The ever reliable Pat over at videolamer recommended that we listen to Robert Ashley's podcast series A Life Well Wasted. Being the impressionable douche bags that we are and worried that mean men will steal our DS on the bus we duly downloaded it and listened to it on the commutes. We recommend that you do too (if you haven't already, we are late to the party).

Initially, after the first two minutes I hated it. Hated the kooky music, hated the America-centric irrelevant commentary (you might as well be talking about American Football rather than EGM), and hated Robert Ashley's drawl- "Editor and host of an innnernet radio sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew". However, I stuck with it.

And it is worth sticking with it. I feel embarrassed to qadmit it, but my first approach to this podcast was to approach it like I would a forum, or blog comment or Youtube video. Guard up, my view point vs yours, I know more than you, you forgot about game X or X etc. etc. However, after listening to a couple of sheeeeews, the casts are revolutionary and amazingly refreshing.

Currently, there is no real professional, concerted effort to record the history of video game culture (data dumps of the internet do not count). This is sad. Imagine how different literature, art, film and music history would be if we had a near complete record of the development of these cultures and practices. Well uniquely, for video games most of the culture is still around for the collecting. All the major players, all the hardware, all the design docs etc. etc. All the things we might wish to collect in a "video game museum". This isn't being done yet for a whole host of reasons but even if it was, Robert Ashley's work would still remain important.

Robert Ashley's sheeeew (enough now) is 21st Century ethnography of video games culture and the people who live, breath and ultimately make the culture. Although he is the editor and the host he does an excellent job in bringing out the people whose interviews really make the show. The editing, by the way, is excellent and even the pensive musical interludes are crucial to the atmosphere and pacing. Ashley does and excellent role at steadily steering the podcast (rarely) interjecting with his own thoughts and opinions on the topic at hand. Conversations with former EGM staff, a cosplayer, a savant, a curator, a maker and Mr. pinball are entrancing to listen to and blows away the cobwebs of internet arguing that tends to make up video game discourse on the web (=most video games discourse).

Consider this our strong recommendation to listen to the ..... to the show and hopefully more episodes will be going live soon and others will be inspired to undertake projects like this too that will help to elevate our culture out of Mom's basement.


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