10 years ago, there was only one choice, Topcast by Clay in Michigan. It was a series of interviews with all the biggest names in pinball, and in fact they’re still some of the best episodes ever made. If you haven’t listened to those, I’d go through and listen to all of those before anything else. The information you’ll learn after going through them will give you way more understanding of what goes into a game. Plus also give you insight into some of the crazy personalities in the hobby as well. The Python one might be the most famous pinball podcast episode ever.
#1 Kaneda’s Pinball Podcast
Without question, this is the best pinball podcast out there today. He’s won the first two years of the TWIPY’s best pinball podcast award, and currently it doesn’t really feel like there’s anyone else who’s close. I think there are a couple reasons for this. Number one, he’s super entertaining. Some of the other pinball podcasts really get off topic and ramble a lot, he’s really good about staying on topic. Number 2, he doesn’t pull punches because he doesn’t have manufacturers to stay friends with. I think this second part is key. A lot of the podcasts out there don’t really say what they think because they’re afraid they will lose access to special information from manufacturers (which they would). This makes them infomercial like than actually offering a real opinion a lot of the time.
Kaneda has really good takes on a lot of things most of the times. He’s kind of like the voice of the little guy, as things he’s talked about (like Heighway pinball being in trouble) was deleted from Pinside (as they also have to keep relationships with manufacturers). He’s like the one person who doesn’t have a financial conflict of interest. I liken it to the difference between a sports news reporter, and a sports radio talk show host. The reporter has to report the news, and can’t really give that much personal opinion on anything. The talk show host though can have all kinds of opinions, and that’s what makes him entertaining. That’s the difference here as well.
You can find his pinball podcast here.
#2 Special When Lit
A new podcast, Special When Lit is a pretty decent entry into the pinball podcast arena. I only recently started listening to them, and their latest entry on Elvira was excellent. Unlike Kaneda, this podcast is the usual format of two hosts going back and forth about a subject. Of the ones I’ve listened to, I think this is probably the best of those types.
You can find their podcast here.
#3 Coast 2 Coast
Although older now, it still is probably in the top 3 for pinball podcasts overall (though slowly becoming outdated unfortunately). I’d recommend downloading a bunch of the older episodes and see how you like it. He was the #1 pinball podcast for a long time before life kind of got in the way I think. New job, personal issues, moving to Europe, etc all slowly caused the episodes to become less and less frequent. At one time, he almost moved to Chicago to work for Stern, he was that good.
You can find his podcast here.
The rest of the bunch
There are quite a few other podcasts now that have popped up over the past couple years. The Loserkid Pinball podcast, This Week In Pinball, This Flippin Podcast, etc are all really good.