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The Top Video Game Podcasts Guide

The Top Video Game Podcasts Guide


Video Game podcasts are a great means of keeping up with the strange, fast-paced, and conspicuously stupid world of electronic entertainment. Whether you're commuting, exercising, pretending to work or just drowning out the pleas of your victims, podcasts are the next best thing to paying attention. However, with hundreds of video game podcasts out there, it can be tough to know where to start.

Not to worry! We at Rebel Gaming have profiled eight of the most popular gaming shows on the internet to help you find a podcast that suits your distinctive gaming tastes, sharing all the insight we got from listening to one of their shows, or maybe even two!

Let the aural journey commence!

 

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Big Red Barrelcast

 

Podcasters: Dave (a podcast legend), PacmanPolarBear (a Canadian podcast legend), and Kev (a dude.)

Description: We drop (somewhat) informative entertainment bombs across the landscape of your ears.

Affiliation: None.

Tone: Friendly, Passionate, Critical, but not maliciously so

Explicit(according to iTunes):No

Average Length: 1 hour.

 

If some great alien consciousness that had cataloged every star in the universe and moved on to less grandiose topics were to compile a list of shows that approach the Platonian ideal of a video game podcast, Big Red Barrellcast would likely crack the top five. Comprised of an American, a Canadian, and an Englishman who, as far as I know, have never walked into a bar simultaneously, the BRB boys take a look at the latest video game news through the prism of their own particular viewpoints, which usually results in a hearty amount of bleeped swearing. One of the best things about video game podcasts is the format allows for spontaneity, taking sentiments that would've been phrased much more politically if written down and expressing them frankly, like when Kev offhandedly refers to LA Noire as “That horrible Rockstar game.” The Big Red Barrelcast tends not to do too many in-depth reviews, rather skipping from topic to topic as the guys discuss what they've been playing and the latest news, making it a good source for listeners who want a general idea of the game industry's wheelings and dealings but don't want whole corporate strategies outlined. The show improves dramatically when Dave and the gang disagree with one another and an impassioned, though never hostile, debate ensues. I particularly enjoyed a point where they argued the relative merits of Bioshock Infinite and Call of Duty's visuals, which itself led to a larger debate about how important visual presentation was to gaming as a whole. Except for their annoying Emo opening music, Big Red Barrelcast has something for everybody. It's a good place to start and, if you're so inclined, a good place to stop.

 

 

Devoid Of Context And Therefore Utterly Meaningless Quotes

“We have a group of young people today who are more prepared for the zombie apocalypse than to enter the job market.”

“[bleep] David Cage. [bleep] that stupid Frenchman. I know not all Frenchmen are stupid, but this one is. ”

“I was an uncle before I was 1.”

“Just nearly let go of my intestine out of the hole. But it didn't happen, so that was great!”

“It's got Oculus Rift support, though.”    “I don't know what that means.”

“I spent all my frivolous money on Kickstarters that aren't going to pay out for about two years.”

“I don't give a [bleep] about Gears of War anymore.”

“David Cage's vision can suck it.”

“If you're blaming the players, then you've done something [bleep] wrong on a purely design level”

“You didn't click on the link, did you?”

“No! Never asked for that! Never said 'Multiplayer my Batman!' ”

“We're gonna laugh, we're gonna cry, we might even pee on some stuff.”

“Were you reading it on the crapper?”          “I was.”          “Called it!”

“If you were hoping against hope that you could install this new update and Simcity wouldn't be the broken piece of [bleep] it is, your hopes were misplaced, because it fixed a couple little things, and broke a bunch more.”

 

 

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The Indoor Kids

 

Podcasters: Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V Gordon, Matthew Burnside

Description: The Indoor Kids isn't just about video games, but it isn't not about video games.

Affiliation: Nerdist Industries

Tone: Bright, Affectionate

Explicit(according to iTunes):Yes

Average Length: An hour and 20 minutes.

