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Games We Grew Up With

Media & Entertainment Podcasts

Join Chris and Katie as these thirtysomething siblings journey through their childhood archive of cartridges, discs, and emulators to relive the cherished and challenging times of their video gaming youth and find out once and for all if the classics of the 80s and 90s game consoles hold up to a modern playthrough. From NES to PS2, Genesis to GameBoy, and even a PC game here and there, they’re reminiscing, replaying, and reviewing some of the all-time retro classics, and maybe a few all-time clunkers too.


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Join Chris and Katie as these thirtysomething siblings journey through their childhood archive of cartridges, discs, and emulators to relive the cherished and challenging times of their video gaming youth and find out once and for all if the classics of the 80s and 90s game consoles hold up to a modern playthrough. From NES to PS2, Genesis to GameBoy, and even a PC game here and there, they’re reminiscing, replaying, and reviewing some of the all-time retro classics, and maybe a few all-time clunkers too.






Episode 49 - Kirby's Dream Course

Oh Kirby, you're so dreamyyyy... or at least, your golf course is! And what better way for a character who's known for being mostly marshmallow-cloud and gains power through eating enemies to celebrate the great athletic event that is golf, than... to turn into a golf ball with a variety of strange powers trying to get you to whack him into enemies and/or the hole! This one's weird, but this one, at the end of the day, is also... golf. Golf with some power-ups and 16-bit graphics, and a decidedly Kirby tone to it. Yet another of the hosts' OG gaming experiences, and since they played it as kids on a cross-oceanic flight with no manual, likely almost as weird as Super Bonk at the time. Was it great? Was it, as the kids say, "mid"? Was it an Albatross or a Double Bogey? Was it something else punny? You, "dear reader", will have to convert yourself into "dear listener", and find out from our sporting hosts as they dive into this pink-gridded, club-wielding, golf-y adventure!


Random Non-Rose 4: Vegas Dream

HAPPY 3RD BIRTHDAY, GWGW! It's our third birthday (how did that happen?!?), so we decided to put out a special Non-Rose episode that throws wayyyy back in our hosts' gaming lives! Where else can you go to turn $700 into $10,000,000 than VEGAS, BABY? Or, more often... where else can you go to turn $700 into a sad $0 and end up on a bus out of town than VEGAS, BABY? Welcome to Vegas Dream, where all your slow-moving text, badly-randomized cards, robbery-filled, chandelier-dropping visions of grandeur and glory can come true! Play Blackjack and lose to the dealer's high 20 & 21 rates, Keno where it'll take an hour to input your numbers that then don't hit, Roulette which... well, it works pretty much like a Roulette game, and Slots, where you can struggle to figure out what does or doesn't pay! It's Vegas in all its 1993 glory! Jokes aside, this is a fascinating game with a lot more depth than it seems at first glance. Random events, risks to take, shows to be invited to, weddings to get stood up at, and millions of dollars to win to make your VEGAS DREAM come true! And beyond that, this is one of the first games EVER that our hosts played growing up! On one side you had Super Mario Bros. (ed. note: Episode 15, check it out!), teaching you the nuances of platforming and patience (learned well by Host Chris), and on the other hand, Vegas Dream, teaching you the potential benefits of YOLOing it and hoping for the best (learned well by Host Katie)! How does this 8-bit gambler hold up? How well does the episode work without a rose section? How many other games did the hosts have to go through before figuring out this is the one they meant to be playing? YOU'LL NEVER KNOW! Unless you listen to the episode, of course... VEGAS, BABY!


