Nintendo Power Podcast

This post was delivered via email on October 26, 2019 as dispatch #08. Sign up to learn about a new video game podcast each week.

My favorite video game magazine is now a podcast!?

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Nintendo Power Podcast

Nintendo Power Podcast Cover Art

If y’all know me, you know I’m a bit of a Nintendo historian. So let’s have a quick history lesson.

In the late 1980s, Nintendo needed a way to reach kids (and their parents) at scale. Beginning with a tiny newsletter (Fun Club News,) they ultimately released one of the most popular gaming magazines of the time, Nintendo Power!

In the pre-internet days, magazines were a gamers chance to see previews of new games for the first time, read reviews of what’s hot and what’s not, and learn all those sweet tips, tricks, and secrets to help them beat hard-as-nails NES games like Contra and Mike Tyson’s Punchout.

But the internet did happen, and print magazines began to see a slow decline. Nintendo Power magazine shut down in 2012. 😭

But unexpectedly, in 2017, a new challenger approaches

Nintendo Power returned in podcast form, described as “the official podcast of Nintendo of America, with discussions and commentary from Nintendo staff and special guests.”

There are 21 episodes in the feed, and they typically release monthly (though sometimes the wait between is a bit longer.)

And like anything official by Nintendo, it’s cover art has that glowing gold Official Seal of Quality. Is it quality, though? Let’s see.

Runtime?

Expect the average episode to be between 30 and 60 minutes.

Who hosts it?

Nintendo Power Podcast is hosted by Chris Slate, a former editor-in-chief, and he’s joined by other members of Nintendo’s internal team. It’s a rotating cast of extras. There’s a ton of variety in their roles at the company, the era of games they grew up with, and their preferred genres, which I really enjoy.

What’s the format?

Fans of Nintendo Power magazine will recognize some of their favorite segments in podcast form!

The Feature: Like Nintendo Power, there’s a main feature. Also like the magazine, it’s often very self-promotional and timely. Example: When a new first-party Nintendo game is about to be released, they’ll ship an episode that spends a ton of time pumping up the game.

Pro’s Picks: Chris and whoever is guest hosting run through the various games they’ve been playing! No surprise here, they’re mostly Nintendo titles!

Player’s Pulse: In Nintendo Power magazine, this was commentary and feedback from readers by way of letters. In the podcast, Chris reads similar comments solicited from the web. In the Gameboy 30th Year Anniversary episode, he digs into user-submitted memories of their first portable.

Warp Zone: Chris quizzes the guests on games and stories that were features in previous Nintendo Power issues from previous decades.

What’s so special about this?

Here’s what I dig the most:

😂 It’s so Nintendo…

I’m a Nintendo geek, so I’ll buy all the hardware, watch every Nintendo Direct, listen to every podcast, and if they released a magazine, or book, I’d be all in.This podcast is such a squeaky clean cog in the Nintendo marketing machine. But SO was Nintendo Power magazine. For a while, the magazine was the marketing machine. In that way, this podcast ends up being the perfect homage to the issues I grew up with. It’s delightfully self-aware, polished, and promotional.

🎮 Hey, this is weird…

Last week I gushed about my love for What’s Good Games’ theme music produced by video game composer, Dale North.Dale produced Nintendo Power’s theme song, too! And while not as catchy, it’s a bit more symphonic and epic. I love it, and you might, too.

🤙 Some rad exclusives…

Chris has access to Nintendo of America, Nintendo of Japan, and many third-party partners and indie developers. Most video game podcasts don’t have this power!In episode one, there’s a detailed interview with Breath of the Wild’s producer, Mr. Eiji Aonuma, and director, Mr. Hidemaro Fujibayashi. There were details shared in that episode that weren’t yet shared.It’s awesome to catch that level of exclusivity from time to time.

What do others say about it?

There’s a 4.8 star rating on Apple Podcasts out of 1.2k reviews!

I always forget there’s a generation that didn’t get to experience gaming magazines the way I did.

