The Besties

Leisure #12Video Games #2

It's Game of the Year meets King of the Hill as four of Earth's best friends – Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, Chris Plante, and Russ Frushtick – rank and review their favorite video games. Because shouldn't the world's best friends pick the world's best games?

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Recent Reviews
  • Ryan________
    pretty annoyed that they claimed they were having trouble finding advertisers, put half the episodes behind a paywall, then miraculously found advertisers again
  • Teddy Hoff
    The Perfect Podcast
    I’ve been listening to video game podcasts for 19 years ever since Gamespot’s The Hotspot in 2005. The Besties is the endgame of video game podcasts. They’ve found the perfect format and host configuration. By only focusing on one game a week, they don’t waste time talking about games that no one has played. They also tend to only focus on games that end up being important and considered for year end awards. 4 hosts is objectively the best number of people to have on a podcast. The hosts are also best friends, hence why the podcast is called “The Besties”. This also makes for great chemistry. The length of the podcast may seem short by 2024 standards but it’s actually the perfect length. By keeping the podcast under 1.5 hours, they ensure that discussion is meaningful and not overbearing. The McElroy brothers are experts at podcasting and utilize this technique on their own shows as well. The Besties may not be your average 3 hour long rambling show covering every new game, news and more, it’s the perfect video game podcast. If I could only have 1 video game podcast, it would be The Besties and it’s not even close. You could nothing but listen to The Besties for ~1 hour a week and you would have just the right amount exposure to modern video games.
  • One of those users
    Got me back into video games
    I started listening to this show when I did not play any video games at all, and it got me so excited about video games that I got back into my DS and then quickly bought a switch (when I realized how little there is for DS lol). Even when I don’t know about the video game it’s fun to hear the discussions and make my wish list on steam ever bigger even when I don’t own a computer that can run any of this stuff lol
  • Vandemento
    I love these guys, but…
    …the paygating of Resties was a bummer. I totally get it and harbor no ill will to the gang for this move, but I am subsription-ed to death and can’t justify $5 for 3 podcasts a month. I know they have to direct to Patreon every show, but every time that quick blurb comes up I’m reminded this is a product whereas it used to just be listening to friends talking about games. Maybe it’s time to retire the “just by listening you are a member”? That just doesn’t come across the same way it did a couple months ago.
  • Some_Pulp13
    Thank you
    Opening my eyes to a lot of games I never would have found and lighting the fire under me that makes me want to prioritize gaming as a hobby. Great show!
  • wedmond758
    Simply, The Best.
    This podcast got me back into video games after a 10yr break.
  • zayzay91
    Final Fantasy X-2 has always been good
    If people enjoy the combat system in FFVII:Remake, the job system in other FF's, and complained about the linearity of FFX, then Final Fantasy X-2 is the game for you. However, due to a lot of sexism at the time of release, it got dunked on for being too girly and written off, though it's been a hit among queer and female gamers throughout the year. It deals with a lot of nuanced exploration of reconstruction after turmoil and rejection of obligatory labor places upon female sacrificial archetypes. One of the hosts flippantly said Final Fantasy X-2 was a bad game, and I couldn't find a way to email them, so I'm leaving this review. I am a toxic gamer.
  • Teesbees
    Video game professors
    The Besties is my #1 video game podcast— and still would be even if it wasn’t the only one I listened to! Due to a combination of life circumstances, monetary restrictions, and incredibly particular taste, my Steam library contains only about 20 games, and over half of them were games I learned about from this show. These guys are THE place to go not only to be introduced to something you love, but to learn through their discussions WHY you love it and gain an incredible amount of insight into how to discuss video games as the unique art form they are!
  • Meacatcosplay
    Russ is truly awful
    Please get rid of Russ
  • Dervishi
    Favorite source of video game news/reviews
    This podcast is my happy place. Good friends, good jokes, and good game reviews
  • whataboregrr
    I Like It
    You might too, who knows?
  • GhostofTheGhostofMiltonBradley
    The Opposite of Inscrutable Cruft
    Much fun.
  • Mabaripup
    Fantastic Show
    This show is perfect to listen to while at work or playing video games yourself. The flow of banter between the 4 friends is excellent, the balance of in depth video game discussion and comedy is sublime. I highly recommend this show.
  • Mackeroo3
    Super fun
    Newly found, but long time listener of all things McElroy. It’s super entertaining listening to everyone’s opinions on games I may not have otherwise known about and games that I’ve come to love. Just overall a great podcast and another good thing to listen to in my spare time.
  • 23isnumber1
    Easily the best video game Podcast… ever
    An incredible video game podcast by real life best friends. You can feel their friend energy (friendergy?) radiating through the audio waves. Highly recommend for anyone who wants the best game recommendations around.
  • AdamFocht
    My Favorite Video Game Podcast
    Great podcast for staying up-to-date on great games. The boys are funny. Thanks.
