Whether you’re looking for guidance, inspiration or just background noise the podcast-o-sphere (is that a term?) is LOADED with tons of excellent and FREE1 content. Here are the gaming related podcasts that I listen to a regular basis. I highly recommend them all.

Retronauts Live – Avg. Runtime: 60-90 minutes
I discovered this one a few weeks ago and I’m HOOKED. It’s a weekly podcast by Bob Mackey (1up.com) and friends, featuring topics that focus mainly on Atari through SNES (but they do discuss PS1 through modern gaming too). If you were born in the 80s (or at all) and played video games, this podcast is for you. There are 40 episodes of Retronauts Live and over 100 of its predecessor, plain ol’ Retronauts. In every episode I am reminded of something I loved but haven’t thought about in a while and am also inspired to check out a game I never heard of. They also provide great insight into how culture, technology and studio politics shaped the games we love. Go man, feast your gaming chops on Retronauts!

Retronauts companion blog / Retronauts on iTunes

Games Industry Mentor – Avg. Runtime: 45 minutes
This podcast focuses more on looking forward than back, covering topics about how to break into and survive the indie gaming scene. Topics range from audio and character design to tips on interviewing with a studio and everything in between. Episodes average about 45 minutes and feature industry pros (many of them from BioWare) with real-life accounts of “how it as” and how they got there. There’s a particularly interesting interview with Adam Saltsman (of Canabalt) and a few other indie game designers on what it takes to be successful in the industry.

Games Industry Mentor website / Games Industry Mentor on iTunes

A Life Well Wasted – Avg. Runtime: 45 minutes
Hosted by Robert Ashley, this podcast about “video games and the people who love them” is clearly a labor of love. Though all game related, topics range widely from broad stroaks such as “Why Game?” to specific events in the gaming industry like “The Death of EGM”. There’s also a really neat episode about the task of archiving the full history of gaming, which gets really interesting when they get into dealing with capturing living, breathing MMOs. Though not currently running Robert assures me it will be back, he just couldn’t say exactly when.

A Life Well Wasted website / A Life Well Wasted on iTunes

Bonus Podcast

We’re Alive – A Story of Survival – Avg. Runtime 20 minutes
OK, so this one has nothing to do with games but it’s a truly fantastic show. We’re Alive tells the story of a group of people in LA trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. There are 3 new episodes a month, on Mondays, for a good portion of the year. They’re in season 3 (more than 75 episodes deep) so there’s TONS of content to keep you busy. I’ll admit it starts out a little slow, but the actors and writers hit their stride a few episodes in and it’s great from there on out. They’ve got a good handle on the art of the cliffhanger. There’s this one episode where…

We’re Alive website / We’re Alive on iTunes

UPDATE: If you listen to your podcasts on an iOS device, as I often do, you should check out Downcast. It’s phenomenally better than Apple’s effed up solution of switching between their shitty Music and iTunes apps. And it’s got tons of revolutionary features, such as the ability to actually read the full title and description of something you’re downloading :P Seriously though, it has many more great features, totally worth the $1.99.

  1. Please show your appreciation if you can, even if it’s just an honest review on iTunes. Many of these podcasts are labors of love, the hundreds of hours of which are higher quality than a $15/90 minute once-and-done Hollywood flop. Donate if you can, but at least make sure the creators (and more importantly everyone else) know you enjoy their work. OK, I’m done being a hippie.
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