For those of you who don’t know, NPR’s This American Life is an American weekly hour-long radio program and podcast hosted by Ira Glass. Each week, Ira Glass and his staff choose a theme and put together different kinds of stories on that theme. It’s not a news show or a talk show or a call-in show. It’s stories. Sometimes dramatic, sometimes emotional, sometimes funny. As long as the stories correlating to the theme are interesting, it will make it air.
There is now a This American Life-inspired video game podcast called Game is a 4 Letter Word. Each episode hosts Matthew Walden and Ryan Stevens take a single four-letter word and examines its connection to video games and gamer culture.
Stevens’ intention for Game is a 4 Letter Word is to make it listenable by gamers and non-gamers alike. A lot of the time the podcast plays out like a series of loosely connected stories about people, not just about the games themselves.
So far they’ve covered “PINK” (featuring stories about girly games, the origin of Kirby and Seattle retro game store Pink Gorilla), “WHAT” (asking various people what a video game is), “CULT” (looking at games with cult followings, investigating actual cults and cult-centric game EarthBound) and “ICBM” (the Cold War, nukes, etc).
Whether you’re a hardcore gamer or just looking for a new podcast to carry you through the commute to work, we recommend giving Game is a 4 Letter Word a try. Even if you’re not crazy about it, listening might help more inventive video game-themed podcasts get made.