Saturday, December 14, 2019

"Noise from the Hearts of Nerds" - “C1E50a: The Golden Episode pt 1”

Podbean Episode Link [Listen Here]:

An extended play, very non-standard format, very talk-heavy retrospective of the first 49 episodes and three years of the show - in the style of an old W.A.R.T. Radio episode meets The Diad Presents meets Sound Test Roulette meets VGM Jukebox – multiple short micro-music-blocks with talking between.

Part 1 is "popular picks" - picks that I thought would be picks likely to be chosen by the listeners (a "John's Best Guess on Listener Picks" episode) - 1 track from each previous episode (minus best-of episodes), tracks chosen by either John or the listeners in any "Best of 20XX" installment are ineligible for The Golden Episode (and if a track that appeared in say, Episode 2, was chosen, but it also appears in Episode 17, 36, and 48, it is stricken from the eligible pool all the same. Each track must be totally unique to a "Wayback Wednesday" episode of NNR, which narrows the playing field, both in terms of tracks I can pick for the listeners, as well as tracks I can pick for myself (part 2)).

Each micro-music-block will be five tracks long, and each will represent the episode which it comes from. Rather than the usual NNR practice of focusing on the music block creating a logical, pleasing "flow", the Golden Episode (both parts one and two) will focus  instead on playing the tracks in episode order. So they won't flow nearly as well (unless by happy accident). But they will run in the order in which they appeared in the history of the show. Differing priorities this time. A typical NNR episode is all about a "journey through sound", and of course, this episode is that as well to some extent, but the real priority here is not about being a "journey through sound", but instead, is about being a "journey through time".

Here are the tracklists for the micro-music blocks for part 1, the "popular picks" installment:

Show Intro Music: Rapmaster Rocket Racket (episode 40) - 00:00:00

Block 1 – Episodes 1-5 (2017 – part 1)

BGM for intro to Block 1 Music: Super Mario World Theme (Episode 1)

Spoken Introduction - 00:07:29

01) Title – Double Dragon – NES – Kazunaka Yamane - 00:20:57
02) Stage 4 – Shinobi – Arcade – Yasuhiro Kawakami - 00:22:36
03) Bloodpool – Actraiser – SNES – Yuzo Koshiro - 00:24:12
04) Castle of Devils (Stage 4) – Magician Lord – Neo Geo MVS/AES - Hiroyuki Shimizu, Yuka Watanabe and/or Hideki Yamamoto - 00:25:33
05) Zanzibar Breeze – Metal Gear 2 – MSX (SCC) - The Konami Kukeiha Club - 00:27:20

Block 2 – Episodes 6-10 (2017 – part 2)

BGM for intro to Block 2 Music: The Pancake Department (ep 8)

Spoken Introduction - 00:30:10

06) Shop - N/A (System Music) - Wii – Kazumi Totaka - 00:39:10
07) Title Theme – Sword of Vermilion – Genesis – Hiroshi Kawaguchi - 00:41:05
08) Double Jump Moon Casino (feat Jredd) - N/A (Battle of the Bits) - N/A (on Genesis hardware) - DYA - 00:41:54
09) Imperial Death March – Empire Strikes Back – NES – c: John Williams a: Paul Webb - 00:44:21
10) Forest Funk – Super Meat Boy – Multi – Danny Baronowsky - 00:44:56

Block 3 – Episodes 11-15 (2017 – part 3)

BGM for intro to Block 3 Music: Sega CD Model 1 BIOS (ep 15)

Spoken Introduction - 00:47:41

11) Opening 1 – Hisou Kihei X-Serd – PC Engine – Masaya Sound Team - 00:59:46
12) The Neverglades – Bubble and Squeak – Genesis – Matt Furniss - 01:01:32
13) Naruto (Light Armor) - Cosmic Carnage – 32X – Hikoshi Hashimoto - 01:04:48
14) Bad Dudes (Stage 2 cover – feat Rudy Escobar) - N/A (Neon Dreams album) - N/A - DYA - 01:06:33
15) Swing Time – Spider-Man vs The Kingpin – Sega CD – Mr. Big - 01:08:34

Block 4 – Episodes 16-20 (2017 – part 4)

BGM for intro to Block 4 Music: OneUps Mario Kart Title (episode 19)

Spoken Introduction - 01:12:33

16) Title Theme – ARMS – SWITCH – Atsuko Asahi - 01:17:10
17) Opening Theme – Bram Stoker's Dracula – Genesis – Matt Furniss -  01:19:58
18) Game Theme 1 – Spider-Man vs the Sinister Six – NES – David Whittaker - 01:21:56
19) Aquatic Ambience - N/A (Vol. 1) - N/A - c: David Wise a: The OneUps - 01:25:19
20) Anything but Tangerines – Earthworm Jim 2 – SNES – Tommy Tallarico - 01:29:34

Block 5 – Episodes 21-26a (2018 – part 1)

BGM for intro to Block 5 Music: Did you See the Ocean? (episode 21)

Spoken Introduction - 01:33:35

21) Meridian Dance – Secret of Mana – SNES – Hiroki Kikuta - 01:45:28
22) Titan's Realm – DOOM (2016) - Multi – Mick Gordon - 01:47:37
23) Van Air – Forza 3 – XB360 – Lance Hayes - 01:56:04
24) Alone in Love – Jewelmaster – Genesis – Motoaki Takenouchi - 02:01:08
26a) Fly Me to the Moon - N/A - N/A - c: Frank Sinatra a: Stuffy DJ - 02:03:18

Block 6 – Episodes 26-30 (2018 – part 2)

BGM for intro to Block 6 Music: Sigma Stage 1 (episode 26)

Spoken Introduction - 02:05:45

26) Title – Mega Man X – SNES - Setsuo Yamamoto, Makoto Tomozawa, Yuki Iwai, Yuko Takehara, and/or Toshihiko Horiyama - 02:15:04
27) Mystic Cave Zone (2 player) - Sonic 2 – Genesis – Masato Nakamura - 02:15:28
28) Stage 1 - N/A (Golden Axe) - N/A - c: You Takada a: David KBD - 02:17:17
29) Ending - N/A (Metroid) - N/A - c: Hirokazu (Hip) Tanaka - 02:20:10
30) Daisuke – Hotline Miami – Multi – El Huervo (aka Shelby Cinca) - 02:22:23

Block 7 – Episodes 31-35 (2018 – part 3)

BGM for intro to Block 7 Music: stage 1 super c (episode 34)

Spoken Introduction - 02:24:46

31) S.O.R. Super Mix (Stage Vers) - Streets of Rage 2 – Genesis – Yuzo Koshiro and/or Motohiro Kawashima - 02:30:18
32) Main Theme – RC Pro-AM – NES – David Wise - 02:35:49
33) Title Theme – Street Fighter II – SNES – Yoko Shimomura - 02:36:22
34) Jungle – Contra – NES – c: Kazuki Muaoka a: Hidenori Maezawa and/or Kiyohiro Sada - 02:36:50
35) At Doom's Gate – DOOM – PC (Midi) - Bobby Prince - 02:38:35

Block 8 – Episodes 36-40 (2018 – part 4)

BGM for intro to Block 8 Music: stage 1 astyanax (episode 38)

Spoken Introduction - 02:41:47

36) BFG Division - DOOM (2016) - Multi - Mick Gordon - 02:54:15
37) Bloody Tears (Stage A) - Super Castlevania IV – SNES – Masanori Idachi and/or Taro Kudo - 03:03:04
38) Vortex – Vortex - SNES –  Justin Sharvona - 03:04:57
39) Title – Cyber Knight – SFC – Michiharu Hasuya, Osamu Kasai and/or Junko Yokoyama - 03:08:37
40) Lifelight (English Vocals) - Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – SWITCH! - Hideki Sakamoto - 03:09:53

Block 9 – Episodes 41-46 (2019 – part 1)

BGM for intro to Block 9 Music: solitary (episode 42)

Spoken Introduction - 03:13:34

41) Studiopolis Zone – Sonic Mania – Multi – Tee Lopes - 03:28:13
42) Whirlwind – Shinobi 3 – Genesis – Masayuki Nagao, Hirofumi Murasaki, and Morihiko Akiyama - 03:30:41
43) Subtune 1 – International Karate – C64 – Rob Hubbard - 03:32:39
44) King of Speed – Daytona USA – Saturn – Takenobu Mitsuyoshi and/or David Leytze -  03:43:16
46) Area 1 – Blaster Master – NES – Naoki Kodaka - 03:48:00

Block 10 – Episodes 47a-49 (2019 – part 2)

BGM for intro to Block 10 Music: guile sf2 arcade (episode 49)

Spoken Introduction - 03:50:10

47a) Bloodlines – Castlevania: Rondo of Blood – PC Engine – ikio Saitou, Akiropito, Kinuyo Yamashita, and/or Satoe   - 03:58:54
47b) Max Power – After Burner II – PC Engine – Hiroshi Kawaguchi and/or Shigeharu Isoda - 04:02:06
47c) Stage 1 – Dragon Spirit – Turbografx16 – Shinji Hosoe - 04:02:55
48) Another Adventure -- Part 1 - N/A (Battle of the Bits) - N/A (SNES) - Mega9man -  04:08:03
49) Stickerbush Symphony – DKC 2: Diddy Kong's Quest – SNES – David Wise - 04:12:33

Show Outro Music: Shower Fresh (episode 48) - 04:14:49

Total Episode Runtime: 04:21:49

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Thanks for listening! Join us again later this month [edit: UPDATE: 12/30/2019] for C1E50b (Channel 1, Episode 50b): The Golden Episode pt 2 - Delicious VGM on "Noise from the Hearts of Nerds"! And wherever you are - Fly the N!



BLOGSPOT-SPECIFIC BONUS: The following is the text I read off of while recording: through a mix of deliberate in-the-moment changes, simple mistakes on the mic, and even simple mistakes in the document, this text and the e-mail are not a 100% match. But are 99%+ and "essentially a match".




Do not adjust your television set! You are, in fact, tuned to Nerd Noise Radio after all. We're just doing things a little differently today.

This episode is a very special occasion for the show – a milestone! It is our 50th installment! It's also the conclusion of our calendar 2019 year – season 3, our third year of the program. To commemorate, we will be taking a look back through the history of the show. Episode 50 will be a two-parter, each containing one track from each previous outing other than the "Best of Episodes", appearing in episode order - including April Fool's 2018, and all three parts of our TG16/PCE mini-series in order to bring us back to a solid 50. So, the flow will be a little bit different. Where a regular episode is designed to be a journey though sound, or, if you will, a journey through "space", these two will instead be journeys through "time". As a result, the tracks will not flow as smoothly and intuitively and naturally as usual. But each track also tells a sequential piece of our story up to the present, the next stone in the cobblestone boulevard of Nerd Noise Radio, and so I hope that you will enjoy the unique experience and perspective this journey will afford.

These episodes also give me an opportunity that I've been waiting for for quite a while now. A year or two ago, we collaborated with Trey Johnson of Nintendomain, who has a side project that is a VGM program called "W.A.R.T. Radio". And it was a different format than Nerd Noise Radio. Instead of it being one great big uninterrupted journey through the winding, twisting turns of sonic space with very little human engagement, it was a punctuated journey, frequently intermitted by reconnection with your human host. Both approaches have their advantages, and have their places in the grand VGM delivery mechanism. But after our collaboration, Trey changed the format of W.A.R.T. to more closely match that of Nerd Noise Radio, which in turn is a loving tribute to NPR's decades-running new age, space ambient, world music program "Hearts of Space", which I had the unimaginable privilege and honor to collaborate with on an episode focusing on the ambient side of VGM. More on that later.

