Welcome back, plodder

My computer is back. It was actually supposed to be back two days ago, but DHL decided that “next day” service doesn’t necessarily mean “the day after it is shipped” and didn’t bother to try and deliver it Thursday. They also didn’t try to deliver it yesterday, even though their tracking service said “delivery attempted.” In the end, I managed to convince them to see the error of their ways, although unfortunately this involved making vaguely threatening (and wholly uncharacteristic) “let me talk to your supervisor” demands to the phone rep and sitting on hold listening to looping recordings about DHL’s remarkable reliability for half an hour. Anyway, the important thing is that I’m no longer laptop-free, and however much you may personally dislike Macs you have to admit they make it ridiculously easy to restore the entire contents of a freshly-replaced hard drive.

It feels a bit like having a severed limb sewn back on. Welcome back, Mr. Right Arm. We’ve missed you.

I did manage to put together a podcast despite being PC-deprived, making that last post’s admission of my dishonest nature all the more damning. So you can listen to us opine about matters of emulation for 80 minutes, if that’s your thing. Even if not, you should probably enjoy Retronauts while you can. I just don’t see the podcast lasting much longer — the whole thing is vaguely painful to create, especially I still can’t seem to make it the tight, informative program I envision in my delusional excuse for a brain. I’m (obviously) not a born radio host, the time investment required to make each episode is ridiculous, and the bulk of the target audience already has its mind made up about classic gaming topics and doesn’t have any interest in listening to people with different/less informed/less passionate opinions on the topic. So really, it’s an ill-advised venture by any measure and I’d kind of like to reclaim the 10 hours of my week I invest in making the thing.

The videos are ridiculously fun to create, though, so I don’t anticipate putting a stop to those anytime soon.

As for emulation, it probably didn’t come across very clearly in the episode, but I’m not really much of a fan. I admire it on a “That is totally an awesome trick of technology” level, and it definitely comes in handy when I need to grab footage of a given game, but I’ve never seen PC-based emulation as a satisfying substitute for real gaming. Not so much for moral issues, though: Pure piracy isn’t cool, and kids with a profound sense of entitlement make me want to break faces; but I don’t precisely appreciate the creative chilling effect that increased corporate control of intellectual properties is having, either. I just don’t enjoy gaming on a computer, even if it’s a console game. Case in point: I’ve had a hankering for Chrono Trigger lately, but can’t bring myself to suffer through Final Fantasy Chronicles — the combination of load times and SNES-resolution graphics upgraded to PS1 resolution upscaled to HD resolution makes it feel like someone is stabbing me through the eyes and into the brain — so I grabbed a copy off eBay. That doesn’t do the copyright holders any more good than me swiping a copy from RomNation, and it cost me a whole lot more than a free ROM download, but ultimately it’s more satisfying to play on an Super NES than it would be on my MacBook. And what’s the point of indulging yourself if it’s not satisfying?

So, in conclusion, I’m anal-retentive. Nice to meet you. (Also, the podcast has to go on at least long enough for a Chrono love-in.)

36 thoughts on “Welcome back, plodder

  1. I really wish Nintendo/Square Enix would realize that putting Chrono Trigger on VC is essentially equal to reaching into my wallet and taking out $8. This probably applies to many other people out there.

    (Also, please don’t stop doing Retronauts!)

  2. Oh no! I love Retronauts! It’s my favorite podcast. I’ll keep listening as long as you keep putting them out there. At least I still have the videos, but the podcast is so much nicer to listen to while shelf reading.

  3. I would probably enjoy Retronauts too, if it didn’t demand so much of my time and energy for so little benefit. As it is, I can think of many more productive ways to spend my time. But I guess we’ll see. I’m not completely writing it off… yet.

  4. Do you use Super Duper to make backups? That program is amazing. I can actually boot and run an entire copy of my computer on J. Random Intel-Mac using this here Firewire drive.

  5. Dude, I love the podcast. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I love hearing about the history of video games, especially with the new hotness of downloads/virtual console. Put it this way: I would have NEVER bought Beyond Oasis but for your recommendations. Granted, you gave it a thumbs up on 1up.com, but I still really like hearing about it in radio form.

    Chrono Trigger is now, and has been since the Wii launch, at the top of my wish list. I, too, have the PS1 version and find it unplayable. I borrowed it from a friend back in the day long enough to beat it once, but I know that I would love to play it through again. VC NEEDS more RPGs, and more SNES games in general.

  6. Jeremy, you have a habit of abandoning projects just as they are getting good. Listen to an early episode of Retronauts compared to a current one – at this point in time, they’re about ten times better. Don’t take our podcasts away :(

  7. Perhaps you guys could shorten retronauts? I’ve mostly enjoyed the ones I’ve listened to, but they sorta ramble on and on. It’d be nice if they were shorter and punchier. But then, that’s just my two bits.