 

Kumail Nanjiani is an actor and comedian while Emily Gordon is a writer and producer, but they're brought together by their mutual love of video games and the fact that they're married to one another. Emily & Kumail have a dedicated online following (their cat Bagel has its own twitter account) and it's easy to see why. They're the couple that's fun to hang out with, but who makes you feel bad about your own relationships by comparison. They manage to be endearing and affectionate with one another in a way that's never cloying, usually because it's expressed via jokes.

While other video game podcasts seek to lure in listeners with the promise of news and analysis, The Indoor Kids is the Emily & Kumail show, and while you may come for the video games, you'll stay for the witty repartee and menstruation humor, which isn't to say they don't know their stuff. They're happy to venture deep into whatever subject their guest brings to the table, be it TV, film, games, or comics, while the loose format of their show tends to invite digressions into topics as universal as childhood memories, or as esoteric as the eerie perfection of Gweneth Paltrow's abdominal muscles.

Their back and forth is very fluid: Emily will get carried away and Kumail will bring her back to the topic at hand, then Kumail will take flight and Emily will guide him back to civilization, though when something grabs their mutual attention they can focus in on it like an interracial laser beam. Since the scourge of successful careers prevents them from playing games as often as they'd like, they occasionally check in with video game maven Matthew Burnside for a segment they call A Walk On The Burnside, where he provides a succinct rundown of the latest news and games Emily and Kumail haven't played, providing a soupçon of gaming that might've otherwise been neglected during the main part of their show.

 

 

Devoid Of Context And Therefore Utterly Meaningless Quotes

“This episode is brought to you by Squarespace, fuckers.”

“Dog butt wash?”

“Pac-u-derm? That's what I have to offer.”

“All girls have multiple arms.”

“Honestly at this point, I think Microsoft is stupid.”

“I'm always okay with violence.”

“Pack-a-day Mufasa.”

“As a company, we have a strong No-Crunch policy.”

“The mechanics of the gameplay actually work with the tone and the feel of the story.”

“Tideland was a real bummer, but other than that...”

“It's like a Rabbinical 'Horse ebooks.' ”

“Can I just point out that you guys are hungover?”

 

 

18684

Knockin' Boots

 

Podcasters: Daemon Hatfield, Greg Miller, Nathan Aaron, Brian Altano, Ty Roden, Anthony Giagos

Description: Gamers need love too.

Affiliation: IGN

Tone: Drunkenly Enthused, Bro-ish

Explicit(according to iTunes):Yes. Oh, yes.

Average Length: An hour and a half.

 

Knockin' Boots is an offshoot from the Gamescoop podcast dedicated to alleviating the romantic quandaries of gamers, nerds, or pretty much anyone willing to write in with a non-dakimakura relationship problem. Save for the one token sober guy, the show is largely driven by alcohol consumption.

The hosts are usually half in the bag when the podcast starts, and a significant portion of the show's appeal lies in listening as the hosts make the gradual transition from buzzed to blitzed. It's a lot like college in that respect.

Though categorized as a video game podcast, the focus in Knockin' Boots is on love and sex. If a game is referenced it's usually in passing, making for an environment that's more video game friendly than video game themed. The advice the Knockin' Boots boys dispense is impressively sound, especially considering how drunk they are when they dispense it. It helps that they don't field questions that are clearly out of their depth, as many other, ostensibly professional talk shows do.

Seldom are the romantic issues issues brought up very complex, most people either want to be encouraged to say what they feel or need to be told something obvious that they don't want to hear. The question of whether or not Knockin' Boots is something you want to hear depends if you find the hosts' soused Bro Talk endearing or off-putting.

People tempted to immediately dismiss the show as the ravings of plastered horndogs should try to listen to an entire episode before levying a verdict; they might find some unexpectedly rich dimensions to the Knockin' Boots enterprise as its hosts discuss topics ranging from the finances of the internet porn industry to the way the nature of love shifts as different levels of maturity are reached, making for a show that's an ambiguous a mix of the tender and the turgid.

 

 

Devoid Of Context And Therefore Utterly Meaningless Quotes

“Are you like a vagina Voltron?”

“I don't like RTS's but I can respect a good one.”

“I just broke your sock in half.”

“Your vagina is a tornado.”

“To be fair, there's a six minute ass rape scene in We Bought A Zoo as well”

“I have two strip club memories that stand out above the rest.”

