P-p-p-pick up a Podcast Part 1: Factual Podcasts
Last summer I started getting into podcasts as an alternative to background music while at work and doing housework and got hooked pretty quickly. I started with recorded episodes of a quirky show from my favourite radio station and once that was finished I went looking for other podcasts and quickly discovered how many shows related to anime and/or gaming were out there, and more besides! So today, rather than my usual think-pieces on anime and game content I’m going to introduce a few podcasts that are particularly dear to my heart. I imagine a couple of these are quite well known, but hopefully some will sound new and exciting to you!
As an aside, when I started writing this it started getting longer than I expected so I made the decision to split the post into two parts. This first section will cover informational podcasts while part two will feature works of fiction.
The Ani-Gamers Podcast
The official podcast of anigamers.com, a website that covers – what else – anime and video games, Ani-Gamers is hosted by Evan Minto, who also writes for Otaku USA Magazine and previously co-hosted Crunchyroll’s official podcast, and site writer David Estrella. The pair record every two weeks and usual topics of discussion include the current anime season, what they’ve been watching and playing recently, thoughts on upcoming or recent American conventions during the con season, and occasionally a broader analysis of an unusual game or anime that one has recommended to the other (I found their looks at Saya no Uta and Ai City particularly entertaining). I’m fond of this slightly more obscure anime podcast over some of the more established ones I’ve sampled because I really get a sense of Evan’s knowledge of the anime industry at large, and both hosts have a great rapport with each other. Also worth noting is the site’s new podcast, Oldtaku no Radio, in which two other site staff Ink and Jared offer an in-depth discussion of a single anime; I haven’t listened to many of these as they’re mostly shows I haven’t seen yet and don’t want spoiled, but what I have heard is of very good quality.
I should probably start this entry off with a caution that this podcast contains a lot of suggestive humour, bad language and discussions of a… biological nature; also the hosts aren’t afraid to get political, especially given recent world events. Polarising video game critic Jim Sterling invites you to a weekly discussion of the latest hot releases in the gaming sphere as well as the state of the industry in general with his fellow hosts: independent games journalist Laura Dale and musician Gavin “Miracle of Sound” Dunne. Similarly to Ani-Gamers, these three have a fantastic chemistry as they take an irreverent look at recent releases and controversial moves in games marketing. Those already familiar with The Jimquisition on YouTube will know what to expect, but for the uninitiated Jim’s off-the-wall asides and goofs can be an acquired taste at times, but if it’s your thing then there’s a lot of fun to be had here. Additionally, every two weeks Jim is joined by writer and critic Conrad Zimmerman for The Spin-Off Doctors, in which they watch movies based on video games and give a full (and hilarious) breakdown of the plot followed by their thoughts on the movie in general. Even if Podquisition itself isn’t your cup of tea I highly recommend checking out this side project; I daresay there are a few video game movies I wouldn’t have been interested in watching if Jim and Conrad hadn’t made them sound as entertaining as they do!
The Let’s Play Video Games Podcast
The independent gaming news site Let’s Play Video Games rose from the ashes of Destructoid UK last year after the whole team was let go, and when they migrated to their new venture they bought their previous podcast format along with them. Laura Dale, Joe Parlock and Vikki Blake come together to talk video game news from a variety of angles, from basic critique to issues of accessibility and diversity. In broad strokes this podcast is somewhat similar to Podquisition, even sharing a host as well as having a similar topic list, so you might wonder what makes this podcast worth checking out. Well, LPVG has a few things that set it apart from other news programmes. Firstly, as a British gamer, it’s nice to see things examined with a cultural eye that I can identify with, to that end British game news is delivered every episode in a guest spot by the Subterranean Mole Queen, powerful ruler of the Underground United Kingdom, at least when Joe– I mean, when she manages to find some (I sincerely hope I don’t face retribution in future episodes for implying that the Queen is a fictional character…). The other highlight of the show is the Dad Jokes Jingle segment, in which Laura and Vikki torture Joe with puns and terrible dad-jokes gathered by the fan community; you wouldn’t think that hearing a man groan in abject despair would be so entertaining, but somehow it’s just as fun as the jokes themselves! Altogether the LPVG podcast has a real intimate, social-circle feel to it that makes for a very comfortable hour-plus of content to listen to. Events in the hosts’ offline lives have been affecting the recording schedule as of late, but that just makes me look forward to seeing it pop up on my iPod’s feed even more.
And that wraps up my cream of the crop for the non-fiction section of my podcast feed. If you decide to check any of these out I hope you have a great time with them!
Seems I’ve had yet another of my unplanned hiatuses over the past two months, but hopefully I’l be back in the saddle soon. I’ll be taking a brief interlude from this topic to hash out something from my backlog of post ideas, but watch this space soon for my favourite fiction podcasts, which should be an interesting selection indeed!