Retronauts on USgamer: The tale of Capcom

Hey, everyone. I’d like to chime in and thank everyone who has signed up for our podcast Patreon campaign already — a mere two days in and we’re already to the second tier of funding (biweekly episodes, mini episodes on the off weeks, and streams aplenty) and about a third of the way to the next! That’s really fantastic, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the support.

While that ticks along, Bob and I have already started to plan Retronauts content for USgamer… and by “plan” I mean “publish.” Today I’ve posted a Kickstarter backer-requested article on USG. The original plan was to put it here on the blog, but it makes more sense to put it on a site where it’ll get more eyeballs, right?

capcom-header

This particular piece comes to us at the behest of Greg Spenser, who wanted us to write about Capcom’s 8- and 16-bit eras. And that’s exactly what has happened — so please, enjoy this brief look back at the evolution of Capcom during the NES and 16-bit days. And, of course, please continue reading USG and our Twitter feed for more Retronauts-related content to fill your brain with old things as we build up toward the new season of podcasts that kicks off December 1!

Daaaarliiiing, it’s Retronauts Episode 22

Actually, despite the art and blog post title, this episode really has nothing to do with Lum or Urusei Yatsura. It’s just that we got sidetracked by a tangent about anime of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, and lacking any particular cohesive theme for this episode I decided to use that brief distraction as an excuse to draw Lum. I believe this makes for a “deal with it” kind of situation. So sorry.

retronauts 22 cover

This episode’s theme ended up being… well, let’s just say we played fast and loose. Kickstarter backer Jonathan Anderson wanted us to talk about misplaced nostalgia or nostalgia for things we never experienced, and we did our best to fulfill this mandate. I’m not promising we succeeded, but by god we gave it a shot.

Also of note: Long-time Retronauts contributor Chris Kohler finally makes his Vol. III debut. Huzzah!

This episode’s soundtrack selections come from Final Fantasy V, which we discussed somewhat at length near the beginning of the show. And my apologies if the sound quality isn’t perfect this week; I edited and assembled this podcast on a cross-country plane flight, so I can’t tell if the incessant whining sound was the plane engines or something in the podcast itself.

Anyway, please enjoy. Especially you, Jonathan Anderson.

Listen and download, fleshy mortals:

Direct download (MP3) | SoundCloud | RSS 

Finally, please consider leaving us a nice review on iTunes Store, because it’s an easier (and less creepy) way to express your enthusiasm for Retronauts than hunting us down and hugging us.

Timelines on the occasion of our Kickstarter anniversary

Oh, why hello there. Did you know that we kicked off the Revive Retronauts Kickstarter campaign a year ago today, based on what Bob tells me? It certainly doesn’t seem that long ago. But that’s because I’m old, and for old people, life is an ever-accelerating freight train hurtling toward death.

Though Vol. III of Retronauts didn’t begin in earnest until July 1, we wanted to pause a moment today to take stock of where this whole mad campaign has been. On the whole, I feel pretty good about how things have gone – the most important element of all this, the podcast itself, hasn’t missed a beat. Episode 18 Pocket goes up tomorrow, which is the… 39th episode overall, I think? Despite all the upheavals and changes we’ve had to deal with over the past year (including Ray finding a cool job and my being exiled to the East Coast), we’ve still managed to deliver a show every week since July 1. And we even produced a bonus episode for the holidays. The “third season” of Retronauts is on track to wrap up July 14, but we’ve actually decided to extend it slightly and produce a 27th episode and 27th Pocket episode so you get an even mix of the three different hosts filling your earholes. That means Vol. III now comes to an end on July 28th.

And then what? Well, we’ve decided we would in fact like to keep things going beyond that. Alas, that means we’ll need to drum up additional funding; between equipment needs, travel, studio rentals, and of course taxes, the coffers will be running low by the time we wrap the show. We haven’t pocketed the cash for ourselves; to be totally transparent, we agreed to set aside a very small amount for ourselves per episode, but I’m the only one who’s actually taken his stipend from the bank… and I used that money to pay for an extended Tokyo stay after TGS so I could record Dan Feit’s backer-requested episode. There’s been no looting, profiteering, or diving in the money bin like it’s a swimming pool. Basically, every cent we earned has been used for Retronauts. Thankfully, the original Kickstarter paid for all the equipment we need, so going forward any funds we source will essentially cover intangible expenses (rentals, event travel, web hosting, software licensing, etc.).

But! Before we consider how to extend the life of the show (which won’t necessarily happen with another Kickstarter campaign – we have a few possibilities on the table), we still have some other things we need to sort out first. The podcast has remained on track, and we’ve sent out T-shirts and stickers and such. However, there are still some unfulfilled matters to take care of, and we would like to present you with our hard deadlines for completion. These are promises to you.

