Retro Reprise Episode 17: The Shareware Show

A few weeks ago, Syp, MMO blogger over at Bio Break who produces the Battle Bards podcast and its spinoff, Retro Reprise, put out a call on Twitter for a co-host for a podcast about 90s Shareware titles. How could I pass up an opportunity like that? There was a complicated application process, a panel of judges, a talent contest… ok, actually I was the only one who applied so he was stuck with me.

This was my first time recording a podcast, so I won’t be winning any awards for my part in it, but Syp is a good editor and cut out a lot of my “um, so, like, yeah, and stuff.” Thanks a lot to him for having me on the show. It was a lot of fun!

Anyways, without further ado:

Retro Reprise Episode 17: The shareware show!

They might not have been the AAA-budget titles of the 1990s, but shareware games were perhaps even more well-known due to the proliferation of these demos. Studios such as id, Epic, and Apogee made their mark with these titles — and the simple but memorable tunes from each got lodged into our brains. Joining Syp today is Chaos Constant from Occasional Hero, who is a self-professed retro game music fan and has plenty to say about the shareware era!

Show notes (episode download, episode page)

  • Intro (feat. “Cruising with Stryker” from Major Stryker and “The City Streets” from Duke Nukem 3D)
  • “Title Theme” from Halloween Harry
  • “Toy Factory Table” from Epic Pinball
  • “Main Theme” from Duke Nukem 3D
  • “Welcome to a Kick in the Pants in Good Old Hillville” from Commander Keen 4
  • “Main Theme” from Mystic Towers
  • “Spiders” from Jill of the Jungle
  • “Shooting Star” from Major Stryker
  • “Episode 1 Levels 4-6” from Stargunner
  • Outro (“Beach Bunnies” from Jazz Jackrabbit)

On Mobile Ports

Let me just say this up front: I’m not a huge fan of mobile games (“mobile games,” for the purposes of this article, meaning “smart phone/tablet games”). Touchscreens are horrible for playing anything more advanced than Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja. Give me a keyboard and mouse or a controller any day. It’s not about the graphics; I hated Infinity Blade and that had nice enough graphics. It is about game companies (and Apple fanboys) trying to convince me that in 10 years every core gamer like me is going to be playing the new Half Life by swiping their fingers across a screen. That is, quite frankly, ridiculous. Yes, there are controllers for iOS and Android (the MOGA seems to be the current favorite), but if I’m going to carry a controller around with me everywhere, why wouldn’t I just carry my 3DS with me? If I’m not supposed to carry a controller with me everywhere, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of it being portable? Wouldn’t a microconsole (like, my favorite, the Ouya) be a better option?

Now that that rant is over, let’s talk about the issue at hand: mobile ports. Inevitably, companies are going to see the ridiculous popularity and profits of games like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope and want a piece of the action. It’s easier and cheaper to adapt an existing or in-development game to a new platform than to try to develop a whole new game for a different platform. I can’t blame companies for this, but some games make the transition better than others.

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