Almost 20 years ago, Nintendo showed the world how 3D games should be done with the phenomenal Super Mario 64. But in the passing decades, have the charms of this Nintendo 64 launch game faded out of existence? Leave it to the Retronauts to investigate! On this episode, join Bob Mackey, Jeremy Parish, Polygon’s Danielle Riendeau, and the Laser Time Podcast Network’s Henry Gilbert for a thorough discussion of this early 3D classic. (Note: No pickles were wolfed during the recording of this episode.)
…audio flavor, and video flavor.
Q*Bert is such an abstract, visual game, it would seem sort of ridiculous not to include images while discussing it, right? So, for this week’s Retronauts Micro, I’ve upgraded the mini-podcast to a mini-video as well.
Though of course, the audio version remains for you purists in the audience.
Moving forward, I hope to produce video versions of all my Micro episodes. Bob seems to have a good thing going with his mixtape episodes, so I imagine those will remain audio-only, but my own productions tend to be less inspired. Thus, I’m fancying them up with visuals. If I have time (ha!) I’d also like to go back and rework my older Micro episodes into videos as well.
Journey back in time to 1982 and the sassiest mascot character ever to cuss up an arcade: Q*Bert. And if this episode seems a bit brief, well, be sure to check out the video version on retronauts.com or usgamer.net!
The music in this week’s audio version comes from Q*Bert 3. It’s not very good music—it’s actually kind of annoying!—but what can ya do?
As a reminder, the Retronauts project is made possible through Patreon! I also have posted some of the original podcast cover illustrations up for sale, if you’d like to give someone the gift of slightly amateurish video game watercolors this holiday.
…with the help of arcade legend Jaz Rignall.
We don’t often tackle the golden age of arcade games, because it’s a little tough in this day and age to really immerse yourself in the classic arcade experience. But Williams’ games were so memorable—and guest Jaz Rignall so versed in them—that this turned out to be a bang-up episode. Not too many arcade manufacturers offered as high a proportion of hits to releases as Williams, but with the likes of Defender, Robotron, and Joust under their belts, they were true greats.
These days, I believe Williams’ properties are owned by Warner (who acquired Midway, who in turn had merged with Williams). Hopefully they’ll make it a little easier to experience these classics again! It’s been a couple of console generations since we’ve had a proper Williams anthology.
Jaz Rignall joins Bob and Jeremy to look back at Williams, who became an arcade legend with a small but fantastic collection of coin-ops. The innovation of Defender! The brilliance of Robotron! How Sinistar was arguably the arcade’s first RTS! And more!
Though it wouldn’t have the same longevity as its contemporaries, Human Entertainment’s Clock Tower stands as one of the first console games to truly embrace horror. On this episode of Retronauts Micro, listen in as Bob explores the strange-but-compelling series that meshed point-and-click adventure mechanics with the added threat of a guy who wants to impale you with garden shears.
Devil May Cry has been a fact of life for the past 15 years, and though the series isn’t as prolific as it once was, Hideki Kamiya’s bold creation has had an immeasurable impact on game design. On this episode of Retronauts, Bob Mackey, Jeremy Parish, and guests Greg Moore (of Capcom) and Jose Otero (of IGN) for a frank and thorough discussion of stylish action. In the words of beloved poet and action game star Dante, “Let’s rock.”
Hey there, did you manage to check out this month’s multiple Clock Tower livestreams? Well, if you’re not subscribed to our Twitter, Facebook, Twitch, or YouTube accounts, it’s possible you could have missed them. If so, you’ll find them posted below—in chronological order—so be sure to give them a look if the subject matter interests you (hell, even if it doesn’t). We’ll be doing more streams from here on out, so be sure you’re hooked into one of our many social media options to know when they’re happening!
Hi kids, sorry this episode is a day late going up here on the ol’ blog. I ended up folding this Retronauts into a not-so-coincidentally timed USgamer cover story, because it dovetailed so well with that feature. But of course, you cool people are all subscribed to our podcast feed or back us on Patreon, right? So you’ve already listened to this episode and the post here is a mere formality, I’m sure.
Anyway! This episode covers a topic near and dear to everyone’s heart, I have no doubt: The U.S. launch of the NES. Yeah, we talked about the system’s Japanese debut waaaay back in Season III Episode 1, but this is (1) a different facet of the console’s life, and (2) this episode features and entirely different cast of expert opinions. And I do mean expert! Guests this time around:
- Frank Cifaldi, now of Digital Eclipse and once and former Retronauts co-host (returning at long last to the show, although we actually have already recorded an episode with him that simply has yet to be published);
- Steve Lin, who does work in the media but has a remarkable collection not just of classic games but also of the sort of valuable historical ephemera that no one else really keeps up with—flyers, ads, and even more esoteric and cool stuff (as you’ll hear in this episode);
- Gary Butterfield of Watch Out for Fireballs, returning guest with lots of brilliant insights into classic NES games;
- and Bob Mackey, obviously. I mean, come on.
Sadly I wasn’t able to wrangle everyone into a single room, because this was recorded guerrilla style at Portland Retro Gaming Expo last weekend. Instead, the episode features a series of one-on-one conversations between myself and each guest. I think this format works a little better for Micros, but it’s still a pretty good episode, with lots of great insights and anecdotes from each participant. I apologize for the occasional overlap in my own remarks… kind of hard to avoid that given the nature of the show. But if you can bear with the occasional rehashed remark, I think you’ll find lots to enjoy here. So, please do enjoy.
Live at Portland Retro Gaming Expo, Jeremy speaks one-on-one with podcast friends Frank Cifaldi, Gary Butterfield, Steve Lin, and of course our own Bob Mackey about the weekend’s big commemorative event: The NES’s 30th anniversary.
And please, for the love of all that’s good, be sure to check out my Masayuki Uemura profile/NES retrospective/expanded oral history cover story at USgamer. As I said on Twitter, I’ve written a lot about the NES over the years (A LOT), but this is by far the single best piece I’ve ever put together. If this thing doesn’t get 100,000 views, it’s because the world is a cold and empty shell of bitter regrets that deserves to explode. So be sure to share the link with your friends, for the benefit of all life on this planet.
It’s the Halloween season, which means it’s officially time for Spooky Stuff. And what better way to honor this annual celebration of all things scary than a sampling of the most eerie and foreboding music to exist in a video game? On this special episode of Retronauts Micro, crank up the volume, lock yourself in a musty basement, and let Bob take you on an audio tour of Resident Evil’s iconic save rooms. Hope you brought some ink ribbons…
Ten years ago, director Fumito Ueda released his second game, the phenomenal Shadow of the Colossus–little did we know, it’d be another decade before we saw his next project come into being. On this episode of Retronauts, join Bob Mackey, Jeremy Parish, and guests Nick Suttner and Mikel Reparaz as the crew examines the games of a visionary whose genius was confined to a single console. Also, it’s our fiftieth full-length episode! So hooray for that.