Here’s a review from “BeatXAiaiXSonic”

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Great

I’m new to Nintendo power because when I grew up the magazine ended, but I love this podcast it has everything a life long Nintendo fan could have I just wish they could start making the magazine again. I would be fine even if they just printed out what they said in the podcast and added pictures. Other wise I love this podcast🕹👍



I already cautioned you to accept that this podcast is part of Nintendo’s marketing machine. Here’s a funny review from “fudgestinkler

⭐⭐ “Fart noise”

Zero honest conversation about video games. The first episode was an insightful interview with the makers of Breath of the Wild and every episode after that is a well produced hour long commercial for whatever games are announced or just released by Nintendo.

I don’t know. I wouldn’t expect sharp criticism from a company trying to sell their games.

Is it kid-friendly?

Definitely! Some games discussed are rated T or M, but the conversations are super PG. I regularly listen to this with my son, who is also a big Nintendo fan. (Note: You might not care about this… I typically don’t, to be honest, but I’m on an epic quest to find podcasts that I can reliably listen to with my kids in the car!)

Final thoughts?

Nintendo Power is back!

This is a weird one. It’s not a regular podcast if you are looking for a weekly or bi-weekly show to add to your rotation. Like Nintendo Directs, they just kind of drop whenever, though (also like Nintendo Directs) you can expect them to drop when big games are on the way.

I think this is a must-subscribe for Nintendo fans and Switch owners. If you’re neither of those things, skip it!

Where to listen? What’s a good starting point?

That first episode with the Breath of the Wild interview is a great place to start. Otherwise, catch the latest episode to see what’s new with Nintendo.

👇 Here are your links:

Do you already listen to Nintendo Power Podcast? Have you checked it out after reading this? Love it? Hate it? Let me know your feedback!

What’s Good Games

This post was delivered via email on October 18, 2019 as dispatch #07. Sign up to learn about a new video game podcast each week.

Last time we dove into the great unknown with Fringe Game Podcast, and this week I took the opposite angle and explored a mainstream “Top 10” show that I’m checking out for the first time. Hope you dig it.

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What’s Good Games

What's Good Games Cover Art

Before we begin… I’ve only shared podcasts that have been in my heavy rotation for a while. While I’ve known of this podcast, I never listened to it until this week. I checked out 3 episodes total. This is a slightly new approach. Consider it a “first play.”

What’s Good Games is a weekly video game podcast that began in May of 2017. There are 126 formal episodes, and a bit more in the feed.

You’ll frequently find What’s Good in the iTunes and Spotify top 20 lists for gaming podcasts. That means it’s gotta be good, right? Let’s find out!

Runtime?

This wasn’t super consistent. The episodes I listened to ranged from 1 hour and 17 minutes to 2 hours. Expect a runtime between 1 and 2 1/2 hours.

Who hosts it?

What’s Good Games is hosted by Andrea Rene, Brittney Brombacher, and Kristine Steimer. They’re industry vets! These women have worked for/with IGN, Playstation, and Yahoo. Brittney has been maintaining the gaming site, blondenerd.com, since 2011.

What’s the format?

Of the episodes I listened to, the format was the same. If you’re a fan of video game podcasts, it’ll feel familiar.

News: The hosts discuss the news. Seems like it skews a bit towards console gaming and the big news. Nothing wrong with that, especially if you want a show that’ll cover the top industry conversations.

What we’ve been playing: The hosts discuss the games they’ve been playing. Because they’re in the know and they have a big show, seems like they get early access to pre-release games. Also, looks like the major AAA titles are covered. I really enjoyed the Gears of War 5 “spoilercast.”

Q&A: I didn’t catch much of this, but there are discussion segments prompted by listener/Patreon patron feedback and questions.

Ads! Not really a segment, but there felt like a decent amount of ads in this podcast. I’m sure you could remove them through a Patreon donation, but I didn’t dig too deep.

What was good (or not so good)?

Here’s my hot take:

🍷 The conversation was loose and funny…This felt like listening to 3 super knowledgeable women who love video games talk about video games, while having a couple glasses of wine.

I popped over to their YouTube stream of the recording to see Andrea actually was drinking a glass of wine. 😂

The result is a loose podcast with a ton of laughs and diverging conversations sandwiched between relevant, timely, and intellectual talk about games, the industry, and gaming culture.

🎮 This wild chip-tune intro/interlude…

This sounds weird, but, sheesh, this was one of my favorite parts of this podcast. It’s a little intro/interlude produced by video game composer, Dale North.