Episode 48 - Super Bonk

Ever wonder what would happen if a group of video game developers were told to just go wild and make the weirdest, most confusing, least story-driven, crazy game possible, preferably including a man-child that grows and shrinks, Alice in Wonderland-style, and occasionally shouts out a ride-able set of stone letters spelling "RAGE!"? Neither did we! But here we are, and we all get to experience the ... experience that is SUPER BONK for the Super Nintendo! Somehow the 4th game in the Bonk series, this one comes to us courtesy of a long airplane flight in the 90s that our intrepid hosts took. One can only imagine how much stranger the Bonk experience is as a child on a long plane flight. Perhaps this explains a bit more about the adults they eventually became... hmm... Run, jump, climb walls by biting them repeatedly, turn into a weird meth-kaiju hybrid, and never forget that ... wait, climb walls by BITING THEM? Ok, I officially give up. This game's insane. Maybe the hosts had more luck understanding it. You'll have to pop in and give it a listen to find out!


Episode 47 - Rhythm Games

Kick, punch, it's all in the mind! Well, I mean... that's ONE example of this genre, but this time instead of Um Jammer Lammy, we're focused in on the behemoths of the rhythm game genre from about 2005 to 2015... Guitar Hero, Rock Band, DJ Hero, and all those rock 'n' roll, guitar 'n' drum, rhythm-music games! These games were the life of the party for a good chunk of years, and as it turns out, might still be fun to play today! Our hosts and ONE producer may be musically inclined, but it turns out these games aren't always about how good your ear is... much to Producer Kyle's relief! From Weezer to Grandmaster Flash, Mighty Mighty Bosstones to Babymetal, these games are a great catalogue of popular rock music of the late 90s to mid-2010s, and if you can find your way into getting the instruments... are they worth pulling back out and jamming out? Only one way to find out... A-five-six-seven-DOWNLOAD THE EPISODE AND LISTEN TO IT!


Episode 46 - F-Zero

Three, two, one... it's space-lights out and space-away we go! It's time to rev up those hovercar engines, blast around the semi-epilepsy-triggering track, bounce against strangely rubbery walls, and entertain futuristic billionaires by racing other poor unfortunate souls... and occasionally blow up! That's right, it's F-Zero for the Super Nintendo! This one is a doozy, for many reasons, not least of which is that as it turns out, the computer is a ch... actually, you know what? You have to listen to find out what the computer is. However, you CAN find out that this game was an absolute legend when it comes to pushing the boundaries of graphics, racing mechanics, and driving certain (ahem) podcast hosts crazy when replaying it in 2023. But was it fun? Was it exciting? Was it MODE 7? Did it live up to its glory days and bring back all the joy it used to? Well, there's only one way to find out, isn't there? Hit play, let the green flag fly, and listen in!


Random Non-Rose 3: Half-Life 2

Rise and shine, dear listeners - rise and... shine. It’s another Random Non-Rose Episode! This time we are delving into Half-Life 2 for the PC! Looking back at a game many have said is one of the greatest games of all time is a challenge, but our intrepid hosts have their crowbars ready. Host Chris leads the squad in a live recording to talk about Gordon Freeman’s second (NEVER THIRD... we see you, Valve... we see you...) adventure fighting the Combine, head crabs, and sometimes OBS. OH MY! A game that does not fall into a single genre leads to rambling, inserted comments, and lots of snark. From the innovative gravity gun to dumb AI “SORRY FREEMAN,” Half-Life 2 has a lot to offer and a lot to talk about. Even if you joined us live on Twitch (@gwgwshow), Host Chris added in a little extra cause there was STILL more he wanted to say! Time, Dr. Freeman? Is it really that time again? Take a listen and find out!


Episode 45 - Super Punch-Out!!

Float like a butterfly, sting like ... an unresponsive SNES Classic controller that disagrees with your assessment that you threw an uppercut instead of a body punch! That's how the phrase goes, right? We're in the ring for this one, the squared circle, not hitting below the belt, getting saved by the bell, rolling with the punches, givin' em the old one-two, not throwing in the towel... you see, because we're BOXING! From Gabby Jay to Bald Bull, Dragon Chan to Piston Hurricane, we're fighting our way through this cavalcade of racially-insensitive, overly-caricatured, or just weirdly-hilarious characters, trying not to break our controllers, and remembering that fighting games aren't always quite so well-made as, for example, Soulcalibur II or Street Fighter II. Side note, I just noticed of the 3 fighting games we've reviewed, all have been the 2nd main episode in their series. Weird! Mike Tyson's nowhere to be found to save us here, but drop in and give it a listen, and see if the game could stand on its own two feet, or if the ref called a standing 8 count and had the corner throw in the towel on it. INSERT ONE MORE BOXING PUN HERE. Enjoy! (Ding, ding)


