This week, it’s a two-hour lovefest for Mega Man

Hi! Big episode this week, in more ways than one.

One way: It’s a very lengthy episode, clocking in at nearly two dense hours of commentary and nostalgia. And it only covers nine games total, really — Mega Man 1 through 6 and the three Mega Man Legends titles. That’s like, 1/10 of the all the Mega Man games ever made.

Second way: We have a bunch of info on the newly announced Mega Man Legacy Collection, which is relevant to this topic. Capcom Unity‘s Brett Elston and Greg Moore join us not only to talk about Mega Man games, but also to detail the upcoming anthology, which is being produced by the former Digital Eclipse guys at Other Ocean. Former Retronauts contributor (and occasional cohost! Check out the Tengen episode!) Frank Cifaldi has a huge role in the anthology, and that alone means it’s likely to sit among the best, most accurate, and most loving compilation of classic games we’ve ever seen in the U.S.

You can read more about it all at USgamer. Or Capcom Unity. Or hey, just listen here.

Description for this episode:

Jeremy and Bob are joined by Capcom’s Brett Elston and Greg Moore to revisit a topic near to everyone’s heart: the Mega Man legacy. (And also the Mega Man Legacy Collection, due later this year.)

Listen or download here:

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Man. If only revisiting old Retronauts topics always resulted in announcements like this.

Retronauts Micro 11 Gets Virtual

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Last week, we talked about the Game Boy line’s would-be competitors from the late ’90s. This week: A look at its erstwhile replacement, Virtual Boy. Since people actually bought and liked Neo Geo Pocket (and to a lesser degree WonderSwan), last week’s conversation worked as a full episode. Virtual Boy, however… that’s a 10-minute monologue topic if ever there was one.

Description for this episode:

Following our look at Game Boy’s competitors in the late ’90s, Jeremy explores the system’s would-be successor: Nintendo’s disastrous Virtual Boy. Aw, but it wasn’t all bad.

Listen or download here:

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Next week, we’ll be back with another podcast. It’s kind of what we do.

A Rare opportunity for education with Episode 35

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Hi everyone, it’s Monday. And we all know Garfield hates Mondays because he hates awesome podcasts about video game history. But since you enjoy such things, you’ll be delighted to know that the latest episode of Retronauts is now live. Perhaps you’ll even be chuffed, given that today’s episode takes us to jolly old England to explore the history of one that land’s most legendary developers, Rare.

Ye olde description:

UK ex-pat Jaz Rignall joins Bob and Jeremy to discuss England’s crown jewel: Rare. From their early era as Ultimate Play the Game to their N64 glory days, we cover the full history of this enigmatic developer. By request of Kickstarter backer Michael Lee!

And the usual shenanigans:

Libsyn (1:49:23 | MP3 Download) | SoundCloud | Subscribe on iTunes | RSS | Support the show on Patreon

Incidentally, we’ve just about wrapped up all our Kickstarter episodes with this — just a handful more to go! Drop us a line if you were a backer at the episode or co-hosting level and still haven’t told us what you want, OK? And the backer-exclusive content hasn’t been forgotten about! Expect good news on that front soon…

This week in Retronauts, you shall be as gods

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Hi everyone! It’s a little something different this week for Retronauts Micro.

A few years ago, I revisited a game I deeply hated, Xenogears, with the intention of giving it a second chance. After pouring a heck of a lot of time into it, I came away not precisely changed, but with a deeper understanding of my issues with the game along with a deeper appreciation of what director Tetsuya Takahashi and his team were trying to accomplish with it. I wrote up my findings in a lengthy essay for my side project GameSpite Journal; rather than retread the same territory, I’ve adapted that old essay here into a condensed podcast script.

Music this episode, of course, comes from Xenogears, because what kind of idiot would create a podcast about Xenogears and not use Xenogears music?

Libsyn (9:30 | MP3 Download) | SoundCloud | Subscribe on iTunes | RSS feed

Jeremy explores his uncomfortable mixture of admiration for and frustration with Squaresoft’s almost-classic RPG for PlayStation, Xenogears. It’s a complicated episode for a complicated game.

Relive the days when Nintendo’s handheld announcements made you happy, not angry

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Look, we could argue at length about the point at which something qualifies for discussion under the banner of Retronauts. Some people still hold fast to the idea that anything after the NES launch doesn’t really count as old, an idea that had some merit back when I first saw it being bandied about at the dawn of console emulation circa 1996 but makes much less sense in 2015.

