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The 10 Best Podcasts About Gaming: An Expert‘s Guide

Gaming is bigger and more mainstream than ever, with the global games market projected to surpass $200 billion in 2022 according to the latest report from Newzoo. Alongside this explosive growth of the medium has been a steady rise in the popularity of gaming podcasts. Edison Research‘s Podcast Consumer Tracker found that 40% of gaming fans 18+ in the U.S. listen to podcasts related to gaming, a 10% increase from 2020.

It‘s not hard to see the appeal for gamers. The best gaming podcasts provide a perfect mix of entertainment and expertise, letting you stay up to date on the latest releases, dive deep into the fascinating history and artistry behind the medium, and feel a sense of connection with a community of like-minded fans. And with many gaming sites pivoting to video content in this attention-starved age, podcasts have only become more vital as a bastion of in-depth conversation.

But with so many gaming podcasts out there, it can be hard to know where to start. As a digital tech expert and lifelong gamer myself, I‘ve rounded up the 10 best podcasts that are must-listens for anyone who loves the artform. The shows on this list represent the full spectrum of what gaming podcasts can offer, from deeply researched documentaries to side-splitting comedy and critical analysis.

1. The Besties

Arguably the most purely entertaining show on this list, The Besties sees gaming critics Russ Frushtick, Chris Plante, Justin McElroy and Plante‘s young daughter Siracusa gather each week to discuss and joke about their favorite games. The chemistry between the hosts is infectious, and it‘s refreshing to hear a gaming podcast that doesn‘t take itself too seriously while still offering genuine insight.

Many critics have praised the show as a great entry point for potential new gamers, as the hosts excel at explaining why they love certain games without getting too bogged down in jargon. A particular highlight is hearing Siracusa, who is now 8 years old, grow into an astute critic herself over the years. To quote Frushtick from a 2019 interview: "So much games coverage is myopic and insular…whereas Siracusa has no baggage. It‘s such a pure way to look at a game."

2. Triple Click

For thoughtful analysis and eye-opening reporting on the stories behind the games we play, there‘s no better podcast than Triple Click. Hosted by three former Kotaku writers with decades of experience in games journalism – Jason Schreier, Kirk Hamilton, and Maddy Myers – the show excels at taking unique angles on familiar topics.

Some of their best work digs into the tricky intersection of gaming and politics, like a 2021 interview with God of War director David Jaffe about the struggles of selling an M-rated game in the early 2000s, or a 2022 discussion on the culture of harassment and toxicity at Activision Blizzard. By treating games as a lens for examining our wider culture, Triple Click always leaves you with a fresh perspective.

3. Retronauts

Retro gaming content has boomed over the last decade as the original Nintendo generation has grown into nostalgic adults eager to revisit the games of their youth. And no podcast explores the history of the medium with more depth and authority than Retronauts. Originally launching in 2006 and now published by IGN, hosts Bob Mackey and Jeremy Parish are meticulous researchers who frequently unearth new stories behind classic games and consoles.

One of the show‘s greatest strengths is its varied panels of guests, which have included gaming luminaries like Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov, Metroid designer Yoshio Sakamoto, and Castlevania director Koji Igarashi. But you don‘t need to be a retro gaming die-hard to appreciate Retronauts – by connecting gaming‘s past to its present, the show argues that all games become retro in time. To quote Parish from the series‘ 100th episode, "Retronauts is a conversation whose time has come, as we‘re beginning to treat games as a historical medium with a rich heritage."

4. What‘s Good Games

Gaming podcasting has long been dominated by male voices, a disparity that sadly reflects the wider gender gap in the games industry – a 2021 survey by the International Women‘s Media Foundation found that women comprised only 30% of gaming industry employees. But Andrea Rene, Brittney Brombacher, Kristine Steimer and Alexa Ray Corriea have been working to change that with What‘s Good Games, one of the only female-led gaming podcasts to find mainstream success.

With a combined 35+ years covering the industry between them, the hosts bring both encyclopedic knowledge and valuable perspective to the male-dominated discourse around games. But the show never feels exclusionary – there are serious discussions of issues like misogyny and harassment in gaming spaces, but also plenty of laughs and geeky passion for the medium. The hosts have spoken frequently about the importance of paving the way for more women to break into games media, making What‘s Good Games an essential listen for anyone who cares about the future of the industry.

5. Waypoint Radio

Gaming‘s messy relationship with politics has become an increasingly loud conversation over the last decade, and few podcasts have grappled with the topic with more nuance and humanity than Waypoint Radio. Hosts Austin Walker, Rob Zacny, Patrick Klepek and Gita Jackson are all veteran game critics turned academics, and they bring an invaluable critical lens to bear on the ways games reflect our wider culture.

But this is no dry, theory-heavy affair. The hosts‘ warm rapport and self-deprecating humor make every discussion engaging on a human level, even as they wrestle with complex ideas. It‘s telling that the first thing you hear in each episode is the phrase "Love and Respect" – empathy always comes first here, even when they‘re calling out the industry‘s failings. In a medium that often prides itself on nihilistic detachment, Waypoint Radio is a beacon of sincere, messy, deeply felt criticism.

6. Spawn On Me

As much as gaming brings people together, it‘s impossible to ignore the lack of diversity both in the games themselves and in the industry behind them. Spawn On Me has been tackling these issues head-on since 2012, with host Kahlief Adams facilitating frank and nuanced discussions about race, identity, and representation in gaming.

The show has become a vital platform for giving Black and brown creators in the industry a voice, with guests ranging from veteran developers like Infinity Ward multiplayer design director Geoffery Smith to cultural critics like Tanya DePass, founder of the non-profit organization I Need Diverse Games. But Spawn On Me isn‘t just preaching to the choir – by highlighting diverse stories and perspectives and challenging the gaming community to do better, Adams and his guests are doing the vital work of making the medium a more welcoming place for all.

7. The MinnMax Show

Some of the most beloved gaming podcasts have been born out of the ashes of shuttered gaming sites, and The MinnMax Show is a prime example. Formed by a group of ex-Game Informer editors in 2019 after mass layoffs at the magazine, MinnMax has quickly grown into a thriving Patreon-supported community of over 5,000 members.

A big part of that success is due to the genuine passion and personality of the hosts, particularly founder and former GI editor-in-chief Andy McNamara. The flagship podcast is a love letter to the entire spectrum of gaming fandom, featuring everything from in-depth interviews with industry figures to movie-style review discussions to an ongoing Dungeons & Dragons campaign. By fostering a deep sense of community both on the show itself and its busy Discord server, The MinnMax Show is a masterclass in how to build a dedicated audience in today‘s creator-driven world.

8. Minecraft: Deep Dive

With over 230 million copies sold, Minecraft is the best-selling video game of all time – a true cultural phenomenon. And there‘s no better companion to the game than Minecraft: Deep Dive, the official podcast from the development studio Mojang. Hosted by the game‘s Chief Creative Officer Jens Bergensten and Chief Storyteller Lydia Winters, each episode explores a different element of how Minecraft has grown from an indie hit to a global community platform.

What sets Deep Dive apart is the sheer level of access, featuring interviews with Mojang‘s own developers as well as discussions with educators, architects, and even government officials about Minecraft‘s impact on the wider world. At a time when gaming podcasts are increasingly personality-driven, Deep Dive is a sterling example of what‘s possible with an "official" show. To quote Bergensten from a recent blog post, "There are so many stories that make the world of Minecraft special…we‘re excited to start sharing them with you."

9. Play, Watch, Listen

Gaming podcasts have become an increasingly popular way for developers to communicate directly with their audience, and Play, Watch, Listen is the star-studded standout in the genre. Hosted by an all-star panel of creators – God of War director Cory Barlog, Uncharted writer/director Amy Hennig, Media Molecule studio director Siobhan Reddy, and Troy Baker, the ubiquitous voice actor behind Joel from The Last of Us – the show is a fly-on-the-wall listen into what it‘s really like to make games at the highest level.

But the hosts are also voracious consumers of media, and each episode features free-flowing (and often heated) discussions about the games, films, TV, and music that have shaped them as artists. Some of the most fascinating moments come when the hosts open up about the development of their own games, like Barlog discussing the immense pressure to deliver with God of War or Hennig reflecting on Uncharted 2‘s groundbreaking cinematic storytelling. At a time when the gaming discourse can often feel dominated by hype and hyperbole, Play, Watch, Listen is an invaluable dose of honest, unfiltered perspective from the best in the business.

10. Eggplant: The Secret Lives of Games

The decade-long boom in independent gaming has opened up a whole new world of deeply personal, experimental titles that push the boundaries of the medium. And no podcast has chronicled this scene with more depth and artistry than Eggplant: The Secret Lives of Games. Hosted by veteran indie developer and musician Nicholas O‘Brien, each episode is a deeply researched audio documentary on the making of a beloved indie title, combining interviews, criticism, and rich soundscapes.

Some of the most powerful episodes have focused on games that grapple with complex social issues, like Awkward Dimensions‘ meditation on gender dysphoria or Analgesic Productions‘ dark portrait of life under capitalism. But O‘Brien also has a knack for finding the human stories behind even the most outwardly whimsical games, like the surprising origin of the viral physics sandbox Noita. By treating each game as a work of art worthy of serious consideration, Eggplant has become an essential guide to a crucial corner of the medium.

Gaming podcasts have come a long way from their humble beginnings in the mid-2000s. What was once a niche pursuit has blossomed into a thriving ecosystem full of brilliant voices and vital perspectives on this fascinating, ever-changing medium. The 10 shows highlighted here represent the incredible diversity of what gaming podcasts have to offer, from rigorously researched documentary to freewheeling punditry to advocacy and criticism.

But they all share a few key qualities: a genuine love for the artform, a curiosity to dig deeper into the stories behind the games, and an enthusiasm for sparking thought-provoking conversations. In a time when hot takes and fan arguments dominate so much of gaming discourse online, these podcasts are a reminder of how much more there is to discover and discuss within this infinitely complex medium.

So whether you‘re a complete newcomer to gaming or a hardcore veteran, do yourself a favor and start listening to these shows. You just might find a new favorite game, a fresh perspective on a classic, or a community that makes your gaming hobby that much richer and more rewarding. And you‘ll almost certainly come away with a deeper appreciation for the artists, thinkers, and troublemakers who have made video games the vital cultural force they are today.