Podcasts these days are a dime a dozen, it is almost implausible to find a content creator of some note online who doesn't have a podcast attached to their brand or personal life. Joe Rogan is at the apex of the podcasting space and is perhaps the best example of how podcasts should be conducted and published.
Podcasts and the people therein also tend to take themselves quite seriously, with the notable exception of comedians, and is one of the best ways to engage with a community of like minded people.
'Play Watch Listen' does none of those things, and is better for it. Led by former video game journalist and current video game writer Alanah Pearce, the podcast is ostensibly about the videogame industry and what happens behind the scenes. Anytime they delve deep into a point of contention the listeners always come away with a boat load of insight and information regarding the topic.
Alanah is joined by three video game industry veterans; composer of the poetic indie game Journey, Austin Wintory, director of John Wick Hex, Mike Bithell and prolific actor who is in almost every game, Troy Baker. Their rapport is what makes (and breaks) the podcast.
If you're a gamer slowly falling prey to the ravages of time and responsibilities, this podcast is the best way to keep up with the gaming industry without having to spend hours playing or reading content about video games. Video game journalism specifically falls prey to blatant favouritism and spurious agendas a lot, but the group's take on current events in gaming is invariably measured and full of empathy for people who put in the hard work to make and publish video games.
Most gaming news lives and dies on Twitter, and because of how deeply entrenched the four of them are in the industry, they always provide some form of clarification as to what might actually be happening inside game development companies, way before said news even filters down to media outlets.
Each member of the podcast is intelligent and insightful regarding their craft, but they are also a group of close knit friends and have very good banter amongst themselves. This is arguably the best part of the podcast, listening to them is like being part of a really cool friend group without having to do any of the heavy lifting.
The podcast's proclivities include, not staying on topic, Star Wars and talking over Austin Wintory. It is hard to point out one episode in particular that stands out, if you want a sample of the content the podcast puts out, simply Youtube 'I got $60: Play, Watch, Listen animated', and treat yourself to a hilarious minute of a non-sequitur exchange courtesy of Troy Baker's masterful command over voice-acting.
Alanah fulfils the the role of the bemused and beleaguered mother hen to the other three, Mike Bithell is the erudite intellectual who owns or has read a book about whatever it is the other three can conjure up, Troy Baker is charismatic, energetic and effusive whilst Austin Wintory is soft spoken, measured and full of cinema lore and trivia. They balance each other out quite well and their dynamic is pretty much what keeps listeners and watchers hooked.
Personally speaking, I found my way into the gaming industry just through learning from Alanah Pearce's career trajectory. The Play Watch Listen podcast is very much an extension of that journey, as it provides great insight into the ever evolving gaming industry, especially how so many disparate talents intermingle and how those relationships and workloads affect each other.
Although a lot of the conversations are based around esoteric topics and fleeting news cycles, when the quad squad speaks about something they are seriously passionate about it immediately transforms into a treasure trove of industry knowledge.
Alanah Pearce deserves all the credit for putting this endeavour together. She does it ad-free, during her downtime, between bursts of working for Santa Monica studio, the developer of the God of War franchise. Pearce has been an ardent supporter of gamers with disabilities and has organised many charity streams on Twitch, through which she fostered donations for a wide gamut of charitable causes. Pearce is a true fan of the industry and the artform which is quite evident in the types of topics she discusses and the questions she asks. She genuinely didn't have to go out of her way to turn a group friendship into consumable content, but for video game enthusiasts such as myself, who are genuinely fascinated by all aspects of development, this show is both a godsend and a grand old time.