We Answer Your Burning Questions on Retronauts Episode 20

retronauts 20 cover

Hey everyone — it’s your buddy Bob here with a minor disclaimer. Our audio equipment goofed up during the recording of this episode, and without the common decency to show any symptoms of its goofery. This isn’t a major problem, but Kat and Ray come off sounding little quieter than Jeremy and myself, and I had to perform the audio editing equivalent of open-heart surgery to make episode 20 as listenable as possible. And because I spent so much time fixing this one, I don’t have much left to write my standard overlong blog post, so I hope you can forgive me.

That said, this one is our listener mail episode, and our old friend Kat Bailey sat in to help us field some of your questions (and there were a lot of them). Oh yeah, and be sure to enter our new contest! Just write a review of Retronauts in the iTunes music store (an honest one!) by May 14 at 11:59pm PST—remembering to use the word “fandango” at some point within your text—and you’ll be entered whether you like it or not. All three winners will receive a free t-shirt, but our grand prize winner will have their topic idea made into an episode! Exciting!

Libsyn (1:44:21 | MP3 Download) | SoundCloud

This episode’s description:

“Mail call! Or something like that. Retronauts might be too cool for the United States Postal Service, but that doesn’t mean we can’t answer your burning questions! On this listener-focused episode, join Bob Mackey, Jeremy Parish, Ray Barnholt and Kat Bailey as they respond to fans who submitted their online-digital-e-messages to Retronauts.com. NOTE: due to a technical fudge-up, Ray and Kat are a little quieter than they should be. Lots of time was spent getting this episode to the state it’s in now, so please be kind!”

Due to popular demand, here’s the track listing for episode 20:

  • 2:50 – “Stage 2 (Volcanic Stage)” Life Force (Konami Kukeiha Club)
  • 39:46 – “Hoohoo Village” Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (Yoko Shimomura)
  • 44:38 – “Serris / Yakuza Boss Theme” Metroid Fusion (Minako Hamano, Akira Fujiwara)
  • 1:23:25 – “Town of the Fishermen” Tomba 2 (Ashif Hakik, Masaya Hiraoka)
  • 1:39:32 – “Look Sharp, Be Sharp” (Boston Pops Orchestra)
  • 1:41:21 – “Stage 5 (Temple Stage)” Life Force (Konami Kukeiha Club)

And if you’re interested in getting all of Ray’s issues of SCROLL for one low price (including a lot of other great writing), visit storybundle.com.


Filed under Retronauts

31 Responses to We Answer Your Burning Questions on Retronauts Episode 20

  1. Christian T

    If I already wrote a review would updating said review help in anyway? That or at least look at older reviews for the contest word.

    • We definitely appreciate everyone who’s left us a review so far, but this contest is meant to motivate people who haven’t left theirs yet. That said, if you can find an above-board way to leave a new review with the contest word in it, more power to you!

      • Christian T

        Well it updates anyway like its a new review so I don’t think you can tell anyway. So nah nah

  2. Raegan

    You guys have painted yourselves into some obscure corners with the last couple of episodes. It was refreshing to hear about games I recognize, like Metroid and Zelda. I will repent and finally play Link to the Past. I’ve only played the original Zelda and a little bit of Windwaker and Twilight Princess. I only recently completed Super Metroid for the first time and am now tackling Metroid Prime. For someone that was around for the NES era, I have an embarassing backlog of games.

  3. I giggled a little at the comment about playing 7th Dragon illegally as I was playing 7th Dragon illegally while i listened
    The way I was playing the game was also relevant to the discussion about simulating old system’s idiosyncrasies. instead of playing the fan translation on a DS I’m playing on my television with a PS3 controller. I’m finding this game is way better when played entirely different than intended.

    Not really trying to make a point here. Just liked how the podcast and my life synced up a little.

  4. Will C.

    That part where you spliced in that american speech music while Bob delivered that rant was beautiful. I laughed pretty hard I had to rewind to hear what he was actually talking about. Great episode!

  5. Andy

    Guys, I love ya, but starting the show with 40 minutes of retro releases was tough. I’d suggest abandoning it all together with the recording schedule or just a list posted on the site. Just my 2 cents…

    • Oats Turner

      No WAY!! I love the breakdown and bitching about Virtual Console stuff.