  • transresistor
    An Epic Saga of Friendship Triumphing Over Commerce
    The Besties is about fun times listening to good friends hanging out, and these friends just happen to be thoughtful and experienced games journalists and web-native comedians. Like all great emerging media, this show lives on the razor’s edge of existence, giving it a self-aware chaotic energy that keeps the show from ever settling into the inertia of a format or the complacency of staying in a well-worn groove. The only constant is that I can listen to hours of discussions about games and media that I’ve never heard of, and may not even experience, but I still enjoy every show. They got my Patreon buxx immediately. Keep it up, Besties!
  • HurdHouse
    A Game Review podcast for people who enjoy a fun
    If you want dry boring analysis of video games, then this isn't the place for you. But if you like a good time and you just want to know if a game is any fun to play, then you are in the right place. I look forward to this show each week! This podcast has a great balance, each person enjoys a different genre of game, but still overlap enough to make the conversation interesting. The show also has good insight into the game industry and how games are made but never loses focus on: “is it fun to pay!” My only complaint is I do end up buying a lot of games I never planned on getting, but I've never been disappointed with anything I ended up buying. In short, it’s a good time an you will not be disappointed.
  • Leedemus
    Great Critics, Greater Pals
    Video games have always been a major interest of mine, but I’ve often been frustrated that the discourse around them seems to begin and end with reviews. What a relief to discover The Besties podcast in its (all-too-brief!) relaunch on Spotify a few years back. I’ve been a weekly listener ever since, and I’ve come to rely on the gang to help me navigate the increasingly sprawling landscape of games to play. Plante helped me rediscover and fully own my love of obtuse and obscure JRPGs. Justin showed me that I’m not insane for still loving point-and-click adventures and detective games, I just have discerning taste. Griffin’s ability to analyze and articulate the importance of design elements like progression systems helped me realize how much I already knew about game design and just…didn’t know I knew, I guess. While he often makes me the angriest of the cohort by far, I owe him a life debt for alerting me to the existence of the Persona games and, accordingly, my favorite game of all time in Persona 5 Royal. Finally - as someone who is the smartest and therefore most regularly mocked member of my friend and gaming groups, Frush’s imperviousness to the slings and arrows of outrageous cohosts has been an inspiration. We’re right and they’re wrong, I promise. I’ve gone on far too long, so I’ll end with a TL;DR: every gaming fan should make time for The Besties podcast in their life. They showed me what deep down I’d always known was true, that games are a heck of a lot more than a number between one and ten.
  • Iamsquillis
    My Favorite Video Game book club, so happy to be a member
    Great concise video game podcast. Entertaining and good for getting Indy recommendations. Hosts do have some big blind spots for certain genres (strategy, sim, etc). But I’m always entertained with what they decide to cover. If both Russ and Justin and enjoy a game, I’ll always play it.
  • Arlantis
    A joyous celebration of games
    The Besties is that podcast that has just enough structure to stay on track, but enough freedom for each of the four members to go off in their own directions when talking about games. From reflections on the biggest games of the year, to indie gems I would have never found without them, the Besties is an easy listen my whole friend group talks about.
  • funny funny me
    Love these gamin boys!
    Best pod for gamers out there!
  • Jables48
    This rules
    This show is fun, funny, and simply a joy to listen to
  • parker909
    Something for Everyone
    Every week, these fellas bring a unique perspective to a game (or games) that always makes me want to dive deeper into and expands my horizons. Come for the games, stay for Plante’s bonkers movie recommendations.
  • thisappistupid
    I swear Justin McElroy DID NOT pay me to write this review
    He didn’t pay me to write this review, so don’t even think that for a second. I don’t even know what money is.
  • Chad_Hernandez
    These guys have introduced me to my all-time favorite games (Outer Wilds and Return of the Obra Dinn), along with a veritable buffet of classics that have helped me rekindle my love of video games and changed the way I think about them as art. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to these boys for guiding me towards Outer Wilds which actually changed my life and continues to do so. This is required listening for anyone with even a passing interest in video games.
  • Really real racing
    Entertaining and deep
    Very good podcast if you like discussion based around the art of professional game journalism. Theyve been in the sphere for a long time and it adds lots of value to the conversations.
  • RyanArnett
    Favorite video game podcast
    The title says it all. Love you guys.
  • Yardrac
    Shouldn’t the World’s Best Friends pick the World’s Best Games?
    Yes, they should, and do! On this very podcast! Sometimes Harley Quinn’s Ron Funches, or Boy Detective Jordan Morris are there! Maybe a wild Felicia Day?
  • markarodgersjr
    Everything you love about maxfun shows but not on maxfun
    It’s got the McElroys, a couple of other funny guys and now it’s even got a Jordan Morris promoting Bubble!
  • besusfuffoon
    Mineru is a playable character!
    Link is not controlling Mineru the player is!
  • Andrew__M
    Great discussions and insights
    The hosts give serious attention to the production and consumption of video games, from and individual standpoint as well as broader cultural impact, without an overly critical vibe. Now in my late 30s, I have precious little time and resources to explore games, so I really appreciate the discussion that provide insight and entertainment. GoTY episodes are especially great for reccomendations on things I missed. Highly recommend for anyone who loves video games, especially if you don't have the time to engage with them like you used to.
