Atari A to Z Flashback: RealSports Baseball

We’re back once again with the RealSports series, and this time we’re looking at RealSports Baseball for the Atari 5200.

While the Atari 2600 version of RealSports Baseball really struggled to provide a convincing game, particularly when played against a computer-controlled opponent, the Atari 5200 fares much better in this regard, offering the potential for a much more complex and interesting game without sacrificing accessibility and immediacy. Plus there’s digitised speech! Who’d have thought it?

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

Atari A to Z

Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland – A Trilogy of Four

cropped-atelier-megafeature-header-1.pngThis post is one chapter of a MegaFeature!
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Up until this point in the Atelier MegaFeature as a whole, we’ve explored the games in release order.

They were released in clear “sets”, after all — we had the Atelier Iris trilogy, then the Mana Khemia duology and then the three Arland games. And while the stories don’t always follow on directly from one another — most notably in the Atelier Iris series — each game in each series, at the very least, feels like it has a number of stylistic and thematic elements in common with its contemporaries. But in 2018, something interesting happened; after three Dusk games and three Mysterious games, Gust issued the surprise announcement that the twentieth game in the mainline Atelier series would not kick off a new trilogy; instead, it would return to Arland for (probably) one last time.

So with that in mind, we’re skipping forward from 2011’s thirteenth Atelier game Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland to check out 2019’s twentieth installment Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland. Then we’ll go back and look at all the ones in between. Sound good? Good. Let’s get cracking — beginning with an overview of what this game is all about and how it fits in with its predecessors.

Continue reading Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland – A Trilogy of Four

Evercade A to Z: Tanglewood

The Evercade isn’t just about old games — it’s also about new games developed for old platforms. Tanglewood, one half of the eleventh cartridge in the system’s library, is a great example.

Developed in 2018 making a specific effort to use authentically ’90s-style techniques and tools that Mega Drive programmers would have used back in the day, Tanglewood is a charming puzzle platformer with a clear artistic vision and some enjoyable gameplay to back it up.

Check it out in the video below, read my writeup to find out more, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube when you’re done!

Top Racer: Definitely-Not-Lotus Turbo Challenge

Racing games used to be very different to how we know them today — primarily due to the limitations of the hardware on which they were running.

Instead of unfolding in lovingly rendered, minutely detailed 3D polygonal worlds as most of today’s racers are, they took what we now call a “vanishing point” approach, where the road was drawn using two converging lines to simulate a sense of perspective, and sprites drawn at various sizes were placed along the sides of the track to assist with the illusion of movement and speed.

Of all the racers designed in this way — and there are many, including some developed quite recently! — Kemco’s Top Racer, also known as Top Gear, is one of the finest out there. This is a game that still gets regular play from a lot of racing enthusiasts today — plus now you can enjoy it as part of the Piko Interactive Collection 1 cartridge for Blaze’s Evercade retro gaming system. So let’s take a closer look!

Continue reading Top Racer: Definitely-Not-Lotus Turbo Challenge

Atari ST A to Z: Jupiter Probe

Microdeal offered the Atari ST some solid support in its early days, with the software they published covering a wide variety of genres — and not just games.

Probably one of the most “traditional” games they published was Jupiter Probe, one of many games by the prolific Steve Bak, and a solid shoot ’em up in its own right — even if its concept and setting is based on… somewhat shaky scientific foundation, to say the least. Music by the legendary Rob Hubbard, though!

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

Atari A to Z

Waifu Wednesday: Elmerulia Frixell

“It’ll all work out… somehow!” is a phrase that can be applied to a wide variety of RPG protagonists from over the years, but Elmerulia “Lulua” Frixell from Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland makes a distinctive effort to make it her catchphrase.

Well, technically speaking the catchphrase is 何とかなるなる (nantoka naru naru), which is a little catchier, but I’m sure everyone reading this is familiar with the challenges of localisation. And, as it happens, in this case, “it’ll all work out somehow” is a pretty accurate translation anyway.

Regardless of whether or not “it” worked out (somehow), Lulua is a delightful character to have around. So ahead of our first steps into the fourth adventure of the Atelier Arland trilogy (yes, I know) I thought it’d be nice to celebrate her a bit. So let’s do just that!

Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Elmerulia Frixell

short;Play: Quantum Theory

What might it look like if the creative minds behind the masterful Project Zero series of ghost-hunting survival horror games made a third-person shooter?

A lot like Quantum Theory, as it happens! Released in 2010 as the work of Project Zero creator Makoto Shibata and Koei Tecmo’s Team Tachyon development department, Quantum Theory was not well received by press or public alike. Checking it out ten years later, though, it turns out there’s a lot of interesting — and visually arresting — stuff to explore in this game.

So let’s do that in the video below! Don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more when you’re done.

Mighty Switch Force: Perilous Policing

WayForward have made some great games over the years — and not just in their flagship Shantae series.

One of their most interesting and enjoyable series of games comes in the form of Mighty Switch Force!, which provides a delightful blend of platforming and puzzling with plenty of that distinctive WayForward charm about it.

And it’s easier than ever to jump on board with the series today, thanks to the release of Mighty Switch Force! Collection on Switch, Windows PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. So let’s dive in and take a look at the first game in the series.

Continue reading Mighty Switch Force: Perilous Policing

Atari A to Z: Preppie!

Certain games — especially from the early days of the medium — really come to define a platform. And today’s Atari 8-bit game is one of those games.

Preppie! by Russ Wetmore, published by Adventure International, is a fun twist on the Frogger theme, which also acts as a great demonstration of what the Atari 8-bit is capable of. It’s a widely beloved game with good reason, and often cited as a highlight of the platform’s extensive game library.

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

Atari A to Z

Warriors Orochi 2: Building a Better Warrior

There are an awful lot of Warriors games on the market today. And while many may superficially seem quite similar to one another, delving into each of them reveals their unique qualities.

In many cases, the people who brand all Warriors games as being “the same” are likely just looking at the most well-known component: the real-time, hack-and-slash, large-scale brawler action that has been the series’ hallmark since its second installment (well, first if we’re being really picky here — but that’s a tale for another time). Even there, though, each Warriors game provides its own twist on the two-button combat thanks to its selection of characters, and numerous mechanics laid atop that.

Where Warriors games truly distinguish themselves, however, is in their progression systems. Powering up your characters is where the longevity in Warriors games come from — and Warriors Orochi 2 has plenty of ways in which you can do just that. So let’s take a closer look.

Continue reading Warriors Orochi 2: Building a Better Warrior

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