In An "End Of An Era," Listen Up Podcast Bids Its Host FarewellS

It may have been two years ago when a friend told me I needed to be listening to the main podcast on 1Up.com. Dirt was being spilled on it. In part because the wrong people weren't listening.

I've been behind on listening to what used to be called 1Up Yours and, more recently, Listen Up, ever since, trying to keep pace with a weekly release of audio talk about games that usually exceeded two hours.

I will be caught up soon, for an unfortunate reason: The podcast, as it has been structured for three years, is ending.

Today's Listen Up, recorded Thursday night, is the farewell episode for host, Garnett Lee, and regular guest, John Davison. Lee and Davison have started new jobs at outlets competitive with 1Up.

1Up editorial director Sam Kennedy, who described today's episode as "an end of an era," told me that, in some form, the podcast will go on, under the direction of show veteran David Ellis. "He has some fantastic ideas about the direction in which it should go next," Kennedy wrote in an e-mail to Kotaku. "We've also just upgraded 1Up's podcast studio with brand new equipment (ironically, which Garnett helped spec — he was only able to use it this once before leaving). So I'd say there are definitely some good things to look forward on the 1Up podcast front — in terms of a show to replace Listen Up but also some other things we have planned.

The podcast, which I will refer to as Listen Up for simplicity's sake, has been a fine experiment for a different way to cover video games. Critics might say it was nothing more than a two-hour open mic for rambling about new games and news. But even at its most lengthy, the show was great for unraveling secrets and good for rants.

While the published words of 1Up's writers may have been monitored by the gaming industry's press relations apparatus, the podcast was a good source to hear gaming reporters and reviewers talk recklessly unrestrained about what they were playing and hearing. They talked about new games that showed up in the office with the rhythm of friends at a bar — an effect aided by the constant presence of alcohol around the table where they recorded.

Their most notorious guests were the talkers, developer Denis Dyack on a warpath about the irresponsibility and potential libelous nature of gaming forums... developer Bill Roper requiring more than an hour to explain his then-unreleased game, Hellgate: London. I was a guest a couple of times, though for better or worse, I don't think my stints earned me any infamy.

The show regulars were the main attractions, a cast of characters who consistently had to say goodbye to their "fourth chair," the equivalent of the podcast drummer who never lasted long in the band. Today the first chair is gone as well.

This latest and possibly last episode is billed as an emotional farewell. I hear there are tears in it. As a podcast listener — one who has often turned them into posts here — I'll miss Garnett's version of the show. He's off to Shacknews. Davison is taking over GamePro.

For the faithful who want 1Up's flagship podcast to continue, Kennedy notes: "A podcast in the spirit of 1UP Yours and Listen Up will be coming shortly. And while it surely won't be the same without Garnett, it's an opportunity to bring in some new talent and change up the formula a bit. I always point to Saturday Night Live as an example: while in many peoples' minds no cast could ever quite compare to the original, it's a show that's reinvented itself so many times over the years. If it weren't for certain people moving on we would have never been introduced to others."

This last episode is over three hours. Of course. Find the 10/09/09 Listen Up on the site's official show page.