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All posts by Retrovolve Staff

Wild Arms

Just a Friendly Reminder That Wild Arms Had One of the Best Video Game Soundtracks of All Time

One thing that often goes unnoticed in conversations about classic video games — with the exception of horror games, I suppose — is atmosphere. And Wild Arms for the PlayStation was a game drenched in it. With such a rich atmosphere, Wild Arms could jump between steampunk Western, high fantasy, and even science fiction while never compromising its identity. Part of this, of course, is its incredible soundtrack. When you fire up the game for the first time, you’re greeted with one of the most memorable RPG opening sequences of the PSOne era. From the moment your hear that whistle over the acoustic guitar riff, you know you’re in for something you won’t soon forget. And then there’s “Lone Bird in the Shire (Rudy’s Theme),” which brings the memories flooding back.…
Atari Flashback Classics Vol 2

Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 2 for PS4 and Xbox One – Complete List of Games

On October 4, 2016, Atari released two collections of classic Atari games for PS4 and Xbox One: Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 1 and Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 2. This is just a matter of opinion, but we think Vol. 2 has more variety (sports titles feel a bit over-represented on the first volume), while Vol. 1 has better cover art. Unfortunately, the back covers of these games just mention a few of the high points instead of a full list of all 50 titles included on each disc. But we at Retrovolve have your back: A complete list of games found on Vol. 1 can be found here, and Vol. 2‘s games are listed below. Arcade Asteroids Asteroids Deluxe Crystal Castles Gravitar The Adventures of Major Havoc Missile Command Red Baron Sprint Super Breakout Home Console Adventure Asteroids Atari Video Cube Basic Math Brain Games Breakout Casino Championship Soccer Codebreaker Concentration Crystal Castles Demons to Diamonds Double Dunk Flag Capture Golf Gravitar Hangman Haunted House Maze Craze: A Game of Cops ‘n Robbers Missile Command Night Driver Off the Wall Outlaw Race RealSports Baseball RealSports Basketball RealSports Tennis Return to Haunted House Secret Quest Sentinel Sky Diver Space War Star Ship Stellar Track Street Racer Submarine Commander Super Breakout Surround Video Checkers Video Chess Video Pinball  …
Atari Flashback Classics Vol 1

Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 1 for PS4 and Xbox One – Complete List of Games

On October 4, 2016, Atari released two collections of its classic games for PS4 and Xbox One: Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 1 and Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 2. Each collection includes game manuals, multiplayer support, leaderboards, Trophy/Achievement libraries, and, of course, 50 classic Atari games from arcades and home consoles. While Vol. 1 has some real stinkers in the mix, it’s also got some essential classics, like Centipede, all three released SwordQuest titles (the fourth was never completed), and Yars’ Revenge. Upon closer inspection, you might also notice that a few games are included twice in the collection when there are both arcade and home console versions. It’s kind of neat to be able to compare versions, but note that these games are counted twice to make up the total of 50.…
The Duke of Lancaster's Arcade Haul

The Duke of Lancaster Ship Contained a Treasure Trove of Arcade Machines

For some, finding a long-forgotten arcade machine and getting it into the hands of a collector who will care for it can be a thrilling experience. Few arcade excavations (or arcade raids, as The Arcade Blogger‘s Tony Temple calls them) can match the bounty that Oliver Moazzezi found inside The Duke of Lancaster, a ship that’s been resting in Llanerch-y-Mor, North Wales since 1979. The ship, once a pleasure cruiser, held over 50 arcade cabinets just waiting for someone like Moazzezi to find them a loving home. The Arcade Blogger did a very thorough article that documents the whole process, from finding the cabinets to getting them out of the ship, and it’s fascinating. We definitely recommend checking it out.…
Not a Michael Bay Transformer

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 45] : Not a Michael Bay Transformer

We’ve come to the end of the road, folks; this is the final episode of the Half-Glass Gaming podcast. We kick things off with a bang, as Josh delivers the grand finale in his ongoing saga of hearing things outside his bedroom window. We then get into murder in Minneapolis, wild foxes, and the wonder of video game toilets, before checking in on Uncharted 4, Survival Mode in Fallout 4, and baby-making anime video games. We bring you up to speed on why the podcast is coming to an end before getting into Geralt’s genitalia in The Witcher 3, which brings us right back to where Half-Glass Gaming began. But even with all this emotional hubub, we didn’t want to end the show without some cold hard facts, so we dig into our last topic: the history of video game advertisements.…
Half Glass Gaming 44

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 44] : Can’t Get Taste like That in the Big House

