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 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!
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”:
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!)
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!