In Japan, RPGs are synonymous with Dragon Quest. But in the States, this series amounted to an also-ran, outclassed by the likes of Final Fantasy and other popular brands. Even if this extremely traditional RPG experience has one foot in the past, it’s still generated hundreds of hours of memorable moments. On the cusp of Dragon Quest Heroes’ US release, join Bob Mackey, Jeremy Parish, and Henry Gilbert as the Retronauts crew looks back on a Japanese institution that never quite got a fair shake in America.
Hey! I forgot to post last week’s episode here! Oh well. Now you get two at once.
First: The latest episode, a Micro look at Namco’s Rolling Thunder. You kids seem to like Bob’s music-heavy episodes, and as it happens this game has rad-as-hell music. So rock on out to this one. I wonder if all the great music in this game informed Sega’s decision to make the bad guys in Space Channel 5 basically look like the Maskers in Rolling Thunder…?
Jeremy looks back on Namco’s clasic arcade action game Rolling Thunder, the quintessential old-school take on “spy action” before Metal Gear redefined the genre to mean “stealth.”
Aaaand speaking of Metal Gear, here’s last week’s episode, featuring Shane Bettenhausen and Jose Otero on Hideo Kojima’s long-running stealth franchise. See what I did there?
As an era ends with the release of Metal Gear Solid V, Shane Bettenhausen and Jose Otero join us to wax rhapsodic about the unique history on gaming’s longest-running saga. No haters or Hayters allowed!As an era ends with the release of Metal Gear Solid V, Shane Bettenhausen and Jose Otero join us to wax rhapsodic about the unique history on gaming’s longest-running saga. No haters or Hayters allowed!
Enjoy, and remember that you can listen to next week’s episode early by supporting us on Patreon. But it’s cool, you can also just wait a few days and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the episode all the same.
Soyo Oka might not be the most well-known Nintendo composer, but in her time with the company, she crafted some amazing soundtracks that helped define the distinct qualities of the SNES’ sound chip. And while the music of Pilotwings and Super Mario Kart is nothing to sneeze it, her greatest work for Nintendo can be found in SimCity, the 1991 Super Nintendo port of Maxis’ PC classic. On this episode of Retronauts Micro, join your host Bob Mackey for a guided tour of this amazing soundtrack, along with a few other surprises.
Sing it with us, now: Link! He come to town! Come to save, the Princess Zelda! We’re all familiar with the mythic exploits of Nintendo’s elfin hero, but this latest episode of Retronauts dives deep into one of his greatest adventures of all time. Sure, A Link to the Past is a beloved classic, but on this episode of Retronauts, we partake on a journey to truly discover WHY. Join Bob Mackey, Jeremy Parish, and special guests Henry Gilbert and Brett Elston for a thorough exploration of what makes this particular Legend of Zelda so undeniably great. And if you’re out there, Chris Houlihan, your mark on Hyrule won’t soon be forgotten.
Hello, friends, and welcome to another Retronauts Micro episode. Seems like we’ve had a lot of them, eh? Well, we’re trying to get the schedule back on track after the disruption caused by the unexpected passing of Satoru Iwata — as of next week, we’ll be back on our usual routine. Sorry for the slightly jumbled order! As something of a Type A personality, I’m pretty sure it bothers me more than it does you.
Anyway, this week concerns another personal favorite and a game I’m looking forward to spending more time with in the near-ish future: Super Castlevania IV. You may recall last season’s Castlevania NES trilogy episode, and this is the sequel to that. Like all Micro episodes, it’s a brief soliloquy about a classic, featuring lots of great music to help distract you from the droning monotony of my voice. Enjoy…?
Last year we looked at the Castlevania NES trilogy; now we explore its weird but wonderful follow-up, Super Castlevania IV for Super NES.
This week’s music come from Super Castlevania IV, because it has one of the greatest game soundtracks ever recorded (programmed?) and you better bet your sweet bippy I wanted to use it in an episode focused entirely on the game itself.
Wow! This episode’s a day late. It’s getting to be a cool trend. Tardiness is gonna be all the rage in 2016, and we’re leading the way.
This episode of Retronauts Micro focuses on a company whose games I’ve never really gotten into but for whom I have tremendous respect: Treasure. The studio has been pretty quiet of late, working on Capcom’s Gaist Crusher series and presumably working with M2 on the 3D Ages version of Gunstar Heroes… but hopefully they have something fresh up their sleeves. They’re too talented to languish in obscurity, especially since the kind of challenge and mechanical complexity they deal in has become quite popular among a certain set of gamers.
Jeremy takes a look at one of gaming’s great studios, whose work seems to have been largely forgotten in this day and age. Will Treasure rise again, or will their two-decade collection of brilliance stand as their legacy?
Music this time around comes from Hitoshi Sakimoto’s Gradius V soundtrack — not really typical treasure fare, but just a fantastic piece of music all around.
A slightly unconventional episode this week. You can read about the specifics in our USgamer post, but the short version is that we had initially planned to publish this PlayStation anniversary tribute on the 20th anniversary of the system’s launch in September. However, Nintendo issued its press release announcing the death of its president, Satoru Iwata, in the middle of this episode. All things considered, it made more sense to run the episode now (skipping the Patreon paywall).
As we discuss in this episode, Sony and Nintendo’s console game businesses have always shared a close link. But after the experience of hosting this episode, the two will always be inextricably connected for me.
Retronauts vet and Sony enthusiast/employee Shane Bettenhausen joins us to discuss the 20th anniversary of the PS1 launch in America. (This episode is running before its intended September time slot due to the tragic news that breaks midway through.)
Music in this week’s episode mostly comes from Exact’s Jumping Flash! The episode ends with Hip Tanaka’s “Balloon Trip” remix he created in tribute to Iwata.
Bob and I plan to reconvene next month to record more episodes, one of which will definitely focus on HAL and Iwata’s contributions to gaming. Also, yeah, I goofed on the SNES sound processor specifics — Yamaha worked on the Genesis sound processor. You don’t need to send corrections!
So, I feel that it’s really important to preface this post with the disclaimer that this episode is a Kickstarter backer request (one of the last in the slushpile). I mention this because otherwise this episode will seem almost offensive self-indulgent and navel-gazing. While many Kickstarter backers requested we tackle one of a variety of episode topics, Sean Clements had but one demands: Talk about chrongaming.
Chrongaming, of course, would be the practice of exploring a console’s entire library in chronological order; the best-known venture out there is Dr. Sparkle‘s Chrontendo, which catalogs the history of Nintendo’s NES/Famicom in exhaustive detail. So of course we asked the good doctor to join us again, following on from his appearance in our very first Kickstarted episode. (Although as we learn here, Dr. Sparkle calls it “chronogaming,” not “chrongaming.” Live and learn, Sean!) Less famous, but rather closer to home, is my very own Game Boy World project, which aims to do the same thing as Chrontendo, except for the Game Boy platform, which is much less popular as a retrogaming topic than the NES. Even Dr. Sparkle wanted nothing to do with it!
So, needless to say, it’s the two of us and Bob jabbering about our own work for 80 minutes. Or airing out our sick personal obsessions, if you prefer. My apologies to all, but the people demanded it. Or at least one person. The tyranny of crowdfunding, eh?
Can a podcast be self-indulgent if the topic was provided by someone else? The famous Dr. Sparkle joins us to fulfill Sean Clements’ Kickstarter topic request: Chrongaming. Join us as we psychoanalyze our own obsessive-compulsive behavior!
Listen or download here:
Music in the episode comes from NES “brototype” game Shatterhand, which I’ve never really played… but damn does that soundtrack rock.