Must be Nerd Week at Discover Pods this week. After spotlighting, Three Angry Nerds, we’re now discussing the retro gaming podcast, ROM of the Week. The premise is simple, they play and discuss old games that maybe didn’t get the buzz they deserved. Or, sometimes, maybe they didn’t get the buzz for a reason. Co-host Ian says, they play all the games, “from gems to turds.”
Though they don’t just sample the games. In order to qualify to be discussed, they have to beat the entire game. It’s one of the few rules they have.
I got a chance to speak with Ian and discuss the state of gaming, the challenges they face as indie podcasters, and some of their favorite games to date. Below if our Q&A.
Discover Pods: What’s your podcast about?
Ian: We play through less celebrated retro games and decide if they’re gems or duds.
DP: What’s unique about your podcast?
Ian: Our chemistry is second to none. We also go into a lot of detail not only about the history of the game, but what we went through in beating it. That’s right: our rule is that we have to play the game until we beat it.
DP: Why did you choose to podcast?
Ian: The intimacy and immediate feedback in podcasting is so much higher than other mediums. We feel close to listeners and they’re a big part of their show. They suggest games we should play and interact on social media. Plus, we can easily and quickly implement our creative in the audio space; much more so than videos.
DP: What are some less celebrated games you and your hosts have enjoyed?
Ian: As our show intro says, we play everything “from gems to turds,” and have had plenty of both so far. One that really sticks out is “Monster in My Pocket,” an NES game designed purely as a toy tie-in. It’s surprisingly fun, light, and has just the right mix of challenge and fun. We were shocked that a game adapted from a toy line could be such a good time.
DP: Are there certain franchises you think deserve a second life?
Ian: Maybe not franchises, but once home consoles went 3D, the shooter genre took a serious hit. Our highest rated game so far, “Forgotten Worlds” for Sega Genesis, was a real standout, because it reminded us how fun these kinds of games were. Just flying through levels, surrounded by what felt like hundreds of enemies, bullets and lasers flying everywhere, and then, just when you think you’re done, there’s a huge boss that has a little pattern or trick to beat. I know there are plenty of indie shooters out there, but AAA developers just aren’t making them. This genre needs a comeback.
DP: What kind of equipment do you use to record?
Ian: We all work in TV post production, so we’re no strangers to how important editing can be. We record on an Allen & Heath Zedi-10 multitrack mixer hooked up to 3 condenser mics, all pumped into adobe audition, which we also edit in. It took a while to find our correct workflow, but we’re really happy with the current set-up. We get to make any edits we need for time, to make a joke land, or lay in sound effects or music.
DP: What’s the biggest challenge as an indie podcaster
Ian: I think balancing day jobs and podcasting is really tough. We all have day jobs that take up a lot of our time, but still have a huge passion for podcasting. It makes scheduling difficult, finding time to not only record, but to play through an entire game. Some of these are not easy, and can take 15-20 hours. We joke around about losing our souls when we started using in-game cheats, but without them, some episodes would take months to fully get out there.
DP: What are your five favorite podcasts?
Ian: In no particular order: We Hate Movies, The Dollop, Hello from the Magic Tavern, We’re Alive, and Reply All.
DP: Where can listeners find you?