Idle Thumbs

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Idle Thumbs
Type of site
video game culture podcast
Commercial Yes
Registration optional

Idle Thumbs is a video game culture website and podcast network founded in 2004.

It features a weekly video game podcast of the same name hosted by former and current video game journalists and developers Chris Remo (Campo Santo, formerly Double Fine Productions), Nick Breckon (Telltale Games), Jake Rodkin and Sean Vanaman (Campo Santo, formerly Telltale Games), and James Spafford (Double Fine Productions, formerly Media Molecule).

Other podcasts hosted by the site include Three Moves Ahead, a strategy game podcast hosted by Troy Goodfellow and Rob Zacny; the Idle Book Club, discussing a selection of modern and classic literature; Terminal7, a Netrunner podcast hosted by Nels Anderson and Jesse Turner; Tone Control, where former "Thumb" regular Steve Gaynor interviews notable video game developers; Idle Weekend, a sister podcast to Idle Thumbs hosted by Danielle Riendeau and Rob Zacny; Important if True where hosts Chris Remo, Jake Rodkin, and Nick Breckon discuss a variety of societal oddities; Something True, a historical podcast about strange stories hosted by Alex Ashby and Duncan Fyfe; and DOTA Today, about the trials and travails of Lords Management while playing Dota 2. The network has also launched a series of television viewing podcasts such as Twin Peaks Rewatch, The End of Mad Men, and True Detective Weekly.

The current run of the Idle Thumbs podcast and related announcements were the result of a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign that concluded in March 2012. The campaign reached its $30,000 goal within two hours and concluded with a funding total of $136,924.


The site was an outlet for game news and op-ed pieces from 2004 until a hiatus in 2007. Three former staff writers, Chris Remo (then-Editor at Large for Gamasutra), Nick Breckon (then of Shacknews), and Jake Rodkin (then of Telltale Games), revived the site as a podcast in late 2008.[1] The show was unstructured in format, with each host discussing recent games played and musing about game design. They were frequently joined by Steve Gaynor (then of 2K Marin) who would replace Nick Breckon after the latter's move to Bethesda Softworks. This second incarnation of the podcast also often featured Sean Vanaman of Telltale Games, who eventually became a core member.[1] The podcast officially ended in mid-2010 after Remo took a job at Boston-based Irrational Games, with the show's then-final episode recorded live at the 2010 Penny Arcade Expo.[2]

Kickstarter campaign[edit]

In February 2012—following Remo's return to San Francisco—Remo, Rodkin, and Vanaman started a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to raise $30,000 to revive the podcast in a more stable manner.[3] They collaborated with Blendo Games to develop the sequel to Gravity Bone entitled Thirty Flights of Loving, which would be offered as a reward to backers. Remo composed the game's original soundtrack.[4][5][6] The campaign met its goal within two hours and tripled it by the end of the first week.[3][7] It ultimately raised $136,924, over four times the requested amount.[8] At the time of its conclusion, it was the third-highest-earning video game project on Kickstarter.[9]

Podcast relaunch and network[edit]

Shortly before the conclusion of the campaign, Troy Goodfellow of Three Moves Ahead podcast announced a partnership with Idle Thumbs, allowing the latter to host their content and forums.[10] The same month, Idle Thumbs announced it would be launching its own monthly book club podcast featuring Remo, Rodkin, and Vanaman. The first selection was The Sense of an Ending by British author Julian Barnes.[11] The flagship weekly Idle Thumbs podcast returned alongside a new temporary front page design on July 19, 2012, with the episode "The Dance of the Treasure Goblin."[12]

Peter Molydeux Game Jam[edit]

In March 2012, Idle Thumbs helped organize a game jam called "What Would Molydeux?", with Anna Kipnis of Double Fine Productions and Patrick Klepek of Giant Bomb.[13][14][15] The theme of the game jam is to create games based on ideas of the Twitter account @petermolydeux, a parody of Peter Molyneux. The initial San Francisco event inspired over 30 other local events across the world, including one in Brighton, UK which was attended by Molyneux.[13][15][16] The events attracted over 900 participants and produced 280 games over two days.[15][17][18]

Dishonored Return of Nick Breckon[edit]

In March 2013, Breckon returned to San Francisco to take a writing position at Telltale Games and resumed his hosting duties with Idle Thumbs.[19] Shortly thereafter, Idle Thumbs celebrated its 100th podcast, in which Rodkin discovered that he was the only host to appear in every episode.[20] Vanaman and Breckon also founded a new podcast in May dedicated to discussing the intricacies of DOTA 2 and Lords Management.[21]



