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On this episode of Random Encounter, we're "cranking" up our game to chat about a farming-centric piece of DLC for a pixel-art action RPG and a rogue-like on a tiny, black-and-white screen. First, Nick is here to share his thoughts about the farming DLC for 2021's Eastward, Eastward: Octopia. Having received solid reviews back when it was released,…
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Rock the Dragon Kazuma Kiryu starred in at least a dozen video games in the last eighteen years and experienced a remarkable fictional life. In today’s podcast, two of RPGFan’s most enthusiastic Like a Dragon advocates examine the life and times of the Dragon of Dojima, as part of Retro Encounter’s Year of the Dragon celebrations. Featuring: Michae…
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Opinions are like cats. The internet is full of them. We mostly fall into conventional wisdom here on Retro Encounter when it comes to what games deserve celebration and which games do not (there will not be an episode on Beyond the Beyond anytime soon), but we don’t always go with the grain. Five panelists each share two of their more offbeat, unc…
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On this episode of Random Encounter, we're looking at a remake of an 18-year-old game and the release of a game that felt like it took 18 years to come out. Since its announcement in 2016, Granblue Fantasy: Relink has been on many RPG fans' most anticipated lists (it was on ours in 2020, 2022, 2023 AND 2024). And after seven years, it's finally her…
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It's finally time to celebrate the music of the (last) year! As you know by now, a great deal of incredible games released in 2023, and with them, many notable soundtracks. Our panel today brought some of their favorite songs of 2023, featuring music from some Square Enix heavy hitters to some lovely indie titles and others in between. As usual for…
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Should we double check the envelope? We’re in the middle of entertainment awards show season, and it’s high time Retro Encounter decides a worthy ballot for the RPGs with the best characters, music, visuals, gameplay, and story. But to make things interesting, we’re drafting four games for each category, and no RPG can be drafted more than once. Do…
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Fill my heart with Retro / And let me play RPGs forevermore We're back this week to discuss the second half of Moon, a game that parodies RPGs so much it almost becomes an Adventure game. How does the second half of the game compare with the first? Did we get all the love? Just how many frustrating minigames can one man take? Listen in to find out!…
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On this episode of Random Encounter, we're chatting about the latest installment in the Yakuza franchise, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, and the indie point-and-click adventure game, Lil' Guardsman. First, Jono dives into Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, the direct sequel to 2020's Yakuza: Like a Dragon. Does Infinite Wealth live up to the lofty tu…
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FOUR HUNDRED BABIES If you’ve listened to a Retro Encounter multiple of 50 before, you know that the panel is going to come up with a public poll for a future Retro Encounter episode. This time around, we’re having a shark party! The panel will “invest” in pitches from twelve Retro Encounter panelists from past and present in a game inspired by a c…
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We're kicking off the new year on Rhythm Encounter with a brand-new kind of episode: Building a soundtrack from pieces of other games. We distilled our imaginary RPG down to eight core musical moments — title, overworld, town, dungeon, battle, emotional, final boss, and ending, to be specific — and pulled a song for each from eight different RPGs. …
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Bubby, if you ain't got Retro Encounter, you'll stop breathing and pass the heck out. After waiting over two decades, we finally got a localization of this quirky gem, Moon: Remix RPG Adventure. So, we got three of our panelists to discuss the first half of the game. We talk about the odd gameplay mechanics, just how many times we passed out before…
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Welcome to 2024! This year at Random Encounter, we're on the road to episode 300, so let's start the new year right by chatting about some games! First up, Jerry is here to talk about the experimental visual novel, Slay the Princess. In complete opposition to just about every video game plot ever, here you need to kill the princess or the world is …
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Movin’ to the country / I’m gonna eat a lot of Toadstools Super Mario RPG turned 27 in 2023 (!), and to celebrate, Nintendo and ArtePiazza released a snazzy new remake. Three Retro Encounter enthusiasts discuss the new remake’s new look, gameplay adjustments, and breezy difficulty, as well as Mario RPG’s influence over the intervening decades. Feat…
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To celebrate the new year, we put together a special episode before we return to our regularly scheduled topics, with a short episode full of music dedications. We were inspired by the idea of radio DJs who take listener calls and offer up dedications on air, so we polled the RPGFan staff, asking them for songs and written dedications to read on th…
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2023 and Me In true RPGFan podcast fashion, Retro Encounter always looks back. In an annual tradition since 2015, a Retro Encounter panel examines the previous year of RPGs and highlights a few favorites. What RPG is labeled a platonic ideal? What two 2023 downloads might be among the best DLC of all time? How about that Baldur’s Gate 3? All of thi…
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On the final 2023 episode of Random Encounter, we're chatting about all the games we're excited about that are coming in 2024! At the end of December, RPGFan publishes one of the year's biggest features: our most anticipated games expected to come out next year. And that means a chance to get together on Random Encounter to have a year-end freak ou…
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I'm a sucker for a good podcast! 25 years ago, RPGFan started life as LunarNET, and five years before that, Lunar: The Silver Star released in the West. So, in honor of that, we got four of our resident Lunar fans together to chat about the various versions of Lunar: The Silver Star. Are we fans of the Working Designs localization? How does the com…
