Sunday, March 27, 2011

Episode 49: "Retro A-Go-Go"

UPDATE: As of 9/13/11 this video is now at THIS LINK

Is the Retro-Gaming craze helping or hurting us?

The Quest of The OverThinker comes to a close. Stay tuned for Episode 50 for the conclusion of the AntiThinker Saga!


Joe said...

I tend to agree with what Tycho & Gabe said when Sonic Heroes came out: something about how humanity didn't stop making paintings just because they started making sculptures. And some really good points on abstraction. Even FPS fans understand the price of realism.

I think the new platforms and distribution models (Steam, XBLA, PSN, smartphone, etc.) are finally going to end the divide between huge tentpole AAA title that must cater to the broadest possible audiences to recoup their costs and the limited single-creator indie games, and bring back an era of games with small, devoted dev teams making games with niche appeal. Hopefully that can include 8/16-bit era-style games for Bob, late 80s arcade-type games for me, mid-90s-esque CRPGs for all the PC gamers currently trashing Dragon Age 2 for the crime of not being Baldur's Gate, and space sims for everyone who misses that genre. And I can't wait.

(I love chiptune, but your continued use of that droning tune from Rygar contrasted with the Mega Man themes reinforced that NES music was always best when it was melodic and mid to high tempo.)

biomechanical923 said...

Hey Bob, good video.

I was thinking about the analogy you made when you said "retro" gaming has it's own category because old games are not as easy to come by as old books or paintings.

You had some good ideas that I wanted to expand on a little. I was born in 85, so I also had the opportunity to experience the era of 8-bit and 16-bit gaming firsthand.

Speaking solely from my own standpoint, I don't think the majority of retro gamers are necessarily clinging to memories of the past when they are attracted to pixellated or "retro-fied" games. While this may be true for some people, I definitely don't feel like I'm creating new "nostalgia memories" when I'm playing a new 8-bit game. I didn't feel like a kid when I played Megaman 9, but it REMINDED me of how I felt when I played Megaman 3.

Another reason that the pixellated style is so popular is because of simply that: the style. The garbled mass of pixels that you had to envision as being an object took a certain amount of imagination to create that correlation in your mind.

In this sense, I feel like 8-bit games, and chiptune music are equal to paintings of the Impressionist and Pontillist movements. The art is not the blocky set of dots or the bleeps-and-bloops of sound, the art is in between then, when you have to connect the dots with your imagination.

Smashmatt202 said...

Main points I wanted to bring up:

-Is is just me, or dos the old, bald man from Rygar just seem like the Overthinker... Only bald and old? You could have made him more different, you know.
-Okay, I want to be sure of this... Are you talking about the Raccoon Tail or the literal Tanooki Suit? Because the Raccoon Tail was the main power-up in Super Mario Bros. 3, while the Tanooki Suit was just an extremely rare power-up in the game. Just want to know if you know the difference.
-Well, nice to see you finally mentioned Steam. Even though it kind of should of been mentioned in the PC Gaming thing on The Big Picture.
-WTF, the old bald man was Wario, what kind of sense does that make? Why would Wario want to help the Overthinker, isn't he more of a jerk and an antithinker? Seriously, you'd better come up with a good reason for that in the next video or I'll never let you live it down!
-When I saw the Antithinker's "true form", I thought it was so hilariously stupid that I didn't even bother to laugh at it. I guess he just made up that BS about "ruling over the Antiverse", which makes more sense.
-If you miss Strawman, why did you kill him? Unless...

Well, yeah, I got lost in the words you were saying, plus it's pretty late, so I'll have to watch it again sometime...m

Jay said...

love the overthinking, last five minutes was pretty bad though. the lightsaber thing where the achievement noted it as a cliche really bugged me. just because you point out something you're doing is cliche doesn't make it any less cliche.

Clayton said...

Wii-mote Saber, fuck yes.

I do find that the retro-revival has had some incredible high points. Let's face it, most people who got into the Wii found most of typical games to be a bit daunting and the Wii provided a far more streamlined experience for them free of having to LEARN THE CONTROLS. The retro-revival should be a way of showing developers that they can just use 2 buttons and still make a deep experience. Heck, Nintendo is leading the charge by doing a lot of retro revivals and having games played with only the Wii-Mote (NSMBWii, Metroid: Other M, Punch-Out!!!, and Kirby). Heck, another Contra just came out for XBLA a month ago (Hard Corps: Uprising) and is WAAAAY better than all the 3D games Konami tried for that series (though admittedly it is ball-bustingly hard)

I'm also glad that this has also revived the 2D fighting genre. SFIV not only got CAPCOM into making other 2D fighters like TvC and MvC3 (Deadpool/Dante/Amaterasu ftw, btw; and seeing Arthur, the Darkstalkers crew, and Haggar makes me think needs to make new games in those franchises) but also gave the attention to other 2D fighters like Arc System Works' quirky Blazblue and a long overdue back-to-basics for MK (too bad SNK dropped the ball with King of Fighters XII).

