On the most recent AMCA, guest Adam Conover said “constellation of podcasts,” referring, I assume, to the rich body of podcasting featuring Austin Walker and/or Rob Zacny (do Ali Acampora or Natalie Watson have podcasts that lack the aforementioned? Sorry if I don’t know of them). Jokes have of course been made before about that complex web so, in jocular spirit, I ask:
What’s your name for what Rob calls the “Broader Walker/Waypoint-verse podcast?” What do you call the house that five-star runtimes built?
Personally, I show my age and history and, rather incorrectly, say it’s part of the Greater Jeff Gerstmann Podcastimatic Universe, in the same sphere as Nextlander, Shift+F1, Will & Brad Make a Tech Pod, etc.
It’s funny you mention that because I see that era as “the 1UP era” with EGM, 1UP Yours (a young Patrick Klepek was an intern at 1UP at the time, I think, and appeared on an episode or two), and GFW Radio.
I believe Natalie and Danika have either a show or a Twitch stream (or both?). They’re both really busy though.
The Waypoint Podcast Universe is sort of my shorthand for the close-held constellation birthed by WPR though.
Funnily enough, my whole logic for thinking of a Jeff Gerstmann Podcastimatic Universe as a thing is because I was all in on the 1UP podcasts during the titular era and knew nothing of Gamespot’s business beyond when they fired Jeff until 1UP destroyed itself one time too many and I went to Giant Bomb. Flipside, I got in on all those sweet 1UP parasocial relationships. I remember exactly which rooftop party Patrick and Robert Ashley were talking about during that interview and I remember back when all the SF game journos called Jeff Green dad.
And darn Patrick Klepek and his career that has brought him across every stop in games journalism. Why couldn’t I be the one to cover an E3 at 14!?
Patrick Klepek has a really great book in him somewhere. 1UP/EGM. G4. EGM again (I think?). Giant Bomb. Kotaku. Waypoint. He’s seen it all.
It’s the Walker-verse to me and anyone else who wants to claim it.
For me, I basically think of it as an odd game of Six Degrees of Austin Walker.
While I watched the odd Quick Look and occasionally listened to a Bombcast if there was a big news story I wanted a deeper look at, I only really got into any Giant Bomb or adjacent podcasts after I heard about Waypoint and started liking Austin’s takes on games. Same with Rob and TMA/idle thumbs. And basically all of the podcasts I listen to now are just ‘someone guested on one of Austin’s podcasts/he guested on their podcast, or one of the players from FatT has another podcast on this other network’.
Friends at the Table > Emojidrome (co-hosted by Sylvi of FatT) > PGoT/Yare Yare Boyz > the entire noisespace.xyz network.
Austin co-hosting the Turn A season of Great Gundam Project > Abnormal Mapping > Bag End Book Club, Ultra Queue, several others.
That one Waypoint episode about Kingdom Hearts and Philosophy > Game Studies Study Buddies/Just King Things.
My question is whether you can connect every single popular podcast together. How many degrees of separation does it take until WayMap’s web reaches all the way to Welcome to Nightvale?
Well, it isn’t that hard: Waypoint → Lore Reasons → Game Studies Study Buddies → Just King Things (Joseph Fink was on a Bonusode and is a huge fan) → Nightvale
I prefer to call it Rich Gallup’s HotSpotiverse.
In my mind the majority of the podcasts I listen to come from either Giant Bomb directly or from the cultural moment it was born out of; a move to personality based content online, and involving a lot of people who were either familiar or friends with each other through games media.
So many games people came in to my general awareness through GB, and eventually went on to form their own adjacent things, such as Giant Bomb to Waypoint (Austin, Patrick), Three Moves Ahead (Rob), A More Civilized Age (Austin, Natalie, Rob), Nextlander (Vin, Brad, Alex), Fanbyte (Danielle), If You’re Driving (Fanbyte), and of course Remap (Waypoint cont.) etc. not to mention people’s individual ventures into streaming.
It’s the Bomberverse to me
Much like @Navster it all branches out from The Hotspot for me. In honesty, there are rare exceptions in my podcast feed that didn’t stem directly from there. The Hotspot brings me to Giant Bomb which brought me Danika, Danielle, Patrick, and Austin which in turn brings Waypoint, Be Good and Rewatch It, Fanbyte, Remap, Death by Online, AMCA, and the like.
