Monthly Archives: January 2014

Retronauts Pocket Episode 14: Baldur’s Gate

Retronauts 14 Pocket cover

Finally, the unthinkable has happened: Retronauts is covering PC games! Of course, I kid—we’ve talked about plenty of PC games in the past (see my old episodes on Maniac Mansion and Day of the Tentacle for two notable examples), but there’s no denying a lot of our subject matter is console-centric. At least, that’s what the message boards and iTunes reviews have been saying. So I guess we have backer Dan Pryboda to thank for broadening our horizons a bit with his donation-backed suggestion to spend an entire Pocket episode talking about the phenomenal BioWare RPG Baldur’s Gate. And for this one, I brought out the big guns: Jason Wilson, whose name may ring a bell if you’ve been reading games coverage for the past decade. When thinking about who to invite on as our local Dungeons & Dragons expert, Jason immediately came to mind—and after you listen to this episode, I’m sure you’ll understand why. That said, enjoy our discussion, and thanks again to both Dan and Jason for being such good friends of the show!

Libsyn (47:17 | MP3 | 45.8 MB) | SoundCloud

This episode’s description:

“In 1998, Bioware changed the face of RPGs with Baldur’s Gate, which did an amazing job of translating the complex mechanics of Dungeons and Dragons into video game form–and not just the dungeon crawly stuff. Join Bob Mackey, Jeremy Parish, Ray Barnholt and Jason Wilson as they discuss one of BioWare’s best and gather their party before venturing forth.”

This episode’s musical breakdown:

  • 12:25 – Baldur’s Gate “Baldur’s Gate Theme” (Michael Hoenig)
  • 27:56 – Baldur’s Gate “Exploring the Plains” (Michael Hoenig)
  • 45:33 – Baldur’s Gate “Safe in Beregots” (Michael Hoenig)

Relevant links:

Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition

Baldur’s Gate: Reloaded (3D Fan Remake)

Solo Assassin Run

Tales of the Sword Coast Bard Solo Run

Fixes/Mods for Original Baldur’s Gate

Essential Baldur’s Gate Mods

A Noob’s Guide to Baldur’s Gate

Your fleshy parts will remain free of space hamster wounds if you give us a nice review in the iTunes Music Store.


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A Brief Delay, and a Bonus to Appease You

Hey folks, we ran into some real-life/technical problems over the weekend, so today’s episode of Retronauts Pocket will go live either tonight or Tuesday morning (Pacific Standard Time, of course). If you still crave content, feast your eyes on the video below, which is a recording of our Portland Retro Gaming Expo panel from October of last year. Even if you’ve already listened to the podcast version, now you can listen to it while watching four guys sit behind a table! Enjoy, and thanks for your patience.


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Retronauts Volume III Episode 14: Harvest Moon

Retronauts 14 cover

Hey gang — Bob here with a brand-new episode that might be slightly polarizing. Now, I don’t expect everyone to take an interest in the Harvest Moon series, but even if you don’t appreciate the somewhat repetitive mechanics, you can at least respect the fact that Harvest Moon as a whole still exists as an anomaly in the world of video games. Instead of shooting, punching, or slicing dudes, Yasuhiro Wada’s life sim gives players prosocial goals in an uber-friendly backdrop—and the series hasn’t veered from this intent nearly two decades after its birth. Joining us for this one is Adam Fitch, who donated generously to choose a topic and sit in as a guest host—and he’s the perfect guy for the job, considering the fact that he’s worked at Natsume (Harvest Moon’s publisher) for six years. That said, if I haven’t won you over with this preamble, please give this installment a try—as with Ray’s amazing wrestling episode, it could end up surprising you.

Libsyn (1:38:13 | MP3 | 94.6 MB) | SoundCloud

This episode’s description:

“For over 15 years, the Harvest Moon series has been teaching sickly indoor kids the virtues of tilling the land, petting the chickens, and having low-wage serfs do most of the dirty work. Join Bob Mackey, Jeremy Parish, Ray Barnholt, and special guest backer Adam Fitch as the Retronauts explore this prolific farming sim series, and maybe — just maybe — raise each other’s affection levels in the process.”

