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Passion for Pixels Retro Gaming Podcast

Danny and Stian share stories from a lifetime of playing videogames, with an emphasis on retro games and retro gaming. We talk Nintendo, Sega, PC, and more, and how gaming has changed through the years.
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Passion for Pixels Retro Gaming Podcast
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Nov 15, 2015

From Mario to Mirror's Edge, platformers are one of gaming's oldest genres. Why have platformers enjoyed such longevity and what does the future hold for them? How did the prevalence of 3D graphics affect the genre? Mario 3 or Super Mario World?

Stian and Danny try to answer all of these questions and more on the an episode dedicated entirely to the Def Leppard of gaming... what?!?

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Nov 3, 2015

There are more superhero movies coming out than you can shake a stick at these days, but if you wanted to see superheroes on your TV screen back in the day, you had to pop in a videogame.

Superheroes are overpowered, so how do you make a game that is both challenging and fun to play, while keeping it true to the source material? Superman games are notoriously bad, and this is because nothing hurts Superman, and that makes for a bad game. So what is it that makes some superhero games work, while others don't?

We delve into this topic by looking at the classic Ninja Turtles games of the late 1980's and early 1990's, Batman for the NES and more modern Batman games, we look at how the aestethics of 8- and 16-bit games are closer to the still images of a comic book than modern games are, and we look at how Silver Surfer on the NES got it all wrong.

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Oct 20, 2015

Casual games have become huge the last few years, with Candy Crush Saga netting more than a billion daily plays in 2015, but casual games is not an invention of the mobile phone age. We look at casual gaming through our retro tinted lenses, and start with 1980's Pacman.

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Oct 6, 2015

We talk about our vivid memories of buying games back in the day when brick and mortar stores were the only option, and games didn't have a release date, so you'd have to come back again and again to see if a game was out yet.

Tyma reveals why purchasing a japanese copy of Final Fantasy VIII was a bad idea, Danny tells of how he got ripped off purchasing his first ever game, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 for the Sega Genesis, and Stian is crowned winner of first time videogame purchases, when he tells of his bundle of sweet classics purchased second hand 25 years ago.

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Jul 15, 2015

Expansion packs - the DLC of the 1990's. Danny, Stian and Tyma talk about their favourite expansion packs from back when games came in huge cardboard boxes. Topics include Blizzard's brilliant expansions, the horrible way of making expansions work on disc based consoles (with the worst one being Grand Theft Auto London for the Playstation) and the very first expansion pack. Also, Tyma gets to host (kind of).

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Jun 23, 2015

We're hot off the heels of Square Enix' announcement at E3 2015 that they are remaking Final Fantasy VII, and we get into what we expect, hope and dread regarding the new version of one of the most beloved videogames of all time.

How will the Honeybee Inn sequence play in HD, will Cloud still fight a jumping house and ride a dolphin and how will the combat system look? This and much more in this spoiler filled episode of Passion for Pixels (and clunky polygons).

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Jun 10, 2015

Some games just can't be beat. No matter how frantically you try to clear the lines, those Tetris blocks WILL fill your screen. Your Sim City city will be struck by an earthquake. And your Lawnmover Simulator... well, listen and find out.

Danny, Tyma and Stian talk about games with no end, games that can't be won and the nature of what makes a game a game. Is playing the lottery a game? At least one of our hosts think so. And one absolutely disagrees.

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May 12, 2015

Danny, Stian and Tyma try to figure out what happened to the beloved 80's genre of the shoot 'em up. What has taken it's place, and is there a possibility of seeing a shmup resurgence in the future? Even though it has no space ships, is Ikari Warrior's a shmup? Why can you not take bathroom breaks if you want to become the world champion at Life Force? This and more in episode 23 of Passion for Pixels.

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Apr 30, 2015

Is retro collecting all about reliving your childhood, is it a way to invest in stuff that's going to be worth a fortune down the line or is it hoarding mania? Tyma joins Danny and Stian to tell their stories of retro collecting, battered Nintendo's that still work, the feeling of finding a mint Castlevania Symphony of the Night at a yard sale and how awesome discovering a Legend of Mana US import in a Scandinavian store was before the advent of online shopping.

