Such is the madness surrounding GDC that I was unable to pimp the latest Retronauts Bonus Stage yesterday. Trés horrifique! But better late than never, I ‘spect. Warning: May contain disturbing themes, including terrible video games, frank discussions of the human reproductive cycle and child molestation. That last one wasn’t our idea, though. Blame Namco.

And just to clear up a tragic misperception about this video, we’re not calling all the games in this episode terrible. In fact, only the last few are. Zelda II? Pretty okay. Fire Emblem? Right jolly. Shin Megami Tensei? Inscrutible and completely unsuited for American bible morality, but who could hate a Megaten? No, our vituperation is reserved for Ikki, Ninja Jajamaru-kun and Wonder Momo. They are, in the parlance of our times, not very good.

Bonus Stage is the most enjoyable thing I’ve done with my job in several years, by the way, so I’m very open to feedback. Feedback = better show = more popular show = I get to justify spending more of my time on it. So really, it’s in your best interests to offer suggestions for improvement. You could also Digg it or subscribe to its iTunes feed. Once Bonus Stage becomes a certifiable hit, I turn into a real boy.

Alright, I’m done being shameless.

37 thoughts on “Thwarty

  1. I wouldn’t change too much of anything; the GI Joe Bonus Stage was a lot of fun with the arguments of Blizzard’s usefulness. Doing calendar-themed tie-ins like that make a lot of sense; for example, it’s easy to imagine a Spider-Man episode when the movie hits this summer, or (and I’m shuddering while typing this next one because the games contained therein will be horrible) an all-Transformers episode. Of course, if you’ve got features lined up for 1up or EGM covering those very topics, I can understand not necessarily wanting to duplicate material.

    Next point: each of the SNES FF games deserves its own episode, right? V and VI certainly do, and you already missed your chance to roll IV in with the NES games besides the perfunctory mention of the famous “FFIV on NES” rumours. May be best to just tackle them all (plus Tactics) in one epic podcast, however.

    Lastly: I’d joke about doing an episode of all the NES wrestling games for Wrestlemania week, but I would be kind of stepping on my own toes with that one (Episode 31 in the link above… proves why I’d never be able to do this full-time). :)

  2. That was really pretty entertaining. If I had to give any reccomendations, keep looking for that nearer-to gamescreens heavy side of production. Watching you hold the wii-mote idly while you set Kohler’s rosy eyed 日本-love to take a terrible hit may have gone on a little too long.

    In any case, it was a good short story about the frailty of man, etc. etc. on par with the best of mindless fun that can be found on internet. Mostly, I was happy for juvenile humor and Kohler being “hurt” onscreen. I hate that guy. He’s pastier, fatter, and better at Japanese than I am. He is closer to the archetype of that which is “Japanophile Nerd” and he invalidates my existence. Sophomoric emo-whining GO!

    Also, cajole Sharkey into appearing on bonus stage more often. He smokes! He drinks! He swears! He is greatest role model for kids! He should be able to add useful (and crude!) commentary to most retro topics you might want to cover.

    Oh. More satanism please?

  3. Out of pure curiosity, just how did Super Momo play in terms of pure gameplay? (It seems like you were judging it purely on asthetics.) Was it as broken as Ikki or some of the early Famicom games?

  4. Well your writing and commentary are excellent, and adding the Bonus Stages makes it that much more attractive. So far they are great; I could watch old games all day.

    Only recommendation I would put forth is to tone down the verbal sparring between you and your co-host(s). I’ve enjoyed all the episodes so far, but when you guys kind of talk over each other it detracts from the jokes and observations.

    Oh I also love when you give more background information about the games. Pointing out that there are sperm-like entities on the screen is cool, but I like hearing about the real history behind these games.

    Keep up the great work!

  5. You’ve seen the entirety of Wonder Momo’s gameplay. It’s lousy.

    Also, you’ll note that the live footage was almost entirely limited to the beginning, where it served as context for the discussion. Seems kind of weird to show game footage when we’re not directly discussing games.

  6. Describe “lousy.” I’ve heard people diss Magician Lord and Valis 3 because it was “lousy” and hard, and I digged those kinds of “semi-broken” gameplays.