Beyond that, it’s a random mishmash of recommendations from friends and random discoveries from articles.
Besides GB, I think Idle Thumbs is the other significant factor in the Waypoint-verse at least in spirit since so many WP members either appeared in their podcast network in some capacity and/or were fans – besides Danielle, I think Patrick guested a couple of times and I vaguely remember Rob making appearances or being talked about in the main pod pre-3MA/Idle Weekend iirc lol. But for me personally, while I also occasionally watched some Giant Bomb stuff at the time, the games crit blogosphere turned out to be the one of the things that shaped my gaming (podcast) tastes the most since that space + Idle Thumbs introduced me to so many voices… for instance I remember getting excited when Austin got hired by GB because I was reading Clockwork Worlds and my surprise when I found out way later that this cage is worms was actually by the same Cameron from the Ranged Touch network.
Another follower of the indie game/games-crit/weird Twitter scene to personality-based podcast pipeline here. I remember explicitly going looking for popular games-related podcasts in the early 2010s and bouncing hard off the west-coast-dudes-hanging-out vibe. It wasn’t until I found people and places I consistently read and followed their other appearances that I clicked with the Idle Thumbs network (Riendeau and Zacny), Match Three (Jackson and someone named Klepek), or the Beastcast (via Walker, whose brief games-crit Patreon was an insta-pledge for me). Totally get why Ranged Touch doesn’t sell itself as “from the creators of The Uncle Who Works for Nintendo and Epanalepsis” but that’s how I came to them, anyway.
Reading this thread is also a fun age game, which reminds me to take my Metamucil lol
For me it all flows from Jeff and GiantBomb (rip)
I still wish I could hear that Idle Thumbs theme tho…
Seeing people who aren’t tracing their roots back to some dudes in SOMA with a podcast in 2006 is reminding me how far back my hair’s gone.
It’s clearly a constellation because they have five-star runtimes.
To actually respond, I’m actually routinely sort of reticent to ascribe any sort of consistent sphere to this. It’s a lot looser and weirder.
Like, on a network like Gimlet or Maximum Fun, the shows are linked by an entire organization, and even so it feels a bit loose, so when we look at this “clump”, it feels even less concrete. Because the connections are largely based on what you personally listen to. I know for a lot of people, it’s all related to Giant Bomb, but I’ve never really given that stuff a listen (sorta of a previous generation to me) and has never really hit on what I care about in games criticism. Idle Thumbs was before my time, too. And while I want to listen to more Ranged Touch, I’m way behind on it. Meanwhile, I hold Death By Online as core but I know others don’t, and know few have listened to the Fanbyte podcasts. It’s inconsistent. On a personal note, there are some conversations I’ve felt alienated by due to assumed connections that I would have to related groups. There’s a lot of in-jokes I don’t get. I don’t think its an evil assumption to make, to be clear, but it did feel weird and it’s why I don’t think it’s so simple. And this is not an issue specifically to this scene, but I think a broader thing you can see throughout pop culture communities. Similar bands, similar games, similar philosophers, etc. Point being, these connections are more personal, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
That’s not to think there isn’t any connection – it’s actually the reason I like the term Adam used: constellation. These podcasts are linked by initial connections to one another, but not necessarily all connected themselves. You can get from Match Three to Friends at the Table, but you have to draw those lines. There’s no magic proximity that makes something connected or not. It’s the connection itself.
Anyway, “The Five-Star Constellation” is pretty funny and I think I’ll try to use it now.
I similarly haven’t listened to any Giant Bomb, and the constellation I listen to branches over more tangentially to Abnormal Mapping and Audio Entropy. A lot like actual constellations, the groupings are more-or-less arbitrary.
I understand cognitively that shows like GFW Radio, The HotSpot, and 1UP Yours are the progenitors of “video game podcasting” as a concept, but they’re before my time.
I think the two main branches that converged to generate this Waypoint sphere are 1) Giant Bomb/Beastcast, where Austin first got access to a “mainstream” audience, which he parleyed into Waypoint as a site, and 2) the Idle Thumbs Network, of which many WP contributors are former cast members, which was early to the movement of considering games beyond just “is it fun”. Chris Remo’s editing style also heavily influenced early Vice Gaming’s New Podcast episodes. God I miss Idle Thumbs.