Community Spotlight: Gamers After Life

By Ozzie Mejia, Sep 11, 2012 10:30am PDT

After listening to the latest Weekend Confirmed, have you had the urge to listen to a gaming podcast by Shackers, for Shackers? Three members of the Shacknews community--Billy "Mercfox1" Spies, Paul "Sexpansion Pack" Montesanti, and Jeff "geedeck" Gondek--have come together for just that purpose. Together, they've created Gamers After Life, which is currently at 10 episodes and counting.

Gondek and Montesanti have been friends for many years and having gotten to know Spies through Shack, the trio decided to pool together their talents to start up a podcast. Together, they bring a unique "everyman" perspective to the world of gaming podcasts.

"We felt that the Shack was an awesome place that deserved a podcast that came from the community," said Montesanti. "We do think we have a perspective to offer that's slightly different (and, hopefully, novel) as none of us are games journalists or connected to the industry any way. There are no "scoops" on the podcast! Hopefully, just an entertaining and maybe sometimes even slightly interesting discussion about the medium. Other than that there's no cool origin story, unfortunately. Our podcast wasn't initiated to find any magic rings or destroy any dark lords and we weren't born in the infinite blackness of space. It merely emerged from three interested people, some basic equipment, and a spare room!"

1Up could have said this about the podcast ...

Though it's only at 10 episodes so far, Gamers After Life is already in the process of evolving. The podcast started with Spies recording remotely through Skype while the three followed a long format sheet discussing the games they're playing and topics of the day. Spies has since moved near Montesanti and Gondek and all three co-hosts now record in the same room, leading to an increase in conversation quality. Since the first episode, they've also tossed the format sheet out the window.

"We don't outline, and we try to let the conversation unfold as naturally as possible," said Spies. "We want people to feel like they're in the room with us when they listen -- minus all the uncomfortable, completely unacceptable parts that we edit out. We do brainstorm ahead of time about what we'd like to talk about, usually for the larger episodes, but our in-show format is very fluid."

Spies is the show's audio specialist, supplying all of the equipment and feeding it into GarageBand to create the audio files. Montesanti and Gondek perform post-production edits in time for a Monday release. While there are genuine concerns expressed during production (Spies notes that the team is striving to improve audio quality), post-production is mostly a light-hearted affair. "Sometimes, usually when we think about it, there is drinking," Spies added. "Paul starts with coffee, because we record at night and we don't want him to fall asleep. There is often a lot of laughing, as we're all excellent friends outside of the cast so we joke around with each other during the sessions."

This is the only image on the Gamers After Life site. Yep, awful.

Episodes of Gamers After Life are recorded every two weeks, with two episodes recorded in a single session. The team has hit scheduling conflicts from real-life commitments, hence the "After Life" portion of the show's name. However, they haven't lost focus of their main goal. "We just want to be an entertaining and interesting podcast that's aligned with the interests of the Shack community," said Gondek. "We're looking at bringing on some cool guests, people that the community knows and will be interested in, perhaps even industry people from said community! In addition, we have an absolutely awful website that we promise we are going to fix up in the near future. As you may have guessed from the title of the podcast, all three of us really are gamers after life, so we can't get to everything as soon as we'd like."

Also, the team is aiming for total world domination. Of course.

Episode 10 of Gamers After Life is up now. Fans and Shack community members that would like to send in suggestions can contact the crew via Shack Message.

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