Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea – Once, Twice, Two Times a Shallie

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Over the course of the Atelier series as a whole, we’ve seen Gust take on the challenge of making a meaningful New Game Plus experience several times.

In a lot of role-playing games, a New Game Plus is primarily a means of enjoying the game’s story again without having to worry too much about mechanics; in some cases there are powerful enemies or additional challenges not seen on a first playthrough, but more often than not New Game Plus is a fun extra that not everyone feels the need to take advantage of in order to feel like they’ve “beaten” the game.

In Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea, however, much like Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky and Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy before it, there’s great value in taking the time to play through the game with both its main protagonists — and this time around we have one of the most solidly implemented New Game Plus systems the series has seen to date.

Continue reading Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea – Once, Twice, Two Times a Shallie

Atari A to Z Flashback: Space War

Continuing a proud tradition of Atari 2600 games with the word “Space” in the title, here’s Space War from Atari Flashback Classics.

This is actually kind of noteworthy for an important reason: it’s a conversion of one of the first ever video games, albeit many years after said video game made its first appearance in the ’60s. There’s fun to be had for two players; you may want to give the single-player offering a miss, though!

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

Atari A to Z

Atari ST A to Z: Elf

Ocean Software were a funny old bunch. One minute they’d be putting out absolute tosh with the name of a big-name movie on the box, the next they’d be putting out some truly excellent original titles.

Elf for Atari ST falls firmly into the latter category, as the Will Ferrell movie of the same name was several years off at the time of its original release. Instead, what we have here is a great example of the “arcade adventure” genre that doesn’t really exist any more — a type of game that blends fast action with the kind of interactions typically associated with pure adventures. And just a touch of casual racism for good measure. Different times and all that.

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: Karmic Caverns

The 8-bit home computing era played host to some great single-screen platform games: Donkey Kong, Miner 2049’er and Jumpman, to name but a few.

I hadn’t come across Karmic Caverns before. There might be a good reason that people haven’t talked about this much over the years — but it does have a few interesting ideas, most notably with how it’s more of a mobility puzzle than an action platformer.

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

Atari A to Z

Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea – The Kindness of Strangers

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Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea is the final chapter in the Dusk trilogy. Whether or not we’ll see a later fourth installment a la Atelier Lulua remains to be seen, but for now, this is where it all ends.

As such, Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea is a game that brings together a series of interesting narrative threads from over the course of the trilogy as a whole — including some that began way back in Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk. So while the story stands by itself and many of its mechanics are a lot more accessible to series newcomers, the game is best experienced in context as the conclusion of the Dusk storyline.

Like Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky before it, though, you’ll need to play through as both protagonists to get the full story. So let’s start with a look at the main narrative you’ll experience first time around in the game if you pick Shallistera as your protagonist, then.

Continue reading Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea – The Kindness of Strangers

Atari A to Z Flashback: Space Attack

We’ve got another of Mattel’s “M Network” releases today, in which the company ported some of its successful Intellivision games to Atari 2600, usually in slightly simplified form.

Space Attack is a port of a game simply called Space Battle on the Intellivision, and it’s an interesting little game that incorporates very lightweight real-time strategy elements with arcade-style blasting action. It’s woefully limited in terms of longevity and replay value, sadly, but it’s worth a blast or two at least if you’ve never tried it!

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

Atari A to Z

The Birthday Post, 2021 Edition

Hello everyone! It’s that time of year once again, when I celebrate getting a year older and, at the same time, celebrate my own little nook of the Internet being a year older too. This year I am 40, and MoeGamer is seven.

If you’ve been following MoeGamer for a while, you’ll have doubtless noticed things are a little quieter around here than they have been. In today’s post, I’d like to talk a little about why that is — it’s nothing to worry about! — and reassure you that this cosy little corner will continue to be A Thing for the indefinite future.

And if you’re relatively new to the site, I invite you to catch up on the story behind its creation in this post, and check out my post from last year about why independent creators like me are doing important work in games writing.

Atelier Shallie

Important things have happened, though, so let’s talk about those! The chief reason I’m not doing as much work here on MoeGamer these days is because I have a new day job: I’m the site editor over at Rice Digital, an online publication that focuses on Asian popular media including anime, manga, video games and anything else that might be of interest, like VTubers.

What does my work as site editor involve? Two things, mainly: firstly, editing, as the name suggests. I have a group of lovely writers who contribute regularly to Rice Digital, and it’s a pleasure to go over their work with the metaphorical red pen and help their knowledge and opinions shine for the rest of the world. Each of them have their own distinct specialisms, even within the niche of Asian popular entertainment, so it’s always a pleasure to read what they have to say — and often learn something about fields I don’t know much about.

