Square Roots - THE Classic RPG Podcast

Square Roots is like a book club, but for classic RPGs! Each episode John, Matthew, Jim and Vanessa play through another chunk of one of your favorite RPGs, from Final Fantasy through Chrono Trigger. Are they experts? No. Are they qualified? Absolutely not. Are they good at RPGs? Probably not. But they're the fun kind of dumb, and that's what counts.
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THE Classic RPG Podcast, w/Jim Banks, John Brandon, Matthew Van Zandt & Vanessa

Jun 5, 2016

On this exciting episode of Square Roots, we finally hit Disc 3 of Final Fantasy IX! Subjects explored include: Shakespearean farts, John can't remember Gilbert and Sullivan for about a whole minute, Matthew drops the bomb that Dr. Tot isn't a guy with a huge nose: he's a bird, New Garnet, nosebleed boners, children's natural fear of Quina, Amarant's weirdly undramatic vendetta, Kuja's Trapper Keeper Poetry, and so much more! Also: Matthew explains Tetra Master, there's an adorable book demon, and we explore the possibility of pooping Pokemon.

This week we start at the beginning of Disc 3 and play until Zidane wakes up in Lindblum.

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Twitter: @squarerootspod

May 29, 2016

In this episode of Square Roots we finish Final Fantasy IX's Disc 2, explore possible explanations for the othering of dwarves, Dave the holy man, the terrible and disturbing marriage between Zidane and Garnet, the terrible-er and disturbing-er marriage between Quina and Vivi, the introduction of Eiko, a debate on the pronunciation of Eiko, the creepiness of the anime trope of a child being in love with the hero, finding fetish gear in your size as a larger troll, Matthew's brain noises, HILL GET GUARDED!, we get judgey about Eiko's living situation, John's Eiko goes full Carol Channing, angry porno music, skull faced brick tree things, Vivi as Skull Tree Fart Poop, Matthew solves the Hilgigard conundrum, Amarant's Ed Hardy Shirts, and the tragic (?) beaching of a villain.

Next episode: we play until we reach the town of Oeilvert!

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May 22, 2016

In this week’s Square Roots, Matthew tries out a new robo-Matthew bit that becomes the show’s new gold standard and our characters make their way to the ruined Lindblum, where they encounter one hilarious tragedy after another. Jim and John try to dive into Matthew’s psyche to figure out why he thinks dead families are so hilarious and we meet the very scary Armodullahan and the strangely Zidane-esque Lani. The guys also criticize the game’s transportation methods and ATEs, spend waaaay too much time talking about how to get into the black mage village and everything we talk about gets ‘-GATE’ added to the end of it for dramatic effect. We also get super somber and talk about the life expectancy of black mages and Zidane’s abuse at the hands of Baku, John decides to give our listeners permission to skip this week’s bullshit mini-game because it’s awful and much, much more!

Next time we'll play up until the end of Disc 2, or the Battle of the Iifa Tree!

Please level up by rating and reviewing our podcast, following us on Twitter at @squarerootspod, and sending us your comments and questions to !

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May 15, 2016

We start with a brand new glamorous Newsies segment before diving into Out of this World / Another World cage swinging, and emerge deep in the bowels of Alexandria to save the Princess. Topics covered: metal swimsuits, Marcus's giant junk, stomping the crap out of Zorn and Thorn, Beatrix once again decides to stomp you with her irritating Stock Break, Steiner and Beatrix pass the moral event horizon, the introduction of Lani and the big-handed, dreadlocked bounty hunter, Temple of Doom CGI cutscenes, the pronounciation of Ramuh, and much more! There's also our Q&A, we get angry at the Terrible GameFAQs Thread of the Week, John goes for his Deep Dives and Bullshit Minigame Corner and there's real thunder.

Please level up by rating and reviewing our podcast, following us on Twitter at @squarerootspod, and sending us your comments and questions!

Our episode art is an original fan work created by Obeyecow!

May 8, 2016

It's a dance-filled dance dance-tacular this week as the dancing Burmecians and Cleyrans unite in an effort to fend off Alexandria. It fails. Zidane and Freya promise to protect the tree. They don't. Kuja turns out to perhaps be the Goblin King from Labyrinth, there's a giant mud man marshmallow creature, terrible music, this is what it sounds like when a harp breaks, Sir Fratley comes alive, Glenda the Good Witch bubbles, the insanity of Chocobo's Dream World, many, many Kingdom Hearts questions from Vanessa, and whether or not Shadow the Hedgehog is a spinoff or a mainline Sonic sequel. For those playing at home, we journey from Cleyra through to the Red Rose. Next episode, we'll venture through Alexandria Castle and finish up the Hero's Story in Pinnacle Rocks! As always the best way to level up is to rate and review us on iTunes, and don't forget to send us email at and hit us up on @squarerootspod on Twitter!

May 1, 2016

“Anyone who likes pickles are nice people” opens the South Gate guard as we begin Disc 2. This time it’s all Steiner and Garnet, Zidane and his gang are all sequestered into a separate quest. We have a chance encounter with Cinna and Marcus at Summit Station, The game spends an inordinate amount time explaining Fantasy Mass Transit Systems this episode, and Matthew isn’t having any of it. Marcus is out to find Super Soft (A Photo of Matthew’s mom, SICK BURRRRN) and out of a sense of loyalty Garnet and Steiner join him in finding this cure. In this week’s edition of a non-weekly segment, John’s Tips and Tricks, he explains how to make lots of money very quickly. We decide that we are now a political podcast, so get ready for some hot, hot takes. John takes about twenty minutes to steal a Flame Staff from the Black Waltz when you can easily synthesize it later, and John makes some poor life choices. We meet Mr. Ghost, an adorable ghost who loves ore, get killed by some murder plants, and find Vivi’s childhood home. John puts those Stellazios to good use and gets the game breaking Blood Sword.