A Very Special GWGW - Co-Op Games

The more you know... about how we play co-op games, the more surprised you are we haven't hurt each other in real life! This very special episode of Games We Grew Up With is all about those magical moments on the couch, across the country, or both, when you get a group, perfectly in sync, working together on a puzzle, thinking as one... and then one person sets everyone else on fire, triggers a trap, and kills the whole group. If you were wondering, that person is usually Producer Kyle. From Super Mario Bros. on NES to Gunstar Heroes on Sega, all the way up through to Overcooked! 2 and Full Metal Furies (both of which you can watch us play on Tuesdays at 5:45pm PT/8:45pm ET on Coast-to-Coast Co-Op on our Twitch channel, !), we have spent our lives playing these games together, working as a team to beat the boss, solve the puzzle, get the high score, and rescue one kidnapped friend or another. It's a unique form of gaming, especially when you can get 2 people on one coast and 2 people on another, all playing together, and in this episode, we do a deep dive on the different forms of it, how it's different, why it's fun, and why it means so much to all of us. And the producers even get involved (sometimes with similar outcomes to when we game together... ahem) Player 2: PRESS START!


Episode 44 - A Link to the Past

Thank you Link! But our Princess is in another castle! ...wait, that doesn't sound right... wrong Princess and wrong mostly-silent Protagonist trying to save both the world and her! This is another LEGEND OF ZELDA, and this time we're finding A LINK TO THE PAST (for the Super Nintendo)! All the classics of Zelda games show up here... Link, Zelda, Ganon, the Triforce, a shortage of Rupees, a shortage of Heart pieces, long and winding dungeons with over-complicated puzzles, and some type of fowl to carry you around the world, of course! Listen in to our host's thoughts about our pink-haired (!) hero and his journey through the Light and Dark worlds, and this game as a cultural touchstone and defining element of what truly makes Zelda... well, Zelda! Gotta go fast! (Right?)


GWGW's 2022 Year in Review!

2022... What a year it was for Games We Grew Up With! We laughed, we cried, we screamed at entirely-inappropriate ratings predictions for SimCity 2000 (or at least, some of us did...) From Mario 64 to Final Fantasy VII, General Chaos to Starcraft, Crash Team Racing to Super Metroid, we covered 12 new (old) games, across GameBoy, Sega Genesis, Windows, Super NES, Nintendo 64, PlayStation 1. They weren't all winners (lookin' at you, Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers and General Chaos...), but some were just that perfect blend of quality and nostalgia! Shocking nobody, Host Chris had a full point higher in his ratings (8.4 vs 7.4), though the clear winner for the year score-wise was Final Fantasy VII, with each host giving it a 9.5... but was it their favorite game of the year, looking back? What might you have missed if you didn't stay caught up? Well, there's one good way to find out! Just click that "Play" button and listen to a re-hash of the year's fun! Let's-a-go!


Episode 43 - General Chaos

Well well well, if it isn't the most aptly-named game of the show's history! Both for game content as well as what it took to even get the two hosts to be able to play (and stream) it to all our viewers on Twitch! This one digs deep into the archive, and pulls out a simple, complex, flame-torching, nut-punching, chaotic combat scramble that we're told ostensibly had some plot sitting in there in between melees and grenade launches. Pick a squad, throw all those cannon-fodder grunts against your opponent's, and see who comes out the victor and takes on some more land... a tale as old as time, and in this case, a game almost as old! So, how did this simple, colorful, action-packed, hardly-able-to-get-it-to-run combat sim hold up? Why, dear reader, you'll have to convert yourself into a dear listener to find out... hop in and hear what Hosts Chris and Katie had to say!


