It may have been only two years but these Dittos are celebrating!
And of course we are talking about Critical Ditto! The Pokemon tabletop podcast of the season. Or any season! Just like a real Ditto, this podcast is always a great listen. This podcast can transform into anything you want it to be.
Actually…Maybe it can. After all, Stew, Ali, David and Tom are always taking listener feedback and adding fan made characters all the time. Then they improv half of the things they do based on a dice roll. Maybe that is the charm for this podcast.
Either way, we have an interview with Critical Ditto! So let us all take a seat and enjoy a look into the mind of a Ditto.
Pokemon Crossroads: Critical Ditto started two years ago, what made you decide to start a Pokemon podcast?
Critical Ditto: We were playing a home tabletop campaign using a TTRPG system called Pokemon Tabletop United through much of 2017/8.
Tom, who plays Brandi in Critical Ditto, secretly recorded us during one session, hiding his phone under a character sheet, and edited the raw audio into a sample podcast episode. He very casually distributed this surreptitious ‘Pilot’ to the rest of us, and we all decided it was entertaining enough that we fancied having a go at creating a full Podcast Campaign!
PXR: How did you guys came up with the name, “Critical Ditto”?
Critical Ditto: Quite simply a play on ‘Critical Hit’ and one of Stew’s favourite Pokémon; Ditto!
PXR: How did Stew, Ali, David and Tom met to become the “Dittos”?
Critical Ditto: We all attended the University of Warwick together and shared a common interest in performance, roleplay and, most importantly, Pokémon. It was a natural fit!
PXR: If I recall, you all enjoy doing tabletops back in Episode One. What made you guys decide to do a Pokemon tabletop?
Critical Ditto: We’d also been playing a traditional DnD Fantasy game, but knew that so many other podcasts offered that kind of a setting and world. We were all incredibly passionate about Pokémon, and thought we could bring our uniquely chaotic storytelling twist to a slightly more niché corner of the TTRPG Podcast market!
PXR: There is a lot of improv and “creation as you play” when you record. Where does it all come from? Do you guys have experience in improve and such?
Critical Ditto: David and Stew performed in an improvised musical troupe at University, but we’ve no real formal training.
We just trust each other implicitly and have a lot of creative energy to go around! We find the story is always most compelling when we ALL have a stake in where it goes, and anyone could throw a curveball in at any moment.
PXR: How do you do it…? How do you guys come up with the ideas for the intro/start of the episodes and the Midsections?
Critical Ditto: Slowking only knows. It seems likely that we tap into a dark part of the distortion world for that particular brand of chaos.
PXR: What happens during the music breaks? Based on listening to the podcast, it sounds like there is some sort of discussion or talking that happens during the breaks.
Critical Ditto: The musical breaks are there to signify the end of a ‘scene’. Obviously we don’t have those in play, so we just move on to the next part of the session.
We find the music really helps in post production though as it gives the listener the chance to process what they’ve just heard and ready themselves for the next scene.
PXR: From listening to the podcasts, how much of the land of Formia was created by you (the Dungeon Master) and how much of it was made up by the listeners during the Midsection?
Critical Ditto: Stew knew nothing about the region of Formia going in. Everything came out of player character decisions at table discussions! Stew has then taken these ideas and run with them.
The midsection characters really flesh out the world and we love populating areas of the map we’ve never been with the listener NPCs. It makes everything feel so much bigger!
PXR: Now, I do not like bringing up other podcasts during these anniversary interviews but I have to for this one. What is the relationship between you and Postcards from Pearl? After all, you both have really similar anniversary dates, Stew has made an appearance in the form of Icah and Theo is apparently studying aboard in Kinoko.
Critical Ditto: We love Postcards from Pearl. Although we didn’t know each other before we started, we have grown to have a wonderful relationship via our podcasts and Discord servers.
Jonah and Sarah’s dynamic is irresistible and definitely aligns with our style. Stew was lucky enough to guest on PfP after we’d been chatting for a while, and it was a blast. Stew was super nervous, he felt like he was meeting a celebrity after binging the whole Pearl and Luca campaign!
PXR: What are your opinion of the podcast’s first ten episodes? Do you like them? Anything you wish could have come out differently?
Critical Ditto: Great question. Every time we go back and listen to the first few eps, we’re always struck by how much we still enjoy the content. The ideas are flowing from the off and we are clearly all having a blast around a physical table (which we were).
Rain Dance remains one of our favourite Arcs to this day! That being said, we’d be lying if we said we didn’t wish we could improve some of the audio quality to ‘2021’ standards. Maybe one day we can release remastered versions or something!
PXR: Each NPC on the show seems to be voiced by a different member of the podcast. How do you decide who voices who? Also, avoid having Ali as Kenny talking to themselves via NPC?
Critical Ditto: We try to remain fluid. Even if one character has a ‘main’ voice performer, there’s nothing saying another player can’t voice them if it’s convenient or they have a great idea. The one rule is that the player characters are ALWAYS voiced by their players.
PXR: What is your favorite thing about the Pokemon fandom?
Critical Ditto: How everyone has a favourite Pokemon for one reason or another. Maybe they loved em in the anime, or had a great Nuzlocke run with em. You never know what sparks a favourite!
PXR: What do you enjoy about the podcast’s fans?
Critical Ditto: The fact that they continue to listen! In all honesty all the feedback and engagement from fans is what keeps us going during those tricky edit sessions. A bit of fan art or a fanfiction based on a world you’ve created can fuel the soul like nothing else.
PXR: What kind of advice would you give to any of the podcast’s fans who may be interested in podcasting? Either Pokemon or another subject.
Critical Ditto: It’s not easy. Getting everyone together on a regular schedule, setting aside time for prep, play, and the aforementioned editing is a big undertaking.
Maintaining all that over the period of time it takes to release a long term podcast is a huge task. BUT, if you’re committed, it can be the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done. Dream big! Then catch them all, and by all we mean…your dreams
PXR: How do you think the podcast has grown since the beginning?
Critical Ditto: We have data saying it’s grown alot! We’re about to hit 50,000 total downloads and will hopefully be doing something special to celebrate! Stay tuned…
PXR: Where do you think the podcast will be in another three years?
Critical Ditto: We’re planning one more season for the current campaign. Which means that Brandi, Theo and Kenny’s journey will conclude at the end of Season 4 (maybe the end of 2022/beginning of 2023).
But really who can plan these things specifically in an improv podcast!?
After that? We’ll take a well earned break and think about the kind of content we want to make next.
PXR: Which Pokemon on the cast has been your favorite so far?
Critical Ditto: How could you make us choose?!
PXR: What is your favorite podcast memory?
Critical Ditto: Releasing that first episode and realizing that people we didn’t know were tuning in!
PXR: Which podcast episode from the last year would you like to recommend to new listeners and why?
Critical Ditto: With our brand new RECAP episodes which give an overview of each of the arcs up to a Season 3 Premiere Arc: Bide, there has never been a better time to jump in!
Payback 1, the Start of Season 2 is also a great place to instantly get a feel for our energy if you don’t want to start from the very beginning.
PXR: Lastly, what would you like to tell to fans of the podcasts?
Critical Ditto: We love you, and thank you for all your insane theorycrafting, art, fanfics, NPC love and most importantly, support!
Thank you so much to Critical Ditto for taking the time to answer these questions. We know it is over a month since their two year anniversary but we really wanted to interview them. Hopefully this interview was great for you, the listener, of this great and funny podcast.
Make sure to follow Critical Ditto on Twitter and wish these Dittos the best belated anniversary! Once again, happy anniversary to Critical Ditto!