Episode 1: Gamer Intelligence, BASIC, International DRM, Webkinz, and Vintage PC Soundcards

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Armchair Arcade is proud to present its first official episode of Armchair Arcade Radio! This episode, hosted by Matt Barton, features material from each member of AA's staff: Bill Loguidice, Mark Vergeer, Christina Loguidice, and Chris Kennedy. Enjoy the episode and don't forget to tell all your retro computing and gaming friends! Stay tuned to Armchair Arcade for future episodes.

Episode One 48K version (23 Megabytes)
Episode One 128K version (60 Megabytes)

Topics include:

  • Does playing videogames make you smarter?
  • What was the first "recognizable" personal computer to offer BASIC?
  • How do international copyright laws and DRM hamper the European gaming scene?
  • What are Webkinz, why are they so popular, and is it part of a larger trend?
  • How does your choice of sound card affect the quality of your vintage gaming PC?

The podcast is available in 48K and 128K formats. Don't forget to comment below on what you think of the episode. If you are not a member of AA, just use the Join/Contact Us button above to set up your account.

Click here for the Armchair Arcade Radio RSS feed or here for the show on iTunes.

Thanks to "Plucky Dan 77" for the "Armchair Arcade" growl at the beginning.

Comments

MikeT (not verified)
Enjoyable

Thanks for the show. I enjoyed this first episode and found it to be informative... those are two of the three things that I look for in media, so good job. The best aspect, for me, was the variety. It had a good range of topics at a nice flow(it didn't bog down, but wasn't ADD either). On the negative side, the audio quality during the actual segments seemed a little rough. I look forward to hearing some live interaction on the show at some point. Cheers

Matt Barton
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Bill's well known for his wit

Bill's well known for his wit and sense of humor, so just stay tuned. We're all still trying to find our sea legs, so to speak, but it gets much easier with all the feedback.

The comment about audio quality reminds me that we need to all settle on the same format for our segments. I'm thinking the following would work well. If we're all using audacity, maybe you guys could put it in 160 kbps, 48 Khz mono. That's apparently the highest that will play on ipods. Alternatively, Flac would be a nice choice for the mixing, since it's lossless and file size is not really an issue at that point. That way I'd have very high quality files to work with before compressing.

If any of you guys and gals have thoughts on this subject (I know many of you are audiophiles and experienced podcasters), please chime in.

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Carl Williams
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Joined: 08/01/2010
Some More Tips From The Loudmouth

Wow, another Carl here? Welcome Carl, I'm Carl, nice to meet you. :)

Onto the point of this post. Just read Matt's comments about using a lossless format till mixing it for the final release. That is a great idea. This gives lots of options if it can be used. For one, if later on, if there might be a CD release of Armchair Arcade Radio episodes then high quality original recordings would be available to master the CD from. Or even if at later time, the decision is made, due to hardware capabilities increasing, to release episodes in a higher quality format, that can be done across all episodes available, not just the newest ones.

At a site that I am co-owner on where we archive gaming magazines (we have permission from two publishers and are negotiating with 5 more right now), we use a similar tact in doing things there. We scan in the highest possible settings and then save those files. For the releases the files are downsized to what is still an extremely high quality level prior to release. This allows us at a later time to release even higher quality versions (though honestly, we are nearing the limitations of current scanners).

The sound quality will improve as shows are created and released. I have seen this with many podcasts, it is simply a case of figuring out what works for everyone involved. Problems with voices and words and such (pretty much everything I mentioned in my original post) will most surely be fixed in upcoming episodes. It just takes experience and that comes with doing. Keep up the great work.

Rowdy Rob
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Joined: 09/04/2006
My take: audio problems(?) and Bill

I didn't notice any major audio problems in this podcast, with everything sounding reasonably crisp and clear. I downloaded the 128k version, though, so that might have made the difference.

I also didn't have a problem with Bill's segment, although it is arguably the geekiest of the show. Since I am quite nostalgic about BASIC programming in the old days, this segment was very interesting and entertaining to me, and I was able to follow it without noticing any particular presentation flaws. Others might find the hardcore geekiness off-putting, but I'm sure tastes will differ amongst listeners as to which segment was most and least interesting.

While I'm sure that you guys will find ways to improve the show as time goes on, I found the first show at least on par with other top retrogaming-oriented shows that I've listened to. Just my opinion, though.

Bill Loguidice
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Mine was perhaps the geekiest

Mine was perhaps the geekiest of the lot, but I also chose that topic because it was active research I was doing at the time. My next topic is a continuation of sorts of the topic, but it's a bit more on big picture stuff and less on the technical side. I'll still probably read most of it, honestly, until I am inspired by a topic that moves me to "free" speech, but I'm going to change up my reading style a bit and try a slightly different technique. The best part about our podcast, is that there should always be at least five different segments from five different presenters, so if someone doesn't like one, it's easy enough to skip!

