Friday, April 22, 2016

B10: Utility Bill

This week Josh and Emily confront some unanticipated consequences of all the dungeon decorating from way back when, then spend a significant portion of the episode talking about their dadcast, The Legacy Music Hour. Emily even has a special report about a recent Brent Weinbach situation that she tries to keep the patrons on the edge of their seats with, but in reality it's probably no big whoop to anybody but her. Don't forget to hang around the karaoke machine after all is said and done for a duet installment of Josh's Chi Chi's Pro Golf Challenge!

Click above to listen or subscribe.  Click below for the usual direct download.

This episode was made possible by:
Game Track Title Composer(s)
Wario Blast: featuring Bomberman! World 5 Yasuhiko Fukuda, Jun Chikuma
Super Black Bass 3 Track 09 Tsukushi Sasaki, Michiya Hirasawa
Lemmings The Ascending Pillar Disco Hirohiko Takayama
Game Boy Han 2
??? Minoru Mukaiya(?)

Note: Alas, Emily couldn't seem to locate the Lemmings mega medley MIDI on vgmusic.com, but hopefully she does its majesty justice in her podcast conversation about it.


  1. That is probably the most compelling VGM Karaoke I've ever heard. It felt like a real song, not just some lyrics over a VGM track. The lyrics were really interesting! I love it and need it on its own for some deep listening.

    I liked Emily's story about getting her Game Boy. I got mine for my birthday one year and it came w/ Super Mario Land and Tetris (or I somehow was gifted that configuration, but I remember one or both being a launch title too). So I had some stuff to tide me over for a while, but then it came time to go get my own games. My first solo selection was Metroid II, which proved to be a mistake because I had no idea how to play it. It wasn't until last year that I revisited and finally knew how to get around and what to do. Now at something like 18 metroids. I need to get back to it.

    This episode also reminded me of why I am resistant to PC gaming. LEMMINGS. I've always been a console kid because those were marketed as a kind of home arcade system, and early PC games (post DOS, which I DID play - The Black Cauldron, what's up!) were things like Lemmings. I didn't get the appeal of the game on Genesis when there were things like Sonic and Street Fighter, then learned it was a PC hit from the ads. I immediately developed a bias that is not fair to continue today, I know. But I thought, "PC games have no place on a console that is meant to bring me arcade games!" I guess I hold grudges for a really long time.

    I'm really happy you guys are doing this podcast! Hearing the shows (Sega) Genesis was interesting. I shudder to think of what could have been had this never happened.

    Finally, Emily, I always thought of LMH as hanging with my friends too. Since my wife and I moved to Texas from Colorado a few years ago, I had a hard time adjusting to finding a new group of friends to do what I did w/ my life-long friends in CO. I got deep into LMH and really felt a connection. It was just like hanging with my friends. The online community aspect really helped too. So I feel you on that big time.

    And double finally, I hope you can get a better job as a librarian who doesn't have to shovel, but can instead work inside w/ books and stuff :)

    1. Quality,
      I guess I've had a long-held anti-PC game bias as well, but not because I thought the Genesis(or the SMS before it) was all about arcade games. Although Sega was an arcade company, almost all my favorite Sega games have always been the original first-party(published) titles.

      My long-term anti-PC bias would fit very closely on a Venn diagram with why I mostly prefer Japanese games to Western ones: there's an element of harmony and balance that is often present in Japanese design aesthetic that's often lacking in Western titles....this is 80's and 90's gaming I'm talking about here. Now, I know that there's a HUGE conversation hat can be had about the fact that most of the terrible Japanese games stayed there, so the ratio of quality-to-garbage Western vs. Japanese titles WE experienced is unfairly skewed to favor Japanese games.

      That said, Japanese consumer products of the mid-80's to mid-90's on the whole were generally developed with greater attention to balance and harmony in both form and function. If you look at the top 5 games in every genre, Japanese games would dominate the list in every category except for maybe sports.

      I feel the same way about PC games for most of the same reasons. The controls are often clunkier, less well laid out, less intuitive, and more needlessly complicated. the menu systems are more complicated, and less polished. The gameplay is often less intuitive, with more focus on accomplishing tasks through menus than in-play button presses.

      Part of that is due to the fact that PC games are almost without exception meant to be played with some use of the keyboard. I don't recall ever playing a PC game that, from bootup, can be completely played using only a controller. Accessing options is always done using a keyboard. So with 40 some-odd buttons available, of course PC developers are going to utilize some of them. Why assign a pause button to a controller when 'P' works so much better?

      This is why the controls on almost all those PC games felt shoehorned when put on the consoles.

      As an aside, I was really surprised by the Lemmings music. I played a little of the SNES version and didn't care for it, so I was doubly surprised to find that the music was good and had a Japanese composer. I'm sure it is a western title, so it would be interesting to hear the original music and see how it compares and contrasts.

    2. My first car was an '86 Toyota Camry and my second was a '90 Honda Accord. I didn't appreciate how well laid-out the instrument panels were or how there were no blind spots, until I started driving American cars of the same vintage. Every one was less responsive, I had to reach or tilt my head to access parts of the instrument panels, and there were huge blind spots between the backseat windows and the rear windshield.

