Imagine for a moment...a beach. The sound of the waves can be heard in the distance as they calmly ebb and flow from the ocean blue. A flock of seagulls fly overhead and then disappear off into the distance. Do you feel the calm, soft breeze on your face and the hot, coarse sand beneath your feet? I know I do.
Now BLINK, and come back to reality as I take you into the heart of Baltimore, Maryland on a brisk, May morning with traffic in full swing. The cars are honking, people are trying to get to work and I turned on the radio to find solace from all of the chaos. Tuning it to 97.9 FM and to the 98 Rock morning show with Mickey, Amelia and Spiegel (MAS), I catch the latest, comedic bit that I’ve come to know and love over the years.
Although I’m not usually driving to, in or around Baltimore when I turn my radio to 98 Rock in the morning, I do enjoy listening to the MAS show and have enjoyed it since 2006. But a few months ago something changed. I heard a commercial on 98 Rock for a podcast that was right up my alley. A podcast...on videogames!!
Entitled Dork Dynasty, mocking the highly successful show Duck Dynasty on A&E, the podcast features the reserved, but perceptive Vince “Uncle Vince” Moore (Twitter: @UncleVince98), a producer who has worked at the radio station since he was an intern five years earlier, and Justin Schlegel (Twitter: Justin98Rock), a stand-up comedian who was recently hired by the station to be it’s Afternoon Drive Host after a number of features on 98 Rock over the past few years.
Although their schedule deviates at times due to their primary responsibilities at the Station, Dork Dynasty is recorded and shortly after released to the masses both through the Station’s website and other mediums on Fridays.
As of this blog, the duo has recorded sixteen podcasts that covered such topics as the re-release of the Neo-Geo X, the unsuccessful launch of Nintendo’s Wii-U, mobile Apps (like Knights of Pen & Paper and Defenders of Texel (DOT)) and even provided some “useful” insight as to the hidden gems of the Dundalk, Maryland Fair - focusing on where to find videogames and previous generations of gaming systems that gamers may have thought were lost forever.
But their seventeenth podcast was...a little different. Recorded on May 17th, 2013 from 11 AM to 11:40 AM, it featured Uncle Vince, Justin and me! That’s right, Weave to the Write braved the Baltimore beltway, drove past Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium and arrived at TV Hill where 98 Rock AND Dork Dynasty reside.
When I got to the station, subtle things reminded me of where I was. The gigantic, red radio tower that shadowed the building, the two, 98 Rock Hummers parked near the building and even the set of four, “purple” flamingos decorating the main entrance let me know that I had arrived at a place like no other. All of these elements set the stage for the play that would become Episode 17 of Dork Dynasty.
After I got my badge, I was greeted by Uncle Vince who escorted me up to where we were going to record the podcast. Making a pitstop at the “dorked out” office area where Justin, Uncle Vince and one or two others showcase their memorabilia (including a model of Starscream, a Terminator Head, various pictures from antics around the studio and Baltimore, and even a few Star Wars pictures), I was introduced to Justin.
With all of the formalities aside, the three of us headed further back into the studio to a small room with audio recording equipment - including three microphones and headsets. The reality of the situation continued to set in as Justin and Vince began to test the equipment and briefly discuss what was scheduled for later in the day; i.e., Preakness and Justin’s roll in the festivities.
Within moments, they asked me to test my own microphone.
I must have blacked out because the next thing I knew Justin and Vince were already in their effortlessly comedic rant about their sponsor - Dr. Pepper. Needless to say when they mentioned that “Brooks Weaver from the Frederick News Post” was the special guest, something in my head clicked and it was GO time!
I briefly explained why I was there only for us to quickly break off into talking about how Nintendo needs to get out of their own way and release their (legacy) titles (like Super Mario Brothers, The Legend of Zelda and Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest) on other mobile platforms like iOS and Android.
Although the conversation on Nintendo seemed to go on for a while, the discussion quickly shifted to the list of interview questions that I had prepared for them. Paraphrasing the interview (which is online here), I asked:
W2W: So how did Dork Dynasty come to be?
Justin / Vince: We don’t have clicks at the Station, but...when I need to talk Gaming I go to Vince. There aren’t any other hardcore gamers around that sit around in their spare time and read websites like Kotaku, IGN or even CheapAssGamer.com. So one day as we were talking about the industry, Christoff suggested to us that we record our conversations as a podcast.