It’s been a long time coming, folks, but our Final Fantasy episode is finally here. Before we get into all that business, though, we discuss Prison Ted’s Super Subs and Mandi’s obsession with nature documentaries. She’s got a fistful of factoids straight out of the animal kingdom, and she’s dropping some mad science about panda poop and narwhal horns. After the break, we dive into the history of the original Final Fantasy game for the Famicom, and we explain how the numbering system for later games in the series got so confusing in the United States. We also dissect Final Fantasy VII to try to figure out how it changed the game, and we follow the series through the decline of Squaresoft and the emergence of Square Enix.…
Half-Glass Gaming - I'm the Problem

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 43] : I’m the Problem

We start off this week’s discussion by catching up on the Reverend’s wrestling career. Yes, that means we’ve got some more Wasserman anecdotes, as well as some stuff to say about Hulk Hogan. We spend a bit of time exploring Fallout: New Vegas versus Fallout 3 and 4 before diving into Far Cry Primal, which Josh and Julian have been really into lately. But hold on a second; did Far Cry Primal reuse a whole bunch of assets from Far Cry 4? That leads us to our topic of the day: asset reuse in video games. Mandi brings us on a factoid-filled adventure, walking us through the strange history of asset reuse. We talk through Capcom’s long history of reusing their character sprites, how Nintendo’s Yakuza ties may have aided them in their battle against The Great Giana Sisters, the origins of Yo!…
Bare-Knuckle Slobberknocker

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 42] : Bare-Knuckle Slobberknocker

After some bad French and Shakespeare non-jokes, the gang talks about Julian and Josh’s birthday gifts. Both of those guys had birthdays in March, and they got matching 49″ TVs in celebration. So what video games were used to christen those new HD screens? Fallout 4, Zombi, Diablo III, Disgaea 5, and, of course, Star Wars Battlefront. After the break, we take a look back at the console wars, starting with Big, Evil Nintendo vs. the world. When Sega entered the fray, they came in with guns blazing and aimed straight at Nintendo (Nintendon’t, as Sega called them). How do you come back against Mario? Well, by inventing fake processing technology (AKA Blast processing) and introducing the world to Sonic the Hedgehog (who began his life as the Japanese everyman, Mr.…
Half Glass Gaming Lego

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 41] : An Obsession You Need to LEGO

Why is the gang so tired this week? Probably because Josh and Mandi helped the Reverend move into a new apartment, while Julian got all excited about biking. We tell you all about that before reminiscing about childhoods filled with tree houses, video games, and LEGO bricks, which transitions well into our topic for the week. We come back from the break ready to fill your head with factoids about the LEGO video game series. What was the first LEGO game? (Hint: It wasn’t LEGO Star Wars.) Why did it take so long for LEGO games to become a thing? Why has the franchise become so popular? What are our personal favorite games in the series? Plus, we’ve got some info on LEGO games that died in development, wishes for a LEGO Die Hard game, and the definition of Poop Dunk (sort of).…
BB8 Hug

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 40] : Record Scratch

“Where are the facts?” you may ask if you listened to last week’s low-key episode. Well, the facts are back, Jack. This week, we’ve got a whole stack. But before all that, we catch our listeners up on some of the adventures we’ve had since the last episode. Julian pays way too much for ice cream, Josh and Mandi explore a prohibition-era gangster cave, and the Rev weighs in on breakfast smoothies. We’ve also got opinions on the first trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, as well as movie trailers in general. And, after panning all of your favorite movies in previous episodes (including The Shawshank Redemption and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial), we put our collective stamp of approval on 1993’s Demolition Man.…
A Bunch of Toys

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 39] : Further Destroying the Proud Frankenstein Name

We’ve got a little bit of Spring Fever this week, since the weather’s been warming up, so we came into the studio without an outline or a topic. What resulted was a conversation about diets, Pinterest algorithms, and our unanimous hatred of inspirational quotes. After the break, we dig into some recent games we’ve been toying around with, including Dying Light, Stardew Valley, Fire Emblem Fates, Grand Theft Auto Online, and so much more. We also talk about Mandi’s passion for spreadsheets, the origins of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, and how Chess is an example of the worst map design ever. Oh, and there are plenty of old stories about dating, both in-game and IRL. Plus, the Rev details an elaborate plan to create complex stories inside of Skyrim, which you can read more about at Rebecca Elfprincess’ Shared Skyrim Narrative on Tumbler.…
Game Boy Pocket Seriously Distracting

This Game Boy Pocket Ad Is Seriously Distracting (and Seriously Disturbing)

In early 1997, Nintendo ran the following Game Boy Pocket ad in Loaded, FHM, and Viz magazines: We see a woman tied to a bed with a [insert emotion here] look on her face. Which sounds like the start of a porn film similar to what you can see at websites similar to www.tubevideoshd.xxx. While the agency responsible for the ad (Leo Burnett) filled in that blank with “frustrated” (due to being ignored), many readers found the word “terrified” to be more appropriate. After several complaints, the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) asked Nintendo to withdraw the ad. Crispin Reed, account director for Nintendo at Leo Burnett, defended the ad, saying, “When you look at [our] ad in the context of the environment it appeared in, it’s exactly in keeping with the editorial pages which, I would say, go further than we did.…
Bill and Ted

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 38] : Keanu Reeves Would Be Like, “What?”

