I know people love the podcast, as I do in some respects, but I've been listening to these guys since the Gamespot Days and I have some critiques I wanted to voice regarding where the podcast is at right now. Maybe you'll agree, maybe you'll disagree quite strongly, but I'd like to think we can have a meaningful discussion about it. Anyway, here is a summary of my thoughts (originally typed on a phone, so may be kind of funky here and there).
Been listening to these guys podcast for about seven years now (many of them appeared on Gamespot Presents The Hotspot prior to the Bombcast in 2008), and while I still enjoy it I can't help feeling they've failed to evolve with the times and are somewhat slaves to tradition.
Specifically, the podcast continues to have rigid segments, often resulting in the following pattern.
1) Introductions and catching with recent happenings. Results in plenty of amusing anecdotes about the crew and their lives. Some of my favorite discussions happen here.
2) "What have you been playing?" Here is the segment I have the most issues with. This segment often goes extremely long, and I think its due to the manner of games discussion Giant Bomb favors, one that is over-descriptive and mechanics focused rather than a point by point breakdown of the highs and lows of the games being discussed. Especially considering they do Quicklooks of more or less everything, all that mechanical info has already been covered by them to the point where the dry audio descriptions found here are redundant and serve no purpose. In addition, they are constantly afraid of "spoilers", even if they feel a game has a poor narrative. Basically, their discussions are shallow and surface-detail oriented, to the point where about half of every podcast is a bit of a drag.
3) News. Due to the bloated second segment, the news portion always seems rushed, which is a shame as many Giant Bomb staffers are true veterans, with a wealth of experiences that makes their take on industry happenings pretty interesting. Some great observations can happen here but again, because of how rushed it feels, you feel a bit teased each time. Jeff's "Jar Time" premium segment has some of the types of insights I'd like to hear more of in the podcast, so I'd like to see them flesh this segment out more.
4) New Releases. Why does this segment exist? At this point exhaustive discussions have already been had on noteworthy recent games to the point of making this redundant. Not only that, it immediately dates the podcast, is never delivered with enthusiasm or commentary and seems truly obligatory in every sense. Axe it.
5) User Questions. Yet another potentially amazing segment that gets rushed through every week due to how bloated and overlong these get thanks to the problems I outlined in section 2. As a long-time fan, seems especially discourteous as it is highly dismissive of the passionate community that allows Giant Bomb to exist. Some really amusing discussions happen here on occasion, but the sense that everyone is halfway out the door by the time this finally comes up is always present and it makes for a somewhat depressing ending every time.
I hope this is viewed as constructive feedback. Again, been a big fan of these gents for nearly a decade, but can't help noticing they are gradually wandering away from the qualities that attracted me to them in the first place. And after encountering the near-perfect blend of humor and insight into game theory and the industry at large that is "Idle Thumbs", can't help but wish my other favorite podcasts would mature and grow along with the industry they are a part of.
TL;DR Less non-editorial style game chatter, more news discussion and user questions. Also, axe "New Releases" and don't hesitate to do "spoiler talk" more often.