Gaming Fo' Your Ears!
It seems as if everytime we blink, someone out there decides that they want to start podcasting. (Or as Microsoft calls it, "blogcasting") With all the applications that have sprung up in the past year, any peanuthead with a computer and a microphone can create a podcast, and when it comes to the genre of gaming, there is no exception, as thousands of die-hard gamers have apparently all decided that they are incredible radio show hosts.
Sadly, there are a lot of gaming podcasts out there that just plain suck. If is isn't some super-nerd talking about how fast they "pwnd", it's a dipshit sucking on some corporate huevos (cough*IGN*cough). But, in the midst of all that utter crap, there are a few jewels that really stand out. Whether they stick to specific genres and systems, entertain, inform, or any combination thereof, the following podcasts are actually not too bad...
Orange Lounge Radio:
As the winner of the 2005 Podcast Award for "Best Gaming Podcast," the folks at Orange Lounge are the current standard bearers for gaming podcasts. (At least until the 2006 award winners are announced...) While OLR is actually a 24-hour radio station dedicated to playing videogame-related music, the station's gaming podcast is broadcasted live on Sunday nights, and then split into two parts and uploaded to podcast streams on Monday and Wednesday nights. The show itself is a mix of gaming news and discussion (with a dash of digression thrown in every once in awhile), and features a call-in segment in which listeners can Skype-in and talk about anything gaming related for all to hear. While the callers themselves can be rather lame, repetitive and just downright juvenile, the show's hosts are far from that, as they are well-informed, honest, and at times, will have you laughing to tears with their on-air antics. What makes the show work is the wonderful interaction that they get from the OLR Chatroom, which is packed with listeners that tune in every week during the show's live broadcast. With all the topics that get brought up within the chatroom, the hosts behind OLR usually fly by the seat of their pants during the broadcast, making every episode unique and entertaining.
Orange Lounge Radio's website
There's only one word to describe this podcast: mayhem. While other gaming podcasts tend to be a bit more on the serious side, dedicating much of their time to discussing current events in video games, Gamestation tends to go off on the deep end and consistently deliver hilarious episodes that border on the point of insanity. Basically, each episode is dedicated to a specific topic dealing with video games, such as "video game hotties", "crappy games", and "video game movies," and the show's five or six hosts (you never know considering how many friggin' voices are speaking at the same time) go back and forth, offering their opinion on the topic. Whether they're making fun of each other, games, current events, or just plain having fun, this podcast is definitely guaranteed to make you laugh hysterically at least once per episode. If you're looking for a more "serious" gaming podcast, don't look here, because Gamestation gets down to the very reason why we all play video games: sheer fun. The only gripe we have is that the show isn't updated nearly as much as the other podcasts listed on here.
Gamestation Radio's website
Straight and to the point. That's the phrase I would use to describe the Dreamstation podcast. Every week, the guys behind Dreamstation release a pre-recorded podcast that covers all the major gaming news from the previous week, and does so in a rather straightforward way. The hosts at Dreamstation don't get off topic too often in order to keep each podcast episode as short as possible. (Unlike most of the other podcasts on here, which hit the 2-hour mark without breaking a sweat.) Dreamstation bleeps out their curses, so if you're worried about the little kiddies, this podcast might be more up your alley. If you're looking for entertainment, Dreamstation may not necessarily be for you, however.
Dreamstation CC's website
The self-proclaimed "best gaming podcast ever" certainly gives every other podcast a run for their money with their weekly combination of brief gaming news, game-related insight, and interviews. Sound-wise, Sidescrollers is among the best sounding podcasts on the web, and doesn't sound like an old AM radio station. The podcast itself is a small part of the Screwattack.com website, which has some of the downright funniest gaming content available on the web. The podcast itself never creeps over the 40-minute mark, so it doesn't drag on and on, and even if it did, there's never a dull moment with these guys. The guys behind Sidescrollers are pretty much casual gamers, so they're certainly not going to bore you with super-duper gaming facts thrown in just to sound all self-important. If you're a casual gamer yourself, this is for you.
Sidescrollers Podcast website
Any show that has an official "F-bomb counter" MUST be promising. Don't gather the kiddies to listen to this one, folks, because the folks at Gamer Andy are not afraid to vent on air about whatever happens to be pissing them off in the gaming world. Pissed off about Sony's recent PR disasters? Gamer Andy is right there with ya. A certain game too hard to beat? Gamer Andy feels your pain. This is a podcast for those that are looking for a no-holds barred podcast that features hilarious commentary, great interviews, and at times, just sheer insanity. The show does frequently pass the 1 hr 30 mark, so if you're not into long podcasts, then this might not be your cup of tea.
Gamer Andy's website
So feel free to check out these podcasts! They're all free, so it doesn't hurt to at least download them once just to see if they strike your fancy. And if anyone out there has any other suggestions for podcasts, feel free to drop us a line!
EDIT: The "Gamer Andy" show is aired live on Thursday nights from 7PM - 9PM PST, and then later released as a podcast for everyone who couldn't catch it live. Check the linked Gamer Andy site for details. (Thanks, Andy!)