This week, we chat about a recent cooking mishap, then break into some fortune cookies before the Rev endorses the Kung Fu Panda movie. That doesn’t seem all that strange until you realize that we’re the podcast who told you you’re not allowed to list The Shawshank Redemption as your favorite movie. We also don’t like E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. But we do love video games, even licensed ones, so we talk about those after the break. What was the earliest licensed game we could find? Why are licensed games typically so bad? Were licensed games the root cause of the video game crash of 1983? We also dig into advergames, though we can’t figure out where the animosity between snakes and Skittles started, nor can we tell whether the world loves or hates Yo!…
Wings out of Shadow

Baen Software Rose and Fell While Barely Making a Sci-Fi Splash

The name Baen has been associated with science fiction since at least 1983, when Jim Baen founded Baen Books (and maybe even before that, since he’d worked as an editor for various publications beginning in about 1973). What many people don’t know, however, is that Jim was also involved in video game publishing, having created Baen Software in 1979. The first game they published was Starclash, released exclusively for TRS-80 computers in 1980. The object of the game was to wrestle control of the galaxy from your computer or real-life opponent. A sequel, Starclash II, was released for MS-DOS in 1983. At first, Baen exclusively published games, but they teamed with sci-fi author Fred Saberhagen to start a development studio, Berserker Works, in 1982.…
Half-Glass Gaming Sci-Fi

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 37] : I’ve Read the Back of Ringworld Several Times

The Reverend has recently returned from MarsCon, a Minneapolis-area science fiction convention, which gets the whole gang into a sci-fi mood. Josh realizes the sci-fi short story contest he entered back in 2010 is far more prestigious than he’d ever imagined before we get into the nitty gritty of what we think Scientology might be. Note: We’re not willing to guarantee the accuracy of any of our information about Scientology, even if the Rev DID attend a recruitment event a long time ago. After the break, we explore the early days of video games, when sci-fi was a part of just about everything and Baen was publishing games instead of books (more on that here). We also talk about real science, debate sub-genres, and take a look at games that don’t typically get labelled as sci-fi even though they absolutely are.…
Boba Fett

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 36] : The Berlin Interpretation

We kick off this episode all full of fury, as Josh has quite a bit to say about bumper stickers. If you thought our billboards conversation back in Episode 11 was intense, buckle up! We’ve even got the origin story of the “My other car is a _____” bumper stickers. We also touch on Ayn Rand’s obsession with the color yellow, Bronson Pinchot’s glory days (the 1980s), and the mysterious allure of Steve Buscemi. And before we settle in, we recommend a little indie game called Siralim. After the break, we dig deep into the roguelike video game genre, which is unique in that a congress of game developers actually met in Berlin to create a hard definition for the term.…
Sticks to Snakes W

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 35] : Sticks to Snakes W

We’re back, and we’re sounding better than ever! Our audio issues have been taken care of and our voices sound clear and crisp. It’s a good time to be alive, folks. To warm things up, Julian tells tales of his sick dog’s miraculous recovery and his rap career (Julian’s rap career, not his dog’s). The Reverend hits another Skyrim milestone. Josh talks trash about GoDaddy (GoDaddy really is the worst) and then rejoices in the greatness of Stardew Valley (which is a much better way to spend your time than being on the phone with GoDaddy customer service). Mandi sheds some light on the Fire Emblem controversy, which is a hot topic right now. When we return from the break, we have an informative conversation about the history of video game localization.…
Star Wars Toys Jakku

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 34] : Dear Diary, Today I Got Bit in the Face by a Wolf (Low-Fi)

We apologize once again for the low sound quality; we spent this episode hiding out in our survival bunker where our technology was limited. And, speaking of survival, we’ve got a great episode for you about the survival game genre. Before that, though, we talk through some of our recent television-watching habits and try to figure out why people like The Big Bang Theory so damn much. Even Stephen Hawking is apparently pro-Big Bang Theory, and he’s a genius, so we’re willing to admit that we might be the ones who are wrong on that (no we’re not). We also talk about real-life camping as opposed to camping in Tomb Raider, as well as solving wolf and deer murders in The Witcher 3.…
Bobby's World

