Rock out, Konami-style, with Episode 138

Also: What's the deal with NES Maker?

I haven't put together a Retronauts Radio episode in a while, but our long national nightmare is over: For this week's episode, I hopped onto a call with Aaron Hamel of Ship To Shore Phono Co. to discuss the behind-the-scenes process involved in licensing classic Japanese video game soundtracks for release in the present day. We spend a lot of time talking about the company's most recent Konami records — Rocket Knight Adventures, The Adventures of Bayou Billy, and Kid Dracula — but we also explore a lot of how reviving old game soundtracks for new recordings and pressings works, too. How hard is it to talk foreign corporations into letting a boutique label dredge up music for release overseas? Why do most retro game music labels these days publish mostly on vinyl? What challenges does this whole business involve? And how on earth can someone build a business around releasing music from super-obscure, never-released-in-America games from 30 years ago?

For the second segment this week, I spoke to Joe Granato, whose Kickstarter campaign for a do-it-yourself NES game assembly and ROM-burning program called NES Maker, wrapped up last night at about four times the team's original target. Unfortunately, the timing of our podcast release schedule meant this episode wasn't able to go into wide release before the campaign launched, but as covered in the episode, NES Maker will definitely be available to non-backers further down the road. It's an intriguing product, so much so that it prompted me to make a vow to finally create that long-running in-joke project I've been talking about for years…

Journalistic stuff: I have contributed liner notes to Ship to Shore releases, and I backed NES Maker's campaign. I don't stand to profit from either venture, and in fact my bank account was just debited a rather large chunk of cash a few hours ago for my NES Maker pledge. But, you know, journalistic transparency and all that.

Retronauts Episode 138
Ship to Shore's Konami Jams & NES Maker
MP3, 51.5 MB | 1:51:22

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Episode description: Jeremy speaks to Aaron Hamel about Ship to Shore's efforts to bring classic video game soundtracks like Lagrange Point, Darius, and Bayou Billy to the U.S. Then, Joe Granato shares the inside track on his successful Kickstarter project, the do-it-yourself 8-bit game creation kit NES Maker.

The musical interludes in this episode come, if you can believe it, from recent Ship to Shore releases. Mind-blowing, I know. I wrote the liner notes for the Kid Dracula and Bayou Billy EPs, so if you happen to pick those up you can look forward to some mildly entertaining reading material as a bonus.