8-4 Play

8-4 Play Podcast cover art

This post was delivered via email on September 08, 2019 as dispatch #02. Sign up to learn about a new video game podcast each week.

This week, in honor of the Tokyo Game Show kicking off on Wednesday, September 11th, it felt right to feature the first, only, best, last, greatest hope for talk about Japan, video games, and Japanese games!

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8-4 Play

8-4 Play Podcast cover art

8-4 Play is a bi-weekly podcast produced by the team at 8-4, Ltd. — a video game localization company in Tokyo. They’ve worked on Japanese-to-English and English-to-Japanese translations on a ton of popular games. Their first episode covered Tokyo Game Show 2010 and they’ve been podcasting since. (Dang… that’s over 240 episodes in the archive!)


It’s 90-120 minutes, typically. If that’s long for you, remember you’ve got 2 weeks to listen before the next one hits.

Who hosts it?

The show is currently hosted by EGM alums Mark MacDonald and John Ricciardi, along with regulars Dermot, Roy, and Graeme. For special shows, like their TGS coverage episode, they’ll bring in special guests.

What’s the format?

Here’s what a typical episode looks like:

  • Unique music to open things up,
  • Round-table host intros,
  • Industry and game news,
  • Commentary on what everyone’s been playing lately,
  • Another unique track to close things out.

Couple of dudes talking about games… been there, done that??

Read on before you write this off as your “standard video game podcast” fare…

What’s so special about that?

There are THOUSANDS of shows featuring video game banter, why choose this one:

🏯 You don’t get this perspective anywhere else!

If you’ve ever been curious about what life in Japan is like, you’ll get an interesting glimpse here, naturally woven into the hosts’ conversations about games and culture. From discussing games they’ve worked on directly, or games they’re playing that draw from uniquely Japanese elements, the 8-4 team brings a perspective few podcasts can deliver.Where else can you learn about what happens at your annual physical in Japan, within the same episode that breaks down news from a recent Nintendo Direct!

🙌 Their conference coverage is fantastic.

These hosts are in the industry, have been for a while, and they’re typically on-site for main conferences (especially Tokyo Game Show!) I’ve found the E3 and TGS coverage to be more entertaining and informative than prediction and coverage content from other shows.

🎮 Great mix of games.

Yes, you’ll hear about new games like Astral Chain and Fire Emblem, but you’ll also hear about the Yakuza series and Granblue. The team covers solid games across consoles and mobile, so it’s a solid choice if you’re not looking for an “all-Nintendo,” or “100% retro” podcast.

🏷️ Nicknames!

Each episode, the hosts get assigned new quirky nicknames and explain the reasoning behind them. It’s silly, but I find myself looking forward to it every time.

What do others say about it?

There’s a 4.7 star rating on Apple Podcasts currently, from 524 reviewers.

Here’s a good one from “Snouchy”


Okay, maybe that wasn’t such a helpful review.

How about this one from “Vulpes Valor”:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “The pre E3 episode is a yearly tradition not to be missed!”

You get the point! The TGS and E3 episodes have been outstanding.

Is it kid-friendly?

Nope. Nothing is in poor taste (I guess that’s subjective,) but the gang doesn’t censor their language. (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?

8-4 Play fills a void for me that I didn’t know existed.

As a long-time fan of Japanese games and Japanese publishers/creators, I feel like I’ve developed a deeper understanding of the culture that inspired them. No, you’re not going to get history lessons, just tiny slices of life that the staff experiences living day-to-day in Japan, covering, playing, producing, and translating games.

With a bi-weekly cadence, 8-4 won’t clog your feed. I highly recommend it, if only to drop in every once in a while for conference coverage and conversations around your favorite games/publishers!

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

The TGS 2019 episode is coming up next! Subscribe now and I’m sure that’ll be a great entry point to this podcast. You can hop into their archive, but be sure to catch an episode when the whole crew is on. Sometimes the “skeleton crew” episodes have a different vibe.

👇 Here’s your links:

Do you already listen to 8-4 Play? Have you checked it out after reading this? Love it? Hate it? Let me know your feedback!