      There’s an interesting parallel to be drawn here between Virtual Console and the Retronauts show itself. I think the hosts of Retronauts complain about Virtual Console only because they love the games so much and are 99% grateful, but it’s the displeased 1% that gets vocalized.

      Similarly, I think most Retronauts listeners are 99% grateful for the show, but there’s this 1% out there that nitpicks about ‘this segment was too long’ or ‘why don’t you guys talk about Xanadu games more’ and sometimes I feel like the hosts of this show perceive their listeners as red faced and sweaty screaming at the keyboard when they write their feedback.

      You guys (B, J & R) seriously don’t need to apologize if the audio quality is less than perfect or if it’s a day late. I understand you made a commitment and you feel bad when that falters, but I needn’t remind everyone that it was a little more than a year ago the idea of a Retronauts podcast was shitcanned forever by IGN after a painful previous year of dribbling out an episode once every two months or so. And now here we are served fresh-shit-piping-hot one new episode every week for a year, plus videos, extras, merch, etc.

      To me that makes the grumpy comments I see on here seem more than a little silly.

    • Doing it for a single one-off style episode, out of 40 to date, when it used to be a weekly mainstay, isn’t abandoning it?

    • Mega_Matt

      I really enjoy the retro news/releases. It’s something I’ve missed from the older episodes.

  6. Mega_Matt

    Thanks for answering my question guys and Kat! Bob’s rant on streaming was really funny, especially with the Battle Hymn of the Rebublic fading in from the background. It was also sad though because all of those points really do need to be addressed if streaming is ever gonna be a viable option.

    • The French Mistake

      That was hilarious. Smash-cut to an angry rabble of Retronauts listeners storming the gates of Netflix HQ

  7. Zach Adams

    Any chance of a music roundup?

  8. nobody78

    Great podcast. I know it would bore you guys and probably your listeners to talk about the same old games every week, but sometimes it’s nice to hear you talk about stuff that’s more familiar.

    Will you post the musical track listing for the podcast? Am I a dope for not being able to identify it by ear? That first clip in particular sounds like Mega Man something but I just can’t place it.

  9. Sean C

    I haven’t got through the whole episode yet. But I would love the original Rhythm Sengoku game on the Wii U. It was never released here. I tried playing on an emulator once but just couldn’t play it good on a PC. Would love to finally play this on a console. Loved the Retro roundup.

  10. Great episode, guys.
    I have to rebel against those saying it’s good to hear you talk about more mainstream retro games. I don’t mind a decent Zelda/Metroid chat every now and again, but I don’t come to Retronauts to hear how great A Link to the Past is because yes we know — it’s well-trodden ground. Not just to me, but you can tell the hosts enjoy talking about more obscure stuff as well. So yes, one vote here for obscure stuff 😛

  11. Sean C

    I really enjoyed hearing you talk about the upscaler and flashcarts. And none of your answers are wrong. I think there are solutions for everyone to experience retro games. But more on that in a minute.

    First there are collectors. They want want real games on real hardware generally. Many times will keep a CRT TV just for retro games. You need lots of space to store all those games and lots of money to buy games. Obviously not for everyone.

    Then there is straight emulation. What Bob said is true. Modern emulation is very good and is more that good enough. The barrier to entry is low, an Internet connection and a low end computer, maybe a USB joypad. They even have USB controller adapters for using real controllers for the system if you are so inclined. You don’t need a lot of space, except on your hard drive maybe. And the games look great on a PC monitor.

    There are people like me, who have a lot of retro consoles hanging around. But don’t really have the money or space for a ton of games. For someone like that flashcarts are really great. They have flashcarts for nearly every retro system now. Even the 2600. So take your PC Roms onto an SD card into a flashcart, and you can essentially have every game, playable on your existing hardware with original controllers. The plus is you you are not emulating anything and you are playing the actual game on real hardware. I supose the downside you don’t get the physicality of manuals and game boxes. Another plus is a lot of these flashcarts support emulator like features like save states, and have built in cheat codes, region free modes,and save files that don’t rely on a carts backup battery but instead are an actually file you can back up to you PC.

    So collectors and flashcart users have another delima. A lot of modern widescreen TVs flat out don’t support 240p video modes. Also they have to be upscaled by your TV and many times look like crap. So your choices are to use a CRT or buy an upscaler.

    Upscalers take the analog inputs of these old consoles, and use a better quality upscaler tuned to video games to make them playable on your HDTV, and make them look pretty great. Many also add back in scanlines which you do not get on an HDTV monitor. Many retro games graphics were actual made to integrate the scanlines into the art. So the lack of them makes the art look not as intended. Now the hole goes deeper.

    You can use an upscaler to your HDTV to run retro systems with composite cables or S-Video if you like. And you’ll get a picture comparable to the original system. But you can use an upscaler to access the RGB signal of your game console. Then RGB generally is the most pure output you can get from an analog system. In Japan the retro systems generally were built with RGB functionality for hooking up to a monitor. Usually but not always cut for cost in the US versions of game systems. So with an RGB cable to an upscaler with scanlines, you can achieve emulator quality graphics, with no emulation issues from real hardware.

    And I have to agree with Ray here. It is a pain getting your consoles to output an RGB signals. Whether it’s tracking down a rare Japanese 21-pin RPG cable for your SNES. To buying custom cables online and returning the because you got the wrong sync on green signal or accidentally brought a Eurpoean RGB SCART cable ( different pinout from Japan cable.) Or having to physically mod your console to output RGB in some cases. Only launch US N64 consoles even have the capability to be modded for RGB for example. Whereas the Saturn is RGB capable out of the box provided you track down the obscure Japanese Saturn RGB cable. It is a mess. I bought a RGB mini last year from Japan and so far have only got my Genesis working in glorious RGB on my HDTV with it so far. Again RGB is not for everybody. It requires considerable research and money to get that emulator quality picture to your HDTV. Whereas some people would be happy to buy an upscaler just so they could even play there NES on an HDTV with composite without having to go with the hassle of RGB.

    Then there are retro emulator systems that try to address some of these problems like the Retron 5. It attempts to give you an option to play your real games, with a built in upscaler on a real TV. I don’t really know what the market is for these. Your still basically playing an emulator. And you still have to have physical cartridges. Well you could buy a flashcart but then the costs gets pretty high. And compared to Bob hooking up his laptop to his TV you are not getting any better results. In fact a laptop to a TV is probrably superior than these Retro machines.

    Which brings me back to the final way to play Retro releases. Paid retro titles from game companies. You get often times great upscaler through your hardware like the Wii U or PS3. Actual play on your TV. And the fact that you know you are giving the creators money. That’s about it. In comparison to PC emulation or owning the actual cartridge or a flash cart, it’s a pretty poor deal.Thats why it so important that licensees put effort to make these releases the criterion collection of retro games if you will to make their offer attractive if you will compared to the alternatives. To give you something you can’t get from an emulator. You Sonics ultimate Genesis collection with game history’s and interviews. Your M2 developed games with multiple versions, 3D added in, arcade mode simulations, actual game manual scans. Your Kirby collection with art books and CD. Releasing a retro game with love and features you can’t get from the original games or ROMS is how they compete against everything else and make it successful. Not to mention better selection of titles but I don’t want to beat a dead horse there. That’s why I will buy anything pretty much M2 makes becaus of this kind of attention.meven if I don’t want to play Genesis Altered Beast in 3D, at least they included a mode where I could have random beast transformations. Also games like NES remix are a great way to provide value to retro games.

    Also Jeremy working on a Gameboy chronogaming project. I can not fucking wait. That is awesome.

    • Ugh, I biffed the timing. I didn’t think this episode would go up until next Monday! I didn’t want the world to know about Game Boy World until the system’s anniversary (which is, yes, next Monday).

    • Mega_Matt

      You are right. A lot of money, time, and work has to go into getting things like the Framemeister to work. I had to RGB mod my SNES mini and my N64 and I’m currently in the process of getting my NES Top Loader RGB modded as well. You can get a Euroscart adapter for the Framemeister and use that instead of JP21 too. That’s the route I went.

      I still have a CRT hooked also so if I feel I want to play my games through that with an RF adapter, I can. I hardly consider myself a collector but when I have the option to play something on original hardware I will. Fortunately I have the space for all this stuff.

