Five Question Friday: Mark Beers of ‘From Across the Nerdaverse’

This week we hear from one of the co-hosts of the popular podcast From Across the Nerdaverse, Mark Beers. Haven’t checked it out yet? Here’s a brief descripto:
“Join hosts Mark and Jessie as they journey Across the Nerd-a-verse! Join us each episode for nerd talk that hits you like a zerg rush! We cover video games, comic books, all things sci-fi, movies, television, books and more.”
#1 – Across the Nerdaverse covers games, movies, comics, TV…. Are there any taboo topics? Anything you refuse to cover?
  • When Jessie and I got together and started to plan out ATN we both envisioned the show as a place where we could discuss any subject matter that happened to be tickling our fancy. So, in that respect, I don’t think that we have any topics that we consider expressly taboo. ATN is actually our second attempt at producing a show. Our first attempt was a revival of a Team Fortress 2 focused podcast known as “The Fortcast”. As Jessie and I got deeper into our planning for that show we came to realize that we had a lot more that we wanted to be able to talk about and that a TF2 based podcast would become a bit restrictive. We basically wanted to talk about “all things nerd”. In general, we’ve tended to avoid political topics, and music discussions. I think that the biggest factor that determines our choice of topics is if we feel that we have something worth saying about a particular subject.

#2 – You and you co-host met playing Team Fortress 2. Walk me through this process, the transition from online life to real life.
  • Jessie and I are both members of the Team Fortress 2 Fort ( community clan, which is really where our friendship began. Sadly to this point our friendship is still very much a virtual one as we’ve never actually met in person. Through discussions on the community’s forums is where we began to form a friendship. It didn’t hurt that in game Jessie and I made a quite potent Heavy + Medic combo. When “The Fortcast” took a break due to some staff changes Jessie was one of my first choices to try and revive that show. The revival of “The Fortcast” didn’t happen, but we came away from that attempt with ATN so I guess it worked out okay. The fact that Jessie originally hails from the Western NY area as I do certainly helped solidify our friendship as we could bond over the common Western NY touchstones of chicken wings and the Buffalo Bills.

#3 – What is the worst recent trend in videogaming you have seen?
  • In general, I think that we are currently in an era of gaming where more things are going right then wrong. I think it is great that videogaming as a medium is becoming a larger part of our popular culture landscape then it has ever been. It has been great to watch the medium grow over the course of our lifetimes, and I think we are finally entering an era where our long time claims that videogaming is as valid of a medium as say movies are finally being validated. It is even more exciting when you consider that we’ve yet to even see platforms like the PS3 taken full advantage of. When you combine that with the fact that independent development is now far more viable due to online distribution services such as Steam and Xbox Live we are in a great place to watch people really push our hobby into new and interesting places. If there was a negative trend that was bothering me, I think I would say that it would be the development disparity between the console platforms and my platform of choice the PC. The PC I think has had a great resurgence as a platform, but it still makes me sad that I have not seen console titles that I am interested in such as “Castle Crashers” or “Bayonetta” make their way over to my side of the fence. However, this is a trend that I have seen become less and less as of late to the point where a game not having a PC version appears to be more the exception then the rule.

#4 – Listening to your podcast feels very similar to tuning in to talk radio, but in an alternate world where the hosts talk about stuff I care about instead of football. How do you compare yourself to traditional talk hosts?
  • First off, I’m going to take this question as a bit of a compliment, because I think one thing that I’ve always wanted the show to strive for was to provide that same type of talk radio feel. I’ve long been a fan of talk radio in all its formats be it sports, politics what have you. If you get into my car the radio will usually be tuned to some talk radio station. I’ll listen to just about anything from Rush Limbaugh to “sports” talk such as the Tony Kornheiser show, and the technology programming being produced by Leo Laporte and the TWIT network. I think if I take my inspiration to how I approach broadcasting from anyone it would be from Mr. Kornheiser and Mr. Laporte, who both do an excellent job of making a show be about more then just sports or technology and more about our current social culture in general. The really exciting thing for me about the emergence of new media such as podcasting and blogging, is that it has allowed for a wider array of cultural topics to enter the arena of public discussion. On ATN we happen to focus on subjects such as videogaming and movies because they are not only near and dear to our hearts but are becoming a growing factor in the general cultural discussion of our era and it is great to contribute to the dialogue relating to these items. I guess the old English major desire to be involved in the analysis and discourse of these cultural artifacts never really dies.

#5 – What games are you playing now?
  • I’ve been spending a good bit of time recently with Bioware’s Dragon Age: Origins, as well as another Bioware title Mass Effect. I still do find time to put in a few rounds of Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead 2 each week as well.

Make sure to keep track of Mark, Jessie, and their ragtag band of misfits at Thanks, Mark!

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