Friday, April 8, 2016

B9: Ghost Counseling

This week's dungeon meetup descends into a very confusing discussion on the nature of nostalgia. Will you get as confused as Emily does? Try your best to follow along and see! Josh introduces another friend to us and later imagineers the gameplay for Emily’s most anticipated game of the year, Lee Trevino’s Fighting Golf. Stick around to learn the secret connection between Mickey Mouse, the Great Gatsby, and God, and hear a very special announcement courtesy of the conscientious Cookie.

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

This episode was made possible by:
Game Track Title Composer(s)
Ranger-X Opening Theme Yoshinobu Hiraiwa, Noriyuki Iwadare
Fighting Golf Track 04 Aran Lee Shige
Undertale Death by Glamour Toby Fox
Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse Door is Open Shigenori Kamiya

Extra credit assignments:

Keith Apicary's Talking Classics Documentary Series (the guy who's the best)
Soundole VGM Covers (the synth clarinet guy)
Tsuko G. (the kazoo guy)


  1. Ranger X Opening Theme and Fighting Golf Track 4? Did you guys hack into my playlists?

  2. Mickey is not a legend because he has no story. The characters you mentioned that had become legends of our pop culture all have an origin story and some sort of hero arc. Mickey has never had that. And that is why your observations of Mickey's character reflect your personal feelings about Disney as a culture.

    Josh, you are absolutely correct in your estimation of Mickey as a symbol. That was intentional from early on; Mickey has always been good-natured but sort of a blank slate, for two reasons: Firstly, so writers can effortlessly put him in myriad different adventures(from being a sorcerer's apprentice to a giant slayer to a homebody), and secondly, no matter what situation he was placed in, the broadest slice of us could identify with him in his situation.

    To reiterate, his malleability is also why Mickey represents for Emily something corporate(and whatever that implies). There is an excellent chapter in Scott McCloud's EXCELLENT book "Understanding Comics", in which he postulates that the less detail is given to a character's design, the more the reader subconsciously inserts his/her personality into that character. He goes on to show illustrations of electrical sockets and clouds and other things we tend to anthropomorphize.

    Now, McCloud was talking about visual association, but I think we do the same thing with Mickey on account of his generic personality.

    Growing up, my grandparents had the Disney Channel. My Dad, a single parent who worked nights, dropped us off to spend the night while he worked to support us. Consequently, I grew up watching all those Disney shorts, and became very familiar with Mickey's every adventure, from the 1920's all the way through to the 80's. As a result, I may feel more vicariously connected to his adventures then say, the Man of Steel, with whom I have almost nothing in common. And simultaneously, that may be why I feel like I know Mickey less well than Superman. And that may also be why people who did not grow up experiencing Mickey's adventures may take that empty container and fill it with something more familiar to them, like Disney's corporate image.

  3. Oh yeah, Ranger X was so good, and I felt the same sensations when playing it. I read Gamefan at the time, and they gave it a colorful two-page spread. Consequently, I bought it as soon as it became available. I remember staying up after I was supposed to be in bed(I had school the next morning), with my headphones plugged into my model 1 headphone jack, staring wide-eyed through the dark at the level intros, with the 3D camera floating through those wireframe models, and those foreboding FM synth pads playing sparsely in the background.

    And Battle Golf sounded so good, kind of like a bassa nova track. It reminded me a lot of the River City Ransom shop tracks for some reason. And BOOM, the nostalgia just kicked in. Which reminds me, I think nostalgia is just a fondness toward, or a longing for, a previous time or event. It's a feeling, which is why it can be attached to a specific memory, or a period of time or era that one may not have actually experienced.

    1. Do you mean Fighting Golf? This is only an important distinction because I do want to play from Battle Golf Rui soon. I like your explanation of nostalgia. Interesting thing about your explanation: it seems weird that this particular emotion would be tied to objective reality, which is whether or not something is in the past. I guess the feeling of anticipation is also like this.

