DiscoverRetronautsRetronauts Episode 95: The 8-bit adventures of Batman

Retronauts Episode 95: The 8-bit adventures of Batman

Update: 2017-04-17
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Renowned Batmanologist and comics scribe Chris Sims joins Jeremy Parish and Benj Edwards to explore the lore of early Batman games and how they fit into the evolution of the character's franchise.

Following script is auto-generated by Speech to Text Technology:

it's going to your friends about me the the the Everyone and welcome to another episode of reference these this is the exciting third episode a veteran of these and we're changing things up a little bit this week for one thing we have proper recording equipment so no as if the recording in what one person called a submarine hopefully this sounds like a proper podcast at long last and secondly Edwards is here in the seat number three we have the special guest Chris sounds because the zone is about Batman and Chris Evans is as far as I know the biggest Batman fan of talking I refer was the world's foremost that knowledge is they go so it's like the world's greatest detective focused entirely on that yeah you got it right so Chris tell well on I have been a professional comics critic for eight years seven years and of a writer although most of my training has been done at Marvel but I'm a huge Batman fan on I have read all about economics and more germane to this conversation when all of them and shown yes that is the true banding experience and of course been here you can tell us about yourself again because it's going to refresh us and yes if I remember myself on the menu has been generous I am a freelance journalist and gain historian and I write vintage computing back on the bog Eric for PC World Fast Company The Atlantic things like that thank God I'm Jerry Parrish the host of restaurants this episode because director notes in the ground sort of abstract sounds and as mentioned before this week we're talking about Batman video games which as far as I know is not really something we don't rent or not it's just kind of a strange little gap actually have really gone that much into video games about superheros as far as I know maybe that Boston was Mother people that I was going on but I don't think so so this will be new territory for us and is fitting that a thunderstorm just are no this crazy like don't want the realities of the way home from Zorro right now because that's just bad news yeah so I feel like I'm mostly going to talk about how much I love the SK but maybe we can go further afield and venturing into mysterious games I guess we're going to find out it's a crazy crap shoot in episodes of tune the in the in the the the this episode is brought to you by audible audiobook service with more than one hundred and eighty thousand titles to choose from a free audio book and a thirty day trial at audible trial dot com slash game the folks speaking as a true and honest gamer there's nothing I hate more than sleep I mean I'm trying to finish three one hundred hour games at once and now you're telling me I got to be unconscious for six to eight hours a day off and my brain makes me think horrible things are chasing me well until those geniuses in Silicon Valley come up with the Sleep solution that doesn't result in madness those hours of sleep had better count for something which is why we brought you this week by the good folks at Casper 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a thing in Adventure Quest was I was called for by Scott Adams not one not that's going to go because yeah is a graphical Avengers for computers when we start seeing one start to hold one star it's like four on whether the forum from the advertised were a thing in the hole with a hole in the volatile and Cosmo to know that sounds like a good match for someone it's doing not seem fair to be on the discretion real quick and often the thing I guess you know Hulk is kind of it is at a disadvantage in a text based medium so maybe balanced out but yet in Korea before even quest for a few had a Superman Superman for a twenty six hundred Spiderman for tightening six hundred which was kind of like an early platform or scrolling up Word and the Green Goblin story pumpkins that you are small square the other two Republicans because from the six hundred graphics were little little little sample yes Republicans stay there because in Japan yes it's okay anyway so thing was it was kind of a thing is that Batman would be so late getting into video games but I kind of reflects where Batman was in terms of cultural cachet in the eighties the early eighties when The Dark Knight returns come out I was eighteen eighty six rate of year one with an eighty six the son of and that was kind of like the beginning of the rehabilitation of Batman sort of culminated in the nineteen eighty nine movie I think you know it just in terms of getting to some dangerous territory I think in terms of cultural awareness I think you're right but I think one of the interesting things about it is that you didn't episode not too long ago about the Adams family games and howling there was breakfast request there is no larger property out there and I feel like Batman was a constant mainstream presence if not in comics than from nineteen sixty six on the show was in syndication guy I in it and was super friends