My podcast listening habits have changed recently, beyond the fact that I mostly just listen to Blank Check these days. Some podcasts have fallen by the wayside for me. One of the shows I dropped recently is kind of fascinating because it was an opportunity to watch a show unravel in slow motion month by month and episode by episode.
When I first heard that the podcast How Did This Get Played? was going to launch I was excited. I listen to a couple bad movie podcasts, including How Did This Get Made?, but this was about video games. I’m not a big gamer, but the idea of a podcast delving into bad and weird video games intrigued me. I was familiar with host Nick Wiger from Doughboys and host Heather Anne Campbell from…when she had been a guest on Doughboys. It seemed reasonable enough.
At first, the podcast was going just fine. They were playing iconically bad games and talking with fun guests. Getting Wiger away from his Doughboys co-host Mike Mitchell’s incredibly toxic personality was beneficial to him. Campbell was perhaps not a great host but she was managing just fine. I was enjoying the podcast. Soon enough, though, it became clear that nobody involved in the show had really thought this out.
First, the hosts basically gave up on the premise. They started playing pretty much any game they felt like. Occasionally they would try and justify it as being a “weird” game, but it was often a flimsy pretense. It started to feel like the hosts didn’t want to do How Did This Get Played? anymore, and time has only made that more and more clear.
Guests have basically been removed from the picture. It’s just Wiger, Campbell, and Matt Apodaca, the producer who was recently turned into a third host. They started doing a “70 Minutes in Heaven” episode every month where they just talk about the games they are playing and good games. If they did that and kept to the premise otherwise I could accept it. However, the rest of the time it doesn’t feel all that different from the “70 Minutes in Heaven” episodes.
Recently, they announced they are going to do two “70 Minutes” episodes per month. That is when I decided to give up on the podcast. I’ve listened from the beginning and watched the show go from a podcast about playing interestingly bad or weird games to being a comedic video games podcast. The name is only branding at this point. Now there’s nothing all that interesting about the show. I feel no drive to listen. The whole thing unraveled in the span of a couple of years. How Did This Get Played? started with a lot of potential, and briefly lived up to it. Then, it collapsed under its own weight and watching it happen episode by episode was an interesting experience, even as the podcast itself became less and less interesting.