Name Current hosts First episode Final episode
Idle Thumbs Chris Remo, Jake Rodkin, Nick Breckon, James Spafford October 10, 2008
Three Moves Ahead Troy Goodfellow, Rob Zacny February 24, 2009
The Idle Book Club Chris Remo, Sarah Argodale September 14, 2012
Dota Today Sean Vanaman, Nick Breckon, Brad Muir May 29, 2013 March 24, 2015
Tone Control Steve Gaynor October 15, 2013 May 1, 2014
Terminal7 Nels Anderson, Jesse Turner November 11, 2013
Twin Peaks Rewatch Chris Remo, Jake Rodkin October 8, 2014
Designer Notes Soren Johnson, Adam Saltsman October 30, 2014
The End of Mad Men Chris Remo, Jake Rodkin, Sean Vanaman April 6, 2015 May 20, 2015
True Detective Weekly Chris Remo, Jake Rodkin, Sean Vanaman June 19, 2015 August 11, 2015
Esports Today Rob Zacny August 5, 2015 March 10, 2016
Idle Weekend Danielle Riendeau, Rob Zacny December 11, 2015
Playscape: Los Angeles Teddy Dief March 24, 2016 June 13, 2016
Important If True Chris Remo, Jake Rodkin, Nick Breckon February 16, 2017


  1. ^ a b Tabacco, Doug. "About Us". Idle Thumbs. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  2. ^ Idle Thumbs (2011-03-21). "Idle Thumbs Live at PAX Prime 2010 - Burnin' Down the Wolfman". Vimeo. Retrieved 2012-07-27. 
  3. ^ a b Caoili, Eric (2012-02-28). "Kickstarter drive offers exclusive game from Atom Zombie Smasher dev". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  4. ^ Hinkle, David (2012-02-20). "Idle Thumbs Kickstarter includes exclusive game, neat artwork". Joystiq. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  5. ^ Hamilton, Kirk (2012-02-28). "Indie Darling Gravity Bone Gets a Sequel". Kotaku. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  6. ^ Smith, Graham (2012-03-06). "Thirty Flights of Loving tells a better story in 13 minutes than most games do in 13 hours". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  7. ^ Idle Thumbs (2012-02-22). "Update #2: Idle Thumbs Progresscast #2". Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  8. ^ Flacy, Mike (2012-03-14). "Double Fine raises over $3 million on Kickstarter for new adventure game". Digital Trends. Retrieved 2012-03-29. 
  9. ^ "Games/Video Games/Most Funded". Kickstarter. Retrieved 2012-07-27. 
  10. ^ Goodfellow, Troy (2012-03-20). "Idly Moving Ahead". Flash of Steel. Retrieved 2012-03-29. 
  11. ^ Remo, Chris (2007-03-21). "Book Podcast #1 Pre-Discussion: The Sense of an Ending". Idle Thumbs. Retrieved 2012-07-27. 
  12. ^ Idle Thumbs (2012-07-19). "Idle Thumbs 65: Dance of the Treasure Goblin". Idle Thumbs. Retrieved 2012-07-27. 
  13. ^ a b Hamilton, Kirk (2012-03-14). "Peter Molydeux Game-Jam Gathers Steam, Participants and... Maybe Even Peter Molyneux Himself". Kotaku. Retrieved 2012-03-29. 
  14. ^ Lawrie, Luke (2012-03-29). "What Would Molydeux?". Retrieved 2012-03-29. 
  15. ^ a b c Crecente, Brian (2012-04-02). "Fake Molyneux game jam celebrates absurdity, creativity". Polygon. Archived from the original on 2014-08-09. Retrieved 2012-09-17. 
  16. ^ "What Would Molydeux? Molyjam 2012". 2012-03-28. Retrieved 2012-03-29. 
  17. ^ Watts, Steve (2012-04-03). "'What Would MolyDeux?' jam produces more than 280 games". Shacknews. Archived from the original on 2014-08-11. Retrieved 2012-09-17. 
  18. ^ Hamilton, Kirk (2012-04-02). "Play More Than 200 Ridiculous Peter Molydeux Games Right Now". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 2014-08-10. Retrieved 2012-09-17. 
  19. ^ Idle Thumbs (2013-03-13). "Happy Dishonored Return of Nick Breckon". Idle Thumbs. Retrieved 2013-06-02. 
  20. ^ Idle Thumbs (2013-04-03). "King Chromin' For A Day". Idle Thumbs. Retrieved 2013-06-02. 
  21. ^ Idle Thumbs (2013-05-29). "Dota Today 1: QOP Top and POTM Bottom". Idle Thumbs. Retrieved 2013-06-02. 

External links[edit]