Indie & Retro Podcast
36 episodes - last episode 04 Sep 2023

Get a taste of new and old with the bi-weekly Indie and Retro podcast! We look at the current gaming world through the lens of indie and retro video games.

The Game Awards - the annual Oscars show but for video games - are almost ten years old. But where did they come from? Was it all just some strange concoction cooked up in Geoff Keighley’s little gamer brain? Turns out the answer is: mostly, yeah! Join us as we delve into the history of The Game Awards: where they came from and where they’re going. You might think they’re bad! But just wait until you see how things used to be before Geoff made them what they are today…

Special part of this episode: Mumbles did all the research this time! So she leads the whole show! She was very nervous but her husband thinks she did a really great job.


Super Mario Bros. (1993) is NOT The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023). It’s something much weirder, for many reasons. Money. Inexperience. Nine different writers and daily script changes. It’s not a good movie, but it is a very interesting one. No one can say that it didn’t have ideas, but maybe it could’ve had some different ones?

Because a Patreon suggested it, join us as we recap the film and our reactions to it, before delving in to why and how it ended up the way it did. Then you can watch the new movie instead, which actually feels like a Mario film and not a hijinks-filled cyberpunk dystopia full of too-good-for-this stage actors and the people behind Max Headroom.

(Also: thank you to kodyack for some of the reference links, and to Bryce for suggesting it!)


Daisy is NOT Princess Peach - she is her own character! And she’s been around maybe longer than you thought, although it wasn’t until the last 20 years or so that she’s firmly established herself in Mario canon as the sassy, sporty, “will Luigi make a move or what” wild princess of Sarasaland.

Learn where she came from and hopefully where she’s going as we take you on a journey allllll the way back to the launch of the original Game Boy. And as she says whenever it’s her turn in Mario Party, “DAISY!”

We are absolutely working on improving the audio quality of the I&R podcast, but we figured this cute little episode is worth sharing. We hope you love it and learn a lot about our girl Daisy!

Games I mention:


An Airport for Aliens Currently Run By Dogs 

Wide Ocean Big Jacket 



Part 2 of the Tomb Raider podcast shows what happens when you force a team to make a slightly improved version of the same game every year for five years in a row, and then you try to scale that game from PS1 to PS2 size without any real direction or leadership.


Lara Croft was an icon that made video games mainstream in a way that Mario never managed.


Warning: spooky stuff! This is a podcast about the creepypastas, and the scary stuff your friend said his cousin saw in a game once, and secret codes in games that may not actually exist (unless  they do…?).

How much is real? How much is completely made up by someone being impish? And how much is a perversion of something that did really happen once, but has morphed beyond all recognition into  something new? Maybe don’t listen to this one right before bed…

Additional stuff:

The Polybius Conspiracy documentary  podcast

Cat DeSpira’s Polybius deep-dive


We're back! Get ready for a summer edition of the Indie & Retro Podcast. Kicking things off: Team Fortress 2. This episode we talk about my formative years playing the game, get into the dev stuff, and ramble about hats. Yes, I said hats!


Part 2 of our Sonic podcast is about the marketing and legacy of his first game. Lots of good games are around, but very few had the cultural impact of this little blue hedgehog with attitude. If it wasn’t packaged specifically for the American market and showed people what the 90’s were all about, he may be more of an Alex Kidd today: just another platformer beaten by Mario. While the long-term hasn’t been completely kind to Sonic, there was a time he was on top of the world. How’d he get there? Listen and find out!


Sonic is a fast boy, and - like Blur’s “Song 2” - is exactly what America wanted at the right time, even when it seemed almost too obvious. He made games cool. He brought a speed and a style that had never been seen before. And he was sold to us in exactly the right way. Sonic the Hedgehog changed the course of video games and accomplished his goal (at least for a little while) of defeating Mario. Part 1 of our Sonic podcast discusses his development history and shows you some indie games you might like if you approve of Sonic’s environmentalism themes or just miss playing as Tails while your brother is running around as Sonic.


Dragon Age games take way too long to make, or aren’t given enough time at all. They weren’t supposed to have dragons, or fireballs, or guys with horns. But guess what! It has all of those things, and even the “bad” games in the series have so much to offer.

Join your lovely hosts as we talk about the series that proved hardcore Western RPG’s (with romance, even!) still had an audience, an audience ever eager for more. How retro will Origins be when Dragon Age 4 releases? At least a little more retro than now. These games were never easy to make, but those are the games with the best stories, yeah?