“Anyone else ever dry hump in front of a ghost?”

“Florida's dumb.”

 

 

 

8-4playsm

8-4 Play Japan Game Panic

 

Podcasters: Mark MacDonald, John Ricciardi, Hiroko Minamoto, Justin “JJ” Epperson, Brendon Pritchard

Description: Talk about Japan, video games, and Japanese video games.

Affiliation: Giant Bomb

Tone: Detailed, Deliberate

Explicit(according to iTunes):No

Average Length: 2 hours.

 

8-4 Play is the product of 8-4 Ltd., a game localization company based in Tokyo. Named for the last level in Super Mario Bros, 8-4's work translating games puts them is in a unique position to share their on-the-ground perspective of Japanese video game culture with an English speaking audience.

They're operating under the assumption that no one takes a casual interest in podcasts about Japanese gaming, and embrace a long form format that allows them to go deep into all topics great and small. Whether they're covering what happened to Japanese developers at large game conferences like GDC (which they do much of the translation for) or providing in-depth game reviews with a focus on Japanese titles, detail is the point; those with passing interests would be wise to look elsewhere.

8-4 Play's reviews are fair, but geared toward the more Japanese gaming mentality of teamwork and persistence. Demon's Souls and Dark Souls never were and never will be my jam, but the 8-4 cats like it so much they hosted a 4 1/2 hour livestream where they played as the Deprived Class. The podcasters form a tight knit group with their own conversational flow and inside jokes, and it's easy to feel like a fifth wheel eavesdropping in an exclusive clique when you start listening, but while 8-4 Play may be tough to get into, those who endure may find it a deeply rewarding experience.

 

 

Devoid Of Context And Therefore Utterly Meaningless Quotes

“Here's the story, which is going to be very brief because it's not that interesting.”

“Folders are for losers.”

“I think the internet as a whole overestimates how much I care about Simcity.”

“There is no average person”

“Shakespeare was so up his own ass, you know?”

“Why am the cookie monster?”

 

 

 

30744_logoSuper Joystiq

Podcasters: Ludwig Kietzmann, Xav De Matos, Richard Mitchell, Jess Condon, Alexander Sliwinski, Sinan Kubba, Mike “Susan” Suszek, Dave Hinkle

Description: And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from the internet that all the ears should be rocked with video game podcasts.

Affiliation: AOL

Tone: First Segment: acute, astute Second Segment: enthused, bemused

Explicit(according to iTunes):No.

Average Length: An hour and a half.

 

The Joystiq podcast is divided into two segments. The first, accompanied by a dubsteppy chipcore intro, is a live webcast that focuses on reviews and previews, the bread and butter of a major site like Joystiq. The tone is as deliberate as you would expect, with the broadcasters going through games feature by feature, outlining their similarities and differences and positives and negatives, only occasionally branching off from the topic at hand to make a larger point, though when they do it's usually a good one.

A review of Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine can raise the topic of how designers use the linearity of 2D games to make a much more precise, satisfying stealth experience than their more advanced 3D counterparts.

A review of Thomas Was Alone can raise the topic of how a relatively small investment in storytelling during development can make for a far richer gaming experience when the product is finished.

A review of Star Trek can raise the topic of how hacking minigames suck, how characters shouldn't flagrantly contradict themselves in a game's opening scene, how a cover-based shooter shouldn't force the player to leave cover, how the Gorn are crappy aliens who should never be used in a serious context, ever, and so on. Super Joystiq's first half concludes with the the hosts giving away various nerd paraphernalia via a raffle that can be entered by subscribing to their YouTube channel.

The second segment shifts from reviews and previews to cover the latest gaming news. It's a far looser, funnier, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants affair, perhaps because it isn't live, or because the news team isn't obliged to be as balanced as their first segment counterparts since they aren't doing official reviews, whatever the reason the result is a funner show.

The second segment entertains more digressions and allows for the airing of more personal feelings, and the spontaneity usually leads to something interesting, like a debate on the paltry merits of buying a WiiU, or an unhinged anti-piracy tirade.