⏲️ Took a while to get into the episode…

I’ll be the first to admit I have a personal bias against “banter” podcasts, so this might not be an issue for you at all! There was a good amount of off-topic conversations and ads in one of the episodes I listened to before any video game discussion began.

Again, that’s me. You might love this style of show.

I will add that there was a “Let’s read our latest 1-star review” bit at the begin that had me rolling.

💰 It feels like a mainstream podcast…

Is that a bad thing? Definitely not. It’s polished, well-produced, it covers the industry news, it introduces great commentary on new and upcoming games, and it represents women gamers (which we need more of in podcasting!)

For all those reasons, I really enjoyed listening to the few shows I dove into. I’m going to stay subscribed.

ButI will say, there were times where it felt a little too overproduced. The ads were a bit heavy-handed. I read a few reviews that claimed the hands-on impressions from pre-release games felt a bit too promotional. I can’t speak to that because I haven’t heard anything to indicate it!This is a top 20 podcast. It’ll feel like one nothing “indie” about it.

What do others say about it?

There’s a 4.6 star rating on Apple Podcasts out of 1.1k !

Here’s the first from “jasonsoldout”

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ The only way I listen to video game news

The crew is fun and is loaded with personality, so it’s a pretty entertaining podcast to leave on while I’m working. Plus I wanted to especially leave a 5-star review after hearing them read out some ridiculous 1-star reviews. But more importantly, because I really, really enjoy the content. Fun way to listen to video game news and commentary without it being served like boring dishes of dry information like some other podcasts I’ve tried.

I agree with that one. 💯

Here’s one of those 1-star reviews, this one from “RealTyroneJackson

⭐ “Games Podcast ??? More like a Blabbering Podcast”

If you enjoy hearing women rambling on about nonsense like strange noises in their house and husbands opening doors in the room than this podcast is for you!
First 25 min has nothing to do with games out of an hour and twenty minute Podcast!

Yeah, this might be a feature of most video game podcasts, to be honest. Appeaks to your personal preference, for sure.

Is it kid-friendly?

Nope! This a podcast for adults. The looseness of the conversation is part of the charm, though. I think What’s Good Games would lose its character if you tried to make it family-friendly. (Note: You might not care about this… I typically don’t, to be honest, but I’m on an epic quest to find podcasts that I can reliably listen to with my kids in the car!)

Final thoughts?

What’s Good is good. Not mind-blowing, but not awful. It has personality and charm and three hosts with a great, friendly rapport.

They are well-represented across mediums outside of just audio, you can watch streams, VODs, and join their community via Patreon.

There are ads, but, hey, creators gotta get paid!

I’m hesitant to review this podcast, or give it a thumbs up or thumbs down because I only listened to 3 episodes. But that was just enough to warrant subscribing, and I’ll be tuning in next time, for sure.

As I continue to explore video game podcasts, from the top of the charts to the bottom, this’ll be a great example of how to do a “mainstream” podcast effectively. 🎧

Where to listen? What’s a good starting point?

I had a blast just jumping in with the newest episode. Given that they cover the news and recent games, it might be best to do the same.

Check it out: https://whatsgoodgames.com/

👇 Here are your links:

Do you already listen to What’s Good Games? Have you checked it out after reading this? Love it? Hate it? Let me know your feedback!

Fringe Game History Podcast

This post was delivered via email on October 7, 2019 as dispatch #06. Sign up to learn about a new video game podcast each week.

We’re getting weird this week. Let’s dive into one of my personal favorites, Fringe Game History Podcast.

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Fringe Game History Podcast

Fringe Game History Podcast

Here’s the deal… not all video game podcasts have to be weekly/bi-weekly on-going productions.

In my quest to discover remarkable video game shows, I often venture to the outskirts of iTunes top 200. To the fringe, if you will.

Fringe Game History Podcast is a gaming history podcast like no other. It has six episodes. That’s it.

Very similar to niche documentary series on Netflix, like The Toys That Made UsFringe Game History doesn’t feel like it’s meant to be a serialized, weekly, never-ending exploration of video games.

