I know we’ve hit the “turn retronauts.com into a daily blog” Patreon tier, but I hope it’s OK if — as with our other plans and ambitions for expansion — it doesn’t take full effect until February. It takes a while to ramp up into these seismic life changes, you know? Also, I’m still with USgamer until the end of the month, so I kinda feel obligated to make that my main focus for now.
HANDILY! The piece I published at USG today should be of great interest to Retronauts readers, since it involves a game we’ve covered here on the podcast (more than once, I’d say): Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. (That’s a link to the column, by the way.)
This article is actually the first in what I intend to be an ongoing weekly column for USG, something I’ll continue writing after I depart from the site. I’ll be tackling a different game each month, and examining its different aspects across a series of four or five posts. Something kind of tells me that I won’t be able to explore some games in proper depth with just four entries, so there may be some spillover here as well. I intend to alternate classic and current games from month to month; I’m tackling Symphony for January, but next month I’ll be exploring The Last Guardian. Later this year I’ll delve into Final Fantasy VII, Mass Effect: Andromeda (unless it turns out to be terrible), and who knows what else. I’ll be sure to cross-link the classics from here.
Canny observers may recognize this as an offshoot of my old Anatomy of Games series; less canny observers will have realized this connection since I mentioned it in the column prelude. I sort of lost the plot with Anatomy of Games and put the site to rest, but I’m hoping this format will keep things brisk and more interestingly generalized while still interestingly analytical. Anyway, I hope you enjoy, and I will be over here in stunned disbelief that it’s somehow been 20 years since I had my PlayStation modded so I could import and play a little game called Gekka no Nocturne….
I have four more weeks left in my run with USgamer before I go solo and try in earnest to turn this podcast and site into something capable of providing me with a living (or else admitting failure and going into, I dunno, real estate or something). Think of the next 20 work days as a sort of, I dunno, farewell tour. And I’ve kicked it off the only way I know how: By writing about something extremely esoteric and extremely retro in nature. Namely, Data Discs’s recent release of the Panzer Dragoon soundtrack as a double 45rpm vinyl LP set. Because why not go all in when I’m on the way out?
It’s a fantastic release, even by the admittedly high standards of Data Discs. I played through Panzer Dragoon a very, very long time ago, but for whatever reason its music never stuck with me. Going back now and listening to it in this context, I love what I hear. It’s very… well, I can’t think of any other way to describe it except “very ’90s.” But in a good way! Not a bad, cheesy way. There are passages here that remind me of Mega Man Legends — this one synthesizer hit with a multilayered sound I can’t really describe that both games use — as well as tracks that feel like they served as the basis for huge chunks of the Skies of Arcadia soundtrack, too. But it works most of all as a great collection of music in its own right.
Altogether, the Panzer Dragoon soundtrack feels nostalgic in a way completely different from chiptunes and Super NES or Genesis music. It’s good stuff and I strongly recommend it to anyone who’s into great game music and ever listens to vinyl. But hey, don’t take my word for it; take my word for it.
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.
Hello there! The holidays have come and gone and a new semester has arrived. And this time we’re greeting the new school year with a look at a minor (and generally forgotten) video game classic: Sega’s Zillion for Master System.
You can get the full scoop on this episode over at USgamer, but I know how annoying it can be to make that extra mouseclick, so here is the show in its entirety. All seven minutes of it. Hey, it’s a Micro episode. Whaddya want?
Libsyn (7:20 | 5.3 MB | MP3 Download) | SoundCloud | Subscribe on iTunes | RSS feed
Promo image courtesy of Hardcore Gaming 101. Background music in this episode is from Zillion; the vocal track is from the anime.
Out of curiosity, how many of you fine listeners have actually played Zillion? Either back in the day or through the magic of emulation counts. I’d love to hear more about what the latter areas of the game are like, because I certainly never made it to the end….
As always, Retronauts is made possible by Patreon contributions. This week, Patreon supporters are enjoying Retronauts Micro Episode 4 a week early. And I’m currently working on poster and T-shirt designs for when we hit the three-month funding mark in February!
This week is an off-week, which means there’s no Retronauts episode. Alas! But since we have cool supporters, there’s a non-Retronauts episode of Retronauts — a new off-week program called Retronauts Micro. Here, I’ll let the episode description explain it:
It’s our first off-week of the season, and we’re going small with Retronauts Micro: Bite-sized chunklets of podcast. In this Micro episode, Jeremy flies solo and looks back at a largely forgotten computer platform: The TI-99/4A.
Libsyn (1:33:12 | MP3 Download) | SoundCloud
Sweet and to the point, right? You can certainly learn more about this madness by checking out the full-length news post at USgamer.net, though! Another fun thing about the USgamer version of this post: It includes a video version of this self-same episode. Madness, right? Yeah, you’d probably better go check it out.
P.S., this week, our Patreon backers are listening to the traditional “holiday death shack” episode a week early. We’re about $45 away from a second live show during 2015, so… why not sign up and help make your dreams and ours come true all at once?
Hey, everyone. I’d like to chime in and thank everyone who has signed up for our podcast Patreon campaign already — a mere two days in and we’re already to the second tier of funding (biweekly episodes, mini episodes on the off weeks, and streams aplenty) and about a third of the way to the next! That’s really fantastic, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the support.
While that ticks along, Bob and I have already started to plan Retronauts content for USgamer… and by “plan” I mean “publish.” Today I’ve posted a Kickstarter backer-requested article on USG. The original plan was to put it here on the blog, but it makes more sense to put it on a site where it’ll get more eyeballs, right?
This particular piece comes to us at the behest of Greg Spenser, who wanted us to write about Capcom’s 8- and 16-bit eras. And that’s exactly what has happened — so please, enjoy this brief look back at the evolution of Capcom during the NES and 16-bit days. And, of course, please continue reading USG and our Twitter feed for more Retronauts-related content to fill your brain with old things as we build up toward the new season of podcasts that kicks off December 1!