One aspect of the gaming scene that I’ve been really into for a few years now is game podcasting. I generally find it more entertaining and mentally stimulating to listen to spoken word than music when possible. I’m a big music fan and usually get too distracted to listen to podcasts while working or doing anything else that involves too much concentration so I certainly don’t listen to podcasts all the time but I find them to be a perfect fit for my daily commute. I’ve changed which podcasts I listen to and how frequently numerous times since I first began and since the topic has come up with a few of the people that I know read this recently I thought I’d quickly run down the list of what I currently listen to and why.
Rebel FM – I used to listen to GFW Radio and later its successor LAN Party along with 1UP FM so this combination of Anthony Gallegos, Phil Kollar, and Nick Suttner seemed almost too good to be true after the mass layoffs at 1UP earlier this year. Although I honestly couldn’t stand him at first (my first introduction to him was actually a forum thread largely bashing him) Anthony quickly became my favorite podcaster on LAN Party and I loved his “Anthony Gallegos on…” segments on 1UP FM. Phil and Nick have both since parted ways with Rebel FM but Anthony, Arthur, and regulars such as Tyler Barber and several of the Co-op crew, most notably Matt Chandronait lately, have kept the tone of the show largely the same. Rebel FM also barrows 1UP FM’s Backlog segment calling it Rebel FM Game Club which I find entertaining regardless of whether I’m playing along with the game they’re covering or not.
Out of the Game – Another bunch of 1UP alumni! Out of the Game is hosted by some of the all-stars of 1UP podcasts, and besides their popularity, they were some of the funniest guys on their shows. Jeff Green, Shawn Elliott, Robert Ashley, Luke Smith, and N’Gai Croal shoot the shit on what would normally be the much maligned off topic tangents on other podcasts but only totally on purpose this time. Sure, gaming comes up here and there a bit too. Hilarious stuff. Out of the Game isn’t released too regularly so feel free to subscribe even if you’ve already got a full roster. My only real hesitation about recommending Out of the Game is that it sounds like crap a lot of the time due to being quickly thrown together from a Skype conference call with no real time being invested in mixing or editing.
Idle Thumbs – A relatively recent discovery, Idle Thumbs has quickly become one of my favorite podcasts. It’s hosted by three guys who all work in the industry – two journalists and an actual developer. They cover the usual topics about what they’ve been playing and gaming news as well as answering the odd listener mail here and there though they often seem to come from slightly different perspectives than a lot of other podcasters I’ve listened to. The three guys also have a great chemistry and are often hilarious together. Oh, and the fact that they love old games as much as I do doesn’t hurt either. 😉
The Gamespy Debriefings – Anthony Gallegos recently got hired by Gamespy and when I heard he was joining the cast of The Gamespy Debriefings I decided to check it out. Anthony is, well, Anthony here so if you’re a fan this one is recommended. I also like some of the other cast members and am a bit disappointed that I hadn’t given it a listen earlier since there appears to be somewhat of an exodus of at Gamespy with a lot of the old podcasters leaving. Interestingly, Ryan Scott was recently hired by Gamespy and will be a regular member of The Debriefings as well which promises a return to the hilarious Ryan and Anthony dynamic of LAN Party before its demise.
My back up. If I need or want something else to listen to and the above haven’t taken up all of my possible podcast time this is what I go to:
Giant Bombcast – Giant Bomb’s podcast has got to be one of the better gaming podcasts currently in production. The hosts are funny and share a wealth of knowledge. These guys are all, every one of them, absolutely hilarious and are constantly making humorous comments and when they actually talk serious about games they’ve usually got a lot of interesting things to say. The only reason I don’t regularly listen to this, time considerations aside as it is a long show, is that the their constant playful quipping sometimes comes across as a little bit too snarky for me, almost as if they’d rather sit around making sarcastic comments than actually discuss anything. Even still I find myself returning to the Bombcast quite frequently.
My back up, back ups. Mostly podcasts I like but don’t listen to because of time constraints:
Listen UP – The successor to 1UP Yours after the 1UP layoffs earlier this year. Garnett Lee and John Davidson still keep the show feeling familiar but I found myself becoming more and more detached from the discussions they were having and decided to drop this one in favor of others, especially due to its often long run times. Garnett is somewhat of a polarizing figure to a lot of people, especially without an equally strong personality around to help balance the show out, though other than some of his silly tirades he’s never really got under my skin too much.
Gamers With Jobs Conference Call – Another podcast that comes highly recommended. The GWJ podcast actually reminds me a lot of a more chaotic version of Idle Thumbs. Like Idle Thumbs these guys seem to have different perspectives than a lot of other podcasters out there. The also love to talk about old and/or obscure games and go off on the oddest of tangents at times.
Co-op – The successor to the 1UP Show, Co-op is one of the few and surely the best gaming video podcast out there. The sketches are often a little bit hokey but will surely grow on you as you get to know the cast of the show. The game coverage, specifically the footage, is outstanding and the show’s overall production is second to none. I don’t watch this on a regular basis though I do tend to go back and check out the episodes I missed from time to time.
A Life Well Wasted – Robert Ashley, who I love by the way, puts together this podcast in a totally different way. Probably inspired by listening to too much NPR, each episode of A Life Well Wasted covers a specific topic and approaches it more like a documentary, or perhaps more accurately a thesis, using the interviews and discussions therein to explore a subject and/or support a point. It is pretty unique amongst its peers and its short run time and infrequent release schedule make it easy to recommend.
That’s it for now. I’m sure there are plenty more good gaming podcasts out there, more than I’d ever possibly have the time to listen to, but if anyone has any good recommendations feel free to pass them along and I’ll check them out!