Podcast Episodes

I started to listen to a lot of podcasts in 2009, and in 2010 I started Chengdu Living and shortly after, was conceptualizing a podcast about Chengdu with friends. It turned into the Chengdu Living Podcast, and since then I’ve started the Chengdu Gaming Federation podcast and joined some others as a guest. You can download or stream all podcasts from the links below, but what most people do is subscribe to the podcast through their smartphone and listen there. For either of the podcasts which I host, input Chengdu into the search field and they should both appear.

Featured as a Guest

Chengdu Living Podcast

  • #33: The Rise of MMA in China – Joined by ex-pro MMA fighter Vaughn “Blud” Anderson, we dive into the explosive growth of MMA in China as the country prepares for the possibility of its first home-grown world champion.
  • #32: Health & Fitness in Chengdu – Joined by Andrew, local competitive powerlifter and Brazilian jiu jitsu athlete, we discuss development of the fitness lifestyle in Chengdu, and how to be healthy in a Chinese megacity.
  • #31: Kickstarting Augmented Reality in Chengdu – Shin, startup founder, software developer, and game enthusiast, joins for a discussion about his latest crowdfunding campaign: an augmented reality game.
  • #30: Motorcycling Across China – The creator of Chengdu’s most notorious motorcycle group joins for a discussion about getting around Chengdu and going across China on two wheels.
  • #29: Mastering Mandarin Part Two – I return to one of the most enigmatic and difficult challenges of life in China: the Chinese language. This time with another guest who speaks elite Chinese, hailing from the United Kingdom.
  • #28: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Chengdu – In this episode I’m joined by Jerry and Andrew of CDBJJ, a local Brazilian jiu-jitsu organization founded in 2011, as we talk about the spread of the sport across China.
  • #27: One Month in Chinese Jail – Recorded with an American who served one month in a Sichuan jail. Discussion about the circumstances of his incarceration and his experience inside the jail.
  • #26: Mastering Chinese – How to succeed at high achievement in Chinese language. Recorded with Phil, co-founder of Chengdu based language school Mandarin Blueprint, which leverages the very-effective Heisig Method.
  • #25: Moving Money out of China and Bitcoin – Learn about what methods are at expats’ disposal to move funds internationally, including bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
  • #24: Sichuan Food in Chengdu – The popularity of Sichuan food globally cannot be overstated, but what’s it like in the Sichuan capital city? Joined by Jordan of Chengdu Food Tours.
  • #23: Why Expat Businesses Fail – What is it that makes running a business in China so uniquely hard as a foreigner? I’m joined by friends Chris and Johnny (both F&B entrepreneurs) to examine this question.
  • #22: Co-Working & Entrepreneurship in Chengdu – Analysis of the rapidly emerging co-working space in Chengdu, with Mike Z of local startup Walnut.
  • #21: Game Design & China – An exploration of China’s game industry, from the perspective of international game designers and educators. Guests from Holland-based Breda University’s Game Architecture and Design school.
  • #20: Bicycle Share Programs – Recorded with the American founders of the Natooke bicycle shop in Chengdu, we discuss the recent phenomenon of shared bicycles which are taking over the city. What does it mean for Natooke and for cycling in Chengdu?
  • #19: Chengdu Underground Music – Two expat documentarians join me on the podcast to explore Chengdu’s underground music scene, with a specific focus on electronic music and the DJ scene.
  • #17: Viral Videos & Social Media in China – Recent videos of sex in a Uniqlo changing room and a Tianjin explosion have gone viral in China. What do these videos say about how culture transmits in China’s internet era?
  • #16: The Iron Pig in Chengdu – Our favorite new restaurant has finally opened up a storefront in Tongzilin after kicking off business in Flower Town. We talk barbecue and business with the founder of Chengdu’s one and only authentic smoke barbecue restaurant, the Iron Pig.
  • #15: Natooke and Bicycling in Chengdu – There’s no one better to speak on the topic of cycling than the proprietors of the Natooke bicycle shop, which makes machines of remarkable quality right here in Chengdu.