Also, just cap this off, River City Ransom 2:

Twinmill said...

Where I stand on retro games is pretty clear. I pretty much am the devil's advocate here. Still, this is a good episode, and I do appreciate the fact that it was kept on a strictly serious and mature note. Note that I'm not talking about the skits, which are skits, and shouldn't really be critiqued the same way.

As for where I stand? Well, I don't really play many games anymore, and I don't intend on touching another shooter until something I don't have to practice more rigorously than guitar to enjoy comes out. It's funny that way, I'll never forget how to sweep, but I seem to forget how to aim if I take a 2 day break. As said in the past, as someone who can model adequately, I enjoy good graphics, and love high definition. In fact, something not being high definition, unless it's rooted in my childhood, can make me set it down almost as fast as sticky controls.

So I don't know if I can ever get into retro games. Simply put, I don't spend much time gaming anymore. Well, not as much as I used to anyway. So, I don't really have interest in games that I'm not really in the mood to play. I have my cravings, but because retro games don't exist in my mental library, I don't ever feel the urge to play them. I'll try to take a look sometime, but right now, I want a good driving game, or a space game that doesn't suck. Maybe a shooter if it actually has coop. That works. That I already haven't played the fun out of.

biomechanical923 said...

The tanooki suit, haha ohhh boy. Did you know the mythological tanooki always had a cartoonishly huge scrotum? I wonder if Nintendo would give Mario some kind of giant scrotum attack. Can you imagine THAT on the 3DS?

Good comment. Just because you have an opinion that goes against what you percieve as the mainstream, doesn't automatically make you the devil's advocate, so I hope you weren't beating up on yourself.
A "devil's advocate" is typically somebody who chooses to argue against the popular opinion in order to help the popular opinion flesh-out it's own ideas, sort of a "cover all bases" approach.
More contemporarily, "devil's advocate" is just somebody who goes against a popular opinion simply for the love of being contrary. It's a dangerous standpoint to take, as you run the risk of getting accused of being a troll.

Andrew Goode said...

To take a cue from Bob's Big Picture show on the Escapist:

Short Internet Movies.



Can't wait to see where this ends up Bob.

Smashmatt202 said...

@ biomechanical923

Yeah, I knew about that. I HIGHLY doubt Nintendo would go with that depiction, though.

Jordon said...

I've heard the comparison before, but I'd have to disagree that Cave Story is really that much like Blaster Master. Sure, the element of powering up your weapon via pickups and losing part of that power by taking damage is common to both games, but the same could be said of a number of other games.

Rather, the reason that Cave Story felt so fresh is because it's a different animal. Sure, a lot of it isn't new; it's just put together in a unique way.

Much like your series. Sure, there are plenty of internet commentators out there. Sure, many of them don't show their faces. But would comparing you to Todd in the Shadows really be that accurate? Not really.

imsmart said...

Sean Malstrom argued that the retro boom is really just a 2D platforming boom in disguise. Don't know if it's true, but every fact you've mentioned here supports that thesis.

vestibual said...

Loved the warrior king reference :)
Tony Jaa kicks ass!

Opi said...

Bob, you know you mentioned the Tanuki suit in Mrio and the raccon tail? Well, actually the tail is also a Tanuki tail...You see Tanukis are Racoon dogs (not actual raccons but rather of the canine family). The leaf he uses to transform comes from the japanese mythology where the Tanuki use leafs to transform into other things (such as humans).
Hope you read this!!
Great show BTW!! Keep it up!! ;)

fox said...

Oh my god is the antithinker real form stupid, he was more of a threat when he looked like bob was cosplaying fat joe. I do believe it's intentionally ridiculous, which is great and all, but it's hard to imagine that guy loving XBOX 360 on the Antiverse if he doesn't have an opposing thumb. Wait... That makes it even more awesome.

