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Podcasts: Power Rankings

This post has been edited by the GamesBeat staff. Opinions by GamesBeat community writers do not necessarily reflect those of the staff.

Editor's note: I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Nick loves podcasts. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of game-related podcasts out there, and this list is an excellent summary of some of the best (with a few sports-related ones sprinkled in). If a podcast you enjoy isn't listed, let Nick know in the comments and he'll check it out to determine if it's worthy of inclusion on a future list. – Aaron


I LOVE PODCASTS!  I am a former producer of talk radio shows in Portland and listen to roughly 40 hours of podcasts per week.  My favorite shows are about gaming and sports.  I am starting a weekly ranking system to help others find something to listen to when working/driving/exercising. Hopefully you will enjoy.

A few rules I am following:

The show has to be found on iTunes and has to be available as an MP3.

The podcast has to originally be a podcast and not be a TV or radio show made into an audio Podcast.

No shows can be ranked in the top 10 without a bi-weekly podcast or without me hearing it at least four times.


1. The GameSpy Debriefings (IGN)
Their worst episode in the last three weeks has been better than nearly any other podcast in the last year. Anthony Gallegos hosts a show full of video-game-loving comedians/gaming geeks/freaks. With IGN's recent realignment Brian Miggles, Brian Altano, Scott Bromley, and Ryan Scott are the most entertaining collection of gamers on the web. They get distracted easily but the show's much better because of it. This collection of guys make me laugh hard enough that my stomach hurts. If you like silly humor they are the best.

Hit the jump for the rest of the list.

 

2. Rebel FM (Hammersuit)
Rebel FM was my favorite podcast of 2009. The show is very good at everything that makes a podcast entertaining. The show has four regular contributors Anthony Gallegos (again), Arthur Gies, Tyler Barber, and Matt Chandronait. These four share the best chemistry of any show I listened to because of their distinct styles and personalities. Rebel FM is very funny and does a great job of covering video games and “other “topics. The show has recently slowed as Anthony and Arthur seem tired from their new jobs at IGN, but Tyler and Matt are still rolling at full power to keep the show above the rest. This show does a great job of getting the best from their guests. They don’t interview anyone but get guests to speak openly. (I credit Anthony for this but I may be wrong)

The show has the lovable ability to constantly change direction from game talk, to personal beliefs, love advice, and what-ifs — or there might be a pet-related outburst. The iffy production adds character (as they say and I agree) and does not distract.

3. Stuff You Should Know (HowStuffWorks.com)
Chuck Bryant and Josh Clark do something that most podcasts don’t/can’t do. They make classroom lecture and mundane information very entertaining. These guys work well together in making the best family-friendly podcast I've ever heard. They use their own brand of dry humor to simply explain the ins-and-outs of a VERY wide range of topics. The're like the great teachers you had in school that always knew a way to simplify a tough subject.

Stuff You Should Know is also the best-produced and best-sounding podcast on the list. The show elements never distract from the information being dealt. The show doesn’t need sound clips to make a transition or segue. (Great job Gerry!)  Lastly and most importantly, the shows don’t cover news and  are nearly timeless and are worth keeping on your player as a result. Download them all; they are worth it.

4. Giant Bombcast (GiantBomb)
Ryan Davis, Jeff Gerstmann, Brad Shoemaker, and Vinny Caravella are more informative than every other gaming podcast. They are funny, but the best part is that they can have very different opinions while at the same time sharing great chemistry. Ryan is technically the best moderator/host of any gaming podcast. He reels in guys when they get on tangents and constantly moves the show forward. The show sounds very good, as well.

5. Game Scoop (IGN)
IGN's best host, Daemon Hatfield, is in charge of the end-of-week gaming news podcast for IGN. Besides Greg Miller, the rest of the editors change routinely. The show starts with the most important news from all game platforms, transitions to the "love" segment, and then moves to email from listeners. Greg and Daemon's chemistry is the heart of the show. Greg can be uncontrollable, but he is also very funny.

6. NBA Today (ESPN)
If you like NBA basketball you'll love  Ryan Russilio; he knows basketball and he's hilarious. He is a loveable asshole and makes fun of emails/fans with a very well-rounded knowledge of all NBA teams.

You don't need to like basketball to like this podcast, but you have to have a working knowledge of the game. The thing that amazes me about the podcast is that Ryan is a one-man show and the show is still very good. The reason that this show is not higher on the list is that during the playoffs (last 4 weeks) the other host, Mike Yam, isn't particularly good.

7. Three Red Lights (IGN)
Eric Brudvig is the host of one of IGN's funniest podcasts. Charles Onyett and Dave Clayman (and any other random editor they find) use silly and dry humor to entertain. They talk about entertaining subjects, usually leaving Xbox 360 news aside.

Getting off topic is their bread and butter. In my opinion, they were the probably the best podcast of '08, though they slipped with the departure of Hilary Goldstein in '09. They remain entertaining and relevant as editor appearances become more inconsistent among other IGN podcasts.
*tip* Listen to the "Rob the Robot" shows.

8. Fantasy Focus NFL (ESPN)
Mathew Berry, Nate Ravitz, and Jay Soderberg received the People’s Choice Award as the overall best podcast in 2009. Mathew and Erik are highly entertaining as they playfully argue with each othe.r However the show is not well-produced and has some distracting transitions and not-so-entertaining guests. If you like the NFL and fantasy football this may become your favorite show.

