We aren't alone in this dusty little place, in fact really we're only observers. The tendrils of it reach out to us, and we have grasped onto them. One by one we connect to to it, till we're all centered around this tiny box where a man is speaking into a microphone with a booming voice made for Radio. We can already tell we're going to see more of this man, he's got a great voice and a lot of passion for what he's talking about. Since we're connected into the broom closet electronically, we can move through the wires and see what this man's computer can see, like we have some Kizen power that turns us into lightening, so lets see if we can figure out who he is:
He keeps talking into the microphone, it looks like he's recording another podcast. This is a pretty new thing, podcasting. While Radio had existed for quite a long time, being able to distribute a Radio Show with out actually having a Radio Station was a difficult prospect. Sure, people had been doing it for quite a bit of time, one only has to look at the fan made audio dramas about TV shows like Doctor Who distributed amongst fans on tapes in the 80's, but their reach was always limited by how many tapes a few fans could make, and how many people they could be passed to. Podcasting put Radio on the internet, and while it to had been around for a bit, it wasn't really taking off till this year, 2004. In fact, we're a bit early it seems. Podcasting is supposed to really take off soon, but it wasn't quite there yet. As we can see looking down at the notes on the table, this isn't even called a podcast, its something called 'WARS Radio'.
Ah! There is the name of our mysterious host among these notes as well-- Mark Tuttle. Mark Tuttle... Where have we heard that name before? Well, if we were in New Albany Ohio, which we seemingly can be since we can move through the phone lines now, we'd know that Mark was a morning show host at WNKO FM radio there-- no wonder his voice sounds like smooth chocolate, this guy has been training it up for a while now. A Radio host ey? It looks like he does more than that, he's also part of the WARS design team. Oh, now it makes sense, this Radio show was probably his idea wasn't it. Now the Narnia closet makes sense, its not like card game companies keep spaces around for people to host radio shows casually.
Since we can travel through the phone lines, I see no reason we can't expand out powers to travel to the future as well. I'm not sure of the mechanics of how this will work, but I'm sure it will iron itself out somehow.
Ah, I see I was right. No serious paradoxes. Lets take a look at 2014: Podcasting is rather popular and common now isn't it? We can see lots of people downloading them and listening to them on the car or on their MP3 players. Lots of Radio Shows release themselves as podcasts now to! Amazing! The future is a bit boring though, and we wouldn't want to know too much about it. We don't want to know the lottery numbers or anything too drastic!
Back in time we go then. Since we've learned that podcasting is a big deal in the future, this is a big deal that WARS has one of these so early on in the past isn't it? I mean, they're by now means the founders of podcasting, but its fair to say they're early adopters, and also this is a company we're talking about, a major company that has made card games based on some of the most popular movies of all time. Sure we're expecting uncle Dursley to barge in at any moment, but who else is doing this at the time? From here, the voice of WARS shoots out to us and allows us to see inside this building.
What we're allowed to see changes of course, and no two of us see it quite alike. We're only seeing with our ears and our mind, after all. Other people float in and out of the broom closet, we can shift time around to see them come and go so we don't have to be patient about it. There is Decipher CEO Warren Holland, there are the designers of the game, there is Michael Stackpole the beloved author, that’s a lot of people there for this place, and yet no Aslan appears.
From these voices, we hear all about different aspects of the game. We're linked in, learning little details of the game and the world around it. Did you know Shi reproduce asexually by a form of baby making called “budding?” Of course you do! You're plugged into this system, soaking in the information. You can see the game design tables from here, and lots of art and mechanics, though the art in our minds always ends up a bit different than what appears on the cards, one of the few flaws of the little system we've rigged up. In many ways, with the name WARS, this feels like we are hearing FDR or Winston Churchill on the radio, filling us in on the day to day building of this Universe. Its strange how exciting it all is! After all, we don't really know much of anything about WARS except from what this radio show is telling us, and a few blog posts on the main website.
Though fireside chats didn't take reader questions.
Question: Do you think that WARS Radio was ahead of its time?
Answer: Clearly, it was, in many ways. Sadly, it was also ahead of its time a bit too much, as podcasting hadn't quite taken off when the game launched. While it was much more popular in the middle of the game's run, that's a very different situation then launching a new thing into a void, as opposed to launching one into a fervor, especially when no one was searching that area of the void to begin with.
Question: So you're saying that WARS Radio was a wonderful idea, but it couldn't do anything if no one knew about it?
Answer: Basically, yes. Unfortunately WARS was very unknown at this point. The people who were interested though needed to have something to hold onto, and WARS Radio was a constant source of news and information streaming into our laps. WARS Radio wasn't something you'd give to someone to say “hey, this is what WARS is”, it was what you'd tell them to look for once they were already interested. It was a great way to get people to keep paying attention to WARS, but they had to notice it to begin with.
Question: Like a blog posting about WARS on its anniversary?
Answer: Hush now, we're getting a bit too meta.
We pull back away from the 4th wall, and just listen to some of what this podcast is. For something recorded in a broom closet in 2004, its remarkably professional and well done. If it didn't mention dates from a decade a go, the production values are high enough you might not realize it isn't current, it might even be better than some of the podcasts in that strange future of 2014. But it is also a voice singing to the choir. While we can hear it, and it is giving us this tour of Decipher games, its hard to not be aware that this is a private tour. Its just us, and really that is the way it should be. The average Joe isn't going to care about this, and the average Joe isn't going to want to listen to a podcast about how exciting an upcoming tournament ten year ago was, but we still do. Because we're fans, and we listen.
The depth of the coverage impresses us to: listener questions are answered, game mechanics, tournaments, the setting, the art, the development, the future of the game... All of them are covered here for us. This was our first real chance to understand WARS if we cared about it as well. This wasn't just a press release, or even a detailed rundown of the setting. This was WARS for those of us who really cared, and we did, and we listened.
WARS may have had problems, but talking to us wasn't one of them. If anything, they might have treated us too well for the tiny amount of us there were. We're so happy they are talking to us, but we isn't a big number, and while we wait for more things to come, we're well aware we won't be able to sustain this. But that is the future, and we're getting ahead of ourselves. Mark Tuttle is speaking into the microphone, and we can hear those words in the past or the future or right now. If we just close our eyes, that lost world of the excitement and drive to makes WARS is still bubbling out of our speakers. We smile. We open our eyes, we gaze back down at the notes.
We shouldn't peak.
“A Matter of Life and Death” by Michael Stackpole
Is that a story? Is that a story about WARS? Is that the next chapter of this saga, fiction?
We all know the answer to that questions.
And we also know we heard it here first folks, on WARS Radio.