Jonathan Metts doesn't know who I am, but I feel like I've known him for years. For as long as I can remember, Radio Free Nintendo has been my favorite podcast, and I've listened to it nearly every week for what feels like forever. Metts is the host of RFN, and after so many hours of listening to him talk about the games he plays, the video game industry as a whole, every facet of Nintendo, and even some of his personal life, I feel like I know him better than I know some of my actual friends. Sadly, this week's episode marks his retirement from the show, and I'm really going to miss him.
For the last 7 years, I've spent at least 1-2 hours nearly every week listening to the cast of RFN talk about video games, and when you listen to people talk that much, you can't help but feel like you know them. It's not really something I thought about too much until episode 291, when I found myself feeling oddly sad. When I first discovered RFN, the cast was James Jones, Jon Lindemann, Greg Leahy, and host Jonathan Metts. After a few years, Greg retired from the show and as I listened to his farewell episode (291), I was surprised by how sad I felt. It was like a friend was moving away and I wouldn't be able to contact him ever again. I've never met him, nor could I have picked his face out of a lineup, but there I was, feeling like I had just lost my connection with someone close. And that's the thing, of course we weren't close. I know me and Greg aren't pals, I'm not delusional, but it's not like some character on a TV show who is being played by an actor, these guys are just themselves. I had grown to enjoy the "company" of this total stranger, and was genuinely sad when he moved on. It's a strange phenomenon, but it speaks to just how much entertainers can mean to us. Especially when they're entertaining by simply being themselves. As much fun as the cast is though, I was always especially fond of the host.
Jonathan Metts has a PhD in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado. That's a fancy way of saying he's much smarter than me. I was surprised when I found this out because he never seemed to be talking down to his audience. He always appeared very outgoing and approachable, which was a large part of what drew me to the show. As a long-time listener, I've occasionally written in to them and Dr. Metts personally responded every time. He even was kind enough to plug a charity streaming event I was a part of with G33klife (what Geekade was before it was Geekade) on his show. He even tuned in for some of the stream, which was an incredibly cool thing for him to do. I did get to speak to him in person once, at the 2010 PAX East RFN panel, where I was far too nervous and had a rather silly question to ask. Still, it's an event I'll always remember, if only so I could finally put faces to some of the voices I'd come to enjoy so much. There's a link to a video of the show below. Fast forward to the 3:50 mark to check out my interaction with them, as well as my questionable fashion choices at the time.
Episode 439 marks Jonathan Metts' final episode as host, and while I'm looking forward to listening to it, (they’ll be discussing Blaster Master, one of my all-time favorite games!) I'm once again feeling that odd sadness. Sure, I can’t wait to hear what he's going to do next, but I can't help but feel like I'm losing another friend, never to be heard from again. I know the show is being left in good hands, and I'm thrilled that Greg Leahy is coming back, but Jonathan Metts was the was the one I connected with the most, and while I'm sure it'll still be a great show without him, it's not going to be the same.
The bottom line is that Radio Free Nintendo has been an inspiration to me. I've always wanted what they have, which is a group of friends who get together every week and talk about video games. They make it sound effortless, and even though I know it isn't, I consistently strive to achieve that feeling. Their show is what lead to my hosting The Stone Age Gamer Podcast. And as a host, I've always looked up to Jonathan Metts as the gold standard. I've got a long way to go before I'm as good as he was, but his shows have always been a great blueprint to follow. I don’t know him in real life, but I know enough to know he is a good guy, and I’m really going to miss hearing his voice. So Dr. Metts, thanks for the countless hours of free entertainment, thanks for the inspiration to help create this website, and even though you don't know who I am, thanks for being my friend, (in a totally non-internet-stalkery kind of way).
Radio Free Nintendo Episode 439: Grapple Dem Tears is available right now at nintendoworldreport.com