Anyway, since Trey's reformat of his show was the single greatest honor my show has received short of my interaction with Hearts of Space, I have been eager to return the favor by going in the opposite direction – not as a permanent change of format, but as a one-off. I wanted to do a Nerd Noise Episode in the original style of W.A.R.T. Trey and I have discussed multiple collaboration ideas, and hopefully those discussions will still yield some actual fruit. But for now, the two installments of "C1E50" were intended to serve as "favor returned" to Trey and the fantastic compliment to Nerd Noise Radio he paid us. And in part, I feel we will succeed, as, instead of a single monolithic 50 track musical retrospective, there will be ten 5 track mini-blocks, which translates into four mini-blocks each for seasons 1 and 2, and two for the shorter season 3. I'll be back in-between to share track, composer, and episode info, as well as to tell the stories of the episodes. And it's at this point that I fear that I may fail Trey yet again. With as much talking as I'll be doing, trying to split those stories up as evenly as possible between parts 1 and 2, I'm afraid the flavor of this outing will change to be just as much an invocation of "The Diad Presents" or KeyGlyph's "Sound Test Roulette" as it will be to Trey's style, and the tribute I intended to pay to W.A.R.T. may become obscured. So, let's just call it an amalgamated tribute to all three shows, and a favor "partially returned". And Trey, let's you and I still make good on one or more of those collaboration ideas that will be more "essentially W.AR.T."

So anyway, that will be C1E50. And all of that will be true of both parts 1 and 2. So, what is it that will differentiate them then? Well, part 1 will be what I'm calling "popular picks", where I selected tracks that I believed would be listener favorites. Kind of like my own personal approximation, or “best guess" of what a listener picks episode would sound like. I did this not only with the mini-blocks with one track per episode, but also did this with the background music which plays in the background of each speaking portion. For instance: the background music for our introduction is Rapmaster Rocket Racket, from ToeJam and Earl, on the Sega Genesis, composed by John Baker, and originally appearing in C1E40, which, as a listener picks episode, I would like to tell you was selected by Jeshua Lack. All the tracks in this outing were selected as reasonable guesses of what you, as the listeners might have picked were there time to have arranged for that.

Part 2, then, probably not surprisingly, will be "personal picks". These tracks will be tracks that are especially personally gratifying for your intrepid host. Now, this is not at all intended to be a "St. John vs the World" situation, as I like most, and even love many of the tracks that appear in your episode, and hope that you will likewise enjoy or even adore the lion's share of what you will find in mine. It's just this is the distinction between the two - in the focus. In one sense, both of these episodes are for you and I alike. But in another sense, I wanted to have an episode for you, as a love letter to you, for sticking with me and being good to me this whole time, and one for me, as an acutely self-gratifying reward to myself for having made it so far, and lasted so long, and for all the work that goes into it. Think of it the way do the “Best of 20XX”episodes in that you get one and I get one. And in this way, as has become the norm, you will get "the first word", and I will get "the last".

One final note before we begin, - and this is huge: I did not want to reuse tracks that were selected for previous "best of" episodes, lest this just ends up becoming one great big repeat of those in a different format. So, all of those tracks were outlawed in the selection process for me. The music selected for episodes 1-40 were selected from what was left over after those. However, since there have not yet been "Best of 2019" episodes, 41-49 were wide open. And as such, a number of the tracks selected there are among the most iconic of the entire collections, both yours and mine. Indeed, I believe that the single most hallmark track in this entire "popular picks" collection may well be the track selected from episode 46, which also appears as the iconic intro track to one of the most popular, and beloved shows in the entire VGM podcast scene – and one of the longest running. Many of you may have already figured out whaichtrack that is. For the rest of you, stay tuned!

So, now, without further ado let's begin.


Our first block (or season 1 part 1) takes us through episodes 1-5.

Episode 1 was a themed episode, focusing on title screen music I thought it was a wonderful way to launch a the title screen. It's a fun one to listen to because it's full of hope and optimism and joy, and a little pensiveness and apprehension over whether or not it'd be well received - and indeed, it did take a little time before it really began to catch on. But I'm pretty happy with where things have ended up. I mean, I got to guest produce an episode of Hearts of Space, for crying out loud. You might as well have told me I was gonna be king as tell me I was gonna get to do HoS. It just was so beyond the pale of what I thought would be a reasonable outcome for me.

I suppose I should spend a little bit of time talking about this, as it makes a wonderful steppingstone into the design decisions that shaped the formation of Nerd Noise Radio, and where the motivations for it all came from. For those who don't know what HoS is, it is NPR's new age, space ambient, world music program that got its start in a small Berkeley studio all the way back in 1973, went into national syndication on NPR in 1983, was discovered by my family quite by happy accident on 90.1 FM here in Des Moines in somewhere around 1992 or 93, and we've been fans ever since. When I was first planning out the show, I had designed it to be my love letter to HoS, and for me to become, if you will, "the 'Hearts of Space' of video game music." For the first year or more, I resisted the term "mixtape-style" because while I was similar to mixtape shows (and I have since embraced the term for pragmatic reasons), they weren't even on my radar or anywhere in my headspace during the planning stages. All I wanted to do is roughly resemble HoS.

Now, I always felt that there was a fine line between the honor of imitation and the crime of plagiarism, so I deliberately baked in differences. The biggest differences are a) just the general energy of the show, covering a much broader spread of emotions and energies than a show with a very focused, carefully designed and cultivated end to relax you and take you to contemplative, meditative spaces, and b) the intro. First off, I wanted to have dedicated intro and outro music, rather than just talking over the first and last tracks of the music block, so I took Funky Radio from Jet Grind Radio on the Sega Dreamcast by BB Rights, chopped it up a bit, cut out the rap portion, scooped out the "Jet Set Radio" shout in order to replace with the "Nerd Noise Radio" shout, made it loopable and scalable, and made my intro and outro out of it. Then, as I'll detail later when we get to the dawning of season 2, made deliberate changes to the intro script, such as not reading off the track list, or talking too much about the subject up front. I just wanted to let the music do the talking and do the heavy lifting. I also use transition sounds to take us out of the intro and into the music block, as well as out of the music block and into the outro, to make that transition even more clear. In the beginning, the sound clips were always sound effects or little jingles from video games, mostly old games. But as time went on, I began to become a bit more creative with them, and allowed the use of non-VG, and nowadays, VG sounds are actually the minority for transition sounds anymore.

As far as my voice and delivery in the show, even that is a studied case in trying to walk that tight rope between invoking Stephen Hill, and outright impersonating him. I don't want to sound just like him. But I do want to sound enough like him that those in the know will pick up on the similarities.

Where the show is the most like HoS is in a) the formatting of the outro. Other than the outro music and transition sounds, and of course, the finer specifics of the information, the outro is pretty much straight HoS. Greeting, reminder of episode, tracklist, housekeeping, thanks to the listener, invitation to return, and signature sign off. The specifics of my sign off are a mix of invoking HoS ("and wherever you are"), what was going on in the world at the time, the cubs winning the world series, with all the "W" flags sailing all over town (known colloquially as "Flying the W", as in "fly the win"). As the home of the Cubs' AAA minor league affiliate, Des Moines has an outsized ratio of Cubs fans. So, I settled on "Fly the N". What that means is "let your nerd flag fly". Embrace your inner nerd, and flaunt it. Integrate it into your daily life as an outward manifestation of the inward fusion that has already happened in your heart, mind, and world. Be a nerd outwardly and openly. Fly the N.

And b) the meat and potatoes of the whole affair. The music block. Other than when special focuses and subjects dictate otherwise, such as with a Soundtrack episode, the music block is designed, and crafted to take you on a winding, twisting, purposeful journey through the flowing waves of sound. Though my show doesn't echo HoS' intent to take you someplace transcendent, it does echo its intent to take you on a clear and deliberate journey through sound. Or as I said in our intro, and apropos for the HoS connection - through space. I spend much more time, thought, and care during the preparation of an episode on what order the tracks will appear in that even in what tracks to include in the first place. Getting the ingredients together is the easy part. Figuring out how to turn them into something magical and meaningful is the real trick. So it is in this meat and potatoes, in crafting a hopefully delightful sonic journey is where I am at my most "HoS". Every transition has a meaning and a purpose, and this creates two different ways to listen to the show. Being a big block of music with only minimal talking at the end and the beginning, you can very easily and readily just make background noise out of it to get you through your day, and pay it no more mind than that. Or, knowing that there are all these little design details and decisions going into each episode, and even into each transition, you can deep dive and try to suss them out for yourself.

I am equally happy either way, and only want you to listen in the way that will maximize your joy in listening. Just know that both of those things are going on at once. And if I do my job right, then in general terms, the experience you will have while listening is a sense of feeling like we're not moving at all, only to get to the end, and look back at the beginning and think "how the heck did we get from there to here? Or, if you jump around in the block with the provided timestamps, you will be amazed at how disparate and seemingly irreconcilable all the almost random seeming elements are that somehow, magically came all together during the journey. That is the mission and purpose of an episode of NNR. And if draws its inspiration straight from Stephen and crew with Hearts of Space.

Anyway, so that's not only the story of how NNR came to be and why it is shaped the way it is. But it's also the reason why getting to work with HoS was so special for me. Because HoS is that much a part of my family and I's life, and part of the warp and woof of what I am now closing up my 3rd year of doing. This is nothing short of getting to work with my hero. That it went out over most of the NPR terrestrial and web radio stations across the country, as well as HoS' paid member services across the world is breathtaking enough. That I get to say that I was on NPR, and get to say now that my work is "as heard on NPR" is beyond incredible. But all of that is nothing compared to the fact of WHO and WHAT it was because of what it means to me and my family personally. But the greatest, and most shocking part of all of this for me is that I didn't ask Stephen and the gang if they would let me do this with them....but that they asked me if I would be willing to. Stephen Hill! A hero of mine! A living legend in my world....asked me!

We had been talking already, initially, on the breakage of the HoS app on Pixel phones back in 2018 when they upgraded to Android 9. We had been talking off and on since. When the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing happened, HoS released a tribute episode to the event, and I in turn wrote a big tribute to them, their show, and what it has meant to me. That tribute of miner is what triggered the ask. So, it's not like Stephen Hill has been following my show all these years, just waiting for the right time - although, one last little bit on this: this is not the first honor I have received from Stephen about the show. Before episode 1 launched, I had produced a beta version of episode 1 (slightly different from the final release), and I reached out to him, explained how it related to him and his show, and asked if he'd listen and give me feedback....which he did! And it wasn't just a pat attaboy. He gave real feedback. A mix of praise and constructive criticism. A specific example: he praised the quality and character of my speaking voice, which is why he said that it was such a crime to bury it under background music that was way too loud. And it was too loud. Way too loud!

Anyway, back to episode 1: I wanted to make a strong first statement with track selection. So, included both big name and obscure stuff, and more obscure versions of big things, such as the FDS rather than NES versions of the Metroid and Zelda II title screen music. I wanted to feature a mix of more modern post-chip, modern neo-retro chip-esque, and a bunch of older music, including NES, SNES, Genesis, Mastersystem, Gameboy, Arcade, and Turbografx16. I wanted to hit all those points right off on my very first go. And I did. But I made two mistakes: one, the DOOM 2016 track I had included was not the title screen of the new game, but rather Mick Gordon's reprise of Bobby Prince's original DOOM title screen music - At Doom's Gate, which was not used for title screen music in the 2016 game. Also, true of both the first two episodes, but fixed by the third: the device I was using to capture audio, I had set to mono for something else, and had forgotten to set it back to stereo. So the music blocks to the first two episodes are in mono.