  • DVDs and books: These will be completed and ready for production by July 1
  • Art rewards: These will be completed and ready for shipment by June 1
  • Charity livestreams: We’re a little vague on these still as we need to sort out the logistics, but sometime in early May and early July are our targets
  • Article rewards: These will be written and publishers by May 1
  • Two extra episodes: These will go up July 21 and July 28
  • Video commitments: These will be fulfilled by August 1
  • Final live panel: We’ve committed to an event, but Ray will announce that in due time. It’s 100% set, though!
  • Next wave of funding: Whatever form it takes, we’ll announce it no later than June 30
I hope that helps clear up any concerns! We’re 100% committed to living up to our word. Unforeseen real-life complications have slowed us down, it’s true, but at the end of this campaign, we will have done everything we said we would. Just… maybe a bit later than we had planned in some cases. And we understand those delays are frustrating, and that it’s easy to assume the worst about Kickstarter projects. We’re not sure yet how we’re going to fund future episodes, but if we decide to go the crowd-funded route, we won’t be holding out our hats until we’ve lived up to our existing commitments.

Let us know if you have any questions in the comments. And thanks for your support! Speaking for myself, it’s been an interesting and often difficult year, and your feedback has helped me keep going when things get rough. So thanks again.

I guess Retronauts Pocket Episode 16 is a success! This is the way!

Sorry this episode is a little late. The Rood Inverse is a real pain in the butt to recreate in Illustrator, as it turns out.

Retronauts Pocket cover

Direct download | SoundCloud | RSS
If you leave us positive reviews on iTunes, you will become irresistibly sexy.

Yes, this week we have the counterpart to last week’s Yasumi Matsuno episode, a less game-oriented and more story/mythology-focused discussion of Matusno’s Ivalice games (Final Fantasy Tactics, Vagrant Story, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, Final Fantasy XII) and the Ivalice games that came after (Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, Final Fantasy Tactics A2, and some others not worth mentioning here). We even talk about Fortress, the Final Fantasy XII sequel that never was. This week’s topic comes to us courtesy of Jeff Tibayan.

Exciting times, friends. Hopefully you’re not sick of this topic yet… but if you are, well, take comfort in knowing that next week’s conversation will be on a very different subject.

Anyway, now all I want to do is just replay these games over and over again. The simple act of splicing in the Giza Plains theme from Final Fantasy XII made me twitch. I don’t know what it is about Matsuno’s creations, but they have a way of getting under my skin like few other games. I don’t know if that enthusiasm actually translates into the show thanks to my apparent inability to emote, though. Oh well!

Status report: Physical rewards

Almost since we started publishing the podcast, lots of people have been asking us what’s up with the physical rewards; if we’ve asked for shipping info, and so on. Though we’ve been responding to many of those people directly, we probably should’ve been saying something more public. And that’s what this is!

Basically, we haven’t forgotten that we’re on the hook, and in just the past week or two, we’ve made a renewed effort to get it all done. At the risk of slinging excuses, the launch of the podcast and the almost-immediate trip to the Seattle Retro Gaming Expo threw us off-balance for a little while. So right now, we’re pushing forward on producing the relatively easier-to-produce merch (shirts, etc.; thanks again to our friends at Fangamer for giving us a hand there), and doing pre-planning on the more custom stuff (namely the DVD and book projects), which will naturally follow a bit later.

Crowdfunding projects often deal with people moving and changing addresses before the project is fulfilled, so we’re trying to minimize that as much as possible by making sure we’re ready before we ask you to be ready. All that while re-settling ourselves in the groove of making the podcast — which, of course, is the product that matters most, but we’re not about to leave anyone hanging.

Long story short: We have not asked for anyone’s address yet, but we will when we’re ready. You will get an email, and we will post updates all over the place. Nevertheless, thanks for all your kind words so far, and for sticking with us. See you next episode!

Bob, Jeremy, Ray

Come see us live this weekend

We’ll be at the Seattle Retro Gaming Expo Sunday afternoon at 1, talking about… a mystery topic. But there’ll be audience participation! Yes, our presentation will be recorded and posted as a bonus podcast, but really, don’t you want to step up to the mic and share your darkest gaming secrets with the world? Of course you do. Come see us. It’ll be good times.

We’ll also be putting in live appearances at a couple of other events over the next 11 months or so, but we’re not sure which ones yet! (We’re still waiting on confirmation.) So, Seattle is your sure bet.

Sunday. 1 p.m. Be there.

Whoa, hey, wow

1229 backers, 56,728 dollars. That’s kind of amazing. You are all kind of amazing.

When Bob and Ray and I first started discussing the details of this Kickstarter venture a couple of months ago, we speculated how much we could reasonably expect to raise. We generally agreed we might be able to drum up something like $40-45K in an ideal universe where everything is perfect. Yet here we are in our deeply imperfect universe having totally blown past that goal. Sure, we didn’t quite make it to the book or expanded website or multi-year commitment goals, but no matter: Some of those things we’re likely to do anyway. And we have plenty of things to keep us busy in the meantime….