And there it is. Sitting next to Justin and across from Vince as we recorded the seventeenth podcast, I finally understood how this venture was created. But as always, I wanted to understand each of these guys more so that I could understand their love for Gaming.
W2W: With E3 2013 right around the corner, what games are you looking forward to? For me, I’m looking forward to South Park: The Stick of Truth, Watch Dogs and The Last of Us.
Justin: You already said one of mine: The Last of Us. The game is looking to be the cherry on top of the sundae that sends the current generation off into the next generation of consoles. I mean, have you seen creatures in the game? They are insanely spooky - clicking and all.
Vince: The game that I’m looking forward to, although they haven’t said that it’s going to be released, is a new Might & Magic. I grew up playing the game and (with Justin agreeing) it’s about time they released a new title in the series with the potential it has for the next generation of consoles.
High quality games with great stories, graphics and gameplay, not to mention, epic games that you can lose yourself in for days, weeks and months due to the level of content? Yep, these guys definitely have some great taste in Gaming.
But then I saw it. I knew that I had a moment to finally make these guys understand that I was not only a fellow gamer and enthusiast, I was also a fan of their podcast.
Asking for a moment to grab my iPhone, I took off my headphones and grabbed my iPhone. Turning back around and putting my headphones back on, I made sure I was near the microphone. And then I dropped on them what I had wanted to since they had gotten me hooked on a game that they had highlighted in one of their initial podcasts: Knights of Pen & Paper.
Busting on the duo for a moment as if we were just three guys sitting around having a beer and eating steamed crabs lathered in Old Bay, they returned the sentiment and busted on me for showing them that I had played the game, like them, for way too long. From that point on, the feeling the room changed from an interview to just three guys talking about gaming. It was awesome!
We continued to highlight games that we liked, events that we were looking forward to (like the May 21st Xbox unveiling event), and even mentioned the Watch Dogs pre-order poster that I had brought in for them to give away to a lucky listener.
Near the end of the interview, I was asked where people can find Weave to the Write online. Providing them with how the blog can be found through Google, as well as, how I can be found on Twitter (Twitter: @BPWeaver), the duo, in particular Justin, provided one last bit of “advice” for me in my future blogs.
Justin: (In a low, almost sensual tone) You know every once in awhile with Weave to the Write, you should drop in a bit about Women’s Hair Products.
Both Vince and I were thrown off guard, but enjoyed the suggestion equally. Speaking to the listeners, Justin continued in a playful tone:
Justin: We don’t have video here at Dork Dynasty, but you should know that Brooks has the greatest (red-headed) Jheri Curl I’ve ever seen.
Fighting through the laughter of the moment, I made an attempt to equal Justin’s comment by referencing a fictional hair product made popular in Eddie Murphy’s film Coming to America:
W2W: You know I have to admit. As Dork Dynasty is sponsored by Dr. Pepper, I’ve always wanted to be sponsored by “Soul Glo”.
As before with how they reacted to Knights of Pen & Paper, the three of us erupted into a brief moment of singing the Soul Glo song.
ALL: “Just let your Soul Glo!!”
It was, I thought, a perfect ending to a crazy experience at Dork Dynasty and 98 Rock. I couldn’t have asked for more. But, ironically, they asked more of me:
Justin / Vince: You know after E3 is done, you should come back and we’ll do a big show on what games were released.
How could I say no to this?
Although nothing has been officially scheduled yet, E3 2013 is set to occur at the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 11 - 13, 2013. Shortly thereafter, I will hopefully travel back to Baltimore and join Dork Dynasty in talking about how the next generation of consoles and gaming has officially begun.
Until then, I thanked them both for their time, got a few pictures and walked out knowing that Weave to the Write had celebrated it’s one year anniversary in geeky style. That’s right, THIS is the 40th blog of Weave to the Write and, as of May 9th, 2013, the blog has been online for a year. Who knows what will happen in Year 2?
All that I know is that for now I’m thankful that I can write about gaming, interview people about gaming and share all of it with you.
Thanks again, Justin and Vince, for having me up. I wish you both loads of success now and in the future!! We will definitely have more to talk about with the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 coming to our living rooms before the end of the year.