Ridge Racer 6: PlayStation Who?

It was a good five years between Ridge Racer V helping to launch the PlayStation 2 and the next mainline numbered installment in the series.

In the intervening years we had a couple of spinoff games that are a little beyond the scope of what we have time to cover this month: in 2003, there was series outlier R: Racing Evolution, the only installment to feature licensed cars and thus a game some don’t consider to be a Ridge Racer at all, and 2004 gave us a well-received title for PSP that, in true Ridge Racer tradition, helped to demonstrate what a new Sony platform was capable of at launch.

It was 2005 before the next “true” sequel, however, and once again the series helped to launch a console. This time, however, it wasn’t a showcase game for a Sony platform; it instead formed part of the launch lineup for Microsoft’s Xbox 360, the first of the high-definition consoles to hit the market.

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Waifu Wednesday: Ist

Dungeon Travelers 2 is one of the best dungeon-crawlers of all time — I’d even go so far as to say it’s one of my favourite RPGs I’ve ever played.

A significant part of the reason for why I regard it so fondly is its large cast of memorable female characters, each of whom offer something unique both in mechanical terms and in how they contribute to the overall “party dynamic” with their characterisation.

It’s hard to pick a favourite from such a consistently loveable cast, but somewhere near the top of the list for me is Ist.

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Ridge Racer V: Back to Basics

Ridge Racer V was an important game for Namco.

Not only was it to be a follow-up to the incredibly well-received and popular Ridge Racer Type 4it would also be the first installment of the series on a new generation of consoles — and a launch title for that system, the PlayStation 2, to boot.

Expectations were high for the new game to be both an impressive showcase for the new format and another solid installment in what was, by now, a well-loved and much-respected arcade racing franchise. The reality didn’t quite match up to these expectations… but it was certainly a damn good effort.

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Doki Doki Literature Club: Cute Girls Write Poems

I normally don’t bother with spoiler warnings here on MoeGamer, since it should be fairly apparent that in the process of analysing certain works in depth, “spoilers” are something of a necessity.

I will, however, make an exception in the case of Doki Doki Literature Club, a Japanese-style visual novel from independent Western developer Team Salvato. This is a game that is best experienced completely and utterly blind, so if you have the slightest interest in a visual novel that subverts expectations and makes astonishingly good use of its medium, I recommend you go play it through now before reading any further. It’s completely free, can be cleared in an afternoon, and is available either via Steam or itch.io.

Beyond this point lie hefty spoilers, so consider yourself warned!

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SNES Essentials: Super Mario World

One of the biggest sources of playground arguments in my youth was whether Super Mario World or Sonic the Hedgehog was “better”.

I owned a SNES, so I should have been firmly in the Team Mario camp, but at the same time my brother was working on games magazines and regularly brought consoles home with him for us to try out — including a Mega Drive with Sonic the Hedgehog. And as such I learned to appreciate both on their own merits.

While less outright “impressive” in terms of spectacle than Sega’s classic — a fact that Team Sonic liked to rely on in aforementioned arguments — Super Mario World was certainly a game that kept me coming back for more. And for my money it remains one of the best Mario games — perhaps one of the best platformers — of all time.

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Ridge Racer Type 4: Real Racing Roots ’99

1998’s Ridge Racer Type 4 is the quintessential PS1 game.

Perfectly embodying the spirit of late ’90s “cool” that Sony was so keen to pursue with its platform, particularly in the West, the game is also a showcase for exactly what the humble PlayStation was capable of in its later years as well as a perfect balance between widespread accessibility and hardcore long-term challenge.

In short, it’s a comprehensive realisation of what Namco had wanted to achieve with the home versions of the Ridge Racer series ever since Revolution, and one of the most consistently enjoyable arcade racers ever created.

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Waifu Wednesday: Reiko Nagase

It’s Ridge Racer month here on MoeGamer, and you didn’t think I was going to let Reiko Nagase slip by unnoticed, did you?

First appearing in Rage Racer’s CG intro (or perhaps Rave Racer’s attract mode, depending on who you want to believe) but shooting to prominence in Ridge Racer Type-4, Reiko Nagase is as much an iconic part of the Ridge Racer franchise as its exaggerated drift handling and memorable soundtracks.

She’s also one of the first examples of a “virtual idol” in computerised entertainment, helping to lay the groundwork for future success stories in this field such as Crypton Future Media’s Hatsune Miku and friends.

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The best of overlooked and underappreciated Japanese and Japanese-inspired games