But whatever your personal definition, I won’t lie: Talking about the Nintendo DS as a classic game system is really stretching that definition to the breaking point. Not only is the system barely a decade old — practically brand new in this, the year Home Pong turns 40! — but you can still buy DS games and systems at retail if you look hard enough. They’re easier to find these days than most Amiibos.

In our defense (or rather, my defense, since I was the idiot who decided to put this episode together), the DS began life pretty much being retro. It looked so clunky and primitive next to Sony’s PSP… and yet, as we discuss in this episode, it absolutely spanked the poor PSP in short order, despite the odds being stacked almost hilariously against it. The success of the DS seems almost poignant when contrasted against the seeming tone-deafness with which Nintendo continues to approach its sequel, the 3DS, as seen in the wake of last week’s New 3DS XL announcement. It was a heady time, when games that looked a decade old could be the best-sellers of the generation. The DS was a weird system that should have failed horribly… but it didn’t, and we love it both for its tenacity and its vast and entertaining software library.

What is “retro”? This week, we test the limits by talking about a 10-year-old system whose games you can still buy at retail. But in fairness, the Nintendo DS was pretty much retro from the moment of its conception. Featuring Games Radar‘s Henry Gilbert and USgamer’s Kat Bailey.

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Music in this episode comes from the Dragon Quest IX Symphonic Suite album, because why not?

P.S., if you enjoy Retronauts, may we recommend USgamer’s podcast From US to You!? It’s a similar mix of people to Retronauts, and a similar low-key form of discussion, but it’s focused primarily on current topics rather than game history. Give it a listen.

Hark, the herald angels bellow, “Telenet and Valis is go!”

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You can tell it truly is a season of miracles, because we somehow managed — about five years after the fact! — to pull Shane Bettenhausen (and Christian Nutt) into the studio so they could gush about the Valis series for more than an hour. Bob and I are almost ghostlike presences this week, but somehow I don’t think anyone’s going to complain. This will probably be the first episode I’ve hosted in years that no one will complain about, because it’s a work of sincere enthusiasm by two passionate fans, tackles a niche series in exhaustive detail, and above all has the authenticity of a first-person account.

We are committed to making full Retronauts episodes a biweekly (that is, fortnightly) endeavor, but we’ve made an exception this week as a seasonal gift to everyone who’s supported us over these past couple of years while we fly solo, free of the succour (and funding) of corporate interests. This episode could never have come to pass without your help. You are cool.

You can read more about this episode at USgamer, but you can listen or download here. If you like.

Yes. It actually happened.

The next few episodes will be Micros while we take it relatively easy over the holiday break (and wrangle our schedule back into proper order), but we’ll be working on finishing up the last of our Kickstarter obligations while we’re away. And when we get back, we can all sort out what everyone wants for their first round of Patreon awards. Materialism!

Download links:

Libsyn (1:24:48 | MP3 Download) | SoundCloud | RSS | Patreon

And of course, the usual begging for iTunes reviews goes here. We’re never going to be the most popular show on iTunes, but they can’t get rid of us that easily.

What a horrible night to have Retronauts Pocket Episode 25

Our current run of Retronauts is winding down, and this marks my last stint in the hosting chair for this season. After venturing out into the terrifying world of unfamiliar UK games from the ’80s last week, I felt compelled to scurry back to the comforting embrace of the familiar this time around. Yes, it’s a return to that most abused and tired of classic Retronauts topics, Castlevania.

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Since all those old episodes have long since vanished into the ether, we figured, “Why not?” We’ll almost certainly be revisiting topics from the older, now-missing seasons of Retronauts in the next phase of the show. Consider this a sort of warning shot, I suppose.

Not really much to say here except that the music is from the Akumajou Dracula MIDI Collection album, and also thanks! It’s been an interesting and sometimes challenging run fielding your various topic requests, and I hope you’ve enjoyed what we’ve put together over the past year. Thank you for your support, and I’m sure you’ll hear me stambling my way through hosting duties again in the not-too-distant future.

A buffet of download options awaits you!

