’80s & ’90s Arcade Memories
Like many guys my age that grew up with an arcade in almost every town, I look back fondly on 80s video game classics like Ms. Pac-Man, Wizard of Wor, Galaxian, Gyruss, Galaga, Frogger, Mr. Do!, Dig Dug, Demolition Derby, Punch-Out!!, Super Sprint, and Spy Hunter, to name just a few. Even while attending Emerson college in the ’90s, I continued to play games at the arcades in downtown Boston. My favorites were Mortal Kombat II, NBA Jam, Daytona, Cruis’n USA, and pinball machines like Funhouse, Fish Tales, The Addams Family, and Cueball Wizard.
After graduating college to the working world, and before I realized that I cared, the arcades closed. But I was into computers and MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator), so I could play the classics on my PC. Although this wasn’t as authentic as the experience could have been, I dove into the world of arcade emulation.
RetroGaming Radio Sparks My Passion
In 1998, an online radio show debuted with mp3 downloads as the delivery method. It was called RetroGaming Radio. At the helm was Shane R. Monroe who spoke passionately about his youth as it related to video games and the general culture, and kept all of his listeners informed of everything MAME and emulation related.
Hardware Flashback Segments
If Shane’s segments of the show weren’t my favorites in a particular month, then the Hardware Flashback segments, hosted by Scott Schreiber, were. Scott was also passionate about emulation and the original video game systems. He’d also talk about pinball machines and arcade game restoration. This was the first time I’d ever heard about arcade machine restoration or collecting classic video game systems and I was fascinated.
Chasing the Chuckwagon
“SoCal” Mike Kennedy hosted another segment on RetroGaming Radio called Chasing the Chuckwagon where he’d talk about items he had scored at local flea markets that were up for auction at his video game auction site.
When a new episode of RetroGaming Radio was announced toward the end of each month, I was excited because hardly anyone else in my life was talking about this stuff. Listening to the show gave me a natural high.
Eventually I got a cell phone with a MiniSD slot. Now I could copy the show to the card and listen on the go. It was almost like a podcast that I’d heard so much about. In 2006 I bought a 5th generation iPod Classic and started subscribing to podcasts. The following year, I even started my own reggae music podcast. I loved being able to listen to specialty programs that would have never had a chance on terrestrial radio, like RetroGaming Radio.
I remember that on the RetroGaming Radio web site forum, the question about an RSS feed–for those that wanted to subscribe to the show as a podcast–would come up regularly, but Shane was adamant that he wanted all listeners to personally visit the web site, not just automatically download the show with an RSS client like iTunes. I can’t quote him on this; I’m just going from memory. As I wrote earlier, Shane could be very passionate and opinionated on the show and he was passionate about this. But at some point Shane announced an RSS feed and RetroGaming Radio was finally portable and hassle-free like other podcasts.
RetroGaming Radio Burns Out
I’m not sure exactly when the last episode of RetroGaming Radio was released, but it just kind of fizzled out with the months going by and no new episodes released. I think Shane lost the motivation to continue with the show. It was sad for the listeners, but Shane had found other creative outlets like his Passenger Seat Radio, Wii Minute Radio, Dual Screen Radio, and Monroeworld Game Cast.
RetroGaming Roundup Picks Up the Slack!
In early 2009, the two former RetroGaming Radio contributors Scott Schreiber and SoCal teamed up to produce a brand new podcast called RetroGaming Roundup. They added “UK” Mike James and created a humorous and passionate show that provided RetroGaming Radio listeners with what they had been missing and more! I’m not sure about their download numbers, but I’d guess that the show is as popular or more than RetroGaming Radio was. I learned of the show after a few episodes were released, but caught up quickly. Now I listen to every monthly marathon episode within days of release.
The RetroGaming Roundup format is certainly inspired by RetroGaming Radio, with different segments produced by each host. Then there are segments where the three of them are together live like the Top 10 list and the news segments. All three hosts have different and distinct personalities and voices and their chemistry is great.
These guys really promote the show by having a presence at related trade shows and community gaming events. They also secure in-depth interviews with luminaries of video gaming. They are also happy to promote other classic gaming endeavors like conventions, podcasts, web sites, etc.
Shane Resurrects RetroGaming Radio!
Last month, I was surprised to learn that Shane was bringing back RetroGaming Radio. The comeback episode was released on August 28 and included some great segments like a state of the union type monologue catching people up on why RetroGaming Radio went on hiatus and why it’s back. I always like to hear someone speaking honestly about their motivations. I also enjoyed Shane’s segments on digital distribution and classic gaming, his review of the 3DS game Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions and the Wii game Dragon’s Lair Trilogy.
I felt like Shane toned down his delivery and was a bit more humble in his demeanor, perhaps realizing that RetroGaming Radio was no longer the number one show in the space and he was now in a rebuilding phase.
No Mention of RetroGaming Roundup on RetroGaming Radio
I was disappointed that Shane didn’t mention the efforts of Scott, SoCal Mike, and UK Mike for continuing the Retrogaming podcast tradition and coming up with a fine show of their own, especially as two of the three were contributors to RetroGaming Radio. I think it would have been classy to acknowledge their work. But perhaps there are issues between them that I’m not aware of. Though I will be surprised if on the next episode of RetroGaming Roundup, Scott, SoCal Mike, and UK Mike don’t talk about RetroGaming Radio’s return and offer Shane their best.
Welcome Back Shane, and Good Luck!
I am glad to have Shane back and I look forward to his passion and his schooling. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot about retro-gaming and I’ll be well-entertained along the way. Thank you!