As life has dealt my hand, I have been the traveler of 45 minute commute to and from work for the past 7 years. In that time, I've found a lot of time to enjoy revile several gaming podcasts. As we start to forget 2011, I wanted to say a few words about my loved and loved/hated podcasts from the past year. Podcasts that grew on me, and podcasts I turned off nearly entirely (save for bored desperation). in awkward list form, here's what I've been listening to in gaming podcasts over the last year. (iTunes links provided for my easy recommends.)
Touch Arcade Show + Bonus Content
I've got to lead with the best. Brad Nicholson, ex-Dtoid contributor and helms man of the Electric Hydra, has really outdone himself with this podcast series. While he's not necessarily the high octane, Quick Hit tiger that dazzled long time Podtoid listeners, he' s managed to fit his crafted muscle humor into a truly grand catalog of podcast content. Covering iOS and Android with the staff of toucharcade.com, this show oscilates very regularly between the regular format show and interview sessions with (mostly) indie iOS devs. The combination of the two is hands down some of the best content that's being done in games “journalism” in podcast format.
Frog Pants Studios podcasts, including The Final Score and The Instance
Where Brad Nicholson and Touch Arcade bring a certain level of reverence and sometimes humble respect to the table, Frog Pants Studio Network, lead by artist and podcast marathon man Scott Johnson, brings a slapdash irreverence to every show he's involved with. While this results in an honest and enjoyably goofy response to the world of game and tech at large, this also ends in some of the most groan-worthy informational gafs. Casually mixing up Jamestown and Zeno Clash completely grinded my gears this year, and really turned me off for quite a few months, especially regarding how definitively dismissive Scott and the team can be. They're titans of podcasting and pump lots of content, but don't ask too much of their accuracy in giving props where due.
The newest thing I've been tuning into. While plenty of shows I listen to take an unashamed anti-Japan tact to their commentary, 8-4 (helmed by a handful of localization pros based in Japan) presents a refreshingly Pro-Japan / culture-agnostic viewpoint to the table. There's a good bit of joy in these folks, somewhat akin to the bubbly RetroForceGo team from back in the day. A must for Japanophile gamers.
Gamers With Jobs Conference Call
This is kind of a favorite, but its got an art-snob streak that sometimes brings the proceedings to a wine sniffing bog. The crew at GWJ has a knack for zeroing in on some really clever and nerd-high-brow commentary. The unfortunate result is a heavy/creepy affinity for Bioshock and Ken Levine and a yum-yucking disdain for japanese auteurship. Though not always on the bleeding edge of any given topic, they manage a good, mature-but-fun spin on any given 'cast. Also, these guys love board games, and the esoteric board game indulgence is a nice break from video game drama.
This is a nice way to end a week. Except for the occasional sour guest and the occasional drunken cast, this show keeps it fun, funny and not overly snarky for snark's sake. They have mostly reasonable discussion and I really appreciate them for it. They're more or less inoffensive, but I hesitate to saddle them as such: there's nothing negative about being rock solid and consistently on your a game like this crew is.
This is has become on of my least favorite podcasts, primarily for the efforts of show regular Arthur Geiss. My goodness. While I hadn't noticed it until someone pointed it out to me, Arthur is no doubt the most miserable person doing podcasts about games right now. Between a cloying devotion to watchdogging offensive content and controversy, he maintains a disappointed opinion about any topic, with the exception of anything to do with Gears of War, which I think is just the only game that he likes. While I've enjoyed the rest of the team enough, Arthur Geiss is the dark spot on any podcast that I happen across.
Long story short, you'll do well to listen to these guys every week, and their Game of the Year deliberations are the greatest end of year podcasts every, single, year. If you don't know, you need to.
Zero Cool Podcast
These guys are the New Mutants of Destructiod podcasts. Darren Nakamura, Kauz, Ben Perlee, and WalkYourPath have put together the best podcast that only one, maybe two people listen to. I won a copy of Frozen Synapse from these guys and, aside from that, they really put out some good discussion and game coverage.
Man. Shoot. I dunno. Its like... uuuh. I mean...
OK. You know how when X-Force changed from an off the record group of Rob Leifeld level beefy badasses and suddenly became a group of always dying, excessively self asborbed superstars the just kind of took the name X-Force? Its kind of like that. Except this new X-Force isn't completely awful.
Its not so much a podcast about video games now, as it is a podcast about the meaning and nature of Dtoid itself. Compared to the rest of this list, its mathematically unlistenable and awful. However, contrasted against the rest of this list, its a grand palette cleanser. In that, its about the same as it ever was, and on some weird level, I have to love that, at least a little.
But what are you guys listening to? Is there anything else out there worth a listening, or worth avoiding? Shout it out, Dtoid!