Below is, in my opinion, a list of the best video game podcasts ordered by preference. I have listened to, and abandoned, many video game-related podcasts. Those listed below have survived the culling and, with one exception, are recommended without hesitation.
1. The 1Up Yours Podcast:
This is my favourite video game podcast. It ‘airs’ Friday evenings. Despite 1Up Yours seemingly continuous personality turnover ( Luke Smith – now with the Bungie podcast ; Bryan Intihar -now with Insomniac Games; Dan ‘Shoe’ Hsu – now on permanent vacation), Host Garnett Lee , with Shane Bettenhausen , John Davison and a revolving set of guests consistently provide an entertaining and informative podcast week-in and week-out. My only criticism of the show is that it is often too long and the interesting content is usually held back to the the end. Otherwise, its the best video game podcast.
[January 22, 2009 Update: I’m saddened to report that with the demise of EGM and the purchase of 1Up by UGO, the January 22, 2009 episode of 1UP Yours was the last (read: The Last 1Up Yours). Another victim of the economic downturn. Shane Bettenhausen, a cornerstone of the show is joining game publisher Ignition Entertainment as Director of Business Development. Another show hosted by Garnet Lee is scheduled to replace it on the same feed starting January 30. ]
2. Game Theory Podcast :
The Game Theory podcast (formerly the Next-Gen.biz podcast) is also a terrific weekly video game podcast. While 1Up Yours is strong in games coverage, the Game Theory podcast’s strength lies with its strong industry coverage. Gary Whitta & Colin Campbell are veteran video game industry reporters who put on an engaging and enlightening podcast. And, there’s something about their British accents that seems to elevate it. I highly recommend this podcast.
3. The 1Up Show (video) Podcast:
The 1Up Show is my favourite video podcast – period. It provides a comprehensive set of visual video game previews and reviews. They also feature interviews with industry luminaries and provide trade show coverage. If you want to watch a video game being played before purchase, this is the best place to do it. As a 1Up network/Ziff Davis podcast, it shares a similar set of hosts and guests with the 1Up Yours and the EGM Live podcasts. I will soon be testing TiVo’s Desktop v. 2.6 and its new support for video podcasts. This will be the first video podcast I attempt to get working with my TiVo – I like it that much.
When Luke Smith abandoned the 1Up Yours podcast to become Bungie’s pool boy, a Bungie podcast became inevitable. This ‘insider’ podcast was launched just prior to Halo 3’s launch in September 2007. While the podcast’s frequency is irregular, it is almost always interesting. The podcast features ‘behind the scenes’ discussions with everyone at Bungie from level designers to Marty O’Donnell (music). Even for non-Halo fans, this is still a very interesting podcast given its unique ‘insider’ perspective.
Yes, I know its de-rigueur to criticize Major Nelson (Larry Hryb) as a Microsoft shill. Despite his being a Microsoft insider, I find his podcast to be consistently professional, informative and interesting. It has improved since Xbox Live Ops Manager ‘e’ (Eric Neustadter) joined as co-host last fall. It’s a consistent, high-quality source of Microsoft/Xbox 360 and Xbox Live information from a semi-official source.
6. The EGM Live Podcast:
The Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine puts together this weekly podcast. It typically "airs" on Tuesdays. As yet another Ziff Davis podcast, it shares an overlapping set of guests with the 1Up Yours and The 1Up Show. It’s host Jen Tsao does a reasonably good job of keeping the show interesting. Frequent contributors include Michael Donahoe, Greg Ford, Garnett Lee and Shane Bettenhausen.
[June 26 2008 Update: This podcast was cancelled and replaced with the 1UP FM Podcast. The cast has changed. After a few episodes I abandoned the 1UP FM Podcast.]
The X-Play TV show is/was difficult to watch. The TV show repeats a dozen or more times per week. Prior to the podcast, I had set my TiVo to record it. But I spent most of my time pruning the repeats and fast forwarding through it to find reviews of games I was interested in. The X-Play Daily Video Podcast is a welcome substitute to the TV show. As with the TV show, it is hosted by Adam Sessler and Morgan Webb. The podcast is a sliced and diced version of the TV show. Each episode consists of individual video game reviews or guest interviews featured on the TV show – but cut out and distributed piecemeal as individual podcasts. This is quite useful. Since each podcast is labelled with the name of the video game being reviewed or the personality being interviewed, I can delete the podcasts I’m not interested in and watch only those that do. I still prefer The 1Up Show video podcast, but X-Play’s 1-game-1-show format is quite good for honing in on games of particular interest.
Ahh … ‘Honourable’ …. Umm … Mention:
The Joystiq podcast is not very good. I am including it here because I consider the underlying Joystiq blog to be the most useful general video game blog on the Internet. If I’m pressed for time and can only review one video-game related blog, it will be the Joystiq blog. The podcast is less professional than those listed above. The podcast is particularly annoying because the hosts, Chris Grant, Ludwig Kietzmann and Justin McElroy are seemingly genetically unable to string two or three sentences together without the incessant use of ‘umm’ and "ahhh’. While these guys are generally knowledgeable and good natured hosts the umm’s and ahh’s drive me to distraction. Guys, take a public speaking course — please! I listen to this podcast only if I have nothing else to listen to and want back-ground chatter to fill the empty space.
Please let me know what your favourite video game podcasts are.