Links to indie games I mentioned:

Unknown Castle 

One Dreamer 

Ocean's Heart 

And now, a word from Nick:

The Famicom Disk System is a weird little thing that only came out in Japan, long before console add-ons like the 32X and Sega CD destroyed all interest in ever trying them again. Would it work? No one knew - it was the video game Wild West of the late 80’s! A few things kept it from ever catching on or releasing overseas, but we recently found one in great condition at a retro game store and we’re here to tell you all about it! It was full of great ideas, but technology just moved too fast...


Indie games I mention:


Amazing Cultivation Simulator 

I am Dead 

And, yes I did research to see that the Cowboy Bebop fight scene was animated by the same dude. 

Now a word from Nick:

Prince of Persia was made pretty much by one man: movie loving Yale graduate Jordan Mechner. He wasn’t great at animation, so he used rotoscoping. He wasn’t developing for a console with a lot of memory, so his enemies had to be very efficiently programmed. There were a lot of constraints, and he worked around them to make a franchise that - at first - wasn’t that successful. The thing is, it looked so advanced compared to everything else on the market, and it’s now considered a classic. Join us, and also learn about some indie games that you might like even if you don’t care about Prince of Persia even a little bit!


Howard Scott Warshaw’s Atari 2600 game E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is known by many as the worst video game of all time. Was it, though? Or is the truth a little more nuanced? Learn the history behind one of the most infamous games ever created, “a game that Steven Spielberg liked,” according to a quote they should’ve put on the box.


Harmonix didn’t invent the music game, but they did perfect it, so no man could challenge them in the art of rhythm! Games where you just push the buttons on the screen at the right time got very popular, very quickly, and seemed to die just as fast. Rock Band was the peak of this trend, featuring hundreds of dollars of plastic instruments cluttering the closets of nerds everywhere. Where did it come from? Where did it go? What is the story of Rock Band, Joe? Join hosts Nick and Mumbles as we go through the history of one of the biggest money making franchises in history, Rock Band.


SimCity is not a game I've played, but it is a game that helped inspire the stuff I love now! Here's links to all the indie games I mention:



Game Dev Tycoon 

And a word from Nick:

 SimCity is what happens when one guy (Will Wright) is really interested in a very specific, very gamifiable subject like city planning and building, and then he turns that interest and a love of building virtual islands into a video game where all his political views hang out for everyone to see. 
Nobody thought it would be a success - it was so different from the action platformers of the day. But dozens of sequels across three decades later, it’s one of the most important games of all time. Join hosts Mumbles and Nick on a journey through a game series that wasn’t like any other, and paved the way for so many: SimCity. 


We delve into the mystery of monkey island! Well, actually, that's Ron Gilbert's secret to keep.


Links to the indie games I talk about:

Alone With You 

Still There 

Journey to the Savage Planet 

And a word from Nick:

 Metroid Prime is a terrific game... but it was not made without a cost. Join your Indie and Retro hosts on a wild journey of crunch, excess, and neglect. Hear how a new studio got handed the reins to one of Nintendo’s most beloved franchises, dropped the ball big time, then picked it up and ran for a last-second touchdown.  We also start a listener mailbag in this, the second year(!) of the podcast, and the indie games this week? They didn’t copy Metroid Prime, but they definitely get you in the same MOOD. What gems will Mumbles unearth this week? Only one way to find out! 


These may not be the BEST, but they are our favorite :)


This is part 1 of a long, long end of the decade podcast! Next week, we go over our favorite games of the decade!


Hideo Kojima is one of the last video game auteurs. In a world where AAA games are increasingly made by hundreds of people, “A Hideo Kojima Production” means you’re getting a singular vision. That vision can be a little wacky and convoluted, but it’s a vision honed by years upon years of movie watching and hard work. Join us as we follow the journey of this man from humble beginnings to where he is now, at the top of the mountain with a stack of boxes strapped to his back.


First released as the smallest part of The Orange Box in 2007, Portal and its sequel went on to become two of the most important games of all time. How did two little games made by a bunch of college students go on to change the gaming landscape as we know it? Join your lovely hosts Nick and Mumbles as we take you on an adventure from… a lot longer ago than any of us want to admit. Portal Month is here!


After the first few Donkey Kong games made literally boatloads of money, the titular ape didn’t always get the respect he deserved. Sure, there were bright spots (Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong ‘94, Diddy Kong Racing), but there were also entire series you’ve probably barely even heard of, let alone played. The license was passed around from one developer to the next, and we haven’t had a new game in the series for years. Still, he’s instantly recognizable and an important part of Nintendo’s - and video gaming’s - history. Hear us talk about all the Donkey Kong games that were developed after the arcade original, as well as a handful of indie games that wouldn’t exist without DK’s historical influence, in part two of the Donkey Kong podcast!



