New podcast is like This American Life for video games


Game is a 4 Letter Word

A long time ago on this very Internet web page, Destructoid had one community member temporarily step up to “the big leagues” to provide front page coverage during PAX 2007. I mean, that has happened a lot; a good portion of the staff rose up from the community (including yours truly). But specifically for that event, Destructoid invited Matthew “Tristero” Walden on board.

He has since gone on to do some cool stuff in the industry, and this latest venture is something regular NPR listeners might be able to get behind. Teamed up with Ryan Stevens, the two are producing a new video game-centric podcast that wears its This American Life influence on its sleeve.

It’s called Game is a 4 Letter Word, and the premise is each episode takes a single four-letter word and examines its connection to video games and the surrounding culture. Stevens aims for it to be listenable by gamers and non-gamers alike, so a lot of the time it plays out like a series of loosely connected stories about people, not just about games themselves.

I’ve listened to the first four episodes, and so far I’m digging it. Episode 0: ZERO lays out the foundation for the series. Episode 1: PINK features stories about girly games, the origin of Kirby, and Seattle retro game store Pink Gorilla.

Episode 2: WHAT is shorter and more to the point, asking various people what a video game is. (Additional bonus: former Destructoid writer Tiff Chow appears briefly on this episode.) Episode 3: CULT is probably the most interesting to the most people, as it looks at games with cult followings, investigates actual cults, and spends a considerable amount of time on a game with a cult following that features an actual cult in it. Start here if you want to see how good the idea can be.

I already listen to This American Life (in addition to a bunch of other NPR podcasts) regularly, so adding this to my feed was an easy choice. If you share a similar taste, you might also want to check it out.

[Disclosure: Game is a 4 Letter Word producer Matthew Walden is a former Destructoid contributor and a personal friend of mine.]