It’s more of a self-contained project, a glimpse into some of the weirdest games you’ve never heard of, the lives of the people that made them, and lost sub-communities and eras of video game development that they occupied.

Runtime?

Episodes are typically between 60 and 90 minutes.

Who hosts it?

Fringe Game History is hosted by Jeremy Penner, who also maintains other weird game projects like Glorious Trainwrecks and a hilarious Tumblr Consult Your Color Wheel.

You’ll get to know Jeremy a bit throughout the episodes, but the focus is very much on his guests and their unique stories.

What’s the format?

It’s an interview show! Jeremy brings on one guest per episode, and after a brief introduction, they delve into their personal history of making fringe games. You’ll be transported back to a world of BBS (online bulletin boards), forum-based communities, and primitive file sharing.

You’ll learn about some of the developers’ earliest games, like Alien Zit, a title spun up from a couple of 11 year olds, to Toad Strikes Back, a popular Mario fan game.

You’ll hear tales of the RPG Maker community, and the early days of the Allegro game dev library. It’s likely unfamiliar territory for most of us.

So, yeah! Fringe games.

What’s so special about that?

Here’s what I think you’ll dig the most:

🍕 It’s easy to binge the fringe…

I really enjoy this format for a podcast. It’s important content that needs to exist, and it’s not a long-term investment for listeners. You can easily binge the fringe in 2-3 days.

This show illustrates that podcasts don’t need to be weekly to “work.” There’s no focus on download numbers, growing a Patreon sum, getting 5-star reviews, or scrambling to get anything out week after week.

All that said, the show’s not over! Jeremy let me know that a new round of interviews could be released later this year.

🎮 It’s really fascinating…

I’m old enough to remember “web 1.0,” or whatever. I grew up on very static message and bulletin boards. I remember loading games from floppy disks, downloading random .zip games from sites, and stumbling upon some weird ones.

I really enjoyed learning from Jeremy’s guests, and hearing how early homebrew and fan games were developed. It was also fascinating to learn how these hobbies manifested themselves into various future full-time jobs, or passion projects.

🗣️ Great interviewer/interviewee dynamic.

Jeremy is really good at this. Each conversation feels natural, and never forced. These guests aren’t traditional “celebrities” in gaming. I wouldn’t expect any of them to have an extensive background of being interviewed, but the audio quality is top notch and the casualness of the dialogue makes for a very professional and enjoyable experience.

What do others say about it?

There’s a 5 star rating on Apple Podcasts! (Okay, okay, it’s only from only 2 reviews.)

Might as well post them both!

Here’s the first from “LE M”

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Thoughtful interviews

I love how this podcast peers into little-known, insular communities and finds the intense creativity and community-building going on inside them. Amazing work.

This one is amazing, from “Voyga

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “Yes”

Oh yes.

Now I feel bad I haven’t written a review yet.

Is it kid-friendly?

It is for the most part, but I can’t recall 100%! (Note: You might not care about this… I typically don’t, to be honest, but I’m on an epic quest to find podcasts that I can reliably listen to with my kids in the car!)

Final thoughts?

Fringe Game History is unique in all the right ways. It’s a direct and self-contained project. The conversations between Jeremy and the guests and entertaining and informative, and I learned a ton about pockets of old game development that I never knew existed.

If you like mainstream history podcasts like Retronauts, you’ll feel at home here. If your flavor of video game podcasts is solely “give me the news by a couple of dudes bantering in between,” (and that’s totally fine,) this likely isn’t the show for you.

But who knows? Only one way to find out. 🎧

Where to listen? What’s a good starting point?

Episode one, my friends. It’s easy to start at the beginning, though I’ll throw in my personal favorite is episode two with Phil Salvador.

http://fringe.games/

👇 Here are your links:

Do you already listen to Fringe Game History Podcast? Have you checked it out after reading this? Love it? Hate it? Let me know your feedback!

New Game Plus

This post was delivered via email on September 30, 2019 as dispatch #05. Sign up to learn about a new video game podcast each week.

Here’s a quick review on one of my (admittedly biased) favorite podcasts, New Game Plus!


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New Game Plus

New Game Plus Covert Art

New Game Plus is a weekly podcast where “three guys play one old game for seven days, and then they talk about it.”