Animal Crossing! What a nice game for all to enjoy. We have some memories to share, some indie games and some OPINIONS about the mobile game. Below are some words from Nick and the links to many things I talked about!

And now, some words from Nick:

 Animal Crossing is a life simulation game where you get the life you deserve instead of the one you have. Hang out, eat fruit, play video games inside your video games, plant trees, chop down trees, shop, fish, dig up fossils… it’s an ideal world. Sure, sometimes the dark cloud of consumerism clouds your vision a bit, but not forever, and never in a way where we have to decide between eating food or buying gas this week. Many of us grew up with Animal Crossing and saw a world we could have if only we tried hard enough, if we sold enough fruit to the shop, if we paid our bills eventually. 
Life, sadly, has other plans for all of us. But that doesn’t mean we can’t visit once in a while and let the cool sea breeze wash over our souls, leaving a scent that lingers long after we go back to our offices and obligations. 


Creature Street 


Among Trees 

Inside the final hours of Star Wars: Galaxies 



Delve into the mysterious Swordquest contest! Learn about alternate reality games that utilize indies to share secrets across the web~


This week we take you on a deep dive of Colorado Pinball! We go to the Pinball Expo, take a history tour, and chat about our favorite arcades.


We wanted to do something less intense than a Harvest Moon episode, so we decided to talk about a small niche of games that use mics. And, not for multiplayer! Unsurprisingly, this gimmick wasn't something heavily used in retro games and is not that common in new indie ones, either. Still, I think they're pretty interesting to look at!

Here's links to the two games I talked about:


One Hand Clapping 


And, here's a word from Nick:

We’ve been shackled by the controller for too long – raise up your voice against the corded oppressors! And come with your glorious hosts on a journey through games that use the microphone to control the on-screen action.
From the earliest Japan-only Famicom games up through the Dreamcast era, developers had to think a little outside the box and – in every case besides the Famicom, which included a microphone built into the second controller – had to justify to publishers the cost of including extra hardware and a larger box for their game that would fit the mic. Some were huge hits, but pretty much all of those were rhythm games. We found the weirder ones, from a samurai pinball game to a… game where you teach a female humanoid robot to speak and/or love? Also Seaman and Hey You, Pikachu!
Come listen to us speak into a microphone. If this was a game, maybe we’d win!


Welcome to part 2! We discuss the history and development of the Harvest Moon games. I also give my take on Story of Seasons, as well as the most recent HM games!

From Nick:

Welcome to Harvest Moon: Part 2, a.k.a. the retro half of the Indie and Retro Podcast!

Harvest Moon will always be remembered as “the farming game,” but that – to creator Yasuhiro Wada – was always just the part of it to break up all the friend-making and animal raising. What can you do in a game besides fight and kill? Well, you can nurture. You can love. You can… brush a cow.

This series has gone on for over 20 years, over 20 games, multiple developers and publishers, and one major name change, and it’s still going. It’s because these games cater to our human instincts and don’t just appeal to the 90’s definition of a “gamer.” Harvest Moon is zen, it’s earnest, and it’s nice.

Not many people have the energy, patience, or resources to raise a farm of their own in real life, but video games have always been a way to escape our reality, and Harvest Moon is a wonderful world to get lost in. Join us on a journey through the complete history of the series (so far!), and learn about what makes Harvest Moon special.



Harvest Moon and the games that were inspired by it are a passion of mine! Which means this episode is a two parter! First, we talk about what Harvest Moon means to us and then I take us on a deep dive into the indies out today that echo this wonderful game!!


Slime Rancher 

Stardew Valley 

Eternal Home Floristry 


Gaming has a long history with April Fools Day, so we talk about this year's and what happened in the past!


Enjoy the tale of the video game gold rush!  

Indie games we mention: 


Cook, Serve, Delicious! 


Here's a few words from Nick:


 Tetris is the best-selling video game of ALL TIME, but it’s journey from an outdated Russian computer lab to being the first game in outer space wasn’t an easy one. Miscommunications, assumptions, and intellectual property right sales by people that didn’t even own them? Secret trips to Moscow? Par for the course in the story of the most important game of all time. Join us on the journey of Tetris.  
Additional reading: 
“The Tetris Effect” by Dan Ackerman 
“Tetris: The Games People Play” by Box Brown 


We talk about the Nintendo Direct and what is in store for the company as we barrel towards E3. If you like this content, you can get bonus episodes and full episodes early over at my patreooon!


In this episode, we talk about the real life studio that inspired the Black Mirror: Bandersnatch game/movie. We also discuss indie games that share the same focus on meta and choice.

Want to know more? Here's some fun links we found in our research:

My video on Stanley Parable: 

Her Story: 

Pony Island: