Click below to hear Games You Should Play: Max Payne
FROM JASON’S FAKE SCOTTISH BROGUE — We Americans are all jealous of that effortless, rolling Highlander accent, and that gives Simply Syndicated’s newest podcast, Games You Should Play, an advantage right out of the box.
Episode one launched Tuesday and is introduced by a groove composed by podcaster Richard Smith, but quickly jumps into a review by gamer John Speirs and his friend William.
Their first quarry: The 2001 nightmare-noir shooter Max Payne — the John Woo-ish bullet-time epic that draws equally on The Matrix and the Cthulhu mythos for inspiration.
The podcast comes off as being rather academic and wooden at first, but that’s forgivable in a premier. John and William just need a little time to loosen up and find their rhythm before they can contend with cult heroes like David Riley and Joel White of Fast Karate for the Gentleman fame. Of course, that’s the gold standard of video game podcasts.
There’s a bit of personality evident in there once the initial shakiness is past, though: Speirs talks about his love for Twin Peaks, which has many meta-references in Max Payne, and he gets a little grouchy (and rightly so) about the upcoming theatrical release of the game-to-screen adaptation starring (the talentless) Mark Wahlberg as the title character.
That’s what podcast listeners want when they slam the headphones into the iPod jack. The publisher name and technical specs can be easily found on Wikipedia or Google, but podcasting is about injecting comedy, out-of-the-box insights, and opinion. That’s what Speirs et al should focus on.
I talked with Speirs via Meebo a couple of weeks ago after Smith e-mailed me the pilot, which covered Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Las Vegas. He said the duo is playing through several XBox 360 and PC games now, and has a Wii on the way. They also plan to take a nostalgic look at early 1980s titles — he named the classics Sim City and Civilization — that catalyzed gamer history.
The third entry in the Nouns You Should Verb series (SS also publishes Movies You Should See and Albums You Should Hear, with Books You Should Read due out soon), this podcast is notable because it’s the first that Smith has commissioned from outside his core group of mates.
And for those of you who are still wrestling after 25 minutes to cut through the Scottish brogue, I can only point you to the best primer available online: The Scottish Wikipedia.