The show’s been running for 4 years, and just released episode 201, along with a slew of bonus content to dig into, as well. (Editor’s note: I’ve been editing this show for about 2 years. It’s one of my favorites, but mostly because I spend a bit of time with it each week.)

Runtime?

Episodes are typically around the 50-55 minute mark. Occasionally some special shows are over an hour.

Who hosts it?

New Game Plus is hosted by three guys – Dustin, Kenny, and Nolan. They’re not YouTube celebs, prolific streamers, retro gaming archivists, or journalists.

They are fairly normal guys, and I honestly think that’s the appeal here.

I started out as a listener around Episode 70: Battletoads. I appreciated how down-to-earth and familiar the hosts were. They talked about games the way my friends and I talked about games.

What’s the format?

The point of the show is to discuss one retro game (15 years old or older,) and determine if it’s worth revisiting, or playing for the first time.

New Game Plus is broken up into a few distinguishable segments:

  • Intro – Every episode begins with an intro of sort, usually discussing a relevant topic in gaming — like E3 news, a recent trailer drop, new console releases, or events like Games Done Quick.
  • The Segue – This has become a signature of the show. Dustin will drop some wordplay to connect the intro topic to the game at hand. Check out the Billy Hatcher episode for a prime example.
  • Overview and Gameplay – The gang discusses the general premise of the game, and how the game mechanics work. They’ll touch on story, character and level design, and any unique characteristics of the game.
  • Aged – After discussing the game, they transition into a reflection on how well the game aged 15+ years later.
  • Final Thoughts – Does this game get their vote for New Game Plus status? It required 2 out of 3 votes. Typically, when a game is bad… it’s bad! But there are plenty of retro games that appeal to different preferences. Their lasting qualities are more subjective. On these episodes, there can be some tension and drama in the final verdict!
  • Randomizer and Outro – After they vote, they put the current game to rest and pull the next game at random from a list of fan-submitted games (The Retro Master List) which now covers over 1,000 games. This is the most exciting part of the show. With a list that big, you really never know what to expect.

If you write in your opinion, you might even have it read on air.

What’s so special about that?

Okay. Pick a game at random, talk about it on the next episode… that’s not an original concept. So why add New Game Plus to your feed:

🙌 It’s what happens between episodes that counts…

This is so much more than a podcast. Between episodes, the hosts stream the game of the week on Twitch, share “first play” videos on YouTube (with early access to Patrons,) and discuss the game freely in their Discord server.

When you play along with the show, you can interact with others doing the same. Whether it’s an amazing game like Chrono Trigger, a dud like Rugrats: Totally Angelica, or an oddity like Einhander, people gather in Discord to discuss what makes or breaks each game. Dozens more hang out just to talk life and games.“Community” is a word that gets thrown around a bit on the internet. I can say with certainty that New Game Plus’s followers occupy one of the brightest spots in the dim world video game forums.

🎮 So. Much. Variety.

You really never know what game you’re gonna get. It’s exciting, but also lends itself to the variety this show can deliver. Sometimes you get a Nintendo 64 classic, other times a rare Master System game, and sadly a Windows 95 title that’s almost impossible to get running.

With the “15 years or older” rule being the only parameter, there’s a ton of exciting and miserable games to get into.

🍒 Easy to cherry-pick.

Because you know exactly what game/genre/system/era of gaming you’re getting with each episode, New Game Plus is surprisingly easy to pick up the episodes that interest you, and skip the rest. If you’re into JRPGs on 16-bit consoles, you’ll get ‘em! If you’re not so into real-time strategy games on PC from the early 2000s, you can skip ‘em!

What do others say about it?

There’s a 4.8 star rating on Apple Podcasts currently, from 97reviewers.

Here’s a good one from “Elise_209”

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ So nostalgic

I had a lot of fun reviewing the games I played and loved as a kid. It’s just such a fun podcast.

But don’t expect Norm the Gaming Historian with this show…

Here’s some feedback from a lower review from “jrbgn”:

⭐⭐⭐ “Decent”

I keep it in the rotation and listen here and there. I enjoy the premise of the show, but the conversation is often kind of stale and doesn’t offer much in the way of unique insight or critique. In contrast to other podcasts I listen to, such as Retronauts or Watch Out for Fireballs – one thing that frequently bugs me is these guys don’t seem well-read on the history of the releases, sometimes even getting titles or facts incorrect.