Secondly, of course, I write. I write a lot! I write about eroge, I write about returning to Final Fantasy XIV after a long break, I write about puzzle games with tights fetish artwork in them. I write about new stuff every day, and it’s a never-ending challenge that I absolutely love. I love to write — especially about the things I’m passionate about — and for it to be my actual job is a genuine dream come true.

As you can probably imagine, spending all day squeezing out my brain-juice to find things to write about for Rice Digital leaves me fairly tapped out by the end of the day, so I made a very deliberate decision shortly after starting with Rice to considerably scale back my other projects online — primarily so that I could have a bit of time to myself in the evenings and at weekends.

What this means for MoeGamer is that it’s a return to the format I had several years back: focusing entirely on a single main feature at a time, without other daily articles. This allows me to give the feature in question — at the time of writing, the ongoing Atelier MegaFeature — the time and attention it deserves without applying unnecessary pressure on myself. That way I can still do what I feel like I do best without churning out “content” for the sake of “creating content”. I’m not a “content creator”; I’m a writer.

I do also intend to return to the Fatal Rewind retrospective I was doing on Bizarre Creations a while back, but things have been quite busy recently, and I haven’t found the time to give both that and the Atelier feature the aforementioned time and attention they deserve. If and when things calm down a bit, I’ll make some time to continue with that as well, because I’d love to finish that off.

In the meantime, of course, don’t forget that there’s well over a thousand articles already here on the site, and you can get a random one picked for you by choosing “Anything!” from the menu up at the top of the site (or in the “hamburger” menu if you’re on mobile) — I’ve made a distinct effort to make everything here on the site as “timeless” as possible, so hopefully you’ll stumble across something you find interesting along the way, even if it’s months or years after I originally posted it. Told you I wasn’t a “content creator”.

Alongside MoeGamer, I am, of course, continuing with my Atari A to Z series on YouTube, as you’ve doubtless seen. These three series are important to me, and they are, I feel, the main thing I do that makes my YouTube channel unique. And I’ve had some lovely people stop by in the comments on those videos, too — I’ve even inspired the creator of two of my favourite Atari 8-bit games to finally develop the third game in what was originally intended to be a trilogy of titles!

At some point in the near future, alongside Rice Digital I will be starting a retro gaming related project as part of the day job, too. Atari A to Z will continue when this gets underway as it will be more “generically” retro rather than focusing on a specific platform, so please watch out for that when it launches.

So that’s about it for now. I’m having a fantastic time; the day job really is a dream come true for me, so while I’m sorry I don’t have as much time to write things here and hang out with the WordPress community on a daily basis, I hope you’ll stop by Rice Digital every so often and check out what we’re up to over there — I think a lot of you reading this will very much enjoy what we do!

MoeGamer’s not going anywhere, though, don’t worry, and I’m going to complete the Atelier MegaFeature if it’s the last thing I do — and even if Gust manages to slip out another Atelier Ryza title before I finish things off completely! It’s one of the most ambitious, substantial things I’ve ever done, I’m super proud of what I’ve created so far — and I’m damned if I’m giving up having come this far on the complete journey. So please look forward to more!

In the meantime, thank you for your continued support here on MoeGamer — and I look forward to seeing you over on Rice Digital!


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Atari ST A to Z: Deja Vu

The time has come once again for adventure! AtariVenture, to be exact — the Atari ST ports of Icom Simulations’ MacVentures series.

Today we’re looking at Deja Vu, a hard-boiled detective thriller in which you play Theodore “Ace” Harding, who has just woken up in a toilet with a sore arm and no memory of who he is. Don’t you just hate it when that happens?

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: Jeepers Creepers

You’re asking for trouble with a name like “Quality Software” — the stuff you put out better be top-notch otherwise you’ll be at the absolute mercy of press and public alike.

Thankfully Jeepers Creepers, probably the aforementioned software house’s most well-known release, is a good game — albeit one that takes heavy cues from Konami’s Amidar. It offers speedy, enjoyable arcade action with some nice graphics and sound — and that magical addictive quality that keeps you coming back for just one more try.

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

Atari A to Z

Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea – The Fight for a Dying World

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So far, we’ve seen that Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea is an interesting installment in the Atelier series as a whole, in that it explores brand new elements while simultaneously calling back to some of the series’ best bits.

One of the most obvious places it looks back at past successes is the gameplay when you step outside the city walls of Stellard and head off into the big, wide world. But even then, it doesn’t just rehash what has come before; it adds its own interesting twists on the formula to create something unique and distinct to Atelier Shallie.

Let’s take a closer look at the game’s combat and exploration mechanics, then, as we get closer and closer to the truth behind the world of Dusk.

Continue reading Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea – The Fight for a Dying World

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