Tag Archives: retronauts

Retronauts Episode 83: A trial run for “Retronauts Radio”

A bit of an experimental episode today as part of our incipient full-episodes-every-week initiative. I’m calling it “Retronauts Radio,” and that should give a pretty good indication of what you’re in for here. It’s all music, all the time.

Rather than take the same shape as previous music-centered episodes of Retronauts, however, this isn’t a themed “mix tape” or study of a single composer or company’s output. Instead, I’ve taken a more timely approach: A look at notable classic game music releases over the past month or so. This time around, that works out to be a mix of some recent game music LPs, some online-only remixes, and some classic game re-releases or remakes with tunes worth highlighting. I’d like to make this a monthly feature, drawing attention to notable recent soundtracks once a month or so. For logistical reasons, Retronauts hasn’t dealt much with timeliness since we moved to Kickstarter, but the shift to a weekly schedule and my full-time commitment to the project makes that kind of mindset a lot more feasible now, and this seems like a nice way to approach it. Time-sensitive, yet still timeless. Because when is great music not worth a listen?

If this goes over well, it’ll become a regular feature, a part of our standard monthly mix of episodes. (If not, well, back to the drawing board.) I can see where there’s room for some fine-tuning now that this episode is assembled. We’ve received plenty of positive feedback from early-access Patrons already; it sounds like most people would prefer longer samples of music, and it probably wouldn’t hurt for me to bring a second voice into the mix. I will definitely take those suggestions into consideration, along with any others you’d care to leave in the comments section below.

While we usually post Retronauts episodes in mono to keep file sizes down, I went ahead and made this one stereo. Hope that’s cool. I went to the trouble of ripping several hours’ worth of music from vinyl to include this episode and thought you might appreciate as much fidelity as an MP3 can offer.

It’s an all-music episode of Retronauts as Jeremy looks at recent classic game soundtrack releases of note. Includes looks at Panzer Dragoon, symphonic Final Fantasy, Castlevania: Dracula X, and more!

Libsyn (1:08:16, 99.6 MB) | MP3 Download | SoundCloud)

This is where I typically give a quick mention to the music in the current episode, but since this episode is all music, let me break it down for you a little more thoroughly. I’ve also included links to online store fronts where you can procure these albums for yourself, should you so desire. We’re not getting a kickback here or anything — we just love sharing great game tunes. Enjoy!

  • 0:00 | Intro [just me talkin’]
  • 2:45 | Zuntata: Taito Sound Team | Taito Classics Vol. 1Night Striker [Ship to Shore Media]
  • 3:32 | Panzer Dragoon [Data Discs]
  • 23:55 | Final Symphony [Laced Records]
  • 42:05 | Scarlet Moon Christmas Album [Scarlet Moon Productions]
  • 48:35 | Metroid Resynthesized [Luminist]
  • 52:57 | Wild Guns Reloaded [PlayStation Network]
  • 55:13 | Castlevania Dracula X [Virtual Console]
  • 1:01:16 | Retro pick of the month: Double Dragon for NES [Virtual Console]
  • 1:07:38 | Zuntata: Taito Sound Team | Taito Classics Vol. 1Elevator Action Returns [Ship to Shore Media]

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Retronauts Episode 82: Bubble Bobble & friends

A few months ago, we summoned Ray Barnholt into the studio to help us sort out the mad entanglement of games and names and remakes and reissues and branding confusion that is Wonder Boy. Or Adventure Island. Or The Dynastic Hero. Whatever — take your pick. It’s all the same thing.

Well, we all survived the experience without our brains exploding all Scanners-style, so we have courageously reconvened in the studio to take on the next big messy project: Taito’s Bubble Bobble.

Of course, we’re giving away the plot right there, to a certain degree. This is Taito‘s Bubble Bobble, which automatically makes it less baffling than Wonder Boy and Adventure Island, whose name and lineage splits right there at day one depending on which company’s adaptation of the concept you’re talking about. Bubble Bobble is Taito’s baby (which means it’s been Square Enix’s baby for the past decade), so it at least has a sort of internal consistency going for it. That being said, this sprawling franchise of loosely connected platform games has suffered its share of overlapping titles and contradictory names, so there’s plenty to keep track of… and plenty of opportunity for your poor host (me) to screw something up.

This episode spans a wide gamut of games: Bubble Bobble, Parasol Stars, Rainbow Islands, Bubble Memories, The New Zealand Story, Liquid Kids, Don Doko Don, Bubble Symphony, a host of remakes, a bunch of games that claim to be Bubble Bobble 2, and a bunch more that I can’t remember off the top of my head. Honestly, it would probably be less trouble for you to just give it a listen:

The original Power Trio — Bob, Ray, and Jeremy — follow up their recent look at Wonder Boy to take on the next needlessly convoluted franchise: Taito’s Bubble Bobble (et al.). Confusion guaranteed for all!