I think that fits in squarely with the “these guys are just like you and me” feel of New Game Plus. It’s not meant to be a panel of experts using expensive FPGA hardware, or even non-experts doing extensive research. They’re playing the game, often time on emulators, just as you might if you really wanted to revisit it.

Is it kid-friendly?

Yes! The gang keeps it PG. (Note: You might not care about this… I typically don’t, to be honest, but I’m on an epic quest to find podcasts that I can reliably listen to with my kids in the car!)

Final thoughts?

New Game Plus gets my vote for New Game Plus status. 🤣

But again, I’m biased. If you’re looking for a weekly discussion on one random old game, and a positive little corner in our dimly-lit internet, this podcast and community has you covered.

Where to listen? What’s a good starting point?

The latest episode couldn’t have been timed better. Check out Episode 201: Link’s Awakening! (Or just jump into a discussion on one of your favorite retro games.)

👇 Here are your links:

Do you already listen to New Game Plus? Have you checked it out after reading this? Love it? Hate it? Let me know your feedback!

Completely Unnecessary Podcast

This post was delivered via email on September 22, 2019 as dispatch #04. Sign up to learn about a new video game podcast each week.

There are thousands of video game podcasts out there. Some by industry peeps, some by YouTubers or streamers, and most of them by random people who just like to chat about games.

So how can you discover the difference between a completely necessary podcast and a Completely Unnecessary Podcast? Let’s find out!

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Completely Unnecessary Podcast

CUPodcast Cover Art

Completely Unnecessary Podcast (#CUPodcast) is a weekly podcast that covers the latest in video game and video game culture news with a slight slant towards the retro gaming / retro-revival scene. You’ll also get conversations on other popular topics, like film, TV, and pro wrestling.

The show started on August 30, 2013! It was bi-weekly for a while, but now consistently releases every Tuesday. There are 178 episodes in the backlog to binge (if that’s your thing.)

Runtime?

On average, the recent episodes come in around 90 minutes. Because it’s mostly a topical news show, you can skip around if you don’t care about, let’s say, what’s new in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Who hosts it?

#CUPodcast is hosted by Pat Contri and Ian Ferguson, two guys I’m not expecting you to know, but they’re definitely known in gaming.

Pat is best known for his long-running YouTube channel and character/persona, PatTheNESPunk. He was one of the early popular video game content creators on YouTube, similar to James Rolfe, the Angry Video Game Nerd. Pat’s since amassed an incredible collection of gaming-related stuff, including Nintendo gear and rare NES games.

There’s a fascinating profile of Pat and making YouTube a career over on Wired.

Ian is a friend of Pat’s and owns a retro gaming store in the San Diego area.

What’s the format?

Here’s what you can expect:

  • Opens with a short rad intro song that could easily be a WWE entrance track,
  • Pat and Ian run through the latest gaming and pop culture news,
  • There are ad breaks throughout, they often feel forced (which has a maybe unintentional hilarious effect,)
  • Q&A from fans, mostly their Patreon patrons.

This show can quickly ping pong between just sharing the news with light commentary, getting wrapped up into a fiery opinionated rant or debate, and spiraling into off-topic banter.

What’s so special about that?

That sounds like most video game podcasts, so why choose this one:

🗣️ Pat and Ian: You’ll love ‘em or hate ‘em.

But if you love ‘em, you’ll love ‘em.This show is like sitting around talking about the latest gaming news with a few friends over a drink or two. It’s not just banter. It’s not a history lesson. While accused of being pretentious, the hosts (in my opinion) don’t position themselves as top industry guys, or mega influencers.It’s just two guys talking about game news. The casualness of it made for a good “tune out and relax” experience for me.I listened to this show for years and took a long break. When I jumped back into it recently, it was like nothing changed.

🎮 It does cover the news.

I like keeping up with gaming news (especially in the retro gaming scene.) Not every podcast does a great job covering the must-read news. I’ve got a few blogs connected to my RSS feed reader, but it’s mostly just for headlines with no commentary.If you want a show that’ll keep you in the loop with what’s going on in gaming, this’ll do it.

