The Video Games Show (VGS for short) first hit the Internet airwaves on April 7, 2004. The brainchild of Rich Bergin, Chris “Hoss” Neupert and Michael “Nickel” Nicholson, the concept of the show came from three gamers that happened to work at a sports radio station (KFNS, 590 AM St. Louis, MO) and spent most of their free time talking about games. Our idea was a radio show for gamers that would be made by gamers, not by people that let their opinions be influenced by how much free stuff game companies would give away. We wanted to provide reviews and opinions based on the common gamer that just spent $60 on the latest games. The first ever episode of VGS was intended to be a pilot program for a proposed call in show on KFNS. When the concept was deemed not suited for the format of the station, the crew decided to create http://www.videogamesshow.com as a place to download and listen to the show. This was all before podcasting was even a concept. Using a grassroots campaign of posting (and getting banned) from various video game forums, VGS found an audience that grew and grew.
In 2005, The Video Games Show first appeared in podcast form on iTunes. They also established relationships with Internet radio networks stageselect.com and allgames.com. These moves expanded the VGS audience to a worldwide level. Between late 2005 and early 2007, the VGS operations expanded even further. This included expanding the VGS website to include forums and editorials by the staff, becoming part of the Microsoft Zune network and included the additions of Marketing Manager/Co-Host Ariel and regular guest host Officer Sam. Many other unusual ideas were incorporated, including VGS poker nights, mini episodes featured on the VGS MySpace page and adding interns (this didn’t take off as it was envisioned). All and all, VGS was growing bigger and bigger.
Then, in May 2007, Nickel left the show, which created a major void in VGS as Nickel was not just the “Freak in the Cage,” but he was also in charge of the technical and online operations of VGS. During this transitional period, one time guest Nick “Kraft” Kraftor took on the reigns of Producer, a difficult task considering he lived a different city at the time. Despite some internal issues, including the exit of Ariel, VGS was reformatted and changes were made in the layout of the show that remain in place today. Once he moved back to St. Louis, Kraft was invited to be the third host along with Rich and Hoss. This new element breathed new life into the show and added the now trademarked sarcastic tone to the show.
After the birth of his first child and a major promotion at KFNS, Hoss left the show (though he occasionally appeared for few more episodes) in February 2008, leaving control of VGS to Rich and Kraft. They continued to record at the KFNS studios until March 2009, where they then built and started recording from a home studio. During this period, Kraft introduced new concepts of audience interaction using Skype, a chat room built into the VGS website, and even using webcams during the show. It was during this period that “Big” Josh Dick and Ron “Bongo” Brock started on their VGS journey, going from listeners to future members of the VGS crew. Rich and Kraft then introduced a second podcast, Bombed Out Radio (BoR), which began as an uncensored, non-gaming related pre-show before each episode of VGS. BoR lasted for 37 episodes before being retired as the crew made their next big transition.
Kraft started attending the University of Missouri-St. Louis and began doing a weekly, Monday night radio show called This Week in Geek. It wasn’t long before Rich joined in and VGS found a new home at The U (http://www.umslradio.com) and has remained ever since August 2010, broadcasting every Monday from 9p-11p CST. It was through The U that Rich and Kraft met future VGS Manager “Playtex” Keith Robinson, who went from boss man extreme to regular co-host. In addition, The U served as location of the historical episodes 300 & 400, as well as GameAPalooza 2010. Finally, after feeling a bit stir crazy, Rich and Kraft built the VGS mobile studio so that the show can be taken on location for midnight game launches, Game Jams, St. Louis Game Developer meet-ups, and even the ever favorite On-the-Road episodes as the boys go video game hunting.
All in all, it has been a wild road from the humble beginnings of The Video Games Show since April 2004. One thing that has held true since day one is the crew is always focused on entertaining the listeners every week and presenting the gaming industry from the view of the everyday gamer. Sure, the guys may have become more bitter, sarcastic, and occasionally bias over the years, but VGS remains stronger than ever as we approach the ten year anniversary. Here’s to many more years of VGS insanity. Bang howdy!