Podcasts help soothe the locked-down soul. What do I mean by that? Well, something that’s driving me buggy about the COVID-19 lockdown is the remote nature of almost every conversation we have. Aside from talking with my wife and kids, and the occasional across-the-street or through the fence conversation with neighbors, every conversation I have is mediated by technology. To add to the mental exhaustion, almost all of those conversations are through video conferencing like Google Meet or Zoom.
It drags you down. While at first glance, podcasts seem to be more of the same, in practice, they’re the closest thing I can get to real-world geeky conversations. Even though they’re recorded and digital, they sound more like real conversations than my Zoom ones do. Listening to podcasts is like hanging out in a room with a bunch of friends, geeking out about games, life, and everything else. It’s not a substitute for game night or an afternoon with friends at a baseball game … but it helps.
Getting a New Client
My return to podcasts during “stay-at-home” caused me to re-evaluate my podcast client. I long ago moved away from the Apple Podcasts client on my phone because I didn’t like how it handled episode queuing. I’m very purposeful about how I arrange and listen to my podcasts, so queues are an important feature for me. I used Castro for several years, but then it started balking when downloading back episodes of podcasts (in particular, it didn’t like Ken & Robin Talk About Stuff). Rather than spend a lot of time troubleshooting, I looked at some other clients and quickly settled on Overcast. So far, it’s working well – it has small, unobtrusive ads, but its queues work well and its iconography makes sense (something I can’t always say of Castro).
I may still try a few more clients, including Spotify, if for no other reason than to better understand the current lay of the land.
The Podcasts Return-eth
My new podcast list looks like my old podcast list, with a few additions:
- Dungeon Master’s Block: A podcast about the art and science of game mastering.
- Dragon Talk: The official Dungeons & Dragons podcast.
- Fear the Boot: General interest podcast about role-playing. One of the longest-running shows on this list.
- Geek to Geek Podcast: [NEW] General interest geekery that covers video games, family life, fitness, and much more.
- Hurry Slowly: [NEW] A mindfulness podcast that’s released infrequently. Its tagline is “a podcast about how you can be more productive, creative, and resilient through the simple act of slowing down.”
- Ken & Robin Talk about Stuff: Role-playing games, movies, fiction, and esoteric wanderings. Ken and Robin know a lot about stuff and have a great rapport, which makes the show awesome to listen to. This podcast always jumps to the top of my queue.
- The Tome Show: Actually a family of Dungeons & Dragons-inspired podcasts, The Tome Show feeds cover new products, industry news, game advice, and more.
I’m always looking for more podcasts. Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment below.