OngoingWorlds blog

News & articles about play-by-post games, for roleplayers & writers

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Does creating audio podcasts make people take your roleplay seriously?

Music Energy (+clipping path, XXL)I love listening to podcasts. I’ve been listening to audio podcasts for many years, despite only owning a iPod recently. Usually I burn them to CD and listen in my car on long drives, or just my usual drive to work.

I love podcasts because they’re so specific on a topic, instead of listening to talk radio which usually has to cater for a wide general audience. In recent years I’ve been a boom of podcasts, each created by amateurs who are excited about a niche topic. One of these is the Starbase 118 podcast, Starbase 118 is a community of many roleplaying games, which gives them loads of content to talk about in an audio podcast. We’ve written several articles about Starbase 118 on this blog, which you can find here.

They’ve even got a special podcast for their Writing Improvement Month, here it is on YouTube:

The reason why I bring this up is that audio is a medium that I think people take seriously. In our hobby we write a lot, we write posts, we email other roleplayers, we chat using C-boxes, instant messenger and IRC, but think about how many other roleplayers whose voices you’ve heard. Maybe you’re close to your fellow roleplayers, and maybe you’ve know them in real life. After all, us roleplayers aren’t just antisocial Morlocks (see my last article), but mostly we communicate using text, right?

So to cross into the medium of audio seems a brave move. Replacing your frantic typing fingers with this thing called a voice. At last year’s Fallfest chat convention, we chatted using a text chatroom as usual, but what was different and for me what made it special was the live audio feed by Landon Wakeland who was giving a running commentary of the events in each chatroom. Landon chatted like a professional radio host, and played providing related music. This for me made the event seem very cool, especially when the quiz was coming to a tiebreaker, and it felt like I was taking part on a quiz on national radio. Landon’s commentary added tension, and I almost wet myself with the excitement of it all!

Recently my own roleplaying game, Blue Dwarf has started recording our game posts to audio, and again it feels really cool just to hear it in a different medium. Our members Andy Longman, Alex Solvay and others (including myself) have sat down to record these posts. Listening to them back is very enjoyable and feels so cool having something you’ve written read out by someone else. Here’s the feed it you’d like to subscribe, and here’s part 1 recorded by Andy Longman:

An advantage of course is that recording audio podcasts, whether you do OOC chat like Starbase 118, or record your story posts like Blue Dwarf, it’ll help strengthen your community. It’s been great to hear the voices of people I roleplay with. Also I suppose it’s a nice gentle way for newcomers to be introduced to your game without having to read a thousand pages of backstory.

I want to give more examples of roleplay podcasts, but I don’t know of many examples. I know Star Trek Borderlands used to do a podcast, as I’ve listened a few times, where they discuss the goings-on in their own created universe, but I can’t find a decent link for it now, and can’t find it on the monstrosity which is iTunes.

If you know of any podcasts for play-by-post games, and especially if your game has their own podcast – let me know in the comments below. If not, what’s your opinion on podcasts, does it enhance your game and your community, or do you perhaps think it’s a waste of time?

  • Star Army has a podcast too: http://stararmy.com/wiki/doku.php?id=sarptalk

    I think podcasts help the community connect – in a community with 20+ campaigns, people don’t always have the time or interested to see the “big picture” of the community outside their individual RP and SARPtalk is one way we make something that everyone can share. Plus it’s a way for us to discuss interesting and important topics and for me as admin to share my vision in a format that includes nuances of emotion and passion better than text alone.

  • Elena

    I prefer written words to an audio podcast any time. Audio podcasts might …get lost in translation easier. Accents have an impact on how a person perceives the sound and what he understands. The impossibility of having a Hi-Fi recording too. I am writing well in English, I can speak it fluently, but I prefer even movies to have a subtitle. Be it still in English. Otherwise, exactly like in a podcast, I understand only 2/3. And if it is an audio tape where I can’t look at the people’s lips, it is worse.

    • That’s true Elena it might not be for everyone, for the reasons you mentioned but it doesn’t have to be essential information. Or it could be a secondary way of consuming the RP story, which won’t actually detract from the original written text.