Episode 42 - StarCraft

"GWGW, reportin' for duty!" It's time, it's time, it's finally time... IT'S RTS TIME! In this episode, the crew dove deep into the world of Terran, Protoss, and Zerg, in STARCRAFT! We collected minerals, we learned hard lessons about what dropships are, and we figured out that... well, the Zerg are just kinda weird and gross! Even better, we were able to have a 4-player online multiplayer game, coast-to-coast, and kick the snot out of some computer AI punks... Outstanding! This one throws us back to 1998, and into the heyday of Blizzard Entertainment really caring about making fun and engaging games, instead of simple money factories. Ahh, better times... Drop in, harvest some Vespene Gas, give it a listen, and enjoy... rock and roll! Ready to roll out!


Episode 41 - Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers

Alpha, get me some teenagers with attitude! Well, we may not be teenagers anymore, but I think anyone who has listened to even part of an episode of this podcast knows there's plenty of attitude to go around. And hey, if you check the show's title out, we DID grow up, way back when! And the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers were a formative part of that growing up. Whether the TV show or the SNES game, you've gotta enjoy Rita Repulsa, the Rangers, and all that goes along with it. On the other hand... what the heck are the putties doing with KNIVES? This one is a bit of a deeper cut, and you'll have to listen to find out whether that risk/reward gamble paid off... suffice to say, opinions were a bit divided, and we nearly set a new score record! Hit "play" and find out in what way! It's morphin' time!


Episode 40.7 - Final Fantasy VII Remake

Forty and three-quarters... a perfectly reasonable episode number, right? Really, if we're talking about "Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade INTERmission", I think 40.7 is quite appropriate! And who's that voice? That's not Host Chris! Well-spotted (heard), dear listener! That's Producer Kyle, dropping in to share some of his thoughts along with Host Katie on this special episode... so pull out your rotten fruits and veggies and get ready to review the backbencher in his debut starring appearance! We're talking FF7 Remake, from Cloud to Sephiroth to the epic dancin' Andrea, and everything in-between! We ramble (thanks Producer Kyle), we discuss shocking plot twists (thanks Host Katie), we fight houses (thanks battle arena), and generally speaking, we do that thing we do, and tell you everything that needs to be known about this newest-gen Game We Grew Up With! So sit back, relax, and enjoy this very special (decimal) episode!


Episode 40 - Final Fantasy VII

It's here! It's here! 2 years later, and it's finally here! It's FINAL FANTASY VII DAY!!!! Rejoice, for it is a day of celebration across the entirety of the pizza. Err, across the entirety of Midgar. We laugh, we organize materia, we (*cough* Host Katie *cough*) snicker when one of the leading ladies gets violently murdered before our very eyes, and we SNOWBOARD! Final Fantasy VII, the game that spawned your very favorite podcast on the internet, has finally reached its place at the front of the line, and in this EXTRA, EXTRA-sized episode (especially when combined with last week's Episode 40.5), we dive in deep! SOLDIERs, Turks, Ancients, Jenova cells, HOOOOJJJOOOOO, stolen identities, terrorist groups, and once again... pizza cities. Download, stream, osmose, take in this episode in whatever your favorite way is, and remember... AVOID THE TONBERRY AT ALL COSTS! Unless you've got Knights of the Round and a spare 15 minutes or so. With Love, Sephiroth (on behalf of the GWGW crew)


Episode 40.5 - Final Fantasy VII - Rose-Tinted Thoughts

HOOOOOJJJJOOOOOO!!!! We're back... but NOT back from the past... not quite yet! It turns out that, since Final Fantasy VII was the main game that this podcast was started for, our intrepid hosts have more than a few things to say about it! A few weeks ago, we all sat down to record the "Rose-Tinted Glasses" segment of this episode, and when we went back to listen to it, we realized that it was the length of a full episode! And rather than editing 2/3 of its content out just to fit into a regular episode, why not just put it out there as an "intermediate" episode, and let everyone hear the unfiltered, quite verbose, thoughts on this absolute classic of the Final Fantasy series, and Playstation gaming in general? Next week we'll be back with the "back from the past, back to the present" portion of this episode, and it'll have its own longer-than-usual content as well, since it won't have a Rose segment to deal with! Until then, sit back, relax, crack open a can of materia, and take a listen to the dulcet tones of siblings yelling about giant blocky forearms and what species an imaginary cat-thing is!


