Retronauts Micro 11 Gets Virtual

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Last week, we talked about the Game Boy line’s would-be competitors from the late ’90s. This week: A look at its erstwhile replacement, Virtual Boy. Since people actually bought and liked Neo Geo Pocket (and to a lesser degree WonderSwan), last week’s conversation worked as a full episode. Virtual Boy, however… that’s a 10-minute monologue topic if ever there was one.

Description for this episode:

Following our look at Game Boy’s competitors in the late ’90s, Jeremy explores the system’s would-be successor: Nintendo’s disastrous Virtual Boy. Aw, but it wasn’t all bad.

Listen or download here:

Libsyn (1:26:47 | MP3 Download) | SoundCloud | Subscribe on iTunes | RSS | Support the show on Patreon

Next week, we’ll be back with another podcast. It’s kind of what we do.

Episode 37: Giving love to Game Boy’s forgotten competitors

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I spend a lot of time these days thinking about Nintendo Game Boy. It’s kind of a sickness, I guess, but that’s what I do. The side effect of this particular obsession is that I also spend a lot of time musing about other portable systems. I have to admit the Lynx is a little hard to love, with its cumbersome size and hellacious battery consumption, but the second-generation handhelds that popped up in the late ’90s, alongside Game Boy Color? Man, I love those things. In fact, I would go so far as to say Neo Geo Pocket Color was the system that made me truly love portable games. That and Metal Gear Solid for GBC, I guess.

Both NGP (before it meant “Next Generation Portable”) and WonderSwan were two great little handheld systems that did nearly everything right. They offered good power, solid libraries, and excellent physical design. About the only thing they got wrong was showing up too late to be properly competitive. Had NGPC and WonderSwan Color appeared in, say, 1996… they could have been monsters. Instead, they rolled out slowly against a color-enhanced Game Boy empowered by the might of Pokémon. They never stood a chance. But by god, we loved them anyway.

Description for this episode:

Old-timers Shane Bettenhausen and Christian Nutt join Jeremy and Bob to hash out the history and relative failures of the last great Game Boy challengers of the ’90s: Neo Geo Pocket and WonderSwan.

Listen or download here:

Libsyn (1:26:47 | MP3 Download) | SoundCloud | Subscribe on iTunes | RSS | Support the show on Patreon

Thanks, and we’ll be back next week with another ’90s vintage portable system! Kind of.

Retronauts Micro 009, the Kuros for What Ails Ya

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Greetings and welcome to a thrilling new week… oh, wait, it’s Wednesday. Never mind.

Sorry for the delay on this episode, but the first version I recorded for this one didn’t turn out very well — my audio setup hadn’t been fine-tuned yet to my new office. So I made the executive decision to delay it and re-record it with a proper setup. Hopefully it was worth the wait.

Just kidding, it wasn’t worth the wait. This is a Micro episode, so no one’s really champing at the bit for it. But this is pretty much the definitive sort of Micro episode — it follows up on last week’s full episode to look with a bit more depth at a game we brushed on in passing, but which deserves more attention. Wizards & Warriors isn’t one of Rare’s most beloved classics, but the games hold a sort of unique place in the company’s history: They were among their first attempts to get their bearings on both NES and Game Boy, where they stood as pioneers leading other Western developers onto the promised land of Nintendo licensing. That makes these games pretty noteworthy, in my book.

This week’s show description:

After last week’s in-depth blowout on Rare, Jeremy pauses to look briefly at one of the company’s most significant yet underappreciated creations: 1987’s Wizards & Warriors for NES.

Listen to or grab it here:

Libsyn (1:49:23 | MP3 Download) | SoundCloud | Subscribe on iTunes | RSS | Support the show on Patreon

Next week, we’ll be back with a standard full-length episode. Probably on time, too!

A Rare opportunity for education with Episode 35

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Hi everyone, it’s Monday. And we all know Garfield hates Mondays because he hates awesome podcasts about video game history. But since you enjoy such things, you’ll be delighted to know that the latest episode of Retronauts is now live. Perhaps you’ll even be chuffed, given that today’s episode takes us to jolly old England to explore the history of one that land’s most legendary developers, Rare.

Ye olde description:

UK ex-pat Jaz Rignall joins Bob and Jeremy to discuss England’s crown jewel: Rare. From their early era as Ultimate Play the Game to their N64 glory days, we cover the full history of this enigmatic developer. By request of Kickstarter backer Michael Lee!

And the usual shenanigans:

Libsyn (1:49:23 | MP3 Download) | SoundCloud | Subscribe on iTunes | RSS | Support the show on Patreon

Incidentally, we’ve just about wrapped up all our Kickstarter episodes with this — just a handful more to go! Drop us a line if you were a backer at the episode or co-hosting level and still haven’t told us what you want, OK? And the backer-exclusive content hasn’t been forgotten about! Expect good news on that front soon…

This week in Retronauts, you shall be as gods

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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?

Libsyn (9:30 | MP3 Download) | SoundCloud | Subscribe on iTunes | RSS feed

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.

Retronauts Vol. IV Episode 33: The tragedy of (ir)relevance

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.

Download links:

Libsyn (1:49:23 | MP3 Download) | SoundCloud

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.