So, we'll save our talks about episodes 2-5 for part 2. For now, let's get to the tracks!

You will hear

From C1E1: Press Start (originally released Thurs, 01/05/17) - Title – Double Dragon – NES – Kazunaka Yamane
From C1E2: Twisted Sine (originally released Thurs, 01/19/17) - Stage 4 – Shinobi – Arcade – Yasuhiro Kawakami
From C1E3: Actraiser [Super NES] Soundtrack (originally released Sat, 02/04/2017) - Bloodpool – Yuzo Koshiro
From C1E4: TwoFer Tuesday – vol. 1 (originally released Tues, 02/21/17) - Castle of Devils (Stage 4) – Magician Lord – Neo Geo MVS/AES - Hiroyuki Shimizu, Yuka Watanabe and/or Hideki Yamamoto


From C1E5: Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake Soundtrack (originally released Sat, 03/11/17) - Zanzibar Breeze - The Konami Kukeiha Club

Our background music was Title Theme from Super Mario World – SNES – composed by Koji Kondo, and also from C1E1. Enjoy!


That was music mini-block 1 of 10 for episodes 1-5 (or "Season 1, part 1 of 4, if you prefer). To recap, you heard...

- Title – Double Dragon – NES
- Stage 4 – Shinobi – Arcade
- Bloodpool – Actraiser – SNES
- Castle of Devils (Stage 4) – Magician Lord – Neo Geo MVS/AES


- Zanzibar Breeze – Metal Gear 2 – MSX (SCC)

Our second block (or season 1 part 2) takes us through episodes 6-10.

We'll talk more about episodes 6, 7a, and 7 in part 2

Episode 8 was special for a couple of reasons. The first of them is even more relevant to episode 10, so we’ll save that aspect for when we get there. The other is that it was the first of the handful of "Scene Sunday" episodes we've done over the years that focuses on non-VGM, on stuff that is technically not video game music. In this case, it was the first of our to date two looks into the music of the internet chiptune community "Battle of the Bits". Now, the way I'm using the term "chiptune" here is thus: "original music composed mostly by lay individuals that never appeared in a video game, but was composed on retro video game sound hardware (or far more often, on trackers or other modern computer programs which are essentially perfect copies of that video games hardware in terms of its capabilities, limitations, and idiosyncrasies. Deliberately, authentically video gamey non-video game music, you might say. Though the current wave of non-meat burgers that have taken the world by storm didn't exist at the time of episode 8, or had at least not reached my awareness yet, they make the perfect analogy for this episode, and its very recent follow up, 40 episodes later: they are "the impossible burger of VGM podcast episodes": sounds like VGM, smells like VGM, even tastes like VGM....but contains absolutely no VGM".

Episode 9 was a case of "too good an opportunity to pass up”. Originally Episode 10 was going to be episode 9, but then, when I realized that May 4th was going to be on a Thursday, which is the day of the week that my themed episodes come out ("Theme Thursday" in my nomenclature), I decided that I would put together an impromptu Star Wars focus, unsurprisingly named "May the 4th be with You". I had people who gave me feedback in the days and weeks afterward that it was their favorite NNR episode, and that I should do more like it. I might, especially if it’s loved and sought after by the listeners at large. But if we’re being honest, of the regular, C1EX “numbered” episodes, it is actually one of my least favorites. It was a neat gimmick that worked, and I definitely don't regret doing it. But I just felt that the music selection was so much weaker, and indeed, my knowledge of extended universe tracks, or even games was as bare as my knowledge of the extended universe otherwise, that is, very small. So, for the most part, the tracks included were not pulled from my inner catalog of musical vastness, but as the fruits of a frantic last minute search borne out of my deficiency of the same. And I think it shows. And then, the extended universe tracks, for the most part, ended up being my favorite of the lot, as I generally am not a big fan of chip covers of popular non-VGM. The whole so-called "8-bit" thing - which I also hate being it called as such as it more often sounds as 4th Gen as it does 3rd Gen. Exceptions most certainly exist, but by and large, it's not really my thing. So, like the NES "Imperial Death March", for instance, doesn't really do much for me. However, there are many who love the stuff, and their opinion is no less valid than mine, and from a "listener service" perspective, is probably actually even more important. As such, not only is Imperial Death March the track I chose for you from the episode today, but there will probably be more shows like this in the future as well.

Episode 10 will always hold a very special place in the history of the show, in my heart, and in the hearts of a number of friends and family that know the show through me, rather than know me through the show, if that distinction makes any sense. It was billed as "Mishmash Monday - vol. 1", or, in other words, as our first ever theme-less free play. But that is also the most inaccurate, dishonest naming of any episode to date, and one that I don't ever envision surpassing. It should've been billed as a Theme Thursday episode, with a name something to the effect of "To Absent Friends". Because it was my tribute to one of my dearest, most cherished friends, who had just passed away at the time. Most of what follows is stuff that I've said numerous times before, and I laid it all out in great depth in this past July's HEAVILY AMENDED episode 10 rerun rebranded "Chandlerfest", which I heartily emplore you to check out if you haven't done so already. So I will simply summarize here: Chris was not really a VGM fan, but the show was my only real vehicle by which to pay him meaningful tribute. So how does a VGM pod pay convincing tribute to a non-VGM fan? By putting together a collection that simulates the flits of emotion felt by those of us left behind in the wake of his passing. For more, go check out Chandlerfest. The last thing I'll say about 10 is what I had alluded to at the beginning of my episode 8 description, which I decided to hold off on until we got here. And that’s that both episode 8 and 10's music blocks were produced on the very same day that Chris passed away. Upon hearing the news, I didn’t have it in me to keep working at the job that day, so I called in and went home. But then, once home, that mourning took the form of restless energy, and so I got to work on the show. In the case of episode 8, it was pretty much only an honorary tribute, as the tracks contained in the music block were more or less the same as they would've been had Chris not died. I'll talk more about the track ordering when we get to episode 48. Not so with the Episode 10 music block, as it was designed all around him, and the occasion. But they did share this distinction. They were both created in his honor on the same day that he was spirited away from us – December 28th, 2016. And also, as I had said earlier, they were originally intended to be episodes 8 and 9, and were both produced a good month or two before the Star Wars episode was even conceived, let alone produced. So, the Star Wars track in episode 10 was not a leftover from episode 9, as one may have very reasonably deduced. Instead, it is one of my all time favorite tracks from any Star Wars game, and the fact that it was outlawed for Episode 9 by way of being in Episode 10 made putting that Star Wars episode all the harder for me.

Anyway, back to the music. Your tracks for this block will be…

From C1E6: Buy Something Will Ya! (originally released Thurs, 03/23/17) – Shop – N/A (System Music) – Wii – Kazumi Totaka
From C1E7: Sword of Vermilion [Genesis] Soundtrack (originally released Sat, 04/08/17) – Title Theme – Hiroshi Kawaguchi
From C1E8: Battle of the Bits – vol. 1 (originally released Sun, 04/23/17) – Double Jump Moon Casino (feat. Jredd) – N/A (Battle of the Bits) – N/A (on Genesis Hardware) - DYA
From C1E9: May the Fourth be with You (originally released Thurs, 05/04/17) – Imperial Death March – Empire Strikes Back – NES – c: John Williams a: Paul Webb


From C1E10: Mishmash Monday – vol. 1 (originally released Mon, 05/22/17) – Forest Funk – Super Meat Boy – Multi – Danny Baronowsky

Our background music was The Pancake Department by BotB’er fearofdark from episode 8. Enjoy!


That was music mini-block 2 of 10 for episodes 6-10 (or "Season 1, part 2 of 4, if you prefer). To recap, you heard...

- Shop – Wii Shop - Wii
- Title Theme – Sword of Vermilion - Genesis
- Double Jump Moon Casino – Battle of the Bits - Genesis
- Imperial Death March – Empire Strikes Back - NES


- Forest Funk – Super Meat Boy - Multi

For Season 1, part 3, we'll look at episodes 11-15.

An interesting note: With the way Nerd Noise Radio is produced, usually way ahead of time, and as often as not, not even in the same order, you, the listener and I, the producer, in a manner of speaking, live in very different timelines. Here's an interesting case in point: though 2017 from a listener's perspective, as well as the perspectives of cataloging, presentation, and "formality" was a single 20 episode season, from a production standpoint, and from the perspective of my own personal headspace and timeline, it was more like two separate 10 episode seasons. In fact, in my "Intro to Channel F" special announcement release, I believe it was, I even toyed with the idea of treating it as so, by referred to episodes 11-20 as "season 2", though, obviously, that designation didn't stick.

However, that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t in perfect keeping with my own experiences in producing the show. Let me explain: Not only were all but a few odds and ends of the production of episodes 1-10 complete before episode 1 even released, and production of the second 10 didn't begin til a good half a year later, but I had also taken a significant step forward in production technique and quality for the intros and outros in the interim. Though the production quality of 11-20 is still vastly inferior to what I would go on to achieve later on the same hardware and software, it was still immediately noticeable that it had improved over the first ten.

Also born during the interval was the concept of the "Super Sized episode". See, I wanted to have a nice round number of episodes per year – settling initially on 20. But 20 doesn't divide neatly into a 12 month, 52 week year. So I had to do weird math to make it work. In the case of episodes 1-10, the way I worked it out was to have two episodes per month for five months, and then take a month off. Just like in 1983 with the Chevy Corvette, there were no new Channel 1 episodes in June 2017. The idea of the super-sized episode, in part, was to prevent there being a month with no content, as, instead of two "regular-sized" episodes a month, for four months out of the year (or two times for the second half of 2017), I would not do two regular-sized episode, but just one episode that was an extended length episode, and that way, we'd still get the nice round number of episodes a year, but then no longer have any downtime. The other reason for the super-sized episode is that it gave me the opportunity to explore deeper content than I could achieve in a regular-sized outing, be that a longer soundtrack, or a deeper subject, or a fuller treatment on a more basic subject. In any case, not only did it seal up the gaps in the delivery timetable, but it also gave me more flexibility in terms of content, and exploration.

More on Super-sized episodes when we get to Season 3 pt. 1 (ep. 41-46). The last cool new addition to the second half of season one was the idea of the “Nerd Noise Crossovers”. For this, a little backstory:

Before the launch of the podcast proper were the Nerd Noise Radio Facebook and Twitter outlets. Whereas the podcast launched in January 2017, Nerd Noise Radio as an entity itself, as first manifest on social media actually was born all the way back in January 2013 – Facebook first, and Twitter maybe a year later. Now, to start out on social media and go on to the pod years later was almost certainly a case of doing things backwards, and a mistake. But hey, I lost my DeLorean in a bet with Genghis Khan, so we're stuck with what we have. And who knows, with so many fewer resources back then, and no clear vision for how the show would look, sound, feel, and work, it might’ve been disaster to have started back then anyway. I supposed we'll never know. In any case, prior to the show's beginning, on Twitter, I'd share pieces of VGM near daily, and usually several times a day. And each day of the week had an alliterative focus. I won't go into detail here, but Mondays were freeplays (Mishmash Monday), Tuesdays were freeplays also, but in pairs (TwoFer Tuesday), Wednesdays were replays of tracks etc that I had already featured (Wayback Wednesday), Thursday's tracks all fit a certain theme, such as run and gun, or Sega Genesis Music or Inn and Shop themes (Theme Thursday), on Fridays, I'd pit two or more versions of a given piece of music against each other, such as, say, a Super NES vs Genesis version, etc. (FaceOff Friday). On Saturday, I'd feature soundtracks (Soundtrack Saturday), and on Sunday, I'd feature the stuff "just outside of video game music", such as original non-game chiptunes, covers, remixes, and the like (Scene Sunday). Now obviously, I'm not doing an all new show every day of the week, but I decided for the show to keep the nomenclature of the different episode types. So, Free play episodes, for instance, would always release on a Monday and would always be called a "Mishmash Monday" episode. Last Month's episode, guest hosted by Mario of Grown-Up Pixels was our 8th such episode. That's where the naming schemes and general subject parameters of our episodes were born, over on Twitter in give or take early 2014.

