Monthly Archives: November 2013

Retronauts Pocket Episode 10: Recorded Long, Long Ago in a Studio Far, Far Away

Retronauts Pocket 10 cover

Something I’ve noticed (as has Bob, and I assume Ray as well) about the feedback we’ve received for Retronauts is that it has a tendency to praise one host or hosting style in a way that tends to diminish the other contributors to the show — perhaps not intentionally, but that’s what subtext is all about, baby. And so it goes. People like different kind of productions, and they’re drawn to different personalities. The best thing about the current format for Retronauts (besides its existence, for which thanks again, everyone) is that the three of us all take different approaches to producing our episodes. Bob’s super meticulous and organized, and Ray comes in with punchy zingers and well-timed sound drops.

As for me… I’ve long since discovered that the more carefully I plan a show, the worse it turns out. Which is why you have episodes like this one, where the three of us went into the studio with IGN’s retro arcade gaming fanatic Sam Claiborn with no real structure or plan in mind besides “talking about Star Wars’ influence on video games.” And, as you can see from the results, sometimes this approach leads to an abject failure in terms of meeting the stated objective — we actually struggled pretty hard to come up with good examples, and honestly I don’t think we succeeded. But on the other hand, the conversation itself is fun to listen to, and isn’t that what it’s all about? (Please say yes.)

And hey, if you hate it… Ray and Bob are up next.

In the meantime, let’s go for some audience participation. What obvious Star Wars influence on games did we somehow overlook? Chastise us in the comments!

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Description: IGN’s Sam Claiborn joins Jeremy, Bob, and Ray to explore more of the roots of classic games by discussing the influence of Star Wars (if any!) on the medium.

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Retronauts Vol. III Episode 10 Is 100% Duty-free

Retronauts 10 cover

Hey kids, it’s your ol’ pal Jeremy, back for more Retronauts fun. Today’s episode was actually recorded a couple of months ago. Remember when all the Laser Time folks showed up on an episode and I didn’t? That’s because I was in Japan, making this show happen. There’s a very good reason for the exotic locale: One of our Kickstarter backers who supported the show at the “co-host an episode” level, Dan Feit, lives in Japan. He pitched in assuming he’d never actually be able to make good on his pledge, but since I was over in Japan for Tokyo Game Show, we figured “Well, what the heck?”

Huge thanks to our friends at 8-4 Ltd. (hosts of the 8-4 Play podcast!) for lending us space, equipment, and opinions to make this happen.

So what did we discuss while we were in Japan? Well, Japan. Specifically, I put the question to everyone: What was the golden age of Japanese games? Each contributor had a different response, and the result was a pretty interesting (if overly nostalgic) conversation. Responses range from the mid ’80s to the late ’90s; sadly, no one wanted to go to bat for the past couple of console generations.

Taking part in this merry discussion was… a whole lot of people, actually. Obviously you have myself and Dan, as well as Mark MacDonald and John Ricciardi of 8-4. Also present was long-time contributor Kat Bailey as well as long-time Friend of Retronauts and all-around fashion plate Kyle McLain. And, finally, quite by surprise, former Retronauts regular Shane Bettenhausen happened to be in the office when we were recording and jumped in to share his opinions after a lengthy exile from podcasting.

Unfortunately I have to apologize up front for the uneven sound quality. We had seven people sharing three microphones, and the guy who usually does the 8-4 Play sound setup wasn’t there to get things working for us. Kat and I were also running late due to crowded trains, so we had to cut our session short. I’ve done what I can to balance out the audio, but there’s no avoiding the fact that some of the sound was clipped because I hadn’t set up the unfamiliar sound board correctly. And need I mention the crosstalk that inevitably happens with more than four people on the mike (especially when certain among us are so garrulous)? So, apologies again. Hopefully you’ll find the content of this episode sufficient to compensate for the imperfect sound quality.

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Retronauts Pocket Episode 9: Super NES Accessories

Retronauts 9 Pocket cover

In the third and final “accessories” episode I’ll be doing, we (Ray, Bob, Matt) go over some of the peripherals for the Super NES, which did not have *exactly* the same kind of insane flood of crazy controllers or other stuff that the NES received. Sure, the SNES got many of the same things the Genesis did, but as far as exclusive goods, the pool just wasn’t as large. Speaking of large, we do talk about the gargantuan Super Scope, which actually got some good games for it. On a smaller scale, there’s the Super NES Mouse, which got way more games supporting it than we even talk about (including Shien’s Revenge, which I erroneously call Shiren‘s Revenge; whoops). There’s also the Super Game Boy — arguably the best accessory for anything — and the usual brief look at some Japanese standouts, like the Lasabirdie and the Satellaview. And I’d be remiss if I overlooked the LifeCycle exercise bike. Where was that in the Wii’s heyday, huh?

And if you’ve listened to the episode already, for posterity, here’s my Dezaemon video I mentioned when talking about Mario Paint.

As always, thanks and enjoy!

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Retronauts Volume III Episode 9: Konami Arcade Beat-Em-Ups

Retronauts 9 cover

I’m Ray, I’m hosting Retronauts again, and this week we talk about the arcade beat-em-ups of Konami, a topic requested by listener and Kickstarter backer Steven Martin.

Like several other companies in the late ’80s, the Double Dragon-inspired “belt scroll” beat-em-up became a staple of the arcade, and Konami was no exception. They started a little rough at first, but by the early ’90s, they went pretty much full-on with beat-’em-ups for a few years, and mostly maintained high-quality throughout — from oft-remembered licesnsed games like The Simpsons and X-Men to original productions that they somehow found time to make, like Violent Storm and Metamorphic Force. We go over all those games and more, and though it’s hard to say a whole lot about games that aren’t completely different from one another, we do, as usual, get to dip into some nostalgia related to some of them.

Polygon’s Matt Leone rejoins us after talking about arcade racers a few weeks ago. As stated before, Matt knows his stuff about arcade games, and so it was kind of half-coincidence to have him on again when this topic came up.

As a side note, since Jeremy had to up and leave us for the eastern part of the US, he joins us through Skype. He did record himself and I spliced him in, though it’s still not ideal — nevertheless, I’m aware of any hiccups you might notice, and we’re already thinking of how to work it out the next time this happens. On the bright side, you still get Jeremy on Retronauts. (Also, Jeremy’s talk of Konami’s arcade flyers inspired him to write a history of sorts for USgamer.)

Thanks once more to Steve, and I hope to start tackling more backer requests in the future. Though next week on Retronauts Pocket, I just had to talk about accessories again.

Enjoy the show.

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This episode’s breakdown:

01:03 | Introductions & Konami’s original arcade brawlers: Crime Fighters, Sunset Riders, Metamorphic Force, and more
18:42 | Music from Crime Fighters
19:01 | Konami’s licensed beat-em-ups: Aliens, TMNT, Simpsons, and more
40:12 | Music from X-Men
40:42 | More licensed games: Bucky O’Hare, Moo Mesa, etc.
59:08 | Wrap-up!

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