Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls is arguably one of my favourite games of all time, it’s certainly one of my most played. I’m not normally one to chase trophies in any game, but Diablo is so satisfying that this just sort of happened over the last few years. Almost everything about the game is perfect: killing demonic hordes feels satisfying; loot is frequent; the classes are distinct from one another, but varied enough to encourage experimentation; hell it even controls phenomenally well with the controller.
But as I said, almost everything is perfect. If there was one detractor from this brilliant game it’s the narrative – it’s boring enough to the point of being nonsensical. At no point do you really care about the story being told across the game, especially after you’ve gone through it once. The narrative thread is just a pretext to kill more enemies. The solution to this? Turn the sound off, go to your podcasting app of choice and listen to something better as you mindlessly slay the minions of both heaven and hell.
This is predominately how I played the game. When the game controls and feels so good, but lacks a cerebral plotline it makes perfect sense to just zone out and listen to something a little more stimulating. So as much as I adore this game, there’s nothing I can really say about it that hasn’t already been said, so instead I want to use this opportunity to talk about the three podcasts that allowed me to enjoy the game to it’s fullest.
Before we get into the meat and bones of this piece I mention a couple of podcasts I love that didn’t make the final cut, but are still worth checking out: What Say You?; The Tenderloins Podcast; Desert Island Discs; Book Shambles With Robin and Josie.
The Yogpod/The Tri-Force Podcast
The podcast that spawned the most popular family of youtube channels in the UK, as well as a mountain of in jokes that still persist to this day.
This podcast is just a couple of witty people talking absolute nonsense from episode to episode. Lewis tries to control the situation whilst Simon goes off the handle, uses silly voices and various different characters. Also, as a fan of the Yogscast as a YouTube brand, it’s nice to return back to the moment the whole thing started.
Unfortunately the YogPod hasn’t been a regular podcast for some time now. But fortunately it’s recently been replaced with another podcast in part of the same feed -The Triforce podcast. Here Lewis is joined by Sips and PyrionFlax, both of the extended Yogs Family. This new podcast maintains the constant level of shit-talking as its predecessor, thanks in part to the constant stream of dad-jokes and the three often talking with authority about things they don’t really know anything about.
I love both of these Podcasts simply because it’s nice to spend time with a group of friends who are not only witty, but also clearly have a great amount of love for one another. They all clearly enjoy doing the podcasts just for themselves, and as an audience member it’s nice to be a part of that.
Serial is an experiment of sorts into the world of podcasting, in that it aims to tell a single non-fiction story across a season. It’s an audio version of long-form investigative journalism as Sarah Koenig, a This American Life alum, as she explores a criminal case as thoroughly as she can.
Season 1 looks at the murder of Hae Min Lee, an 18 year old girl who disappeared in January 1999. Her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Masud Syed, was convicted of her murder and is currently serving a life sentence – but he always protested his innocence. And it’s into this case Koenig throws herself across the twelve episodes.
This is probably the most engaging podcast I have ever listened too. Not only is Koenig’s voice brilliantly emotive and engrossing, but the entire form of podcast grabs you. In between the hosts monologues, a series of interviews are used to give everyone involved in the case a voice. Every side of the argument is catered too, and never once does Koenig just presume that Adnan is innocent. Rather the podcast follows her process she explores all the compelling arguments both for Adnan’s innocence as well as Adnan’s guilt. Ultimately both the host and the audience have to come to terms with the fact that the key question here is not over Adnan’s guilt, but rather the court could legitimately find him guilty.
Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review
Blimey Charlie & hello to Jason! The BBC’s flagship film program, or Wittertainment as it’s more affectionately known, is one of the most popular podcasts in the world. After listening to it for over 5 years, I can safely say it’s my favourite podcast.
Although it’s a film review show, it’s not really about the films. This podcast is absolutely brilliant because it’s just two middle aged men bickering. The duo have worked together for a very long time, and as a result the two have an on-air chemistry akin to an old married couple; it’s full of arguing, passive aggressiveness and sarcastic barbs. It’s all incredibly funny.
But more than that, this show is cult-like in many ways. It’s spawned so many in jokes that there’s a website dedicated to keeping track of them all. There’s so many that initially it’s a little hard to listen to, but after a few weeks you begin to understand and the whole show just opens up to a new level. At this point you’re firmly a part of the “Church”. And that’s the thing, the podcast is almost religious in nature. It’s a show for those who pray to the church of cinema and want to share this love of the moving image with everyone else. The hosts have been saying recently that they believe their listenership to be a class above the average “fandom” and I have to agree. The film analysis as well as the pun work and general tone of both the hosts and the viewers that write in are all of an extraordinary quality. Everyone involved is so clearly devoted to cinema and it shows.
Have you got any other podcasts you can reccomend me? Or have you got another “podcast game” for me to play as I explore the depths of the itunes library? Let me know in the comments below.