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 33] : Bobby Always Rides His Big Wheel (Low-Fi)

We apologize in advance for the sound quality of this episode. We hit a snag with our hardware, but we decided against tossing out this fantastic episode; we really wanted you to hear it. We hope you forgive us for sounding so low-fi. This week, we’re talking piracy. We cut through some of the bullshit arguments surrounding this controversial topic to explain that yes, piracy does hurt game developers. And musicians. And maybe even Ben Affleck. Of course, we’ve managed to dig up some caveats as well, giving examples of gaming studios that might not exist without piracy (ahem, CD Projekt Red, ahem.) We also explore the history of video game piracy, beginning with the easily dub-able cassette tape years and stretching all the way to the recent Witness controversy.…
Deathsmiles on Steam

Deathsmiles and Its Notoriously Saucy Papercraft Minigame

Deathsmiles, Cave’s 2007 arcade bullet-hell classic, has never really been a mainstream hit here in the United States. It’s notable, however, for using some pretty “unusual” tricks as part of its marketing strategy. Promotional flyers were handed out in Japan that contained a papercraft minigame on the backside of them, the point of which was to get a peek at an anime girl’s bottom. By cutting and folding this thing properly (following the included directions), you’d wind up with a skirt and slip that you could blow on, lifting it up to reveal the character’s panties. Did it work? Maybe. The game found its way outside of arcades, with a 2009 Xbox 360 release, an iOS version, and a PC version via Steam (released March 10, 2016).…
Zelda Toys

The Legend of Zelda 30th Anniversary – Celebrate with Us

February 21, 2016, marks the 30-year anniversary of the Japanese release of The Legend of Zelda. We here at Retrovolve are longtime fans of the franchise, and we wanted to find a fitting way to celebrate such a milestone with our staff and readers. So we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite Zelda-related things we’ve published and we thought it’d be fun to share those. You’ll find them below in no particular order. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Is a Beautiful, Profound Masterpiece Josh Wirtanen explains why he thinks The Wind Waker is one of the best video games ever made, looking at the art, story, and emotional impact of the game. Read it here. A Link to the Past and the Mystery of Link’s Missing Pants Mandi Odoerfer explores the instruction manual art of the Zelda series to get to the bottom of a strange mystery: Where are Link’s pants?…
Geralt vs Bear

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 32] : Shoot the Dumb Bear

The gang returns from a breakfast adventure at Denny’s, remembering fondly the Denny’s Atari Remix app that delivered food-themed versions of Atari 2600 games to our smartphones (yes, that’s a real thing). We also share a newly discovered PlayStation Vita game that is perfect for bathroom visits. After the break, we break down the Trophies and Achievements craze. We don’t just touch on modern consoles, though; we go way back to Atari’s patch program from the 1980s (a thing Josh totally missed out on as a kid). From there, we explore the origins of Microsoft’s Achievement system and ponder the question: Do Trophies/Achievements enhance video games? Mandi and Josh are Trophy addicts, while Julian is beginning to warm up to them.…
Love Bomb

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 31] : Love Bomb

This week, why is the gang so giddy? Perhaps it’s because the Reverend has bestowed video game-themed gifts upon the other podcasters, or maybe it’s just because the most romantic of holidays is fast approaching. Either way, it’s time to talk about dating sims. Mandi is the dating sim expert in the group, so she’s got plenty of facts about the early, pornographic days of the genre (which we mentioned a bit way back in our first ever episode). After that, we delve into the evolution of the Fire Emblem series, making “woohoo” happen in The Sims, and Geralt’s sex life in The Witcher 3. We’ve also got some secret info on Final Fantasy VII‘s hidden dating sims mechanics (more on that here), as well as a it on Star Ocean: The Second Story‘s Private Action system (and more on that one here).…
Star Wars Droids and Game Boys

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 30] : It Terraformed My Body with Battery Acid

We’re a very sleepy group this week, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be flying facts and punishing puns — we’ve got plenty of those to go around! We begin by walking through Mandi’s video game journal project, which leads into a discussion of Minecraft and the PlayStation Vita’s Remote Play feature. And that kicks off a fascinating conversation about handheld video game consoles. Would you believe we managed to find a non-TV video game system from the 1950s? It may not have been portable, but we’re talking about it anyway. We’ve also got quite a bit to say about Nintendo’s Game & Watch vs. Milton Bradley’s Microvision, the Game Boy vs. the Game Gear, mobile games vs. modern handheld games, and Japan vs.…
Video Game High School

