12 Essential Podcasts for Gamers

12 Essential Podcasts for Gamers
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Gaming is a well-established medium with a robust online community, but podcasts, which offer a powerful space to niche voices, have made engaging with games and other gamers easier than ever. While some people seek out places for the latest news and reviews, others want content that’s more thoughtful — discussions about the history of gamings, navigating the feelings we have about playing them, and how they can be more inclusive for marginalised people.

The following podcasts invite you to view the gaming world from a variety of perspectives, from industry experts who have been talking about games for decades, to fresher voices who are trying to rework the industry and fandom from the inside. All of these creators provide a welcoming place to talk games — the ones that elicit feelings of nostalgia, the ones we can’t wait to buy, and the ones that frustrate the hell out of us.

Games and Feelings

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Not to get too nerdy about something already pretty nerdy, but gaming is great because it taps into our humanity and help us connect with others. Games and Feelings is part gaming show and part advice show, offering news and recommendations, but also getting into the stuff that makes us love games in the first place: the human element. Host Eric Silver gives advice on whether or not to feel guilty for playing on “easy” mode, how to be a non-annoying D&D campaign member, and what makes a game feel cosy. You’ll love it if you love games, or if you just love learning about the fascinating way people connect.

Spawn on Me

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Kahlief Adams has been in the gaming space for more than a decade, and Spawn on Me is not only your go-to place for learning about the next game you should buy, but is making the industry better by spotlighting POC and underrepresented voices in the gaming world. Since 2014, Kahlief has been bringing us gaming news, previews, and reviews with intelligence and humour. Every one of his guests is someone all gamers should know (but might not.) His strength is in walking us through the ways that trends in gaming are changing the world.

With both his podcast and blog, TheSpawnPointBlog.com, Kahlief celebrates the industry while challenging it. A great example of what he does, and an excellent episode to start with, is “A Lesson in Blackness,” a roundtable of Black creatives who reflect on the murder of George Floyd, being Black in America, and how the gaming industry is failing POC.

What’s Good Games

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If you’re a woman-identifying gamer, you might be used to feeling like the odd man in the room listening to your favourite video game podcasts. What’s Good Games makes women feel seen, offering some of the best gaming news and reviews from three women industry experts — Andrea Rene, Brittney Brombacher and Kristine Steimer. Always funny and honest (lots of hot takes!) this show will give you a completely new perspective on what you’re playing and buying. It’s by women and definitely for women and women-identifying people, but everyone should listen to it.

The Gayming Podcast

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Brought to you by Gayming Magazine, The Gayming Podcast is your inclusive resource for gaming news and reviews presented through a queer lens. Hosts Robin and Mia go live on Twitch with fellow LGBTQ gamers to talk about the latest in the gaming world — what rules, what’s improving, and what could be better. Mixed in with news about the latest video games, you’ll hear talk about board games, queer issues like the Texas Trans Youth Bill, and breakdowns of drama happening on Twitch.

Gameplay

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Gameplay just announced it is ending last week, but there are more than two years worth of evergreen episodes for you to dip into. With long-form storytelling, the show offers mini-documentaries about the many facets of the gaming world, from the music of Animal Crossing to the history of graphing calculators. Get into it with host James Parkinson as he shares the stories behind every element of gaming, drawing similarities and identifying commonalities between games that illustrate why the hobby is universal.

The Unapologetically Black Gaming Podcast

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The Unapologetically Black Gaming Podcast is paving the way for Black content creators, game developers, and artists who are breaking down barriers one Tetromino at a time. Cortez Washington brings on exciting voices like Fritz and Gia of GTABlackPlanet, Cara Hillstock of Pride vs. Prejudice, #BlackMinecraft’s Janey Laney and more, to “chop it up” about what games they love, the importance of POC voices in a predominately white space, and the qualities of Black creators that are needed in order to make gaming more inclusive.