About the overthiking... it was... meh. The "learning from the past" lesson seemed outdated and campy, and the whole essay about the history of (and reasons behind) retro gaming rise was hardly anything new. Not BAD by any means, just... generic. Oh, and the dialogue with the Bald Guy From Rygar added very little and breaked the flow a lot.

Still, I look foward to the moment when Bob and the scythe handed monster (LOL) face in the forest... And sit down to have a debate on the nature of gaming. Awesome.

MovieBob said...


In The AntiVerse, the 360 controller consists of ONLY the two shoulder buttons :)

Also, icecream has bones, puppies have quills and bananas eat monkeys. It's a silly place.

Smashmatt202 said...

So if things are reversed, then does that mean games started out needlessly complicated and with motion controls and now is more like the "good ol' days" as it were?

Also, if that's true, then how does the Antithinker know about the history of video games in our universe? And why would he care?

MovieBob said...


Those are good questions, actually. I'll think I'll devote the next multi-episode story arc exclusively to answering them ;)

Alright, alright... honestly, I like to think that - like any bad guy worth his salt, AntiThinker did his homework beforehand. Then again, he may also have been briefed by that mysterious hooded guy who seems to be in charge of things.

imsmart said...

I thought the implication was that Antithinker actually engineered the rise of hardcore gaming. Like, it's not a reversed universe, just a hardcore one.

Mavrickindigo said...

I gotta tell you, watching this "Overthinker Quest" stuff is like watching a train wreck in slow motion. When I saw that "fifty episodes in the making" line, I felt sick in the pit of my stomach. This show meant something once. It was about a guy, over-analyzing video games, and making good points out of it. I watched every one of the overthinker videos, I respected (albeit greatly disagreed with) your Other M review, but this stuff? This is worse than "Atop the Fourth Wall" and that is saying something.

You are the Game Overthinker, you overthink games, you don't make short films with Windows Movie Maker and you don't do cosplay as ridiculous villians.

You know what? You've become the Game Antithinker. That's all I can conclude from this, because the person in this video is not the same man who did those thought-provoking videos of 08.

biomechanical923 said...


Did you notice in the first 10 seconds of the film it said "The Penultimate Pretentious Mini-Movie by Bob Chipman"? Or did you lose your attention span by that point.

Just in case you didn't know, "Penultimate" means "next to last". One more episode of this, and the story arc is over, and it will be on to something new. Until then, deal with it.

Smashmatt202 said...

Oh, ho, MovieBob, you sly bastard. THAT mini-story I'd actually like to see! Sort of...

Strange to think that a guy called the Antithinker actually did a little research, but it makes more sense that the hooded "Big Bad", as it were, just gave him what lines to say. That would especially make sense, given The Legend of Zelda episode. It's like the Antithinker didn't fully understand Ocarina of Time that well, or at least he didn't realize what kind of message it had...

Then again, he's probably the only guy I knew who looked at it in that way... Aside from you.

fox said...


Makes sense: button rich controller turns into two button controler. I imagine the Wii mote is something like a PC keyboard. And Virtual Boy is good.


It's so hardcore the dude plays Black Ops with shoulder buttons only. Gotta respect.


Relax, it's almost there. And 90% of this last episode WAS just a guy overanalysing games (true, the point wasn't anything new, but the source material wasn't that great of a discussion subject either).

People (me included) thrashed Bob because of "Building a Better Gamer" and "Other M": videos in which he did EXACTELY what people are demanding that he does now. And that's ok. It sounded condescending and pedantic then, but The AntiThinker DOES NOT.

If anything, it's the way Bob has found of telling us to calm down. It's his way of saying that this is, in the barebones, an opinion show, not an essay on human nature, not a revelation of God's divine truth. It's a show about games, about something that can educate and enlighten, but should - first and foremost - entretain. He is not putting that ridiculous (read: awesome) B-Movie costume to give us a morality spank, he is doing it to remind us what it's like to have games as a healthy, heartwarming hobbie and not a reason to start religious wars. At least, that is my firm belief. Just relax and enjoy the campyness, man.

Now who here thinks the Dark Lord is REPTILLE? =D

biomechanical923 said...


Nah, man. The Dark Lord of the Antiverse has definitely gotta be Straw Man

Giuseppe said...

I wrote a long polite reply about how the retro revival is just a fad and more needs to be done so gamers are able to appreciate the history of their favourite form like heavy readers and film buffs can but alas, there was a blogspot error.

Just so you know - this is my favourite video of yours and I really think it should be the last word on the subject for a while as we see where this new gaming environment takes us.

