A Definitive List of JRPG Bookclub Podcasts
There are many excellent JRPG podcasts out there for listeners who want to connect with them. The problem I ran into when searching was the lack of a good directory, which is where this list comes in. This collection of JRPG podcasts is for shows in which the host(s) play through a JRPG game while discussing it along the way. I would like this list to be as comprehensive as possible, so if you know of a JRPG podcast that meets the above criteria, please email me at mail@FirstEncounterPodcast.com so I can add it. Finally, the entries are in alphabetical order. I hope those of you who are reading this find a new series to fall in love with.
And if you like JRPGs, check out this Final Fantasy VII Gift List for Fans by Fans. Get yourself something nice while supporting an indie artist!
Note: I unfortunately no longer have the time to listen to all podcasts on this list, which is why some have no paragraph beneath them. This in no way reflects the quality of their content.
“Combo Chain is a games club podcast about JRPGs, and other related genres. Each episode talks about the mechanics, story and the game as a whole…but really, we’re all here for the stories, right? And the zen-like appeal of grinding. Really, it’s so good. Hosted by Paul M. Davis and a rotating group of guests.”
Every F’N FF
“A Final Fantasy bookclub podcast with sassy and classy host boys Curtis and Karl. Join them weekly for a journey through every Final Fantasy game.”
This JRPG podcast feels like a couple of friends got together to play Final Fantasy, and just happened to bottle the experience as an incredible podcast. Honestly, if I wasn’t enjoying it so much, I would be annoyed at how well they pull everything together. Instead, I’m looking forward to joining them for every single Final Fantasy game out there.
If you’re a Final Fantasy fan, you should be listening to Every F’N FF. If you’re not, you should be listening to them anyway.
“A Let’s Play-style exploration of Final Fantasy games! Every week Vince and Jessy play a chunk of a game and discuss the story, art, music and themes. Season 1 will be a breakdown of Final Fantasy VII!”
Vince and Jessy immediately bring something new to the genre in how they talk through the game. While both hosts are fans of the series, Vince has an impressive knowledge of the game that he shares as they move through it, touching on its history, development and other fun tidbits that most people probably miss. It’s a refreshing way to break up plot discussion and made entertaining by how well the host personalities balance each other.
This is a series for those who have played through Final Fantasy VII before as it contains spoilers. However, freeing the series from the need to avoid certain subjects opens up conversions and makes them more dynamic. It’s nice to hear a JRPG podcast that’s not constrained by a linear journey through the game.
“Join one man’s journey as he experiences Final Fantasy VII for the first time, falling in love with the greatest game ever made. Each bi-weekly talk through is woven with recorded gameplay segments, creating immersive episodes in which you feel the moment’s emotional impact. If you miss the excitement of discovering the story Final Fantasy VII, this series was made for you.”
Obvious disclaimer, First Encounter is our show. Unlike most bookclub style podcasts, we record all the audio and discussion from our play sessions before mixing it into our story discussions. This means that all of Haney’s wild theories and reactions are genuine. You can feel him fall in love with Final Fantasy VII for the first time. I created this so I could experience someone else experiencing Final Fantasy VII for the first time and it’s targeted at those who love the game and want to reconnect to its magic through a first-time player.
Got it Memorized?
“Got it Memorized is a comedy recap podcast that recapped every finished Kingdom Hearts game, and has picked up Final Fantasy X to make sense of it before Final Fantasy X-3 comes out. It’s never been announced but don’t judge us for dreaming.”
Got it Memorized began with the overwhelming goal of recapping every single Kingdom Hearts game in the franchise. As someone who a. much enjoys those games, and b. has tried and failed multiple times to make sense of their plotting, this podcast was a great find for me. Jo and Wheels have great chemistry and are very enjoyable to listen to as they banter their way through each game. While their Kingdom Hearts quest ended in triumph, they have moved their focus to additional JRPGs, including Final Fantasy X/X-2.
Got it Memorized feels like two friends just hanging out and chatting about the latest episode of a series they both love. They may call out the game’s nonsense when deserving but it’s always lighthearted and from a place of fondness.
“Icicle Disaster is a podcast for both enthusiastic JRPG players and for those that feel defeated. I tackle games you recommend, pump and track hours along the way, and discuss them in a weekly audio show. All in the hopes that our collective passion can, against all odds, knock some of these great experiences out and introduce them to others.”
The content from the Icicle Disaster JRPG podcast is astonishing. If playing four games at once wasn’t enough, the website also has a full blog. Of course, that wouldn’t be impressive if the show was of poor quality, but this is a series with excellent production that manages to feel fresh. Zachary Brictson touches on small moments or details that others might pass over in their retelling of the game. The result is an episode that is both informative and personal, and it’s a pleasure to listen to.
I can’t recommend Icicle Disaster enough and I want to point out that the website publishes a comprehensive list of every single JRPG coming out each year.
Lightning Strikes Thrice
“Lightning Strikes Thrice is a JRPG games club podcast. Play along with us as we discuss the people and events that take place in the myriad series in the genre.”
“Megaten Marathon is a game-by-game journey through the Shin Megami Tensei and Persona games.”
