428: Shibuya Scramble – The Mechanics of Storytelling

When we’re talking about conventional games — particularly today’s games — it’s important to consider them from a wide variety of perspectives.

Typically, we look at a game from several different angles: the way it’s presented through its sights and sounds; the way it plays through its mechanics; and, where applicable, how it handles its story.

When contemplating visual novels, the balance tends to be a little different. We tend to up the focus on narrative considerably, and in many cases mechanics don’t enter the picture at all — many visual novels simply don’t have any! That is, unless you’re 428: Shibuya Scramble, in which case your narrative and mechanics combine together to produce something exceedingly interesting…

Continue reading 428: Shibuya Scramble – The Mechanics of Storytelling

New Game Plus: Creating Explosives

When returning to a game for a second playthrough, it’s always incredibly satisfying when you manage to complete an objective well ahead of “schedule”.

Despite only certain things carrying over to a New Game Plus run in the various incarnations of Atelier Roronayou can still bash out a lot of the early game content very easily, leaving you with plenty of time to make money, grind for experience, build up your relationship values and just generally have a good time in this pastel-coloured world.

Hit the jump to see just how quickly I managed to satisfy the second assignment…

Continue reading New Game Plus: Creating Explosives

Atari ST A to Z: U.N. Squadron

If you thought games journalists wringing their hands over “problematic” subject matter in games was a new phenomenon… well, I got news for you, my dear reader.

U.S. Gold’s home computer conversion of Capcom’s arcade title U.N. Squadron (originally known in Japan as Area 88, after the manga it was originally based on) drew criticism from UK computer magazine ST Format in December of 1990 for being “self-righteous”, “crass” and even “propaganda”. Why? Because you shoot enemies in an obviously Middle Eastern-inspired setting — at least in the first level, anyway — and in 1990 the Gulf War had just broken out in full force.

Of course, Area 88 first came out in 1979, but let’s not let facts get in the way of a good bit of outrage, shall we? Sigh. Some things never change. Anyway, this is a reasonably solid shoot ’em up, though unsurprisingly not a patch on the awesome SNES version…

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Waifu Wednesday: Aya Kamiki

We’ve had celebrities putting in appearances in video games for a good while now, mostly as voice actors, but it’s quite rare to see a performer appear in a game as themselves.

Japanese singer, actress and model Aya Kamiki evidently saw a good opportunity back in 2008, though, and played a part in Spike Chunsoft’s sound novel 428: Shibuya ScrambleQuite a substantial one, too, despite not being one of the main actors; her face is plastered all over billboards and electronic displays in the in-game rendition of Shibuya (which is represented entirely through photographs and full-motion video), her song Sekai wa Sore Demo Kawari wa Shinai is heard numerous times throughout the narrative and she even puts in an in-person appearance for one brief moment during the main story.

It’s an inventive way to promote yourself, for sure, and adds to the overall believable atmosphere of Spike Chunsoft’s game. But who, exactly, is Aya Kamiki?

Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Aya Kamiki

Warriors Wednesday: How The Wild Man Does It

How DOES The Wild Man do it? Find out in today’s thrilling installment of Warriors Wednesday, as the Wu forces attempt to prove themselves to Keiji Maeda.

If you were looking forward to seeing my smiling face again on this video, apologies to disappoint; I recorded this before I got the new gear necessary to display my smiling face on videos. If, on the other hand, you were disgusted and repulsed by my fearful countenance in Sunday’s Split/Second video, consider this momentary relief.

Hit the jump to see how today’s battle went.

Continue reading Warriors Wednesday: How The Wild Man Does It

Dedicated to the Backlog

On Monday, LightningEllen from Livid Lightning and Kim from Later Levels revealed the first #LoveYourBacklog Week: seven days devoted to showing your backlog some love, rather than the fear and guilt it usually engenders.

I’ve never seen the backlog as a particularly negative thing. As Kim argues in her post on the subject, having a backlog means that you always have something to play — something new to experience, something new to explore. And since starting MoeGamer I’ve really relished having this huge library of titles just waiting for me to delve into in detail and write, make videos and otherwise enthuse about them.

So what is going on with this whole #LoveYourBacklog thing? Well, for starters, people are proudly displaying the size of their backlog via badges on their blogs — if you’re reading this on desktop or tablet, you should see that over on the left. And from there? Well, read on.

Continue reading Dedicated to the Backlog

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