Sunday, March 31, 2013

You Should Contribute to the Retronauts Kickstarter

The Retronauts panel at PAX East began on a bittersweet note, as the panelists announced that it would be the last installment of the podcast ever recorded. The gloom didn't last long though, as when the panel wrapped up, the team announced a Kickstarter to continue the podcast well past the closure of 1Up, the site that began and hosted them for the past six years.

This is something you should definitely pledge to. It's hard to underscore how important this podcast is - it was the inspiration for both the old HG101 podcast (which I'll reupload the old episodes of, someday!) as well as the currently running Game Club 199X, and I'm sure numerous others. The Guide to Classic Graphic Adventures largely owes its existence to the excellent adventure game episode. It's been an incredibly rich and entertaining source for retro material for the past several years that it was a bummer to potentially lose it.

It's already succeeded in its modest $12,000 goal, but higher rankings will allow for more video content and books, as well as a full Retronauts website.

It should be noted that podcasts are incredibly difficult to monetize - they aren't ad supported in the same way that written or video content is. Nevertheless, these things do take a significant amount of time to research, record, and edit, not to mention the cost of decent recording equipment - costs which I think many people don't realize. Do keep that in mind when pledging - I'm reminding everyone of this as a pre-emptive strike against any "well why don't they just do it for free!" in the comments section. In fact, there's a whole big post about this explicitly breaking out the reasons for costs at the Retronauts site.


  1. Man, That just made my day! Pledged 40 bucks to have that awesome podcast back!

    Now, they just have to get Kat and do an ATB Kickstarter too!


  2. As much as I enjoyed listening to Retronauts (occasionally I go listen to the Sega Saturn and Phantasy Star episodes, those being my absolute favorites), no one has ever needed 12k to make podcast. No, this isn't a mantra of "THEY SHOULD DO IT FOR FREE!!!!".

    Rather, there are shortcuts and cost cutting measures (namely in the purchasing of equipment) one could easily take to efficiently make a podcast. I myself have listened to podcasts covering topics such as Hollywood films to video games to anime, and as far as I can tell none of them needed over a grand of donations to keep running. Hell, the host of Anime News Network's podcast commented on twitter that they've never needed to acquire this much cash, only spending into the upper hundreds for a soundboard and other equipment. Another, more niche anime podcast (Anime World Order) has noted essentially the same thing, and they themselves have taken donations from time to time when they had issues with finding a hosting service for they're show. Basically, most podcasts can be made at an acceptable rate and fine quality with only hundreds of--maybe a thousand--dollars, not 12k and above.

    And yes, I've read their explanation. The one item that perplexes me is the cost of 30k to hire a musician for a theme. Maybe it's a stretch to assume, but does hiring someone to record a jingle to bookend an audio program require that much payment? Don't they have some musically studied acquaintance that could record something for less cost, perhaps even for free? And then the donations for charity aspect. Can someone fill me in on what this does for the show. Yes, it's a noble thing to do, but how does it relate to the show's inherent quality? Are these leftover earnings from their previous goal that they want to donate to a good cause? Look, I'm not calling for the head of retronauts on a pike for their supposed "greediness" and anyone who feels like donating has every right to do whatever they may with their own income, but I think people are overestimating the cost of recording an internet radio show.

    1. I don't think you understand what a stretch goal is. They're not asking for 30k EXTRA, just FOR a theme song; it's a symbolic milestone for people to aspire to if it's something they want to help see happen, and the extra money from which can HELP with getting a theme song.

      re: "Yes, it's a noble thing to do, but how does it relate to the show's inherent quality?' -- It doesn't, because the 12k to help the show's inherent quality has been met. They are adding extra stuff because people have demonstrated immense interest and some have even said they want it to keep going and be a bigger deal beyond a podcast. That's all. It's not part of the core goal. And presumably the extra/fun stuff is still within reason for them to pull off.

      I'll never understand people flaunting their willful ignorance about Kickstarter. You say you read explanation but little of what you say actually reflects that.

    2. Not that I want to start an argument but:

      OK, I think I might have misread the musician aspect of it, as it's only a portion of the earnings going to the hiring of musician. That being said, I'm sure they could've hired someone out of their own pockets, or possibly for free.

      "because the 12k to help the show's inherent quality has been met. They are adding extra stuff because people have demonstrated immense interest and some have even said they want it to keep going and be a bigger deal beyond a podcast. "

      Why should it be a bigger deal than a podcast? Wasn't it their goal just to revive the show? Why does it need something bigger than a podcast? Aren't there already a bunch of comparable online spaces like Racket Boy and HG101? I mean look, I'm glad the show is returning, and people can throw their own money at it all they want, but I personally feel that when you reach your goal of donations for a project, you stop their and only continue to collect money in the extreme circumstances.

      "I'll never understand people flaunting their willful ignorance about Kickstarter."

      What you call willful ignorance is rather more like being discerning about a project that should only take a few hundred (perhaps a thousand) dollars to operate and yet it rakes in tens of thousands of dollars. I also assume you're unaware of the issues regarding genuine Kickstarter scams (see: Susan Wilson and her fraudulent attempts at sending her kids to an "RPG design camp") or once-promising projects that eventually became clear that they would not even remotely meet the expectations they promised to donators (see: OUYA and it's now obviously severely underpowered hardware, which serves as a crushing reality to the numerous backers who believed the little Tegra chip was capable of running things like Skyrim).

      Please don't take that as putting the aspiring (and well-intentioned) gentlemen at Retronauts in league with a bunch of headline-grabbing shysters, but its incidents like these that give good reason for more and more people to become cautious about Kickstarter, regardless of the projects, their possible quality, or the people asking for money to fully realize them.

  3. I could not agree more. I found this website because of Retronauts, and I am very glad I did. Long live our retrogaming masters!

  4. I donated even when they were at the 36,000 mark. Why? Because after years of free entertainment, it's about time I gave a little back.