Podtoid Cartoons: A Shout-Out to Fan Animations

(WARNING: The podcast and animations discussed in this article is very NSFW, though the article itself isn’t. If you choose to listen to the podcast or watch the animations, viewer discretion is advised.)

One of my favourite things in the world is Podtoid. It’s the official podcast for the gaming website Destructoid and has existed in some form or another since December 2006, changing hosts and dynamics over the years. There’s one era within Podtoid that I hold dearly, and want to briefly discuss today – the 2011-13 run; also known as New Podtoid.

This era of the podcast was hosted by James Stephanie “Jim” Sterling (then-reviews editor, now known for the Jimquisition web series) and Jonathan Holmes (reviewer and blogger, all round lovely man), alongside Conrad Zimmermann, Max Scoville, Tara Long, and Hamza Aziz, from episodes 149 to 276. While ostensibly a podcast for discussing the latest video game news, it frequently went off the rails as Jim would dream up insane scenarios for Jonathan to take part in, or suggest genuinely demented movie pitches starring Willem Dafoe.

It’s a podcast that is as fascinating and heartwarming as it is hysterical and unashamed in its lunacy, and something that’s often brought me comfort when I was down. I initially heard of it through a series of fan animations by various people from the dedicated fan community (typically referred to as “The Shattered”), and I thought it would be nice to give them a shout-out on the tenth anniversary of New Podtoid‘s very first episode. (Episode 149: Elusive Zazu)

Podcast animations are a fascinating genre of the medium, in how they take audio-only recordings and attempt to give them new context and meaning by adding visuals. They’re perhaps best known in the mainstream through TV adaptations such as WildBrain & HBO’s The Ricky Gervais Show and Pendleton Ward & Duncan Trussell’s The Midnight Gospel, but they’re largely the domain of online fans paying tribute to their favourite shows – and it’s here that Podtoid‘s small batch of animations originate.

The most famous of the animations comes from Momoka “Behemilf” Truong, a highly prominent member of the fan community who also helped organize the Podtoid Wiki back in the day. She created the “Jim Sterling Describes E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy” in early 2012, bringing life to Jim’s explanation of the convoluted hacking mechanics in the titular cyberpunk game, and later created a trilogy of animations that would be collected and uploaded as “The New Adventures of Podtoid: Episode 1”.

These animations are frequently full of in-jokes referencing other aspects of either Podtoid or the Destructoid community at the time, and the use of music helps bring an energy alongside the animation that makes these conversations more memorable. Using “Packing Pests” from Rhythm Heaven Fever for the Amazing Spidered-Man sequence will never stop being funny to me in both concept and execution.

Despite the episode title and the possibility of more episodes – albeit in Valve Time by the video’s own admission – there weren’t any more produced. However, Truong did make a pair of shorter animations based on other parts of the podcast under the name of “Jim y Jon’s”.

Another animation I always dug was the LEGO animation done by MacraBrickz, based on the scenario of Jim acting as a therapist for a drug addicted Jonathan. Just the timing of the animation creates this uncanny mood that works really well with the dialogue, and I’ve always rather preferred the animated scenario to the original.

Blockbird is someone who used to do a bunch of Podtoid fan edits, with some hilariously wonderful ones such as V For Vendetta 2 and A Lovely Song For Jonathan. Among them, he took sprites from the Ace Attorney games and put them over Jim’s attempts to write a rock opera about Jonathan. The sprite choices are brilliant, and it’s such a concise example of Jim and Jonathan’s dynamic.

I’m quite fond of animatics, where the focus is on providing a storyboard reel, and Remuslab did a very good one of a fairly obscure conversation between Jim and Jonathan. The drawings alone frequently make me laugh, and the timing of cuts has always stuck in my mind even however many years after first seeing this.

There isn’t much else in terms of animations, partially due to the run ending in late 2013 with Jim’s departure from Destructoid. However, a footnote that’s always interested me is that in the hosts’ handful of attempts to spiritually continue Podtoid over the years – The Dismal Jesters, and more recently Boston’s Favourite Son – animation was used to try and create another spiritual successor: The Loose Boys.

This was a short-lived continuation of Podtoid‘s most well known concepts that only lasted for this one episode, partially because the animation itself took very long to put together (as it was handled by Justin McDaniel, who serves as the Jimquisition‘s art director and was editing the episodes at the time). I find the visuals don’t really add to the conversations as much as previous animations, but it’s still worth noting for demonstrating how much of a following these conversations still have after all these years.

And in a way, that’s a good place to end since this whole article was kicked off by my own interest in those conversations. I don’t know if this’ll attract any new fans to New Podtoid or not, but I hope it’s a decent enough tribute to the podcast and the fan animations that got my attention so long ago.


The Podtoid Archive, which contains the first 392 episodes (including the New Podtoid era of episodes 149-276) – https://archive.org/details/Podtoid

The Dismal Jester Archive, which contains the 30 episodes of New Podtoid‘s immediate successor – https://archive.org/details/DismalJesters

Boston’s Favourite Son, another New Podtoid successor started in 2019, can be found on various audio streaming and download sites.

Podtoid Wiki – https://podtoid.fandom.com/wiki/Podtoid_Wiki

A premiere of one of the New Adventures of Podtoid segments at Destructoid’s PAX Prime 2012 panel – https://youtube.com/watch?v=XABKQg5wxbk

Special thanks to the original animators mentioned above, as well as the Destructoid and Podtoid fan communities. Y’all are awesome.

FrDougal9000 writes for hardcoregaming101.net as Apollo Chungus. When he isn’t writing about video games, he is cultivating his love of animation that’s only increased over the last few years as he’s explored the wide, weird and wonderful world of the medium.

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