    3. Quality, Metroid II: Return of Samus is on my list of games to play this summer and I am psyched! If you get back into it, keep us apprised of your progress so that we might save SR388 in tandem.

      And I hear you about LMH getting you through hard times. I started listening just as I was entering graduate school and spending 11-hour days commuting to and from campus a few times weekly. My classes would end at 9 PM, but I'd have to wait until 11 PM to catch a train home. So, I spent many nights staring out the library windows into the darkness, then waiting on nearly abandoned rail platforms, then resting my head against the train windows, listening to Brent and Rob pronounce JALECO or make up raps about Troll dolls.

      I am so grateful for how much they made me laugh, because some nights I really, really needed it.

  2. I had a huge collection of vgm midi files back in the day. I eventually ended up replacing them with mp3s... then replaced those mp3s with emulated files (spcs, nsfs, etc.). I'm so glad I did because some of those midis sounded rough! I'll never forget that horrible WAY TOO HIGH pitched guitar solo in the Spark Mandrill midi... *shudders*

    LMH had a huge effect on me, as well. They literally helped me get back into vgm after probably years of not paying attention to it in a failed attempt to be some sort of music hipster. LMH's views on typically shunned music (like elevator) helped me loosen up and appreciate music I would usually write off. In short, LMH helped me open my mind and broaden my musical horizons.

    And oh man, that vgm karaoke! You guys totally killed it. Hole-in-one Bonk right there!

    1. I love knowing that some of you guys did the MIDI thing too. It just warms my heart for some reason.

  3. Podcasts are so weird, I think it's because it's right into your ears and is so personal that way. Like when Harris Wittsls, a comedian who was on Earwold podcasts a lot, it hit me in a super personal way. It was like a friend died, but he had never heard of me.

    It happened with LMH where I thought of them as friends and wanted them to know who I was. It's happened with you two too! I want to barge on the poscast and talk with you dudes because you guys seem like buds.

    1. Aw, Kenny. I feel like if you were a Planeteer, you'd have the Power of Heart.

      Podcasts have a funny way of bonding the co-hosts together, I think. There's so much to figure out between you that neither person has probably tackled before, and that kind of learning under pressure, and relentless support of each other -- plus just the habit of putting aside weekly time to sit together and work -- builds a pretty strong solidarity.

      Something that I personally love about this project, though, is how I feel connected back to a lot of you patrons despite the decidedly one-way communication of the podcast medium. The fact that you guys get so involved, in track recommendations and comments, is just wonderful. You reach out so that we can reach back!

  4. Emily, I totally know what you're saying about how strange it was to meet Brent when it felt like you knew him to some degree. Brent and Rob talk about certain aspects of their own lives pretty casually on the show, so it's almost like we're vicariously living out their friendship. I was surprised to hear you hadn't actually met Brent; when they talked about Rob's going away party, and played the excellent song you and Josh did about Rob going "North of the Coast", I somehow got it into my head that you had traveled to L.A., and you and Josh went to the party.

    My brother and I also live in Portland aka Port Town aka River City aka Stumptown(now I know why I've acquired so many nicknames). We also met Brent when he performed in town last fall, and it was amazing. Did he do the clapping thing at the beginning? That was pure genius. He also picked my brother out of the crowd for part of his jokes. When we introduced ourselves after the show, I was amazed at how low-key he was in person, considering how he completely owned the crowd on stage.

    His visit coincided with the Portland Retro Gaming Expo, which also had the Retronauts guys in town. They hosted a get-together at Ground Kontrol(the arcade-bar where Rob F. has since started a monthly DJ session). So I went to that and met Jeremy and Bob from Retronauts, and got hooked on this awesome newer game called Killer Queen. It can be played with up to 10 players, has graphics reminiscent of Joust(but with a massive high def monitor), and is super fun. After that, I headed over to see Brent perform.

    THEN, after the show, Brent happened to be coming back to Ground Kontrol for the Retro Gaming Expo Afterparty. So my brother and I headed back to Ground Kontrol and I got to introduce Brent to Killer Queen, and show him how mediocre I am at it. We waited for the Switch, but I had to leave before his arrival. Getting up at 4am to go to work makes it hard to stay out with the big kids. I heard it was rather epic, and if Mr. Weinbach makes it back here for this year's Expo, I'll definitely try to make it.

    As an aside note, my brother accidentally ran into Rob when going to get his hair cut. He recognized him immediately; but I'll let him tell his own stories.

    1. What a saga, Naka!

      Alas, I was not at the going-away party. The karaoke was my attempt to be there imaginarily (new word), but Josh did in fact attend in reality.

      Here's something I thought was really funny and sweet about Brent's tour here on the East coast: he kept thanking me for coming out to his shows because he knew I had to drive a ways to get to them. After one such statement of gratitude, though, I basically cut him off and blurted, "Are you KIDDING? You think I would miss this?!"

  5. ....and why do I keep forgetting to give you both your justly earned props for the VGM karaoke JAM? Super good.