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In farming games, typically the slowest part of the year is winter. So why did we record our farming music episode when it's winter for many of our listeners? Hey, I don't have all the answers... unless it's about work/life balance and the best Stardew Valley partner. But I digress. Today's panel is only three people, but we still have a full slate…
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Quest Like A Dragon! One Warrior, one Rogue, and one Mage separately traveled across Ferelden to recruit allies in order to stop a Darkspawn Blight, but how did it go for them? Our panelists explored the diverse societies presented in BioWare’s dark fantasy RPG this month, but to what ends? Listen and find out why Dragon Age: Oranges’s narrative is…
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On this episode of Random Encounter, we chat all of the news from the 2024 Game Awards, and delve into two recent indie RPGs. First, The Game Awards came and went faster than the music playing off the winners! Baldur's Gate 3 was the champion of the evening with Best Game, but Alan Wake 2 walked away with a good share of the awards, as well. Join t…
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Dungeons and Darkspawn Dragon Age, a standout mini series from BioWare's golden age of RPGs, is a blend of high fantasy, dark fantasy, politics, and dating sim that made a big splash in 2009. Two Grey Warden veterans and one Dragon Age neophyte form a Retro Encounter panel to take on the Darkspawn Blight, save a group of mages, and confirm that Dog…
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I think I heard a shot. We finished Bloodborne! Four very enthusiastic hunters suffered through hunters, Great Ones, Street Sharks, and many other horrors to conquer this PS4 classic. So what are our favorite bosses? What the hell does Insight do? How many times do we mix up "Great Ones" with "Old Blood?" Listen to learn! Featuring: Michael Sollosi…
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It's time for another composer spotlight on Rhythm Encounter, and this time we're celebrating the works of Hiroki Kikuta. Many RPG fans know his work on the Mana series — particularly Secret of Mana and Trials of Mana — but there's much more to Kikuta than many people know. From a PSone game that never left Japan to his contributions to many indie …
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On the next Random Encounter, we delve into the vibrant worlds of Super Mario RPG and Persona 5 Tactica, and tackle the complex issue of redemption arcs in game publishing. First, Caitlin unpacks the Super Mario RPG Remake. Despite some minor frame rate drops and easy difficulty, does the game's timeless appeal shine through in this newly revitaliz…
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Bleeding its horror / Creating my structure Welcome, good hunter! Retro Encounter discusses a From Software Souls-like in detail for the first time, with the Playstation 4's Bloodborne. Four panelists discuss the city of Yarnham, trick weapons, the Souls formula, and more in this episode about a bloody excellent video game. Featuring: Michael Sollo…
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We're knee-deep in fall leaves in some parts of the world, though much like our spring themes episode earlier this year, what autumn (or fall) means to each of our panelists varies. Some of us chose songs based on cozy evenings with a hot drink, and some of us used our imaginations since not everyone lives in parts of the world with the typical fou…
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On the next Random Encounter, we're taking a deep dive into Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name, Star Ocean: The Second Story R, and Dave the Diver! First, Jono discovers the yakuza's latest crisis in Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name. Does this shorter Yakuza tale live up to its pedigree? Then Izzy Parsons gets to rel…
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Back in the 90s and early 2000s, the localization of JRPGs was never a given. We RPG fans would often wait with bated breath, a copy of GamePlayers or Electronic Gaming Monthly in hand, hoping Squaresoft and other Japanese publishers would announce they were bringing their incredible games to the West. And more often than not, we would be disappoin…
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We all know those big moments in RPGs. A place, a scene, or a pivotal battle that really makes the game and solidifies it in your memory. The scoring in those moments isn't always what makes it work, but it often plays a crucial role. In many cases, the music really does make the moment, if not the game. Today we are talking about songs that carry …
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Only one person gets to be the hero. But is it always the right one? Just about every RPG has a main character that can be singled out as the hero of their story, but this is not about any of them. Quite often, there's a companion or even an NPC that is more fun or interesting than a video game's protagonist. That's who we want to discuss today - t…
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On the next Random Encounter, we're exploring the narrative horror depths of World of Horror and the deep strategic and colorful layers of Wargroove 2. First, Bob Richardson will guide us through World of Horror. With its unique 1-bit artistic style and roguelike narrative structure, does the game offer a lasting experience that keeps players comin…
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Boys and girls of every age / Wouldn't you like to see something strange? Halloween is a time to experience scares, eat candy, and also celebrate fandom through costumes. Costume changes in RPGs can take the form of in-game bonuses, clever references, or expensive DLC, but it's undeniable that a classy costume change can enhance the video game expe…
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From 2001 to 2005, the Game Boy Advance was Nintendo’s golden son. The Game Boy Advance brought gameplay depth and audio quality yet-unseen in a handheld gaming device, and gave us dozens of superb RPGs to enjoy over its run of success. Today, we celebrate the indigo blue machine with nine fabulous songs from a few of the GBA’s finest RPGs. Featuri…
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Could you imagine? A puppet seeing another puppet- and then making it work? Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure is... cute. Energetic. Pleasant. But also sort of twisted? Is Cornet an earnest puppeteer or an unsuspecting necromancer? Do we want to play the rest of the trilogy now? In today's episode of Retro Encounter we explore these topics and more, fr…
