Podcasts have been a big part of gaming for over a decade now. Some gamers listen to gaming industry veterans wax poetic while they mash away at the grind in their favourite RPG; others use gaming podcasts as a connection to the medium while they mash away at the real world work grind. They are available across platforms and come in a video or audio form. However you consume them, or if you have never listened to a podcast before and don't know where to start, here are 5 top casts well worth listening to.
The Giant Beastcast
While the legendary Bombcast is well known and well respected, I totally dig what the guys over east do. It hasn't quite been the same since Austin left (fingers crossed we get a Vice USA podcast!) but Vinny, Jeff and Alex are a great bunch. Dan from the Bombcast will also be joining them permanently soon, so I think that'll work out pretty well. The Beastcast sticks to whats happened in the passed week in games - as the cast goes up on Friday, this works well as a catch all round up for the week. The Beastcast is also the only podcast I know who does a regular correction section at the end, which is good for clarification and quite often enlightening.
Patrick Klepek is one of my favourite journalists, and his weekly catch ups with Gita Jackson and Sam Philips are always great. While Patrick brings the "expected" games to the table, Gita provides a fresh perspective that's sorely needed in the gaming industry right now that is always wonderful to listen to. Sam brings a unique style to the pod - often coming in with great mobile games I've never heard of and fascinating stories and guests (seriously, one of the most moving podcast segments I've ever heard was from Sam's interview in Ep. 63.) Generally falling around 1 to 1 1/2 hours in length, Match 3 is the best Chicago reppin' podcast out there.
Shall We Play A Game?
This short podcast was one of the first ones I started listening to when I began branching out, and while I wasn't sure at first if Chris and JJ were just pretentious mid-life men, it turns out this pair of gentlemen are two well learned guys who have more of an interest in politics, media and the world in general than your average gamer. These two are both hardcore gamers that sit just outside the inner ring of games criticism, which allows them to come at games from a different perspective than others. While I don't necessarily agree with them both from time to time, it's great to listen to a different perspective - one that is often well thought out and interesting in ways that sets Shall We Show apart from other podcasts.
The number 1 podcast for everything PlayStation, the group at Beyond always bring a liveliness and joy that is unmatched across any other podcast I listen to. Regulars Max, Brian, Alanah, Marty, Andrew and many others seem to just click so well, providing a fantastic ride from start to finish (regardless of how off the rails or serious it can get at times.) The cast is generally pretty good at rolling through the topics without lingering to much, only stopping to dig in to something specific when it's the type of issue that requires it. The cast also has a great, lively facebook group, where discussion around PlayStaton and gaming in general are just waiting to be had.
Danielle and Rob provide a great end-of-week podcast in Idle Weekend, including in the package thoughtful discussion, great reader mail and media suggestions that generally fall outside of games. Each week, a topic surrounding games is discussed at length, such as favourite video game worlds, what it means to "finish" a video game and the pros and cons of open-world vs linear experiences. R&D have also put me on to quite a few different pieces of media that have been great to watch, read or generally consume - The Americans TV show is high on this list.
Honourable mentions go to The Game|Life Podcast from Wired, strategy podcast 3 Moves Ahead, 8-4 Play, Kotaku Splitscreen and pretty much all other IGN Podcasts - I listen to over a dozen per week, all of which are fantastic and I'd surely recommend. Have any other podcasts you love listening to or watching? Sound off in the comments, I'd love to hear them!