Fringe Game History Podcast

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.


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.

👇 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!