Play, Watch, Listen
Other than some random soundtracks, I hadn’t been consuming much content recently. My current schedule consists of working night shifts without an end (for my “day” job), and preparing Fragments for publishing (which is probably the only thing keeping me sane at this point). But because of this perpetual crunch, I’ve been rather hesitant to commit to anything else. No TV shows, games, or even books for me lately… I don’t know, I like to enjoy these things when I’m in a good mood, not when I’m burned out.
However, there’s one thing that I’ve held on to in these past few months, and that’s the Play, Watch, Listen podcast. Every new episode of this show is pretty much the highlight of my week. It’s a damn good podcast, and it's surprisingly uplifting. Even though video games are usually the main topic on Play, Watch, Listen, I’m often left motivated by the presented conversation to persist with my own creative endeavors (a.k.a. Order of the Spirits books).
Anyway, I’m probably getting ahead of myself here. If you’re not familiar with this podcast, all of this must sound confusing, so let’s add some structure to this post!
First off, what’s Play, Watch, Listen?
Play, Watch, Listen is a podcast hosted by Alanah Pearce and it first started airing in late 2019. Due to the busy schedules of the cast, it was at first a monthly podcast but has since the global pandemic turned into a weekly thing. Next to Alanah, the cast members are Austin Wintory, Troy Baker, and Mike Bithell, who all come from different branches of the video game industry. To keep this simple:
- Alanah has been covering games media for years now. More importantly, though, she really fucking loves video games! Podcast or not, video games are mostly what she talks about, and I love it. I’m also a fan of her work on Inside Gaming (a gaming news channel) and Funhaus (a gameplay/comedy channel).
- Meanwhile, Austin is an incredible composer, best known for his work on a video game called Journey. He has composed plenty of other amazing stuff too, so if you’re not familiar with his music, do yourself a favor and look him up on YouTube or wherever. That’s what I do every now and then when working on my stories…
- Troy Baker is an actor, and if you ever played any video game, chances are you heard his voice before. Honestly, it’s hard to tell what he’s best known for. The man’s been in a shit-ton of popular games… I guess his most trending role right now would be that of Joel, in The Last of Us series, however, I better remember him as Booker from Bioshock: Infinite, or even Talion from the recent Lord of the Rings games.
- And then there’s Mike Bithell, who’s a video game director. Basically, the dude runs an indie company and creates video games! To my shame, I’m yet to play anything that he’s developed, but money’s tight right now, so that’ll have to wait. Anyway, John Wick Hex and Thomas Was Alone are two titles that are probably most associated with his name.
So, as you can imagine, the cast members of Play, Watch, Listen all bring unique perspectives on the discussion of video games. What’s more, they’re all very passionate individuals, and not just about their part in the industry or video games, but also about the creative process in general. Not to mention they also harbor other interests that often take them off-topic, which brings me to my next point.
What’s the podcast about?
As mentioned, the main topic is usually related to video games. Except, it often isn’t…
The thing is, the four cast members all have plenty of life experience, many anecdotes, different inspirations behind their creative choices and work ethics... So naturally, all that seeps through their conversations, often to the point where some of it becomes the topic of discussion. For example, they start talking about how game developers choose the release dates for their games, but end up discussing philosophy, Star Wars, death, pets, Austin’s bloody shoes… And it’s all so seamless. It’s also quite entertaining, often informative, and surprisingly motivating!
That talk about video game release dates? From what I’ve gathered as an upcoming indie writer, that shit’s also applicable to book release dates… And that’s, I think, why I enjoy this podcast to the point of recommending it even to people who don’t really care about video games. The way I see it, Play, Watch, Listen is about all things creative. It’s about the creative process itself.
It’s also about the banter, the tangents, the jokes… Frankly, the dynamic between the cast members is irreplaceable. Which brings me to my final point.
What makes Play, Watch, Listen stand out?
Simply put, Alanah, Austin, Troy, and Mike breathe unique energy to this podcast that even after 32 episodes still feels fresh, honest, and pure. Their interactions are a delight to watch, their discussions are chaotic and fun, yet always civilized, and they’re somehow professional and friendly all at the same time—even when they’re disagreeing with each other! And all of it simply seems sincere...
So yeah, I fucking love this podcast, and I get a great deal of inspiration from each of the cast members. Austin, with his work process, touching music, and even wild tangents. Troy, with his commitment to his craft and beyond, as well as his constant desire to grow and learn. Mike, with his vast knowledge, leadership skills, and willingness to share all of it with the rest of us. And Alanah, with her integrity, levelheadedness, and resolve.
What’s more to say? If you’re into video games, definitely check this podcast out. If not, maybe give it a chance regardless ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
’Till next time!