  7. I agree with buzzkiller, you and Kohler seem to be fighting for screen time by talking over each other. I presume that since you both are veritable encyclopedias of the retro, you may be trying to get in the same type of remarks. It seemed to flow a bit better when there was a different oppinion in the conversation. Bringing in Sharkey or Shane to the discussion more often would be awsome.

  8. Can you get “The Angry Video Game Nerd” on your show and do a joint production? Pick an awful game and endure the pain together like buddies in the army? You’d have to cut back on his obscenities, but I think you and he could come up with a lot of creative lines and skits together.

  9. The only suggestion I would make is to do more of these! Every episodes brings back memories to my childhood, a better time, you know when mom and dad were still together and… anyway, thoroughly enjoyable.

    I think it would be a good idea to do more in-depth shows that focus on one game or one series or even a portion of one series, like you are doing for Final Fantasy.

    By the way, disk based Zelda II with better music and sperm overworld enemy icons? I’m in freaking HEAVEN!

  10. I was just commenting that the opening context establishing shots felt a little bit too long. Over 20 straight seconds of non-game images?! NOOOO!

    It’s clearly a minor, and unimportant thing. Maybe you’d want to each have a mic. so that Cesar doesn’t have to shift the shot to get your voices heard. I dig the off-the-cuffish feel that the handheld gives, not the need to point the mic. where a voice needs to come from.

    Actually, the break-to-hosts shots inbetween the games didn’t at all bother me. Maybe it’s that they were shot for reactions, and so catch your faces? Maybe I wanted more text scrawling across the screen in the intro? I don’t know.

  11. I enjoy the Bonus Stage shows. This is surprising to me, since I generally hate these sorts of things (videocasts/review shows, with the exception of Consolevania). I don’t watch Retronauts or The 1up Show. This episode was pretty amusing, I gotta say.

    Suggestions: less live action footage (I don’t really see the point), and better syncing of footage to comments. It seems like you’ll let things like title screens and stuff go on for too long while you’re already talking about the gameplay. Also, I would’ve liked to hear more examples of Zelda II’s better music than just that one screen.

  12. I preferred the random encounter battle music for the localized Zelda II over what was left over for the final Dark Link battle. Either way, we still got the better leveling up scheme, so it’s no big loss. (Though several enemies give different amounts of XP, a few moreso.)

  13. The only issue I had with this week’s bonus stage was in the editing. The gameplay footage and what was being discussed by you and Chris didn’t link up too well. This might have been net lag on my end, but the lack of it didn’t work well for me.

  14. I liked it. In particular, I appreciated hearing the difference in the music in the Adventure of Link. Wish I could’ve heard more of it, actually. I’d actually like to hear more of all the Disk System games that were converted to cartridge. Still, I don’t mind the sparring. You guys know your stuff and I trust your opinions.

  15. While I’m not the biggest retro fan I find myself enjoying both the ‘nauts & Bonus Stage… They remind me of times when I was a younger lad and put a smile on my face. I don’t have much feedback, but I can say that I like the onscreen text comments. I think more themed episodes could be good (as suggested above by others), but I don’t think every show should be that way…

    Hell, don’t change ’em at all- I’ll still watch and look forward to them every week- It’s good stuff.

  16. I love Bonus Stage too, and to make it a better show, I would be a little more informative, kind of mini documentaries. And like you did 2 episodes ago, not limited to virtual Console and stuff like that.

    …oh, and a Yasumi Matsuno Video Special? That wouuld be AWSOME!

  17. It was a real shock when I first saw Chris Kohler after only reading his wired blog and hearing him on the gafcast. I never pictured him being so…American looking. But he’s great on the podcast and bonus stage so i hope he becomes more regular. I can’t complain about anything specific but it seems the production needs some finesse. Do you know what I mean? Other than that, I hope the impossible were to happen and you’d get to make this show on real television. Maybe on BBC world so I might have a chance of watching it.

  18. My complaint this week is that this episode is too awesome.

    You could possibly make an entire episode documenting the proliferation of sperm based monsters in Japanese games and how some games are really thinly veiled allusions to sex.