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On this week’s Random Encounter, Zach steps in as your host to guide us through RPGFan’s 25th-anniversary special, Revisiting RPGFan Games of the Year: Bracket Battle. Joining Zach are Audra, Jimmy, and Aleks, each bringing their own perspectives on what makes a Game of the Year truly deserving of the title. But the final choice of the best GOTY in…
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In Marl's Kingdom, the girl saves the handsome prince. Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure is remarkable for a 1998 RPG, in that it subverts a few traditional fantasy tropes, has multiple character-specific side quests, and punctuates it plot points with musical numbers. It also kicked off a trilogy of RPGs with multiple spinoffs, which received worldwid…
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"All this energy's got us inspired now/We couldn't stop it, just set it free and DANCE!" That's right! Today we're taking some advice from Persona 4: Dancing All Night and getting our dance on. Spin-off dancing games aside, danceable and electronic beats have permeated RPG soundtracks for a long time, whether that's special arrangement albums or so…
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Through the Fire and Flames of Fate Dragon Quest hasn't had a main series release since 2018, but in the last five years we've had spinoffs, adaptations, and announcements galore. Three Retro Encounter panelists are joined by special guest Matt from the Dragon Quest Slime Time! podcast to discuss the past, present, and future of Dragon Quest. Bring…
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On this week's Random Encounter, we're diving into a piece of DLC that redeems one of gaming's biggest disappointments, a Souls-like that cannot tell a lie, and a classic celebrating its 30th anniversary. First, Aleks guides us through the shadowy world of Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty. Does this DLC redeem 2020's Cyberpunk 2077, or does it miss …
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Mr. Blue Sky, please tell us why you had to hide away for so long. Where did we go wrong? Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter is a bleak, unforgiving game that grants players tremendous highs when they emerge victorious from a boss battle on the brink of death, and threatens brutal lows if you lose all your progress far away from one of its limited save…
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In summer of 2014, Rhythm Encounter episode 18 was all about town themes. Today, a coincidentally exact 100 episodes later, we finally revisit the topic with more favorite RPG town theme music. This time around, we have games that span quite a range, from the early 90s to just last month, with four new-to-Rhythm Encounter games making their debut, …
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Don't be a D-Ratio. Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter doesn't want you to have an easy time. A remarkable blend of PS2 visuals, tactical combat, rogue-like elements, and horror atmosphere set to a Hitoshi Sakimoto soundtrack, the fifth game in Capcom's signature turn-based RPG series is as unique as it is challenging. Three RPGFan staff of various exp…
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On this week's Random Encounter, we're delving into two recent farm-sim RPGs, exploring if they bring anything new to the genre. First, Niki takes us through the remaster/remake of the classic DS farm-sim Rune Factory 3 Special. Is there anything genuinely special about it, or should you stick with more recent entries of the series? Following that,…
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The only podcast here is ours. And you can be its early witness! Final Fantasy XVI, one of the most-anticipated Square-Enix games of the 2020s, finally launched worldwide in June. And now, almost three months later, at least four RPGFan staff have finished playing and want to start talking. From favorite characters and fights to the future of Final…
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When it comes to Final Fantasy music, for every "One-Winged Angel," there are a dozen lesser-known songs in a given game that don't always get their deserved time in the spotlight. Today's panel came loaded with eight songs they feel are overlooked, underrepresented, and, yes, underrated from across the Final Fantasy series. So take a seat, Sephiro…
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She'll take you for a ride on a wagon train to Zoombiniville It's back to school week here at Retro Encounter, where we stay retro but mostly avoid RPGs in a discussion of classic edutainment games, from The Oregon Trail to Sim City 2000. Who among our illustrious panel dreamed of being on the Carmen Sandiego PBS show? Which educational game most d…
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On this week's Random Encounter, we're blasting off to new galaxies and sailing through enchanted seas with two of the most anticipated RPGs of 2023! First, Noah navigates the cosmic expanses of Starfield, Bethesda's highly anticipated space exploration RPG. With the expectations of Skyrim in Space ringing in everyone's ears, does Starfield end up …
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On Rhythm Encounter, we have celebrated several consoles' RPG music, including the SNES (Episode 89), NES (Episode 73), and Genesis (Episode 92). Isn't it about time the original PlayStation got some love? It's hard to understate the tectonic shift in RPG releases in the West that began during the PSone's lifetime, and there is a treasure trove of …
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Time to go work on Retro Encounter! We're back with our discussion of the second half of Disco Elysium. This week we dive into some of our favorite late-game side quests, go over our favorite conversations with our neckties, and discuss the fabulously strange ending. Did we get Kim to like us? Do we continue to be a disaster cop? Are Phasmids real?…
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On this week's Random Encounter, we're diving into the realms of fantasy and musical adventure! First, Abe takes on the epic challenge of reviewing Baldur's Gate III, the long-awaited CRPG sequel that brings Dungeons & Dragons to life! With intricate storytelling, deep character customization, and intense tactical combat, does it roll a nat 20? The…
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