but those were very different sort of Batman than today's bet your conception of that Batman would trip over stuff like that I'm gonna murder you that I was really hoping when our game origins and it was there likely will it take you back to the beginning I was really hoping that the nineteen sixty six aesthetic with those those rock city of controls I mean there was Batman sixty six outfit you could you could put on his skin but it didn't have the same by them too muscular but really to really do a Batman sixty six video game you've got to go back to like clunky PS One arrow crawler mechanics like you can't be too elegant it's kind of surprising about the of the spectrum game of surprising that there was never really a game that was based on the kind of mechanics you would sixty six like going around looking for clues and escaping from death traps as far as I know the kind closest thing that we got to that would've been like the Who framed Roger Rabbit and the US can get where you're driving and you're going looking for clues and it's not very good player but what you got that week and concealing a deadly premonition remake something in the style of deadly premonition but campy or their game on the cape crusader that we go around and find a floppy disk and put in the computer it's kind of walking around punching stuff it's not that I think that if you want to talk about you know kind of adventure game elements the very first game we're going to talk about was like that but yeah in terms of you know more of a structured mystery I think the closest we've really come has been the telltale Batman series which is more of a note like a visual novel but there is there is some of that element of detecting and I do like the Ark of the arcade games of Iraq study and be one of his Montreal yes they did kind of throw a bone and make a little bit of a concession to Batman as effective at getting you that Activision but that was you know basically like Metro prime scan visor you're not solving anything you're just looking for something that's growing I love the reason we did a read of their meeting at the the the the guess we should just jump in and talk about Batman's really in video games Batman begins The videogame know it's called Batman and it was released in nineteen eighty six in Europe I think I don't think it ever came to us and it was developed by oceans software so you know it's good and it was a very very very European PC game from the eighties is asymmetric action game very much in the style of night lor that sort of thing and has almost nothing whatsoever to do that I have I like my my guess for this is that they got the Baton and thought Oh this guy lets just OK we've got this game in development just like that where I feel like if you make a Batman game you the game you have failed at making a Batman game ever actually get to the Bath know you messed up somewhere along the interest that yeah I mean it's we're talking about what this game actually is which is again not Batman and the rollicking adventure style that you would expect but rather a game where Batman needs to assemble parts of the badge at by traversing the back A which is curiously full of monsters and hazards and yeah I like them raw in Surah you need to assemble the bat Jet so you can go rescue Robin get lost in his own house in fairness none of us have this here asking Robin from the attic I mentioned in my putter around this game's a little bit of curiosity but never actually finished it so I have no idea what happens once you get the patch at one of those again very European very British nineteen eighties PC games so it's not forgetting it's meant to be clay in replay and replay and finally brute force your way through and memorize every little trap and trick and I still have time for that because it's not nineteen eighty six and I kid who picked up this game for five pounds and a captive audience pectin do but like the sheep or something I don't really think that's true but sure why not laden cultural stereotype but I mean this is this is the UK equivalent of what you saw where they would take her end of the former and be like Yeah let's just put the movie license on there like Total recall or something like this is really movie this has nothing to do with any Batman property ever like nothing about this game says Batman except that it's a great little version of Batman too I love love these like point she has the skinny little and is very very stern as he walks slowly through the bat cave searching for us to pay he might me more that Graham is a play this game this early on I pleaded I wrote about the several years ago we are leaving the council an article on some games but like watching it being played on YouTube and this is living with his injury is almost unrecognizable as Batman that it's got like a weird little more than anything else I feel like this is the kind of Batman game you would see from the looks somehow like some in the developer on steam that into the game or years way back to work but is it does not look fun and it is not fun to watch I mean it's really very much a creation of the cauldron of in the UK at that time like the idea of walking around with and you know the characters house trying to find stuff is straight from Jet Set Willy which was a huge head over there and the ice into perspective for me was