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Podcasting: the new sensation that is sweeping the Internet, has so many people doing it , gamers, politicians, news anchor, etc. It has given Blogging a run for its money and has become something of a respectable outlet. There are a lot of podcast that focus on all types of events, activities, hobbies; you name it, its there. Gaming has ruled the podcasting world with the release of the Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360. Each console brings its own dedicated fans, games, and hype. I am one of these podcaster’s who talks about gaming, and loves it. I will talk a little about my life, as a podcaster, in hopes of helping the general public understand how hard a podcaster has to work.

My gamertag is JVB, but in the real world my family and friends know me as Joe Betancourt. I have a wife and a five year-old son: who are my life. I am an elevator technician for Schindler Elevators. On Monday nights I go to school for four hours and do a podcast with Godfree and the rest of the Gamertag Radio crew when I get home around 10pm. On Tuesday I record Podtacular: The unofficial Halo Universe Podcast, with Foo Mo Jive. Add the role of news editor for www.unclegamer.com and www.controllerfreaks.com to the list of activities that take up my free time.

You might be wondering; how the hell do you find time to do all that? Well, its not easy, but I try to maintain a strict time schedule. I plan my week and stick to it as much as possible. The main thing that I always keep in mind: family first. If I ever find myself choosing between podcasting and family, family wins, by a landslide. Work and School are the next issues that remain important in my life. So once you determine what are the most important things in your life, you are ready to set up a good schedule for your hobbies, in this case, its podcasting.

I will use Podtacular as an example here. Every Tuesday Foo Mo Jive and I sit down to discuss what we will talk about. We share show notes, and ideas for the show format. Once we get an idea of what we want to do, its time to find our guest. Most of the time we have guest lined up for that week. But, there are moments when they cant make it, which leaves us scrambling around for someone to take their place. Once we find the person/people we want, its time to do a sound check. We have had many issues with guests who have very poor sound quality. This makes it real tough because we hate to turn anyone away, but the poor audio quality makes it hard to do a good show. With that out of the way, its time to for them to look over the show notes. They get a brief rundown of what we will do during the session; intro, interview, etc. All this preparation took about an hour of our recording time.

After the audio is recorded and saved: its time to edit the show. Foo Mo Jive, the founding father of Podtacular, has done the editing for the past 6 months. This is where the brunt of the work takes place. Ask any podcaster: what is the hardest part of being a “caster”, and they will give you the same answer: editing. The most crucial step in making a successful podcast is the editing. Gone are the days of low voices, humming noises, and three hour shows. Listeners have a large variety of shows to listen to, so the ability to produce great quality is a must. I know some “casters” who take up to three hours to edit a Forty-Five minute show. I cannot stress how important this is, so practice, if podcasting is something you want to look into.

When the show is ready, you need somewhere to store it. There are services like Libsyn that will give you a place to put your creation, for the world to listen to. You can either link it from your site or Itunes. Even this step can become confusing at first, but it gets easier once you’ve done it a few times.

Promoting your show is another important part of podcasting. To some, it’s the main ingredient to success. My role with Podtacular is to help promote the show to a wider audience. Its not easy, because of the number of video game shows out there, you need to set your show apart in order to get some listeners. Even if your show sounds exactly like another show, hype it up as best as you can. When I promote our show, I keep in mind the audience I’m trying to reach. You need to know your audience and respect their opinions and intelligence, or they will leave you in a heartbeat. Being a people person really comes in handy here, and you don’t get paid for it, so be warned.

So why would you want to do all this for something you don’t get paid to do? That’s for you to answer, but for me: I love it. I can talk about video games all day, every day. You need to set a goal for yourself when attempting to podcast. The beginning will be very tough because you will not get the results you want, and the ups and downs will test your patience. But you need to remain optimistic and work your butt off in order to stand out in the long run. The audience and your peers will notice your passion and support you no matter what. I often get exhausted towards the end of the week, and my gaming time has really suffered because of everything I have on my plate. But there is work to do, and an audience who enjoys our work, so in the end it’s all worth it. So if you thought that podcasting is easy, or glamorous, think twice: its not. There is a lot that you need to be ready for, but the end results will be so rewarding when done the right way.







JVB
5:19 PM on 09.28.2007

Foo Mo Jive and I had the honor of attending the Halo 3 launch event in Seattle. We had a chance to interview and meet a lot of great people. Our proudest moment had to be the interview we had with Marty O'Donnell, which made me a bit nervous, so nervous that I called myself Foo Mo Jive, lol.

















Thanks to our buds at Microsoft and the Gamerscore Blog, you can now set Podtacular or any of our fine affiliates at the Gamercast Network as your gamerpic... for free! Just go to the marketplace blade, then Themes and Gamer Pictures, then New Arrivals and you'll see the Gamercast Network pics there under Community Gamerpics. Be sure to download them and set them as your gamerpic to show your Podtacular pride!

In other news, the Achievement Junkie and Sarcastic Gamer podcasts have joined the fray of pwnage that is the Gamercast Network. Welcome to the new guys and be sure to check out their podcasts. There's a reason they were selected from the throngs of gaming podcasts on iTunes.








Just recently, Peter Moore released an apology letter to the Xbox Community. The letter, which sounds sincere, talked about a new warranty that will cover any issues with the “Three Red-lights Of Death”, for the next three years. Peter, who is the corporate vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business in the Entertainment and Devices Division of Microsoft Corp, even guaranteed refunds to anyone who has paid for repairs in the past. Everything will be covered, including shipping.

