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A PODCAST FOR ARCADE LOVERS. From the owners of 100+ arcade and pinball cabinets, and the proprietors of a real-life arcade comes PODOUKEN, a brand new podcast that takes a deep dive into the world of video arcade games, and explores the history, story, strategy, art, music, restoration, preservation and fun of arcade games.
 
Remember those classic Atari 2600 games? They were sure fun to play, but didn't you ever wonder why they sent a plumber to take out Donkey Kong? What Yar was seeking revenge against? What made those robots go berserk? Me too? ATARI BYTES is more than a game review podcast. It's an exploration of the games to divine what exactly the story within the game is. And if we can't find those answers, we'll make 'em up.
 
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We answer Tyler’s call to talk about the arcade game based on the animated show based on the Ghostbusters movie (but not the Ghost Busters TV show, and definitely not the animated show called Ghostbusters), Data East’s The Real Ghostbusters. What existing game did Data East repurpose as The Real Ghostbusters? Do we ever come close to pronouncing it…
 
It’s the sequel to the game concept that dared to say, “Hey, you know what people love? Waiting for the elevator. Let’s turn that into a game!” Taito even kept with the theme by making fans wait 11 years for this episode's game - Elevator Action Returns. What is the cool backstory that led MomSecretRecipe to nominate this game? Why are we complaini…
 
Birds of a feather listen to podcasts together. Or alone. Whatever. You do you. In episode 293, from 1982, we're playing one of the few Ultravision titles, CONDOR ATTACK. Does the game soar above the rest, or was I a dodo for playing? Here's hoping you don't get dive bombed while listening... Short Story: ATTACKED Thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompet…
 
We’ve heard your pleas and are happy to say your prayers have been answered. That 90s beat ‘em up that you always ask us to cover is finally getting an episode! As the first game in our (new) Listeners’ Choice miniseries we’re covering The King of Dragons! Steve (LowTierSteve), longtime friend and friend of the show, joins us to discuss the majesty…
 
They’re obscure. They’re underrated. They’re our choices for the Arcade Obscura shmups! Mr. SNK brings us a lovely bouquet of Sega space shooter (please consult with your physician before playing). Rob (AKA Ron, AKA Robdog Storm) goes meta with an arcade shooter about arcade characters that takes place in an arcade. PastBlaster tells a tale as old …
 
I LOVE TRASH! ANYTHING FUNNY AND GAMEY AND PODCASTY! OH, I LOVE TRASH...PODCASTS! In episode 291, can you tell me how to get to podcast street? We're playing the 1983 educational title SESAME STREET: OSCAR'S TRASH RACE. Oh, yes. We are. Bad Poetry Corner: GROUCH POTATO - A POEM Thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of h…
 
We’re bringing the Flying Pancake in for a landing on the Shmup Dump miniseries with Psikyo’s Strikers 1945 series. Can you stop the evil forces of C.A.N.Y. and find the very suggestive secret ending? How many times is PastBlaster going to mispronounce the Focke-Wulf aircraft? Can you guess the four NeoGeo games in Mr. SNK’s 4-slot MVS? We also exp…
 
Pass the Pepto!* I mean joystick! *This episode sponsored by Pepto-Bismol** **We wish. In episode 290, we're playing the Parker Brothers 1984 title MONTEZUMA'S REVENGE, where you race through gloomy caverns, dodging skulls, snakes, spiders, treacherous drops and lava. All to make your way to the toilet. Sorry! Make your way to the treasure room. Ma…
 
This episode we talk about the Cave shooter series that is almost as fun to say as it is to play - Mushihimesama. We are joined by Gameboy Guru, host of the Shoot the Core-cast, to pick up Rob’s slack on this series. Why does this game fulfill our bug life fantasies in a way that Pixar never could? How do the insane Captain Auction prices from the …
 
In ATARI BYTES episode 289, the unicorns are chasing the centaurs across the grassy knolls that dot Mt. Olympus; winged gods soar above, inspiring the mortals...and probably impregnating them occasionally. Not really. We're playing MINES OF MINOS, from CommaVid, 1982. It's all maze, no minotaurs. You can put away your ball of thread. Or not. Someth…
 
Time to cover the complete arcade history of Treasure - the game developer that gave us Radiant Silvergun, Ikargua, and… that’s it! We explore these two fun SHMUPs that mix the shooter genre with a dash of puzzle mechanics. What mysterious explosion set us up the bomb for a plot device? How is Treasure still open after no new game releases since 20…
 
Play a space game requiring super technical, minor adjustments to thrust vectors and yaw? More like YAWN, amirite? In 288, we're playing Activision's (squee!) 1983 space shuttle simulator SPACE SHUTTLE: A JOURNEY INTO SPACE. Instead of, we suppose, a journey into the local supermarket. The game is a technical marvel. But is it fun? Is it really eve…
 
