Retronauts Episode 63: Pokemon


Nothing may feel more like those simpler times of the late ’90s than Pokemon, but Nintendo’s monster-collecting phenomenon managed to stick in there for two whole decades by staying true to its roots. On this episode of Retronauts, join Bob Mackey, Jeremy Parish, Henry Gilbert and Kat Bailey as the crew explores the last twenty years of Game Freak’s zillion-dollar franchise. (Disclaimer: Please listen to this podcast in a well-lit room for your own safety.)

Libsyn (1:43:53 | MP3 Download | SoundCloud)

Gravity is rad, and reversed, in the latest Retronauts Micro

Heigh ho everybody, and welcome once again to the Retronauts show! We’ve got a real corker this wee— aw, OK, it’s just another off-week Micro episode. On the plus side, I’ve decided to ditch my boring one-man-show approach to Micros and bring other people into the conversation, which should be a relief to everyone. To kick things off this week, we have Sam Claiborn from IGN in the studio to enthuse over classic NES mech platformer Metal Storm for a few minutes with me.

Metal Storm is one of those games that plays better in person than it does via audio — it’s a brief and fairly simple game, and its appeal comes from the way it pushes the NES hardware, and from the way its mechanics turn a straightforward five-stage platform shooter into a dense, nail-biting challenge. The game’s central premise (you can invert gravity while in mid-air) demands a higher standard of level design than the usual NES fare, and every screen of Metal Storm stands out as a sort of inventive action puzzle… without being an actual puzzle game. Trust me, I’ve seen a lot of those in my Game Boy adventures, and this ain’t one.

The biggest downside to Metal Storm is that you’re not going to be able to find a cartridge-only copy of the game for less than $100 unless you get really lucky. It’ll never show up on a download service, either, because publisher Irem ditched gaming altogether and, last I’d read, had delisted all its games from PSN and Virtual Console. This is why classic video game is so darned stupid most of the time.

Download Links

Libsyn (13:02, 9.4 MB) | MP3 Download | SoundCloud

Thanks to Sam for dropping by, and I’ll be playing the game on a live stream later this week via USgamer. So you can check it out that way if you’re curious about Metal Storm but too lazy (or scrupulous!) to emulate it.

Retronauts Episode 61: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

What is there left to say about The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time? A heck of a lot, actually. Back in the days of awkward polygonal gaming, Nintendo borrowed a bit of A Link to the Past’s magic and successfully brought their fantasy series to the next era of gaming. But has this bold experiment aged well over the last 18 years? On this episode of Retronauts, join Bob Mackey, Jeremy Parish, and Henry Gilbert as the crew dives into one the earliest classics of 3D gaming.

Libsyn (1:36:45 | MP3 Download | SoundCloud)

Midwestronauts is finally happening!

Hello there to all our friends, listeners, supporters, and even people who don’t particularly care for us! Bob and I are happy to reveal the specifics of Retronauts’ first live event for 2016 — especially as it’s one people have been requesting for quite a while. We will be conducting a live podcast panel at this year’s Midwest Gaming Classic. If you happen to be in Milwaukee on Saturday April 9 at 2 p.m., you should totally come and attend our panel.

Our topic for this event will actually see us covering some previously trodden ground: We’ll be discussing the 30th anniversary of the Sega Master System (which launched in 1986 in the U.S.). The Master System episode from the original run of Retronauts is one that people still complain about, nearly a decade on, so hopefully this will put those complaints to rest. To help guarantee that we’ll do the topic justice, Bob and I are flying in two Master System experts to host the panel with us. How’s that for dedication?

Our special guests for MGC will be (1) Greg Sewart, former Electronic Gaming Monthly contributor, SEGA fanatic, and host of the comprehensive SEGA Genesis chronogaming video series Generation 16, and (2) Dylan Cornelius, who has played through and critiqued very nearly the entire Master System library on his site Sega Does. You’d be hard-pressed to find two bigger experts than them! As for Bob and myself… well, we’re gonna be cramming Master System games pretty hard over the coming weeks.

So that’s that. We’ll see you in a few weeks in Milwaukee!