Get Played

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Get Played has transitioned from a show called How Did This Get Played, which roasted games, to its current iteration, which riffs on games both good and bad. It’s an altogether more positive place to spend your time, but still a place to get some laughs. Comedians Heather Anne Campbell, Nick Wiger (of Doughboys) and Matt Apodaca are all about finding the funny in any game they are discussing, providing conversations that often feel like improv sketches. Packed with puns, monthly playalongs, and themed series like PokéMay, it’s a smorgasbord of genuine joy for gaming, quippy friends bouncing off each other, and a funny take on games. It’s worth listening to even if you aren’t the biggest gamer.

Call Me By Your Game

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Many video games podcsts end up ultimately being chat shows — you are there for the friendships as much as you are the games. On Call Me By Your Game, comedian Conner McCabe invites guests on to talk about their special experiences with games. These conversations are steeped in nostalgia, and a bit more personal, earnest, and in-depth than you might expect. Connor is a warm host with an ASMR-worthy voice, and brings out the best in his guests as they discuss games they love. (Zelda fans will be particularly satisfied…there’s lots of Zelda talk!) You’ll somehow feel connected to other Call Me By Your Game listeners, too: Connor has created a community to honour video games in the most human way — with heart, memories, and storytelling.

Triple Click

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On Triple Click, video game experts Kirk Hamilton, Maddy Myers, and Jason Schreier — three former Kotaku staffers who once hosted the currently-on-hiatus Kotaku Splitscreen podcast — kind of do it all, with conversations about the many aspects of gaming, debates over pros and cons of what’s new, their shared memories of games of yestseryear (in podcasting, that’s the ‘80s and ‘90s), and answers to listener questions. The hosts all come with strong industry knowledge, inside scoops, and opinions, offering different takes that lend themselves to spirited, diverse conversations. They’re funny, but take their show seriously and approach gaming with enthusiasm — and their positive attitudes will win you over. There’s lots of love here for indies, single player games, fighting games, and multiplayer, so you might find some game talk you won’t find anywhere else.

Imaginary Worlds

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On Imaginary Worlds, host Eric Molinsky uses research, interviews, and narrative storytelling to open our eyes to the nuances and textures of science fiction and fantasy. (Think: NPR meets ComicCon.) With gorgeous production and engineering, Eric gives a nearly academic look at the politics, history, and significance of books, movies, TV, and games, and spends time diving into more in-depth topics like how race, gender, disability, and marginalised voices are represented in speculative fiction.

This isn’t a gaming review podcast, it’s a people podcast that will make you think about the humanity of sci-fi. This show runs the gamut from automatons, to Camelot, to Marvel, to LARPing, to solarpunk queer representation in children’s cartoons, and the archive is packed with gaming episodes that have a twist you won’t find anywhere else. Eric enlights us on problematic about classic tabletop RPG, the strange history of the revolutionary game Disco Elysium, and how character customisation in gaming has made a video games better for transgender players.

The Nextlander Podcast

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Last year, longtime friends foundational members of the Giant Bomb team Vinny Caravella, Brad Shoemaker, and Alex Navarro left that site to start their own Patreon-supported podcast, The Nextlander Podcast, which lets them continue their gaming conversation in their own space, bringing their combined decades of gaming experience to deep-dive discussions about games both new and nostalgic.

Vinny, Brad, and Alex have an easy rapport and the kind of banter that makes time fly. They’ll let you in on their lives and friendships, plus let you know what they’re playing and loving, and all the stuff any true gamer should know. If you’ve been a gamer for a long time, you’ll feel especially welcome in their discussions about classic games from decades ago.

The Besties

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Come for the games, stay for the friendship. Two thirds of the McElroy brothers (podcasting kings Griffin and Justin McElroy) are joined by best friends Chris Plante and Russ Frushtick to rank and review their favourite video games. Whether you’re a huge gamer or just the partner of one (who is forced to watch your loved one play them) you’ll enjoy feeling part of the gang who keep things positive and funny.

The Besties boys are up to snuff in their gaming analysis — they cover games that are sure to become some of your most cherished, but also review with a critical eye, and will tell you what to not waste your money on. Each Bestie brings something unique to the table, and they really have pulled up a chair for you, letting you feel part of their gang.