While I share Wil Williams‘ passion for highlighting indie podcasts, I’m new in town and feel a sample of what my core must-listens are (at the time of writing, these change every few months or so). Over the next ten days I’ll be sharing a mini-post per day highlighting one of my favorite mainstream podcasts.
This one’s a bit tricky to talk about due to Podquisition being from an RSS feed populated by several shows. To talk about Podqusition one has to talk about Jim Sterling himself. A self-proclaimed “D-list videogame pundit,” Sterling is equal parts well-spoken, vulgar, and grandiose. To quickly demonstrate his podcast regime, consider The Jimqusition as if it were the podcast version of a good hash.
You’ve got your potatoes (Podquisition) that act as a platform to hold up the smaller, spicier projects that aren’t as frequent (such as The Spin-Off Doctors and Jim won’t give Ian his VR). That said, the hash is really only brought together by the delicious buttery flavoring that is Sterling’s bizzare, gonzo approach to humor.
If there ever were contenders for real-life cartoon characters Sterling would be first in line and definitely wouldn’t be allowed anywhere near basic cable. To give some further context on Sterling’s sense of humor, consider the time when he was copyright-striked by the WWE for using several seconds of a hilarious CGI Stone Cold Steve Austin (from a 2001 video game) as a cutaway gag in a video.
Sterling took down the video, edited out the offending footage, then put out a call for someone with “a lot of spandex.” The result?
A 100% original wrestling character wholly owned by The Jimqusition that the WWE has no copyright claim to whatsoever. Out of spite and the fact that it’s hilarious, Sterling paid someone to custom-create a completely new costume, re-do his animated introduction, and had new theme music composed. Sterdust makes his first wrestling performance today, January 20th 2017. He’s taken the joke so far he’s legitimately going to a real local wrestling match.
Now after all that buildup, let’s actually talk about the podcast I’m a fan of.
Structurally the show is quite simple: three people of varying backgrounds get together and talk about videogame news, pop culture, and whatever else strikes their fancy. In practice this is the same podcast thousands of dudebros have run for over a decade, but what makes Podquisition rise on a cloud of Sterdust is it’s fucking bananas.
Alongside Sterling, games journalist/legendary butt-enthusiast Laura Kate Dale and kick-ass musician Gavin “Miracle of Sound” Dunne (repping the name Gavin a hell of a lot better than I) get together every week and follow a simple structure:
- What have we been playing
- What’s happening in gaming news this week?
- Audience questions
The caveat to this simple formula is the hosts reserve the right to talk about whatever flits into their heads. It is not an unusual occurrence for a tangent to pop up that keeps introductions lasting well into 20 minutes of the usually hour-long episodes. This isn’t a show one should tune into to get the hottest takes on this week’s gaming news, it’s a show one listens to for the chemistry of the three hosts. Frequently some great gaming discussions do rise to the top, but it’s always in a miasma of delightfully dated pop culture references, weird voices, rants, and occasional mini-performances from Gavin on guitar.
Something utterly rare in the podcast scene (from my perspective at least) is finding a trio of talking heads who are comfortable enough to occasionally agree to disagree. Usually arguments can lead to something either staged-feeling or plain awkward as the fight gets too real, Podquistion never really goes this far. Sterling might get into a conversation with Dunne about how they hated something about a certain new game, Dale will state her case in disagreeing, and then Sterling usually rounds off the conversation cracking a joke at people who can’t handle discourse online (usually referencing his infamous 7/10 review of the newest Zelda title).
There will be discussion of videogames, there will be discussion of butts, there will be something incredibly vulgar every few weeks. There are hours upon hours of calm, mature discussion but every now and then these diamonds of obscenity come out of left field, such as the infamous Batman name puns.
Sometimes I wonder what the hell it is I’m listening to, worried my headphones will pop out while walking around respectable people in public and Sterling’s voice rings off the frozen food aisle. It’s the podcast you really shouldn’t listen to in mixed company, it takes a relatively safe format and makes it a little weird… a little wrong in the right ways.
I’m not saying Podquisition is punk-rock podcasting, but it totally is.
Enjoy this “small” post about a favorite “mainstream” show? Check out yesterday’s post on Criminal!