There are movie podcasts, and music podcasts, and TV podcasts, and basically every other form of entertainment podcasts. So it only makes sense to have a video game podcast, right? After all, video games are nothing new and have been growing in complexity and popularity since Pong. We’re … Just Alright is a video game podcast focused on the stories that make the games truly come alive.
Along with the pure gameplay, the storylines in video games have become a special point of emphasis and notoriety, with several being made into movies lately.
I got a chance to meet Agust, host of We’re … Just Alright, to discuss some of his favorite video game storylines, why the transition to feature films is so difficult, and his opinion on the future of esports. Below is our full Q&A, enjoy!
Discover Pods: How did your podcast get started?
Agust: When Firewatch came out we decided that we wanted to take part in a larger discussion about how stories in video games can affect us like a book or movie can.
DP: Why did you choose a podcast over other mediums?
Agust: We’d thought about doing a youtube channel but decided that the time commitment + video equipment cost was too much for us. Podcasting allows us to put together a quality production while we’re in separate locations and at a reasonable cost.
DP: What’s unique about your podcast?
Agust: Our focus on story in games and how that affects us personally.
DP: What are some of your favorite stories from video games?
Agust: The Stanley Parable is high up on this list. It’s a story about an office worker named Stanley (the player’s character) who’s job it is to receive instructions on a screen and then carry them out on his computer. One day he doesn’t get any instructions and when he finally makes the choice to see what’s going on in the rest of the office, discovers everyone is gone. The whole time there’s a narrator who’s describing what Stanley (you) is doing just before he does it, but what happens if Stanley chooses something else?
It’s a fantastic way to get people thinking about how much choice they actually have.
For a less philosophical and more emotional story I’ll go with Firewatch. You play a guy escaping his life for a few months by becoming a forest ranger who watches for forest fires. You sort life out by wandering around in the woods and talking to your only friend over a radio.
Made me cry a little.
DP: Why do your listeners keep coming back?
Agust: I’ve had several listeners tell me that they’ve started playing video games because of our show. I don’t think a lot of people realize the depth of stories that can be consumed in the game format. I think people listen because when you’ve had a big experience with a story it’s natural to want to join in a conversation about it with someone else who understands.
DP: What’s your favorite video game movie?
Agust: Honestly, I’ve never seen a movie that was based on a video game. I’ve seen movies about video games (think Tron and war games). I really liked ‘Indie Game: The Movie’ for how it showed the human face behind game development. I think everyone who plays video games would benefit from remembering that there’s a real person or persons with thoughts and feelings behind that work.
DP: Why can’t studios seem to harness the stories into successful movies?
Agust: Watching a movie is largely a passive experience. You don’t get to have a say in what happens next in a movie. I think it’s the loss of interaction that makes movies based on games not that appealing. The experience of being involved in how a story plays out is a big part of what makes the stories more engaging to play through.
DP: What’s one video game, or franchise, that deserves its own movie?
Agust: I think the Zelda franchise has a solid chance of being a good movie. It would have to be done well, obviously, but the world is quite large and there must be a million stories to tell from it. An added bonus would be that people might stop confusing Link for Zelda 😉
DP: What’s next?
Agust: Keep producing content! We’re only 7 episodes in so we’ll keep finding interesting games to play and upping the production of the show. I would love to be able to buy a fantastic editing suite some day and we’d love to get the equipment to record high quality tracks while we’re in the same room. Currently we need to be remote so we get good audio.
DP: Where do you want to take your podcast?
Agust: We were just talking about how we’d like to be able to do shows on VR games and how immersion can make a difference to story. That will require a significant investment that we’re not in a position to make yet but hey, a guy can dream!
DP: What are your favorite 5 podcasts?
- Do by Friday
- You Are Not So Smart
- The Phil Vischer Podcast
- Reconcilable Differences
- Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know
DP: What are your thoughts on the future of esports?
Agust: It’s only going to grow. Especially with VR advancing the way it is we might be able to attend a match as a remote spectator and feel like we’re actually there!
DP: Anything else you want to add?
Agust: Fair warning to anyone listening to our show: we’re heavy on the spoilers. What I really love is discussing the meaning of games and you can’t do that without getting in to the meat of it. The best way to take part is to have played the game and then join in!
DP: Where can listeners find you?