So, what podcasts are you listening to?

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About two weeks ago, I posted a short blog curious to find out what TV shows people were watching and the response was interesting. There was quite a variety of shows that people watch so I wanted to try this again but with something different.

I listen to a lot of podcasts. On weekends or when I'm at the gym, I'm listening to podcast of somesort. Since I listen to a lot, I wanted to list them out for everyone and find out what podcasts other people have in their MP3 players and if there are any in particular that I should be listening to but am not.

Be forewarned, this list people is long and even contains some 'rival' podcasts. I've grouped them together so if people are interested in finding them on iTunes, it shouldn't be too difficult.

So here goes:

Comedy Related

  • The Adam Carolla Show
  • The Comedy Button
  • Jay and Silent Bob Get Old
  • SModcast

Sports Related

  • ESPN: Around The Horn
  • ESPN: Pardon The Interuption
  • ESPN: The B.S. Report
  • Radio 5 Live: Fighting Talk
  • The Guardian: Football Weekly
  • The Grantland Network - only a few though (Mens with Blazers and any of the TV related podcasts)
  • Jason Whitlock Podcast
  • BBC World Service's World Football

Gaming Related

  • The Hot Spot - although I'm watching it now instead of listening to it on my iPod
  • The Giant Bombcast - their 3 hour podcasts can be really taxing and often take me a couple of days to listen to
  • A few IGN Podcasts - Podcast Beyond and Game Scoop (their Nintendo and Xbox Podcasts are not that interesting)
  • Irrational Podcast
  • A Life Well Wasted - although there hasn't been a new episode in a very long time (nearly 2 years)
  • Rebel FM
  • Weekend Confirmed

Geek Culture

  • The Geekbox
  • The Hey Ash, Watcha Podcast

Music Related

  • Paul Van Dyk's VONYC Sessions Podcast
  • Tiesto's Club Life

Other

  • This American Life
  • IGN's Knockin' Boot - Relationship Podcast (like listening to the odd dating advice they give.)

As you can see, I have quite the collection and yup, even podcasts from other gaming sites. In my defense, I think it's good to hear what other people in the gaming press have to say as there are so many interesting people in the industry with very different opinions. Both Rebel FM and The Geekbox were spin-offs of older 1Up Podcasts, which used to be the the industry standard before various people left that site.

The only thing that is really lacking for me is a good sports gaming podcast. I used to really enjoy 1Up.com's Sports Anamoly Podcast that was hosted by Todd Zuniga. I've heard that he and a few ex 1Up people started the 4th String Podcast but haven't caught an episode yet. I tried to listen to Gamesradar's Sports Podcast but not a big fan of the one person format. Sports and sports gaming should be discussed in groups and having one guy either talk to the audience solo or have an hour long interview with someone from the industry is a bit bland.

So now that you've seen my list, are there any podcasts that I'm missing that I should be listening to? No topic is out of reach. If you think there is an excellent podcast that people should be listening to, now is your chance to let me and others know. Heck, if you have a podcast and want some exposure, now's the chance!

What are you watching?

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Really short posting. Just curious to find out what people are watching. Currently I've been following Archer after some people at work and on Twitter couldn't stop gushing about it. I also am trying to catch up on the Showtime program Homeland and am almost finished the third series of Skins. Surprisingly, Skins even with its faults is a really good show and need to find a way to keep watching it (Amazon Prime only has the first three series available).

But is there a show I'm missing that I should be watching? I do watch quite a bit of television, so chances are that I've seen most of what is considered "hot" right now but maybe I'm missing something.

You Can't Steal on the Internet

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So, it's Saturday night here in wonderful San Francisco. I am patiently waiting for 12:30 so I can hopefully watch my boy Novak Djokovic kick some Nadal butt when I noticed a twitter posting from Bitmob.com's Dan Shu.

To summarize, a certain member of IGN.com's community posted an article entitled: Dark Souls isn't hard, gamers are just stupid and impatient.Oddly enough though, four months prior, back in October, a member of Bitmob.com's community posted an article entitled: Dark Souls isn't hard, gamers are just stupid and impatient.

If you look at the cached IGN blog post and the Bitmob article, they are the exact same, including the same images. While the Bitmob article only had a small handful of comments, the IGN article got a lot of comments and the so-called writer was commended for his fantastic writing skills.

Thankfully though, to IGN's credit and the people who handle their community, when the original author of the article (William Harrison) claimed infringement, they did the right thing and took down the blog in question almost immediately (hence why I linked the google cached article above). As of this writing though, the user at IGN (RatedMGodfather) still has a blog on the site but chances are he won't be blogging anytime soon.

This just goes to show that if you try to steal anything from anywhere on the internet, you will get caught. If you have ever been tempted to 'borrow' something from the internet in the hopes of reeping the benefits, you may want to reconsider.

Some Recommended (Sports) Video Game Reading

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A couple of days ago fellow GameSpot Editor, Tom Mc Shea sent me a message on AIM linking a Grantland.com article by Tom Bissell. Mc Shea had sent it to me shortly after our Arcade Sports video we posted on the site went live but I only recently (meaning this Sunday evening) got around to finally reading it and I must say, it's quite interesting.