  • Not impressed in Nevada
    My top video games podcast
    I originally found The Besties through the McElroy Brothers and I was not disappointed. All week I look forward to a new besties episode. They are always hilarious and maintain a positive but honest opinion on the weekly topics.
  • Mfell14
    Part of the video game in-club
    I feel like I’m part of something special listening each week. It really is a fun little video game book club with four intelligent and thoughtful guys 😁
  • instanttaylor
    My name is Taylor, and I know the best podcast of the week.
    I don’t normally listen to podcasts about video games, but the last couple years were a year to get into video games if there ever was one. I’m enjoying the banter between the hosts and have definitely gone into the back catalog to learn about some other games I’ve been interested in. I highly recommend subscribing to The Besties to see what they have going on. Update 2023: Still loving this show and the GOTY show was extra fun this year. Get it!
  • nitemare200
    Hard pass
    These dudes alternate between sounding like 4 gay best friends giggling about boys and 4 burnouts trying to sound smart while high as a kite. Between the 4 of them, they also have the most annoying laugh and 2 of the most annoying voices I’ve ever heard.
  • Quattuor
    Love the dynamic
    It’s really great to hear four good friends, and experts on video games, talk and laugh together about one of my own favorite things.
  • Not cool bro56868
    These wholesome boys gimme the game news that I do not need, but love to get vicariously because it takes way less time than actually playing games. Plante, I’ll never watch your movie recs, but boy howdy, you’ve sent me down some good wiki rabbit holes.
  • cowgirlcaviar
    For everyone unless you’re one of those people
    I don’t get to play games as much as I’d like anymore but I love listening to all these people talk about them! Each one has a corner for types of games they like and I like getting all the different perspectives
  • DeeFulls
    Not just a video game club
    The besties have great insights on video games, but not just that, they’re also hilarious and have fantastic insight on tons beyond just video games. My absolute favorite podcast.
  • NYC Tech Moron
    Long time fan, first time reviewer. I critique because I love!
    I’ve been listening to this show for years and constantly have a great time waiting for Friday’s new ep! I will say, I think the 2023 year exemplifies that these four hosts just aren’t in the same place/situation to be able to offer the same dynamic they used to. Nothing wrong with having a family or other projects and mix that with the content grind of needing to release an episode the week the game comes out, but with this year’s episodes and reviews you can really tell that the hosts just haven’t put much time into the games they are reviewing. Nothing wrong with a show about 3-10 hours of gameplay before reviewing, but as a long time fan I’ve had to learn to adjust my expectations! The critical thinking effort does fall on the listener though when the hosts will talk with hyperbolic language about if a game is good or bad knowing they haven’t played more than 5 hours. Even if I don’t agree with many of their opinions, listening to this show always puts a smile on my face and gets me excited for a weekend of gaming!
  • Cambopp
    Love these guys!
    They have such good opinions on games! Can’t get enough. Endlessly entertaining.
  • upsetkids1411
    I never skip an episode
    My obsession with video games has stayed constant in my life, despite not having the countless hours to devote to it like I did in my teens. Instead I fill the rest of the void with The Besties. It’s a constant favorite for me and my boyfriend. And it’s definitely helped me judge where to spend my more precious gaming hours. Y’all make my life a bit more fun. Thank you :)
  • doinkSalad
    love the show but
    but every time russ starts the intro i skip forward like 2 minutes
  • KM987654321
    My Favorite Videogame Podcast
    The Besties is my favorite videogame podcast, and likely my favorite podcast, that I listen to. I’m already a McElroy fanboy and also love Polygon and this show is a fantastic amalgamation of the two. While the content is extremely good, it is the host rapport that keeps me coming back. These guys are funny, knowledgeable and very easy to listen to. I’ve been a fan since 2019 and listen to the Besties and The Resties every week. Keep it going, guys! Great job!
  • AJBelsor
    I really like this podcast!
    Funny, mostly chill, and overall a nice break in the week to listen to news updates and opinions about video games. I like that thy don’t take themselves too seriously but at the same time they all have a lot of knowledge/experience about games. Good stuff!
  • Brayliner
    Great Rapport!
    If you want to listen to a few friends that know each other very well talking about video games, this is your podcast!
  • Jill Lloyd Flanagan
    Good and great
    I decided I love the besties again in spite of their bad Zelda ranking, I wish they would spend more time talking about weird indie games but they do a really impressive job talking about them a bit so it’s a good podcast. That’s one thing though that makes this stand head and shoulders above other gaming podcasts that I’m aware of is they spend a lot of time highlighting indie games and not just ones that are like big hits
  • turneriffic.time
    Great rec, great friends, always a good time
    This show has broadened my game horizons so much. I get really overwhelmed with the quantity of games that are out there, so I am super grateful for these guys and their approachable and entertaining approach to reviews and recommendations. Even we disagree on games, I love hearing their reasoning and perspective! Not to mention, I’ve found several great games through them. Thanks, Besties!
  • Mike ccc sin
    Big fan
    I listen to the Besties and the Erza Klein podcast for the same reason: book recommendations 👌 Long time listener from Singapore 🤍
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