Well, so the "Nerd Noise Crossovers" idea was born when I thought "what if we merged ideas here”, such as a "TwoFer Theme Thursday" - a theme episode, but in pairs, or a "Soundtrack FaceOff Friday" - where we're not pitting multiple versions of single tracks against each other, but multiple versions of whole soundtracks. Our first such crossover, which, was a TwoFer Theme Thursday was actually from this block, episode 15: a focus on Sega CD music, but in pairs – although, in retrospect, it should've been billed as a "Theme TwoFer Tuesday", since "TwoFer Theme Thursday" sounds more like it'd connote two themes, like "Metroidvania and Bobble", rather than a theme episode, but tracks in pairs.

I'll make this distinction properly in the future. But again, Genghis is probably cruising around the 1920's-era Speakeasies with Lincoln and Bach in tow (hopefully not as his prisoners, eh?), so nothing that can be done about it now.

But the point is that while for you, the Listener, this was just the second half of the first year, with only a month intermission between, for me, this was a return to form after nearly six months out of regular action, and also a returning refreshed and with fresh ideas – which by and large, were far more ambitious, and also, with improved techniques. For now, let's look at the first half of them: episodes 11-15 – season 1 pt 3 of 4:

If episode 10 was going to be episode 9, then what I had planned initially for Episode 10 was going to be a Soundtrack Saturday episode, featuring a PC Engine or Turbografx16 soundtrack, since I had already featured soundtracks from Super NES and Sega Genesis (and MSX SCC). Initially, I was thinking of maybe featuring the Salamander soundtrack. But that would've been redundant to end [what was originally intended to be] episode 9 with Crystal Forever from Salamander, only to then also end the envisioned episode 10 with the same track. Anyway, when Episode 9 became episode 10, and the Star Wars thing happened, the PC Engine game soundtrack episode idea was bumped to Episode 11 instead. Only, I had decided to find something other than Salamander. At the time, I was really enjoying the Hisou Kihei X-Serd soundtrack, and so that's what I decided to go with – really exceptional use of the HuC6280 from a technical perspective, and also a score replete with really compelling pieces from a compositional perspective.

Episode 12 was a very, very special episode for me, as it was not only my first composer focus, but still to this day remains the only composer focus episode that I've actually ever done, though I certainly have other such episodes envisioned for down the road. But this episode was also the first time I'd ever asked anyone famous in the scene for anything. Specifically, this was a focus on the works of British / American VGM composer, Matt Furniss, and I had asked him to co-curate the music block with me. What resulted was a collection of Furniss tracks where roughly a third of them were picks of his own. And then, I also asked him if he'd record an ear catcher for the beginning of the episode. He graciously obliged, and the show begins with Matt, in his excellent British accent saying "This is Matt Furniss. You're tuned to Nerd Noise Radio, with John Wedgeworth" - at the time, I used my real name for the show, rather than the "St. John" moniker that I use today. More on that later as well. Anyway, while there is a spread of emotional and energy spectrum to the episode, it does lean a bit more heavily towards the energetic side. Also, while Matt worked on a number of systems, and I believe we heard from all, or most all of them, the two systems he worked the most heavily on were Amiga and Genesis, and so, unsurprisingly, the majority of the tracks we heard in the episode were from one of those two systems as well – especially the Genesis. But while I've gone on in the years since to have even more amazing things happen to me, this was the first of the such honors, and the first really great excitement. In fact, the precise moment Matt sent the ear catcher file to me over FB Messenger, Jodee, and Chloe and I were at one of the Des Moines area Walmart stores doing the weekend grocery shop, in whatever aisle the peanut butter etc was in, and all launched into spontaneous “fangirling” over the voice clip coming out of my smartphone speakers. It felt humongous at the time! And it still is one of those really special memories for me.

We'll talk more about episodes 13-15 in part 2. For now, have some more music:

You will hear

From C1E11: Hisou Kihei X-Serd [PC Engine] Soundtrack (originally released Sat, 07/01/17) – Opening 1 – Koji Hayama
From C1E12: The Fiery Furniss (originally released Thur, 07/20/17) – The Neverglades – Bubble and Squeak – Genesis – Matt Furniss
From C1E13: Cosmic Carnage [32X] Soundtrack (originally released Sat, 08/05/17) – Naruto (Light Armor) – Hikoshi Hashimoto
From C1E14: Neon Dreams (originally released Sun, 08/20/17) – Bad Dudes (Stage 2 Cover – feat Rudy Escobar) – N/A (Neon Dreams) – N/A - DYA


From C1E15: Welcome to the Disc Level Disc Level (originally released Thurs, 09/14/17) – Swing Time – Spider-Man vs The Kingpin – Sega CD – Mr. Big and Spencer Nilsen

Our background music was SEGA CD Model 1 US BIOS, from Episode 15, composed by David Javalosa. Enjoy!


That was music mini-block 3 of 10 for episodes 11-15 (or "Season 1, part 3 of 4, if you prefer). To recap, you heard...

- Opening 1 – Hisou Kihei X-Serd – PC Engine
- The Neverglades – Bubble and Squeak - Genesis
- Naruto (Light Armor) – Cosmic Carnage – 32X
- Bad Dudes cover from the Neon Dreams Album


- Swing Time – Spider-Man vs the Kingpin – Sega CD
For season 1 part 4, we'll look at episodes 16-20

We'll talk about episodes 16 and 17 in part 2.

Episode 18 is significant because it was our first FaceOff Friday episode (and second Super-Sized episode). The way the show worked was that it was still a big uninterrupted music block designed to take you on a winding twisting journey. However, the distinction is that you'd hear at least two versions of the same piece of music before moving on to the next set. We also had a pair of "Channel F" bonus
 "F-isodes" that were follow-ups, one with my picks from the episode 18 contests, and one with the picks of a listener – in this case, Trey Johnson of W.A.R.T. Radio.

Episode 19 was a special one because while it was not our first Scene Sunday episode, it was a focus on a specific cover band, my favorite in the business at the time, and probably my favorite to this day as well. Prior to this, most of the cover bands I had heard before were hard rock and metal cover bands, which is not really my style most of the time, but The OneUps were a jazz and funk band, which is not only way more up my alley, but also struck me as much more unique and novel in a scene where those styles are much less well represented. I first heard (and heard of) The OneUps listening to an early episode of Legacy Music Hour, episode 35, I believe it was. Specifically, I heard their cover of Rainbow Road from Super Mario Kart, which I made it a point to include as the closing track of the episode as a result.

Episode 20, the final episode of 2017, of Season 1, was our second TwoFer Tuesday episode. Of our five so far, I have seriously enjoyed all the odd numbered ones, and felt somewhat less enthusiastic about the two even numbered ones (though I do like this one better than part 4.) The other noteworthy thing about this episode, is that, as I detailed in Chandlerfest, the final track of this episode, End Credits from Ai Chou Aniki was intended as a mulligan to episode 10. So, it was a lot more meaningful and special to have it as the closing track of the year than might've been apparent to the listener. Go listen to Chandlerfest to learn more.

Track time!

You will hear

From C1E16: Mishmash Monday – vol 2 (originally released Mon, 10/09/17) – Title Theme – ARMS – SWITCH – Atsuko Asahi
From C1E17: Bram Stoker’s Dracula [Genesis] Soundtrack (originally released Sat, 10/28/17) – Opening Theme – Matt Furniss
From C1E18: FaceOff Friday – vol 1 (originally released Fri, 11/17/17) – Game Theme 1 – Spider-Man vs the Sinister Six – NES – David Whittaker
From C1E19: Keeping Up with The OneUps – vol 1 (originally released Sun, 12/03/17) – Aquatic Ambience – N/A (Volume 1) – N/A – c: David Wise a: The OneUps!


From C1E20: TwoFer Tuesday – vol 2 (originally released Tues, 12/19/17) – Anything but Tangerines – Earthworm Jim 2 – SNES – Tommy Tallarico

Our background music was Mario Kart Title Theme – N/A (The Super Mario Kart Album)  - N/A – c: Soya Okay a: TheOneUps


That was music mini-block 4 of 10 for episodes 16-20 (or "Season 1, part 4 of 4, if you prefer). To recap, you heard...

- Title Themes – ARMS – SWITCH
- Opening Theme – Bram Stoker’s Dracula – Genesis
- Game Theme 1 – Spider-Man vs the Sinister Six - NES
- Aquatic Ambience – The OneUps cover


- Anything but Tangerines – Earthworm Jim 2 - SNES

For Season 2, part 1 we'll look at episodes 21-26a.

A new year, a number of changes! First, more, and significant production techniques. Initiatially, in episodes 1-10, I had the mic oriented correctly - front addressing, but too close to the mouth, and the mic volume up too high. No pop filter, and no mic sleeve. Episodes 11-20, the mic oriented incorrectly - top addressing. It did largely resolve the popping, and no longer sounded pinched and hot.  But as a result, it sounded hollow and boomy. For season 2, I was back to front addressing with a little bit more distance from the mouth, and the volume was lower on the input device. Still no pop-filter, but now at least a sleeve on the mic, courtesy of Anthony Hayes and the Podcast Discovery Center community on Facebook. Basically, instead of recording at a volume level at or near the desired final volume level, and blowing out the mic, or coming at it from the wrong direction and sounding hollow and boomy, I began recording at much lower than desired volume, and just boosting it to the desired level in post. The only change to the equipment is Anthony's mic sleeve. Otherwise, it's always been an Audio Technica AT2020 $100 XLR front address large diaphragm condenser mic into a $100 M-Audio Mobile Pre USB audio input device into a circa 2016, late 2014-model Mac Mini, using GarageBand. In fact, other than two distinctions which I will not get into yet, the production design in use at episode 21 is identical to episode 48 (my most recent "normal episode").

My approach to track ordering and flow also changed in subtle but significant ways: previously, when I was arranging music blocks, it was less about trying to “see” the entire music block all at once, but was more intently focued on a narrower scope of immediacy between tracks or a small cluster of tracks. It’s why the track to track transitions on the early episodes sounded so good, but the journey as a whole looped back around and revisited previous ground so much more than later episodes do. By the beginning of production for season 2, I had gotten better of seeing the big picture while also focusing on the immediate connections. It’s why season 2 and later episodes, on balance, had music block journeys that seemed a bit more purposeful and a little more linear. I didn’t really lose much – if anything at all on the track to track level stuff. But I feel that the big picture journey was very subtly, but profoundly more cohesive. Maybe listen to episode 2 vs episode 30, or maybe episode 4 vs episode 24 and decide for yourself. I have had a handful of listeners notice and comment on the difference.

