While living in the Dominican Republic, Kendall resident Danny Peña had the hottest spot in the island: a small venue where people would come play the latest gaming consoles for a fee.
“People would come from different cities to come play,” said Peña, a gamer, someone who plays video or tabletop games. “My mother helped me put the place together helping me purchase consoles and games.”
Peña, 38, better known as Godfree in the gaming community, knew that his heart was in video games.
“It’s being part of a fantasy,” he said. “I can’t get it anywhere else. It helps you with your critical thinking. I don’t get it with other forms of entertainment. It’s a different feeling. This is my passion.”
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He knew one day that he would make something of his passion for video games. Since 2005, he has hosted Gamertag radio, a podcast dedicated to the gaming community reviewing and giving his opinion on video games and also hip-hop music. It can be heard at gamertagradio.com.
Parris Lilly, who is from California, has been a co-host for two years.
“Our feedback has been very positive,” he said. “We are diverse. They can tell we are friends. We take in deep in all areas of the industry. We all don’t agree, but that’s why they hear us.”
Recently, the podcast had more than 700,000 downloads in a year. The show’s popularity is so high, it is now part of Play.it, a website featuring top podcasts on the Internet, owned by CBS Radio and CBS Local Digital Media. Godfree is also being inducted into the Academy of Podcasters Hall of Fame presented by Stitcher.
When it comes for the latest news on gaming, fans of video games listen to the podcast for advice.
“They can learn about the industry,” said Peña, who also works for Discovery Latin America in Media Logistics Support. “Sometimes there are so many fans, but they don’t know about the business. Throughout the years, I learned about the businesses side. We also talk about the issues because we don’t like to see companies take advantage of the consumers.”
Longtime listener Marc Washington, from Maryland, has heard every episode since the podcast started. There are more than 450 episodes.
“They keep it honest,” he said in a phone interview. “They don’t cut corners I appreciate it as a consumer. It’s not a big website where they are biased. They help influence my purchasing on gaming.”
Gamertag Radio has four hosts and has been a hit featured on major top media sites thanks to his interviews with high-level game developers and their reviews.
Peña, who owns about 600 video games and several gaming consoles including an Xbox and PlayStation, was born in New York but later moved to Miami. He attended Miami Sunset High School. He was involved heavily in the hip-hop community promoting parties and top DJs, including the now-popular DJ Khaled.
“I got tired of the scene and the hip-hop scene,” he said. “I didn’t want to deal with it. I have always been a gamer.”
Back in the early 2000s, he wanted to share his passion for video games, so he produced a show about video games on MP3.com, where it was a hit.
Today, Peña and his staff have traveled to several countries to review the latest video games. Just recently, he flew to Sweden to review the latest Star Wars Battlefront game published by Electronic Arts, set to release later in the year. Using his promoting skills, he has hosted parties for gamers.
“They trust us so much that [video companies] invite us,” said Peña, who receives several games a month from companies for review. “They know we ask good questions. All they want is that we are honest to our listeners.”