based on the rare hits late night lor and even saw some of those games make to the US like souls does on any ass and Equinox and super eighty s But yeah that was really very little about that was that was a huge huge thing over there so yes this is very much just a British ask Amos is a British classic games you can guess from his CI from the other access is very excited about learning about a plan I buy yet to make it to other platforms but I believe the origin point was was that the spectrum was that dark alley that I was pretty dark but okay so getting from bad and I think you know after that things start to start to look a little more like oh yes this is a Batman game beginning with another ocean game from nineteen eighty eight which would not recognize as being from the same developers as the first game because it's it's just not a British asymmetric is just a different developer same publisher I think I think I think it is published maybe I have no idea how that worked and I saw both developers Limited a listed as a vision but who knows but anyway this is a much more ambitious game I would say and Benny it tries to do a little bit of the detective thing you wanna talk about that some think I played the songs as well sixty four basically if it was a bit or sixteen bit micro computer from the UK are it was on there looks like as far as comic book elements of different frames that pop up as you move from room to room picking up disks and putting him other things and punching guys randomly as many know about this I actually of this until a little German the show notes this is one I'm completely unfamiliar looks cool and yet looks cool it looks kind of boring yeah I mean it's it's my biggest problem with this game is that you actually try to play a really confusing because like whenever you go into another there's a lot of there's a lot of back and forth wondering sort of walking in a side scrolling view but not enough for us it's like a crawler you don't really do a lot of vertical movement so you go into doors and stuff and when you go into it or another comic and all like overly appears upset and so kind of you know as you go into doors you start getting like these stacked comic frames one on top of the other which is an effective but each time a frame possibly have a little less space to maneuver in and it's also as a pop of indifference fast yes green just like you know being a building going into a room into another room in each of these is overlaid one on top of the other is actually kind of the reverse of how visually presented the idea of a door in the background of pressing up to go into it like you're going sort of behind what you can see in the background of that stage but that is popping up as an overlay I just find a sort of confusing the link ang Lee did a much better job of this comic panel concept in the whole movie that no one likes like that movie I did to me only like forty feet tall and huge and the that it hit lovingly one yet the club closed ok looks like all the that the sort of scream would divide into pans and committing yet so if you like that's kind of what they were going for this game but it didn't quite work also comics own comics all as I read norm I mean feel like that's probably the closest being equivalent to this it's not it's not nearly as awful in terms of like the layout and structure as Comic Zone is by the idea is similar so please talk so I think it would genuinely brilliant wheels of eyes before about how I have this kind of deep seated resentment of the citizens from how you fit right into it because I had a super any of us and I don't know how it happened and I can literally can explain it was like ten I had in my head like if you were working class blue collar salt of the person you got a super yes and the Genesis was for rich people the one percent event was actually less expensive I have the edge of the logic have anything to do with the fact that the soundtrack of the region's game sounds like somebody farting oh let's not get it and stuff it's just going to cause all kinds of strange of people was issues and it's also incumbent on the composers of the games to do a good job with the ATVs and this is technology Sega Genesis on hand and sound I don't want to lose listeners here is the listeners but it's going it's going to be a show in the comments come at me Collins not mean that was one of those games was like super jealous because first of all I can tell what vehicle the creators like it is an accurate representation of my job of getting into the swing the front of a panel when this cool idea and I'm really shocked that no did I get such a great way of adapting like the feel of a comic book even if you imagine a Batman game or inspiring what it would as a completely new license the technology to the comic book companies and some annotations on a memory that was actually technology that would work in three D is the problem calmly games of the non technology like you're sort of padding yeah the it's a gimmick but the venue had to do it they kind of like I wanted to taste it like it's going to hear a yes they were around like their people keep making new games they could do it again but I guess you know with the dissolution of two D video gaming the three D like that concept became much harder to pull off because it really does like you need yeah you just