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Thread: Games to listen podcasts to

  1. #1
    Registered: May 2004

    Games to listen podcasts to

    Today I played Flower for the first time without really knowing anything about it beforehand, apart from it supposedly being a "walking simulator", and I found that it was actually a really nice relaxing game where you float around and sort of commit reverse vandalism. So I turned down the sound, put on a podcast, and spent a few hours brightening up landscapes as a gust of wind.

    I listen to a fair amount of podcasts and it leaves me with pretty much nothing to do for relatively long periods of time. I've tried to combine it with working out, but I find the noise from the activity and the physical effort to be a bit too distracting for the podcast. So that leaves games. There are not as many games as you might think that you can play while listening to podcasts, though. Anything that needs sound is out for obvious reasons. As are games with a lot of text, like RPGs, since you can't listen and read at the same time. Anything with a story is a non-starter, really. Games that are too compelling don't work, since you'll stop paying attention to the podcast. Most FPS games are off the list, since you need to hear where the enemies are and the newer ones do actually have dialogue and cutscenes. Puzzle games and adventure games generally need too much concentration, I've found. Horror games and survival games rely too much on atmosphere that would be ruined by the podcast.

    So that leaves a pretty narrow list of genres -- MMOs, driving games, sports games, arcade games, platformers, open world games, simple crafting games like Minecraft, and so on. In my case, the list is even narrower, since I don't generally play the first three genres. But any game with a lot of downtime or grinding will do nicely, really.

    Anyway, here are some "podcast games" I've tried with varying degrees of success.

    The Binding of Isaac -- my go-to game. I know all the items in the game and I've played it so much I can just switch my brain off and get in the zone. It also helps that the game has a huge amount of replayability.

    The Witness -- although it's a puzzle game and the more difficult puzzles demand quite a bit of attention, there's a surprising amount of downtime where you just walk around the island and look at the environment, for various reasons. I got a decent amount of mileage out of that game.

    No Man's Sky -- a lot of time spent walking around and doing repetitive tasks initially made it ideal for podcasts, but being kind of bland it wore out its welcome after a while. Still, I think I got at least a couple dozen of hours out of it.

    Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy -- after you've heard all the soundbites, you might as well put on a podcast. Very little replayability, though, once you've actually gotten over it.

    Terraria -- works pretty well for the initial stages of the game and for mining, but once you hit hardmode, it gets too intense.

    Slime Rancher -- it's kind of made for this. Easy gameplay and lots of leisurely farming and exploring.

    Minesweeper, Tetris, Solitaire, Hearts, Match 3 -- lumping these together, as they are all fairly simple repetitive games that can be played forever.

    Possible other candidates I'm eyeing -- Stardew Valley seems to be a nice leisurely farming game and a truck simulator would seem ideal for this, preferably one that's not so heavy on mechanics. I did buy Euro Truck Simulator 2 a while ago, so I'll probably give it a go one of these days.

    So, do you play video games while you listen to podcasts or do you prefer doing something else? And if it's games, what are your go-to podcast games?
    Last edited by Starker; 2nd Mar 2019 at 17:13.

  2. #2
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    I got nada on this one. I know plenty where I end up using my own music, but podcasts are something else.

    Sim City maybe? I find that game very relaxing. Populous be another. Old school text adventures also.

  3. #3
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    I don't do this, although I game with my own music sometimes too.

    Not text adventures as the words would overlap, although it'd be good for ambient music.

    I could do this for GTA-V when I just drive fast in the open world.
    Sims generally. I could do this with IL-2 (WWII warplane sim).
    Racing games, Need for Speeds, SkyDrift.

    I think puzzle games and simple card games.
    Rogue-like-likes like Faster Than Light.

    You could also do classic Nintendo and Sega games with emulator, and I think they'd work.

  4. #4
    Registered: Aug 2004
    I've often played FTL without sound on for various reasons, and there's ONE little effect that occasionally gets me: You can hear a fire on your ship that you can't see. You can also hear a breach being caused, but it doesn't come up as often, because a breach doesn't spread into one of your key systems in the middle of a subsequent battle...

  5. #5
    Registered: May 2004
    Yeah, you'd think roguelikes/lites would be great for this, but I've tried various games and BoI is the only one that works for me. It's the complexity -- one little mistake when you stop paying attention and your run is screwed.

    I haven't thought about NES games, but platformers would work nicely, probably. Maybe something like Spy Hunter. There are quite a few I can run on autopilot, like Power Blade, but I've also played them so many times, I don't really want to anymore.

  6. #6
    Skirmish mode in an RTS against Easy AI opponents. Especially if you can pick a map with an easily defensible position that has a solid amount of resources.

  7. #7
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    I often listen to Twitch streams when I need to grind XP or for cash / resources in a game. Keeps me sane during those hours of boredom.

  8. #8
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    I listen to a lot of podcasts, but usually while working, walking, or making dinner. During gaming I occasionally listen to music tho.

  9. #9
    Registered: Apr 2008
    Ayyyyyy, Starker. You're me now.

    Anything real-time with pause, no text, and little voice acting works. Cities Skylines is great for it, because once you get past the initial stage of money being a problem it feels more like tending to a garden. Gemcraft impressed me for its easily scalable window, along with being an addictive tower defence.

    There's probably a whole bunch more, but at the moment I've been obsessed with Dangerous Waters. It's a naval sonar simulation (late cold war submarines) made by a company that does military contracts. It's complex to pick up at first (and the graphics were bad even for 2005), but it's pure bliss skulking around, tracking contacts, IDing them, collecting data for a target solution. I find it amazingly suspenseful, but you have the time to listen to the podcast while getting things done, and the mental load is spread out and incremental. My favourite mission so far lasted half an hour, with just you and a Russian sub in an ocean full of noisy shrimp. You know it's close, so you have to scrutinise everything, and the finale is a quick knife fight.

    Bit niche, but that's my jam at the moment.

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