9. Girlfight (IGN)
Jessica Chobot, Christine Stimer, Nichole Tanner, Dana Jongewaard, and Meghan Sullivan host IGN’s newest (2 months old) podcast. They are legitimately funny, insightful, and they talk about subjects that men don’t care to focus on very often, such as games women seem to enjoy and emotional connections to gaming characters. The show has a fresh angle on the games industry for a simple reason: they are women in a male dominated arena. This isn’t just “girl chat” tee-hee-hee or Chobot and hot gamer girls. It is serious gamers with insight you won’t find on any other show.

10. Mobcast
Dan "Shoe" Hsu is the most regular host of the purest game podcast there is. They cover four or five different topics every week. Each of the four guest picks a game-related question and the group discusses it.

The group rarely tries to be funny, but they come off as entertaining and intelligent by covering games with an encyclopedic knowledge combined with a veteran writer's perspective. This podcast is another of the near "timeless" sort, meaning the old podcasts and topics are always relevant because the show is not news driven.

Go to page two for the shows that couldn't crack the top ten.

11. Tech Fetish (IGN)
Scott Lowe hosts an informative tech podcast that does a great job of covering many subjects in consumer electronics and sharing the information in an understandable way. What is more surprising is that the show remains good in the face of major overhauls over the last two years with the departures of Gerry Block and Mark Bozon. The show doesn't seem to follow a reliable release schedule, which is highly disappointing and keeps it out of the top 10. Scott brings other editors from different IGN sites that are usually funny. Scott Lowe is the epitome of the hyper-intelligent host who can struggle to maintain control his co-hosts.

12. Podcast Beyond (IGN)
This show is IGN’s PlayStation centered show hosted by Greg Miller, Ryan Clements, Colin Moriarty, and another editor they can find. They cover news, releases, and of course, the PlayStation. They do a good job, but seem to have lost control recently. Jeff Haynes and Greg seemed to have fantastic chemistry and the show took a big hit with Jeff's departure. The show took another hit when former host Chris Roper left IGN. Greg and Ryan are still following an old format where they were featured personalities that could change the subject, however there is no one to get the show back on course.

These are issues a new host with good control should be able to straighten out. The show has many procedural and sound issues a producer could easily fix. Podcast beyond is going through growing pains but is still a fun show to listen to. If they lose the vocal segues (random noises) they will gain listeners. The sounds are childish and are a relic of the show it once was.

13. Nintendo Voice Chat (IGN)
Craig Harris fights for control of a not-very-entertaining show. The subject matter may be the problem but with the recent departures of Mark Bozon and Matt Casamassina the show fights for an identity. Adding Scott Bromley is the right thing to do, but Nintendo fanboys will never be happy with him because he is brash and honest. Sam Clayborne and Jack Devries may be knowledgeable, but they remain nearly as dull as Craig. With Nintendo's recent return to relevance, they should go the way of TRL and talk about entertaining subjects.

14. Buzz Out Loud (CNet)
The show is great until you realize these are not entertaining people covering the most entertaining tech subjects. They cover the news well but become virtually unlistenable after 10 episodes. Tom Merritt  recently left the show and his intelligent rants will be missed. Hopefully he can be replaced.

Molly Wood may be the only person that I find to be offensive while covering the news. Her constant cliches are annoying to no end, and will likely make you punch yourself in the most painful place you can find. (examples, "Jack-booted thugs",  speech impediment/accent impersonations, fake laugh, repeating anything intelligent someone else says, over-enunciating to make point). Listen when Molly is not on.

15. Joe Rogan Podcast
Imagine your favorite comedian on drugs talking about his paranoid fantasies and NOT BEING FUNNY. Don't listen. It should be removed by next week.

16. The HotSpot (GameSpot)
GameSpot creates a weekly audio podcast that does a FANTASTIC job of covering the most popular news in the video game industry. The podcast features an assorted weekly cast of very thoughtful and intelligent writers and is worth listening to.

Sadly, the show takes on the identity of host Brendan Sinclair who is negative and argumentative by nature. When frequent contributor Tom Mc Shea is on the show the instances of annoying arguments about pronunciation, technicalities, and obscure nerd angles seem to double. Combined they contend most points other editors make, sounding like nerd banter and derailing the show.

The podcast follows a consistent format of news discussions, release updates, "10 years ago this week (covering past news)," “corrections, clarifications and apologies”, emails, and homework. The routine offers the listener a great chance to avoid the worst parts of the show — you can easily skip to the parts you like.

GameSpot has some of the most experienced, likeable, and intelligent writers covering video games and many times they follow their leader into juvenile banter. They should cut out the constant ranting, as this show does the editors a disservice.


Understand that I love all genres of podcasts. Suggestions are welcome. If you want to contact me my spam safe email is mrdurden58@yahoo.com.

If you suggest something, I promise give it a shot for at least an hour. If it fits into the ranking system, I will add it. Please be patient until this is sorted out.

Thanks for the advice everyone!  Soon to be rated:

  • Geekbox (Hammersuit)
  • Cheap Ass Gamer (CAGcast)
  • Pixel Revolt (Bitmob)
  • Joystick
  • A Life Well Wasted
  • Dead Pixel Live
  • Drunken Gamer
  • The Freelancers
  • The Game Informer Show
  • Irrational Behavior
  • My Brother, My Brother, And Me
  • Player One Podcast
  • Radio Free Nintendo
  • Sophist Radio
  • Squadron of Shame
  • Talk is Cheap – (LevelFortyTwo)
  • TeaBagRadio
  • The Vault
  • Weekend Confirmed
  • World 8
  • 1UP Whiteboard (1UP)
  • Retronauts (1UP)
  • Active Time Babble (1UP)
  • Four Guys (1UP)
  • The History of Rome (only non-gaming. I will check it out after the rest.)

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