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NPR's Gaming Podcast 41

Via Joystiq and Kyle Orland comes the news that National Public Radio is going to be hosting a gaming-related podcast. The show will be hosted by Kyle (of VGMWatch), stand-up artist Ralph Cooper, and All Things Considered games reviewer Robert Holt. From the article: "Kyle - 'You really need to know what art is before you can determine whether video games are art.' Ralph - 'I feel like a lot of video games, at least right now, they're not really trying to make statements.' Rob - 'When I was in Grand Theft Auto ... I was driving through the city and listening to the radio and I drove over a hill and I saw ... this huge moon rise over the horizon, I was just in it at that point. I just knew that this was not your normal game. Of course, I could have just been beating up hookers...'"
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NPR's Gaming Podcast

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  • I personally won't trust the opinions of anyone who thinks podcasting (shown to be massively overhyped by the media compared to usage) is the next big thing, when most evidence points to it not being, to tell me what to spend my money on...

    Is this just me being a cynic? From what I've seen, podcasting is a no-starter...
    • by gkhan1 ( 886823 ) <oskarsigvardsson ... m minus language> on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @08:33PM (#15528875)
      You obviously arn't listening to any good ones! NPR has some great ones, such as Wait, wait, don't tell me! [npr.org] (funny as hell) and NPR:Books [npr.org], which is great if you're interested in books an literature. Slate's daily podcast [slate.com] is also very, very interesting. As for gaming, Gamespot's The Hotspot [gamespot.com] is great. TV Guide hosts TVGuide Talk [tvguide.com] a great podcast on television. If you're a super-nerd The Word Nerds [thewordnerds.org] are alot of fun. That's just naming a few of my favourites.

      The greatest one of all however is Filmspotting [filmspotting.net] (formerly Cinecast), a movie podcast which frankly is the best reviewers in all of media. A normal review contains what, 3-4 minutes of discussion, maybe 6-7 if it's an article. The Filmspotting guys routinely talk for seventeen (17!) minutes about a movie, incredibly smart and intellectual discussion that really dives deep into actors, scripts, direction, theme, etc. of every movie it reviews. That is what makes podcasting great, by not being contrained by a corporation, people are free to create their own formats, and have complete creative control. Most often that means it's gonna suck, but when it doesn't you get something like Filmspotting which is frankly unparalelled in quality.

    • by OECD ( 639690 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @09:07PM (#15529015) Journal

      I personally won't trust the opinions of anyone who thinks podcasting (shown to be massively overhyped by the media compared to usage) is the next big thing, when most evidence points to it not being...

      I can only speak for myself, but almost ALL of my interaction with iTunes is D/Ling podcasts. I can't stand the drek that the music companies push these days.

      As for podcasts themselves... Some are terrific ("This Spartan Life", "Macintosh Folklore Radio") some are not-so-much (no need to mention names.)

      Is Supply exceeding demand? Absolutely. Does that hurt me as a consumer? Absolutely not. Sure, some of the good ones will go away despite my support (anyone remember the TV show "Fast Eddy?") Some of the bad ones will stick it out regardless (anyone watch anything else on network TV lately?) I'll sift through the mud and remove the gems and hope that, in the future, the mud-to-gems ration will decline.

      I just wish "Red vs. Blue" would podcast...

    • Hmm, it sounds to me like you're projecting a little bit. These guys might think podcasting is "the next big thing", and maybe they don't. Even if they do think it's wonderful, you're basically saying "well, I disagree with these guys about some technology completely unrelated to gaming, so their opinions on gaming must be wrong."
    • If you don't like podcasts, you've never heard Nobody Likes Onions.
  • by gkhan1 ( 886823 ) <oskarsigvardsson ... m minus language> on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @08:14PM (#15528806)
    ....get gamespots The Hotspot [gamespot.com]. It's a little silly, but they do have the by far best insights and discussions of any gaming podcast I've listened to. That, and it's really fun :P
  • Frankly, I find most of these discussions which try to argue whether a particular thing is art or not, a bit silly. Everything has a component of art in it. Of course, games with all their visual components are certainly art..
    • Frankly, I find most of these discussions which try to argue whether a particular thing is art or not, a bit silly.