Taken together, the two segments represent the two widely used approaches to video game coverage: The first approach is technically acute, sensitive to details and slightly wacky, the second approach is passionate, energetic, and quite wacky. Together they form a podcast for those who like their perspectives on gaming separate but equal. But in a good way.

 

 

Devoid Of Context And Therefore Utterly Meaningless Quotes

“His special ability is 'monkey.' ”

“Let's say you really like Infinity Blade. Now let's make it not good.”

“That system incentives making crappy games.”

“It's a good example of just how a tiny bit of storytelling can make the experience that much better.”

“I love orange guy!”

“Sweet Naruto figurines.”

“Stella gets her groove back in Enemy Unknown. Okay. I get it. We're good.”

“EVERYTHING IS WHOOPI GOLDBERG IN THE VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY! DO YOU NOT KNOW THIS?!   I don't, apparently.”

“This is where I make a Persona 4 joke, but I'm not going to.”

“I try and make up as little news as possible.”

“I just feel like if I got a WiiU I would have to throw more parties so I could actually use the gamepad, and I don't like people that much.”

“[Steam] Greenlight is a double-edged sword.”

“That's why contracts are evil, and why you should always make people sign them.”

 

 

 

the-game-informer-showThe Game Informer Show

 

Podcasters: Matt Helgeson, Matt Bertz, Joe Juba, Adam Biessener, Jason Oestreicher, Andy Reiner

Description: The staff of Game Informer chat it up each week 'bout the latest news, previews, and reviews.

Affiliation: GameStop Corporation

Tone: Informed, Informative, Informationy

Explicit(according to iTunes):No

Average Length: 1 hour.

 

Game Informer has been around since the hoary days of 1991, when George Bush senior was considered a bad president and Nirvana were those guys with the music video in the scary gymnasium. Since then they've seen gaming empires rise to glory and crumble into dust. These days terms like 3DO and Neo Geo and Turbografx are but the demented ravings of a lunatic, but to the people of GI they each represent an epoch in the vast history of electronic entertainment, a story unto themselves replete with courage, nobility, hubris, and folly, all of which is a roundabout way of saying the GI people know their $#!t.

In addition to solid previews and reviews, the The Game Informer Show is uniquely gifted at explaining the business decisions and market strategies to laymen like myself, or at least explaining precisely why they're inexplicable. Microsoft's recent twitter debacle was discussed on lots of podcasts, but GI had the most interesting and illuminating commentary to offer, where they explored how a big corporation can act like an echo chamber that mindlessly affirms bad ideas, how the prospect of alway-on DRM for the new Xbox console should be considered in light of the sustained consumer blowback Ubisoft experienced in response to their DRM own shenanigans, how Microsoft readily admitted the their game console was to be a Trojan horse PC back when the first Xbox was released, and how an absence of news tends to curdle into bad news in the internet age.

Though released weekly instead of monthly, the Game Informer podcast tends to focus on whatever its print counterpart is working on unless it's covering breaking news, hewing so close to the source that it can feel like a simple audio version of the magazine, which is fine, but kind of defeats the point of having a podcast unless the listener is morally opposed to reading of any sort, in which case they're probably not reading these words right now, so to hell with them.

While the The Game Informer Show can be very informative, it can also be very dry, since with all that measured deliberation of physics engines and market forces there's very little space for the personalities of individual podcasters to breathe. If you're not going to call David Cage a stupid Frenchman, why have a podcast at all?

 

 

Devoid Of Context And Therefore Utterly Meaningless Quotes

“Zune is just a punchline in and of itself.”   “...like WiiU.”

“And I think it's just the fact that... Shit, I lost it.”

“Developers won't talk on or off the record generally about what's coming out.”     “They will talk about how much they love the PS4, though.”

“I'm always up for some Microsoft bashing.”

“You didn't like Borderlands 2 because of that. You called it 'Reddit: The Game' ”

“What does the chicken do? ...he's a chicken?”

“It was a neat diversion, let's leave it at that.”

“He did our original review for Dishonored, in which he underscored the game.”