Libsyn (1:59:16 | MP3 Download | SoundCloud)

And we didn’t even get into the Puzzle Bobble games… that’ll be next week. And eventually we’ll get a Falcom expert into the studio to go over the Dragon Slayer franchise with us and bring an end to this trilogy of nonsense.

Music from this episode comes from various Bubble Bobble games. Especially that theme. You know the one… or you will, once it’s drilled its way forever into your brain after its frequent appearance here.

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Listener mail solicitation time

Hello, everyone, and happy new year. I hope!

As you’ll hear in this week’s episode of the podcast (which goes live tomorrow), I’d like to integrate a listener mail segment into my episodes of Retronauts going forward. Bob has done a few mailbag roundups as full episodes, and I don’t see any need for that to change! However, I would like to get a little of that action on the shows I host as well. The way we used to do, back a very long time ago, at 1UP.

The next episode I will be recording will be the prototype episode for Retronauts East, and that should be happening within the next week or so. The topic at hand for this session: The TI-99/4A personal computer. Of course, I have already recorded a Micro episode on the TI-99/4A:

But this time we’ll be going into much greater depth on the subject, as befits a 90-minute episode versus one that tops out at 10. And, as I’ve mentioned, we’d like to field your questions on the topic! So please, shoot me an email at jparish [at] retronauts [dot] com sometime this week and we’ll do our best to read your thoughts (and answer your questions, when relevant). Thanks!

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Thank you + video feed

First, you’ll be downright chuffed to know that this week’s early access episode (wherein Bob and Ray and I discuss the mysteries of Bubble Bobble canon) is now available through Patreon.

Secondly, I’m chuffed to say that, thanks to a surge of Yuletide enthusiasm and generosity, we crossed over our “weekly full episode” tier last night. Over the coming month, leading up to February’s big change, we’ll be developing our new publishing plan, which includes the new monthly chapter of the show, Retronauts East. Tentatively, the East show will feature Benj Edwards of vintagecomputing.com and Ben Elgin, both of whom will bring a welcome dose of knowledge regarding classic computers, Atari games, and other bits of retrogame trivia that Bob and myself (who are largely, though not exclusively, Japanese console-centric in terms of our interests) have typically been a bit weak on. I’m excited about this new addition to the family! I will definitely need to pick some extra recording gear before we can start producing the new show, though.

Of course, this does mean that Retronauts Micro will be vanishing… unless we manage to hit our next funding goal, at which point it will resume its biweekly schedule. So, to recap, we’ve gone from two full and two Micro episodes per month to four full episodes, and our next stop will be four full episodes and two Micro. Hopefully we’ll get there soon.

I’ve also added a new link to the banner across the top of the site: an iTunes feed for Retronauts Chronicles videos. I always post my video projects several days early for video backers, but the iTunes feed also gets updates a day or two ahead of the videos going public via YouTube. This week’s early video on iTunes concerns Pilotwings for Super NES; next week will probably be Mach Rider, or maybe a prototype long-form retrospective on the SEGA Master System (monthly long-form videos being the next video Patreon goal, you see).

Yeah, we’re doing the hard sell here…. but hopefully the content makes it go down smooth.

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Retronauts Micro #053: Donkey Kong’s Day in Court

For this week’s Retronauts Micro episode, I’ve formally visited a topic that’s popped up on the show from time to time, but which we’ve never discussed in any real depth. It’s been pretty well documented over the past decade that Donkey Kong — the arcade version, that is — was co-created by a third party, and this knowledge has led to speculation that the original coin-op game never shows up as an archived release due to this legal dispute.

While no new information has actually emerged since the Game Developers Research Institute posted its write-up of the situation about five or six years ago, with this episode I’ve attempted to put together a “what we know” synopsis that contextualizes the few hard facts that have emerged with some valuable context… including Nintendo’s reliance on outside contractors in its early video game days, and the uncertainty of copyright law as concerned game code back at the time of Donkey Kong‘s debut. Hopefully you’ll find it enlightening — and if not, well, you can look forward to next week’s episode, wherein we have an actually listenable conversation about Sonic the Hedgehog. For once.

Episode description: Enjoy this delightful yarn about the legal wrangling over the matter of Donkey Kong’s true parents. Is Shigeru Miyamoto really his dad? And who has custody over this simian tyke, anyway?

Libsyn (14:42 | MP3 Download | SoundCloud)

Remember that this rad show is made possible by a communal cash infusion through Patreon! (We’re not greedy, we’re just game journalists who can’t afford to create a high-grade cross-country podcast out of pocket.)

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Gravity is rad, and reversed, in the latest Retronauts Micro

Heigh ho everybody, and welcome once again to the Retronauts show! We’ve got a real corker this wee— aw, OK, it’s just another off-week Micro episode. On the plus side, I’ve decided to ditch my boring one-man-show approach to Micros and bring other people into the conversation, which should be a relief to everyone. To kick things off this week, we have Sam Claiborn from IGN in the studio to enthuse over classic NES mech platformer Metal Storm for a few minutes with me.

