I’ve been kicking around the idea of reviewing game-related podcasts for a while now. For the past several years I’ve pretty much completely replaced listening to music during my commute with listening to podcasts. But there’re a *lot* of podcasts to choose from. Some are gems, some are junk, and there’s no way any individual can cover them all. But I figured I’d take on this one small slice: the gaming podcast.
I’ll be tweaking the format as I go, and don’t expect these to roll out very regularly since, well, it takes a long time to listen to a bunch of podcasts!
Review: Giant Bombcast
(Based on 10+ episodes)
Overview: Giant Bombcast is the weekly podcast of GiantBomb.com. Regular cast members are Ryan Davis, Jeff Gerstmann, Brad Shoemaker & Vinnie Caravella. Format is loosely based on 3 segments: What We’ve Been Playing, News of the World, and Listener Feedback. Focus is mostly console games.
Length: This is a long podcast, often over 2 hours.
Production Value: Very good. All four members are in the same room, meaning the quality is excellent. All four are also articulate speakers that seem to have the knack of carrying on a good ‘casual conversation’ without drifting into ‘sloppy’ everyday speech. It’s not like, they’re like, saying like three times in every sentence. All four have good “radio voices” and sound like adults.
Comments: Four guys that clearly love to talk about video games. They definitely do a certain amount of rambling, but never go too far astray. Their individual tastes seem diverse enough to present a nicely rounded view of console gaming and after a few listens you’ll probably gravitate towards one member whose views and opinions most reflect your own. They don’t always agree, but are able to respect each other’s opinions.
PC gaming is definitely not a focus, nor are MMOs. They’ll mention both topics in terms of news, but that’s about the extent of it. Sports games also seem to be pretty lightly covered.
Intangibles: Somehow these four guys talking to each other manage to make the listener feel very included. I feel like I know these guys and that if I were suddenly dropped into the room with them, I’d mesh right into the conversation. The overall vibe is very welcoming.
Quirks: XBox Live Achievement points seem *very* important to the gang. Also Jeff has a fondness for weird music box toys that can get a bit grating at times. The show often opens with some kind of drink taste test, which is often pretty amusing.
Rating: Mature. They’re sometimes drinking, or have been drinking, and language can be a tad salty at times. Nothing overtly obscene going on…just typical language for a group of guys talking passionately.
Conclusion: Listen to the Giant Bombcast if a) you have 2 hours+ to spare every week and b) you’re a console gamer. If you primarily game on your PC, then this is a definite “maybe” podcast; you’ll probably still enjoy it but much of it won’t be directly applicable to your gaming habits.
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OK, so that’s a first pass at a format. Would love to hear comments on how it might be improved, and whether you found it useful. I also welcome suggestions for other gaming podcasts to cover. I have a few more I listen to but beyond them I’ll be reaching out to discover more.