Basically the stuff you should be listening to if you like gaming on your iPhone
One of the most surprising effects of people upgrading to iOS 6 and those crowds buying the new iPhone is not the early adoption of Passbook. Nope. The App Store free charts are topped for once by actual apps instead of free to play games. If you didn't dismiss the dialog message straightaway, you would have noticed how the revamped App Store app on iOS 6 suggests users to download Apple's own free apps. That explains why the otherwise boring Podcasts app is number two on the charts at the time of this writing. Maybe it's a good time to talk about the iOS-centric podcasts I listen every week.
In my previous post written a year ago Podcasts for the iPhone and iPad gamer I introduced to the podcasts I enjoy most. Not surprisingly, the list is still very relevant and these shows keep going. This year I'll drop TouchGen's one, which is struggling to keep up with the rest. There's also an intriguing new addition that I hope will manage to get some following and motivation to continue with more content. Here's the list:
The Pocket Gamer iPhone gaming podcast
Directly from some place between Cambridgeshire and the Midlands in the UK — who knows — comes one of the most hilarious shows about mobile gaming you can get hold of. Pocket Gamer is a well respected publication by gamers and industry people alike, but this podcast seems like a beer-fuelled backstage chat by the people I like reading.
The most notable thing to comment is the departure of its host Will Wilson, who left his role as deputy editor to become community manager at NaturalMotion. Yes, the developer making My Horse (and CSR Racing) but also an Apple protege and regular at its keynotes. I'm hoping that Will's work replying to angry pre-teens about their virtual pets will pay off someday speaking at the Yerba Buena Center.
The task of hosting the show now falls on James Gilmour's shoulders, who is doing an excellent job so far and is bringing his own style to the podcast. The usual guests include biz-man Jon Jordan and the newcomer Peter Willington, who must be a very loveable character full of charm in real life. The soul of the show is still Keith Andrew, who insists not playing anything to talk about in the show and comments instead about video game logos — Nice logo!
The Portable Podcast
Carter Dotson is the man when it comes to interviewing iOS game developers. I don't know any other person who has talked and published more interviews than him, which should tell you the host of the Portable Podcast is more knowledgeable than your average journalist.
The format has remained similar over its 150+ episodes, with two interviews in each and some special editions with regular guests Brett Nolan from AppsAddict.net and Blake Grundman from 148Apps—the network supporting the show. This is an invaluable resource for budding developers and a total treat for gamers, as you get first hand commentary from the creators of carefully selected titles that go unnoticed at times. Needless to say, I tend to buy the games of the developers that sound like nice people.
The careful selection of interviewees also keeps away the typical spokesperson and marketing guys you get in other shows. Carter's warmth and honesty makes for a very personal interview where developers are free to promote their game but often end up talking about other interesting things.
The Touch Arcade Show
After a blazing first year and a half on air, The Touch Arcade Show just released a Rewind edition where they explain to new iPhone 5 owners what they're about. This is definitely not the most intellectual of the podcasts out there — there's plenty of swearing and silly talk — but it's definitely fun.
Hosted by the editors of the prominent website of the same title, Brad Nicholson, Eli Hodapp and Jared Nelson are an excellent mix that refine their style making the show more and more personal with every show. For the new listener it requires some catch back with past episodes as some jokes are very random, but the experience is worth it.
As Jared puts it, this is like talking to your mates about iOS gaming in case you didn't have anyone else to share your interest with… and I agree! Despite their position as a well-known site, there's a lot of criticism about shady free-to-play models and they often make fun of angry teenage readers that complain about the "high" prices of mobile games.
If you like the style, you should also check out the new YouTube channel TA plays where they comment as they play video games.
Walled Garden Weekly
The new addition on the list is also departure from the news reporting style of iOS podcasts mentioned above. This is hosted by developers Arash Keshmirian and Kevin Pazirandeh of Tower Madness, Zombie Gunship and Zombie Highway fame.
With just ten episodes I thought it was a good milestone to show appreciation to their work, making it easier for gamers to understand what goes into creating a successful title and teaching developers from their experience.
While the format tries to stick to commenting on a couple of popular games on the App Store, the show is very much freeform and the hosts end up relating with past experiences, promising to expand on certain areas in the future. I find the whole thing very informative and insightful and I'd love to hear more from them. If you would like to learn about monetization, game design, freemium strategies and even how to handle success, I recommend you download a couple of their shows.
You can subscribe to these shows and get new shows downloaded directly on your device. Apple has it's own free app but I particularly like these two alternatives: