The Pixel Vision Story
'The reason we're doing this podcast is because whenever we get together and we talk about games; we talk about games for about an hour, and then we say, "I wish we'd recorded that." So this is just us, having a conversation about games, that we've actually recorded.' - Tao, Ep. 1: Disco Elysium.
Ben and Tao met in front of an Xbox in the early noughties. In the decades since, they've spent nearly as much time talking about games as playing them.
In those early days, they ran home in lunch breaks to play World of Warcraft and emptied the fridge pulling all night Halo sessions. They may have grown older, they've hopefully grown wiser, but neither have grown any less enthusiastic about video gaming. To this day, when their eye lids come down at the end of an evening, odds are, they can't unsee the Pixel Vision.
If you've got square eyes or you're dreaming in 1080p, you've got Pixel Vision, too. So put down the controller, step away from the keyboard, and take a break with Ben and Tao's left-field video game analysis, fresh from the screen.
Your hosts, the NPCs
A smidge over score and ten years ago, character creation was underway for a mini-adventurer and nascent pixel visionary. Born among sheep filled vales and wooded Cymric hillsides, the little floppy haired child was granted a name: Ben aka Talwyn Hawkins aka Oakmoth aka KidCamo, a gender: male, and a backstory: more exhaustive than Mass Effect's lore and thus, sadly, too long to repeat here.
Over the next few decades, he would undertake a long and arduous journey from Gameboy to Gameboy Color, Sega Saturn to N64, Xbox to Xbox One, and Steam to Epic Games. Exploring the wilds of the Forgotten Realms and Azeroth, the worlds of Tamriel and Thedas, the rings of the Halo Array and Middle Earth and a good many more besides, his character class and alignment were shaped: chaotic good, druidic rogue, and he would be forever destined to flex his thumbs and little fingers, shift run and control crouch, bumper jumper through time and space in a slow but sure conquest of the video gaming kingdom.
Nothing could stand in his way (except his parents, schooling, work, finances, his girlfriend, and a bad internet connection). But nothing, nay, nothing, could stand in the way of his insatiable Pixel Vision…
When he’s not gaming, criticising or editing, Ben is an investigative journalist, primarily for the BBC.
Tao was raised on a wholesome diet of piranha plants and chuckie eggs. His formative gaming experiences did not include clear instructions or save data. They involved endlessly blowing dust from cartridge slots, and whistling chiptunes until ordered to be quiet by his hairless mother.
After receiving a 10GB hard drive as a Christmas present, his horizons grew to accommodate the vast space it afforded him. He played Red Alert before being taught about war; Pharaoh before seeing the pyramids; and Age of Empires before understanding the rest of human history. He cried when his dad couldn’t successfully install Settlers IV for him, and was told there would be no new games if they brought him to such tears. When pixel vision stopped him from sleeping, it would be no more than an excuse for his bleary eyes to once again avoid school - Commandos 2 certainly wouldn’t complete itself.
Between Battlezone and Black and White he developed an everlasting love of video games. While microtransactions, misogyny and hyper-realistic violence make the headlines, he still feels there’s wondrous magic and mystery beneath their pixelated surface.
When he’s not thumbing a controller, scribing pithy tweets or playing the violin, Tao is a software developer.
FFA (Free For All)
Pixel Vision is free. Free for all, always. Simply subscribe and you won’t miss an episode. Every new podcast, complete with show notes (and occasionally a review or gaming news commentary) straight to your inbox. That being said…
Ben and Tao have vowed to never put ads on their podcast or in their written reviews, and to staunchly resist any industry pressure that could compromise the integrity of their reviews and analysis. They also don't want money to be a reason people miss out on content (hence free!)
Unfortunately, this leaves them in a bit of a predicament when it comes to funding! The good news is, they don't need much to keep it all going, so if you can afford to throw in a few quid each month and support Pixel Vision with a paid subscription, you'll be helping keep the pixels in high res and the duo chattering and typing away.
Thanks, you legend. No, really. Thank you! Your generosity makes listeners happy everywhere.