In January 2011 I got married to the love of my life. No, I didn't get married to video games. I got married to a real, human woman! We decided not to take a honeymoon straight after the marriage. Instead, we planned to wait until it was winter here in New Zealand and then we'd bugger off overseas for a while to escape the cold.
Our initial plan was to visit the United States for a couple of weeks, but after some umming and ahhhing we realised that for the same price of spending a couple of weeks in the States we could actually spend about three months in South East Asia. So, winter arrived and we packed our bags and flew out to Bali. After Bali would be Borneo and Vietnam, we planned on spending a decent length of time in each place to really soak it all up.
Whenever I spend a good length of time away from video games I get cravings and withdrawals. I knew that spending three months away from my consoles and PC would be tough, and unfortunately I didn't own any handheld consoles at this time. The only thing I did have was the hand-me-down Nokia N95 cell phone that my older brother gave me when he upgraded to a shiny new Samsung Galaxy. The N95 is by no means a smart phone. In fact, its IQ is really only below average at best, but it did allow me to download some basic mobile games such as Settlers of Catan and a bunch of rudimentary platformers which I figured would curb my game cravings.
As we got further in to the trip, I realised that as well as missing proper gaming experiences I was actually missing just reading about games and immersing myself in gaming news. The N95 web browser is pretty woeful, and we had intermittent access to internet at best with the places we were visiting. Although I had never really listened to a lot of podcasts before, I thought that maybe finding a good gaming podcast would be just what I needed. Luckily, the N95 has a podcast app pre-loaded. To cut a long story short, it was in Kuching, Borneo, that I first discovered Podtoid.
When it came up on the "video game" podcast search on my phone, I'll admit that I just liked the name of it to start with. Also, I was vaguely aware of the name Destructoid as a website. I had never actually visited it (1up.com was my video game homepage at this time...pour one out for 1up.com), but I had seen quotes and links to the site while browsing other sites. Also, the name of the episode I was about to download, Podtoid 163: Jonathan Holmes' Hospital of Monsters, sounded intriguing...
As I listened to the episode on my headphones in the cramped, hot little room of the hostel we were staying in, my mind expanded. I was introduced to a world of spider sex videos, Jim's aversion to air travel, Voldemort berating Lucius Malfoy, and not a damn thing about video games. I can still remember the look on my wife's face when she asked why I was laughing so much, and I tried to explain it to her. Podtoid is not something you can easily explain.
Needless to say, I was hooked. Any time we were near a good Wi-Fi hotspot I would download as many episodes as I could, and by the end of our trip I had managed to listen to every episode from the new era of Podtoid. I'm smiling just thinking about this. Podtoid honestly is one of my favourite things in life, and from the bottom of my heart I would like to say Thank You. Thanks for filling up all those long hours in buses and on airplanes and sitting around in hostel room with your insane banter and hilarious nonsense. You scratched an itch I didn't even realise that I had.
When we got back to New Zealand and I once again had access to a regular internet connection, I immediately went to destructoid.com and it became my homepage. The articles on the front page, especially the ones by Jim and Jonathan, seemed like a natural extension of what I had been introduced to with Podtoid. Now, of course, mixed in amongst the fun posts there was actual gaming news as well! Destructoid is quite simply the best gaming website I've ever been a part of. The community, the writers, the interface, the stories, all of these combine to make something quite unique. Happy Birthday, Destructoid! I hope that we can revisit all of these "Dtoid Memories" posts in another seven years.