Kansas City Podcast Wonders What’s in a Game?

Though I am not a gamer myself, I am surrounded by them. My husband and kids play video games, and my son also is a tabletop gamer, not to mention my geek-friends at KCGameOn, LeagueKC, FANatics Gaming, and more. On Twitter, I recently ran across a Kansas City-based gaming podcast, What’s in a Game? Please allow me to introduce Cody and Dana. Read on to find out how in-game audio makes their show unique.

What's in a Game? gaming podcast, based out of Kansas City. Learn more about the show on KCGeeks.com.

How did you come up with the name for your show, What’s in a Game?

My co-host and partner, Dana, and I sat down at a bar and started spitballing names a few months before we launched. Dana has a Bachelor’s degree in theater, so she knows a lot of plays. Even though she hates Romeo and Juliet (don’t get her started), the line, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / by any other word would smell as sweet,” stuck in her head because “name” rhymes with “game.” I liked it a lot because it’s really straightforward and descriptive of what we do.

What is your name and what is your role in your video game podcast? Who else is involved?

My name is Cody Newill, I’m co-host and editor of What’s In A Game? My co-host and designer (and partner) is Dana Masters. We’re also distributed by Fountain City Frequency, which is directed and founded by Matt Hodapp.

Cody and Dana of What's in a Game podcast - learn more about them on KCGeeks.com!

How would you describe your video game podcast?

Our tagline is “A podcast where the nerdiest couple you know take a deep dive into video games both old and new,” and I think that’s pretty descriptive. I think Dana and I as personalities have a lot to do with the appeal of the show. We take critical looks into games and meld that with in-game audio throughout. I can’t overstate how important the in-game audio is to the vibe of the show. I think it makes it unique among other gaming podcasts that are primarily about news and previews rather than criticism.

I think our audience is probably split into two camps:

  1. people who play way too many games and just want all the talk/critique they can get (I’m firmly part of that camp) and
  2. people who are familiar with games to an extent, but maybe want or need a little guidance in what’s good and worth their time. There’s probably also some folks who just want to see if our opinions line up with theirs too.

When was the podcast launched?

We launched with two episodes on July 12, 2017. We prototyped for about two months before that and got some feedback from four or five people.

What made you want to launch a video game podcast?

I watch a lot of YouTube gaming criticism (Errant Signal, Game Maker’s Toolkit, Super Bunnyhop), and I’m always really impressed with the use of in-game footage with sharp criticism to really dig into what makes games special. And Dana and I happen to be mega-nerds and play a ton of games together. So when we started talking about doing a creative project together, it just made sense to start a podcast that brought the style of those YouTube channels into the more casual podcasting space.

How often do you publish shows?

Every two weeks. We’d love to be weekly, but it’s not really in the cards with a full-time job.

What do you discuss in your shows?

We tend to discuss story/narrative-based video games more than anything, though we have played some games that had little in the way of a coherent plot (Resident Evil, I’m looking at you). We also take listener questions when they come and we have discussed gaming industry news and happenings too.

How long are your shows?

Typically 30-55 minutes. Just enough to really dig in, but not overdo it.

What equipment and software do you use to produce your show?

We have the great fortune of having access to a professional studio (I work at Kansas City’s NPR station). We use Electro-Voice RE20 microphones and I use Adobe Audition to edit the podcast. To gather in-game audio, I use Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) and Dana uses Photoshop to make logos and social media assets.

What do you love about your show?

First, it’s awesome to work with a partner who is dedicated to a creative project! I also love that we use actual sound bites from the games themselves to make our criticism more poignant. I don’t know of another podcast that does that.

Tell us about a particularly memorable moment in your show.

I outed Dana as a hardcore Resident Evil movie fan during this episode (she’ll be thrilled that I mentioned it again here). But it was really fun to talk about those movies and why we like campy horror.

What podcasts do you enjoy listening to?

Friends at the Table, The Adventure Zone, Waypoint Radio, The Daily, Important If True, The History Chicks, Generation Why and far too many more to list.

What future plans lay ahead for your show?

Way far out, totally long-term future things: I know we’d both love for the podcast to go weekly, but we’ll see if we can ever make that happen. It’d be great to actually do this as a thing that makes money, but for now, our focus is simply building support and making a great podcast.

Easier short-term things: We’re considering going to PAX South in January and Planet Comicon Kansas City in February and doing some podcasts from both.

Where can someone find more information about your podcast?

What’s something you love about Kansas City?

I love that the city is growing, but still doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to live in. The arcade bar scene and nerdy film scene are amazing too. Screenland and Alamo Drafthouse are great for seeing esoteric/weird/really nerdy stuff. I also feel like the food scene has grown a lot in the past five years.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Always happy to chat with KC geeks and folks doing cool stuff. Hit us up on Twitter or at whatinagame@gmail.com.

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