Ryan Smythe ‘15 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Podcasts allow the lines of fandom and professional journalism to blur, and it’s making the gaming world a much better place. Most attract listeners with a well thought out discussion, breaking down different aspects of video games, hardware, and the general community. At the core of all great podcasts is the chemistry between hosts that is the most important. Finding a balance between joking around and delivering the news is tricky to find, but the ones that do deserve a listen. Here are eight of the best out there in no specific order.
Super Best Friendcast
Born out of a Let’s Play YouTube channel, this podcast is made up of four friends with an obsession with video games. The discussions bounce between gaming experiences, gaming news, anime, movies, and ribbing each other, the cast brings an excited feel that will suck in the audience and make for a very entertaining listen. The affection the four feel for each other becomes apparent with how much each is invested in the others’ stories, and that greatly improves the entire experience.
Frequency: 2-4 per month
This is a League of Legends-centric podcast, and for those deep in the community it is one to check out. A heavy amount of focus is put on the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS), the competitive eSport scene behind the massively popular game. This podcast focuses on helping players improve their skills by giving advice on which items work for certain character builds, champion strategies, and general tips about how to move up in the ranks of League of Legends.
Video Games Hot Dog/Taco
VGHD Frequency: Weekly
VGT Frequency: Every couple of months
Women in gaming are the minority, and women in gaming journalism/podcasts are even more so. Video Games Taco is an all-female gaming podcast, and the gaps between shows makes for some very interesting conversations about games that came out months ago. It’s unfortunate that the episodes don’t come more frequently, because it’s incredibly entertaining and the female perspective on gaming that comes up every so often is fascinating. Video Games Hot Dog is their male counterpart, and their show comes out every week. The chemistry between the cast makes it very much worth a listen as they discuss gaming in a general way.
Unlike the majority of gaming podcasts where the cast is made up of journalists and fans, Idle Thumbs is made up of professionals within the gaming industry. There is very little focus on reviewing games, instead the focus is more on games themselves. Getting a more concrete definition of what exactly is discussed on the show is nearly impossible, as the topics are all over the place. But it is always coming from industry professionals and is gaming-related, whether that means it’s about the forums, game development, companies, news, or whatever.
Each show is a discussion about a single retro game that all of the cast played leading up to the recording. Once the microphones are on, they talk about each of their experiences with the game, what they liked, what they didn’t like, and whether or not they want to continue playing. If the majority want to keep going, then that’s the game that will be discussed on the next podcast, but if it’s voted down then user suggestions are voted on to see what gets picked up next. The types of games selected vary, but it’s a very entertaining look at games out of the popular eye.
The weekly podcast from the creators of Red vs. Blue, Rooster Teeth, that brings out a varying cast to discuss gaming topics. There is a fair bit of rambling here, but the discussion is always interesting and ties back to gaming. Breaking the general mold of male gamers, The Patch includes a woman in their cast the majority of the shows, and she is fantastic. It’s a small step towards a less sexist industry, and it’s a step forward on an amazing podcast that is worth a listen.
Trinity Force Podcast
League of Legends is so hugely popular that it gets two spots on this list. Trinity Force focuses much less on the LCS, leaving that to their secondary podcast, the TForce LCS Rundown. The main show focuses on Riot Game’s updates to the game and how it changes the way the game is played, and how each character should be played. A lot of the discussion is based on personal opinion, so arguments pop up constantly. It takes a strong cast to work through that, and an even stronger one to use those arguments to improve their discussions.
The Giant Bombcast is the longest podcast on this list, clocking in at anywhere from just under two hours to three and a half hours per show. It is the primary podcast of the gaming website Giantbomb and stands out by being one of the funniest podcasts available for download. The extended length allows the hosts to go off on some fantastic tangents, mostly related to gaming, which includes comedy that touches upon aspects of their personal lives. It’s long, but is absolutely worth the time it takes up.