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.

17 thoughts on “Retronauts Special #2 – Live from Portland Retro Gaming Expo 2013

  1. Having a Shining Force track in there made my day.

    You know, I don’t know where Ray is coming, saying that the 32X’s library fared better than the Sega CD’s. Sega CD may not have had a great library, but it has enough quirky titles that a collector can build up a small but respectable library of games. It’s pretty good as an extension to your Genesis library. It’s like having a bunch of Genesis games that just really sound good. (…and have annoying load times.)

    32X, by contrast, is so sparse. I can’t think of too many unique games worth playing that don’t have “Virtua” in the title. I suppose arguments could be made for After Burner Complete and Space Harrier, but you’ll have to pardon my lack of enthusiasm over dated arcade games. I mean, HOW OLD was After Burner by that point???

    Of course, if you have both, then you can play Tom Zito’s quintology of madness. Have I ever told you guys that Supreme Warrior on the Sega CD/32X is the worst video game I’ve ever played?

    It’s true.

  2. Hey, there was only one person on that “crew” who wasn’t kind to the Genesis. Let’s not paint me as a villain, please. I get enough of that elsewhere on the Internet.

  3. Thanks for coming, guys. Any thoughts on the show in general? The “caliber” of guests was quite different than, say, PAX, with David Crane and Joe DeCuir, et al, and I kind of enjoyed how small it was. The panels were a little too limited on time, but understandably, I suppose. I could have listened to the aforementioned guys all day. Joe came up during the Retrogame Roadshow panel and almost took it over, which was fun. In the arcade section, I noticed there was a row of cabinets that kind of mirrored the “Arcade Racing Games” episode quite nicely.

  4. I randomly listened to both of the old Retronauts Genesis episodes last week on a whim, and in one of them, there was some lament over having to eventually do a podcast about Quintet. I think Shane even said it’s just going to be full of tears. This week has weirdly come full circle

  5. Having Chris Kohler on a Genesis podcast all those years ago was not a wise idea, but it certainly was entertaining.

  6. I think Bob and Kevin Gifford got an hour and a half of talking into a hour-long podcast. I honestly checked my ipod to make sure it hadn’t been switched to 2x speed.

    I am not complaining at all. I felt like I was getting more info for my time. It was a great podcast, but man those guys have some ideas in their head and they are straining to get out.

    I hope that the Retronauts tackles the Sega CD by itself in a future episode. Whether from the cheesy angle of all of those FMV games or the legitimately good games. Bob even praised Road Avenger a few podcasts ago, which is shocking because while I owned it, I thought that game was panned critically. Although at least according to Wikipedia, Toei Animation created the short that the game uses, which is not half bad.

  7. Delightful episode as always, and as a lifelong Mega Driver, it’s nice to hear the subject get at least somewhat positive treatment. :)

    Granted, I do not have extensive experience with either, but I too kind of balked at the assertion that the 32X has a more worthwhile library than the Mega CD. Even if they were impressive at the time I somewhat question the value in revisiting ports of games like Virtua Racing and Virtua Fighter – if just for the curiosity I’d honestly probably be more interested in going back to the FMV games on the MCD. But either way, on the Mega CD you had not only aforementioned gems like Panic! or Snatcher, there were decent (if unspectacular) games with awesome CD music like Eye of the Beholder, The Terminator and Final Fight CD, not to mention stuff like Lunar or Popful Mail. I’d take the MCD over the 32X any day of the week.

    Because I can’t help myself, some thoughts on two of the questions from the Q&A:
    When it comes to noteworthy licensed games, Batman immediately comes to mind. The first Sunsoft game may forever stand in the shadow of its NES little brother, but it is definitely a great game in its own right (if not very challenging). The Adventures of Batman & Robin on the other hand is tough as nails, but truly has to be seen to be believed. Amazing 3D effects, screen-covering bosses and all kinds of visual trickery going on from start to finish. Really a fantastic showcase of the kind of stuff some people could squeeze out of the hardware towards the end of its lifespan.
    Another licensed game I’ll always have a soft spot for is Robocop Vs. The Terminator. Not really a fantastic game by any means (superior to the SNES one, for whatever that’s worth…), but with some nice grungy audiovisuals that marks the game as distinctly Mega Drive.

    As far as great MD soundtracks go, outside the usual suspects (Sonic, Shinobi, Streets of Rage, Thunder Force, et al), here’s a couple I would like to recommend:
    -the aforementioned Batman. This soundtrack holds up just as well as the NES one, in my opinion.
    -Castlevania/Vampire Killer. Hardly an unknown game or soundtrack, but it absolutely deserves mention. Michiru Yamane’s first Castlevania soundtrack and still one of her best.
    -Golden Axe II. A somewhat underrated game in general, I think, even if it’s in several ways just as good (if not better) than the first one. The fantastic music is definitely a highlight.

    • Completely agree on the Batman soundtrack. I like it much better than the NES version. Past that, I think only Thunder Force IV had better tunes on the MD

  8. I’m disappointed nobody ever mentions Silpheed when it comes to the good Sega CD games, that game is great, a space shooter with some pretty modern looking setpieces thanks to the way it uses very low color video as the scrolling background, making it possible to have some really crazy stuff happen back there. The very limited color palette gives it a pretty unique but still beautiful look as well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nt_ZJ9mEgBY

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