Besides that, the other big change is to the scripting, particularly in the intro. First of all, starting with episode 21, the Channel 1 program has a proper name: "Noise from the Hearts of Nerds", which was a loving nod to Hearts of Space, as the earlier title of the show was "Music from the Hearts of Space" So, no longer was the show just called "Channel 1", nor was it called "Nerd Noise Radio", but had a real name. We also adopted an official subtitle: "Delicious VGM". Also added was a big buff on the show notes thing. One of the early complaints about the show was that I didn't list the tracks ahead of time. As I said earlier, when talking about episode 1, I had chosen not to do that when creating the show to create a little more distinction between NNR and HoS. As I've said before, I wanted to keep on the safe side of the line of imitating him and impersonating him. Plus, I wanted to get off the stage relatively quick at the beginning of the show, and let the music do the talking. So, I chose not to include track list at the front. I did put them in the show notes, though, and did give a nod to that by saying "feel free to follow along in the show notes, and we'll be back at the end with track listing and show info". But that was a bit weak, and reasonably easy to miss. So, starting with episode 21, I replaced it with "Choose your own Adventure. A track list with timestamps can be found in the show notes. Read along to know where we are. Read ahead to know where we're going. Or just don’t read at all, and be surprised and delighted as you're carried along on the gently twisting, sloping waves of Delicious VGM. We'll be back at the end with track listing and show info." Not only does it work in the official subtitle, as well as a great CYOA books reference, but it explicitly states the very goal and mission of every NNR episode: to take you on a winding, twisting journey through the sonic waves of video game music. It also gives the listener the choice of how to enjoy the episode. Is the "right way" to listen to NNR to follow along in the show notes? Scout ahead and blow the surprise? Not look at all, and just wait to see what's coming? Guess what? There is no right way to listen! Are you one who likes NNR because it makes good background noise while you work, drive, study, shop, or work out, that you pay very little active attention to, but it makes that period more enjoyable? Or are you one who likes to deep dive it, and try to figure out what is going on in the mind of your intrepid host as he puts these tracks together, with just about every single transition having an express and deliberate purpose? Either way, you're not doing it wrong. If you're listening in a way that works in your particular context and brings you joy, then you're doing it right, and you're making me happy, and making what I do worth it. But this addition to the intro script explicitly acknowledges that. NNR your way all the way, every day!

There are other little changes to the intro and outro script, which I'll leave you to discover on your own. Two last things I'll highlight that aren’t changes per se, but just special recurring themes that were peppered throughout the year:

1) THE ERIC BARKS DOOM TRACKS: my friend Eric Barks is not a huge VGM guy but absolutely loves the DOOM 2016 soundtrack, and he had wanted me to work some of it into the show. So I did. He gave me three tracks, and I added a fourth of my own, and set about folding them all into the cake batter that was 2018. The DOOM 2016 soundtrack is quite an anomaly for me, as I am not a very big fan at all of heavy music but am a fan of ambient atmospheric music. DOOM, being atmospheric metal sneaks its way into my heart by way of its ambient credentials. But those qualities, in the opinion of this not heavy music fan only makes the music seem even more heavy and oppressive and powerful, and dark, which, paradoxically only makes me like it even more. So, it was not a big ask of Eric to get me to do this for him. HOWEVER, it did present me with a functional dilemma: how do I work these over the top heavy, extended cut tracks into episodes where there is going to be literally nothing else on the list that even remotely resembles them? It's like having Kirk Hammett of Metallica sit in with Spyro Gyra. How do you do it in a way that doesn't make it stand out like a sore thumb, that doesn't break the musical narrative of winding, flowing sound, and sonic adventure of a Noise from the Hearts of Nerds episode, the gently twisting, sloping waves of Delicious VGM? How was I to keep them from feeling like interlopers which didn’t belong? Well, they ended up appearing in episode 22, episode 36, and episode 38 – two Mishmash Monday episodes, and a TwoFer Tuesday. And though the episodes themselves varied quite a bit, the approach I took to working DOOM into them was the exact same approach each time: put DOOM in about the middle of the journey, spend the first half of the episode gradually working our way up to them, and the back half gradually working our way away again. 36 and 38 both have relatively gentle transitions away from it afterwards, where 22 went for musical irony, and went for a sharp transition. Of the three, I think I like 22 the best, and 38 the least. But, I think from a purely nuts and bolts perspective, I think 36 does the best job with executing on that vision. I had said that three of the four tracks were Eric’s picks, and one was mine. But he remained uncredited for them all – another thing I’ll fix if I can pry my DeLorean away from Genghis and pals. So which one was my contribution, then? Titan’s Realm: the one to appear in episode 22. The rest were courtesy of Eric.

2) THE GREAT “SO MANY ME” SOUNDTRACK SMUGGLE: I also had really fallen in love with the "So Many ME" soundtrack but had already planned out my allotment of 2018 soundtrack episodes. So, I cheated, and buried most of the soundtrack a track or two at a time across a number of 2018 episodes. Episodes 22, 24, 27, 30, and 38 all feature tracks from the game, which includes both of our TwoFer Tuesday episodes. I would go on to do a very similar thing in 2019 with the n++ Soundtrack and the Menu Suite Music from Gran Turismo Sport. Also, as you’ll hear more about in part 2, because of unplanned circumstances bumping a would’ve-been 2019 music block all the way out to at least 2020, if not even 2021, you will hear a little n++ and GT Sport then as well… know….because soundtrack smuggling.

We'll talk about the episodes themselves in part 2. Let’s pause for more music!

You will hear

From C1E21: Secret of Mana [SNES] Soundtrack (originally released Sat, 01/06/18) – Meridian Dance – Hiroki Kikuta
From C1E22: Mishmash Monday – vol 3 (originally released Mon, 01/22/18) – Titan’s Realm – DOOM (2016) – multi – Mick Gordon
From C1E23: Pedal to the Menu (originally released Thurs, 02/08/18) – Van Air – Forza Motorsport 3 - XB360 – Lance Hayes
From C1E24: TwoFer Tuesday – vol. 3 (originally released Tues, 02/27/18) – Alone in Love – Jewelmaster – Genesis – Motoaki Takenouchi


From C1E26a: The Secret [Extra] Lives of Lounge Singers (aka “April Fool’s – vol 2”: originally released Sun, 04/01/18) – Fly Me to the Moon – N/A – N/A – c: Frank Sinatra a: Stuffy DJ

Our background music was Did you See the Ocean – Secret of Mana – SNES – Hiroki Kikuta. Enjoy!


That was music mini-block 5 of 10 for episodes 21-26a (or "Season 2, part 1 of 4, if you prefer). To recap, you heard...

- Meridian Dance – Secret of Mana - SNES
- Titan’s Realm – DOOM (2016) – Multi
- Van Air – Forza Motorsport 3 - XB360
- Alone in Love – Jewelmaster - Genesis


- Fly Me to the Moon – arr: Stuffy DJ

For Season 2, part 2 we'll look at episodes 26-30.

Episode 26 was another SNES soundtrack episode. Sensitive to the fact that I don't play nearly enough rockin' stuff, and knowing that Mega Man X is a seminal example of the genre, I decided it was high time to feature it. It did generate good feedback from the listeners, and even hard rock lukewarms like myself can find plenty to love about it.

Episode 27 was another Mishmash Monday episode, and another personal favorite of mine. The only interesting thing about this one is that it wasn't originally going to be Episode 27, but episode 22. In fact, all sorts of episodes in 2018 swapped places before they hit the presses. Here's the full list:


22 became 27 --- 01/22 became 04/23
24 became 36 --- 02/26 became 10/08
27 became 28 --- 04/22 became 05/06
28 became 24 --- 05/08 became 02/27
29 became 34 --- 05/26 became 08/25
34 became 29 --- 08/26 became 05/27
36 became 22 --- 10/08 became 01/22

Episode 28 IS super special, though. It is our first "free play" in non-VGM. The name of the show was "Sense of the Scene". So, which permutations of non-VGM did I manage to work into this one? As many of them as possible. Perhaps even all of them. We had original chiptunes (which again, by the nomenclature of my show means "lay composed, original non-VGM music composed and performed on either retro video game sound hardware, or on computer programs, such as deflemask that come convincingly close to being exact replicas of said old video game sound hardware), [quote unquote] "real instrument / real band" covers of VGM, such as Stemage's Metroid Metal, Super Soul Bros, and David KBD, a few looks into VGM composers' musical lives outside of VGM (such as a piece from VGM composer Martin Iveson's body of British mid-tempo electronica / acid jazz works under the alias "AtJazz", or YMO's Ryuuchi Sakamoto (also a VGM composer) sitting in with his then wife, and J-Pop star Akiko Yano, we heard VGM from one game system being covered by another game system, such as a great PC Engine cover of Sega Genesis' Thunder Force IV, or a simply masterful Genesis cover of SNES' Beach from Plok, and even heard a pair of chip covers of pop music, such as a GameBoy cover of Joe Jackson's  Steppin' Out, or Sgt Pepper's Lonely hearts Club Band done in Mario Paint – that’s right, we had a Mario Paint track too. We heard a piece of non-video-game computer program music (Microsoft Interactive Multimedia Sampler 1996), heard a piece done on a matrix of floppy drives (engaging the drive mechanism at certain frequencies to make music), heard Doujin, heard a couple pieces of non-VGM that I feel were either very clearly influenced by, or influential towards VGM. And last, but not least, we even had a VGM Karaoke track.

VGM Karaoke is when someone takes a piece of Video Game Music that was never intended for lyrics and singing, and writes their own lyrics, and records themselves singing over it. I’ve done it a handful of times. Look up VGM Karaoke Lounge on Soundcloud and look for St. John if you want to hear them. I have not featured my own Karaoke on NNR, but the one piece that I did feature bears a special connection to one. Here’s the story: Legacy Music Hour and the VGM Jukebox were the two major hubs of VGM Karaoke, and I had not yet really gotten into the latter. So, I proposed to LMH to host a VGM Karaoke FACE OFF, where two people would write their own lyrics to the same piece of music and both record themselves singing it, and the hosts would judge, and pick a winner. Then I asked Deirdre Fisher, aka “Pieness 64” if she would participate against me in this. Rewinding a little further: Dee has a SoundCloud page full of VGM Karaoke originals (check out Pieness 64), and one day I was having the privilege to work my way through listening to them. When I got to “Coldman”, I was really impressed, but something else happened, I spontaneously broke into my own lyrics and singing as I listened. She was singing over Coldman stage from the Game Boy Advance version of Mega Man and Bass (known as Rockman and Forte in Japan). The GBA version was a rerelease of the Japan-only Super Famicom game by the same name (as the Japanese version). This is where the idea of the faceoff was born. When I pitched the idea to Brent Weinbach of LMH, he was receptive, but said, since their show only covers the 3rd and 4th generation of video game music, that the GBA version would be “illegal”, and that Dee would have to re-record her performance over the Super Famicom version. And thus was born “Coldman v.2”. Well, Dee was under the weather at the time, so her second performance wasn’t as good as the more dynamic original. Put up against the lesser SFC version, I emerged the winner of LMH’s first ever “VGM Karaoke Faceoff” with my rendition called “Leave the Light On”. However, I always felt that had I gone up against Dee’s much stronger GBA original, there is a very good chance that I would not have fared as well. So, when episode 28 came along, I felt it was only the right thing to do to feature that GBA original in all its glory. And to go the extra mile, it will also my pick from this episode in part 2 for you to hear again - the rightful queen of VGM Karaoke - Deidre Fisher, aka Pieness 64.

We'll talk about episodes 29 and 30 in part 2

Meanwhile, here are some numbers we hope you'll really like!

