All posts by Pete Davison

Former games journo (GamePro, USgamer) and expert on all those Japanese games and visual novels the mainstream press likes to go "ew, pretty girls" at. I write things at great length.

Waifu Wednesday: Lenna Charlotte Tycoon

Final Fantasy V, despite being one of the most mechanically solid installments in the series, doesn’t get a ton of love — partly because it got localised very late; partly because the quality of those localisations has varied considerably over time; and partly because in the grand scheme of the franchise as a whole, it’s comparatively bastard hard.

After many, many years of saying “I should probably beat Final Fantasy V sometime”, I am finally working on that goal — specifically by playing it on my totally normal, pristine and absolutely definitely completely stock PlayStation Classic that my brother rather generously bought me for Christmas. (More on all that another day, I feel.) And I thought Lenna — or “Reina” as she’s called in the version of Final Fantasy V I’m playing — was deserving of some love.

So let’s give her some love. Our pink-haired princess is one of Final Fantasy’s most capable heroines, so it’s high time she saw some appreciation, I say!

Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Lenna Charlotte Tycoon

short;Play: Tokyo Highway Challenge

Tokyo Highway Challenge for Dreamcast is an interesting game, as we’ve previously talked about. On paper, it sounds like it should be really boring — all you do is race around the same stretch of Tokyo highway night after night after night — but in practice, it’s a really enjoyable and interesting twist on the racer genre.

At least part of this is due to its unusual race structure, which takes some cues from fighting games, of all things. Rather than simply beating your opponent to a set destination, you need to defeat them by emptying their “Speed Points” bar. You achieve this by staying in front of them and, essentially, proving your superiority at this whole racing thing.

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

Groove Coaster Wai Wai Party!!!!: Rockin’ Out With the VTubers and Vocaloids

The original Groove Coaster, which released on iOS in 2011, was a revelation. It was an accessible yet challenging rhythm game that made excellent use of its touchscreen control method — and which beautifully demonstrated how a completely abstract aesthetic can be just as thrilling and enjoyable as a detailed, realistic one.

While the series isn’t as well-known today as it was during the initial fever for it when it first appeared on the scene, it’s been quietly rumbling along for a decade at this point, taking in several sequels for both mobile phones and arcades, a Steam release for PC in 2018 and, towards the end of 2019, a special Switch version subtitled Wai Wai Party!!!!

At fifty quid, Groove Coaster Wai Wai Party!!!! may look a tad pricey for a downloadable game to the casual observer, and I must confess I’d put off checking it out for far longer than I should have because of this. But having been generously given some eShop credit as a leaving present from my old job, I figured it was high time I gave it a look for myself. So let’s explore it together!

Continue reading Groove Coaster Wai Wai Party!!!!: Rockin’ Out With the VTubers and Vocaloids

Atari A to Z: Water Ski School

My parents, I believe, still own a complete collection of Page 6 magazine, right from its very first issue as a publication primarily intended for the Birmingham User Group, up until its slow demise as an A5-sized subscription-only affair in the twilight years of Atari.

One edition which always stood out to me was Issue 23, whose cover sported a large image of a water-skier performing a stunt he didn’t quite seem to be ready for. The cover image was promoting the big type-in game for that issue: a machine-code game known as Water Ski School. Although I typed in a lot of games over the course of Page 6’s original run, for one reason or another I never got around to doing this one. Seems like a prime candidate to check out on Atari A to Z, then!

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

Atari A to Z

The Killing Game Show: The Only Way is Up

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A couple of years after his first commercial video game Combat Crazy had failed to set the sales charts alight — despite being an enjoyable side-scrolling platform shooter — Bizarre Creations founder Martyn Chudley was back with another game, this time for 16-bit platforms.

The new title was known as The Killing Game Show, and was published on 16-bit home computers by a company called Psygnosis, which had been establishing a very solid reputation for itself since its inception in 1986. Not only was Psygnosis a spiritual successor to the legendary 8-bit developer-publisher Imagine Software, but it had also demonstrated right from the start that it was a company dedicated to high-quality, well-produced games that oozed class and style — on both the computer screen and on players’ shelves, too.