  8. you have a habit of abandoning projects just as they are getting good

    I guess that’s because right about the time they start to get good I’m worn down and would like to have some of my free time back.

    I could see Retronauts surviving as an abbreviated podcast focusing primarily on the week’s retro news and the Virtual Selection/Hall of Fame segments. But its current format is going to be the death of me, and it’s honestly not even all that good a listen most weeks.

  9. For whatever little it may be worth: I rarely play new games, excepting some portable stuff, and the last thing I would have expected would be that I’d actually enjoy a game-related podcast–but I have become an avid fan of retronauts. Sure, it’s a bit sloppy sometimes, but that’s part of the charm–just a bunch of guys rambling on about old games. If you discontinue it, I will make a face much like this:


  10. How about ‘blogtronauts’? Oh wait…isn’t that what toastyfrog is…err…was untill the wierd rants started to occur?

  11. The videos rock, and I almost never listen to podcasts ever, regardless of content. I imagine there are more that agree with that statement than don’t. If true, that means you are making a Good Decision™.

    But do what suits you best, frogman.

  12. Just to echo everyone else, I love Retronauts. You, Ray, Sharkey, Kohler and Shane (when he does the show) crack me up. It may have to do with my love of snarky, sarcastic humor coupled with old games, or perhaps my love of listening to Sharkey put any adjective he can in front of fuck (e.g. “sideways fuck,” “hemmoraging fuck”), but I look forward to it every week. Even an abbreviated form with just “This came out this week, it’s good, this came out this week, Sharkey hates it, this is what we’d love to see later but will never get, here’s some game music, good-bye!” would be cool with me.

  13. I can dig it… my laptop’s been in HP’s repair shop for nearly two weeks now. All the prodding in the world has not helped me get it back, or gained me any knowledge about its repair status. Dammit, it was just a stinking key on the keyboard! It can’t possibly take this long to finish!

    Er, anyway. Jeremy, if you’re reading this, you sent me a PM a while back but I can’t log into the forum to read it. I’m not sure what’s going on, but if you could send that message to my E-mail address I’d really appreciate it.


  14. Well, you guys do tend to go deep into tangents, but this is all highly informative stuff, to me at least.

  15. Perhaps in this case brevity is the soul of wit? I certainly enjoy a smaller, bit-sized podcast, and it’d probably be easier to prepare for if you knew you were cutting the conversation short at 20 minutes.

    One could make a case that a ‘just the facts, ma’am’ podcast is probably a more thematically appropriate way to talk about retro games, but that someone will have to be not me.

  16. Yeah man don’t give up on retronauts, its my favourite 1up podcast :). It may not be perfect, but i still find it informative and enjoyable, for the most part.

  17. /checks his watch
    17 eps. Yup, its about the right time for parish to abandon yet another venture in a huff, just as things are getting good. we were about due, anyway.

    also, i’m saddened that you didn’t mention Bleemcast there.

  18. I’m with you Parish, real games all the way.

    I’ve been toying with the idea of tracking down a copy of Super Metroid and resurrecting my SNES because I really want to play it again. I don’t see it releasing on the VC anytime soon – maybe to coincide with the release of Corruption but I think it’s safe to say that no one in the world is really sure when that’s going to come out. I did play through Super Metroid some years ago with on emulator and despite how good the game is I really didn’t enjoy the experience (I had a similar bad experience with an em playing through Link to the Past the last time I finished it – I’m glad that’s finally out on the VC where I am) It just didn’t feel right. Even though I had all kinds of neccesary cables to get the PC picture on my tv and the sound through my amp it just didn’t work. It’s hard to describe.

    Chrono Trigger is probably most fun I’ve ever had on an emulator. I would of played the real version if I could. In my part of the world (AUS/NZ) it was nigh on impossible to get the SNES version and our Playstation package called Final Fantasy Anthology just included IV and V. We never got a Playstation re-release of Chrono. I’m just itching for a VC release. Although knowing our luck we won’t get that either, As far as we’re concerned the TurboGrafix doesn’t exist.

  19. You mentioned Metal Warriors. Awesome.


    It ran on a modified ZAMN engine and was from, as far as I know, the same design team or most of it. Probably while the second-string was busy making Ghoul Patrol.

    Also, God of War is a TOTAL ripoff of Herc’s Adventures.

  20. Parish,

    Granted this week’s podcast was rambling, but the quality of the past few are very solid. Both the arcade and soundtrack episodes brought a lot of childhood memories back. The show seems to be the most focused when tracking something in chronological order. The C64 show was paced well, or at least edited well. I’m sure the time commitment for each for is huge. Here’s hoping you still do a monthly topics show. Thanks for the all work.

