Tag Archives: podcasts

Nintendo of America launches Nintendo Power Podcast

Nintendo:

Nintendo of America has released the very first episode of its new Nintendo Power Podcast. With Nintendo Power Podcast, Nintendo employees, developers and special guests discuss the world of Nintendo – from Mario to the Legend of Zelda, and everything in between.

The first episode of the powered-up podcast features an in-depth interview with Nintendo developers Eiji Aonuma and Hidemaro Fujibayashi about the making of the Legend of Zelda™: Breath of the Wild game.

Also, Nintendo of America employees Chris Slate (previously editor-in-chief of Nintendo Power™ magazine), Damon Baker (from Publisher and Developer Relations) and Kit Ellis (co-host of Nintendo’s weekly YouTube show Nintendo Minute) take a look back at Nintendo’s action-packed 2017.

I missed the boat on the original Nintendo Power magazine. As a Genesis kid, Nintendo Power was the extra flair that made me envious of my NES and SNES owning schoolyard peers. A brilliant marketing gimmick that helped build Nintendo’s IP into cultural touchstones for our generation.

Hearing word of Nintendo’s newly launched Nintendo Power Podcast rekindled those old memories — a new marketing gimmick and bolstering of IP for a new generation. And I’m happy to report that the podcast is a quality production that extends beyond news and marketing fluff. The banter from hosts Slate, Baker, and Ellis is honest and really no different than some of my favorite podcasting cross-talk, but with nice perspective from within the company. The quiz section is a great hit of nostalgia. And the interview with Eiji Aonuma and Hidemaro Fujibayashi sheds light on much of the design origins and thinking behind one of the greatest games ever made.

It is with relief that I see potential for depth in this show. It seems Nintendo understands the overlap of podcast consumers and Switch owners — 77% of podcast consumers range between the ages of 18-54; 80% of Switch owners range between the ages of 19-44. That’s not a market for pure marketing fluff.

The final touch of polish is that n the theme; an evolution of of Nintendo console sound design. It reminded me of the logo I designed for the Ported Podcast — the Ported Key.

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Water Coolers, Spoilers, and Serial

On the way to work, my wife and I caught up on Serial. On our commute home, she mentioned that Zach Braff had tweeted about the podcast:

I can’t look through my Twitter feed without seeing a mention of Serial. Everyone’s onboard. Everyone’s got a take. But the extent of sharing is “OMG! WTF! #serial” We are all on par with Laura’s confusion in episode 8.

Serial is great. Definitely not my favorite podcast, but it’s a spectacular display of fine editing and editorial guidance. But more importantly, Serial has brought back the water cooler conversation. Everything about Serial thus far is based on presumption. If you tried to explain what is happening, you’d leave behind mountains of critical detail. Because the questions hurdle by ad nauseam, there aren’t answers big enough to spoil the show. Think LOST, with hatches and polar bears and Dharma, but rooted in the nonfiction investigation of a 1999 homicide case with cell records and reenactments and Jay. This is pre-meditated in the sense that Sarah Keonig and the Serial crew know that answers won’t come easy. There are no spoilers. This is great storytelling and we are along for the ride.

This thought led me to other serialized media. Serialized TV is larger than ever, but the good stuff (Game of Thones) is adapted or released in bulk (House of Cards). I kid, I kid. Admittedly, I have not watched True Detective. But in all seriousness, TiVo culture and binging has struck deep fear in sharing too much about nightly TV. While this sounds like a backwards argument against on-demand podcasts, again, Serial doesn’t offer enough answers to divulge spoilers. Again, this is great storytelling.

This led me to thoughts on film. What was the last (semi-)pre-meditated, non-adapted, serialized film series released? Pirates of the Caribbean (2 & 3)? The Matrix (2 & 3)? Star Wars (5 & 6)? Nearly every (if not all) serialized film series released within the past few years has been adapted. Harry Potter. Hunger Games. Divergent. The answers to these series have been lying around in text years prior to the film’s release. The best we can hope for is that we haven’t read the book or the film is so far off from the source material that it feels like a unique experience.

We need more original, pre-meditated, serialized content. Someone write an original three part film trilogy with segments so good they can stand on their own as solid films. Someone conceptualize a three, four, or five season TV show from start to finish. Calculate the journey or take us along for the ride. Stop adapting. Stop playing by ear. If you do play by ear, root it in nonfiction. Make sure you can’t make stuff up.

I realize this is less a message to creators as it is to producers, with overhead and risk to take into consideration. But if you want to give us story, allow us to risk our time and money. Trust creators.

Tomorrow, my wife and I will listen to episode 10 of Serial and the most we’ll be able to share is “OMG! WTF! #serial”

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Anamanaguchi on Song Exploder

Peter Berkman and Ary Warnaar, Anamanaguchi:

There’s a big community of people who will take old Nintendo’s from 1985 and use them as synthesizers; people in Sweden, New York, Japan, London; taking apart these old video game consoles and old home computers and using them as synths instead of game consoles. They’d write software specifically for producing music on them.

The appeal isn’t necessarily using the actual console. The appeal is the limitations. You get such a shortened language of electronic music. It really simplifies the idea of how to build the sounds that you want from the simplest building blocks. It’s kind of expanded to using this language of simple digital music but applying it to everything else as well.

The cool part about the NES as a sound chip thingy, you get all this bit-quantization which means it has 16 values for volume. When a note fades out, it looks like stairs instead if a diagonal line.

First off, Song Exploder is a brilliant podcast by Hrishikesh Hirway. Rather than explain it in my own words, here’s the official description:

A podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made.

If you’re not subscribed, do so now.

I have been a fan of Anamanaguchi since hearing Another Winter in the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game demo in 2010. The song sent my mind racing back to the NES era gaming. There is such a comfort in 8-bit sounds.

Anamanaguchi has put out two EPs, a series of singles (including my personal favorite, Airbrushed) as well as a debut full-length in the form of a kickstarted double LP titled Endless Fantasy. Last year, I had a great time writing up an experimental dual-review of the record against Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires of the City which you can find here.

Give this Song Exploder episode a listen. It’s fascinating to learn what goes on behind electronic (namely chiptune) music.

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A Life Well Wasted

An internet radio show about videogames and the people who love them.

I am revisiting Robert Ashley’s A Life Well Wasted. If you’re a fan of Radiolab, the music of I Come To Shanghai or Jim Guthrie, and culture and history, you should be listening too.

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