The article is entitled Kickoff: Madden NFL and the future of video Game Sports. Yes, the article is long and focused primarily on the Madden series but I strongly suggest that anyone interested in video game production read it. Even if you have zero interest in sports games (which I'm noticing is a very large number of GameSpot readers), you should still read it because it gives a lot of incite on both the series itself and video game production that many people may not know.

I hope those of you reading this blog get a chance to read the article and let me know your thoughts; I'd love to hear/read them.

BTW, I hope y'all have had a chance to watch the video Tom and I did regarding Arcade Sports games. Be sure to comment in the video to let us know what your views are regarding the sub-genre.

[video=6348909]

Writing is Hard

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When it comes to writing for work, I almost never have "writer's block", but when it comes down to writing something personal, I can't formulate a paragraph to save my life.

I have been trying for the last few days to do a "Reflection on 2011" but what I managed to write so far -about 900 words worth- feels jumbled and probably really uninteresting. It will probably never see the light of day so let me just sum it up here:

2011 was Crazy!

Why?

  • Got a new Job (GameSpot)
  • Moved to a new Country (America and California)
  • I am Still not Used to American Culture (People go into Saunas and Steam Rooms fully clothed)
  • Californian Drivers don't understand the concept of the turn signal on any of their roads
  • I Got Stuck in a foriegn city with practically no knowledge of the language but wasn't worried at all (Yokohama when all trains going into Tokyo were halted because of an incident)
  • I really enjoy travelling and hope that 2012 gives me even more opportunities to do so.
  • I work around some really interesting people who I still know almost nothing about. (hope to change that in 2012)
  • I love doing video interviews and already have a go-to question that I try to incorporate into every one that I do.

[video=6322973]

I did this interview on my third day of work, hopefully I've improved since then!

That pretty much sums it up. There are a few more personal things I could have added but those would not interest anyone. Now it's time to look forward to 2012. I am eager to be visible on the site and interact with everyone I can, as much as possible. I'll try my best to Blog more often and post as much as I can Fuse; but if you really want to keep me in your loop, I strongly suggest following me on Twitter@fakeimmigrant(I post a lot more frequently there and I need the followers!)I've got a few ideas up my sleeve and if you guys were paying attention to the video content we had over the holidays, expect to see content similar to that.

I hope everyone has a wonderful 2012 and be sure to stay glued to GameSpot.com for great things...tell your friends!

Do you have questions for Yoshiaki Koizumi?

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Hey Everyone!

I am conducting a Q&A with director Yoshiaki Koizumi and wanted to find out if any of you had questions you'd like answered regarding the upcoming release of Super Mario 3D Land. Since this is one of the bigger 3DS games launching in only a matter of weeks, this could be a great opportunity to field some questions you may have.

I already have some of my own but I want to hear back from you guys since there is bound to be something I missed and I don't want to forget some important details. So, if there is anything you really want to know about the game (heck, even about Koizumi's history with Nintendo and his other games), please post them below or send me a PM and I will compile them. I need to submit these questions to Nintendo of America by Friday so please don't delay.

Thanks!

-Marko

A Special Kind of Accomplishment

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It's been a pretty busy week here at GameSpot HQ. A number of people, like myself, are finishing up the final bits for Japan; I've had a number of Sports-related previews go up (check out the Sports Beat Blog for all my good stuff) but I also managed to accomplish a pretty interesting feat.

I've owned a Nintendo 3DS since launch (give or take about a week) and while I use it all the time, I don't necessarily use it for playing games. I like to track how active I am on a regular basis, so one of the cool features I enjoy taking advantage of is the 3DS' Pedometercapabilities. Even before moving to San Francisco in July, whenever I went to work at my old job, I would keep my 3DS in my pocket to keep track of how many steps I took during a given work-day. I only tracked my steps from when I left the home that morning until I got home and I continued that tradition when I moved here and began working at GameSpot.com. Although I frequent the gym about 5-6 times a week, I never kept track of my steps in there, this was primarily just for when I was working.

Well, today was a fairly "momentous" day for me. Only a matter of hours ago, I finally took my millionth step with the 3DS in my pocket:

Achievement Unlocked

Yup, I have taken over 1 million steps in just about five months. I don't really know if I would consider this much of a feat, but it was something I wanted to reach and to see how long it would take me. I didn't have a time frame goal but considering I reached 1 million before leaving for TGS, I feel kind of good.

At the same time though, the fact that my 3DS was more-or-less a 250 dollar Pedometer is saying something.

Has anyone else reached 1 million steps with their 3DS...shouldn't we get some sort of prize from Nintendo? In any case, now it's time to prep for 10 million steps.

Allow me to introduce myself (or reintroduce...)

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I have been struggling as to how I would approach this Blog posting. How do I introduce myself to the GameSpot masses as the newest member of the Editorial team? Do I go into length regarding my past with the site, my love of games and how I arrived in The Bay Area? Nah, none of that is really that interesting.

Perhaps I begin by stating what I'll do as GameSpot'sSports Preview Editor (my actual title is a lot longer). The hopes and dreams I have to ensure that the Sports side of the site becomes the reader's de-facto source for all things sports related? I'm no politician, so I don't want to make any sort of promise I can't keep.