  21. I already miss Retronauts SO HARD. I’m all for dropping the main topic if that will keep the show on the air. Retro News/Virtual Selection are my favorite bits anyway, and Hall of Fame has a lot of promise. I have every episode of Retronauts archived on my hard drive and I listen to my favorites periodically while I’m waiting for a new one to hit. Plus, if you kill Retronauts, then CGW/GFW wins!!

  22. I’m throwing my nickel in the “Please Don’t Kill the Podcast” jar. It has been getting better and better lately and I’d hate to see it go just as it was gaining its stride.

  23. I love Macs. And I love Retronauts. For me, it is the most interesting podcast out there. I can understand that it takes work, but it provides a service that nowhere else (to my knowledge) does. It adds enjoyment to my Thursday evening/Friday afternoon. It isn’t in its perfect form yet, but I definitely see that you have been working out the kinks in it and trying to make it the best it can be. It has gotten so much better in its evolution. In short, I understand that it sucks for you and it isn’t yet great, but know that you have plenty of people that love it and it is totally worth the effort to make it great. Heck, I would probably donate money to keep retronauts going.

    I also agree that emulation just isn’t the same as the real thing. While it is the only feasible way I can play Dragon Quest V and VI in English, I just love the console more. I would much rather get an import super famicom and Umihare Kawase than try to play it on emulator. My preference of the original system is shown by my owning (and using) a NES, SMS, Genesis, SNES, Saturn, Playstation, and Dreamcast.

  24. I just want to chime in saying I love Retronauts, and would miss it if you stopped. Maybe you could enlist some help in putting it together so it’s not so painful?

  25. Dude, I don’t know what to say about the proposed killing of Retronauts. I’ve only listened to like two episodes, but that’s only because I’m always busy when I want to listen to them, and completely forget about them when I’ve got free time. Also it doesn’t help that I never use my iPod anymore. Work just isn’t boring enough this time of year to justify the risk of getting caught wearing it.

    In any case, you know, do what you want. It seems kind of dumb to say, but I mean, if you’re tired of it, axe it. Everything has to end eventually, and if you do it now at least you won’t have to deal with this “they jumped the shark” bullshit that seems to be all the rage with the internet folk these days.

    Also, I’m sort of with you on the emulation thing. I spend hours playing emulated versions of the bajillion picross games that were released on the SNES, but almost any other game I would much rather play in the comfort of a couch and TV. Though hooking up a lappy to a TV and plugging in an Xbox controller does come very close to the real deal (though admittedly, playing Super Mario World with an Xbox pad does feel rather odd for a while).

  26. GFW is my second favorite podcast on the 1up network, after Retronauts, and I don’t even play games on the PC. As far as the cancellation of the podcast, I am as melancholy about the apparent loss of Retronauts as I am about the fact that ROME is no more, and Arrested Development is no more… I look forward to the show all week, and I get as much if not more enjoyment from the podcast as I do from traditional media.

  27. I have basically the same problem with emulation, though admittedly, it’s also the reason I don’t go for stuff like Gametap. I’m probably just crazy, but I really like having something tangible, like the game case or whatever. It’s just not the same without it. Yeah, that does seem kind of crazy now that I’ve typed it out.

  28. Yes! A Chrono love-in would be “tits” as the kids say. I throughly enjoy Retronauts, but if you feel like it’s not up to the standard you want it to be or it feels like a wasted endevour, you should axe it. But still…Chrono Trigger first.

  29. Maybe just keep bonus stage weekly and move the podcasts to biweekly? Gives you more time to prepare, more chance to get a good discussion, the ability to add more structure, etc. Of course, it also allows fewer opportunities to mess with the format and get it perfect the way you want.

  30. For what it’s worth the last two Retronauts have been fantastic. The banter has been A+ and I do usually get new info or perspectives out of them.

    But I agree 60-80 minutes is an enormous time investment. If Retronauts is too large to handle maybe you could split it? Do the themed discussion in one podcast and the news/Virtual Selection/Second Harvest etc. in another. Then you could do them on different days and split the work.

  31. Allow me to echo the sentiments of those who came before me: I totally dig Retronauts! I’ve listened to every episode to date, and I owe to Retronauts the fact that I finally broke down and played Cave Story, which has gone on to be one of my favorite games ever. So, thanks.

    Of course, far be it for me to decide how you spend your time, so I’ll try not to hold it against you if you decide to give it up. TRY, I said! I am, at least, reassured to hear that you’ll at least do a Chrono X podcast before calling it quits; someone some day has got to explain to me what people see about Chrono Cross. Bleah.

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