It’s been almost two years since I wrote one of these, and over a year since I posted on here with any regularity. I posted on essay yesterday on some comics that I finally managed to get around to reading and writing about. I had plans to really ramp up this site back in March and April when lockdown hot in a big way but that didn’t plan out. I had a lot of plans for what I was gonna do during quarantine and got to almost none of them. I did manage to read a few books and finished some video games. There were more books I wanted to get to, I wanted to get a Duolingo streak going, and I wanted to get back into working on small Unity projects again. There is still time for this in the future and admittedly reading more books and getting Duolingo going are not hard to do. I could be doing ether of those right now instead of typing this… well I’ll get to them after.
My podcasts habits have also changed quite a bit in the last few months as well. I have gone away from a lot of the news heavy or narrative podcasts that I usually listen too and drifted more towards video game/comic book focused podcasts that are heavily personality driven. My favorite of these, and my favorite podcast in general) is Waypoint Radio. Waypoint is video games commentary website that is less news driven than many of the larger video game websites and more focused on games as cultural artifacts and reflections of the time we live in. I’ve also been seeking out new video games podcasts that will probably come up in these recommendations at some point but a few I’ve really been enjoying are Abnormal Mapping, Bad End Podcast, Triple Click, The Giant Beastcast, and Bullet Points. As is probably obvious, games have been occupying a lot of my thoughts and time over the last few months, providing moments of relief from everything going on this summer which has been (necessarily and importantly) impossible to ignore. So it makes sense that my tow recommendations this week are game adjacent although both are rather niche. Anyways that’s enough from me hope you enjoy the podcasts.
Max Fun Drive 2020
The DMs Are Open
One thing that has been great and that I am proud be a part of during quarantine is joining a D&D group with some friends. It is mostly traditional fantasy game played using the fate system. It’s a group of first time D&D players led by an experienced dungeon master (DM) who has been doing a great job at making the onboarding process smooth and focusing our energy in the direction to keep the game moving forward. It has been interesting playing this table top game at the same time as a I’ve been playing a few role-playing video games. You can see how these video games developed from these what is essentially a group of people telling a collective story. Sometimes when you learn how something is made it makes the machinations of that object more glaring, and if the thing is bad, impossible to ignore. In this instance I think it enhances has enhanced my appreciation of certain games because you can understand how the designers iterated on base inspiration and made something wholly unique. For anyone new to D&D and tabletop role-playing games this podcast might be too in the weeds but if you have any curiosity or familiarity with these games I think you will appreciate the discussion about how people approach the creation of these games and the amount of care that goes into them.
My second recommendation is a recent episode of Waypoint Radio, which I mentioned above. It is a video game focused podcast, but it’s also a personality driven show. It is a very left, anti-capitalist, group that is critical of power and the systems that hold up entrenched and historical wielders of power. If you are not on board for their politics you might be immediately turned off, but if you want a video games podcast that believes games are part of the process through which a better world is imagined and achieved, then this show is probably for you. My specific recommendation is for the second half of the episode in which the gang does not talk about videos games. In the previous episode they asked listeners to send in bad corporate emails or to tell them about local restaurant rivalries. It is a very enjoyable hour filled with bad corporate speak and restaurant pettiness. This part of podcast starts an hour and two minutes into the episode (1:02) and goes until the end. If you do like this episode go into their past episode and find a topic that interests you. They used to talk about movies pretty regularly and the episodes on Black Panther or Blade Runner 2049 might be a good starting point.