Our 50th episode is ESPecially good as we explore Cave’s bullet hells with butterfly wings - ESP Ra.De., Espgaluda, and Espgaluda II. How do you pronounce these games? What does the Michael Bay masterpiece, and Ewan McGregor/Scarlett Johansson star vehicle, “The Island” have to do with ESP Ra.De.? Did Rob make it past level 1? Enjoy an hour of bonu…
 
Belgian listeners! Episode 287 is for you! On this episode of ATARI BYTES, we're playing the 1982 Coleco game SMURFS: RESCUE IN GARGAMEL'S CASTLE. The game features those super annoying beloved blue cartoon characters the SMURFS! And we're terribly sorry about that. Can you ever smurf us? Hey! watch the smurfin' language! There are smurfettes prese…
 
Are you ready to get prosecuted to the full extent of the jam? If so, join us as we whack the beehive that is the DonPachi series by Cave - and others. Why was DonPachi considered a critical failure even though it launched Cave shooters? When did counting the number of bullets on screen become the measure of the best STG? How did the death of Toapl…
 
Our Olympic fever shows no sign of breaking. The mercury has shot out the top of the thermometer, splattering all over this week's episode. In 286 of ATARI BYTES, we're playing VIDEO OLYMPICS, one of Atari's 1977 "original nine" games. There's very little actual Olympic content. But that's okay because I have very little actual Olympic skill. This …
 
We get loopy with the historically (in)accurate Capcom shooter series based on middle-aged white men’s favorite war, the 194X series. Count with us as we cover 1942, 1943, 1941, 19XX, and 1944 in a way that’s totally not confusing. How easy is it to beatbox the 1942 theme? What was famed game designer Yoshiki Okamoto’s highest grossing game? Is Jar…
 
We’re blasting off on the first episode of our new SHMUP miniseries with the shooter that set the mold for horizontal STGs - Konami’s Gradius. How did this accidental hit become such a groundbreaking series? What anime movie had a huge influence on the design and weaponry of the Vic Viper? How many aliases do the Gradius and Salamander games have? …
 
It’s time for another Arcade Obscura where each of the hosts pitch their choice of underrated or under-appreciated driving-based arcade game. Rob goes full ‘Merica with a cross-country racer that features the first appearance of a beloved video game mascot. Mr. SNK breaks all the rules (or does he?) and doubles down on the obscure part of the episo…
 
Intellivision Month 2021 concludes this month in ATARI BYTES episode 283. We're playing TRON DEADLY DISCS, inspired by the "cult classic" movie. It's a collision of cult classic movie and cult classic podcast! (I might be delusional.) This week's short story: DEADLY DISCS - A STEVE STETSON, 1980s SUPERSPY, ADVENTURE Thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incomp…
 
INTELLIVISION MONTH 2021 barrels forward on ATARI BYTES 282. Much as we do with the twisty maze that is life, we're winding our way through the twisty maze of Mattel's 1982 Intellivision offering NIGHT STALKER, a/k/a the 2600 game "Dark Cavern". (spoiler!) But...are you stalking the bats/spiders/robots. Or...are they stalking YOU? More importantly,…
 
Explore the arcade series birthed by the unholy alliance of a Nintendo license developed by Namco running on a Sega board - Mario Kart Arcade GP. It’s the two biggest video game characters in a race to the finish as we close out our final featured episode in the Drivers miniseries. Why didn’t Namco include more of their characters in the GP series?…
 
You're gliding along peacefully, when suddenly your periscope shoots upward. Through the murky depths you are shocked to see rocketing toward you... ATARI BYTES episode 281! Intellivision Month continues this week with Mattel's 1982 nautical adventure SUB HUNT. Is it a thrilling submarine simulator or a soul-crushingly boring, slow-paced game bogge…
 
INTELLIVISION MONTH 2021 has arrived in episode 280 of ATARI BYTES! *Deafening cheers erupt* **Also an angry stampede out the door by some Atari purists** We kick things off with Mattel's 1981 title STAR STRIKE, which may or may not be inspired by Star Wars; which is true of much of life really. That's why I dress as an Ewok much of the time. Can a…
 
We’re drifting into the final turn of our Drivers miniseries by talking about Sega’s most prolific driving game series, Initial D. So hop in our Trueno GT-APEX - just don’t bump the tofu - and settle in for a two plus hour exploration of this manga turned anime turned arcade. Why does this mix of Japanese mountain racing and pop music Eurobeat work…
 
Doing something a little different this week in ATARI BYTES episode 279. Setting aside the games (Wait! Come back!) to share some thoughts I had while working a booth at a recent convention to promote the show and my books. In short, I noticed Atari did not have a huge presence, nor indeed did very much from before the 1980s. What gives? Could it b…
 
