Whilst a lot of this site is UK-centric, the thing that encouraged me most to set it up is not. Retro Game Squad was – and still is, though less frequently now – a US-centric podcast, albeit founded by a Canadian. Said Canadian is Alex Mort, and he is joined by Jeff Boddicker, and Jon ‘The Genius’ Hup as regular presenters. They’re sometimes joined by guests, including Jeff’s long-suffering wife, Amanda.
Launched in September of 2012, each month the guys play and discuss a variety of games, but often within the bounds of a set topic for each podcast. These topics have been varied to say the least, taking in categories that span most of the alphabet, from Arcade Ports to Lightgun Games, from Robocop to the Wild West. There has been more than one episode devoted to an individual system, too.
Every single podcast is thoroughly-researched, complete in its coverage, and above all very, very funny. The guys bring a level of humour to reviewing games that is missing from the myriad other retrogame podcasts I’ve listened to. Running in-jokes and recurring themes bring an extra level of enjoyment, and really make you feel like you know them and their quirks. They sound like a thoroughly nice bunch of blokes, and would be great fun to share a beer with.
For that reason, when Alex announced that their 4th anniversary podcast to be released in September 2016 would be their last, the community that had grown around them were, understandably, gutted. But understandably, understood, too. Many of us are probably of a similar age to Alex (although not Jeff and Jon, spring-chickeny as they are), with similar work and family responsibilities. Time is a precious commodity, and the vast amount of it that needs to be poured into producing a podcast like that must be incredibly difficult to sustain. So it was with sadness that we took the news, sure, but I think most people also felt as if their friends were coming to them with a problem and had nothing but empathy and support for them.
The idea for this site sprang from that. An announcement that new podcasts were in fact going to be published every now and again was very welcome news, but there was no doubt that many of us were going to go back and re-listen to all of the episodes. I got to thinking that rather than just doing that, it would be good to stretch out the exercise, and pay a small tribute to the boys. How? By setting myself the target of playing EVERY SINGLE GAME that they’d played on the episodes, and documenting it here. I may have guest reviewers every now and again, too, but I thought it would be fun to have an English take on the games, and do it in the written word rather than broadcast. I didn’t want to repeat what RGS did, but to honour it.
I should add that Alex gave me his blessing to do this, and Retro Game Squad alone take ALL credit for researching and producing the game lists. The only things of mine that are in addition to those originals are some ‘honourable mentions’. The guys did their own at the end of most episodes, and wherever possible, I’ll add a UK-centric slant to mine.
So, thank you RGS – I hope you, and anybody else that stumbles across this site, enjoy it, like hot butter through knife!