Tag Archives: famicom

Put on your power tie and Power Blazer for today’s Gintendo

Well hello! It’s been a while since I last streamed a video game while sipping a libation, because I’m afraid I’ve been out of town doing Important Retronauts Things for the past week. Today, however, I’m settled back in, and it’s time to get back on the wagon. Uh, so to speak.

This afternoon I’ll be getting together with Ben and Benj to record another episode of Retronauts East (it’s all about SEGA this time), and once they’re gone I’ll be hitting the digital airwaves to broadcast a classic (cult classic, at least) NES game: Power Blade by Taito. Join me at 5:30 p.m. ET (2:30 PT) for a look back at this cloniest of Mega Man clones, which I’ve always had a soft spot for. It’s no masterpiece, but it’s a totally solid 2D platform shooter with some enjoyable upgrade mechanics and that wonderful 8-bit Japanese trend of combining loopy weirdness with sci-fi futurism.

But that’s not all! 

Rather than focusing strictly on Power Blade, I’ll also be looking at its Famicom counterpart, Power Blazer. I’ve heard Power Blazer was wildly different from Power Blade (and generally not as refined), so I picked up a copy in Japan to discover simultaneously with you, my friends. We’ll start with the U.S. game before moving along to the Famicom original, because regression is apparently all the rage these days.

So please join me this fine afternoon for a stream of a fine game and some fine gin (gin optional). I’ll be streaming on YouTube per usual beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET.

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Retronauts Pocket Episode 3: NES Accessories

Retronauts Pocket 3

We know that the games are what makes retro game appreciation, but for many of us, it wasn’t entirely the games that made an impression, but what we played them with. After all, monstrosities like R.O.B. and the Power Glove became much-discussed parts of NES history, though relatively few people actually owned them. On that note, this episode of Retronauts Pocket touches on NES accessories, with a focus on controllers or other direct-input peripherals such as the NES Advantage, NES Max, Power Pad, Acclaim’s wireless controllers, and several more. Of course, we couldn’t talk about everything (it’s Retronauts Pocket, after all), but hopefully we helped jog your memory a little. Thanks for listening, and look forward to more accessory episodes when I take the helm again.

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It’s here: Retronauts Vol. III Episode 1

retronauts-coverart-01

You pined for it, you paid for it, you’ve waited for it, and now the fruits upon the tree of our labor have ripened at last for you to pluck and savor. What I’m saying is that the first new episode of the Retronauts podcast is here. Acquire it through the delivery method of your preference:

Libsyn (1:27:56 | MP3 | 60.4 MB) | SoundCloud | YouTube (coming soon)

We’ll have an iTunes feed soon, but since we can’t use the old feed it’s a chicken-and-egg situation: We have to have episodes before Apple will list them. In the meantime, you can add the show yourself by going to iTunes’ File menu (the Advanced menu in pre-11 versions), selecting Subscribe to Podcast… and pasting in our Libsyn URL (http://retronauts.libsyn.com/rss). But basically, we ask that you be patient on the iTunes front; it moves a bit slowly, and the system is out of our hands.

Or you could just listen to it here, I guess.

This episode’s description:

“We’re back! By the power of crowdfunding! Retronauts launches a new season by marking the 30th anniversary of three crucial Japanese consoles: Famicom, SG-1000, and MSX. Featuring the voice of Chrontendo‘s Dr. Sparkle and a lovely new musical theme.”

This episode’s breakdown:

  • 0:00 | Introduction (feat. the new Retronauts theme by Anamanaguchi)
  • 6:31 | Musical Interlude: Final Fantasy V “Ahead on Our Way” (Nobuo Uematsu)
  • 7: 07 | Virtual Console lamentations celebrations
  • 20:40 | Musical Interlude: Balloon Fight theme (Hirokazu “Hip” Tanaka)
  • 21: 15 | Classic revivals: Jajamaru-kun and Umihara Kawase
  • 27:52 | Musical Interlude: Umihara Kawase “Sea” (Shinji Tachikawa)
  • 28:28 | July 1983: The birth of Japanese console gaming
  • 59:15 | Musical Interlude: Faxanadu “title” (Jun Chikuma)
  • 59:44 | July 1983 continued
  • 1:15:23 | Musical Interlude: Hudson’s Adventure Island “Wild Plains” (Jun Chikuma)
  • 1:15:54 | Damn kids, get off our lawns!
  • 1:27:24 | Musical Outro: Wrecking Crew “title” (Hirokazu “Hip” Tanaka)

Our new season (that’s what we’re calling this year’s worth of Kickstarted episodes, because there’s no cliché like a well-worn cliché) should largely be business as usual. Four people sit in a room and talk about old video games. However, we should bring to light a few differences of note.

Probably the biggest difference — one you won’t notice until our second episode — is that the host seat is now a rotating duty. I’m the lead voice this week, but our second episode will feature the vocal talents of M.C. Bob, and the third episode will see Ray as host (etc.). We’ve already recorded episode two (as well as the first two “mini” episodes, because we’re taking our commitment to maintain a weekly release schedule very seriously; this is a benefit of having a show run by three aggressively Type-A personalities driven by a nagging sense of guilt and duty) and already I can see the difference in Bob’s extremely meticulous approach to organizing a show and my looser, more extemporaneous style. Also, as promised, our 26 biweekly “main” episodes will be 60-to-90-minute productions right in line with the old podcasts (which, I should note, can still be gathered from 1UP.com for as long as Ziff-Davis leaves it up and running), while the “mini” episodes on off weeks will be shorter and more unusual. Our hope is that you’ll like some of them, if not all.

Anyway, back to this episode: You should regard this episode as a complement to the retrospective series I’ve been running over at my new gig, USgamer.net. They both cover the same material — namely, the near-simultaneous launch of three different game systems in July of 1983. As the U.S. console market was imploding, the Japanese market was only beginning to take shape, and the machines that launched in Japan that month would make an impact whose effects we still feel to this day. The prime mover of July 1983, of course, was the Nintendo Famicom (which would come to the U.S. as the NES) — but everyone always celebrates the debut of the Famicom. For this episode (and the articles on USgamer), I wanted to paint a bigger picture and put the Famicom’s launch into the perspective of its time by looking at its contemporary competition, the state of Japanese home gaming before its arrival, and why things shook out differently in Japan than the U.S. Hopefully this podcast will help shed a little light on the way things were, even if only to better appreciate the significance of what Nintendo managed to accomplish.

And, of course, you should also look to the first few episodes of our gracious guest host’s long-running Chrontendo project to get a sense of just what gaming was like in the summer of 1983. Enjoy the show, and happy listening/reading/viewing!

Supplemental content:

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