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.

Kero Blaster: Amphibious Assault

Daisuke “Pixel” Amaya is an extremely talented developer with a keen eye for what made older games truly enduring.

His most well-known work Cave Story is quite rightly held up as a shining example of the open-structure 2D platformer done right — and thanks to its numerous rereleases over the years, can be played on a wide variety of systems.

But don’t sleep on Kero Blaster, a very different but equally magnificent love letter to classic old-school gameplay that, like Cave Story, can now be enjoyed on a variety of different platforms, including Windows PC, iOS devices, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.

Continue reading Kero Blaster: Amphibious Assault

Atari A to Z: MasterType

How’s your typing speed? How’d you like to improve it with the help of a lightning-spewing wizard IN SPACE?!

Such is the concept of Lightning Software’s MasterType, a typing trainer for the Atari 8-bit that I always used to enjoy a great deal as a kid — and, it turns out, I still enjoy an awful lot now, too.

If you’ve ever had trouble quickly and accurately typing BASIC commands or the word “Oriole” under intense time pressure, then you’ll definitely want to check this one out…

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

House of Golf: Tabletop Tee-Off

Video games don’t have to be complicated to be enjoyable. They don’t always need to be grand, sweeping great works of art, nor do they always need to have something to “say”; sometimes they can just be fun.

Such is the thinking behind House of Golf, a Nintendo Switch release from Liverpudlian studio Atomicom, a group made up of ex-Psygnosis staffers who were last seen bringing us a game about driving JCB excavators on Mars.

This is a game designed to be nothing more than a bit of fun for 1-6 players — and it achieves this pretty admirably. Let’s take a closer look!

Continue reading House of Golf: Tabletop Tee-Off

Around the Network

Hello everyone! It’s the end of another week, and time for a roundup of what’s been going on.

I’m really enjoying Bullet Girls Phantasia, and as I’ve previously noted it looks like there’s a lot more to it than I initially anticipated. What I might do is finish the main story in order to write about it, then continue to explore it in a resurrected New Game Plus video series, because I kinda want to keep going with it!

Anyway. That’s a discussion for another day. For now, let’s check out what you might have missed recently…

Continue reading Around the Network

Atari A to Z Flashback: Backgammon

A big part of the early Atari 2600 library consisted of digital adaptations of tabletop games — including several that could be played solo against a computer opponent.

One such example was Backgammon, a fairly comprehensive package that allowed one or two players to play Backgammon or Acey Deucey, with or without a “doubling cube” to facilitate gambling.

I’m not good at Backgammon, but aside from this adaptation’s bizarre paddle-based control system, this seems like as good a way as any to learn!

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

Rolling Thunder 2: Leila Takes the Lead

Rolling Thunder is a classic Namco title with good reason. Its slower pace, methodical gameplay and learnable patterns make it an obvious precursor to the stealth games of today.

Its 1990 sequel offers more of the same in many ways — but with considerably enhanced visuals, refined mechanics and presentation and an all-new option to enjoy the game with two players simultaneously.

It’s not nearly as well known as its predecessor, but it’s a great game in its own right. And, conveniently, it’s part of the Namco Museum collection on Nintendo Switch!

Continue reading Rolling Thunder 2: Leila Takes the Lead

Final Fantasy Marathon: The Party Leader Has Registered You for Duty – Final Fantasy I #19

At this point, we’re ready to go and beat Final Fantasy I! But we’re not going to do that just yet… not when there are endgame dungeons to challenge!

Today we begin with a return to the Earthgift Shrine, which we paid a somewhat premature visit to back in episode 9, and manage to squeeze in two whole runs to take down both Cerberus and Echidna.

This is just the beginning of endgame Final Fantasy… so strap in for a bit of an endurance run!