need like the tomb is now a video game two to emulate the originality of the page like you games like maximum carnage are of the Punisher arcade game like they were always these little touches like an intimate too hard to reproduce the panels from the story line between levels Arabic sound effects when you when you knock somebody out impressionable I showed up and you shot somebody in the Arctic am I always like I always knew in the comments on was out there it was kind of wanted them to take a step further which getting back to that and a minute we're going talk about the Batman series game for supporting us did I think a really good job of mimicking the static and silence TV show in the like cards and the music matches also yet but I think you know that the band ninety eight Game promotion was an admirable attempt to kind of move in that direction but it didn't quite work but I do like I do admire their Moxie for the time it was pretty ambitious and there's a lot more going on than just walking right and left him punching guys in fact it was a little more work into the actual mechanics of combat because it seems pretty brain dead but you know you walking around in activity shooters and stuff and so there is a bit more of something happening than just walking in one direction of punching people which is what you usually a comic became a Captain America The Avengers and maximum carnage and so forth so you know them for that but this one is in the form of heard of this game is pretty obscure the least here in the US while I think you know the sort of PC of the developer made it a bigger thing in the UK but um yes it's like a graphical adventure that also was to be a bra learning doesn't quite do either one very well but I got it right on the The The The The The The The The The The The The The The The The The The The The The The Living on the Batman the movie is when it came out right timbre me so how many Batman The Movie games were there there were lots of Batman lessons movies based on the video game this is what Easter really making up for lost time yeah so basically this is to ocean games were kind of these weird relics from before DC and it lets make Batman matter again let's let's you know really build this franchise is something and again I think that was really invigorated by Frank Miller's work with your one and The Cat returns and also people were like Oh he's not just like the pudgy guy who says housing bat and he's actually kind of cool and spooky and weird and like how Batman yeah of course I'm sure you can talk about this more but the seventies Batman in the comics was not really that can be a character you have you know like very um I at least I love the artwork of that era Batman and that was when the issues concepts like rather cool it's like that right so yeah oh the people have in their heads and it's not quite accurate is that the TV show change Batman he was like that for the next twenty years whereas in reality back and watches the house for the first season of the Batman TV show the sixties is a direct adaptation of comics stories that we're going on time to do is they have not led to the column right where you like broke down each episode and a lot of times would say like hey here's the TV series that was a comical I was so good for the first season and I go and talk about which comics are being referenced like and love them too there's a really great collection of stories that I think it's cold and the TV stories of the DC put out not be when really pushing and sixty six again and you can see how people are being of the sling back as early as nineteen seventy one of the editorial shifted EC of the decision is made for Batman to and you get him moving into Wayne Tower in the middle of Garden City which last for quite sometime and then like you said you got Denny O'Neil becomes the primary writer who also is home to do something with one woman thing with Superman kind of moderate Small Wonder Woman tower I know she does she lose her powers to get a white suit and is come whom people Holy cow we believe those didn't really stick needles into that kind of modernizing was to take one for tonight actually interesting like you trying to be the curator eating ways major weakness was a really cool idea of the sticky their own with that and it certainly had a lot more success you had of stories like the jurors were binge which kind of try to take the job are back to love sort of less comedic play in the mid seventies you guessed even coming on and a lot of what they do is go back to the forties and fifties shot and a character who hadn't seen for twenty five years at that point and they give him a new costume and updated origin in back of the Hugo Strange who was one of the first and once they do o The laughing Fish which was an updated adaptation of the first joke or story from Ben and one so use in the comics but like he said the mass media pop culture is more informed about that in sixty six a more informed by super of the Super Friends TV movie Stand and I was the period car shows of feuding with Jerry TV the beliefs of the news of so when it comes time for Batman eighty nine I think Warner Brothers Company And I think DC is a publisher release their chance to get a different way
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Retronauts Episode 95: The 8-bit adventures of Batman