Podcasts are a great way to make exercise, commutes, and household chores much more enjoyable. I have a steady lineup of gaming podcasts that I listen to, and here’s my recommendations.
1) GFW Radio
This podcast from the writers at the now defunct Games for Windows magazine is by far my favorite. New shows are released Wednesday evenings, and I frequently find myself delaying a workout to wait for the newest episode to be uploaded. Their name is unfortunate because it might turn away anybody who isn’t into PC gaming. The truth is that for many episodes, PC game discussion almost seems like an afterthought. Rather, the crew shoot the breeze on anything from movies to hilarious childhood stories and also frequently discuss console games. Favorite segments from the past include mocking embarrassing posters on internet message boards.
A fan has created two “Best Of” shows that encapsulate many of the all-star moments. I highly recommend giving that a shot if you’re a new listener, and it’s likely that you’ll be converted on the spot. (You should probably listen to Part 2 before Part 1, since Part 1 starts off kinda weird especially if this is your first exposure to the show).
2) Player One Podcast
Unlike GFW Radio, this podcast by ex-EGM (Electronic Gaming Monthly) veterans is an acquired taste. It’ll take a few episodes to become familiar with the personalities of the hosts and the slower pace, but it’s a very entertaining show once you get used to it. Once in a while, guests that formerly worked with the hosts make special appearances. Those shows tend to be the best with lots of inside stories on life working in the videogame industry.
The creator of Cheap Ass Gamer (stationed in Tokyo, Japan) and one of his friends host this podcast about the latest videogame deals and news. In many ways, this is an “underdog” show since the two are newcomers to the videogame industry, which gives the podcast an everyman appeal. Usually plenty of laughs are to be had in each episode, and the two hosts play off each other well. Because of their status in the industry, CAGcast usually isn’t privy to sneak peeks at future games but they provide great commentary from two ordinary Joes on what’s available on the market.
4) Giant Bomb podcast
I have virtually never visited GameSpot so I’m not too familiar with Jeff Gerstmann, the writer who was fired in a GameSpot controversy half a year ago. Since then, multiple staff members have left GameSpot and they formed a new company called Giant Bomb. Their podcast is a good listen; a recurrent segment features reviews of obscure energy drinks that are as surprisingly amusing as they are random.
5) 1UP Yours
Once the undisputed videogame podcast king, 1UP Yours has suffered after 2 of the 4 hosts left 1UP to work at other companies. Since then, I’ve found the discussions to be customarily dull. However, this is probably the best place to go if you want to hear about unreleased games that the staff are playing right now for review purposes.
This is 1UP’s retro games podcast that focuses on a specific game series in each episode and talks about its history and impact on the industry. I usually pass on this podcast unless they discuss a series I really enjoy. The hosts have a really bad habit of talking over each other, which makes listening quite frustrating.
7) EGM Live
The official podcast of Electronic Gaming Monthly is surprisingly bad with uninteresting speakers and just plain dull coverage. Once in a blue moon, they feature a former EGM writer who talks about his experiences working on the magazine, and those episodes are excellent.
Special Mention: Penny-Arcade podcast
The PA podcast features Gabe and Tycho turning on the microphones as they discuss possible ideas for their regular comic strips. These shows are typically nonstop hilarity that give listeners a glimpse into their creative process. The chemistry between the two is the best out of all these podcasts. However, episodes are too infrequent and irregular to be considered as part of this list, so they get a special mention. Check out their RSS feed to be notified of any episodes that are released because chances are you’ll always miss them otherwise.