I don’t really want to flood the Mobfeed with all of the stuff I’ve been writing recently. It just seems extremely serendipitous that this site started up just a week or two after I set out to do the same thing, albeit in a vacuum and not in a cool community like this. So I’ll post this one and then wait a little bit! This one is just kind of time-dependent because it’s about the recent format changes to Retronauts and it was already almost two weeks late when I posted it yesterday.
(originally published on May 6 2009 on topghost.tumblr.com)
1Up’s Retronauts podcast recently changed their format. I finally got around to listening to the first two episodes of the new format and I do think it’s an improvement over the old format, which was what seems to be the default format for gaming podcasts: round up 3-5 people and have them talk at each other for 60-90 minutes. I say "at" because you can frequently tell who’s not listening to anyone else because they’re waiting to interrupt with their new point. I do think this format can work in some situations but the host Jeremy Parish has been admitting for a long time that it would require him to step in as a stronger host which is not something he feels comfortable doing.
The new format breaks the show up into smaller segments and has only 1-2 people, often putting Jeremy Parish in an "interviewer" kind of position while he talks with someone who he has decided is best qualified to discuss a given topic. On the one hand, this lends to a smaller variety of perspectives. You don’t necessarily get to hear dissenting viewpoints unless Parish himself can propose one. This is probably the only real downside to the smaller format, though, as the conversations themselves seem to be a lot more thoughtful and involve two people really listening and thinking and responding.
I still think the Retronauts podcast might need to go through even more changes to fulfill its potential, which is kind of funny to say considering I’ve listened to almost every one of its 70 episodes. Why is it still worth listening to? Because if shows like ListenUP represent the media, the people who are into the newest and most sensational and the breaking info, Retronauts gives you the historians– the people who know the background of the companies, the hardware, the dates and years and numbers. They have a wealth of knowledge that they share, especially as Parish continues to reach out to people who aren’t necessarily 1Up staff or alumni in order to bring in the most knowledgeable voices he can find about a given topic.