You will hear

From C1E26: Mega Man X [SNES] Soundtrack (originally released Sat, 04/07/18) – Title – Setsuo Yamamoto, Makoto Tomozawa, Yuki Iwai, Yuko Takehara, and/or Toshihiko Horiyama

From C1E27: Mishmash Monday – vol 4. (originally released Mon, 04/23/18) – Mystic Cave Zone (2player) – Sonic 2 – Genesis – Masato Nakamura
From C1E28: Sense of the Scene – vol 1 (originally released Sun, 05/06/18) – Stage 1 – N/A (Golden Axe) – N/A – c: You Tamara, a: David KBD
From C1E29: VCO Metroid (originally released Sun, 05/27/18) – Ending – N/A (Metroid) – N/A – c: Hirokazu “Hip” Tanaka a: Luninist


From C1E30: The Big Sound of The Little Guy (originally released Thurs, 06/14/18) – Daisuke – Hotline Miami – Multi - El Huervo (aka Shelby Cinca)

Our background music was Sigma Stage 1 – Mega Man X – SNES - Setsuo Yamamoto, Makoto Tomozawa, Yuki Iwai, Yuko Takehara, and/or Toshihiko Horiyama – episode 26



That was music mini-block 6 of 10 for episodes 26-30 (or "Season 2, part 2 of 4, if you prefer). To recap, you heard...

- Title – Mega Man X - SNES
- Mystic Cave Zone (2 player) – Sonic 2 - Genesis
- David KBD's rendition of Stage 1 from Golden Axe
- Luninist's rendition of Ending from Metroid


- Daisuke – Hotline Miami - Multi

For Season 2, part 3 we'll examine episodes 31-35.

We'll talk about 31-33 in part 2.

Episode 34 was another cross-over. We had a TwoFer Soundtrack Saturday! It worked, because each soundtrack was so short that we would've had another "Bite-Sized" episode had we done either of them individually. See my explanation of episode 29 in part 2 to learn more about the “Bite-Sized Episode”. Besides the two are in a series, so they work really well together anyway. We had the NES Contra and Super C soundtracks.

Episode 35 was one of my favorites as well. And I got to work an extra big dose of "Des Moines-icana" into it as well. The focus was on music from computer system games. So, no consoles. As such, the name I chose for it was "The Floppy Show", which was also the name of a local kid's TV show that was filmed in Des Moines from 1957-1987, up til the host's death. The show starred ventriloquist Duane Ellett and his dog (puppet), Floppy, and they would always be surrounded by local kids, who would get to ask Floppy questions, and beep his nose, etc. There'd be lots of cartoons, and little shows, and for a while, a whole host of other puppets, and that was The Floppy Show. My brother, Jesse, and I actually got to be on it once. We weren't featured, or anything. We just got to be a couple of the screaming brats in the audience is all. And I remember being hellions too. I remember trying to sneak into the birthday line so that I could talk with Duane and Floppy. Yeah, I was unsuccessful.

So it was a great joy to get to work a tribute to Duane and Floppy and Des Moines and my childhood into the show in such a tangible way - by way of a wonderfully terrible (and/or terribly wonderful) pun for an episode name, given the subject of the episode. In the YouTube version, I got to take that "show" element to new levels of literalness, as I peppered the intro and outro with images of Duane and Floppy, and the show.

The only other thing of note about 35 is that when I was putting calendar 2018 together, not only did I work way ahead, but I also worked out of order. I mean, as you know, the show order was rearranged from the original plan anyway, but even then, I worked out of even that order. I started with the music blocks that I thought were the most personally fun to make. I believe episode 28 was the one I did third. But the two I did first were episode 30, and then less than a day later...this one. This would've been in September of 2017 that I was doing this, so the music block to episode 35 was finished almost exactly one year ahead of launch....and while I'd have to look again to be sure, I don't even think that's the record so far on how far ahead a music block was produced. It definitely won't be the record after a couple of the music blocks that I'm currently sitting on become episodes. We have two that for reasons I'll explain later were created in 2018, originally intended for 2019 use that have been bumped, and at least one of them won't even appear til the end of 2021. Neat, huh?

Anyway, music!

You will hear

From C1E31: Streets of Rage 2 [Genesis] Soundtrack (originally released Sat, 07/07/18) – S.O.R. Super Mix (Stage Vers) – Yuzo Koshiro and/or Motohiro Kawashima
From C1E32: Mishmash Monday – vol 5 (originally released Mon, 07/23/18) – Main Theme – RC Pro-Am – NES – David Wise – originally selected for Episode 32 by Jodee Wedgeworth
From C1E33: FaceOff Friday – vol. 2 (originally released Fri, 08/10/18) – Title Theme – Street Fighter 2: Turbo – SNES – Yoko Shimomura
From C1E34: Contra [NES] and Super C [NES] Soundtracks (originally released Sat, 08/25/18) – Jungle – Contra – c: Kazuki Muaoka a: Hidenori Maezawa and/or Kiyohiro Sada


From C1E35: The Floppy Show (originally released Thurs, 09/20/18) – At Doom's Gate – DOOM – PC (MIDI) – Bobby Prince

Our background music was Stage 1 – Super c – NES - c: Kazuki Muaoka and Motoaki Furukawa a: Hidenori Maezawa



That was music mini-block 7 of 10 for episodes 31-35 (or "Season 2, part 3 of 4, if you prefer). To recap, you heard...

- S.O.R. Super Mix (Stage Vers) – Streets of Rage 2 - Genesis
- Main Theme – RC Pro-Am - NES
- Title Theme – Street Fighter II Turbo - SNES
- Jungle - Contra- NES


- At Doom’s Gate – DOOM – PC (Midi)

For season 2, part 4, we turn our attention to episodes 36-40

We'll talk about episodes 36 and 37 in part 2.

Episode 38, I don't have much to say about, except that it was a TwoFer episode, and the last of our three to be built around Eric Bark's DOOM track requests. This episode was on the shorter side, but those DOOM tracks were long. So all by themselves, they may have taken up a whole third of the episode. They also appear much earlier in the episode than the DOOM tracks appear in 22 and 36, preceded only by a pair from Astyanax on the NES, and Chakan the Forever Man on the Genesis. We got down to business rather quickly here. The transition out of DOOM was very graceful, though, with Menu 1 from Shenmue's majestic atmospheric vibe to take us to soaring places, further sweetened by the beautiful Menu 2. This was also another of those 2018 episodes to have more So Many Me music smuggled in. But it also sees feature of all four of the retro systems I have dubbed "the holy quadrinity" - NES, SNES, Genesis, and PC Engine/Turbografx16. They all appear here. And any episode to feature all four automatically wins bonus points with me.

Episode 39 was a very interesting idea, but may also have been my biggest flop. It was another cross-over, and this time paired FaceOff Friday with Soundtrack Saturday. We compared the PC Engine and Super Famicom versions of the Cyber Knight Soundtrack. We started with direct comparisons: tracks where the piece existed in both versions and with the same name (which took up the heavy majority of the episode), then we went for a set of indirect comparisons, same piece, but different names and places in the game, and then ended off with very a short feature of the few tracks that were completely unique to each version. In general, I preferred the PC Engine version of the soundtrack, as I felt the SFC version was pretty phoned in. Now, granted, I'm a bigger TG16 / PCE fan than SNES / SFC fan in general, but I just feel that the SFC version didn't do good at properly utilizing the SPC700, where the PCE version actually did a pretty solid job of flexing the HuC6280. The SFC version just sorta felt phoned in to me. Even if I were a bigger SNES fan, I'd probably have still favored the PCE version on this one. But both versions saw their full feature in this episode anyway, SFC versions of the tracks going first, with the PCE version giving answer. I have a couple ideas for "Soundtrack FaceOff in the future which might prove to be more interesting and compelling. So the subject itself is certainly not dead. But I also don't think I'm in a great big hurry to get back there. I guess we'll see.

Now, if episode 39 could be called my biggest flop, I think it's hard to call episode 40 anything but my biggest success, at least in terms of actual NNR episodes. The HoS episode currently stands as my greatest height. But within the boundaries of actual NNR episodes themselves, I feel like this one remains my crowning achievement thus far. And also my biggest undertaking, perhaps with the exception of this retrospective.

I have had listener pick events before, but they were all "hey, pick your favorite piece of MY choices". This one was the first, and thus far only time we have said "hey, let's hear YOUR favorites! Bring your own music!"

I was hoping for something between 30 and 50 tracks in total. But I ended up with something more in the league of 100. And I had nearly 20 distinct contributors, ranging from podcast luminaries like KeyGlyph and The Diad, to podcast scene fixtures like Chris Murray, Phillip Vaughn, and The Messenger (Alex Messenger to those who don't know him, who is also the founder and chief proprietor of the VGM Podcast Fans group on Facebook, and very recently became a podcaster himself with his new show that I heartily recommend you all check out called “The Messenger Presents a VGM Journey”) all the way to my own mom and brother-in-law, to a co-worker friend, to a couple friends from the Des Moines social club, to the aforementioned Pieness 64, and several others! Too many to name! It was like a great big party, and everybody came! It was glorious! It felt like Christmas to me!

Even better yet, is that many of them answered the follow up call for their voices reading the intro and outro script. I think out of 18 distinct contributors, we had something crazy like 11 voices. Now, one of them operates only in aliases, and didn't want to use their real voice. But when I suggested my using a text-to-speech program as a stand-in for him, he was pretty enthusiastic about the idea. So, by technical proxy, he was included as well. Though he was bemused by the fact that I chose a text-to-speech with a pronounced British accent, when one of the very few things I knew about the person is that he is an American male in his 20’s. I also knew that he was the former in-house composer info vetter for the VGM Jukebox,. Beyond those things - and that he has absolutely exquisite tastes and an exhaustive knowledge of VGM, I really know nothing at all about the shadowy figure going by the name "Electric Boogaloo". He is also one of the kindest, gentlest, most humble of people, and so he was a bit caught off guard, but amused by how I not only made his text-to-speech persona British, but also made it self-absorbed, arrogant, and quite the show boater. It is no representation of the actual individual, I assure you. But then, perhaps the fact that it's so grossly misrepresentative of him only makes it all the more fun, and funny. We'll let the "electric" Electric Boogaloo get away with it. I also got quite the tickle out of having this soulless, animatronic voice give the "Nerd Noise Radio" shout at the beginning of the episode, completely devoid of the power and energy that makes for a good NNR shout! It's so flat and lifeless that, paradoxically, it's absolutely majestic and wonderful!

But the best thing of all is the bloopers. Though it took hours upon hours to produce, and actually required my taking a couple days off work to even manage it with the baby in the house, the episode 40 blooper reel is probably the best 16 minutes in the entire NNR catalog. It's just so zany, and so diverse, with so many different people being amazing in their own signature ways. I also got to take a page from “the Ferg playbook” (that is, the host of the Atari 2600 game by game podcast" for those not familiar - who also happens to be one of my favorite people in all of the internet), and use a big Atari 2600 explosion-like sound as my profanity sensor sound. Actually, believe it or not, that incredibly explosive sound is just a "going through a door" sound, which I wanna say came from the Indiana Jones game. Talk about making an entrance! Eat your heart out, Kool-Aid Man!!! You get to hear my voice at a couple points in the background, and when you do, you know you're either listening to my brother in law, Brian Peterson, or my mom, Valerie Wedgeworth. Mom is so sweet and wholesome sounding, that it makes the moment where she blurts out this great big " S word" and incurs the sensor sound all the funnier. Brian, on the other hand, was having such a hard time with the script, and was getting really goofy (after an amazingly small amount of alcohol) that I even had to splice together two different takes of him just saying his own name.


