Recently, I loaded up my podcast app and saw “We’re Sorry: Ten Years of the Giant Bombcast”. Has it really been 10 years?! The podcast and website are some of my favourite things on the internet and a large influence on how In Third Person came to be.
Leading up to the launch of Giant Bomb, I was in a really dark place. Having been let go from the radio station I worked at, while also being saddled with a large debt to pay for the car I just bought in order to commute to said radio job, my ambitions were squashed and I needed a lot of money fast. My plans of leaving the pharmacy I worked at fell through, so I stayed there. Months later, I would get a part-time promotions job at a local radio station.
On top of those, I took a third job as a data entry clerk at my mom’s office. It paid better than the other two jobs, plus it offered standard 9-5 hours. However, the type of work that role required was just soul crushing for me. I understand that people do what they need to do to make money, and some may actually enjoy that type of work. It’s just not for me.
In order to reduce the monotony, I would listen to music on my mp3 player. It wouldn’t take long before I had burned out on listening to my favourite songs ad nauseum. Looking for something else to occupy my mind, I discovered podcasts. Some of the ones that I discovered back then included 1Up Yours, IGN Game Scoop, Player One Podcast, and Gamespot’s The Hot Spot. Members of the latter would eventually form Giant Bomb.
Beyond keeping me from losing my sanity, gaming podcasts like the aforementioned opened my eyes to a new type of gaming discourse. It wasn’t about a large corporation shouting down from the mountains with a preview or a review. Podcasts starred people, with distinct voices and perspectives, discussing games and whatever else happened to come up through the natural flow of the conversation. I didn’t necessarily care about Gamespot, but I sure did have strong feelings about Jeff, Ryan, Brad, and Vinny. Listening to those podcasts made me feel like I was sitting at the table, listening to my friends having a chat about a medium I love.
I loved The Hot Spot, and I subscribed to the Giant Bombcast back when it was still Arrow Pointing Down. Their podcasts were always a joy to listen to thanks to having a great balance of serious game discussion along with the right amount of silly banter that could go just about anywhere. Their game of the year shows are the best, as they record the entire deliberation process, giving us full-view of how they award the games that they do. Even during other times of the year, I still tune in for the news, life updates, and ridiculous emails that listeners send in.
The launch of the website broadened what games media could be even further. It took the personality of the podcast and translated it into everything on the site. Instead of trying to be a comprehensive source for reviews and previews, it was more about the curated works of the people who run the site. Whether that was a written review from Jeff, or a Quick Look of a hot new release, or their Ranking of Fighters series where they attempt to play and rank every fighting game ever, they make what they want and make it clear that everything is made by an individual voice and not one of a corporate entity. Listening to their 10th anniversary podcast brought back all the feels, from the knife vs. bat debate, to the never-ending debate on whether Ryu is a wizard, to Dan frying egg shells because he thought those were the egg whites he should be cooking.
To say that Giant Bomb influenced me would be an understatement. It helped paved the way for more personality-driven gaming content on the internet. It inspired me to get my voice out there without feeling like I had to package myself into a specific format for mass consumption. It helped me understand that there were many other voices and opinions out there, and that we can have a healthy discussion around them without attacking each other.
Happy 10th birthday Giant Bombcast! Thank you to the whole Giant Bombcast crew past and present for all the great times. Looking forward to the next 10 years and beyond!