      I’m not against emulation either. I have one of those USB SNES controller ports and it’s awesome. I use emulation when I don’t have a game and it’s not easily accessible or costs way too much money. If it wasn’t for emulation I would have never played Rondo of Blood or Earthbound (which I just played through for my first time on Wii U VC and it was great). I’m all for updating and preserving old games through emulation or however it gets done. It’s something that absolutely needs to happen.

      Flash carts are very awesome also. I don’t think they all can play games with special chips though. Just a minor set back but a lot of good games use special chips.

    • Great comment! I wish I had something more to add…

  12. I enjoyed the return of the retro release news, made me nostalgic for earlier podcasts about nostalgia.

    Re: Bob’s rant, I agree that Netflix has made it inscrutable to browse, and that the new PS3 storefront is terrible, but you can still search by all PS1/PS2 classics and sort A-Z. It’s just buried several layers deep as Jeremy said.

    The Ray/Kat audio thing wasn’t too bad, thanks for editing. I will second the request to add the songs to the show notes though!

  13. It’s funny, I’m an audio engineer/producer and I don’t really even notice the audio problems–or at least they’re minute enough to look past. The rant was awesome, though.

    Anyway, thanks for taking the time to answer your fans’ questions, and thanks to the fans for writing some interesting topics. I particularly liked the anime-inspired one and the now obligatory Kat vs Jeremy battle, heh heh!

    God, I love Retronauts.

  14. I can’t believe I forgot about those Sega Ages Collections when I asked my question. I’ve actually got the Treasure Box one, though I’ve only had the chance to play it infrequently. I wouldn’t mind getting the others, but it is kinda a pain to get them at this point.

    Oh, and like several other have said, the music during Bob’s rant was brilliant. It was subtle enough that I wasn’t sure it was actually happening at first. Great job guys.

  15. JohnLearned

    First, thanks a lot for answering my question as well as giving that much attention to it, and thanks for pronouncing my name correctly. That happens about as often as you think it might.

    I’m sort of optimistic about a pro-streaming/ cloud future, but I absolutely see where you’re coming from and even agree with you, Bob. I remember when I started streaming with Netflix however many years ago it was, and it was a sea of choice. As time went on and rights came and went through Netflix’s fingers, that sea looked more like a small river of options. This scares me. I don’t want Nintendo or Sony to all of a sudden lose the rights to offer certain games on their services so what we’re all left with will be first-party content. Sure, there’s good stuff within that, but that’s not the makeup of a system’s library. Granted, I’m not naive enough to think that we’re going to see every PS1/PS2/PS3 game on PlayStation Now, but it feels very plausible that, say, Square Enix will have the stable of Final Fantasy games on the service, go through money trouble (as SE does) and begin to inflate their licensing fees to the point where Sony no longer wants to pony up for it, or at least take a break from paying them until they can either find a point where they find it reasonable to shell out for them or SE starts bringing the price back down. I know that’s an extreme example, but if we’re using Netflix for context we can point to instances like this that have already happened.

    The second thing that makes me uneasy is discoverability, which is something Jeremy mentioned a little in regard to interface. It’s going to take a long time for the growing pains of making something like this work to a reliable extent, and within that time, you probably won’t be able to play Tomba (as Bob mentioned) unless specifically go looking for it. I think for people listening to this show it’s less of a problem, but for someone not as accustomed to digging around for solid older content, they’re going to be punched in the face by Tomb Raider, Crash Bandicoot, and Jet Moto. Again, if we only see a small amount of a library present on the service at any given time, this might not be a big deal. But if in the years (and years and years) to come that most of it goes up there, the odds are pretty slim that my eventual kids will play Einhander unless I point it out to them.

    Of course, the infrastructure isn’t there, input lag is a factor, and we still don’t have any idea how games that have online components now will continue to operate if they’re on a service like this, which goes back to what I originally implied with SFIII: Third Strike. Personally, I’ll be hanging on to my consoles for the foreseeable, long-in-the-distance future until I feel it all works to a strong enough extent that I feel comfortable enough letting them go –whenever that may be. But I’ll reiterate that 15 years from now, possibly less, I have a hard time thinking that services like PS Now running via streaming devices aren’t going to run the majority of gaming played via televisions. I hope it works better than I think it will, but I guess we’ll see.

    Thanks again, everybody, and great episode.

    PS- The PlayStation store is absolute shit. The original store was ugly, but at least it was functional. Browsing through it now is torture.