Hello, Tumblr. Long time no see.
I’ve been thinking that I should write something about the DarkZero podcast because, after hosting and editing 84 episodes of it, it ended last week. And also because, to our genuine surprise, a lot of people seem to care, and I’ve felt guilty about not being able to respond to every nice tweet we’ve received since the show’s death.
Why has the show ended? Well, a number of reasons. We felt a while ago that it was time to move on, then some (admittedly much-needed) new staff moved in, and we didn’t exactly see eye-to-eye. Meanwhile, some of us were picking up more paid writing work elsewhere, while others were getting hired by bloody Zynga. So, the stars were in alignment. Off we went.
Will we be doing another podcast? Yeah, of course. I don’t think we could stop permanently if we tried, to be honest. We just felt we’d reached a point where we might as well be doing it on our own platform, on our own terms. Which isn’t to say that Ben, the owner of DarkZero, ever really tried to control our content, but unsurprisingly he wasn’t always happy about the site’s podcast featuring jokes about racism, sexual assault and Ian Dickson’s testicles. So, getting out of Ben’s way also seemed like the polite thing to do.
Wait, testicles? Did I pluralise that? Whoops!
We never officially announced that the show was going to end (indeed, we fictionalised the reason for our departure even in the final episode), but a few of our listeners spotted the iceberg after picking up hints we’d dropped on Twitter. One of them, Joe Skrebels (@2plus2isjoe), sent us a question:
“We’ve shared some good times. What’s been your favourite?”
We had a bunch of answers for this, but there are a few I missed out. The episode where we had a load of the listeners on the show was pretty incredible. Not just because it was cool to actually talk to them, but also because of the realisation that, in making a show with no real audience in mind, we’d somehow gathered an audience of intelligent, funny people. We’ve still got no idea how this happened, but we are eternally thankful for it.
But I think my all-time favourite moment was on the Meet Team Meat episode, where Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes kindly joined us to talk about their favourite wrestlers and toilets. Now, as many of you are probably aware, they said some stuff about piracy sometimes being helpful, which promptly flew around the internet and crashed the poor DarkZero server in the process. If we’re going to be crass about it then yes, this kind of thing is incredibly helpful for the podcast and the site as a whole. But my favourite thing about the episode is a lot more subtle than that.
Now, it’s possible that this is just me being a sound nerd. In fact, I dare say a lot of people didn’t notice it or, if they did, they probably didn’t think it was a big deal. But in the latter half of the episode, when we start asking Ed questions sent in by our listeners, one of them asks: which is the best Super Meat Boy-related creation sent to Ed by a fan?
At first, Ed struggles to answer - he gets sent a lot of fan art, plushies, cosplay photos, etc. So you assume he’s desperately scanning his own memory, trying to think of an answer.
Then, as he continues to discuss the question, the reverb on his voice gets more noticeable. He’s moved away from the mic. And you realise that he’s got up out of his chair, and is looking around his office (I’m sure he doesn’t call it an office.. the room where he gets his work done, whatever), because he’s actually got all the stuff he gets sent on display.
I don’t know why, but I found this fascinating. Just the way that, through the sound of his voice changing a little bit, we’re suddenly given this nice little insight into the love that Super Meat Boy fans have for the game, and the respect and appreciation Ed shows for that love in return.
I mean, it’s possible I’ve got this wrong. I haven’t really seen the guy’s office. For all I know, he could’ve walked away from the mic to open a huge cupboard labelled ‘FUCKING INTERNET SYCOPHANTS’. But it seems unlikely.
So, yeah. Thanks to Team Meat for having the time to come on our stupid show. And thanks to all of you who listened to it. Podcasts can be a pretty difficult sell to a lot of people - not everyone has the time to listen to them, let alone any interest. The idea of even just a few people wanting to regularly listen to our idiotic voices is still baffling, so the fact that we managed to achieve something much greater on a relatively unknown website with no advertising budget (or talent) has been pretty much staggering.
And thanks to Ben for putting up with our shit.
Cheers, everyone. x