Frankie Ward is best known an esports presenter, and gamer on Twitch. But she’s already an established podcast host with her own podcast My Life In Pixels where she speaks to industry insiders who loved video gaming so much, they decided to make it their business. Now, she’s the voice behind the new Red Bull gaming podcast, Save Your Game. Launched last week, Save Your Game offers insights into the careers and minds of gaming icons, by talking about their own favourite games. We spoke to Frankie to find out more.
Who are you and what’s your podcast about?
I’m Frankie Ward and I’m an esports host from London, but in non-pandemic times I work all over the world covering different esports tournaments.
Red Bull’s Save Your Game is a podcast where I chat to my guests about the three most important games from their life, why they mattered so much and how they’ve impacted them since. At the end of the podcast, they have to choose just one game to save above all others.
What’s the first podcast you ever listened to?
I genuinely can’t remember because that’s going back a long time! But my favourite podcasts are Table Manners, Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review, and HLTV Confirmed, which is a brilliant podcast about the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competitive scene. I recently listened to Who Killed Emma? From BBC Scotland and put everything aside to play the episodes back-to-back, and The Fault Line: Bush, Blair and Iraq soundtracked renovation work on my house.
Why did you decide to start podcasting in the first place?
I had my own podcast, My Life in Pixels that I began when I began hosting full-time in 2018, which has a similar theme to Save Your Game but a bit less structured. Years ago, I worked in radio so when I thought I had some spare time I thought I’d give it a shot, but then hosting life kicked into gear so I’d just take my mic everywhere and tried to be brave enough to ask friends to be on the show. After the initial few episodes, the podcast became more of a general conversation with people I knew from the gaming industry.
I’m really excited to be working with Red Bull Gaming on Save Your Game because we really get to focus in on our guest’s three most important games – and the line-up we’ve got is awesome. Also, I don’t have to do the edit as we have a production team involved, which is living the dream, to be quite honest.
Which podcasts do you take inspiration from?
Given the format of our podcast, it’s no surprise that Desert Island Discs is one of them – there’s been some incredibly emotional episodes and they put a lot of work into how they structure and draw out those stories.
Who’s your dream guest for the podcast?
Aisha Tyler, who is known for being a gamer, but probably never finds the time as she’s also a comedian, talk show host, actor, writer and director. She’s hosted some of Ubisoft’s E3 press conferences and I just think she’s amazing. Also Henry Cavill as he won hearts of PC Gamers by sharing a video of him building a gaming rig, so I do need to discuss what he’s been playing on it with him!
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far as a podcaster?
I think it’s been a case of learning more about what people’s game choices say about them. With older guests I think they have a much more emotional response to their games whereas with younger interviewees, the games are so fresh that they don’t have the nostalgia factor just yet, because they’re still playing with the same friends they were a few years ago.
Which episode would you say is the perfect introduction to your podcast?
On the first ever episode, launching on 17th June, I’m joined by Carlos “Ocelot” Rodriguez. He’s a dream guest – known for being one of the biggest personalities in esports. After being an esports pro player, he set up one of the world’s most successful esports organisations, G2 and is very much the face of the brand. The podcast interview was a great opportunity to see if Carlos has a more introspective side than the online personality, and he was really receptive to reflecting on what the games he chose meant to him and how he’s changed since playing them.