This episode’s musical breakdown:

  • 21:24 – Harvest Moon “Spring” (Tsuyoshi Tanaka)
  • 34:34 – Harvest Moon 64 “Fall” (Tsuyoshi Tanaka)
  • 44:19 – Harvest Moon: Back to Nature “Summer” (Miyuki Homareda)
  • 50:19 – Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland “Summer”
  • 56:58 – Harvest Moon: Back to Nature “Winter” (Miyuki Homareda)
  • 1:05:45 – Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life “Home Town Song”
  • 1:16:41 – Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life “Adult Period”
  • 1:35:52 – Harvest Moon: Back to Nature “Ending” (Miyuki Homareda)

Relevant Links:

Bob’s Yasuhiro Wada Interview

Bob’s Rune Factory 4 Review

The Ineffable Charm of Harvest Moon: Back to Nature

Harvest Moon Post-Mortem with Yasuhiro Wada (GDC 2012)

Your crops will remain forever moist and free of pestilence if you review our show in the iTunes Music Store.


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Retronauts Pocket 13 Takes the “Retro” Thing a Little Too Far

Apologies, citizens, as we appear to have taken our remit as “retronauts” a little too seriously this time around and set the Wayback Machine so far that we don’t even really talk about video games. Instead, in another “Retronauts roots” episode, we talk about the precursors of video games — the various electromechanical amusements that established arcades as an entity before the idea of using room-sized computers to control the movement of a dot around a tiny phosphor screen ever existed. Think of this as the Silmarillion to episode 13‘s Lord of the Rings.

As such, the conversation is a bit more dry than would be ideal. Whereas the previous episode featured us talking passionately and at length about things with which we had personal experience in our formative years, the concept of a pre-video arcade exists strictly in a museum sense for us. Because we’re not 60 years old, and therefore can’t speak about these things with the sort of intimate familiarity with which we went delved into classic video arcade games. Still, there’s some learnin’ to be had.

And my apologies if the theme sounds a little weird. I was trying to go for a cracklin’ 78rpm sound, as if “His Master’s Voice” was secretly playing Anamanaguchi, but I’m not sure it quite worked out. Oh well! Put on your carny jacket and bark at passersby as you listen to us poke and prod at video game prehistory.

Incidentally, this episode marks the halfway point of our Kickstarter-funded podcast journey. Crazy.

Retronauts 13 Pocket cover

It’s the most retro Retronauts ever as we look at the roots of video games in the form of pre-video arcade games. Ski-ball! Kinetoscopes! Electromechanical target galleries! Even WE aren’t this old. Sam Claiborn joins Jeremy, Ray, and Bob.

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Looking For a Few Good Cons

Retronauts SRGERetronauts Portland cover

Hello, listeners!

As we roll Retronauts into 2014, we want to get at least one other live show in the can, and would really like to hit the eastern US this time around. But we’re a bit ignorant of everything that’s out there. “PAX East!” you scream — and though that’s nice and all, we’d like to expand our horizons and consider cool cons from all along the eastern seaboard.

So, please, let us know of any conventions on the east coast that you think would be a good fit for a Retronauts show! We’ll consider any suggestion (or invitation, if you happen to be in charge), though it will get bonus points if it:

-Falls on a weekend: Sure, what doesn’t? Well, the ones we probably won’t be at.
-Is respectably sized: It doesn’t have to let in 7,000 people a day, but it’d be great if it’s in a city that attracts more than just the next town over.
-Is video game-centric: Naturally, though we mention it because while cons for comics, anime, etc. can be larger, there’s greater competition in getting in.

That’s about it. Please leave a comment or message here, or our other venues (Twitter, Facebook) and we’ll see what we can do. Hope to see you on the other side. Of the country.


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Retronauts Episode 13 Loves You, and It Loves Old Arcade Games

Retronauts 13 cover

Just a brief note here, since I’m on an island somewhere far away and time and bandwidth are limited for me at the moment. Retronauts Episode 13 is here! And it was recorded a long time ago! A few months ago, to be precise, back when I realized I needed to move across the country; we queued up a bunch of episodes all at once since I didn’t know when I’d be able to return to San Francisco to host episodes in person again. So… if it seems a little weird that we’re talking about things like Resogun in future tense, well, just consider this an episode of Retronauts that became “timeless” (read: dated) before it even debuted.

Arcade fanatic Sam Claiborn (of IGN fame) joins us again to discuss — what else? Arcade games. Specifically, we’re talking about the “golden age” of the arcades, with an emphasis on pre-Pac-Man works. It’s a long, rambling, digressive episode, which means it’s pretty much my personal platonic ideal for this podcast. It may not be particularly focused, but it’s a bunch of guys talking about old games they dig. Hopefully you will agree.

Music from this episode comes from Bucker & Garcia’s Pac-Man Fever, along with Yellow Magic Orchestra’s “Rydeen.”

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Find us on the iTunes Store and leave a nice review!


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