Why are they doing this now? Is it because they are sensing a price-cut for the competition, holiday season, or lawsuits? After all is said and done, they will lose over $1 billion by adding this new warranty. Throw some of that money my way, Bill.

So, with so many 360 owners, who are on their second, third, forth, and even Thirteenth “refurb”, why do we keep supporting the Xbox? What is it that makes us forgive and forget, that our console, which we paid a nice chunk of change for, comes back from repairs as a refurbish replacement? That’s like taking your clothes to the dry cleaners, and getting some one else’s underwear.

Xbox Live, Microsoft’s online gaming service, released to the gaming public on November 2000, could very well be the main reason why gamers from all walks-of-life, choose to give MS some slack. I am on my third 360, both of which have been refurbished, plus, I am an Xbox MVP who is involved in the XBL community. I got fed up after my second 360 flashed me with red, but I found myself forgetting my anger, and sat around in anticipation, for the UPS truck, and my console. While I was without it, I still kept in touch with the gaming community by logging on to xbox.com. There, I was able to send messages to people on my friends list. It was something I could not be without for too long.

I have met some great individuals on XBL. Some of which I’ve met in person, or worked with. I have heard of countless couples that have met on Xbox Live and are now married. No other console or PC can replace the type of interaction one experiences on “Live”. When you log on to the 360 dashboard, filled with your friends, who enjoy the same games you do, nothing feels better. It’s like getting home after school, hurrying to change to your play clothes so you can go outside to chill with your friends.

The Sony playstation 3 has a free online service. Sony said it would surpass XBL in every aspect. So far, it hasn’t come close. The structure, well, lack of, is nowhere near XBL. Online games like Resistance: Fall Of Man, suffer because of the lack of gamers with headsets. Yes you can play with over thirty people online, but what type of fun can I have if we can’t talk? If you want to invite, or chat with a friend, he/she needs the same game to do so. The most simple task, aren’t possible with the PS3, at least for now.

Nintendo, with its new console, the Wii, has not made any bold statements about online dominance. They are content with allowing its fan base to download classic titles on demand, which is cool. But I can’t see myself putting a huge friends code, in order to have a friends listing. The big N still has some work to do online.

If this were any other company, they’d go broke. It’s no secret that Microsoft has huge pockets. But that doesn’t mean we need to feel like “Beta-testers” with our consoles. How many times do I need to see a message on XBL announcing that their 360 is dead? Supposedly, repaired consoles will now include a rumored heat sink, which should help with the heating issues that accompany many hours of use. A lot of gamers, who haven’t purchased a Next-Gen console, are waiting to see what the long anticipated 65nm chip would do to cure the Xbox 360 of Red-rings-of-lightis, time will tell. I will say this; Xbox Live has got me hooked. The point of no return has come and gone, for me. This is Microsoft’s “X-factor”, a BIG one, and they know it. The online service is there, now the hardware needs to catch up, quickly.








Rockstar just announced the contents of the "Special Edition" for Grand Theft Auto. Which is slated for release sometime in October, with a price of $89.99. With this, they offer “Collectors” of the world something to sink their teeth into.

• The Grand Theft Auto IV Art Book, featuring never-before-seen production artwork from Grand Theft Auto IV.

• Selected soundtrack CD from Grand Theft Auto IV, featuring new material from top artists, only available on this release.

• An exclusive Rockstar keychain for the safety deposit box keys.

• Completing the collection is a limited edition Rockstar duffel bag.

Pretty cool ha?

I have issues with this though. There is something going on in the videogame industry that is becoming a common trend; The Special Edition.

It seems that every game that is being released, has a SE version too. Games like Mass Effect, Halo 3 and BioShock are bringing the same opportunity to gamers, who want to show off their wallets…Oops, I mean collections.

Some say that this is not appealing to the casual gamer. That is true; and for that reason, there are limited numbers for these editions. This eliminates the need to cry about the steep price tag. But what happens when Halo 3 is released, and there are no regular editions left? Do you suck it up and buy the next available version? Or do you go out of your way to find it at another store?

As someone who just wants to play games, I don’t find the need to spend extra for special “Stuff”. When the dust settles, it’s the game that I am interested in. A “behind the scene, making of” can be view on youtube.com, before the title hits the stores. A Spartan Helmet that will only fit a Chipmunk? Not for me.

I have an idea. Why don’t you go back in time, to your favorite “Classic Game”, and make a Special Edition of your own. What game would it be? What contents would you add?







JVB
8:59 PM on 06.22.2007

Yeah, thats right, they stink. But, that is not stopping me from busting out some tunes on my Xbox 360.

I just picked up Guitar Hero 2. A game that I had no intentions of getting, until I went to Best Buy. There, I saw this dorky dude, with no rhythm whats so ever, pounding on this toy guitar. I stood there watching in awe, as homeboy tried syncing his keynotes with the colored circles. When he finished I had to give it a shot, bad move.

I kept playing "Surrender" made famous by Cheap Trick.......I never liked that sound, until now, it stays in my head, at the most in-opportune times, anyway, back to the story at hand; GH2.

After grooving with my virtual reality band: Drums Of The Tigers, I decided to make this game a part of my gaming library. What a choice, wow, it flocking rocks.

The main reason why I'm writing this? I don't know. Maybe the impact of such a game, one that forces you to interact with what is going on, on the screen, is pretty huge, for me anyway. My wife cannot stop playing it, and that is a huge accomplishment for a game with such a dorky title. Halo 2, Ghost Recon, Splinter cell or Rainbpow 6; none of them have managed to get the "wifey" to play so much.

I also would like to say, that the blog beta is a pretty sweet idea. I'm sure a lot of talented writers will surface because of it.