Ctrl C for safety.

Smashmatt202 said...

@ biomechanical923

OMG, that's exactly what I was thinking! I totally liked the Strawman, because even though he was a Strawman, he still made good points, but because of how he's portrayed, he comes off as annoying... Or at least he's supposed to be annoying and dispised by everyone, but I actually like him more than the Overthinker at this point...


Anonymous said...

THANK YOU! The fact that companies were forcefully moving away from 2D in lieu of 3D under some inane misconception that this is supposed to be "progress" is something I was thinking for years, and is one of the things I'm glad to see the retro revival fixing (and will hopefully stay whether retro's a fad or not).

Popcorn Dave said...

I guess you decided it was impractical to film a Bob vs. Bob fight scene on a home movie budget, huh? So you decided to make it so the Antithinker is wearing a ridiculous mask and you can just get one of your mates to play him. That's right Bob, you can't fool me. :P

Good overthinking, story segments are still utter balls. I guess the old man sections worked well enough but come on, there was no need to make that last section last so long, and the Palpatine knockoff at the end was lame as anything. And yeah, winking at the audience about the cheesiness of the plot is funny once or twice, but when you're doing it EVERY OTHER LINE it loses a lot of its edge. You might as well start arguing with the camera like Daffy Duck.

But on to the overthinking... well, I think people are realising that 2D games are not just a more basic predecessor to 3D games but actually often a totally different animal. Platforming is the best example, since the 2D and 3D versions have very little in common; the former is a linear obstacle course while the latter tend to be more about exploring and collecting stuff. Both are good, there's no reason why one has to replace the other.

I've heard Castlevania: SOTN almost didn't get made because Sony wanted everything on the Playstation to be in 3D, and we almost missed out on a damn-near masterpiece. I'm so glad the industry more grown up now and companies realise there's still a place for the old school.

So yeah, retro boom? Big fan over here. Doesn't excuse Nintendo's recent laziness, but that's a topic for another video. ;)

biomechanical923 said...


Well, that's not my only reason for suspecting Strawman to be behind it all.

1. At the end of the video, it literally said something like "Why did you kill off Strawman. Unless......"

2. As corny as the lead-up to the reveal looks, I think it might end up being a legitimate statement by Bob. Strawman is the Dark Lord of the Antiverse, because the "Straw Man Argument" is literally one of the main obstacles to civil intellectual discourse (especially on the internet). The straw man argument is the ultimate form of anti-thought. Can't come up with a legitimate rebuttal to your opposition? No problem! Just accuse it of being something it's not. Pure anti-thought. We'll see if my prediction is wrong next video.

biomechanical923 said...

@Popcorn Dave

Great post. I think 2D games, and the "retro" vibe will be around for a long time to come, just as long as people realize and respect that sprites and 2D platforming is an ART STYLE, not a LIFESTYLE (hurr durr, retro gamers).

And who knows what the future holds? Maybe 10 years from now, people will be making "retro games" with the graphics of the PS1, or dare I say the PS2. The possibility is there as long as we don't alienate younger generations of gamers.

P.S. Sorry about double-posting

Smashmatt202 said...

I don't recall an "unless" at the end of the video, but the second reason is pretty solid.

Clayton said...

oh yeah Bob, here's something you actually asked for WAAAAAAY back during your New Year's episode a couple years ago (though not 100% what you wished for)!5787251/burgertime-has-never-looked-so-meaty/gallery/1

biomechanical923 said...


You're correct. All it says is
"I miss Strawman....."

I guess I mistook the meaning of that as saying "Strawman is dead...... or is he?"

Musicman21 said...

Hey just wanna say your doing a great job and that i watch your overthinker, big picture and just plain movie bob. I like all of them keep it up.

Skins Elliott said...

Love that you are doing alot more then just the escapist stuff... most would slow down but not Movie Bob.

Much love from London Town (outside crazyland)

balanevskiy said...

i dunno, the bald guy looked like he was naked to me O_O
And so The AntiThinker this whole time has been a combination of streets of rage bosses? THAT IS AWESOME

Shane said...

I wish you would elaborate on why you think New Super Mario Bros. Wii pushed the medium forward. Just curious what you meant by that, as far as I can tell it, while being a fun game and all, didn't really change much besides the addition of multi-player in a Mario game (excluding Mario Bros. Arcade). And even that isn't even a new thing! What did you mean exactly?

Adrian said...

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