Take a deep breath. Smell that? That's episode 278's equine-filled game. On this week's ATARI BYTES, we're playing the 1980 horse-racing game, STEEPLECHASE. Jockey your way to this episode and mount your steed. This week's short story: STEEPLECAUGHT Thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Take a Chance", "Re…
 
Hop in and take a ride down Memory Lane as the Podouken crew tours the USA, world, and other exotic locations while exploring the Midway Games classic Cruis’n USA. How did this game give Rob his most gruesome arcade injury and almost get him arrested? What led the creator of Defender and Robotron to create a digitized racing game? Which arcade deve…
 
What's that in your teeth? Why, it's another episode of ATARI BYTES! In episode 277, we take a huge, wet bite out of TOOTH PROTECTORS and let juices drip down our chin. This is the Johnson & Johnson (yes, the one-shot vaccine people) 1983 mail order, promo game. Instead of saving planets, shooting monsters or winning races, the goal is good oral hy…
 
This planet sucks. Wait! Don't go! This isn't political or cultural commentary. THIS PLANET SUCKS, a self-published Greg Troutman title from 1997, is the name of this week's game on ATARI BYTES. So, absolutely NO sucking to be had in episode 276. Well, no more than usual... Thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his s…
 
The hosts let loose with their inner Florida Man to discuss the quintessential Florida game - Daytona USA. Let’s go away to the land of alligators, bath salts, and bike weeks and explore how Sega ended up creating the most iconic NASCAR(ish) game ever. How did this music get composed for a stock car racing game? What kind of money did Sega spend to…
 
In ATARI BYTES episode 274, we're playing LASER GATES. Two guesses what this game is about. Wrong! It's monkeys and gonads, obviously. (You gotta listen to the show to understand that.) This week's Bad Poetry Corner: IF WARREN ZEVON'S A ROBOT Thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incometech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Take a Chance", "Reformat",…
 
It’s time to gas up the Ferraro Testabossa, select our favorite synthwave radio station, and feel the wind in our hair as we take a drive with Sega’s OutRun. Join us as we take a ride through Yu Suzuki’s career and talk about the birth of Taikan games. How did OutRun’s memorable music nearly become lost forever? What type of innovations did Suzuki …
 
One day in April 2021, ATARI BYTES drifted into Data Age's 1982 game BERMUDA TRIANGLE and was NEVER SEEN AGAIN. Episode 273 is the chronicle of that disappearance. If you look up, you might see your host mooning you from the spaceship. This week's short story: BERMUDA SHORTED Thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his…
 
Warning: Listening discretion is advised. We hold a serious discussion about the first truly controversial arcade game - Death Race. What led Exidy to release this death simulator upon an unsuspecting public? How did something so outrageously graphic make its way into the American arcade? Who was responsible for shining a bright light on this dark …
 
ATARI BYTES 271 revisits an old friend. A twitchy, large-nosed, profanity-obsessed friend who just won't just hold still for goodness sakes. We all have a friend like that. If you're not sure about that, it's probably you. It's Q*BERT'S QUBES, the 1983 follow-up to the adorable arcade-er (I'm trying to make that a word. Help me out. I'll be rich!).…
 
It’s time for another Arcade Obscura where each of the hosts pitch their choice of underrated or underappreciated sports-based arcade game. PastBlaster serves up a gorgeous attract mode, but may not deliver on the gameplay. Mr. SNK comes out of the gate with what could be the best disc game on the Neo Geo. Rob flexes his muscles with a game that in…
 
ATARI BYTES episode 268 is bubbling over with tasty goodness. We're playing PEPSI INVADERS, a 1983 cartridge created by Atari to cheer up sad Coca-Cola sales people sad about losing the "cola wars" to Pepsi. This episode is both sugar and caffeine free, so you'll just have to rely on my dulcet tones to keep you awake. Sorry. This week's short story…
 
It all comes down to this! We hit the highlights from the best arcade football game - Midway’s NFL Blitz. The Jamming of sports continues as Midway hunts for their next hit and scores a touchdown with a new technology. How did this “quicker-hitting game” go over with the NFL? Did Blitz fulfill its creator’s promise of being “the most violent footba…
 
We're back to cram more square pod pegs into your round ear holes. It's another cubist's delight in 266 with RUBIK'S CUBE 3D. The three "D"s are "delightful", "delicious" and "de-wonderful", to borrow from an old song. Or are they? Tune in this week to find out. With this 3D, there are no glasses required. Or pants. Short Story: 3D-NYED Thanks to K…
 
It’s our 37th episode (in a row) and we’re crashing the net with our most requested sports game - NBA Jam. We break down all the boomshakala basics and dig deep to uncover some little known facts with the help of author Reyan Ali - who literally wrote the book on NBA Jam! How did a vid kid go from a Pong console to making the most iconic basketball…
 
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