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 29] : If They’d Gone to Video Game High School, They Would Know This

This week, we start the show with ponderings about some of the stranger media we’ve been consuming. We talk anime boyfriends who will talk you to sleep and crying in K-dramas, and somehow we completely gloss over the Reverend’s newly discovered snake woman fetish. We take a little time to explain a pleasantly strange little game called Roundabout, and Josh explains his experience with SOMA, which he finally played. He has a few complaints, folks. After the break, we explore our most requested topic to date: video game voice acting. We start with the crazy world of voice synthesis and the mysterious deaths surrounding the Berzerk arcade game. (You can read more about the Berzerk deaths here.) We’ve also got a lot to say about the history of voice acting and how it’s evolved through the years.…
Batman, Little Mac, and Han Solo

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 28] : Every Video Game Is a Castlevania Remake

Mandi shares a very catchy earworm after playing PaRappa the Rapper 2 on PS4, which leads us into the wild topic of video game remakes, re-releases, and remasters. Are they a collector’s delight or a cheap cash grab? Believe it or not, we’re actually siding with the industry on this one. After the break we start flinging factoids around, digging through the surprisingly long history of video game remakes. While it may ruffle more feathers these days, it’s been a part of gaming history since before any of us were born. So where is the remake’s place in the industry? Are we looking forward to the remake of Final Fantasy VII? Well, that’s a silly question; of course we are. Get your chickens back into the kitchen, here comes Half-Glass Gaming!…
Half-Glass Gaming Arcade Machines

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 27] : I Thought I Smelled a Little Wasserman on You

This week, we escape the Minnesota cold by gathering around a warm mic and lighting up the toasty fire of conversation. We tell tales of Star Wars action figures, reddit arguments about plotholes, and Josh’s bad luck at picking checkout lines. After the break, we grab some quarters and try to find a concrete definition of the term “arcadey.” Which qualities make a console video game similar to an arcade game? How much of the classic arcade “feel” still exists to this day? How did arcade cabinets encourage players to keep feeding them coins? Are mobile games the arcade games of the present? Is putting “ASS” in the leaderboards an essential part of the arcade experience? We’ve also got some things to say about short-term vs.…
chewbacca bigballz

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 26] : BigBallz McNuttersquash

This week, our off-topic conversation is fast and furious, as we get into 21st Century laundry rooms and compare socks. But that’s just the appetizer. There’s very little time to dilly-dally, either, because the main course is blasting its way onto your proverbial plate; we’re talking about the Internet’s outrage toward Star Wars Battlefront. And that, dear friends, leads us down the dark path of online multiplayer. Scathing words are said about Metacritic, arguments are exchanged over reddit, memories are shared of unpleasant online experiences, and fun is poked at terrible GamerTags. Also, we talk about how Valve uses psychology to manipulate its player base (for more on that, check out this piece on Valve’s Experimental Psychologist). It’s not all gloom and frowny faces, though, we also talk about making friends in MMOs and using online video games as a way to nurture long-distance relationships.…
2015 GOTY

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 25] : 2015 Game of the Year Special

This week, we’ve got a jam-packed, double-stuffed episode because we wanted to dig far deeper into this whole Game-of-the-Year phenomenon than 45 minutes would have allowed. That’s right, folks, this is our longest episode yet. We talk about all the drama from this year’s award shows, including Hideo Kojima’s absense, Geoff Keighley’s impassioned speech on that topic, and why the frick the game awards happen at the beginning of December every year. Also, what does “Game of the Year” even mean? We have thoughts and opinions, dear friends. Once that conversation’s been had, we toss the greatest game hits from 2015 into the fighting pit and watch them duke it out. We’ve got The Witcher 3, Bloodborne, Metal Gear Solid V, Undertale, Life Is Strange, Until Dawn, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, Fallout 4, and so many others.…
No Christmas for Piper

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 24] : No Christmas for Piper

We’re rude dudes with holiday ‘tude this week, and we’re almost as festive as a Witcher in a Santa suit. Get treats excited, because Mandi spies some more ridiculous billboards, Josh gifts himself a Super Nintendo, Julian gets cranky over meat, and the Reverend drinks a lot and makes innuendos. Best holiday ever, right? And it doesn’t end there, as we continue our celebration by talking about festival and seasonal content in video games. We’ve got snow in Grand Theft Auto Online, festive pranks in Bully, Jester Day in Skyrim, holiday cheer in Diamond City in Fallout 4, and so much more. And no, no one’s warmed up to Piper yet (though we’re pretty sure Josh still kind of digs her).…
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