Metal Storm is one of those games that plays better in person than it does via audio — it’s a brief and fairly simple game, and its appeal comes from the way it pushes the NES hardware, and from the way its mechanics turn a straightforward five-stage platform shooter into a dense, nail-biting challenge. The game’s central premise (you can invert gravity while in mid-air) demands a higher standard of level design than the usual NES fare, and every screen of Metal Storm stands out as a sort of inventive action puzzle… without being an actual puzzle game. Trust me, I’ve seen a lot of those in my Game Boy adventures, and this ain’t one.

The biggest downside to Metal Storm is that you’re not going to be able to find a cartridge-only copy of the game for less than $100 unless you get really lucky. It’ll never show up on a download service, either, because publisher Irem ditched gaming altogether and, last I’d read, had delisted all its games from PSN and Virtual Console. This is why classic video game is so darned stupid most of the time.

Download Links

Libsyn (13:02, 9.4 MB) | MP3 Download | SoundCloud

Thanks to Sam for dropping by, and I’ll be playing the game on a live stream later this week via USgamer. So you can check it out that way if you’re curious about Metal Storm but too lazy (or scrupulous!) to emulate it.

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HAL

EPSON MFP image

Oh dog dang it, I knew I forgot something yesterday. Hello! Here is the latest Retronauts, being posted here on the blog. I was so busy trying to get the advance episode prepped I totally overlooked our public-facing side. I am a monster.

Anyway, the nice thing about Retronauts is that it’s not really timely per se, so this episode will be every bit as valid and relevant today as it was yesterday. This week’s show is a follow-up to the PlayStation anniversary episode from last summer… the one where we learned of Satoru Iwata’s passing in the middle of the recording session and promised to circle back to HAL, the studio he helped build, helped save, and which helped him become Nintendo’s president for the company’s most successful and profitable run in its history.

Joining us this week, we have regular contributors Henry Gilbert of the Laser Time Podcast Network and Christian Nutt of Gamasutra. They know stuff.

Download Links

Libsyn (1:26:01) | MP3 Download | SoundCloud

Episode Description

Jeremy, Bob, Henry Gilbert, and Christian Nutt convene to look back at the history of HAL Laboratory in tribute to the late Satoru Iwata.

Enjoy the episode! Even though it’s late!

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Retronauts double-header

micro 21 cover

Hey! I forgot to post last week’s episode here! Oh well. Now you get two at once.

First: The latest episode, a Micro look at Namco’s Rolling Thunder. You kids seem to like Bob’s music-heavy episodes, and as it happens this game has rad-as-hell music. So rock on out to this one. I wonder if all the great music in this game informed Sega’s decision to make the bad guys in Space Channel 5 basically look like the Maskers in Rolling Thunder…?

Download Links

Libsyn (17:36 | MP3 Download | SoundCloud )

Episode Description

Jeremy looks back on Namco’s clasic arcade action game Rolling Thunder, the quintessential old-school take on “spy action” before Metal Gear redefined the genre to mean “stealth.”

EPSON MFP image

Aaaand speaking of Metal Gear, here’s last week’s episode, featuring Shane Bettenhausen and Jose Otero on Hideo Kojima’s long-running stealth franchise. See what I did there?

Download Links

Libsyn (1:57:36 | MP3 Download | SoundCloud )

Episode description

As an era ends with the release of Metal Gear Solid V, Shane Bettenhausen and Jose Otero join us to wax rhapsodic about the unique history on gaming’s longest-running saga. No haters or Hayters allowed!As an era ends with the release of Metal Gear Solid V, Shane Bettenhausen and Jose Otero join us to wax rhapsodic about the unique history on gaming’s longest-running saga. No haters or Hayters allowed!

Enjoy, and remember that you can listen to next week’s episode early by supporting us on Patreon. But it’s cool, you can also just wait a few days and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the episode all the same.

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The real knowledge was Treasure

micro 17 cover

 

Wow! This episode’s a day late. It’s getting to be a cool trend. Tardiness is gonna be all the rage in 2016, and we’re leading the way.

This episode of Retronauts Micro focuses on a company whose games I’ve never really gotten into but for whom I have tremendous respect: Treasure. The studio has been pretty quiet of late, working on Capcom’s Gaist Crusher series and presumably working with M2 on the 3D Ages version of Gunstar Heroes… but hopefully they have something fresh up their sleeves. They’re too talented to languish in obscurity, especially since the kind of challenge and mechanical complexity they deal in has become quite popular among a certain set of gamers.

Download Links

Libsyn (12:38 | MP3 Download | SoundCloud )

Episode Description

Jeremy takes a look at one of gaming’s great studios, whose work seems to have been largely forgotten in this day and age. Will Treasure rise again, or will their two-decade collection of brilliance stand as their legacy?

Music this time around comes from Hitoshi Sakimoto’s Gradius V soundtrack — not really typical treasure fare, but just a fantastic piece of music all around.

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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:

Libsyn (1:52:00 | MP3 Download) | SoundCloud | Subscribe on iTunes | RSS | Support the show on Patreon

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

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