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:

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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?

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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:

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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.

Retronauts Micro 5: Yellow Magic Orchestra and the DNA of game music

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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.

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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.

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Relive the days when Nintendo’s handheld announcements made you happy, not angry

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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.

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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.

Retronauts Micro Episode 4: Bad Purchasing Decisions

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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.

Libsyn (17:35 | MP3 Download) | SoundCloud