. Kadayi says:

    “Robert Ashley is the dude.

    His insane rants were a joy to listen to on Rebel FM the other week.”

    Agreed Bob Ashley is both insightful and rip roaring hilarious at times. The man coined the phrase ‘Game boner’ after all. I’m liking this documentary style he’s taking with these podcasts and looking forward to more of his explorations of gaming culture. GWJ isn’t bad, and I’d also recommend ingame chat and rebel FM if your a gaming podcast junkie. When Bob was on there a couple of weeks back although he completely took the show off topic, it was LOL hilarious and is well worth hunting down via itunes.

  24. Simon says:

    Well, that is certainly an excellent alternative the the usual round-table jabber and half assed efforts of trying to discuss a topic.
    Has there been any other podcast that tried to actually prepare? Look into the subject they’d discuss? All I can think of was Shane Bettenhausen who would actually bring in lists and notes whenever he was on retronauts.
    Even podcasts like Squadron of Shame and GameClub seem to just wing it.
    Don’t people know that podcasts is the most direct way we get to learn these guys, and that from the podcast we’ll look up their writings rather then the other way around?

    Actually, Shawn Elliot definatly was willing to put the effort in preparing for the GWJ podcasts once he twigged to how effective these were.

    And the 1up show guys, now Area5.tv But since that’s video so they have to prepare.

  25. Premium User Badge

    Sagan says:

    Tom Kim’s GDC Radio used to be of really high quality, too. But his shows have become irregular, and now the last one was over half a year ago. But most of the stuff is still relevant, so you can go backand listen to the old episodes.
    He has since said on the Brainy Gamer Podcast, that he has simply been unable to make more shows, but doesn’t want to stop completely. So I’m hoping that we will get a new episode from him sometime.

  26. A-Scale says:

    It sounds exactly like “This American Life” on NPR. I like it.

  27. JonFitt says:

    “Stoking a game boner” is a brilliantly descriptive way of describing the way gamers, marketing, game-journalism interact at the moment.

    Was it Bob Ashley who came up with that or Shawn Elliott? It was definitely from one of their discussions though.

    I like to say Robert Ashley in a Robert Ashley voice when he introduces himself. It takes several seconds and sounds like I’m 3 bongs to the wind.
    A distinctive radio voice.

  28. Kadayi says:

    @ JonFitt

    I’m pretty sure it was Bob Ashley during a GFW session, my take on it was about how hyped we get over a game (often years before it’s even going to be released….), and how frustrating it is at times (is it any wonder why big games have midnight releases because of all that built up geek repression….) *

    Heh he certainly does sound like he’s permanently passing the Dutchie, however I think it’s just his Texas drawl.

    * goes off and pours over those Deus Ex 3 screen shots again ‘let it be good, let it good!!!’

  29. FuzzDad says:

    It’s “Sunday Morning” for game enthusiasts with a little “The Daily Show” feel without the sarcasm.

  30. Morningoil says:

    I love John Walker too.

  31. Kadayi says:

    John Walker has Tigger like enthusiasm, and that is never a bad thing. The world needs more Tiggers.

  32. Butler` says:

    Yeah Jerry, you’re not alone :P He was a bit too far on the ‘stoner’ end of the scale.

    A solid podcast though and I’d certainly listen again. I like the overall tone.

  33. qrter says:

    Well, that is certainly an excellent alternative the the usual round-table jabber and half assed efforts of trying to discuss a topic.
    Has there been any other podcast that tried to actually prepare? Look into the subject they’d discuss?

    This always baffles me. A gaming podcast will discuss gaming music, for example, and will announce upfront at the beginning of the podcast that this topic will be discussed, but they’ll have done no preperation at all. A podcaster will say they like the music from that game, ooh what was it called, it was by that guy, forgot his name too, etc.

    Never ceases to amaze me.

  34. Itamar says:

    As Sturgeon’s law states, 90% of everything is crap. That’s also true of gaming podcasts.
    While I’ve listened to both RPS and PCG-UK podcasts and they’re hosted by well-informed, intelligent individuals, the production quality of both is low and I’ve had trouble even understanding what’s being said, not to mention enjoying it.

    As a podcaster myself (go if you like games and speak Hebrew) I know it takes effort to produce good content and audio quality. Heck, PCG-US have a professional working on their podcast.
    I hope that as more people discover podcasts, more podcasters will take themselves seriously enough to work hard on producing top-notch stuff.

  35. Itamar says:

    As Sturgeon’s law states, 90% of everything is crap. That’s also true of gaming podcasts.
    While I’ve listened to both RPS and PCG-UK podcasts and they’re hosted by well-informed, intelligent individuals, the production quality of both is low and I’ve had trouble even understanding what’s being said, not to mention enjoying it.

    As a podcaster myself (go have a listen to Hamis’hakia if you like games and speak Hebrew) I know it takes effort to produce good content and audio quality. Heck, PCG-US have a professional working on their podcast.
    I hope that as more people discover podcasts, more podcasters will take themselves seriously enough to work hard on producing top-notch stuff.

  36. Itamar says:

    this is the second time I’ve tried posting on RPS and the second time I got a message my post has been classified as spam!

    What’s up?

  37. Ryan says:

    Good to see Robert’s finally getting some exposure for this. Truly a great show, and an awesome follow-up to his Brodeo content.

  38. alphaxion says:

    I really do need to get around to publishing my videos for download rather than streaming, beyond the piggybacking it gets with the (Cool)Shite guys.

    Until then, just to hopefully add another gaming podcast to everyones collection I have mine kicking around on http://verticalslice.tumblr.com

    Sadly, no matter how many people tell me it’s good I continue to struggle getting viewership up :S