As media platforms move forward, podcasts have seen a meteoric rise in popularity. Alongside this rise, we have the inevitable popularity of video games. Combining these two mediums has been one of the great joys of discovery in my adult life. Yes, that is as boring as it sounds, but just as exciting for me, nonetheless.
I only say that because there’s been this gap of attention between me and a game I’m playing where the experience just isn’t attractive or exciting enough to hold my entire attention span. That or the game is so big that I simply feel like I would be wasting time not listening to something while I plough through its 100-hour world.
Because of games such as these, there is now an opening for a new type of game. A sub-genre if you will. A genre which incorporates the idea that the gamer can play and be entertained by the game, but not entirely. There’s room for another source of consumption. That opening for another medium being filled in by, you guessed it, podcasts.
Combining these media platforms makes finishing some games a little easier, while at the same time it can make listening to a 3-hour podcast feel quicker. I think a lot of us have begun this new tradition of listening to podcasts while we play so I thought it was time that somebody makes a list of fantastic games to play while you catch up on your back-catalogue of podcasts.
Please bear in mind this list is limited to the games I have played myself.
The first game, well, series, which pops to mind is Assassin’s Creed.
Now, I love Assassin’s Creed and its many wondrous time periods, cities, characters etc. but you would be lying to yourself if you said that every single one of the core games’ missions is unforgettable. There is plenty of forgettable content found in each of the core games, and that’s why listening to podcasts while you clean up your likely 30-100-hour playthrough is a good option to take.
Especially since the latest of the franchise, Origins and Odyssey, are the lengthiest ones yet. I finished Origins about a month ago about a long 100 hours. And unfortunately, it wasn’t all 10/10. But, the key fighting and stealth mechanics were solid enough that it kept me moving along for the ride until I could claim my last achievement.
Yes, I know, I have a problem.
Spyro: Reignited Trilogy/Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy
The original Spyro trilogy includes some of my favourite games ever made. Personally, I enjoyed the remixed, revamped soundtrack of the Reignited Trilogy despite it not being as memorable as the original soundtrack. But once you’ve memorized most of the soundtrack from all three games, Spyro is a perfect game to play while you tick off those podcasts – collecting gems, dragon eggs, dragons and orbs.
Speaking of which, so is Crash Bandicoot.
If you enjoy ticking off boxes, then Spyro and Crash are calling for you. There has never been so much completionist satisfaction than there is in the Spyro and Crash trilogy. With so many collectables to find, it never becomes overwhelming because of the fair nature of Spyro’s 3D platforming. Though the same cannot be said for Crash’s time trial challenges, there are still many wonderful collectables to find.
Slowly but surely acquiring the various collectables found across the six different games, you’ll be finished in no time whilst meeting wonderful characters, flying and running through incredible worlds, satisfyingly picking up every last gem while you also tick off your podcast back-catalogue.
Void Bastards (Rogue-Likes)
At the time of writing, I’m currently playing through Void Bastards, which is in essence, a rogue-like. Progressing as far as you can, to then die and try again, but with new upgrades to hopefully allow you to get just that little bit further.
There are a lot of things to take into account when playing this particular rogue-like. You have to listen for enemy placement, be on the look-out for resources at all times etc. But if you’re like me, you’ll just storm in guns blazing anyway.
In that case, having a podcast on in the background is a way to help keep that grind feel fresh. Playing through similar environments against the same enemies can become tedious rather quickly but listening to my favourite gaming opinions while I do so helps me power through those challenging sections which would otherwise feel like a lifetime.
Titanfall – or anything with a decent multiplayer
One particular multiplayer mode which I think is rather fantastic is Titanfall’s (1 + 2) multiplayer mode, Attrition. A perfect combination of human opponents mixed with AI fighters gives you the opportunity to grow and learn against easier AI opponents, while also confusing the player as to which enemies are player-controlled and which aren’t.
If I love the game I’m playing, and/or love its multiplayer mode, then I will almost certainly attempt to get every achievement for it. Just like I did for the original Titanfall. One of the best FPS ever made in my opinion.
While a lot of multiplayer modes are, by design, action-heavy with micromanaged ranking systems, inventory systems, and class systems, if I’m not listening to music while I cruise through a multiplayer mode loving every minute, you can bet your top dollar that I’ll be listening to a podcast instead.
Because of the lack of story-beats in multiplayer modes, I don’t feel the need to listen to the game as intently in multiplayer as I do throughout story modes and campaigns. That in turn leaves many hours to listen to Joe Rogan and one of his interesting guests to chat about medieval medical history as I crush soldiers and titans alike in my Ogre titan in Titanfall 2 Attrition.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and Campaign Collectibles
As you may have heard, I love achievements. Finishing a story campaign is always a satisfying feat, knowing that you’ve experienced most of the content the game has to offer. There is no more need to worry about missing a cutscene or not hearing certain lines of dialogue.
No more battles which you haven’t already faced, and no more surprises in store for your playthrough. You know the story, you know the gameplay, you know the game. All there is now is to mop-up the collectables. In a game like Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, mopping up the collectables can be quite a daunting task. Especially if we include the optional side missions which aren’t too heavily story-related.
Mopping up the last few collectables and/or other elements which aren’t story-related in a video game sadly means you won’t be as enthralled by the second-to-second gameplay because you already know the surprises around the corner. That’s why it can be a wise move to listen while you look.
Stardew Valley is a game about relaxing. It’s a game about taking your time to build the farm and place you want to. It’s a game about letting you do whatever you want to do, whenever you want to do it. There’s no time restriction and no missable events that you cannot see the year after. It’s all subject to your exploration and decision-making.
Stardew Valley is a great game to play while you listen to podcasts. While there is, as with most games on this list, a lot of love to be found with its soundtrack, listening to podcasts while you water your plants, dig through the mines, or wander around the gorgeous town of Stardew Valley, is a perfect combination.
The game is designed to be simple and calming. Leaving plenty of room for your audio attention to be elsewhere if you so desire. This is especially true if you’re listening to lengthy podcasts which can seem like a mighty audio challenge. All the better for spending your time fishing whilst you listen to the entire thing.
But anyways, that’s my list. What about you? I’d love to hear what games, or types of games, you guys play when you want to listen to podcasts. Let us know in the comments below.