Stephanie and Dylan at the Empire State Building in New York during the last vacation we had in the U.S. before the pandemic.

What Happened to BosBattle and What Happens Next

It’s been nearly two years since we published an episode of BosBattle, a podcast that was dedicated to Boston’s video game industry, and we kind of just disappeared without saying goodbye or explaining why we stopped.

The explanation ultimately isn’t that exciting, but the reason we’re back now should be: We are continuing the work we started with BosBattle and are working on a new podcast, a narrative nonfiction show about how indie games get made, with a much broader geographical focus.

After we published our previous episode of BosBattle in November of 2018, life started to get busy. The holidays were around the corner, I had a lot of business travel, and it got increasingly difficult to find the time or energy to drive from Malden to Allston in Massachusetts to record new episodes. We also just didn’t have the wherewithal to build a home studio. Then, in March of 2019, Stephanie and I moved back to our home state of Maine, which threw into question the idea of us doing a podcast dedicated to the Boston area. We did consider doing a New England show, but it was hard to find as much excitement for that — or a good name.

The thing is, I had one final episode of BosBattle to edit and publish (which you can listen to here), and I kept finding reasons to not finish it. With no good idea for a show to continue where we left off, I felt discouraged. Plus, I was traveling a lot for work, so free time was becoming precious.

We all know what happened next. A pandemic was declared, and all of a sudden my business travel came to a halt. Stephanie and I were already working from home, so we quickly found ourselves with much more free time. Then, a couple months ago, I started thinking about what many people in lockdown have pondered: making a podcast!

It took me a month or two to settle on an idea that I loved. Initially, I thought about doing a podcast that would do an episode-by-episode cultural analysis of Rocko’s Modern Life (and who knows, maybe it will still happen). But then I kept thinking about BosBattle over and over again and how much Stephanie and I loved covering a community, one dedicated to video games in particular. It kind of stung to think about because if we had continued living in the Boston area, we might have found a way to keep it going. But our hearts ultimately belonged up in Maine.

So I started to think about ideas for a different video game podcast. I decided against doing the interview show or talk show format again, because without some kind of unique focus like geography, there just wasn’t a good way we could differentiate from all the great podcasts already out there.

Then I arrived at something I’ve been thinking about for probably more than 10 years: narrative nonfiction. I got hooked on podcasts in the late aughts — This American Life being one of the first. There was just something captivating about hearing a story told in a neatly and cleverly edited way that brought audio to the forefront. Luckily enough, while I was taking my media studies degree, I had the chance to take an audio production class with Rob Rosenthal, a nationally renowned radio storytelling teacher who validated my love for the medium. (My portfolio is still up on Soundcloud.)

Despite this passion I felt, I put it off for several years. I was fortunate, however, that I was able to feed my passion for journalism, first by working for a weekly newspaper covering two coastal Maine towns. I then followed the opportunities that were available to me, serving as the online editor for Maine’s only business journal, covering the Boston tech ecosystem, and, what I’m doing now, writing about semiconductor companies and the Internet of Things for an IT publication. It’s been a satisfying career so far, but I do sometimes experience a mix of imposter syndrome and survivor’s guilt for never having lost a job in these eight years.

What I’m feeling in life now is that I need to be a little more deliberate about what I want to do in the next 10 years, which is why I’ve decided to start working on a narrative nonfiction podcast, something that definitely isn’t easy but something that I can’t stop thinking about all the same. As she was for BosBattle, Stephanie will be my co-pilot for this project, and I have already purchased the base level of equipment (Yeti microphones, pop filters, microphone stands, Studiofoam wedges!) I need to get started.

Now we need to identify and ultimately convince indie game developers that we are capable of telling their stories. If you think you know someone, you can email me at dylanmartin89@gmail.com. To start off, we are looking for individuals or small teams, ideally 10 people or fewer, and we want to make sure our stories reflect a diversity of voices in the industry.

This is something that will take much more time than any single episode of BosBattle, so it may take at least a couple of months until we have something to share with the community. But my hope is that it can become sustainable this time — and something that can help game developers who need to hear someone’s story about how they made it through and created a game everybody could play.