Hi everyone! It’s a little something different this week for Retronauts Micro.
A few years ago, I revisited a game I deeply hated, Xenogears, with the intention of giving it a second chance. After pouring a heck of a lot of time into it, I came away not precisely changed, but with a deeper understanding of my issues with the game along with a deeper appreciation of what director Tetsuya Takahashi and his team were trying to accomplish with it. I wrote up my findings in a lengthy essay for my side project GameSpite Journal; rather than retread the same territory, I’ve adapted that old essay here into a condensed podcast script.
Music this episode, of course, comes from Xenogears, because what kind of idiot would create a podcast about Xenogears and not use Xenogears music?
Jeremy explores his uncomfortable mixture of admiration for and frustration with Squaresoft’s almost-classic RPG for PlayStation, Xenogears. It’s a complicated episode for a complicated game.
Hello, friends! It’s been a crazy few days for me, so here is a quick note to let you know that the latest episode of Retronauts is online now: Episode 33, aka “What’s the Deal With Relevance?” You can read all about it at USgamer, but of course you can listen to it right here.
This episode was one of the first we recorded for the current season, but hopefully the delay on its release is made up for the return of an old-timer from the 1UP days: Jose Otero! He joins us to discuss the third part of our recent “games gone by” trilogy. We talked about games that jumped the shark, games we wish we could love, and now here are games that never really went wrong but faded from prominence. Feel free to chime in on the series we overlooked, and of course the ones that we wrongly named because we’re horrible people who hate good things.
I’ve talked about pioneering Japanese electronic band Yellow Magic Orchestra on Retronauts before. But never before to the exclusion of all else. But that’s what the latest Micro episode is all about: YMO, baby.
A brief journey into the music of a band that had an incredible influence on the direction and style of game music in the ’80s and ’90s: Japan’s New Wave-tinged synth rockers Yellow Magic Orchestra. Featuring lots of music by, yes, Yellow Magic Orchestra.
As usual, you can read more about this week’s episode at USgamer.
Look, we could argue at length about the point at which something qualifies for discussion under the banner of Retronauts. Some people still hold fast to the idea that anything after the NES launch doesn’t really count as old, an idea that had some merit back when I first saw it being bandied about at the dawn of console emulation circa 1996 but makes much less sense in 2015.
But whatever your personal definition, I won’t lie: Talking about the Nintendo DS as a classic game system is really stretching that definition to the breaking point. Not only is the system barely a decade old — practically brand new in this, the year Home Pong turns 40! — but you can still buy DS games and systems at retail if you look hard enough. They’re easier to find these days than most Amiibos.
In our defense (or rather, my defense, since I was the idiot who decided to put this episode together), the DS began life pretty much being retro. It looked so clunky and primitive next to Sony’s PSP… and yet, as we discuss in this episode, it absolutely spanked the poor PSP in short order, despite the odds being stacked almost hilariously against it. The success of the DS seems almost poignant when contrasted against the seeming tone-deafness with which Nintendo continues to approach its sequel, the 3DS, as seen in the wake of last week’s New 3DS XL announcement. It was a heady time, when games that looked a decade old could be the best-sellers of the generation. The DS was a weird system that should have failed horribly… but it didn’t, and we love it both for its tenacity and its vast and entertaining software library.
What is “retro”? This week, we test the limits by talking about a 10-year-old system whose games you can still buy at retail. But in fairness, the Nintendo DS was pretty much retro from the moment of its conception. Featuring Games Radar‘s Henry Gilbert and USgamer’s Kat Bailey.
Music in this episode comes from the Dragon Quest IX Symphonic Suite album, because why not?
P.S., if you enjoy Retronauts, may we recommend USgamer’s podcast From US to You!? It’s a similar mix of people to Retronauts, and a similar low-key form of discussion, but it’s focused primarily on current topics rather than game history. Give it a listen.
As adults, we may do the proper research before plunking down our hard-earned cash on a new video game, but this wasn’t always the case. Years ago, our developing brains weren’t quite as skilled at impulse control, leading to some particularly painful cases of buyer’s remorse. On this episode of Retronauts Micro, join Bob Mackey, Jeremy Parish, Kat Bailey, and Mikel Reparaz as they discuss the unfortunate purchasing decisions that still haunt them to this day.
Hello there! The holidays have come and gone and a new semester has arrived. And this time we’re greeting the new school year with a look at a minor (and generally forgotten) video game classic: Sega’s Zillion for Master System.
You can get the full scoop on this episode over at USgamer, but I know how annoying it can be to make that extra mouseclick, so here is the show in its entirety. All seven minutes of it. Hey, it’s a Micro episode. Whaddya want?
Out of curiosity, how many of you fine listeners have actually played Zillion? Either back in the day or through the magic of emulation counts. I’d love to hear more about what the latter areas of the game are like, because I certainly never made it to the end….
As always, Retronauts is made possible by Patreon contributions. This week, Patreon supporters are enjoying Retronauts Micro Episode 4 a week early. And I’m currently working on poster and T-shirt designs for when we hit the three-month funding mark in February!
Didn’t play The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask? You’re not alone! With most of the world being wrapped up in PlayStation 2-mania during that memorable month of October 2000, this black sheep of the Zelda family went forgotten, only to build up a devoted following over the past 15 years. And, with a 3DS remake on the way, there’s never been a better time to talk about why Majora’s Mask is simply unforgettable. On this episode, join Bob Mackey, Jeremy Parish, and Laser Time’s Chris Antista as they live out the end of their three-day cycles discussing one of the greatest Zeldas of all time.