  • #14: Summertime in Chengdu – Our favorite time of year is filled with things like bicycles and ice cream. But there’s much more to summertime in Chengdu, which we discuss in this podcast.
  • #13: Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in China – China-based mixed martial artist Vaughn “Blud” Anderson came to the Chengdu Living studio to talk about his history living, fighting, and promoting MMA in China.
  • #12: Inside the Sinostage Dance Studio – Eli tells the story of co-founding the Sinostage dance studio in Chengdu with his wife. Also discussed: Sinostage’s Arena Dance Battle, featuring dance teams from all across China.
  • #10: Johnny 5 Donuts –  We talk to Johnny about his donut business, the life he left in America, transitioning to life in Chengdu, and his aspirations in China that go way beyond just pastries.
  • #9: Endangered Languages – We sit down with John Van Way, a University of Hawaii PhD candidate, to talk about documenting the endangered Sichuan-native Nyarong Minyag language.
  • #8: White Monkey Work – In this episode of the podcast we discuss “White Monkey” work: a colloquial term which encompasses all the odd-jobs that we’re qualified to do simply by virtue of being foreigners.
  • #7: What’s New in the Du – For our first podcast back after Spring Festival, we talk about notable bits of news, soccer in Chengdu, a Reddit post about Chinese soft power efforts, and a couple of interesting posts on the Chengdu Living forums.
  • #6: Inside Mike’s Pizza Kitchen – In this episode we go inside Chengdu’s most beloved expat eatery, Mike’s Pizza Kitchen in the Tongzilin neighborhood, and speak to its notorious proprietor Mike. Learn about how Mike built his business from an at-home delivery operation into a local favorite, how he makes his pizza, and his history with Elvis.
  • #5: Love & Dating in China – How does dating work in China, and what makes relationships here different from in our home countries? We discuss these questions and many more with our good friend and nationally-televised dating show contestant Lana, an American woman who’s been in Chengdu for three years.
  • #4: All About Learning Chinese – In this episode we compare and contrast our successes and failures in learning Mandarin and share our favorite tools for acquiring proficiency in Chinese. From formal training programs to university study and self-study, we discuss all of our combined 25 years of learning Chinese.
  • #3: Pollution, “Real Life” in China, and Uber – In this episode we discuss recent topics relevant to Chengdu: seasonal pollution, a recently popular post on Reddit about real life in China, and controversy surrounding the emergence and subsequent crackdown on Uber in China.
  • #2: Nationality, China’s Music Festivals, and Bicycle Thieves – How does having a child in China work? Sascha shares his story of having two children in China and acquiring American citizenship for them both, as well as recent controversy surrounding the Big Love music festival in Chengdu. Lastly we discuss bicycle thieves in Chengdu, share our stories of bike love and loss, and impart tips on how to prevent your bicycle from being stolen.
  • #1: Cancer Oil, Chengdu’s Spy Network, and Water Contamination – So called Cancer Oil has been a major recent controversy in Chengdu, which we explain and break down in this episode. Chengdu’s alleged spy network and contamination of local water sources are also recent events which we discuss on this, our first episode of the Chengdu Living Podcast.

Chengdu Gaming Federation Podcast

  • #43: Inside Chengdu’s Biggest Retro Game Exhibition – In this episode we’re joined by one of the organizers of Chengdu’s largest ever retro “Game On” exhibition, Leonardo Araujo, about how the exhibition came to be, how they select and maintain games in the collection, and what his favorite pieces in the collection are.
  • #42: Goombagate & Mario Maker 2 – In this episode Austin is joined by Josh Lamm, creator of the Mario Maker 2 stage “Mario’s Remorse”. According to charges published on Ryan’s From Game to Brain blog, Kotaku editor Chris Kohler plagiarized elements from Josh’s stage in his own stage. We explore the controversy.