🤣 Most of y’all will find it funny.

But it’s a cynical, sarcastic, self-aware South Park kind of humor. It’s not for everyone. I think they intentionally appeal to long-time viewers of the YouTube content, which, like most of that early YouTube stuff, is very character-driven and tongue-in-cheek.While Pat is playing less of a character, the humor in the conversations is still there. It’s crude, it’s opinionated, but it’s definitely funny if that’s your style.

What do others say about it?

There’s a 4.6 star rating on Apple Podcasts currently, from 675 reviewers.

Here’s a good one from “CarsonKaiser”

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Favorite Podcast of All Time

While there is some vulgarity, and biased opinion, this podcast exceeds at providing fellow gamers, and pop-culture fans news, facts, and opinions. Ian and Pat definitely have perfected the way a video game themed podcast should be presented.

But I’ll warn ya, Pat and Ian aren’t for everyone…

Here’s some feedback from a lower review from “Okthings”:

⭐⭐ “Meh”

Ugh. Stop giving this clown money. I’ve never heard someone love themselves more than Pat Contri.

Are you really giving them money by listening? Yes, I guess technically if you listen to the show and they continue to have ads, your download is helping them monetize. But listening to a podcast is much different than supporting via Patreon.

There are some biases and opinions shared on the show, and they don’t shy away from controversy or politics, so if you prefer keep your personal politics out of your gaming podcasts, skip this one. 🙂

Is it kid-friendly?

Nope! This show is rated M for Mature. (Note: You might not care about this… I typically don’t, to be honest, but I’m on an epic quest to find podcasts that I can reliably listen to with my kids in the car!)

Final thoughts?

#CUPodcast is a solid weekly dose of gaming and pop-culture news, commentary, and shenanigans. There’s humor, there’s drama, there’s stuff that’ll offend certain people (like the blatant and frequent advertising for meal delivery,) but there’s plenty of gaming and pop culture content to keep thousands of fans tuning in, and hundreds supporting on Patreon.

It’s not my favorite podcast, but that’s not the point of this publication! This exists to connect you to new shows that might be hidden gems for you. Give it a shot, it certainly might fit the bill.

Where to listen? What’s a good starting point?

Unless there’s an old news topic you’re interested in, just pop into the latest episode!

👇 Here are your links:

Do you already listen to #CUPodcast? Have you checked it out after reading this? Love it? Hate it? Let me know your feedback!

Back In My Play

This post was delivered via email on September 15, 2019 as dispatch #03. Sign up to learn about a new video game podcast each week.

88 mph. Rev it up. This week, in honor of his return to form, we take a quick deep dive into Kevin Larrabee’s DMC DeLorean of video game podcasts, Back in my Play.

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Back in my Play

Back in my Play cover art

Back in my Play is self-described as a podcast for nostalgic gamers. With each episode, Kevin and friends explore the history and legacy of a single retro video game or topic, with occasional diverging episodes to talk about anything gaming-relevant.

The show started in 2013 and the current release schedule is irregular, but that shouldn’t stop you from digging into an archive of almost 130 episodes and subscribing to catch the new stuff!

Runtime?

Topic/game-specific episodes are around 60-90 minutes. Looser conversational episodes with guests can sometimes reach two hours. The meandering episodes with Mike Mika could be 4 hours, and I’d still want more.

Who hosts it?

The show is produced by Kevin Larrabee — a gym owner and fitness podcaster who happens to love retro video games. He doesn’t just appreciate them, he really knows retro video games!

Most episodes feature a unique cast of guest co-hosts. Kevin seems to curate the perfect co-host for each game or topic.

Diving into a Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master on Genesis? Of course you want to bring on Sega expert and Generation 16 producer, Greg Sewart.

Taking a stab at Castlevania: Dracula X? Why not invite Hardcore Gaming 101 and The Castlevania Dungeon’s, Kurt Kalata.

What’s the format?

For single game episodes, here’s what you can expect to hear:

  • General overview of the game,
  • Well-researched segment on the history of its development and release,
  • Kevin and guests’ stories/memories with the game,
  • Brief discussion about the legacy of the game, sequels, ports, and the best ways to play,
  • Music from the game shared throughout the episode!

