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Good day to you, Internet traveller, and thanks for stopping by MoeGamer.net. This is a site about Japanese, Japanese-inspired and retro games that I put together single-handedly during periods when I was both out of work completely, or working in something other than the “writing about games” field.

At the time of writing, I am gainfully employed over at Rice Digital, where I write about pretty much all of the things that I’ve covered here on MoeGamer at one point or another — and I get paid for it! It really is an actual dream come true, particularly given the cool “behind the scenes” I also get to work on alongside my public-facing writing work for Rice.

I am sure you will appreciate that the fact I am being paid to work on Rice Digital means that I regrettably have little time or energy to work on MoeGamer. This site was often something I worked on during “downtime” at particularly boring jobs, or while I didn’t have a job at all. It really has kept me sane through some immensely difficult times!

Now, however, my every day is filled with the joy of writing about games, anime, manga and popular culture — and as much as I would like to continue posting regular things on MoeGamer, the fact is that most of the things I would post here are better served being on Rice Digital!

To that end, I know it’s a big ask to get people to “move sites” for some reason — one of those strange laws of the Internet, it seems — but if you’re a regular reader and you’re not already enjoying what we do over at Rice Digital, I’d encourage you to stop by and give us a look. In a moment, I’ll give you a tour of just some of the things over there that you might want to check out — but there’s something else important that I want to say first.

MoeGamer’s not going anywhere. I’m immensely proud of what I created single-handedly here, and I believe the articles on the site will continue to be of relevance and interest to anyone seeking information on games that often don’t get the time of day in the mainstream press. (I would also very much like to finish my Atelier MegaFeature, but that stalled a bit due to daily commitments!)

One of the things that saddens me the most about today’s online sphere is how transient things are — how easily they’re forgotten. It’s why I object so strenuously to describing things as “content” — that implies that you simply “consume” it, then move on. What I’ve always aimed for here is relevant, insightful and interesting work that can be enjoyed at any time, whether you’re reading it the moment it’s published or several years later.

To that end, as I say, MoeGamer will continue to be up, running and open for business for as long as I can afford to keep it up and running. If you would like to help with those running costs, please consider signing up for my Patreon, which also helps me with my ongoing retro gaming video work. And, of course, a hearty thank you to those who already support me over there.

Now, on to more current matters.

What you might have missed

If you’re not yet a regular reader over at Rice Digital, I encourage you to add it to your daily rotation! We’re posting great features, reviews, news and interviews on the subject of Asian popular culture, video games, anime and manga on a daily basis — and with me in charge, if you enjoyed MoeGamer, you’ll enjoy Rice Digital.

My pride and joy at Rice Digital is the Rice Digital Feature Library, where we collect together ongoing features, multi-part deep dives and genre guides. Sound familiar? Yep, it’s very much MoeGamer’s Cover Game approach, giving things the time and attention they deserve rather than crapping out a 500-word review and leaving it at that.

We tend not to bother with triple-A stuff at Rice, so that means we can give smaller-scale stuff the triple-A treatment. Here’s some personal favourites from within the Library, but stop by the main Library page to explore further.

This was my first attempt at reviewing a full manga series volume by volume, and I was really pleased with it. I also really enjoyed the series! If you like mildly lewd romantic comedy, Gal Gohan is a thoroughly lovely time.

This one’s still ongoing at the time of writing, but regular readers of MoeGamer will doubtless be delighted to read about the modern remake of one of the all-time classic dating sims, Doukyuusei. It’s a fantastic dating sim that has finally dethroned the mighty True Love ’95 as one of my favourite romance-themed games.

This series has been on hold for a little while as I was getting kind of exhausted finding new ecchi, eroge and hentai games to cover every week, but I’d like to get back to it on a more irregular basis! In The History of Lewd, I look into sexy games from over the years, including both visual novels and arcade titles.

Japanese indie duo Chilla’s Art make some of the best horror games around at the moment, so I’ve been covering all of the ones I can get my hands on!

I love shoot ’em ups, and there are so many great ones around today they absolutely warrant a semi-regular column. That’s what Blissful Death — named after one of the DoDonPachi games (one I actually haven’t played, as it happens) — is all about.

A really charming, thoughtful manga series about a non-binary protagonist, and how they help their friends at an otokonoko café come to terms with their varying attitudes towards gender identity. I really enjoyed Love Me for Who I Am for tackling such a difficult subject without getting preachy at any point.

Surely destined to be one of the most misunderstood games of all time, Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin is a thoroughly fascinating game well worth your time and respect. I covered it in depth in an attempt to do it a bit more justice than fucking annoying tedious Chaos memes.