Further discussion points: What Qu’uns sound like, the cyclical nature of aristocratic classes, Steiner actually becomes likable for about ten seconds, the Shakespearean influences, not terrible minigames, Matthew’s advocation of enslaving giant bugs, Matthew’s fan mail, John’s deep love for Shadow Hearts, and much, much more! Okay. Some more.

Apr 24, 2016

Part 4 of our playthrough of Final Fantasy IX opens with some questions: What would a date with Zidane be like? We explore this nightmare possibility, We do some Frog Hunting and pick up the terrifying, H.R. Pufnstuf-alike Quina, a blue mage comic relief character in a game with no real need for either. Fortunately grinding out her blue magic is pretty fun, if you have a FAQ.
John gets confused by the blue X being no and red O being yes when meeting the quiz-master Ragtime Mouse, who is not a mouse but actually is a horrible pair of lips on a spindly body.
Chocobo Hot & Cold makes John really, really angry, but he plays it for a couple of hours anyway because he makes terrible decisions with his life.
We start finding a whole lot of dead Burmecians, rescue some moogles, and then destroy Gizamaluke using a tent as a weapon, which may be the strangest item animation and use ever. Also: don't climb up those vines in the Grotto. Just don't do it. Please. No.
Meanwhile Garnet is a pickle suprise as she's stuffed in a sack like a whole lot of sorries.
Burmecia has been slaughtered, which makes Freya kind of sad, especially since she's all missing her boyfriend. Matt calls her clingy.
But! But! We finally meet Kuja! Is Kuja the most impractically dressed Final Fantasy character or the most impractically dressed male Final Fantasy character? Matthew is surprisingly unphased by this new villain, which disappoints Jim and John immensely.
We wrap up with Squarely Against and questions from you, our listeners! If you'd like us to read your questions about this game, other JRPGs, or advice to help you and your family, especially in tax season.
If you are playing along at home, in this episode we play from leaving Lindblum through Gizamaluke's Grotto until the end of Burmecia. Next time we'll play through until the dark, sketchy city of Treno! See you there.

Apr 18, 2016

In this week's shocking episode reality is shattered as Jim confesses that he likes Steiner. Meanwhile, the group ventures to Dali where, as Jim puts it, "all the townspeople are stupid." We confront the horror that is being trapped inside a coffin, Vivi has an existential meltdown, friendly black mages are literally melted down, there's about an hour of cutscenes and talking, John posits that not only do thousands seem to die every time there's a cutscene in the game, but that cutscenes involving explosions and massive damage have too much visual noise to be engaging. When we get control again there's The Hunt in Lindblum, we stalk an actor from I Want To Be Your Canary, John takes a dive to get Freya's accessory, and for once it's Zidane who gets roofied.
Other highlights: Vivi has an a real Orphan Black situation; Vivi's head: a long black tube; Steiner yells at a senior citizen; Matthew reveals his true feelings about Zidane; John experiences human emotions; the morality and logistics of the Hunt; and Matthew and John both decide to have their own corners, complete with theme songs; letters from listeners, and much, much more!
If you're playing along at home in this episode we cover from the village of Dali through until the end of the Hunt in Lindblum. Next week: we finish Disc One, or for you non-PlayStation 1 players, we get our butts handed to us in Burmecia.

Apr 10, 2016

We dive deeper into the world of Final Fantasy IX as we venture forth from the ruins of the airship Prima Vista into the clutches of the fairly aptly named Evil Forest. We begin to have our first real fights - you know, ones you can lose - while Steiner is held captive, Vivi and Garnet get into danger, and Zidane has to fight his way out of Tantalus to save the day.

Focal points for this episode: Jim calls the podcast a game and we don't correct him; does Cinna use the Garnet doll for sexual purposes; does John have a Cinna outfit; Square Roots narrowly avoids becoming the dankest potcast; Matthew doesn't believe in grinding; the probably death of Tantalus; we encounter Waltz #1; Jim offers his life-coaching services; finally we adopt and probably abandon a new segment, Squarely Against.

For those of you playing along at home, we move from the Evil Forest through to the Ice Cavern. Ignore what Jim says, Episode 3 will be from the village of Dali through until the end of the Hunt in Lindblum.

Finally, if you enjoy Square Roots, tell your friends! Rate and review us on iTunes! Send lots of emails to ! This is the only way you will level up in the eyes of God.

Apr 3, 2016

It's the first real episode of Square Roots, the Classic RPG podcast! We begin with the recently re-released (on iOS and Android anyhow) Final Fantasy IX! So many questions are raised in this episode: does Zidane have the Jonathan Taylor Thomas haircut or the Rachel? What is Cinna wearing? Does Blank have pants? Is Vivi a sad little garbage orphan child? We would explain how Triple Triad works, but honestly we don't know.

We bravely push through a whole ton of plot stuff as we establish Vivi, Steiner, Zidane, Garnet and Quina as well as a whole host of side characters. If you're playing along at home we will play until you reach The Evil Forest, and next episode will be until the end of The Ice Cavern.

Also: cat rescue, jumping rope, Steiner is Jim's favorite character, imagining what Queen Brahne would sound like, 

Mar 28, 2016

In our short little introductory episode we ask: what is Square Roots? What sort of games will we be looking at? Why do some episodes have sound drops?

So many questions!

But this is a podcast about classic RPGs, whether they're from Japan, Europe or America. Anything over ten years old, and both console and PC RPGs are welcome. We're all about playing old games a chunk at a time and talking about them, like a book club, but for video games! Or maybe a Let's Play, but for your ears.

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