“I'm going to give some spoilers here but don't worry about it really because this is a pretty crap story and it's told pretty poorly, if you like in-engine cutscenes and stuff, it's pretty crude.”

 

 

 

mza_1309171195431473950.170x170-75Respawn Radio AKA Sarcastic Gamer Podcast (the red show)

 

Podcasters: Jeromy "Doc" Adams, Adrian "Lono" Cherikos

Description: Hilarious commentary on today's nerd and geek culture.

Affiliation: Gamercast Network

Tone: Casual Yet Impassioned, Off The Cuff

Explicit(according to iTunes):No

Average Length: 40 minutes.

 

 

The Sarcastic Gamer Podcast has been around for a long time in many different forms, all supported by a loyal community of fans, as evidenced by their long and meticulously detailed Wikipedia page.

According to same, many of the original crew from Sarcastic Gamer split off to join Big Red Barrel, leaving founding members Jeromy and Adrian to carry the torch of sarcasm alone. Much of the podcast seems to exist on a foundation of shared—if largely unspoken—history, and starting to listen now kind of feels like walking in on the last act of a biopic. It's possible I'm imagining this and the Sarcastic Gamer Podcast doesn't cast the shadow of intrigue and betrayal I'm reading into its Wikipedia article, but the fact is for someone who's not familiar with these guys or part of the Sarcastic Gamer community, there's very little else to go on.

I'd likely be much more interested in what they had to say if I had kids or played Minecraft, two subjects they talk about in both of the podcasts I listened to, and for someone who likes to make stuff in Minecraft and babies this may be just what the doctor ordered.

It's not that Jeromy and Adrian's talk isn't informative or that there aren't moments of wit and humor, but there's not enough of either. They're beholden to no one and express their opinions fearlessly, Lono won me over the moment he began tearing into Bioshock Infinite's ending like a ravenous wolf with a chainsaw strapped to its head, but such moments are few, and the periods in between have a strong undercurrent of ennui. Maybe that's just what happens when people have children.

 

 

Devoid Of Context And Therefore Utterly Meaningless Quotes

“My kids are getting in real-life fights over virtual things in Minecraft.”

“Speaking of a great tits, you end up saving this girl.”

“I thought the ending was horrible, wretched, and ridiculous.”

“That means they told a shitty story that doesn't make any sense and you'll never know what they were trying to tell you because they did a piss-poor, shit-ass job in doing it.”

“You heard it here first folks, this is not the kind of coverage you're going to get on Metacritic or Kotaku, we're calling it here, we're calling it now: Bioshock Infinite is a Dutch Oven where your head is shoved under the covers, and a fart occurs in your face. This the type of high-end, hard-hitting journalism that you're supporting as a sarcastic supporter.”

“Anal trainer 4, on!”

“That's the longest you've ever sat still for a game where you're not killing people.”

“I'm just saying. Batman.”

“I don't know where I'm going with this other than, I just want this over with, I can't stand this crap.”

“I never have a dream about a news!"

 

 

 

42778_logoA Life Well Wasted

Podcasters: Robert Ashley

Description: An internet radio show about video games and the people who love them.

Affiliation: None

Tone: Professional, Dedicated, This American Lifey

Explicit(according to iTunes): Sometimes

Average Length: 1 hour

 

 

A Life Well Wasted is a labor of love. Anyone who finds it presumptuous that Robert Ashley calls A Life Well Wasted an internet radio show instead of a podcast should have their ire allayed by the time they're done listening to the first episode.

The amount of work and craftsmanship that goes into A Life Well Wasted is staggering, especially considering that it's the work of one man, with music by his band, I Come To Shanghai. Ashley appears to have adopted the title as a challenge for himself, producing each show as if it could make the leap from the iTunes to NPR at any moment. It seems to be an ideological choice as much as an aesthetic one, as if he's set out to prove through sheer force of will that games are an art and worthy of the respect afforded whatever Ira Glass is covering. (Okay, Ira Glass covers real stuff. Terry Gross, then.)

Ashley's gaming topics are as broad and diverse as possible given his limited access and budget, covering collecting, pinball, cosplay, and fanfiction while largely eschewing the trappings of big industry, partially because they lie entrenched behind a barricade of nodisclosure agreements, partially because other podcasts have that angle sewn up, and partially because all of his stories are framed in terms of human interest, and EA has none.