Episode 39 - TIE Fighter

Power! Unlimited power! Or at least, that's what the Empire would have you believe. Join them in TIE Fighter, and work to exterminate all that Rebellion scum. Even more importantly, this episode we talked about this game LIVE, and streamed it to YouTube (where the extended cut is still available)! But just for you, our dear listener, we've made a handy podcast version, and distributed it to all your favorite platforms. Don't you feel loved? Good! In this episode, Hosts Chris and Katie pilot all sorts of Empire vessels, interrupting Rebellion trade routes, destroying transports, and in general trying to get rid of all those annoying Skywalkers and their like. Sometimes, being the baddies can be fun! How did it go? Was the game good? Was the live recording a mess? Are mid-90s space piloting controls easy to use in 2022? Well, give it a download and find out! Let the hate flow through you!


Episode 38 - Crash Team Racing

3, 2, 1... race! Get your boost on, drift around the corners, and take out Mario, Bowser, and Peach! Oh wait... no... hold on, that's... Coco, Pura, and Dingodile! Why, that must mean that we're in the world of CRASH TEAM RACING! Why yes, you brilliant clue-deducer you, we ARE! We've gone back to the Playstation 64... err, I mean, Playstation 1, and we're hoppin' into our four-wheeled carts of fury to race to save the Galaxy from the nefarious hands of Nitros Oxide by proving once and for all that we, Crash Bandicoot (or Coco Bandicoot, or your favorite racer) are, in fact, the fastest racers in the Galaxy, and save ourselves from eternal parking-lot-based doom! (Trust me, this makes sense once you hear the episode). So join us as the hosts struggle with a "classic" mode that's maybe too hard, drifting that's DEFINITELY too hard, and a recap of a real-life Crash Team Racing tournament! Plus, more information about our upcoming LIVE EPISODE (ooooooohhhh)! Let's a-go!


Episode 37 - Super Metroid

Samus is a WHAT? Well, if you're out of the loop, you'll just have to listen in and find out... as the GWGW crew discuss Super Metroid for the Super NES! Exploring the wonders of the MetroidVania genre with one of its earliest and best variants, Hosts Chris and Katie wind their way back and forth (and back and forth, and back and forth...) through the planet Zebes, trying to plow through aliens, monsters, bosses, movie references, and even a René Descartes philosophical thought experiment, the "brain in a vat"! There's hidden rooms, puzzles without clues, platforming galore, and merciless penalties on death, so you just KNOW that Katie's going to have a rockin' good time with this one... This game has been called one of the best games of all time, so how about you click on that Play button and find out if this is one of the best EPISODES of all time? It'll just cost you an hour of your day (about how much Katie lost to badly-timed deaths). All that, and a TROPE OF THE DAY! What more could you ask for? Come on, start listening already!


Random Non-Rose 2: Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine

WhatwhatWHAAAT? No rose segment? Wasn’t that just a weird one-off thing that Host Katie did for Jak 3? Why no, dear listener, it was NOT! Our "Random Non-Rose" series continues, this time with BOTH of the hosts, playing through Dr. Mario… err, I mean, Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, for the Sega Genesis! Not familiar? Well, think of Tetris… make it two-player… get rid of the weird shapes… fill it with awkward portraits of enemy "bosses"… add a Dr. Robotnik storyline… completely omit Sonic entirely… ok fine, so it’s not like Tetris, jeez, it’s a SIMILE, ok? Give a producer a break! Listen in as the Hostblings talk through this wordplay-filled, broken-difficulty-curve-having, battle puzzle "Sonic" game, including some modern-day references to it from the STHCU! PS Tails should have been included.