For conversational or interview episodes, there’s no format! Just solid conversations about old (and new) video games.

What’s so special about that?

Seems like everyone with a Raspberry Pi and a USB SNES controller feels equipped to host a retro gaming podcast, so why choose this one:

👾 Kevin has a deep respect for retro games.

There’s an evident passion and respect for retro games. From the NES to the Dreamcast, Kevin explores the hardware, software, developers, and stories that made each generation great. I appreciate that Kevin does decent research when talking about topics, and he’s also super knowledgeable about original, FPGA, and modded hardware to share some of the best ways to experience games today.Kevin is also a strong supporter of the Video Game History Foundation and companies that are doing great work to preserve retro games and soundtracks (like Brave Wave!)

🎮 The guests are great.

Already mentioned this, but the guests are always fitting for the topic at hand. I enjoy hearing about hardware and ports from Digital Foundry’s John Linneman, and Japanese games from Gamespot’s Peter Brown.The frequently rotating cast adds some variety to what could otherwise be a dull, repetitive listening experience.

🎶 The music is dope.

Even on the non-topical episodes, the music shared is the perfect companion for taking a nostalgic trip back to the era of gaming being discussed. I’ve definitely listened to an episode on the way to work, only to play that game’s soundtrack on repeat for the rest of the day.

What do others say about it?

There’s a 4.6 star rating on Apple Podcasts currently, from 225 reviewers.

Here’s a good one from “ealbertolopez”

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Great Retro Nostalgia Talk

My hands down favorite retro games podcast. Kevin is an awesome host and you really feel his excitement for old games. He has great guests including *the best* Mike Mika.

Unfortunately, new episodes are now pretty rare but it’s still a great one to listen to.

But listen, I don’t want to color this dispatch with my own biases.

Here’s some feedback from a lower review from “Gam3rGhoul”:

⭐⭐ “Frustrating”

This podcast can be entertaining… provided you enjoy listening to people reminisce about games they grew up with, or games they’re experiencing for the first time. If you’re looking for anything more informative, you should check out Retronauts.

Why did I give this podcast such a low score? The host, Kevin, can be frustrating to listen to. Like a temperamental child, once he’s made an opinion, he isn’t interested in listening to alternate points of view. He’s also very quick to get on the defensive, and has a bad tendency of interrupting and talking down to his guests…

As a long-time listener, I can respect this opinion, but I don’t agree with the temperamental child analogy. How we judge podcasts is very subjective! I enjoy Retronauts and Back in my Play for very different reasons.

But I want to quickly acknowledge that every podcast host will have his/her fans and detractors. So, if you don’t dig the host, no harm, just don’t listen.

Is it kid-friendly?

Most episodes feel appropriate (provided the game in question is!) (Note: You might not care about this… I typically don’t, to be honest, but I’m on an epic quest to find podcasts that I can reliably listen to with my kids in the car!)

Final thoughts?

Back in my Play has covered a ton of ground, from starting with a few classic Nintendo and Sega titles to dedicating an entire summer to the Dreamcast. There’s something for everyone.

I also enjoy listening to episodes from 2014-2016 and catching references to the gaming “news” at the time. Sheesh. It was a different time. 😂

If you are especially into the console generations that spanned 1985-2000, this podcast is worth exploring.

Where to listen? What’s a good starting point?

Sift through the archives and jump into your favorite game. I started on the near-and-dear-to-me Mega Man 3.

Kevin and the show has changed a bit since the early episodes, as most things do after 6+ years, so if you want to get a feel for the new stuff, listen to his recent conversation with Mike Mika.

👇 Here are your links:

Do you already listen to Back in my Play? Have you checked it out after reading this? Love it? Hate it? Let me know your feedback!

Axe of the Blood God

This post was delivered via email on September 01, 2019 as dispatch #01. Sign up to learn about a new video game podcast each week.

Welcome to the first dispatch of Video Game Podcasts! If you want to receive these by email, go subscribe already. It’s free!

I’m doing this because I can’t get enough of video game podcasts. There are thousands of shows out there and I wish there was a better way to share and discuss at least some of them.

Continue reading “Axe of the Blood God”