So how do I make myself known to the masses? The easiest way possible:

Hi, my name is Marko and I am GameSpot.com's Associate Console and Sports Previews Editor.

I might be the new Sports Guy for the site, but that doesn't mean I just play those kinds of games. Just look at my GameSpot username, it's a combination of two of my favorite RPGs. For now, you won't see too much of me on the site but as we move through July and August and the Fall Sports Games release schedule, expect to see me doing what I can to give you the information you crave. Heck, don't be surprised if you also see me covering non-sports games. I love everything.

So feel free to drop me a line here on Gamespot! Also, if you want to chat on Twitter, my handle is @fakeimmigrant. Don't be shy!

Weird, non-gaming related, request

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Hello All.

I'm really sorry for not blogging in while, times have been tough with a frantic work schedule coupled with some really incredible games that I am trying to play. I am coming to you all today in the hopes that you can help a person out. Don't worry, this is not any sort of 'please donate me money' requests. It's actually part of a contest.

I have recently submitted a video for a Canadian Travel contest entitled 'Best Travel Job Ever' and in order for me to get the attention of the judges, I need votes.

If you would be so kind, would you head over to http://besttraveljobever.com/carlos and vote for my video.

The actual voting is fairly simple, just register your e-mail (you don't have to actually participate in the contest, unless you want to and live in Canada) then vote. You can vote once a day for up to three videos.

I am trying to break into the top 25 but I can't do it without the help of others. I have already sent out numerous requests to family and friends around the world but the more help I can get the better. Even if you don't like my video, please vote anyway or at least comment that you don't like it. Any sort of attention is great.
Once again, the site is http://besttraveljobever.com/carlos. Help a fellow gamer out!


Thanks in advance and if I do happen to win, I'll be sure to give a shout-out to all those who helped!

Emotional Connection to Video Games

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***Please note, while this Soapbox does not contain any direct Spoilers to the events of Heavy Rain, it is a discussion about the game's main plot point. Most people already know the basis of the game and no direct reference is made to specific events. I did my best to prevent the discussion of plot spoilers but people who comment below might, please be prepared. Thanks!***

Fine, Video games may never be viewed in the same light as music or film in terms of art but they can still have a connection to us in more than one way. One of the most talked about games of the year so far has been Heavy Rain. Regardless of what people say, your experience in the game will most certainly be different than someone else's. Some love this while other feel that they would rather have a streamlined experience that doesn't stray off the beaten path.

Because I am also a contributor at a gaming site and was responsible for the site's review of Heavy Rain, I didn't want or could read other reviews of the game as to not dilute or affect my own thoughts on the game. Now after posting my review I have begun to think what connection people actually had with the game's subject matter.

As most people know, Heavy Rain is based around death and more specifically, the killing of children. This is a very touchy subject since death/killing and children in video game form is typically not dealt with. Just like Genocide and Rape, there are certain subjects that we may never get to experience in any sort of first-hand nature because of the controversy it would most certainly cause. Developers have purposely avoided such topics because they know that more harm and backlash would follow. Before Heavy Rain, it was Modern Warfare 2's 'No Russian' that broke the boundaries by putting us in the role of a 'terrorist'. Yes, we can argue for hours on if Infinity Ward got their message across or if there was even a message in putting you in the role of a taking the lives of innocent people.

Now in Heavy Rain, you might not be directly killing children but it is the action of one man, a father, who ultimately decides the fate of his own child. Anyone who knows the basis of Heavy Rain, there is the possibility of either saving your son's life in the end or letting him die. This is not a spoiler but essentially the main plot of the game on the whole (in fact, the tagline also states this. 'How far would you go...').

When reviewing Heavy Rain I had a number of different emotions go through my mind. For starters, I have a strong connection to death. I lost my father at a very young age, so I have lived most of my life without a father figure to support me. In this game, the role is reversed. It is a father who has already lost his first son and now is put into a position where he could also lose a second one. There is certainly a lot of pressure put onto a parent when they have already lost so much and could lose even more.

I wonder how many reviewers/critics of Heavy Rain have been put into a similar situation? I don't necessarily mean they've had someone kidnapped but have had to deal with a loss, specifically either at a young age and losing a parent or losing a child as an adult. Better yet, how many of them are parents with children similar in age to the victims of the Origami Killer.

What started this thought process were comments made by Penny Arcade's Gabe. He stated that after playing through portions of Heavy Rain, he went to his son's bedroom and to give him a huge hug. The fact that a video game, of all things, made him so compelled to show off his emotions is something incredible. It may not seem like much at the moment and most certainly his child doesn't understand the reason why his father is randomly hugging him, but for a father, that moment means something that childless people probably would not understand.

Everyone is talking about the clearly evident plot holes and the limitations that Heavy Rain has but no one has bothered to bring up the emotion that Heavy Rain brings to the table. I am really interested if that ever crossed someone's mind while playing or have we become so separated that we are able to put a line between reality and entertainment? Love it or hate it, Heavy Rain does succeed in putting you in a position of controlling the life and death of more than one person.