Now that the excitement has happened and we have to deal with the fallout of this success, we need to take stock of how much of a commitment we’re in for and come up with a timeline. We need to:

  • Record 26 podcasts and 26 mini-episodes;
  • Send out backer emails to figure out who’s going to be on our show and what topics we’re committed to;
  • Sort out which two events we’ll be appearing at (we’ve already committed to the Seattle Retro Expo in July);
  • Record and produce 26 videos;
  • Assemble mini-books, shirts, buttons, artwork, create DVDs, bake some cookies, and mail it all;
  • Sort out the logistics of two charity livestreams;
  • And probably some other stuff, too.

I can think of worse reasons to have a long to-do list than “people like us and want to support our work.”

Finally, we also need to round up recording equipment and finish incorporating as a proper business. Actually, I’ll let you in on something we’ve been keeping under wraps: If things work out as we hope, we’ll be establishing Retronauts as a non-profit organization (one focused on promoting the arts), not a standard commercial venture. One of my dearest dreams has been to properly enshrine the history of video games somehow. I’ve been pushing for years to make that happen under the auspices of my various employers, but I could never make a compelling enough business case to convince anyone. And they’re probably right: $56K isn’t enough to sustain a corporate venture. But it is more than enough for a handful of people to develop a passion project, and in the coming year we hope to be turning Retronauts into far more than a podcast.

All of this is still in the “nebulous cloud of ideas floating around in our heads” phase of things, because it’s all kind of new — an idea made possible as a side effect of this Kickstarter campaign. And there’s no guarantee the government will grant us NPO status at all. All of this could fall through horribly. But I hope not. We have an opportunity here to take the Charlie Brown of gaming podcasts and spin it into the Guggenheim of video games, and that’s surely a once-in-a-lifetime chance.

So… wish us luck. And, of course, even if none of these grand dreams come to pass, we’ll still be doing the podcast and fulfilling other Kickstarter commitments. It’s nice to look beyond the basics, though, don’t you think?

Where do we go now?

At this point, I can’t imagine our Kickstarter won’t reach its next stretch goal of $52,000. We still have nearly a third of the Kickstarter campaign to go, and we’re less than $4,000 away. That tier, as mentioned, will pay airfare and accommodations for the three of us to attend three different conventions or shows somewhere in the U.S. and — convention organizers willing — present a live panel to you. Provided you are at the show. And, if not, we’ll have to record and publish them in our new, forthcoming podcast RSS feed instead.

With the 52K mark so close at hand, we need to start thinking about our convention plans for the year. Retronauts has been a presence at PAX and PAX East for an alarming number of years now, and it would make sense for us to maintain that tradition… but is that too easy an answer? We know classic gaming conventions happen all around the country, and even events like New York Comic-Con may not be specifically tied to games but certainly have video game connections. I think we’re all quite open to new ideas and opportunities.

So, we put the question to you, readers and followers: Which three conventions would you like to see us attend in 2013/14? Which cities should we drop classic gaming knowledge bombs on? We make no promises — and who knows, maybe we won’t quite make it to 52K after all, so it could end up being moot — but we have our fingers crossed and our minds open.

Onward and Upward!

We’ve just snuck past the halfway point of the Retronauts Kickstarter campaign, and while donations have slowed to a much less ludicrous frequency, we’re currently approaching the $45,000 mark, with nearly 1000 backers showing their love for our little podcast. With less than two weeks to go, we think it’s more than possible to make our $52,000 stretch goal and take our show on the road — so we’ve made a few adjustments to existing tiers, and added a new one to entice lovers of physical goodies. (You know who you are.)

Check out our Kickstarter page, and you may notice that it’s now much more affordable to commission a retrospective article or original video. That’s right; getting a chunk of text devoted to the game of your choice is now just a mere $130, while a video project with the same focus now costs only $160 to sponsor. If you know of some strange, obscure, or off-the-wall game you’d like to see receive the Retronauts treatment, let us know with your generous donation.

We’re also proud to announce a brand-new $140 tier brought to you by the great folks at Fangamer. Donators who invest their money in this extremely limited tier will get to chooseone of these amazing Fangamer prize packages, and — like anyone who donates to a $100-and-higher tier — they’ll also take home the Retronauts button/sticker, DVD, and t-shirt at no additional cost. If you’d like to reap the most physical rewards, this is the tier for you. But you’ll have to act fast.

As we’ve said, things have slowed down a bit since the initial burst of excitement, but we’ve still been working hard behind the scenes to ensure that all the pieces fall into place. Thanks again for your support, and please spread the word if you can!