Full Metal Daemon Muramasa from Nitroplus is a fricking masterpiece of a visual novel. At the time of writing I haven’t quite finished covering it as it’s 1) massive and 2) hard work, but the multi-part feature so far should give you a good idea of what it’s all about — and why it’s so well-regarded.

Finally, you didn’t think I’d abandoned Atelier, did you? Part of the reason I haven’t been able to catch up on the Atelier MegaFeature is that I was thoroughly absorbed in covering Atelier Sophie 2 for Rice Digital! And, given the depth I’ve covered previous titles in, I wanted to make sure I did it proper justice, of course…

As I say, there’s plenty more besides these to explore, too — so stop by the Rice Digital Library page to find out more about these big or ongoing features, or just stop by the front page and see what’s going on.

You can also subscribe to the Rice Digital Weekly Digest to get the week’s articles delivered straight to your inbox every weekend.

All right, that should take care of everything! I look forward to seeing you around my workplace — and thank you, as always, for your ongoing support.


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Evercade A to Z: Double Dragon II – The Revenge

The two Double Dragon games on NES are markedly different from their arcade counterparts — and a great deal of fun in their own right.

Double Dragon II: The Revenge plays up the platform game elements quite considerably — and also introduces the simultaneous two-player mode that was absent from the original NES game. It’s a great brawler well worth spending some time with today.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Retro Select: Terra Cresta

I’m pretty excited for the upcoming Sol Cresta, a shoot ’em up developed by PlatinumGames with music by Yuzo Koshiro. So I thought I’d go back and play its spiritual predecessor.

Turns out it’s pretty great. Terra Cresta is an excellent Xevious-style shoot ’em up in which your power-ups are additional ship parts you can bolt on to yourself — and even fire them out in different formations for powerful effects.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari ST A to Z: Nigel Mansell’s World Championship

When I was a kid, Nigel Mansell occupied a curious position in popular culture. He was, without a doubt, respected for his solid performance in motorsports — but he was also regarded as an enormously boring man.

Thankfully his official video game adaptation by Gremlin certainly wasn’t boring. Building on the tech used for the Top Racer and Lotus Turbo Challenge series, Nigel Mansell’s World Championship provides plenty of fun arcade-style thrills in a Super Monaco GP sort of way.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: Up’n Down

Up’n Down is not an arcade game I’m especially familiar with — and I’ve also learned it’s one that people often get confused with Data East’s Bump ‘n Jump, for reasons that are probably obvious.

The Atari 8-bit version here is not a bad port at all — though it does suffer from a few glaring technical issues that make it a little tricky to truly enjoy at times.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Evercade A to Z: Top Racer

Top Racer (originally known as Top Gear in the west) has a long and proud tradition — and it’s a classic vanishing point racer that still holds up super-well today.

When it originally released on Evercade as part of the Piko Interactive Collection 1 cartridge, you could only play it in single-player against the computer. With the advent of the Evercade VS, though, split-screen funtimes are yours for the taking!

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Retro Select: Front Line

Every genre needs to start somewhere, and in the top-down run-and-gun shooter’s case, it pretty much started with Taito’s Front Line.

By modern standards, Front Line might look a bit laughable — particularly when it comes to its animations. But give it a bit of time and you’ll find a thoroughly playable — and very hard! — game to enjoy in the mix here. Without this game, we likely wouldn’t have had SNK classics like TNK III and Ikari Warriors!

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari ST A to Z: Moon Patrol

Moon Patrol is a great arcade game, and it’s had some excellent ports over the years. The Atari ST one was quite late, but it certainly nails the visuals.

The gameplay, however, is another matter; there’s something about Atari ST Moon Patrol that just doesn’t quite feel right. Still, if you want a game that looks like Moon Patrol but provides a slightly different challenge to the versions you may be more familiar with, it might be worth a look — it’s not a bad game, after all!

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: Trailblazer

Trailblazer is an early game from Gremlin Graphics — and one which still holds up well today. Just as well, really, as it’s actually had a surprising number of rereleases and ports over the years!

The concept is simple: control a rolling ball as it speeds down cosmic causeways, doing your best not to fall in the big black holes. And there are a lot of big black holes to fall into, as well as speedy-uppy tiles, jumpy tiles and warp tiles. Never a dull moment!

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Evercade A to Z: Tanzer

You can dance if you want to, and leave your friends behind. In fact, you’ll have to, since Tanzer is a single-player game — and one of the most exciting games in the Evercade’s launch lineup.

Taking on the role of some sort of cybernetic ballet dancer fleeing a deadly plague, it’s your job to travel through time and beat the crap out of all manner of robotic and alien nasties. Why? Not sure. It’s fun, though, and very hard!

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

The best of overlooked and underappreciated computer and video games, from yesterday and today