By ALEX IRISH
In near-continuous run since 2006, the classic gaming podcast Retronauts is one of the longest running video games podcasts on the Internet. Hosted by the retro gaming scholar Jeremy Parish, he and co-hosts such as Bob Mackey, Chris Kholer, Sam Sharkey, and Ray Barnholt among others have brought retro game elucidation, laughter, and joy to listeners for over a decade.
So of course we are STOKED to have the Retronauts as official invited guests at Super FamiCon 2017! For more information, including panel schedules and convention passes, CLICK HERE.
If you're a Retronauts novice, here is a selection of 10 of their very best episodes to help get you up to speed on this fantastic retrogaming podcast. Making this list was not an easy task, but end result here is most certainly hours of premium listening content!
1) Wario Land (Retronauts Vol. III Episode II, 7/12/2013) - Months after Retronauts got the boot as its former home 1UP.com was shuttered, its second coming had this early episode exploring one of Nintendo's most off-beat platforming series, Wario. There hasn't been a proper Wario game in nearly a decade, so why not get acquainted with the series here? An appreciated dive into a portable series that wasn't afraid to be the anti-Mario.
2) Tiny Toon Adventures (Retronauts Vol. IV Episode 34, 3/2/2015) - Licensed properties are no stranger to video games, and this episode entirely focuses on how Steven Spielberg's Tiny Toon Adventures crossed toes with video games, mostly developed by Japanese gaming giant Konami. It’s entertaining to hear about the acclaimed animated show's history and impact as it is to learn about the games inspired by it.
3) Holiday Extravaganza series (2013, 2015, 2016) - It happens once a year around Christmas, when we descend upon a “cabin” in the frost-bitten snow to talk up cartoons inspired by video games. Featuring guest host Chris Antesta of Laser Time, these episodes are a cavalcade of video game cartoon knowledge, contextualizing shows like Super Mario Bros. Super Show, Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, and more to the era they were produced, all while making fun of bad cartoons ostensibly about Christmas. It's the season of giving!
4) What's the Deal with Star Fox? (Retronauts Live Episode 20, 9/1/2011) - Nintendo's Star Fox has had an on-off stability for years now, and this episode reflects on that legacy. At the time of recording in 2011, Star Fox Zero was years away from releasing on Wii U, so Star Fox 64 3D was the most current game to go off of. Join in the laughs and the illumination on the furry-ous rail shooter/sometimes 3D adventure/sometimes ground-based shooter, and don't miss out on the humorously uncomfortable dissertation on Krystal (you'll see).
5) Looking Back At Years gone by (Retronauts Live episodes 35, 58) - Tradition is not just the name of a Broadway song, there's also the tradition Retronauts used to fulfill looking back at gaming history from 40 years ago, going at least every 5 years into 20 years ago from recording. In the olden Retronauts days, they were recorded around the new year, but have vanished since the show left its 1UP.com clutches. The only episodes I can speak to personally are the shows from 2012 and 2013, so the former has coverage of 1972 (aka the first major year in video gaming with Pong and the Magnavox Odyssey).
6) PlayStation's 20 and a Moment of Silence (Retronauts Vol. IV Episode 44, 7/14/2015) - Retro gaming is not all about Nintendo and Sega, you know. The Sony PlayStation is well over 20 years old now, and this episode was recorded in the summer of 2015 to have a candid investigative conversation about the monumentally important system. What makes this episode infamous is that the recording fell on the exact night that Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata passed away. In recognition of the tragic event, the episode was posted months early, out of respect to one of gaming's greatest leaders.
7) Atari (Retronauts Vol. III Episode 4, 8/19/2013) - One of gaming's earliest icon companies gets the spotlight at last in this 2013 episode. Explores the company's origins by way of Nolan Bushnell, from Pong to the Atari VCS all the way to their decline and afterlife. If you didn't know anything about Atari beyond Combat and Pitfall, or haven't touched a game since playing Pong in a dingy bar, this is the episode to go to.
8) The History of Video Game Violence (Retronauts Vol. III Episode 5, 9/1/2013) - Games have been misunderstood by adults and politicians almost since the dawn of the medium. Did you know how deep the animosity goes? This marks a fascinating dive into the cartoon and realistic violence of gaming and how it has evolved with the times.
9) Fan Translations (Retronauts Vol. III Episode 8, 10/21/2013) - When some games that have fans don't get translated and released in western markets, who you gonna call? In this list of podcasts is a podcast...constructed as a Top 10 list. This episode looks at ten of the most important and impressive fan translations, with its nominations including the likes of Policenauts, a Secret of Mana sequel, and, what else, Mother 3.
10) Parappa the Rapper (Retronauts Vol. III Episode 17, 3/3/2014) - He may have only had a small handful of games to his name, but Parappa is remembered to this day because he taught us to believe. A brief series of two mainline entries and the spin-off featuring Un Jammer Lammy inspire a passionate discussion delving into the creators and mechanics of Sony's lovable mascot. Guest star Christian Nutt of Gamasutra fame features heavily in the episode.
Honorable Mention: Sonic the Hedgehog's Anniversary (Retronauts Live Episode 16, 7/16/2011) - It's not in the top list proper, but this episode from the 1UP era deserves special mention. It's not formatted in the typical Retronauts discussion, but rather is a call-in show where listeners phoned in to exchange quips with the hosts. This one in particular saw things get awkward fast, and it is cited as what ended the call-in episodes of Retronauts. Years later would see a proper Sonic episode that felt like a real Retronauts, but if you want more laughs than anything educational, jump on it.
Episodes of Retronauts can be found in a number of places. If you're looking for the 1UP episodes, a Retronauts archive is a Google search away but is no longer on podcast feeds. The show today can be downloaded wherever podcasts are, and the show has a Patreon you can support monthly.
If if you want to meet the Retronauts and see them perform live, make sure to purchase your THREE DAY CONVENTION PASSES by CLICKING HERE!