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Rowdy Rob
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"Geek" as an insult?
Bill Loguidice wrote:

Mine was perhaps the geekiest of the lot, but I also chose that topic because it was active research I was doing at the time.

#&$@! I just typed a reply to this, only to have my web browser crash!

I unfortunately used the word "geekiest" referring to your segment, Bill, but perhaps a more accurate word would have been "hardcore." Although the word "geek" has a negative connotation in popular society, when I say something or someone is "geeky," I usually mean it as a compliment. That probably didn't come through in my last post. As far as I'm concerned, geeks rule the world, so "geek" is a supreme word!

Bill, it seems your segment has taken the most criticism in this thread, but you also took on the toughest challenge. Your segment was the most technical, hardcore, and the "deepest" of the lot (with Mr. Kennedy's segment perhaps a not-so-distant second, although he had "music"). But as someone who was an old-school BASIC geek, I found your segment very interesting and entertaining.

Let me say, as a fellow "stutterer" myself, that I found that your delivery was very smooth and listenable. In fact, if you had a stuttering problem in the past, it obviously wasn't that severe, almost to the point that I have trouble believing it! (Try being a stutterer in two languages!) . I had no problems (or objections) to your segment, and am somewhat surprised at some of the criticisms. Although they probably have some validity to them (I don't know), I felt your segment went smoothly and entertainingly, considering the subject matter.

What I'm trying to incompetently say is that variety is the spice of life! Five hosts, five different segments, five different styles! One entertaining episode of "AA Radio!"

The only other suggestion I could give for "AA Radio" is to keep it short. The current length (approx. 1 hour) is long enough. In fact, I credit "AA Radio" for awakening me from my slump, bringing some life back to me again (more than you guys know) , and getting me posting again.

I still don't think I've made myself clear, so this is what I experienced: I downloaded the show, and started to listen to it. The "Blood Money" music opened the show, setting the mood. Matt's smooth, animated (and familiar) voice opened the show. Segued into Bill's smooth (and technical) segment. Segued into Mark's rant on European game distribution. Ok, so far, so good, I am familiar with all three hosts, and they delivered in an entertaining fashion. What's next?

The real (and relatively unmentioned) surprise is that both Christina and Chris closed out the show with such aplomb, considering the bar set before them!

I don't think I'm much of a nitpicker (have I ever established myself as such here???), I'm more of a big-picture potential guy. All I've got to say about "AA Radio," after listening to it, was "damn, that was pretty good!"

Bill Loguidice
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No worries, Rob, I did not

No worries, Rob, I did not take it in a negative way at all. Any feedback - or in some cases criticism - I just use as fuel to improve. Frankly, I'm already my harshest critic, but have learned not that many years ago that if I wait for perfection my already limited productivity would drop even further. I think my segment would have sounded better if I didn't edit out the natural pauses with silence - that IS weird and jarring - but I obviously won't do that next time. That in and of itself will make it much easier to listen to.

As for the stuttering, I have my good days and bad (some very bad). It's interesting that just a few days ago I was chatting with this teenage girl (also a stutterer) who said that she didn't know of any stutterers who were able to accomplish anything. She had seen my author bio and was intensely curious about how I accomplished what I did. Me, being me, I revealed quite a bit. I was thrilled to be able to help and hopefully inspire her, because I know what a burden stuttering can be (I *may* do a blog post about it), and how few answers there are for dealing with it (it's rife with quackery). In the grand scheme of things having stuttering as your main affliction is not necessarily high on the list of major problems, but it still presents its own set of challenges.

Depending upon the topic and scenario, I CAN speak freely and relatively smoothly, but I think in many cases it will be better for me just to improve my reading and acting ability in the podcasts (that is after all, how many of the podcast hosts do it--at least the ones that don't have round-table discussions, which are by their nature only free form). I'm happy with how my reading off a teleprompter worked in the AA TV videos (I'm still sitting on the latest one - that WILL be released), so I think I'll try that for my latest recording of the next podcast (we're all getting close I think to recording for the new one). If I judge harshly after a few more episodes that I'm not improving and it's NOT working out, then I'll work on doing it off-the-cuff, which will surely take some episodes to get that right.

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Mark Vergeer
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Bill absolute loved your subject

Bill, I absolutely loved your subjects. Can't wait for some more information on systems of yesteryear.

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Catatonic
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Joined: 05/20/2006
Here's a thought - you could

Here's a thought - you could put the starting times for each segment in the show description, to make it easier for us to skip around. The RSS feed appears to truncate the descriptions though - episode one cuts off with "read more". It's also possible to embed chapter marks in a podcast but involves changing to AAC format instead of MP3, I think. Anyway personally I will probably just listen to the entire shows anyway.

Matt Barton
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Yes, I honestly don't know

Yes, I honestly don't know why someone would want to skip a segment. If so, they need to expand their horizons a bit. It's not like we're padding these things with filler.

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