Monthly Archives: October 2013

Retronauts Pocket Episode 8: Jaws & Friday the 13th

Retronauts Pocket 8

Hello, boils and ghouls — It’s Bob again with my third episode in a row. (Hopefully you’re not getting sick of me by this point.) Retronauts Pocket episode 8 comes to you courtesy of David Shuff, who suggested Jaws for the NES as a possible topic, then — for the sake of filling a half-hour — agreed to let us talk about Friday the 13th as well. Now, these two typically make every “Worst NES Games Ever” list, and while there’s plenty of room for improvement, both Friday the 13th and Jaws contain some great (and distinctly Japanese) design ideas that would have made for much better experiences if the cruel taskmasters at LJN gave their hired guns more time to work with. That said, due to its topic and timing, Pocket 8 became our accidental Halloween episode, helped into creation by Brett Elston and Chris Antista (of the Laser  Time podcast network), who you heard on last week’s show. Enjoy, and for extra spookiness, be sure to listen to this one in the abandoned summer camp or moonlit pumpkin patch of your choice.

Libsyn (33:43 | MP3 | 24.6 MB) | SoundCloud

This episode’s description:

“In the late ’80s, Lewis J. Norman had a dream: delivering children awful video game adaptations of movies way out of their age range. But are these 8-bit monsters really just misunderstood? Join Bob Mackey, Ray Barnholt, and special guests Brett Elston and Chris Antista as they uncover the dark truths of Jaws and Friday the 13th for the NES, and brave the horrors of mechanical sharks and machete-wielding goalies.”

About the musical selections: Both Jaws and Friday the 13th contain about two minutes of music apiece, so I’m not going to bother listing my choices here. And the closing song is “Angela’s Theme” by Frankie Vinci from the 1983 movie Sleepaway Camp. Happy?


Filed under Retronauts, Retronauts Pocket

Retronauts Volume III Episode 8: The Fan Translation Scene

Retronauts 8 cover

Hey, it’s your old buddy Bob again. I’m a little ashamed to admit it, but Retronauts often acts as an excellent outlet for self-indulgence — though really, what other purpose does a podcast serve? And while I’m committed to spending way too much time on every episode I put together, some receive a little more attention than others. Like this one, for instance; I’ve been following the fan translation scene since its infancy, which means episode 8 is chock-full of as many facts, music breaks, and weird tangents as I could cram into its oversized running time. So even if the topic of fan translations doesn’t seem all that interesting to you, please, indulge me. You just might end up liking it!

Now, a little more about the episode itself. I decided to break up the format slightly, so the first chunk of this podcast contains a discussion of the fan translation scene in general, and the remaining 90 minutes count down the top 12 fan translations you should play before you die or lose interest (whichever happens first). Helping us out on this one are special guests Brett Elston and Chris Antista, who you may know from their time at GamesRadar, or their podcasts on the Laser Time Network. We’d like to thank them again for helping out, and tolerating the frequent Garage Band crashes that plagued this recording. And this episode wouldn’t even be a thing without listener Aaron Davies, who generously donated (and allowed me to suggest a topic) to make it happen. That said, please download, enjoy, and be sure to leave us your comments about this episode!

Libsyn (1:53:46 | MP3 | 82.3 MB) | SoundCloud

This episode’s description:

“On this episode, we examine the achievements of gaming’s true heroes: the selfless hackers who spend weeks, months, and years translating some of the most amazing games that never left Japan — and for free! Join Bob Mackey, Ray Barnholt, and the Laser Time Network’s Chris Antista and Brett Elston for a discussion of the fan translation scene, and a thorough countdown of the top 12 fan translated games you should play.”

This episode’s musical breakdown:

Note: If you’d like to skip to a discussion of an individual game, take note of the timestamps associated with the bolded titles below. You can also find each game’s fan translation by following the links.

  • 6:47 | Seiken Densetsu 3 “Little Sweet Cafe” (Hiroki Kikuta)
  • 20:14 | Policenauts “B.C.P. HQ” (Tappi Iwase, Masahiro Ikariko, Motoaki Furukawa)
  • 26:00 | Metal Wolf Chaos “Good Feather” (Kota Hoshino)
  • 34:00 | iS — internal section “Knock on Wood” (Shinji Hosoe)
  • 37:45 | Wonder Project J “Land of Song” (Akihiko Mori)
  • 41:18 | Gunman’s Proof “Scenario 1”
  • 44:53 | Clock Tower “Death in the Elevator” (Kouji Niikura, Kaori Takazoe)
  • 50:57 | Famicom Detective Club 2 “Opening” (Kenji Yamamoto)
  • 57:05 | Sweet Home “Battle” (Junko Tamiya)
  • 1:03:15 | Radical Dreamers “Days of Summer” (Yasunori Mitsuda)
  • 1:08:18 | Seiken Densetsu 3 “Can You Fly, Sister?” (Hiroki Kikuta)
  • 1:16:52 | Policenauts “28 Years” (Tappi Iwase, Masahiro Ikariko, Motoaki Furukawa)
  • 1:22:14 | Mother/Earthbound Zero “Bein’ Friends” (Keiichi Suzuki, Hirokazu Tanaka)
  • 1:32:03 | Mother 3 “Mom’s Hometown” (Shogo Sakai)
  • 1:48:33 | Policenauts “End Title” (Tappi Iwase, Masahiro Ikariko, Motoaki Furukawa)