But it was just as much fun and magic as it was unbelievable and frustrating, and now a full year later, I remember it only endearingly, a memory to cherish and a product to prize! A collaboration that will mean the world to me forevermore!

But that's not the end of the story. I had said that I had received over 100 track submissions. But the episode was only 40 tracks long. So, what's up with the remaining 60? Were they just discarded? Absolutely not! The plan was to follow up right away with a bonus F-isode containing the other 60, but in the style of a W.A.R.T. Radio episode, and blocks separated by contributor. I had lined up Trey Johnson of W.A.R.T. to collaborate with me, as well as Michael Raisner, aka Nestrogen, a VGM composer, who saw feature of one of his tracks, credited to him as the selector, since he had requested his music be featured on the show. We were gonna have Trey and I co host it, Trey introducing the non-Des Moineser collaborators, and myself introducing the locals. Somewhere in the middle, we were gonna have Trey take command on an interview with Michael, while we heard another nine tracks from his Super Hyperactive Ninja soundtrack, bringing his total contribution up to 10. I know, that sounds like an incredible outing, right? So, what the heck happened to it? Well, a) we could never align our schedules, and there was the baby, and there was a pending house move, and then there was a period of my being super ultra extra busy at work, and so it all fell by the wayside. But as I said, and as I'll wait to detail in the outro to part 2,  those missing episodes are not lost. The final version will probably not still include Nestrogen, and conceivably might even not include Trey, though they are both still more than welcome....but it will happen. I still have the music blocks and track lists for those bonus episode music blocks. So stay tuned for details, you WILL still hear them, dear listeners…and contributors.

And with that, we bring season 2, calendar 2018 to a close. Let's have those tracks!

We ended the last block with DOOM, we'll begin this one with DOOM 2016. You'll hear...

From C1E36: Mishmash Monday – vol 6 (originally released Mon, 10/08/18) – BFG Division – DOOM (2016) – Multi – Mick Gordon
From C1E37: Super Castlevania IV [SNES] Soundtrack (originally released Sat, 10/27/18) – Bloody Tears (Stage A),- Masanori Adachi and/or Taro Kudo
From C1E38: TwoFer Tuesday – vol. 4 (originally released Tues, 11/13/18) – Vortex – Vortex – SNES – Justin Sharvona
From C1E39: Cyber Knight Soundtrack [SFC vs PCE] FaceOff (originally released Fri, 11/23/18) – Title – SFC – Michiharu Hasuya, Osamu Kasai and/or Junko Yokoyama


From C1E40: Listener Picks – vol. 1 (originally released Thurs, 12/20/18) – Lifelight (English vocals version) – Super Smash Bros Ultimate – SWITCH – Hideki Sakamoto – originally selected for episode 40 by Alex “The Messenger” Messenger

Our background music was  Stage 1 – Astyanax – NES – Kiyoshi Yokoyama – ep 38



That was music mini-block 8 of 10 for episodes 36-40 (or "Season 2, part 4 of 4, if you prefer). To recap, you heard...

- BFG Division – DOOM (2016) - multi
- Bloody Tears (Stage A) – Super Castlevania IV - SNES
- Vortex – Vortex - SNES
- Title – Cyber Knight - SFC


- Lifelight (English vocals vers) – Super Smash Bros - SWITCH

For season 3 part 1, we'll look at episodes 41-46

With the baby in the house, I couldn't maintain the 20 episode a year schedule that saw me through the first two years and the first 40 episodes. But I certainly didn't want to quit either, as I had so much more to say and do [musically and conceptually] with the show, nor did I want to [quote unquote] "pull a Diad", and just say that the show wasn't officially over, but that regular episode releases for the foreseeable future were, and that new episodes would only release whenever. So, the compromise that I struck with myself was simply to go from 20 fresh episodes a year down to 10. It's why we only have 2 parts to 2019 in this retrospective instead of the 4 that we saw in each of the previous years. But, the trade off is that, though they're no longer called this, they're basically ALL Super-Sized episodes now. In fact, not only could they all use the full 2hrs now, but for "hold that thought for a sec" reasons, they could even be longer than two hours now - and some of them have been! As such, despite having only half as many episodes as seasons 1 and 2, season 3 has MORE total tracks as season 2 (which was track heavier than season 1). Although, with as much of 2019 that was retrospective as we had, if you factor out reused tracks, and only count all new tracks to the show, we only had about 2/3rd as many tracks: High 300s instead of low 500s. And also, there is a bit of an unfair system of measure in play here: in 2018, my "Best of 2017" was categorized as a "Channel F", which wasn't included in the count, whereas the 2019 "Best of 2018" WAS counted as a "Channel 1" episode which DID make the count. If you correct the disparity by either adding the Best of 2017 tracks to the 2018 count, or taking the Best of 2018 tracks out of 2019, then 2018 had more total tracks as well. Anyway, the point is that the difference in the number of tracks is a lot smaller than you'd expect given the difference in episode count. Also, while 2018 was more collaborative than 2017, 2019 was more collaborative than the two of them combined – featuring more collaborative episodes than the two previous seasons added up despite having a quarter as many episodes in total (or half as many per year times two years). In fact, of the 10, I think it was something like four or five of them that involved someone else in one way or the other. And this trend of greater collaboration is a trend that I expect to continue, or potentially even increase as time goes on.

A couple other big changes that happened with 2019: I quit simulcasting Channel 1 episodes on the Buzzsprout feed. As you may recall, I had two separate podcast feeds in 2017 and 2018: the "All Channels Feed", which would feature everything NNR did, and the "Channel 1" feed, which would only feature specifically "Channel 1"-branded content. Well, the "All Channels Feed" was through podbean and was a paid membership service. $15/mo gets me decent sound quality, unlimited uploads (up to something crazy that I'll never hit, like 500), no monthly upload time limits, unlimited downloads, and non-expiring episodes. You'll be able to listen to episode 1 when I release episode 100. But the Channel 1 feed was a free service through Buzzsprout. While I have nothing but praise for Buzzsprout's customer service, and think what they offer is the best free option in the business, it's still a free service, so it comes with very significant drawbacks. Though the download limit is unlimited, which is nice, the upload limit is 2hrs of content per month, with maybe a minute of grace wiggle room, but nothing more, episodes expired, and were deleted after 90 days, and the sound quality was relatively low - and mono-only. If the "All Channels Feed" and Channel 1 were terrestrial radio, the former would be FM while the latter would be AM.

I created the distinct Channel 1 feed because I envisioned there being a "Channel 2" arriving shortly thereafter, and had envisioned the two being different enough that someone might want to follow one without being made to follow the other. But the tactical blunder was that I should've at least waited til there actually was a Channel 2 before I started creating separate feeds. Here at the end of year 3, there still is no channel 2. And while there definitely may be one someday, it's also growing increasingly possible that there never will. And so, I was left with two feeds that were more or less repeaters, with only the "Channel F" stuff being distinct. And even though All Channels had no inherent upload restrictions, I was incentivized by the Buzzsprout feed's restrictions to honor the same restrictions on All Channels and in episode creation in general, when I really didn’t need to. The thing is that if I didn't, I would have to create an alternate, scaled-down version of the episode to fit on Buzzsprout, which was all that much more work and time and cloud storage to do – especially when it was subtractive, rather than additive. So, most of the time, to avoid that, I just abided by the restrictions of the one on the both.

But at the end of 2018, beginning of 2019, I decided that a radical change was needed....and here's what it was: amazingly, I didn't outright cancel or abandon either feed. I just rebranded, and repurposed the both of them. The former "All Channels Feed" remained what it always was, but was rebranded simply to "Nerd Noise Radio", while the channel 1 feed ceased all brand new content and switched to only featuring reruns of previous episodes, and was rebranded as, you guessed it: "Nerd Noise Radio Reruns" and features a black-and-white version for the NNR logo with some added effects to make it look more old-timey, like it's appearing on an old black and white tube TV. At only ten new episodes a year on the main feed, I simply simulcast the rerun on the main feed the months there was no new episode.

But this is why new episodes can be (and sometimes have been) more than 2hrs long now, and also why my Best of 2018 was moved from a Channel F "F-isode" to a "Channel 1 episode pt 2". Because we are no longer saddled by that 2hr effective constraint through simulcasting. As far as what the future holds for the two channel approach, even with more clear purposes and more distinct directions, and just the future of reruns in general, I do have some ideas, which I'll share in the part 2 outro. I would've made this change much sooner, and indeed, it DID occur to me much sooner to do, but the thing is that I had felt stuck, as my show's early listenership ended up splitting nearly down the middle between the two feeds, meaning that I was left feeling at the time like I'd have to cut off a whole half of my audience to make it work. But it was a change that had to come sooner or later. And the end of my second year / start of my third year just seemed like the ideal time.

The next thing that's new for 2019 is even further improved production. Now, the scripting for 2019 doesn't change at all in the intro, and only very insignificantly in the outro over 2018. And the actual production method in terms of recording quiet and boosting in post hasn't changed at all, or you could say, production and recording techniques very narrowly defined have not changed at all. But the one thing that actually has changed has made a meaningful difference in final production and the quality gains that come with it. And what I changed was so simple that it should’ve been obvious all along: I record everything fresh now, and no longer reuse voice clips. I also make an all new GarageBand project file for each intro and outro now, rather than reusing the same file and just recording the fresh audio over top of the previous audio. It keeps things sounding a lot more consistent. You'll notice in 2018's episode that the consistent part of the housekeeping outro, you know, the whole "you can find track listing and program info", etc bit sounded the same each episode, rich and full and round and clean, but in each subsequent episode the rest of the voice audio in the outro and intro would sound more and more thin sounding as we went throughout the year, as if I were losing my voice. Well, I did record almost the entire year's worth of intros and outros in just two vacation days. But I don't think I was losing much voice. I think it was degradation from layering and layering and relayering, etc. For instance, the appeals to get listener picks for episodes 25 and 40 were the very last things recorded, but they were recorded on a later date and with a fresh, untaxed voice box, and yet, they sound the thinnest and most strained of all.

So, starting with 2019, I wrote this great big script for each episode and just read it all fresh each time (in distinct, all new GarageBand files for each episode), and now you don't have big quality jumps like that anymore. It's more work and more time this way, sure, but it also yields so much better results, even with otherwise completely unchanged production techniques or hardware, or software. On top of this, I have added another technique, though I really should say that so far, I have only actually used it on the Episode 47 trio, and on Episode 49, guest hosted by Mario: if there's a lot of background noise in the voice recording, I'll put it into Audacity to do noise reduction. As I aspire to move further and further away from Mac and Windows and closer and closer to Linux in my computing life in general as well as in my work with podcasting, my production processes may change again in 2020 or 2021 and the quality along with it, once I can find a Linux DAW that I feel comfortable leaving GarageBand for (suggestions welcomed). But so long as I'm still with GarageBand, I think I may have settled into my "forever" technique (although I would still love to have a pop filter).