    • by laxcat ( 600727 )

      Of course it is art

      It's not as simple as all that. I too agree that the "what is art?" discussion is pretty tired. (I endured years of it in college getting my degree in Visual Arts.) However, I really encourage anyone who is even a little interesting in art and/or games to give this first episode a listen. They make some points that I hadn't thought of and give some really good arguments for different ways games could be seen as art, and how someone in the general public might be convinced.

      Here are thr

  • Yeah, where's the MP3?
    • You're supposed to use a podcast reader. You take the URL of the podcast's RSS feed (in this case it's here [npr.org] and you add that into your favorite reader. If you're using Linux, most well-featured music players will have the ability to read it, including Rhytmbox and amaroK. IIRC, Akregator may have done podcasts too even though it's not a media player. Macs have iTunes and I have no idea what's out there for Windows. Anyways, if you really wanted to get the audio without using a reader, just point your browse
  • by seriv ( 698799 )
    I somehow doubt many people are going to listen to this podcast from NPR. I am guessing that much of the show will be typical of NPR, which I don't think would appeal to the average gamer. I can see people listening to a review of a game on NPR, since most NPR listeners are not gamers and would have some interest in games, but they would listen to a specialized podcast. I do not listen to gaming podcasts, but I doubt many discuss the artistic qualities. I doubt this podcast will be successful.
    • Do I count? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by edremy ( 36408 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @09:47PM (#15529171) Journal
      I listen to NPR. I even donate to them every year- they make my commute tolerable.

      I also game.

      Then again, I don't listen to podcasts. Hmm, maybe it wasn't such a good idea after all.

    • Personally I'm in favor of anything that helps break the stereotype of all gamers being 14-25 year old males who enjoy nothing but naked women, loud music and "doin' the dew."

      The ESA has released data to the contrary [theesa.com], in fact.

      While I'll agree that the combination of calm, rational discussion and gaming is mostly unprecedented, rather that "doubt[ing] this podcast will be successful," I'll say "it's about time." I hope there are more people like me out there.

  • Why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tufriast ( 824996 ) *
    I'm sorry, but I don't see this as something the NPR Audience latching onto. I'm a longtime listener...but I just can't see it being a strong, and solid fit. Are folks who game really going to get their info from NPR? It might neutral, and it might be factual, but the gaming audience doesn't want that from what I can tell. I DO want that, but overall I see editorials with lots of slant, and sexed up marketing chants. NPR is NOT that, and I'd never want it to be.
    • I'm a gamer, and I listen to NPR. OTOH, I don't do podcasts. So... they almost had me, but then not quite.
    • It's important to note that this is not a news and reviews podcast. It will focus more on the cultural significance of games and gamers, which is something that fits very well with NPR.

      I love NPR, gaming and podcasts, so...you know... horray for me.

    • There are a lot of young people who listen to NPR. There are a lot of young people who play games. Granted, the intersection of those two sets is likely to be much smaller than either of the groups alone. However, that's what makes it perfect for a podcast. Podcasts are notoriously cheap to produce, though considering the talent this one is likely to cost more than many others. But it's still way cheaper than even a 15 chunk of time on a radio network.

      I think it's a great idea. And if they "get it rig
  • NPR's Podcasts (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Noodlenose ( 537591 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @09:56PM (#15529211) Homepage Journal
    Being normally rather a healthy sceptic when it comes to the American media (who can blame me: look at the Fox network), I find NPR's programmes on par with auntie BBC's Radio4. They might not have the same sort of humour as those doyens of British culture, but podcasts like 'living on earth' and the accumulated 'technology' podcast are excellent (check out my homepage for podcast reviews).

