Written by Gav Russell
The Dark Souls community is a wonderful, friendly, helpful, incredibly inviting place because everyone who loves Dark Souls loves talking about Dark Souls just as much as they enjoy getting their brain smashed in by the Capra Demon. And so, as lucky American
bastards players tuck into Dark Souls 2, as overwhelmingly positive reviews start to flood in for it and as we UK folk stare longingly at our letter boxes waiting for it to arrive, here’s a little bit of a thing about the best podcasts to spend your bandwidth on in order to hear some excellent, informed Souls chatter. They’re not all centred on Dark Souls specifically, but all of them have a deep love for it that will certainly be spilling out in the weeks and months to come. A couple of them in particular have just launched new episodes to celebrate the upcoming launch of Dark Souls 2 that only serves to make my anticipation-o-meter (and I don’t mean my penis) almost explode with excitement.
Dark Souls fan podcasts don’t get much more Dark Souls-y and much more fan-y (um, that doesn’t sound right) than Twin Humanities. Started by CJ and Paddy, it has spread its wings more as time has gone on (non Dark Souls episodes go under the banner Oh The Humanities) but it remains at its core a place for the two hosts to air their obsessions about the Souls series to the world. News, personal accounts, and (if you start from the start) a pretty cool audio diary of one seasoned player guiding a newcomer into the grim embraces of one of the finest video games to ever haunt my disc drive. Funny, charming and an essential part of the Dark Souls community.
Bonfireside Chat is like a living, breathing Dark Souls playthrough companion. Gary Butterfield and Kole Ross guide you through the Souls series (starting with Dark, onto Demons and now even onto From Software’s Souls pre-cursor King’s field) taking each area in turn. Starting with Firelink Shrine, they take your hand and chat about each section of the game, talking at length and in fascinating detail about the world, the gamplay that will get you through, the lore, the bosses and pretty much anything you could hope to hear. Whether a newbie or an old pro, Bonfireside Chat is brimming with information and stories and is pretty much like curling up with a good book.
The Recycle Bin is a podcast that should have found a home on most gamers’ ipods by now. Relatively new and hosted by Chris Spann, it’s not predominantly Dark Souls (although its the first game mentioned in episode one) but it’s a damn fine way to spend an hour and some change whenever a new episode arrives. And when Chris Spann does turn his attention onto Dark Souls, his deep, deep love for it shines through in a fantastic way. Of particular note is his latest episode released this week (part 1 of 2) to celebrate the upcoming release of Dark Souls 2. For 90 minutes, Chris interviews and receives monologues from Dark Souls fans from among the gaming community and believe me when I say it is fucking excellent. Among many others, Paddy from Twin Humanities discusses ‘The Fear’, Michael Fox from the deceased Joypod podcast discusses the differences between Souls and Demons and Laura Rich sums it all up with a frank and pretty moving monologue about her relationship with the game to close the show. Are you downloading this yet?
Arguably the punk band of the videogame podcast world, Midnight Resistance is outspoken, untamed, rude, lewd and with nary a fuck given in sight. All of which of course makes it awesome. Whether releasing gargantuan End Of Year episodes that last about 3 weeks or repeatedly slagging off Bioshock Infinite, single handedly causing Irrational Games to shut down (probably), it’s always an enlightening listen. Again, not Dark Souls exclsuive, but both hosts Andi Hamilton and Sean Bell done got a lorra lorra love for the series, so expect plenty of chat in the coming months about the sequel. Related, and well worth reading, is Andi’s spoiler free review of Dark Souls 2 for Videogamer, and his accompanying essay.
The grandmaster of videogame podcasts. If we’re using a Wu Tang analogy (and why not?), Cane and Rinse is The RZA. When I first heard it, I text my friend and co-creator of this website and said to him that “if Radio 4 did a show about video games, it would sound like this“. Cane and Rinse discuss video games like the high art they so often are, taking each episode to delve into a single game or series with exquisite detail, discussing everything from the score, the story, the voice acting, controls, gameplay, cut scenes, EVERYTHING. But like you don’t already know this. So you can bet that when they turn their attention to the Souls series in the two episodes that cover Demons and Dark, it makes for a fascinating listen, not least CJ from Twin Humanities’ incredibly personal account of what the series means to him during the Demons episode. It will be a few months at least until they dissect Dark Souls 2, but in the meantime check out the back catalouge and lose yourself. Be warned though: I’ve not listened to an episode yet that hasn’t had me either going back through my old games or trying to hunt them down on ebay. An inspiration.