Direct download (MP3) | SoundCloud | RSS
Please subscribe to and review us on the iTunes Store because, eh, why not.
You can also listen right here on this very blog post if you prefer:

Retronauts Vol. III Episode 25: (Union) Jack in for 100 minutes of ’80s games history

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In the many years we’ve been doing Retronauts (the show is almost eligible to be its own topic at this point), our one big weakness has been our coverage of ’80s UK gaming. This has made many people angry and is widely considered… well, kind of inevitable, really. The British 8-bit microcomputer scene of the ’80s was very specific to Britain; outside of the Commodore 64, all the systems that defined the decade for England never really had much availability or impact beyond the English Channel. Though it would prove to be a fertile ground for major players who remain active today (Jeff Minter! Codemasters! DMA Designs aka Rockstar North! Psygnosis aka Sony Liverpool! Peter Molyneux! Rare!), the actual games that those legendary designers and studios created rarely left the UK.

The importance of the scene has made it a crucial gap for the show, but the insularity of the scene has made it difficult to speak to it with any authority, what with us being outsiders and all. So, for my final episode of this backer-supported season of Retronauts — for which you can thank one Mike Wasson, by the way — I could think of no more appropriate scheme than to rectify Retronauts’ greatest failing at long last by tracking down someone who actually lived in the UK and followed the gaming scene.

Handily, this required almost zero effort on my part, given that Bob and I happen to work with an icon of the ’80s UK gaming press: USgamer editor-at-large Jaz Rignall, who covered the 8-bit micro scene as a feisty teenager back in Thatcher’s England. We did the research for this one, but he fills in the generalities and hearsay with experience and perspective. The result is, I think, one of our best episodes ever (despite so, so many technical issues), a whirlwind tour of a fascinating but (to us) alien facet of game history. I hope you also enjoy it!

Thanks to Jaz for joining in (despite our scheduling the recording session during the World Cup final, sorry!) and to Mike for prompting us to shore up this particular weakness.

Fill your earholes through the delivery system of your choosing:

Direct download (MP3) | SoundCloud | RSS
Please subscribe to and review us on the iTunes Store because I DON’T KNOW!
You can listen right here if for some reason you are so inclined:

Links, curated with love for your edification:

Retronauts Pocket 22 and the joy of superfluous keypads

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Hi everyone, sorry this episode is a little late. I’ve had a busy week, not least of all because Bob just came aboard full time at USgamer, and I’ve been trying to whip him into shape. Dude is recalcitrance personified.

This latest Pocket episode revisits a topic that I’d actually forgotten we covered at all — the ColecoVision. But someone told me we did one of those, back in the olden times. After doing 150 of these shows, they start to blend together. In any case, I’m confident that this exploration of the ColecoVision is far more entertaining than any supposed forays into this topic that may or may not have happened once long ago.

We’ve already covered the NES and Atari 2600, and if I have my druthers this episode is simply another checkmark in our journey to jabbering about every classic 8-bit console. Stay tuned.

Retronauts Pocket 22 direct download | SoundCloudRSS feed
And this is our obligatory spot where we beg for iTunes reviews.

Daaaarliiiing, it’s Retronauts Episode 22

Actually, despite the art and blog post title, this episode really has nothing to do with Lum or Urusei Yatsura. It’s just that we got sidetracked by a tangent about anime of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, and lacking any particular cohesive theme for this episode I decided to use that brief distraction as an excuse to draw Lum. I believe this makes for a “deal with it” kind of situation. So sorry.

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This episode’s theme ended up being… well, let’s just say we played fast and loose. Kickstarter backer Jonathan Anderson wanted us to talk about misplaced nostalgia or nostalgia for things we never experienced, and we did our best to fulfill this mandate. I’m not promising we succeeded, but by god we gave it a shot.

Also of note: Long-time Retronauts contributor Chris Kohler finally makes his Vol. III debut. Huzzah!

This episode’s soundtrack selections come from Final Fantasy V, which we discussed somewhat at length near the beginning of the show. And my apologies if the sound quality isn’t perfect this week; I edited and assembled this podcast on a cross-country plane flight, so I can’t tell if the incessant whining sound was the plane engines or something in the podcast itself.

Anyway, please enjoy. Especially you, Jonathan Anderson.

Listen and download, fleshy mortals:

Direct download (MP3) | SoundCloud | RSS 

Finally, please consider leaving us a nice review on iTunes Store, because it’s an easier (and less creepy) way to express your enthusiasm for Retronauts than hunting us down and hugging us.