Retronauts Episode 80: Famicom Boom-era Developers

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TOSE! Towa Chiki! VAP! Meldac! SunSoft! Atelier Double! These are but a few of the studios we (that is, Jeremy, Dr. Sparkle, and Frank Cifaldi) explore in this look at weird, often terrible games made by vanished Japanese developers in the ’80s.

Libsyn (1:59:16 | MP3 Download | SoundCloud)

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9 Responses to Retronauts Episode 80: Famicom Boom-era Developers

  1. gutzsant

    This is a very interesting topic for me, so I truly enjoyed this podcast and I loved how Dr. Sparkle’s and Frank Cifaldi ‘s contributions were in-depth and greatly harmonized with Jeremy’s (although Jeremy showed his age with his Kidd Video comment).

    For me, the most interesting aspect of these small Japanese Famicom era developers is that, within their crappy games, some times good ideas were tried, similar to how it happened with animation studios in 1980s OVAs, and, just like most 1980s OVAs, a good deal of their games were bad, but some times real jewels emerged. My favorite example is Infinity’s The Battle of Olympus (such a shame that the game most likely will never be released on Virtual Console). I admire TOSE’s dedication to their craft over all these years which has allowed them to survive since the Japanese 1980s economic boom and through the Lost Decade.

    I expect to listen in the future an episode dedicated to small developers from the 1990s, such as Takeru (Little Samson) or Amccus (Harvest Moon), and another dedicated to those small developers that lasted longer, but ended up disappearing even when they had moderate success, like Neverland (Lufia) or Cing (Hotel Dusk).

  2. John Smith

    Actually Ringo Starr and George Carlin *both* hosted Thomas at various points.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_the_Tank_Engine#Voice_actors

  3. This was a really great ep. Jeremy even held Bob down by throwing in his own random joke opportunities when he saw an opening LOL!

    I do wish you guys would’ve thrown in THQ and LJN as well, though (Hmm–for that matter, Acclaim as well). But that’s minute to the entire span of issues which I think you all covered.

    Oh, and thank you for mentioning Shmuplations.com. Everybody that listens to Retronauts NEEDS to go there!! Can’t recommend that site enough. The site literally just posted a Koji Kondo interview today.

  4. Nathan Daniels

    Jeremy,
    Allow me to retract my statement a while back about you being less engaged. I jumped on board the Retronauts bandwagon during a stretch where you were mostly pretty serious on air. Not having been exposed to the sarcastic, wisecracking Jeremy of the call-in show, your comparitive jollity in recent episodes seemed to be a major shift.

    Whatever. What I mean to say is, I enjoy the show in any case. I particularly loved this episode, since Frank Cifaldi and Dr. Sparkle are favorites of mine, as is listening to meandering banter about crappy Japanese games. And I laughed loudly and without restraint at the cover illustration. The expression on (what we can see of) the explorer’s face is classic!

  5. dc12

    Very interesting episode about KusoGame developers.

    Aw, you guys went past Super Monkey Adventure’s “Hot Coffee” problem, but that’s more in Bob’s area I guess.

    I’ve gained a new appreciation for TOSE, whoever they are.

  6. not chris antista

    Great ep, what are the names of the tracks used during the breaks and end please

  7. Nathan Daniels

    Jeremy and Bob,
    This episode reminded me to tell you about Pixelated Audio. It’s a podcast that essentially attempts to do for video game music what Retronauts does for video games, but with a focus on a lot of games that are obscure to American audiences. One of the show’s co-hosts, Bryan Mosley, is fluent in Japanese and has interviewed a lot of Japanese composers to get information that would otherwise be inaccessible to most of us. For example, they recently interviewed Masahiro Kajihara(one of the most prolific composers of PC-9801 games), and this last week they interviewed Takushi Hiyamuta, the principal composer for Metal Slug and Neo Turf Masters. Jeremy, I know you’re not into listening to podcasts so much, but I wanted to put this one on everyone’s radar here since the show does great things for game music curation and awareness.

    Oh, and Bob, hope you’re feeling better!