  • #41: The CGF Trivia Podcast – In this follow-up to the CGF Trivia event, we host a trivia competition live. In about 50 minutes we go over a total of 100 questions in 12 different categories, including a bonus round with video game music. Play along and see how you score!
  • #40: Killing for Peace in China’s PUBG Rebrand – In this episode of the podcast we discuss the latest wild development which has appeared in Mainland China’s game industry: the rebranding of smash-hit PUBG as “Game for Peace”. What does this game say about the future of China’s game industry? We discuss that and more.
  • #39: Our Favorite Overlooked SNES Games – In this episode we return to one of our favorite game consoles of all time: the Super Nintendo. Virtually everyone knows about the hits: Super Mario World, Mario Kart, Chrono Trigger. But beyond the well-known classics there are some amazing overlooked games. This episode is about highlighting and discussing those.
  • #38: Legal Weedcraft – In this episode we discuss controversy around the April 2019 Devolver Digital release, Weedcraft Inc. The game, which is about building a marijuana empire, presents players with the option to conduct their business legally and ethically or illegally and immorally, but this hasn’t kept developer Vile Monarch out of the crosshairs of online pundits and platform censors.
  • #37: Two Launches, One Game: Carrier Commander – In this episode of the podcast I’m joined by Chengdu indie mobile developer Ryan, for the third podcast on his 2019 mobile game release, Carrier Commander. In this conversation we talk about launching the game twice – once paid, and once free to play – and evaluate the differences.
  • #36: Reflecting on Reddit’s Favorite Short Games – In this episode of the podcast we discuss a Reddit post which gathered 500+ responses to the following question: “What’s your favorite game which can be completed in less than 8 hours?”
  • #35: Analyzing the Explosion of Battle Royale Games – From PUBG to Apex Legends, this is a genre which we’ve been following for a long time. Now that the space has been shaken up by a big new contender to the space (Apex), we look back at the origins and speculate as to what the future might hold.
  • #34: Artificial Intelligence in Games – In this episode I’m joined by indie developer Ryan as we talk about the process of implementing AI into his recently released mobile game Carrier Commander, as well as some common paradigms of game AI.
  • #33: 2018 Games of the Year – Another year has passed, and we look back at our favorites of the year, which include some games you might not have thought of.
  • #32: Developing an Indie Game in Chengdu – In this episode I’m joined with Ryan, developer of indie mobile game Carrier Commander, to talk about the ins-and-outs of conceptualizing, developing, and publishing his first indie game here in Chengdu.
  • #31: The Hacked Switch Experience – A few months after our last podcast about Switch hacks being available, we revisit this topic now that we’ve had a few months to experience the pros and cons of using a hacked Switch.
  • #30: What’s Ailing China’s Game Industry? – Mainland China’s game industry is in a terrible place in 2018. We talk about the circumstances and what the future might hold for the embattled games industry.
  • #29: Hacking the Nintendo Switch for Piracy, Emulation and More – The Nintendo Switch is finally cracked. Here’s everything that’s involved, along with our take on it.
  • #28: Explosion of the Roguelike Genre and Our Favorites – One of the biggest trends in independent gaming over the last decade has been the roguelike genre. Learn about its definition, origin, and our favorites in this episode of the podcast.
  • #27: 2018 Steam Sale, China’s Last? – Looking back on the biggest Steam sale of the year, and what is perhaps the last Steam sale that we can enjoy with accounts set to the China region. Will Valve’s new arrangement for China, in partnership with Perfect World, destroy Steam sales as we know them to comply with increasingly tight regulation?
  • #26: The Beauty of Zelda’s Master Mode – In this episode we share our experience completing Breath of the Wild’s Master Mode, which is a hard mode included with the option DLC pack. Is Master Mode worth playing? Absolutely, but it includes some qualities you might not expect, which we reflect on.
  • #25: Horror & Survival Games: The History and Our Favorites – After just completing The Evil Within, we discuss the details of that game along with the history of the survival horror genre, including discussion of games like Resident Evil, Dead by Daylight, Sweet Home, and more.
