Retronauts Gets Kooky, Spooky, Altogether Ooky

Retronauts Gets Kooky, Spooky, Altogether Ooky

The ghost of Bob Mackey returns to tell us the haunting tale of an unbeatable (?) NES death gauntlet: Fester's Quest.

It's Halloween! Which used to mean a night for people dressing up in frightening costumes. Now it means the seasonal onslaught of Christmas and holiday sales ads begins, which is actually far more alarming.

To celebrate this most diabetic of holidays, today's episode of Retronauts Micro goes on for about two or three times the format's usual length... all to tell you a chilling tale of one of the most vindictive and hateful NES games ever: Fester's Quest. Improbably combining a forgotten television property (this was years before the Raul Julia movie revival!) with the unloved top-down shooting sequences from Blaster Master, Fester's Quest easily stands as one of the most baffling things ever to emerge from Charles Addams' whimsically macabre "Addams Family" cartoon.

Bob and friends go into much greater depth about this game than you might think possible in this episode, sharing their own experiences and some wisdom picked up from interviews with the creators who conceived Fester's Quest in the first place. Like the Addams Family themselves, it's a creepy and kooky game, and it came about through an unprecedented collaboration between U.S. and Japanese developers... and ended up being sort of unplayable due to the logistical limitations of international communication back in the ’80s. Truly a product of its times, as a well as a game bizarrely out of time.

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Libsyn (38:05, 35 MB) | MP3 Download | SoundCloud

Episode description: If you lived through the NES era, the words “Fester’s Quest” likely make you break into a cold sweat. (Sorry about that.) A few years before Raul Julia and Christopher Lloyd danced the Mamushka, kids of the ’80s mostly knew The Addams Family via Sunsoft’s 8-bit hit and its absolutely unforgiving difficulty. On this episode of Retronauts Micro, join Bob Mackey, Chris Antista, and Henry Gilbert as the crew works through their shared trauma, and uncovers the fascinating history of this odd little game.

(Please note that handing out Fester's Quest cartridges to minors as Halloween treats is now considered a felony in most states.)

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