Relevant Links:

Chris’ Metal Wolf Chaos video

A 2010 1UP article I wrote about the fan translation scene

Phenomena vs. Clock Tower

The history of EarthBound Zero

Legends of Localization

Next time: Our special Halloween-themed episode combines two scarifying licensed games.



Filed under Retronauts

Retronauts Special #2 – Live from Portland Retro Gaming Expo 2013

Retronauts Portland cover

Hey, all — Bob here. If you weren’t able to make it to this year’s Portland Retro Gaming Expo, I’m sorry to say you missed out on what most scientists would consider a “hoot.” Before you do anything drastic, though, know that we’ve preserved our live panel in digital amber, so you can turn on your iPod, grow a fashionable beard (or don a fake one), and pretend you’re right there in Portland alongside us. This October marks the Mega Drive/Genesis’ 25th year on this planet, so we decided to sit down and give it a little more kindness than a few members of the crew did five years ago, when Retronauts was in its terrible twos. Joining us for this one: Kole Ross and Gary Butterfield of the stellar retro gaming podcast Watch Out for Fireballs, and 1UP alum Kevin Gifford, who has a great game music podcast simply titled FUN. Thanks to everyone who stopped us to say hi — hopefully our overbearing egos and pushy entourage didn’t alienate any of you.

Special thanks to Gary and Kole for letting us use their audio setup — this is definitely one of the best-sounding live episodes we’ve put together.

Libsyn (55:17 | MP3 | 40.1 MB) | SoundCloud

This episode’s description:

“Hold onto your beards and fashionable second-hand clothing — the Retronauts are in Portland and ready to rock. And by “rock” we mean “talk about the Mega Drive/Sega Genesis’ 25th birthday.” Join Bob Mackey, Ray Barnholt, Gary Butterfield, Kole Ross, and Kevin Gifford as they pay their proper respects to Sega’s most successful console in front of a live audience.”

This episode’s (musical) breakdown:

  • 13:43 | Sonic the Hedgehog 3 “Azure Lake”
  • 24:55 | Shining Force “Town” (Masahiko Yoshimura)
  • 37:53 | Panic! “Intro” (Kei Tani)
  • 53:24 | Sonic the Hedgehog 2 “Ending” (Masato Nakamura)

Next time: An episode about a subject near and dear to my heart, featuring two brand-new guests you’re sure to love. GET HYPED.


Filed under Retronauts

Retronauts Pocket Episode 7 May or May Not Have Died for Your Sins


Sorry, everyone — this is a sort of hit-and-run posting, as I’m currently in the final stages of packing up my life into shipping containers to relocate to the east coast. But I still managed to find time to assemble Retronauts Pocket Episode 7, which serves as an answer to Kickstarter backer Daniel Worthington’s request to talk about Illusion of Gaia. Since one Super NES action-RPG isn’t quite enough to fill an entire episode, we delve into the overall catalog of Gaia‘s developer, Quintet. Sadly, the ambition I mentioned here (to track down and talk to some Quintet folks at TGS) didn’t pan out, though I did hear an explanation of why the studio is so elusive. However, that’s someone else’s story to tell, so I won’t talk about it here. Suffice to say… getting an inside track on Quintet is going to be tough.

Hopefully you’ll enjoy this discussion. I can’t actually tell if this episode is any good or not, but that’s probably just because my entire brain is in “oh god the shippers are coming in 12 hours” panic mode. So… if I’ve led a terrible discussion, I apologize. Especially to you, Daniel Worthington. If you hate this show you paid for, I’ll make it up to you somehow. I do feel good about the episode cover art, though, so at least that’s something…?

Description: By request of backer Daniel Worthington, Bob, Ray, and Jeremy delve into the history of 16-bit RPG masters Quintet… or at least as much history as we can dig up. Those guys were pretty mysterious.

Direct download (MP3) | SoundCloud | RSS
Find us on the iTunes Store and leave a nice review!

Musical inclusions this episode:

  • 7:22 – Actraiser “Fillmore”
  • 18:01 – SoulBlazer “Dr. Leo’s Paintings”
  • 26:23 – Illusion of Gaia “Sky Gardens”
  • 37:51 – Terranigma “Zue”
  • 47:11 – Actraiser Symphonic Suite “Bloodpool/Cassandora”


Filed under Retronauts, Retronauts Pocket