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Old 10-14-2010, 05:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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This Week in Retronauts: "Mommy, Why Did the Podcast Have to Die?"

Amidst all the NES nostalgia we're blasting in your face this week, there's one other little bit of Retronauts you might want to check out: Episode 99, aka "the series finale." This is the big one! All the plot threads wrap up here. Will Ray and Kohler finally face off against one another in the inevitable duel to the death for Famicom nerd supremacy? Will Jeremy finally cure himself of the ancient Egyptian curse inflicted on him by Set in the Tomb Raider episode? And just what is the mysterious Black Smoke, anyway? All will be revealed!

Or not. Actually, there are no real revelations this episode, or even closure! The show ends like it began four years ago: awkwardly, with lots of cross-talk, and me making lots of stupid misstatements about game trivia that were painfully embarrassing to go back and listen to during the editing process. If Retronauts were a story, people would be angry for its lack of character development. Instead, people just have to settle for being angry because we didn't say nice enough things about their favorite games, or because interludes of classic game tunes are like poison to their ears, or any number of other things that everyone hates about the show. There's something heartwarming about such consistency.

But really, the most important thing we failed to discuss in the show is why the Retronauts podcast is coming to an end at all. The answer isn't especially complicated, though. We simply don't have the time and resources to maintain consistent quality, and if the game history and the sadly diminishing state of once-great franchises that this show has chronicled for the past few years has taught us anything, it's that we're better off ending well and decisively than dragging things out into mediocre perpetuity.

When we started Retronauts, it was a safe bet. We had access to a huge bullpen of Ziff-Davis magazine staff, and we could practically guarantee that someone would be familiar with any topic we wanted to talk about. But now we're just 1UP, and that means the number of people around to wax eloquent is about 25% what it was four years ago. It's become increasingly difficult to wrangle up enough people to discuss obscure corners of gaming history, and there's no real return on the huge investment of time it requires. Recording sessions slip, episodes end up anemic and underdeveloped, and no one is satisfied. That's not a promising future at all.

We still have lots to say about classic games, but ultimately we'll have better results if we focus on delivering that content in other formats. (And no, I don't just mean the videos. Those aren't meant to be a standalone replacement for the podcast, so please don't feel as if we killed your favorite puppy and tried to pass off an turtle as a replacement.)

Anyway, thanks to those of your who have stuck around this long. Hopefully our next Retronauts venture will be more satisfying to all parties involved. And if nothing else, we'll see you at PAX East! Event planners willing, of course.

Download Retronauts Episode 99: Endings: Jeremy Parish, Ray Barnholt, Chris Kohler, Justin Haywald, and Mike Nelson talk about their favorite video game endings. Musical interludes consist of... lots of different ending themes, for the most part.
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