Game is a 4 Letter Word

A show about video games for people who aren't necessarily into video games! Each week we take a real 4 letter word as fuel to find the most interesting stories and bring them to you.
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Game is a 4 Letter Word



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Jan 1, 2016

Epic fail? Am I just asking for pity? Or will some Brian Eno quotes soothe things over? A look back, skewed as it is, as season one of Game is a 4 Letter Word, with a look towards the future as well.

Sep 29, 2015

Sub rosa secrets and more await! Erik Satie, how a fine wine is like a video game by way of David Wolinsky's Don't Die series with guest and game designer Borut Pfeifer, and the low-poly high-stakes of the game Sub Rosa with its creator Alex Austin. Also, some secrets. And my mom.

Sep 21, 2015

Well, we did it. Our first “gimmick” episode. We turn to the burgeoning gig economy on the internet and see if they can make a better episode than us, for around five bucks.

Aug 31, 2015

Is it navel gazing or getting back to basics? Either way, episode two is here and we're asking: What is a video game?  Professors, game enthuisiasts, and a slew of other podcasters weigh in on the eternal debate.  And let me ask you, right now, what do you think a video game is?

Thanks to Strangers, Criminal, Song Exploder, Pop Rocket, Take Two, and everyone at E3 and beyond.

Aug 24, 2015

Our first episode! We even broke an hour, wow.  

Welcome to Game is a 4 Letter Word, and our first episode: PINK - It’s a Lifestyle, show notes.

And a quick word if you happened to blunder onto this post somehow: I had an idea around Christmas to do a podcast, a video podcast at that time actually. While the video component has shrank, the general premise hasn’t changed all that much, which is to bring the great video game stories to people that like great stories, even if they don’t like video games, along with the beauty of design in games as well. Think of it as adding sugar (stories) to the medicine (the tech/design stuff.)  Each week we take a 4 letter word as inspiration for the episode.  (I know style guides would have me write 4 as four, but we’re talking about building a brand here, people.

OK! Enough explaining.

The Pink Links and the LikeLike:


In the Pink of Health with Show Notes


Pink was never going to be the first episode. I literally have a list of of nearly 200 episode ideas, some with 4LW (typing out 4 letter words gets old,) some without. Pink was not there.  

Then my friend Matt (THANK YOU MATT!), who had expressed interest in helping out with the show, said he was going to Seattle and wanted to talk to the Pink Gorilla folks. This was actual action, not the meticulous planning and backsliding I was doing. Pink was formed, and I cast a net.

The word of the show is haberdashery. 

As I mentioned in the episode, I didn’t want this to be a girl game episode, and the Jo Paoletti interview was actually the first piece, meant to anchor the idea and explore gender binaries. As time went on, as you can see, I rethought the “no girl games” issue. You see, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to look at it, I just didn’t want to go with the obvious choice. Challenge expectations.  But with the Pretty in Pink game, I decided it really had to come back, full circle, and be discussed.

I decided not to re-record my lines at the end of the Paoletti piece, and instead evolve the thesis as the episode went on, ending with the fabulous Rachel Weil. 


The John Kirby piece, with him becoming the possible namesake for the pink puffball might seem like a little bit of faded trivia, but I do find it fascinating that Kirby (the puffball) was literally whitewashed for his US premiere, with the character being white on the box art, and it being a Game Boy game, he was just tints of green and yellow on the tiny screen. Today, he stands majestic and pink.


And yes, Mario is Jump Man in Donkey Kong, but let’s compress history, shall we?

Pink Floyd is just a word link, but I still find it amazing.  I tried to synch the Moon8 version with original via YouTubeDoubler, but, the timing is a bit off… Brad did this project years and years ago, and it was covered in the press, even NPR got in on it, but part of G4LW, and I decided this early on, isn’t about being first, but being different, and at least try to bring the human story out a bit more.  

(I realized retreading is not the devil, when my tote-bag world exploded, like when an episode of Radio Lab was a retelling of New York Times Sunday Magazine article I had read about Disney movies and autism. Likewise, when This American Life had a new David Sedaris piece, I bristled with excitement, but what’s this, I had read this essay myself in the New Yorker just a few months ago.)  

As for the Pretty in Pink film ending… I knew there was a reason I liked Some Kind of Wonderful better.  I haven’t seen it since I was 11, but it may of had to do with Mary Stuart Masterson. Wearing boxer shorts with short hair.

As for the John Waters/Pokemon thing, well, my pal Patrick Davison I think said it best when he listened to the piece, we had a conversation to deliver a bit of trivia.  He liked it. Did you? Here’s the English description of Quinty from the Famicom book:


Pink Slip

We never did do a story on pink slips… maybe in Pink 2.0

Well, this went on for a bit longer than I expected. Thanks for reading, and if you haven't yet, please listen (and subscribe…. and rate and review, etc.)

As always, you can follow me at @OtherWhiteTofu and Matt at @Sneakdoorbeta, and even follow the show @G4LWShow.

Yeah, so we have a Patreon set up, but at this point, I’d rather get feedback than financial support. Some burning questions follow:

  • What did you like?
  • What didn’t you?
  • Are you into games?
  • Was something unclear?
  • Who has more vocal fry, Ryan or Matt?

Mail us at or send tweets, or leave a comment below, if I get it set up in time.

And if there’s a few random sound effects you heard in the episode that you are wondering about, check out the RSS and listen to episode zero, where I discuss some of the show’s leitmotif and for more background of how this show came together in the first place.  

Next week we look at just WHAT a video game is. Again, the general idea is that the odd numbered episodes are going to be bigger, even smaller. We are doing this so we don’t die.  

Jul 20, 2015

Game is a 4 Letter Word is a podcast about video games for people who might not like video games.  Episode Zero breaks down what the show is about and how it came to be the way it is, along with some tools for listening to it. Enjoy. Ryan