Lastly, this also happened in 2019: I ceased broadcasting regular Channel 1 episodes on YouTube. I'm not really sad or bitter about this, and I don't even consider this a defeat. I consider it a migration. Though I try to pay as little attention to the numbers as possible, I couldn't help but notice that my podbean / iTunes numbers more or less doubled at the same time that the YouTube viewership numbers more or less fell off a cliff. So, a) because it doesn't make sense to put in the extra 3-5hrs needed to make a video version of an audio podcast when it's only getting 5-10 views, and b) because I have future plans for YouTube, including a more polished version of a thing that Chloe and I have done before, which I'll speak more about in part 2 for episode 33, and I don't want that to be obscured for visitors by a bunch of uploads that only have single digits views, and have them be turned off before they even get through the door, I just decided to suspend the practice of uploading Channel 1 content to YouTube to clear the road for future development and to give a time-strapped lad a little bit of it back. If your feedback is overwhelming to bring it back, and the click counts will come along with it, why then I'll resume.

So, here's your chance for a little Nerd Noise Radio / YouTube activism. If you want Channel 1 back on YouTube, take the matter into your own hands and blow up my inbox or FB messenger or what have you. The power is yours!

Anyway, that's 2019. We'll talk about the actual episodes for this block in part 2.

So, now, what do we have for the first half of 2019?

You will hear

From C1E41: Mishmash Monday – vol. 7 (originally released Mon, 02/04/19) – Studiopolis Zone (Act 2) – Sonic Mania – Multi – Tee Lopes
From C1E42: Shinobi III Soundtrack (originally released Sat, 03/09/19) – Whirlwind – Shinobi III – Genesis – Masayuki Nagao, Hirofumi Murasaki, and/or Morihiko Akiyama
From C1E43: Commodore 64 EPICS! (originally released Thurs, 04/11/19) – Subtune 1 – International Karate – Rob Hubbard – originally selected for episode 43 by Henrik Andersson
From C1E44: TwoFer Tuesday – vol. 5 (originally released Tues, 05/07/19) – King of Speed – Daytona USA – Saturn – Takenobu Mitsubishi and David Leytze


From C1E46: FaceOff Friday – vol. 3 (originally released Fri, 08/09/19) – Area 1 – Blaster Master – NES – Naomi Kodaka – originally selected for episode 46 by Electric Boogaloo

Our background music was Solitary – Shinobi III – Genesis - Masayuki Nagao, Hirofumi Murasaki, and/or Morihiko Akiyama


That was music mini-block 9 of 10 for episodes 41-46 (or "Season 3, part 1 of 2, if you prefer). To recap, you heard...

- Studiopolis Zone (Act 2) – Sonic Mania – Multi
- Whirlwind – Shinobi III - Genesis
- Subtune 1 – International Karate - C64
- King of Speed – Daytona USA - Saturn


- Area 1 – Blaster Master - NES

And finally, for season 3, part 2, we'll turn our attention to episodes 47a-49.

We'll talk about episodes 47a, 47b, and 47c in part 2.

In episode 48, I finally got to “make another Impossible Burger” by making a return trip to that favored Oasis of lay chip wonderfulness, the Battle of the Bits online chiptune community. What's funny about this one is that probably 2/3rds, maybe even 3/4 of the tracks in it were leftovers from a much longer list that was eventually narrowed down to become episode 8. But when putting episode 8 together, it wasn't at all a situation where I just picked all my favorites from the larger list, and just left [quote unquote] "the dross" behind for a someday much flatter sequel. The choices I made in the episode 8 track selection were with just as much of an eye on making the someday future sequel just as rich and engaging as the first one. Well, sequels in the plural, actually. The leftover list was originally envisioned as a part 2 AND a part 3 (because episodes were shorter back then) and were sorted into two separate lists. So, when pulling from the list, I generally adopted a policy of grab 1 and leave 2 behind, with about an even mix of the tracks I liked well enough and the tracks I absolutely loved. That way, parts 1, 2 and 3 would all be of about the same quality.

Well, now that episodes are so much longer, I combined the 2 and 3 lists all into one big episode, and then, realizing not only that I still had room for quite a few more tracks, but also that time had not stopped at BotB since I put this list together in 2017, and that there would be a veritable cornucopia of great new stuff out there. So I went and grabbed a bunch. Then it was just the usual "sort them into firing order" story: Start with a really strong several tracks, work in a chill zone, take us out strong, and work in all sorts of cool twists in-between. Now, other than the obvious Twofer Tuesday and Soundtrack Saturday episodes, I actively try to avoid featuring two tracks from the same game, or series, or same composer back to back. But proper flow is king, and in the name of achieving it, those lesser priorities can always be sacrificed to get us there. In this case, I was not able to find a better workable solution than to put two of Strobe’s three tracks back to back - "7 Trillion GHz" and "Circuit Angel".

Another interesting thing of note with this episode is that while it features many names and faces and voices and sounds from BotB that are all new to the show, I also managed to work it so that EVERY SINGLE BOTB’er who appeared in episode 8 made a comeback -the original roster returned in full. Lastly, one BotB’er, and I won't say who it is, has reached out to me and asked to guest produce a future episode of his own that we'll call a "BotB+" episode, in that the majority focus is BotB content, but that they will not be absolutely constrained to the community, and will be allowed to step outside of it. I don't know when the episode will come out. 2020, presumably. But either way, be on the lookout for it.

Now, at long last, we get to our final episode of our retrospective, Mishmash Monday – vol. 8, guest hosted, guest vetted, and guest curated by Mario Mendez of the Grown-Up Pixels podcast. Having only come out last month, it is an episode so recent that I’m still a bit afraid to touch the paint on it. Episode 49 is also one that gestated for a good year or so. I can't remember who approached who, but Mario and I began talking about him doing an episode. Next thing I know, he has a really solid track list for me. It included some non-VGM, mostly from O.C. Remix, a community that amazingly, I have not yet featured at all. Well, since this was a Mishmash Monday episode, I did have to remove the non-VGM, but offered Mario a chance in exchange to come back on later, say 2020 or 2021 to do a focus on O.C. Remix for me, and we'll make sure that all those tracks I had to cut finally get the air time they deserve.

Lastly, Mario handled track and composer info a little differently. Instead of sending me a list via some text-based method, he baked that info right into the individual track sound files themselves as metadata. From my perspective, given the workflow that I’m used to with the separate track list, the data felt a little “buried” to me. I mean, I knew that I had access to it the whole time, but it felt like I had to dig for it. However, the situation actually yielded some interesting, unexpected, and pleasant fruit. This caused me to do something that I haven't really done before, which resulted in what I can only describe as a "purer" flowing music block. Rather than digging through the metadata, I simply went into track ordering "partially blind", and just followed my ears, rather than knowing precisely what many of these tracks were. I mean, of course I did know many of them, and at least vaguely recognized many more, but there were also many that were new to me. Also, not having the data right in front of me, and just riding the wave with my eyes closed, I ended up grouping a lot of tracks from the same game series together, which, as I had alluded to in just the previous episode with the Strobe tracks, is something that I usually try to avoid, or at least minimize. So, when Mario joyfully exclaimed "wow, you put most of the Street Fighter stuff together, and most of the Sonic stuff together”, etc., I first though “crap, I just broke a bunch of my own rules here”. But then after listening to it more, I thought, "you know, there's a sort of purity, and a wholesomeness" to the flow here that really works. I'm gonna just leave it as it is.

And I think it really turned out well. Anyway, let's listen to some music, shall we?

You will hear

From C1E47a: Turbotastic (originally released Thurs, 09/12/19) – Bloodlines – Castlevania: Rondo of Blood – PC Engine – Mikio Saitou, Akiropito, Kinuyo Yamashita and/or Satoe Terashima – originally selected for episode 47a by Bryce Dumond
From C1E47b: The Little Engine that Could (originally released Thurs, 09/19/19) – Max Power – Afterburner II – PC Engine – Hiroshi Kawaguchi and/or Shigeharu Isoda – originally selected for episode 47b by Bryce Dumond
From C1E47c: Tidal Wavetable – aka 'The Continuing Adventures of Buzz Lightyear' (originally released Thurs, 09/26/19) – Stage 1 - Dragon Spirit - TG16 – Shinji Hosoe
From C1E48: Battle of the Bits – vol. 2 (originally released Sun, 10/13/19) – Another Adventure – N/A (Battle of the Bits) – N/A (SNES) - Mega9man


From C1E49: Mishmash Monday – vol. 8 (originally released Mon, 11/11/19) – Stickerbush Symphony- DKC2: Diddy Kong's Quest – SNES – David Wise – originally selected for episode 49 by Mario Mendez

Our background music was Guile Stage – Street Fighter 2 – Arcade (CPS1) – Yoko Shimomura



And folks, that brings us to the end of C1E50a – The Golden Episode part 1.

Thanks for Listening to this very special milestone edition of Nerd Noise Radio. Barring part 2, I don’t plan to do anything like it again until episode 100, or until the final episode of the show – whichever comes first. If you liked the very non-standard more talk-heavy format, I’m very glad. I enjoyed having the opportunity to do something very different with the show this once, and your enjoyment of it makes the work all the more rewarding. If you didn’t like it, or thought it was too much, my apologies. As I said a moment ago, other than the immediate follow up, I don’t plan to do anything like this for another 50 episodes, at least not in an official Channel 1 “numbered” episode. So it’ll be more or less “business as usual” for quite some time. How much time, by the way, til we reach 100? Well, as my namesake, the late, great John Lennon famously lyricized: “Life’s what happens when you’re busy making other plans”, and who knows what impacts future history will have on me, my world, and my show which will change those plans, or prevent us, possibly, from even getting there. But the plans, which I’ll save in detail for the outro to part 2, will involve episode 100 not coming as quickly as episode 50 did. But until the part 2 outro, to quote Forrest Gump, “that’s all I’ve got to say about that”.

So, for this outro, why don’t we just do a little housekeeping, and say goodnight, then?

That was music mini-block 10 of 10 for episodes 47a-49 (or "Season 3, part 2 of 2 if you prefer). To recap, you heard...

- Bloodlines – Castlevania Rondo of Blood – PC Engine
- Max Power – Afterburner II – PC Engine
- Stage 1 – Dragon Spirit - TG16
- Another Adventure – BotB Chiptune for SNES


- Stickerbush Stmphony - DKC2 – SNES

Our background music for this outro is “Shower Fresh” - a wonderful piece of non-VGM from The Battle of the Bits chip tune community, originally appearing in episode 48, designed for Sega Genesis sound hardware, and composed by diagamblic, aka DYA aka Aaron Hickman.

You can find track listing, and program information for all of our episodes, as well as video game related articles on our blog at, where we now usually also offer expanded show notes in a more blog-like format, including extra, and sometimes inside information. You can also follow us on Twitter, YouTube, Podbean, or on, where we every so once in a while will have alternate takes and super bonuses only available there. And you can reach us at any time by email at

We have a Facebook Page, Nerd Noise Radio that you can follow….or better yet, join us on one of our two Facebook groups - Nerd Noise Radio: Easy Mode, where we share tracks, and just have general video game and nerd fun, or for the “gear heads” among you, Nerd Noise Radio: Expert Mode, where you can deep dive sound hardware, composer info, and music theory. Or feel free to join them all! Nerd Noise Radio is also available on the Retro Junkies Network at, and we are a member of the VGM Podcast Fans community on Facebook. Join the community at

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This is Nerd Noise Radio - Channel 1: Noise from the Hearts of Nerds - a program of the Nerd Noise Radio Network. Your home for the best noise from the YM2612, SN76489, SPC700, 2A03, HuC6280, AY-3-8910, YM2151, LR35902, POKEY, PAULA, SID…and beyond! 

I’m St. John

Thanks for listening. Join us later this month, date TBD for C1E50b: The Golden Episode –Part 2. Delicious VGM on Noise from the Hearts of Nerds. And wherever you are –

fly the N!

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