The hosts of Megaten Marathon take on the brutal task of playing every Shin Megami Tensei game and spinoff while also discussing the books, manga, and OVA. The amount of background information packed into this series is remarkable. However, each episode is discussed in such a way that those of us who haven’t played the games can easily follow everything that happens.
I recommend this JRPG podcast to anyone interested in Shin Megami Tensei who doesn’t have the time to play themselves.
No One Can Know About This
“A podcast where we play every Final Fantasy, using recordings from actual play sessions mixed with commentary from our future selves.”
No One Can Know About This is the only JRPG podcast I’m aware of, aside from our own, that mixes live gameplay with their discussions. What sets it apart is how far the hosts take it. Not only are they playing through every Final Fantasy game in the series but they record so much of the process. If you want to follow two friends on their trip to pick up the game together or listen in on their chats during session breaks, this is the show for you.
No One Can Know About This is entertaining and unique. The ability of the hosts to pull you in and share so much with you makes this JRPG podcast a delight.
“Retro Encounter takes you back to re-experience classic RPGs, with weekly updates, and a new title each month in which our hosts chronicle their journeys in games that shouldn’t be missed. Each month’s game is also accompanied by “bonus” episodes covering a variety of topics.”
The Retro Encounter podcast is exceptional for several reasons, but what I enjoy the most is the depth of each episode. Retro Encounter’s discussions move organically from one aspect of the game to another in a very natural way. Whether it’s the combat system, characters or music, everything is touched on in a way that describes the game more thoroughly than most podcasts ever do.
Retro Encounter is an excellent JRPG podcast for discovering your next game or listening to intelligent discussions surrounding your favorites.
“Retrograde Amnesia is a comprehensive discussion show where we re-live a classic JRPG — chapter by chapter, beat by beat. We delve into the story, dialogue, game mechanics, music, influences, and themes. Through these conversations, we re-experience our lost memories of treasured classics and discover why these stories have become so precious to us and so many others. Season 1 covers Xenogears (1998).”
Retrograde Amnesia has some of the best sound quality on this list and the way in which they cut in the game audio balances the episodes nicely. The series benefits from its host’s great rapport, and their knowledge and passion for the game is front and center as they discuss it. The truly magical thing about Retrograde Amnesia however is how well they connect with their audience.
If you’re a fan of Xenogears, Chrono Cross or JRPGs in general, Retrograde Amnesia is an easy JRPG podcast recommendation.
“A podcast where we play a little bit of a videogame, and talk about how it makes us feel. Join us mostly weekly as we make our way through some lesser-known classics, and shine a light on some games you may not have heard of.”
More than anything, the RPG Bookclub podcast makes you feel like you’re hanging out with a bunch of friends. The hosts feel authentic and listening to them catch up before they dive into a game is charming. Something that sets this series apart from others is how they spotlight games that don’t get much attention from other JRPG podcasts, such as Cosmic Star Heroine.
For me, this is a great podcast to play while you cook or tidy, as it scratches that socializing itch.
The RPG Kingdom
“Join Adam and Travis as they journey through some great and some not so great RPGs and discuss them as only two complete casuals know how.”
What I really enjoy about The RPG Kingdom podcast is the excellent pacing of each episode. While many JRPG podcasts tend to stall during their discussion, Adam and Travis move through the plot without getting sidetracked by what I usually tune out. It’s like listening to an audiobook of the game and it’s a great choice for those interested in the story of a JRPG without playing themselves.
There is something oddly relaxing about The RPG Kingdom and I would recommend it not only for those who want to experience a game’s story, but also to those who need to unwind.
“A podcast about classic RPGs, whether they’re from Japan, Europe or America. Anything over ten years old, and both console and PC RPGs are welcome. We’re all about playing old games a chunk at a time and talking about them, like a book club, but for video games! Or maybe a Let’s Play, but for your ears.”
Square Roots podcast holds a special place in my heart due to its focus. While they have expanded outside Square games since I found them, they do so in very fun ways, such as the “Scare Roots” episodes in which they play spooky titles. The hosts clearly enjoy what they produce as well as each other’s company, making for a fun show.
If you’re looking for a JRPG podcast series featuring your favorite classic games, check out the Square Roots podcast.
Those Who Fight
“Join hosts Erin and Allen as they take an in-depth book club style approach to revisiting Final Fantasy VII – it’s legacy and impact on not just the medium of games, but on mass culture at large.”
A couple of the above hosts suggested series they enjoy that fit into the bookclub style show. The only reason I didn’t list them above is because JRPGs don’t take up the majority of their work. However, I still wanted to include them here because they are fun shows with good content.
- Enchantment Website | Enchantment on Patreon
“Brandon and Manny embark on a journey across all of Bioware’s Dragon Age franchise, starting with Dragon Age Origins!”
- Dev Game Club Website
“The Dev Game Club looks at older games and plays through them in a form similar to a book club! We also seek to feature guests for our final episodes in each series, to get a developer from the original game to talk about how it was built or what their particular development stories were.”
- Old Game Plus Website
“Discussion and play-along of classic games, with perspectives from both long-time fans and a brand new player.”