    Plus this episode taught me Jesus Christ is actually Sonic the Hedgehog (so long as you dump all your points into speed). And watching Kohler make this happen is visual proof he is more Japanese wacky than the Japanese are.

  19. Sorry the editing is so crappy. I’ve never done video editing outside of Retronauts, and ZD is too cheap to buy me Final Cut Pro. These are created entirely in iMovie, which was never intended for anything this complex.

  20. I’ll just offer that there’s at least one person who likes the live footage, which is to say I do. I suppose it isn’t exactly core to the experience, but I think it gives a better sense of actual people having a conversation rather than just disembodied voices.

  21. I think they’re meant to be representative of evil spirits, thus monsters in a generic sense. Ghosts are often depicted that way in a lot of Japanese media.

  22. Hey! Get that wrist strap on your WRIST, little mister! What are you tryin’ to do, put poor Chris’s eye out?

    Retronauts Bonus Stage has, for all intents and purposes, justified my purchase of an iPod Video. It’s informative and entertaining, which is all I ask of my portable media. Please keep up the great work, both on the Bonus Stage and on the regular Retronauts podcast!

  23. After watching like 6 of these videos and listening to the pod casts, I don’t think Parish is from Texas atall. There’s no southern drawl in his voice. He sounds more like aaaaaa *picks piece of paper out of hat* he’s from Croatia

    also Zombie vs Ambulance 2: Sperm vs Ambulance.

  24. No, it wasn’t.

    I fought hard to resist drawl creep for 20 years. Glad it’s paid off.

  25. Ok, I’ve finally broken down and registered a Digg account just for the purpose of digging Bonus Stage. So, uh, consider it dugg.

    Meanwhile, I’ve got a suggestion that’s more for Retronauts than for Bonus Stage. Actually, I must admit I haven’t been downloading most of them because I’m not a big fan of listening to long periods of talking from my iPod. The soundtrack special, though – which is to say, talking interspersed with tons of awesome music – was pure gold for my morning commute experience. Now, I know that you’ve started tacking on additional soundtrack bonus segments to the end of each podcast. What I’m wondering is if you’d consider, perhaps after a few months or a year, compiling all those short segments into another single soundtrack-discussion-only file. Because that’d be awesome.

  26. I like how in Wonder Momo, the girl gets a helmet when she powers up. It reminds me of this retarded kid I saw who was strapped in a wheel-chair a long time ago. I guess those special kids wear them so they don’t kick themselves in the head like she almost does in that game.

    For the under-age pop idol sex icon genre, this is the best game ever. The only thing keeping it from being perfect is it doesn’t have John Mark Karr in it.

  27. I think you should take in submissions from 1UP users and your own site for a Virtual Selection section (there needs to be a word for unintentional rhyming) at the end of each Bonus Stage. Maybe they could write three or four sentences about their pick for you to read aloud, and then you and any guests might chime in about your thoughts on their pick. I don’t know if that’s a little bit meaty for what you’re trying to do with Bonus Stage, but I think at least the core idea would fit very well.

    The main problem I see with this is that if you require people to provide their own footage, you’ll limit your submissions, and I don’t know if you’re willing to do the videos yourself for each pick. I suppose you could just do this in your regular podcast, but I think it would really add a lot more to Bonus Stage than regular Retronauts.

    Also, I typed this message three (3!) times, because the fates have conspired to keep my word from reaching the light of day, in the form of various computer problems. =(

  28. My opinion of the show is… ‘keep up the good work’ I guess ^_^ So far I’ve enjoyed all the episodes.

    I think in the GI Joe episode you did linger for too long on the favorite game of the bunch. It just didn’t seem deep enough a game to spend quite as much time as you did (although to be fair I mostly felt that on the second watch-through so it wasn’t glaring).

    I’ll keep an eye out for stuff to give more constructive feedback on when I watch them in the future.

  29. Watching the latest one, there’s two minor bits I’d have changed; Shorten the amount of time listening to Zelda music (or have something else going on while the music’s playing), and get rid of the pause during Fire Emblem when there’s some Japanese text from the characters and no talking.

Comments are closed.