Each of his stories tries to center on a person or group and how their particular experience speaks to gaming as a whole. In the episode Work we first encounter Darius, a programmer whose journey to Bioware followed a circuitous route that included meth, snakes, blackmail, community college, World of Warcraft addiction, and magic mushrooms.

Second is the story of Id founder John Romero (who makes no one his bitch) learning to love and program early computer games.

Third details the woes of the programmers who followed up their hit Solipskier with Gasketball, an excellent game no one bought.

Finally Ashley profiles gaming savant Nick Smith, better known by his net handle Ulillillia, and his quest to quantify every aspect of his life in electronic media. These are good stories told well, and if they lack the more poignant moments achieved by a Radiolab or a This American Life, I can't tell if it's due to of Ashley's chosen subject, or the limits imposed by being just one man with such a grand vision.

For all he's managed to do, I can't help but wonder what greater heights Robert Ashley would reach with a proper budget, an assistant, and an editor. I hope that all this is but a prelude, and one day A Life Well Wasted will loose the qualifier “internet” and simply be “a radio show.” Until then, there's always Kickstarter.

 

 

Devoid Of Context And Therefore Utterly Meaningless Quotes

“It was like getting into Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.”

“You get paid to drink and fiddle on computers, and somehow a Star Wars game comes out of it.”

“These were really primitive games like Hunt The Wumpus and Poison Cookie.”

“When you say you had your games published in a magazine, they were actually just printing the program, right?”

“In 1987, when I was 20, I achieved my goal.”

“I'm Mike Boxler, and I'm a shitty programmer and game designer.”

“Basically 7% of all downloads convert into a 2.99 purchase. We have, I think, like 700,000 downloads or close to it right now, so take 7% of that times 2 and we're not on this podcast with you right now.”

“That's about 2 cents per downloaded copy for a game that took 2 years to make.”

“We felt like we were kind of immune to failure because we had connections and knew we were good game designers, we thought that were above making mistakes, at least I did.”

“There's something kind of magical about an unreleased game.”

“I came up with the idea out of spite against the people who didn't buy Gasketball.”

“What's your favorite kind of dream to have?”    “The fun dreams. Isn't that obvious?”

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About the Author
Eric Thornton

1090 Points, 2 Comments, and 40 Articles.

Eric Thornton is a sentient ape that lives in a spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy. He is mostly water.

4 Comments
  1. Date: May 17, 2013

    Might want to look into these:

    - Gamertag Radio – Self proclaimed XBOX fanboys, they do give time and attention to Sony and Nintendo’s machines and games.

    - The Overseas Connection – Very good group that seems unbiased and entertaining to listen to. British flavor mixed in with American…well…nevermind.

    - Stickskills Radio – Entertaining one. Give it a listen. I have nothing clever to say about it other than I remember enjoying it lol

    - TRG Radio – Okay we suck but we’re working on it :p

    [Reply]
  2. Date: July 4, 2013
    Author: Ralph

    Hey there, I found your site rebelgaming.
    com while browsing http://killstreakmedia.com/2013/05/15/top-video-game-podcast-guide/.
    Have you ever thought about making use of a bit
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    [Reply]
    • Date: July 4, 2013
      Author: ryanjohnson

      5410 Points, 93 Comments, and 4 Articles.

      Hey Ralph!

      Thank you very much for the suggestion. I definitely agree with you that we need more media sources. I know that video in particular is something that we want to get into heavily.

      We are only about 2 months old, and we really wanted to get the base of our site set up before we expand to different media sources such as video. But it is definitely coming in the future.

      What do you mean more visuals and pictures? I know a lot of our articles, including this one, are filled with images. Do you mean like screenshot galleries?

      [Reply]
  3. Date: January 24, 2014
    Author: Warsmash

    We launched our podcast a few months ago and have received a lot of positive feedback.

    If you want to check it out, just search TXOG on iTunes or go to http://www.topxboxonegames.net/

    [Reply]
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