Ever since I discovered GameSpot’s The Hotspot in 2007, I never stopped listening to video game-related podcasts. Then I moved on to 1UP, a site that always pushed podcasting and at the time, the company had several of them and some were awfully specific (there were podcasts about retro gaming, PC games, World of Warcraft, role-playing games, sports and more.) Now, I’m more than grateful to live in a world where I can choose how to consume information about my favorite topics (audio, text-based articles, video and so on) and the best part about podcasts is that at their core, they are just radio and radio is amazing. It’s almost impossible to calculate, but over the years, I must have listened to thousands and thousands of hours of gaming podcasts, but there are so many video game audio shows out there that curating all that content is remarkably difficult, so I’ll share some of my favorites below. Let me know which video game podcasts do you listen to in the comments.
For the uninitiated, 8-4 Play is an independent localization company based in Tokyo, Japan and the five-person team hosts a bi-weekly podcast (the podcast was originally available on 1UP, but you can now download it from Giant Bomb.) In the radio show, the team discusses everything related to Japanese video games and the culture surrounding them, as well as the localization process which isn’t something we hear about often. To put this in perspective, some of the games that were localized by the small company include Rogue Galaxy, Xenosaga III, Soulcalibur IV, Tekken 6 and Monster Hunter Tri, among many others. As former 1UP members, the 8-4 Play team also maintain a close relationship with other journalists, writers and developers, so it’s not surprising to see guests every now and then. This is the perfect radio show for those who would like to keep up with the gaming scene that’s taking place in Japan.
Active since 2005
If you like old or retro games, Retronauts is definitely for you. Originally hosted on 1UP, the show deals with a specific console, game or franchise for an entire episode and a few experts on the topic talk about them. One of the best parts about Retronauts is that you can always go back to old episodes and listen to them since they never feel outdated. It’s worth mentioning that Retronauts was discontinued and revived several time, first it was simply known as Retronauts, then it was Retronauts Live, then it was Retronauts Prime and finally, it was brought back as Retronauts thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Active since 2006
Hosted by Brad Shoemaker and featuring guests Jeff Gerstmann, Drew Scanlon and Dan Ryckert, this is one of the most popular podcasts in the world and I’m pretty sure a lot of people who listen to it don’t play video games on a regular basis. Calling Giant Bomb a gaming podcast isn’t fair, since several topics are discussed as part of the weekly radio show (episodes debut every Tuesday,) and these topics include everything from fast food, wrestling and “what would you prefer in a fight to the death” a bat or a knife?” But don’t let the wide range of topics fool you, this is hands down, the best video game podcast available now and that’s because it has a group of opinionated people who have been part of the game industry for decades, there’s a level of transparency rarely seen in video game websites and the casual tone of the (lengthy) conversations makes the Giant Bombcast something that you simply have to experience every week.
Active since 2008
I must admit I’m cheating a bit with The Lobby because I usually watch it live on YouTube. Nevertheless, this internet show is also released as an audio podcast. In the podcast, host Danny O’Dwyer and other GameSpot employees talk about the games they have been playing, what’s on the gaming news and some other random topics concerning video games. The description may sound shallow, but I really like to know more about the though process that goes into reviews from large websites, I want to hear about the meetings they have and everything related to the largest video game websites.
Active since 2014
When some of the Giant Bomb staff moved to New York, Vinny Caravella, Austin Walker and Alex Navarro and a rotating fourth chair decided to start their own podcast. The weekly show follows the structure of other current podcasts (though it mainly focuses on recent news,) but as with the Giant Bombcast, I like the transparency with which everything is discussed. Also, I really value the opinions of people who have been working in the industry for decades. Although not as lengthy as the Bombcast, this is definitely a video game audio show to consider.
Active since 2015