Best of 2016: VGMpire’s top shows

Though we posted fewer VGMpires this year than any other since its first full year of existence (that’d be 2012), there were still several top-notch episodes in 2016. Which of these fine shows pulled in the most listeners? Let’s take a look!

VGMpire 112 – Warcraft Before WoW – Ten years before it became an MMO sensation, Warcraft was one of the most revered strategy series on the market. Part of its appeal was its thunderous yet listenable war tunes that mixed orchestral grandeur with videogamey toe-tapping goodness.

I suspected there would be some untapped nostalgia for pre-WoW Warcraft, and it turns out I was right! This was the most downloaded episode of the year though, which wildly surpassed my expectations! It’s almost like people would like a new Warcraft 1-2 style game…

VGMpire 109 – Magic Armageddon Music – Who coulda guessed an obscure shooter series would have incredible, blood pumping music? Oh, actually, guest Patrick Kulikowski knew, and brought tunes from all three Mahou Daisakusen games.

Now this one baffles me. I think it’s largely because it was the first episode of 2016 and thus back from a bit of a break. The appetite must’ve been strong! BUT, it could also be the bizarre name and art that pulled people in, as this is one of the most obscure episodes we’ve ever done and how could you not be curious?

VGMini 03 – Splatoon Tunes – One of 2015’s best soundtracks gets its own episode! We discuss not only the game’s relentlessly upbeat tunes, but also its unique Nickelodeon meets Jet Grind Radio universe.

Makes sense! There’s a lot of love for Splatoon not just as a game, but also as a colorful, inclusive world of competitive paint-balling.The music, visuals, animations and overall aesthetic come together so well, making it (probably) the best Wii U title to date.

VGMpire 110 – More Mario RPGs – An all new assortment of upbeat, life-affirming tracks from Dream Team and Paper Jam, plus we return to the SNES original for a pair of 1996 gems. Infectious positivity you can’t resist!

While I didn’t totally dig Paper Jam, I did enjoy its music nearly as much as its predecessors – and that’s some high praise! Didn’t expect two of the newer Mario RPGs to outweigh some of the others shows this year (Mario, Monster Hunter, Deus Ex etc) but hey, there it is.

VGMprie 113 – Hyrule Hits Vol 3 – We complete our Zelda audio triforce by discussing Skyward Sword, Spirit Tracks and Link Between Worlds, plus touch on the newly released Twilight Princess HD.

The first two Hyrule Hits episodes performed quite well, so it’s reasonable to expect part three to soar as well! I still love that Spirit Tracks OST, and if you missed out on Link Between Worlds ya gotta get on it!

I’m DEFINITELY surprised that my one-two punch of interviews with Sega CD / Sega of America legend Spencer Nilsen didn’t top the list. They’re the next two shows on the list (ranked 6 and 7, I guess), but still. Those were essentially lifelong goals fulfilled before your very eyes and I kinda expected them to slay the other shows. Oh well!

It’s also important to note that the AOTY 2015 episode – the one award Undertale my tippy top accolade of the year – has cleared 10k listeners. Pretty impressive for this li’l show!

Thanks for your support over these five years, not just with LT and T3, but specifically VGMpire. I think more people have come up and thanked me for this than anything else I’ve ever done in 10 years of gamey output, and I appreciate how much everyone loves it. I aim to increase the output in 2017, so here’s hoping!

3 thoughts on “Best of 2016: VGMpire’s top shows

  1. The Spencer episodes were GREAT, don’t let anything tell you otherwise, Bret! I think most people are just looking for the cuts, but I enjoy the stories behind them, and Spencer just had the right attitude to pull back the curtain. Also enjoyed you speaking with some of the other indy composers, hearing about their creative process is a lot of fun

  2. I also loved the Spencer episodes, Brett! Just like the Tommy Tallarico episode from last year, the interviews were engaging, the music was fantastic, and the stories gave me a whole new insight into the production of VGM. Plus, I’ve been waiting for a Sonic CD episode for a long time.

    Another great year for the show. I’m hoping for more episodes in 2017, and perhaps even the return of VGMini.

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