The Retronauts podcast is, by nature, somewhat self-indulgent. After all, we're always sharing our opinions, our memories, on our choice of topics about our favorite form of entertainment.
Today's episode may just take the cake, though — the only way it could be more self-obsessed is if we did an episode on the history of Retronauts. (Don't worry, that one's still at least a year and a half away.) The only thing that wasn't us this time around was our choice of topics — that was supporter Sean Clements' pick — but everything else is us, us, us.
See, this week's topic is "chrongaming," or "chronogaming" if you prefer, and it's a theme that both Bob and I have plenty to say about. For me, because it's something I do in my spare time, and for Bob... well, I dunno. I guess it's just something he enjoys.
In case you're a little fuzzy about what "chrongaming" means, the description is right there in the name: It's the practice of exploring a platform's library in its totality in chronological order, beginning with the first release and ideally ending with the last. This is the sort of super anal-retentive thing that video game nerds tend to do, and some of us make a public display of it. In fact, we invited the most famous and beloved of Type-A game enthusiasts onto the show this week: Chrontendo's Dr. Sparkle, who is currently about halfway through his quest to document the evolution of the NES and Famicom (with side excursions into TurboGrafx-16 and Sega Genesis).
This week, we discuss the motivations behind chrongaming projects, as well as both its benefits and pitfalls. For me, it's been a very deep and expensive rabbit hole that's driven me to up my video production game, seek ever more authentic play experiences, and embark on hopeless quests for increasingly rare and pricey games. But the side effect of ventures like this, ideally, is to chronicle video game history and shed a little more light on forgotten or obscure corners of the medium's past. I've certainly learned a lot from Chrontendo and from my own efforts with my Game Boy World project. The games industry doesn't care much for its own history, except the parts it can repackage and sell at a premium, and comprehensive ventures like this will (hopefully) serve as a valuable archive of the past.
Can a podcast be self-indulgent if the topic was provided by someone else? The famous Dr. Sparkle joins us to fulfill Sean Clements' Kickstarter topic request: Chrongaming. Join us as we psychoanalyze our own obsessive-compulsive behavior!
Thanks to Chrontendo's Dr. Sparkle for putting in his second podcast appearance on Retronauts. And thanks to supporter Sean Clements for the request. The music this time around, by the way, is from Natsume and Jaleco's Shatterhand for NES. No particular reason, it's just really great music.
- Chrontendo: The most famous chrongaming project of them all, Chrontendo digs through 11 years of Famicom and NES games in sequence.
- Game Boy World: The self-indulgent part — this is my own attempt to do likewise for Game Boy.
- Generation 16: This dedicated Sega Genesis venture is produced by Player One Podcast co-host and former EGM editor Greg Sewart.
- PlayStation Year One: And finally, the newest venture: Danny Cowan's attempt to document the PlayStation's history.