    2. POOP. Yes, I did mean Fighting Golf. If memory serves me, Battle Golf is a Mega Drive game, right? If so, that's the game that uses sounds from Revenge of Shinobi. I've never heard any discussion about this anywhere, but the snares in ROS are totally unique and identifiable because they're super muffled. No other Mega Drive game sounds anything like it......except for Battle Golf. I've always wondered how they came by their sound library.

      I think nostalgia is as it is because it's a kind of longing. Our memories are notoriously unreliable(at least mine are), so I don't think it odd that such a longing can accompany something not experienced firsthand. Although now that you mention it, it may be that firsthand nostalgia based on memories and secondhand nostalgia are not EXACTLY the same, but only similar. Maybe in a similar way that banana candy doesn't actually taste anything like a banana, it just tastes close enough to trigger an association.

    3. oops. I meant Battle Golfer Yui.

      Ohhh. I like the idea of multiple versions of nostalgia.

    4. What if Battle Golfer Yui was a secret playable character in Fighting Golf? What if it was a secret sequel? What if they made a third game called Survivor Series Golf that was a Battle Royale? I would play that so hard.

    5. But again, check the drums on Battle Golfer Yui and compare them to Revenge of Shinobi. I checked online and found out that both games use Sega's standard Japanese audio drivers, just like about half of the Japanese Mega Drive games out there. I would like to know the story behind that one.

  4. Really loved the discussion on this episodes. I had a little jolt that I was surprised/sad it was over when you guys transitioned to closing the episode. Keep up the great podcast guys.

    1. Aww, Kenny, that's so sweet. Thanks for this comment!

  5. Thank you, Cookie!

    Josh's expression, "in my head, in my heart," is a new classification of quality in my ranking of video game tunes.

    On Fuller House: I think that illustrates the nostalgia kernel Emily was talking about really well. They will straight up show you split screen reenactments of original episodes, or flashback to original footage, then move forward from there. They did this episode one and again mid season. So in one way (from ep 1), they began with a kernel and moved forward, but they revisited it mid season w/ Stephanie's kid wedding. It makes me think the producers' sense of nostalgia is something that needs to be revisited, or replenished, something like that. But that they also lived in the same house and had the original stars visit every other episode is sort of a reminder too. Using the old catchphrases...it actually seemed pretty constant as opposed to the kernel effect now that I'm writing it out.

    But on a personal note, Fuller House did not have the same impact on me as Full House did. I'm sure this is for various reasons, but one key reason is that when I was younger and Full House was running new episodes, I had no reference for it. There were shows like it before, but those were before my time. The kid/adult cast thing was pretty new to me (Full House has more kids in the cast than other TGIF and Miller/Boyett productions), and now I see Fuller House and compare it to Disney Channel shows. It doesn't feel like its own show because it smacks of the child acting in a ton of other shows on a different network, so there's a loss of something there. They also ignored Vicki, Danny's partner in the later seasons of Full House, and that bothered me. The rest of the show is so fluffy, I didn't care about anything else, but the Vicki thing really bugged me. We can talk about Stephanie's kid wedding that happened in one episode but not a character across a couple seasons?

    On the note of Disney/Mickey Mouse: I never cared for Mickey. I didn't hate him, but I never developed a fondness for him. Donald Duck, though, I love him. I like pre-Rescue Rangers Chip and Dale too (I call that era the "Nude Era"), but the rest of the Disney cadre, I'm kinda whatever about. But I do have a weird relationship with the ears and iconography of Disney, so Mickey still worked on me in some way. If you go to Disney Land/World, you gotta get the ears! The Goofy hat is cool too, but that's not the same. You must get the ears w/ your name embroidered on the back.

    Those were my thoughts as I listened (albeit late) today on a drive.

    1. I like your thoughts on Fuller House. But while the split screen seems to be a direct ploy to activate nostalgia, for me, it barely does that. What it makes me feel is a hyper-awareness of the show as a construction and rather than make me long for the past, it makes me feel like I can have everything at the same time.

      Full House had a deeper affect on me because it involved me in a reality. Fuller House involves me in a reality that I am constantly being reminded is a reconstruction.