Where is collecting going to be in a future of all digital downloads?

Lastly Tyma realises that his passion for collecting music games has been explained in a poop related psychological theory by Sigmund Freud.

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Apr 14, 2015

Why do we celebrate film directors but can only name a handful of game developers? How does player agency shape character development in games? Why is Ben Affleck Passion for Pixel's paradigm celebrity? Stian and Danny try to answer these questions and more as we discuss the notion of fame in gaming.

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Mar 31, 2015

The music game genre has been around for almost 30 years, and in this episode we trace the genre from it's birth until today, along with our special guest Tyma.

It all started with the NES title Dance Aeorobics and the obscure Famicom Disk System release Otocky, which we take some time to talk about. Following this was a hiatus of a few years before Parappa The Rapper became a huge success when it was released in 1997, and we talk about our memories of playing the game and the waves it made in the videogame press at the time. As Tyma puts it: "Parappa is the music game that every music game strives to be."

We also devote some time to talking about Beatmania, an arcade series which has seen yearly releases for almost 20 years and cover some obscure titles like the terrible Stepping Selection for Playstation 2. You'll have to have an absurd love of karaoke to enjoy this particular title.

Tyma makes a good argument for why the Game Boy Advance title Rhythm Heaven is the most important game ever made. If you want to know why, all you have to do is click play and join us for the 20th episode of Passion for Pixels.

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Mar 21, 2015

Have you ever bought a game because the box art looks awesome? Hopefully not, but if you only use box art as your buying criteria you've probably played some pretty awful games. On this episode, Stian and Danny try to dissect the phenomenon of bad games that sell well. Also, we try to see why some amazing games never made bank.

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Mar 3, 2015

On this special episode, Danny and Stian welcome their first guest to the podcast! Tyma, a Neo Geo guru, covers everything from why the system has enjoyed such longevity to how to get into collecting and playing. Did you know that, despite its popularity, Metal Slug is actually one of the rarest titles to find? Also, Tyma counts down his top ten non-fighting Neo Geo games mixing some lesser known titles with outright classics.

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Feb 18, 2015

We're delving into an area that a lot of us don't know much about: the homebrewing scene. The homebrew scene contains everything from remakes and demakes of popular games, ports of old games from one system to another to brand new games for all consoles imaginable. Imagine getting your hands on a brand new NES game in 2015 - that's homebrewing for you.

We touch upon all of this and more, and marvel at KHAN Games recently released port of Leisure Suit Larry for NES.

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Nov 5, 2014

What really counts as a violent game? Do we really need to worry about the children? What's really at stake? On this episode we tackle the nebulous issue of violence in video games and do our best to provide our answers to these questions and more!

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Oct 14, 2014

Did you know that the first computer game to have boss fights was a dungeon crawler called DnD, that ran on a computer called Illiac, owned by The University of Illinois? Boss fights have been a staple of video games ever since, so we decided to dedicate a whole episode to our favourite (and least favourite) boss fights. Which are the cliches we can do without? What are the criteria that makes a boss fight a fulfilling challenge? Who tops our list of most memorable boss fights? Download or stream the latest episode to find out!

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Sep 30, 2014

From the ludicrous Jaguar pad to the sublime DualShock for the Sony Playstation, on this episode we dissect the evolution of controllers. Find out our thoughts on the best overall pad for retro gaming with a modern setup along with our feelings on the best and worst ergonomics. Also, did you know the Sega Genesis/Megadrive pad works out of the box with the Atari 2600?

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Sep 2, 2014

Passion For Pixels is back from summer holidays! In this episode we catch up on what we’ve been playing the last couple of months, before we delve into our main topic: classic racing games.

The legacy of racing games goes back all the way to the early days of computer games, and we talk about how the genre has evolved from 1972’s Speed Race. We also devote some time to our classic racing game favorites, like OutRun, RC Pro-Am, F-Zero, Micro Machines, Super Mario Kart and more!

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Jul 8, 2014

As the gaming industry took off in the mid 1990's, so did gaming trade shows. From E3 to Blizzcon, this episode covers the good, the bad, and the ugly of gaming trade shows. Are they really all they are cracked up to be or is it just useless hype?

