March was a heavy gaming month, and for no particular reason! I just happened to be clued in on a few great new podcasts that had to do with video games, and it must have been on my mind. Still, there’s plenty of variety to go around in my list, so feel free to peruse at your leisure!
Here’s the list:
I’ve been loving We Have Concerns for its fantastic combination of humor, mini-improv-scenes, and actual, nuanced discussion of science news. This episode is notable because it’s their first live performance of the show at Nerdmelt, blending their world with that of the Nerdist sphere, which is neat. They talk about… selling your poop for money! And how damn hard it is to be qualified enough to do so. When they drop those audio nuggets into the bowl of your understanding, it’s like urine audio heaven. (…I’ll show myself out.)
I really enjoyed this video game podcast episode because Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon interview an astoundingly prolific voice actor whom I had definitely heard, but never heard of! This guy has voiced both superheroes and Sonic the Hedgehog. He’s constantly in friendly competition with fellow voice actor Troy Baker and gives an inside view into the world of his craft and the challenges of being a small part in a multi-year-long production of a video game.
This podcast is about video gaming, from the games themselves to the industry at large. It’s also co/hosted exclusively by people of color: Kahlief Adams, Shareef Jackson, and Cicero Holmes. I was introduced to the podcast through Adam Sessler’s guest appearance on this episode, and I’m very happy for it. A lot of this episode is all about his career path and movement through succeeding and failing shows and outlets all while witnessing the culture of the gaming community evolve. It’s a great, comprehensive, and thoughtful discussion about the past decade and more.
I continue to listen to this podcast because the perspective of the hosts is one that I simply don’t get often enough. The show’s not only about diversity in gaming and beyond, though that’s an important ongoing discussion to be had. I just love the style of it, the nicknames, the musical breaks, and the voices.
Along a similar theme, I also got into the Justice Points podcast because two folks I love guested on it sequentially. This episode is with Anthony Burch, co-writer and actor in the web series Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin’. The prior one was with Mike Rugnetta of PBS Idea Channel! (See honorable mentions.)
This podcast is similar to Spawn On Me in that it has focus on progressive issues in games but is hosted by two women. I really enjoyed the discussions with the guests on both episodes. In general, the conversation leads with what everyone has been playing recently, followed by a kind of interview, and then news. It’s nice, though, to listen to a show that won’t shy away from calling GamerGators on their crap while they talk about anything and everything social justice.
I enjoy On The Media as an informative news hour, but in the weeks after the release of House of Cards on Netflix, one of the hosts started a side series where she and several other guests discuss each episode one-by-one. The guests so far have included people involved with the show, people in the political sphere, and regular watchers. The show’s been critical at times, often deservedly so, but when the creators are on, it offers an insight I appreciate into small moments and larger themes of the show.
Planet Money is a fun economics podcast, and it delighted me to learn that they did an episode on the extremely nerdy topic of Magic: The Gathering! This is one of the biggest collectible playing card games out today, and it’s been in existence since the early 90s. Why it relates to economics is that some really old cards are extremely rare and powerful, and players or collectors will pay a lot of money for them. The show also goes into design and marketing decisions Wizards of the Coast had to make to balance the aftermarket of card selling and staying in business!
Wham Bam Pow is a fun and funny movie podcast that has all the news, reviews, and tips you could possibly use. I love the energy of the show and how it approaches the film industry and popular movies. I’ve been annoyed with Red Letter Media as of late for their occasional punching-down joke, and this podcast always brightens me up.
I picked this particular episode because it was the first one I listened to actually prepared! I had never seen Robocop before, even though I’d known plenty about it. Last week, though, when one of the hosts mentioned that it was available on Netflix, I decided it was time. Listening to them chat about a film is a nice little treat and incentive to catch up on classic sci-fi/action films.
Reply All is a podcast about the intersection of the internet and humanity. In this episode, the hosts were actually concerned that it wasn’t sufficiently internet enough. I laughed when I started to piece together what it was about. It’s a story about a wacky ad in a paper that encouraged people to mail in to volunteer to travel back in time. The image became a meme online, most notably on a website I used to frequent: YTMND.
I was delighted and touched that a silly joke I remember from a decade ago could be elevated to such a poignant and eventually heartbreaking story. Give it a listen.
Mike and Tom don’t update very regularly at the moment, so it’s a “treat” whenever we lowly viewers (listeners?) get a new episode. This snack was very strange, and I was surprised at the hosts’ reactions. They talk at length about the very real and very serious position of “guy who counts down and points before a broadcast”. Listen, this series is my favorite improv comedy podcast. You have to try it if you’re into that.
The Skeptics Guide to the Universe is consistently informative and great, but this episode had two notable elements that made it stand out to me. They were the two guests on the show. First was a finalist for the Mars One mission that hopes to send people to Mars within a decade or so. The rogues and he spoke openly and honestly about the likelihood of this happening, and he responded to the wave of criticism and bad news coming out about the effort in recent weeks. It was very friendly; the guest was very frank and aware of the challenges of this Herculean effort, which was refreshing.
The second great guest was George Hrab, who was on the entire episode. He’s always a treat, which is why I listen to his own podcast, Geologic. I especially like the Science or Fiction segment this time, though, because it was about music, just for Hrab. He got to expound about the truth and fiction results for a while, which was super interesting! I consider this a great episode to start listening to the show.
This is the “other” episode I mentioned in my previous Justice Points entry. Unfortunately it technically occurred in February. Mike Rugnetta, the guest, had a funny story to tell about almost accidentally buying an expensive digital car, and the hosts and he have insightful chats about all sorts of gaming news.
Quality Control is a video game review podcast that complements articles written on Polygon itself. This episode was on the newest installment of the first-person shooter series Battlefield. I loved that one of main topics of conversation was discussing the tonal shift in moving from a game about soldiers to one about police. It has a lot of implications that were explored well in this episode, ranging from gameplay to just how it feels to play a game like this in light of Ferguson and other police issues as of late.
This Cracked Podcast episode features a lot of analysis of The Jinx series, Serial, and documentaries in general and the rock/hard place challenge they face between being interesting or truthful. They highlight many notable lies or misleads some of the most popular documentaries or reality television shows use to create a narrative that doesn’t necessarily exist. Editing especially is an astoundingly powerful tool for creating just about any kind of story from lots of footage. The examples alone are worth hearing, but the chat about their motivations and the pull to create something entertaining is also worth thinking about.
A lot of my listening in March was gaming-focused. What cool stuff did I miss out on? Let me know in the comments or anywhere I’m at online!