    This just shows that Americans can actually produce something worthwhile when they really want to. A rather hopeful notion, isn't it?

    • Re:NPR's Podcasts (Score:5, Insightful)

      by shawb ( 16347 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @11:37PM (#15529561)
      I think it more goes to show that Americans can produce something worthwhile when it is not an advertiser pays for-profit system.

      It really really makes sense. In traditional transactions the customer is the entity which pays for the transaction. In advertising supported media, the customer would therefore be the advertiser. What is the advertiser purchasing? The viewing time of the audience. So, this means that the audience is the PRODUCT rather than the customer.

      It makes sense that a company will do its best to provide the best product it can to the customer, so advertising supported television will do it's best to provide the best audience to the advertisers. What sort of people make the best product then? Those easilly swayed by advertising. That means it is fiscally irresponsible for an advertising supported media company to produce intelligent, thought provoking material. Profitable shows have to be able to appeal to the lowest common denominator, if they appeal to more discerning audiences that has very little effect on the bottom line, and indeed makes for a more inferior product. The TV show/radio broadcast/etc is simply used to ensnare viewers, they are more like the machines in a factory that actually make the product the customer buys. It makes sense that TV and most radio appeals mainly to the lowest common denominator, and in fact creating programming that makes the audence dumber, or at least puts them in a trance-like state where in theory they are more susceptible to advertising. Ever look into the eyes of someone who has been watching TV for a while? Usually a complete blank stare. And it takes a little time to shake the haze off once their concentration is broken from the tube.

      So, in advertiser supported media you may occasionally get a smart show that appeals primarilly to intelligent, discerning people but this is expected to be a fluke rather than the norm. If you want good quality stuff, you either have to go the routes audience supported rather than advertiser supported: either a donation based model such as public television/radio or college radio, or you go with an entirely subscription based model as HBO or Showtime does. Not that everything on audience supported media will be good, and not that everything on advertiser supported media will be good, but audience supported media will carry a much higher proportion of quality programming even if the advertisements themselves are omitted.
      • Well, if I would be allowed to mod in threads I'm contributinh to, I'd give you an insightful. Very worthy comment, which probably applies to most publicly funded media outlets in the western world (though I have my doubts about 'The Voice of Iran').
      • But who pays for NPR (and PBS)? The government, large corporations, and large foundations. Despite claims of being "viewer supported", most of their revenue does not come from viewers. The only reason NPR and PBS have "high brow" programming is because the hoi polloi aren't paying for it.

        For true audience supported programming, you need to turn to cable and the pay-for and add-on stations.
        • Despite claims of being "viewer supported", most of their revenue does not come from viewers.

          Not so [wikipedia.org]:

          According to the most recent 2005 financial statement, currently NPR makes just over half of its money from the fees and dues it charges member stations to receive programming. About 2% of NPR's funding comes from bidding on government grants and programs (chiefly the Corporation for Public Broadcasting); the remainder comes from member station dues, foundation grants, and corporate underwriting. NPR member s

          • NPR makes just over half of its money from the fees and dues it charges member stations to receive programming

            You're interpreting this as being all viewer donations, but the article does not say that.
    • I'm a big fan of On The Media [onthemedia.org] - a weekly NPR radio show which I probably wouldn't hear if it wasn't for their graciously provided RSS feed. The show covers print and broadcast media from an ethical perspective, in contrast from MediaGuardian's [guardian.co.uk] obsession with CEOs and ratings. Its not all US centred and they do a lot on Iraq and even the UK. Worth a listen.
    • Being normally rather a healthy sceptic when it comes to the American media...

      I am assuming that you meant "skeptic," but perhaps you meant to write "septic." Which would be an incredibly clever play on words considering the topic of discussion is the crap known as American Media

  • Too bad Daniel Shore isn't involved. I would love to hear him talk for 4 minutes about a game and say absolutely nothing in the process. Amazing every time.
  • A piece needn't make a statement to be considered art.

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