The Killing Game Show, developed by Chudley and a team working under the name Raising Hell Software, was an ideal fit for Psygnosis’ portfolio, featuring impressive visuals and solid but challenging gameplay to back them up. So let’s take a closer look.

Continue reading The Killing Game Show: The Only Way is Up

Around the Network

Good evening everyone! I have some exciting news that you may not know if you didn’t see on Twitter: I’m now the site editor of Rice Digital, which you can find at https://ricedigital.co.uk.

This is an actual proper day job that I’m getting paid for, so you’ll be seeing plenty of my stuff over there in the daytime — be sure to follow for the latest updates! MoeGamer won’t be going anywhere, though; the focus of both Rice and MoeGamer is quite different despite the overlapping subject matter, so you’ll still see stuff in both places. I have that Atelier MegaFeature to finish, after all!

In simple terms, you’ll likely see more “current” stuff on Rice, while MoeGamer will continue to deep-dive into stuff that’s been around for a while. Between the two, you should find everything you’d ever want to know about RPGs, visual novels, retro games and everything in between. So let’s take a look at what you might have missed this week!

Continue reading Around the Network

Atari A to Z Flashback: RealSports Soccer

In real life, I despise soccer, or “football” as we call it over here. But there have been a number of soccer games over the years that I’ve rather enjoyed — and RealSports Soccer for the Atari 2600 is one of them.

The reason for this is that RealSports Soccer for the Atari 2600 resembles real soccer on only the most superficial level, and is instead simply a highly enjoyable video game, particularly if you have the opportunity to enjoy it with a friend or two. Its mechanics, which make no logical sense from a “realism” perspective, make it a ton of fun — and I can attest from personal experience that this is a game that can produce genuine howls of laughter that stem from genuine enjoyment.

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

Atari A to Z

Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk – Alchemy in a Fading World

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Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk is, as we’ve already established, something of a step in a different direction for the series.

Over the course of the series, Gust has always drawn a hard line underneath each of the main “sets” of games before moving on to the next; the narrative of the setting isn’t necessarily wrapped up conclusively (which leaves things open for titles like Atelier Lulua to revisit past series) but there’s usually a significant reinvention of, at the very least, overall aesthetic and mechanical components.

One of the most obvious places where we see this is in the heart of the series: the alchemy component. So let’s take a closer look at exactly how Atelier Ayesha handles this side of things!

Continue reading Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk – Alchemy in a Fading World

Evercade A to Z: Side Pocket

I am bad at pool. Real pool, that is. But also video game pool. Although I am marginally less bad at video game pool than I am at real pool.

Data East’s Side Pocket, seen here as part of the Data East Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade, at least makes the experience of being bad at video game pool pleasantly entertaining by providing a smooth jazz soundtrack, some pretty ladies and a series of completely unreasonable trick shots with which to challenge yourself. Plus no onlookers who have had a few too many pints laughing at your incompetence. Ideal.

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

Checkered Flag: Where the Driver’s Gender Becomes Important

Fun fact: I have the manual for the original Atari Lynx version of Checkered Flag framed in my toilet.

For a certain period during the Lynx’s lifetime, Atari eschewed booklet-style manuals in favour of posters for the games with the instructions on the back. My wife liked the art on Checkered Flag’s instructions sheet — which I somehow still had despite having not owned a Lynx for a good ten years or so — and so we put it up on the wall. Consequently, every time I’m having a poo I get to read those instructions for the umpteenth time.

Believe me, I am now intimately familiar with how to play Checkered Flag effectively — helpful now that it’s been rereleased as part of the Atari Lynx Collection 2 cartridge for the Evercade — and the fact that, in Atari’s own words, the winner of each race is rewarded with “a trophy and a big hug”. And, in a surprisingly progressive, inclusive step for a video game on a failed console from 1991, the manual also takes care to note that said big hug is “where the driver’s gender becomes important”. Oh, also there’s some racing game action in there, too, I suppose; let’s take a closer look.

Continue reading Checkered Flag: Where the Driver’s Gender Becomes Important