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.

Log Jammers: Less Wind, More Log

One of the most common arguments in favour of pocket-sized handheld gaming devices is that they’re eminently suitable for bite-sized nuggets of gameplay that will keep you distracted for a few minutes at a time.

The Evercade retro gaming platform is no stranger to this concept, with plenty of the games across its complete library ideal for a quick rag on while you wait for your Pot Noodle to finish festering, your significant other to get out of the bog and/or Amelia Watson to start streaming. And many of these “quick hit” games can be found on the eighth cartridge in the library: Mega Cat Studios Collection 1a compilation of “modern retro” titles where today’s developers make new games for yesterday’s systems.

A fine example is Mega Cat’s self-developed Log Jammers, an exceedingly unsubtle homage to Data East’s Neo Geo title Windjammers, originally released for NES in 2017 and now available for fun on the go thanks to the Evercade. Grab your axe and let’s get rolling!

Continue reading Log Jammers: Less Wind, More Log

Atari ST A to Z: Zoltar

Mandarin Software’s STOS marketed itself as “The Game Creator”, but really it was a lot more than that — it was a whole programming language based on the conventions of BASIC, meaning you could do a wide variety of things with it.

One of the showcase titles included with the STOS package was Zoltar, a simple shoot ’em up that tasked you with taking down pre-scripted waves of aliens as they swooped, bobbed and weaved around the screen. As a game, it’s not great, but it’s a good showcase of what STOS is capable of — particularly as it includes a fully functional built-in level editor!

Check it out — and hear about my lost ST game ZAPP — in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Waifu Wednesday: Ninomae Ina’nis

Since we’re moving on to Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland next in the Atelier MegaFeature, I was all set to celebrate Atelier’s twelfth main heroine today, but then I checked the recent top searches, just out of curiosity.

It seems that multiple people have been dropping by with an interest in seeing something about Ninomae Ina’nis from the Hololive English crew here on MoeGamer. And who am I not to give the people what they want?

All right, all right, I like Ina a lot too. So what better reason to celebrate her and all the fanart of her by all the talented people out there? There is none. None. So let’s do just that!

Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Ninomae Ina’nis

short;Play: Moero Crystal H

In the mood for a great dungeon crawler filled to the brim with gorgeous monster girls? You should definitely check out Moero Crystal H from Idea Factory and Compile Heart, then, especially since eastasiasoft has worked so hard to bring this title to English speakers.

I absolutely adore this game, as you’ll know if you’ve read my review over at Nintendo Life, but since I was under a lot of time pressure to get the review out for an embargo, I wanted to spend some more time with it after getting that post up! This video will give you a look at the game in action, and you can expect some more in-depth articles on the game in the near future.

In the meantime, enjoy this episode of short;Play below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Prehistorik Man: Titus Made Good Games Sometimes

Titus, it’s fair to say, is not one of the most fondly regarded names in classic gaming — though a fair amount of their work was at least memorable for one reason or another.

That doesn’t mean it was a company completely incapable of putting out a good game, however. And in fact, when Titus was on top form, they actually made some really good titles that still hold up very well today.

One of those games is Prehistorik Man, originally released for Super NES and now brought to a whole new audience as part of the Interplay Collection 2 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming platform. Let’s take a closer look!

Continue reading Prehistorik Man: Titus Made Good Games Sometimes

Atari A to Z: Flip and Flop

Today’s Atari 8-bit game is one of my favourites from back in the day — and, I’m pretty sure, one of the earliest video games I remember playing as a kid.

It’s Flip and Flop from Jim Nangano and First Star Software, a take on the Q*Bert isometric “painting” formula with a few interesting twists — most notably some more complex level design, an emphasis on outwitting enemy behaviour, and some peculiar changes in perspective just to throw you off every so often!

If you’ve never checked out the Atari 8-bit’s library before, this is definitely one of the games you should give a shot. Enjoy the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Dragon Spirit: The New Legend – In Case of Emergency, Use Dragon

The shoot ’em up genre is, it’s fair to say, fairly dominated by spaceships. It makes sense — a sci-fi tale allows for pretty much unbridled creativity, taking the player on a journey through the stars into the great unknown, battling off hordes of unimaginable horrors from many light years away.

But the fantasy genre is ripe for exploiting in this way, too; much like the more outlandish side of sci-fi, a lot of fantasy has never seemed too concerned with respecting the usual laws of physics, time and space. And as such there’s no good reason why we couldn’t have just as satisfying a time blasting our way through a fantasy tale as we could if we were behind the controls of some sort of comically overpowered spaceship.

Namco evidently felt this way back in 1987 when they released the fantasy-themed vertically scrolling shoot ’em up Dragon Spirit to the arcades. And then they remembered it was still a very good idea a couple of years later when they released quasi-sequel Dragon Spirit: The New Legend for Famicom in 1989, with a North American NES version following in 1990. And this 8-bit home console version can now be enjoyed by a whole new audience today, thanks to its inclusion on the Namco Museum Collection 2 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system. So let’s take a closer look!

Continue reading Dragon Spirit: The New Legend – In Case of Emergency, Use Dragon

Around the Network (and Blogger Recognition Award!)

Good afternoon everyone! I hope you’re well. Summer appears to be back here again, which means I’ve got all the fans running and the doors open and it’s still too hot. Oh well. Only two more videos left to record today!

Today’s Around the Network also incorporates a Blogger Recognition Award that AK from Everything is Bad for You kindly nominated me for recently. For the uninitiated, this is an opportunity to engage with the broader online writing community, offer some advice and share some thoughts.

So let’s get started with that — followed, of course, by what you might have missed this week — after the jump!

Continue reading Around the Network (and Blogger Recognition Award!)

Atari A to Z Flashback: Missile Command

It’s time for another one of those games that shows up on Atari Flashback Classics several times! This time around, it’s Missile Command putting in its second appearance.

The 2600 version of Missile Command is actually a really solid port of the game, albeit lacking some of the features like the satellites and planes. Most importantly, though, it plays well, looks authentic and is monstrously addictive.

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

Atari A to Z

The Music of Atelier, Vol. 6: Atelier Rorona – The Alchemist of Arland

cropped-atelier-megafeature-header-1.pngThis post is one chapter of a MegaFeature!
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While the move to the PlayStation 3 marked significant changes in both gameplay and visual presentation for the Atelier series, one area in which it remained comfortably consistent was the musical accompaniment to the action.

Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland once again saw Ken Nakagawa in charge of the majority of the soundtrack, with some guest vocalists on a number of tracks. This time around, Nakagawa stepped back a little from the howling guitars and thrashing beats of Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy in favour of something a little closer to what we heard in Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm and Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis.

It’s definitely got that distinctive “Atelier sound” about it, thanks to Nakagawa’s love of traditional instrumentation and composition using an electronic wind instrument, but Atelier Rorona’s soundtrack also has a few elements that make it stand out as its own, immediately recognisable thing, too. So crank up that volume and let’s have a listen to some select tracks!

Continue reading The Music of Atelier, Vol. 6: Atelier Rorona – The Alchemist of Arland