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Jun 24, 2014

Few companies have dominated the gaming scene as Blizzard Entertainment has for over 20 years, and their logo has become synonymous with top-notch innovative games that are unquestionably worth your money.

Blizzard, known as Silicon & Synapse in the early 1990's, are today known for franchises like WarCraft, StarCraft and Diablo, but we also take a look at their older classics, like Lost Vikings, Rock n' Roll Racing and Blackthorne.

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Jun 10, 2014

Point and click adventure games like Monkey Island and Broken Sword had their heyday in the mid '90's. After having been more or less dead for the last 15 years the genre is now seeing a small resurgence, with among others, Tim Schafer getting back to making adventure games. In celebration of the return of the adventure game genre we get into our favorites of the golden age of adventure gaming, and it turns out that Stian and Danny don't have the same games at the top of their lists.

In an attempt to see the genre without nostalgia tinted glasses, Stian gets some hands on time with an old classic he never had the chance to play back in the day: The Dig. How it holds up and whether this genre can hold the interest of 30 year olds and not just kids with a ton of time on their hands, are among the topics of the tenth episode of retro gaming podcast Passion for Pixels.

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May 27, 2014

For this episode of Passion for Pixels we finally turn to PC gaming and talk about late 80's and early 90's shareware gaming.

The shareware gaming era started with bedroom programmers making their own games and shipping them out to their customers. It grew from there into a profitable business, and one of the main innovators of the time was John Carmack. Carmack was one of the founders of id Software, the company behind shareware titles such as Commander Keen and Doom.

As opposed to game developers like Shigeru Miyamoto and Hideo Kojima, John Carmack was actually a programmer, and we talk about how that might influence someone's perspective when creating games.

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May 13, 2014

This episode starts off with us talking about Japanese game director, producer, writer and designer Hideo Kojima. We talk about the games that inspired Kojima to become a game developer, his earliest work (ever heard of Penguin Adventure?) and how his most well known series of games, Metal Gear Solid, came about. Once again it's a story of how the limitations of the console's hardware forced the developers to think outside of the box.

We also talk about the pros and cons of Kojima's style, which draws heavily on his fascination for films. Does his games feel too static at times, when the cut scenes drag on for too long?

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Apr 29, 2014

This episode we're talking classic console launches, starting with the launch of the NES in the US in 1985. We talk about figures and facts from launches spanning the NES to the Dreamcast, reminisce about our memories of the different launches and talk about how the advertising impacted us in different ways.

The videogame crash had put the industry in shambles, and Nintendo was trying to bring their console to an almost dead market when they released the NES in 1985. Did you know that it took more than a year from the NES was launched in New York until it was available nationwide - more than three years after the Japanese release of the Famicom? Console launches back then were not surrounded by the same amount of hype and propaganda as they are today.

We talk about the launch of the Sega Master System and the Sega Genesis. Stian tells about his memories of the Super Nintendo launch as a kid in Norway, and how this put videogames on norwegian TV for the first time.

We also talk about the launch of the Phillips CD-i and conclude that the console was actually way ahead of it's time, but very poorly marketed (and had terrible games).

We talk about the launch of the Panasonic 3DO, the Sony Playstation, the Sega Saturn, the Nintendo 64 and the Sega Dreamcast as well.

Did you know that the Sega Saturn was released in the US the same day that it was first shown to the American public at E3? Someone at Segas advertising department would probably get fired over that decision if it happened today.

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Apr 15, 2014

A full episode dedicated to talking about one of the most well known games of all time - Final Fantasy VII. Stian and Danny discuss the impact this seminal title has had on the gaming industry, dissect the story and consider modern remakes.

We talk about the game was originally meant to be set in New York. This and other early ideas for the game ended up in other Square RPGs.

How character designer Tetsuya Nomura's style differs from earlier Final Fantasy artist Akira Toriyama is another topic we get into in this episode.

Remember the materia system? We talk about how this fully customizable character system gave players full control of how they wanted to develop their characters, and how it is related to Final Fantasy V's job system.

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