  • #24: Examining the Civilization Series, Plus the Latest Expansion – In this episode of the podcast we talk about the nearly 30-year history of Sid Meier’s Civilization series, and discuss the imminent first expansion of Civ VI, Rise and Fall.
  • #23: Rise of the Survival Genre – In this episode we discuss the explosive popularity of the survival game genre, typified by PUBG. An exploration into the mechanics, themes, and settings which underpin some of our favorite recent survival games.
  • #22: Game Platforms Inside & Outside of China – In this episode of the podcast we discuss merits of the most popular gaming platforms around the world, from Steam to WeChat, and more.
  • #21: 2017 Games of the Year – In this episode we complete our year-end roundup of our top games of the year. Including some of the usual suspects mentioned everywhere (Mario, Zelda) along with some others you might not expect to hear about.
  • #20: Nintendo Switch, Mario Odyssey, and Zelda BoTW – In this episode of the podcast we discuss the Nintendo Switch, the recently-released Mario Odyssey, and Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
  • #19: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in China – In this episode of the podcast we’re discussing the global smash hit PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and its complex and strange relationship with China.
  • #18: Free to Play Mechanics in Games – In this episode we talk about the free to play business model which has defined the modern mobile game landscape. Joined by Ryan, who authored a series of blog posts on these mechanics.
  • #17: Gaming Myths & Urban Legends – Exploration of some of the most intriguing myths and urban legends in gaming, including Polybius, Earthbound, Ben Drowned, Braid, and more.
  • #16: Nintendo SNES Classic & Beyond – Impressions of the recently-released SNES Classic, along with our favorite games included within the console’s 21 included games.
  • #15: Killing Nazis in Video Games – In the wake of a tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia we discuss some of our favorite memories killing nazis in video games.
  • #14: 20XX & This War of Mine – A recap of two games which we recently raced to complete: 20XX and This War of Mine.
  • #13: How We Emulate Retro Games – An overview of our emulation setups, from Raspberry Pi to full-blown Launchbox-based automation systems on Windows 10.
  • #12: Game Development in China – Joined by another American expat with experience in the game industry, we discuss how we got in and what it’s like to work in China’s game industry.
  • #11: The GPD Win, a Windows 10 Handheld – First impressions and review of the China-made GPD Win device, a handful Windows 10 computer which is great for indie and retro games.
  • #10: Steam 2017 Summer Sale – The Steam Sale is upon us again, and we discuss some of the biggest games featured, along with the psychology of the Steam sale and what it means to the PC gaming community.
  • #9: Zelda’s Popularity in China, plus Breath of the Wild – The hardship of finding Zelda in China, what it means to locals, and impressions of the WiiU version of Breath of the Wild.
  • #8: Spring 2017 Games – A roundup of recent releases in the spring of 2017, including Strafe, What Remains of Edith Finch, and more.
  • #7: Social Gaming & CGF’s 75th Event – In this episode we reflect on what makes a great social game, plus our 75th event.
  • #6: 25 Years of Mortal Kombat – Having just hosted a Mortal Kombat X tournament, we’re joined by the tournament winner as we talk about the history of the series.
  • #5: Our Favorite Sega Genesis Games – A roundup of our favorite Sega Genesis games, from Kid Chameleon and Rocket Knight Adventures to Streets of Rage and Gunstar Heroes.
  • #4: Gaming in China – In this episode we talk about gaming in China specifically, and all that that entails. Platforms, games, and China’s culture of gaming.
  • #3: Our Favorite NES Games – A roundup of our favorite original Nintendo NES games, including Metroid, Zelda, Castlevania, Spy Hunter, and more.
  • #2: Our 5 Favorite Indie Games – In this episode of the podcast we talk about our 5 favorite indie games of all time, including: Enter the Gungeon, Hotline Miami, Undertale, Broforce, and more.
  • #1: Introduction to CGF – In this, our first episode of the Chengdu Gaming Federation podcast, we introduce ourselves and the CGF initiative.