Thursday, July 3, 2014

State of the North Address 1

State of the North
            Well, it’s been a full year since I got a couple of my friends together and decided to make a podcast about story-focused video games.  The Frozen North has come a long way from just 3 guys hanging out and talking about the characters and adventures that we grew up with.  I’d like to take the time to address some of the highlights that we’ve had over the past year.
1.      Learning to Cast
a.       Honestly the three of us had virtually no clue what we were doing at the start.  I had done some minor recording sessions with Marc a few years prior, totally for fun, and never released anything, but I knew that The Frozen North was something I really wanted to try to make succeed and share with others.  I recently went back and listened to episode 1, just to see how much we have changed since then.  All I can say is “Wow.”  How anyone could have ever been a fan of the show right at the beginning is still a mystery to me, and it’s amazing to see how far we’ve come as a group.  The three of us have learned how to improve our sound quality, have cut down on the “um’s” and “uh’s” by a huge margin, and really feel a lot more comfortable in front of the mic.  I can say that, with confidence, we’ve come a long way from where we were.
2.      Other Podcasts
a.       We have gotten shout-outs and mentions on several other shows, and been influenced by quite a few of them.  I’d like to take a quick second to just mention a few of the big ones that have stood out to me, and have never disappointed in entertaining and motivating me to make a better show. 
                                                              i.      The RPG Cast (
                                                            ii.      Terra and Lightning’s RPG Roundup
                                                          iii.      The Dice Tower
                                                          iv.      The Sean Widmer Podcast
                                                            v.      The Video Games Show
b.      All of these are fantastic shows that, if you haven’t checked them out, head on over to iTunes and download their latest episode and give them a listen.  You won’t be disappointed! 
3.      Interview with Ryan of the Suikoden Revival Movement
a.       On Episode #19, “Saving Suikoden”, we talked with Ryan, who is one of the admins over at the “Suikoden Revival Movement.”  Marc and I just thought it would be cool to get in touch with a group that is working to revive a series that he and I are both really big fans of, but instead we got so much more.  Ryan talked to us about Suikoden such a great and memorable series, in addition to the state of modern RPGs, the gaming industry, and the direction of story-focused gaming.  It’s one of my favorite episodes that we’ve done so far, and the overwhelmingly positive response that we got from listeners (even ones who had never played a Suikoden title) was all the proof we needed to know that we had recorded something special.  I’m glad that I still keep in touch with Ryan every now and then as well, because not only did I find someone who could give us insight into a fantastic movement to revive a wonderful and breathtaking video game series, but I also made a great new friend to keep in touch with and talk about gaming every now and then.  I can’t thank Ryan enough for taking the time to come on our show, and anyone who has not gone to support their movement needs to go check them out!
4.      Our Own Website
a.       Facebook and Twitter have been great, but I’m so glad we finally got the website up and running.  Truthfully, I didn’t even think that we’d be anywhere near getting an actual site within the first year.  Well, to be fair, I wasn’t even sure we were going to LAST a year if no one liked our show!  With the emails we were getting and the requests for a forum, we figured “What the heck?” and gave it a shot.  I like what we have.  I’m hoping to do a lot more with it over the next few months, and hopefully we can get some more traffic over there to get more people involved in the conversations we have on the forum.  I’m extremely pleased with the way it’s working out so far.
5.      New Addition(s) to the FN Family
a.       After creating the website, it was clear we wanted to start expanding.  So we put the call out there for people to join us as reviewers, forum moderators, and contributors.  The first person to join the three of us here at The Frozen North was Matt, a longtime friend of Marc’s and mine.  Matt joined us as our first forum moderator, and has been doing a great job so far.  We plan on bringing him on the show very soon as well, so that everyone can get to know him better.  We DID also bring on one other person as our first official reviewer, but we are waiting to announce that until a little further down the road.  Needless to say, we are extremely excited!
6.      The FN Podcast
a.       Brian
                                                              i.      Brian has come a long way from when we first started.  He’s always excited no matter what’s happening, and jumps the gun on giving every opinion he has, usually before getting all the facts.  That’s why we love him.  He’s got personality coming out of his ears, and to listen to the way he talked in the beginning and how he sounds on the show now, it’s amazing to think that it’s only been a year.  Without Brian, I think the show would have gotten stale pretty quick.
b.      Marc
                                                              i.      Simply put, there would be no Frozen North without Marc.  I have no clue what I’m doing when it comes to the sound equipment, but Marc has taught himself from the ground up, and has done a spectacular job making sure that our sound quality is the best it can be with the equipment we have.  What’s funny is (and he’ll hate me for saying this), Marc is typically pretty quiet around people he doesn’t know, but if you listen to the show, you’d never know it.  I’m so glad that the world gets to hear Marc’s wonderful personality, and I’m extremely grateful to him for showing the same passion for the success of the show as myself.  The amount of time and effort he has put in to the show has been invaluable, and I can’t thank him enough.

Truth be told, I don’t fully know what the road ahead holds for the show.  I can tell you that I’m insanely excited to find out though.  We’ve got guests, new segments and top 5 lists, reviews, and all of the crazy inside jokes and goofy humor that you’ve come to expect from The Frozen North, planned for the coming months.  Again, I can’t believe it’s been an entire year already.  This podcast, we’ve talked so much about all of the stories in these great games, gone over our favorites, our least favorites, and everything in between.  However, I’m writing this as a sort of log to keep track of another story that I find compelling:  Our own.  I can’t thank the fans enough for the overwhelming support we’ve gotten in such a short time, and it’s already more than living up to my expectations.  Please keep the feedback coming, we want to hear from you!  If you all promise to stick with us, I promise that we will do our best to continue bringing you the best that story-focused gaming has to offer.  Until then, keep on gaming!

Sincerely and Most Grateful,
Joseph “JJ” Santaniello

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