I do a lot of driving, whether it be for work or fun travel. Because of this, I tend to listen to a lot of podcasts. They feel like radio shows and make the drives easier to handle. Unfortunately, some of these programs run together, but one show does sit uniquely apart from the rest. This week’s Web Crush Wednesday is Isometric, a podcast about gaming from a different perspective.
The title, Isometric, is a play on words referencing the isometric-view (top down, from an angle) some video games offer. More accurately, though, this catchphrase refers to the show’s fresh approach to video game podcasting. Although the stereotype is rapidly changing and evolving, the prevailing voice in gaming (podcasts, too) is still white and male. Isometric adds some other perspectives that bring light to the idea that there are other mindsets and demographics that have interesting and valid experiences.
Isometric also approaches diversity from an occupational standpoint in their cast: Brianna is a game developer, Maddy and Georgia are writers, and Steve is a video game enthusiast and father of three girls. These different backgrounds bring more thoughts to the conversation and often provide conflicting opinions, which is a good thing. Homogeneity can get boring very quickly, as is the case with much of the current industry. The underlying theme, though, is that more ideas inspire more thought and growth for both the cast and the listeners.
As such, they pay a good amount of attention to lesser known games during their discussions. Their focus is not limited to just the mainstream AAA scene. Sure, they do cover the high-profile, high-budget titles, but they also pay attention to indie games and smaller/lesser known games from the AAA space. This should come as no surprise, as Brianna is a developer in a smaller studio, and has an affinity for analyzing game mechanics. In addition, due to the casts’ differing life schedules, their time and ability to play games is varied. This provides a chance for smaller games to fit well into their schedules. For this reason, handheld games such as Pokémon or mobile games like Desert Golfing also become recurring subjects in conversation. A whole spectrum of games come into play, and that keeps the conversation refreshing.
Their coverage of games is strong, but I believe that their biggest strength is appealing to serious issues. When Gamergate first started picking up steam, they were one of the first outlets to cover and condemn the ensuing harassment. Although some other outlets also covered the topic, few did so with as much passion and raw emotion as Isometric, especially as Brianna was one of the more prominent targets. It showed strength and resolve and was somber and heartfelt; something I haven’t heard in gaming coverage in a long time, if ever. Although it was difficult to listen to, the Isometric cast knew this was a topic that needed to be covered. Moving past those episodes, they continue to discuss important topics, and many discussions center around feminism and how it can affect the games industry. A positive point in these conversations is that they are primarily led by women. Steve knows when to listen and not to try to dictate the pace/topic. However, as a parent of children on the autism spectrum, he can contribute to social justice conversations, particularly dealing with sensitivity to mental issues such as the autism spectrum. Overall, the cast brings an array of experience that many can relate to or find useful.
In addition to being strong in a feminist and gaming sense, the podcast is fairly funny when not dealing with serious issues. Humor appeals to me in a big way and can help a show feel more comfortable for the listener. In many (if not most) episodes, running jokes represent some chunk of the content, including the lovely site fandas.biz. Their jokes encourage listening to the back catalog rather than excluding new listeners. This humor isn’t contained simply to video game jokes, either. The cast has good synergy with each other, and play to their varying idiosyncrasies to create laughter without feeling forced.