A lot of my podcast listening in April was on the road or while playing games. It’s funny that I’m already associating the video game The Talos Principle with the podcast Wham Bam Pow because of how much those overlapped!
At the beginning of this month I also failed to but ultimately succeeded in installing a new stereo in my car! My old car cassette adapter system for playing podcasts through my iPod would always overheat in these coming hot spring and summer months. Now I don’t have to worry at all with a direct aux cable! Year after year of frustration about this has finally come to an end.
I’m happy to present to you my top list of podcasts for April of 2015:
March was a heavy gaming month, and for no particular reason! I just happened to be clued in on a few great new podcasts that had to do with video games, and it must have been on my mind. Still, there’s plenty of variety to go around in my list, so feel free to peruse at your leisure!
Valve, the company behind Steam and many extremely popular game franchises like Portal, Left 4 Dead, and Half-Life, created a documentary about the biggest esports tournament that had ever taken place before 2011. They both sponsored the tournament and created the game that was played: Defense of the Ancients2 (or Dota 2).
The film was originally planned to be a simple documentary about the first tournament of its scale for the game, which was still in development at the time. After delving into three particular players’ backstories, however, the documentary makers and Valve decided to create a feature-length film that was released in March of 2014 and captured the essence of the growing space of esports.
This commercial has been appearing for a few weeks before some of the YouTube videos I’ve been watching. It’s funny, in a way, but after seeing it many times in a row, I started to find a more problematic side to it in the current climate of video games in society.
I believe there is a large cultural divide between gamers today.
One one side is a fierce devotion to an action experience, perfected controls, and reliable, balanced combat. It’s a group of people interested in gaming for adrenaline-fueled fun and competition. I also believe this group skews younger and more heavily comprises the ireful online communities full of vulgarity and animosity, unfortunately.
The second group is one that values a wider spectrum of experiences from gaming. One that likes to see video games taken to new heights of storytelling, design, ingenuity, and scale. These are the people I love who write intelligent, thoughtful reviews and commentaries on the industry and the medium. On where it’s going and what it’s capable of.
And it’s this second group for which games like Beyond: Two Souls are more appreciated, and this group I wish to address in my writing.