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: Asano Hayase

If there’s one type of character voice actress Eri Kitamura knows how to play well, it’s the seemingly aggressive but actually terribly insecure tsundere.

Asano Hayase from Red Entertainment’s visual novel Our World is Ended is a great example, affording Kitamura the opportunity to demonstrate her full vocal range over the course of the character’s development and narrative threads.

Asano is also an incredibly interesting, unconventional character in her own right, so she takes her place in the spotlight this week.

Some spoilers for Our World is Ended ahead!

Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Asano Hayase

NES Essentials: Donkey Kong Jr.

If there’s one thing Nintendo has absolutely always been good at, it’s sequels.

How do you follow up a big hit like Donkey Kong? More of the same? Some lesser companies might think that is a good way of doing things, but not Nintendo — even back in the ’80s. Instead, they chose to take a very interesting approach: they’d take the formula of Donkey Kong and flip it on its head, placing the previous game’s hero in the role of the villain, and tasking you with rescuing the titular big ape.

Donkey Kong Jr. was born, and Nintendo’s rapidly establishing reputation for creating simple to understand, difficult to master and highly addictive games was further cemented.

Continue reading NES Essentials: Donkey Kong Jr.

Atari A to Z: Necromancer

I love weird games. Scratch that; I don’t really like using the term “weird”, because what people inevitably mean when they say “weird” in the context of a creative work is “highly creative, unusual and original”. I love highly creative, unusual and original games.

Synapse Software’s Necromancer certainly qualifies as all of those things. It’s pretty much a manifestation of the sort of things old-school heavy metal groups sing about; the sort of thing that sounds like a fever dream, but which you can’t help but get drawn into within moments of starting to play.

With its unconventional control scheme, extremely disparate mechanics between its various stages and its formidable level of difficulty, Necromancer is a classic from the Atari 8-bit’s library with good reason!

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

Delving Into Castlevania – #1

One of the nice things about revisiting old games from a modern perspective is the fact that you can see how certain genres have evolved over time… and sometimes seemingly morphed into different things altogether.

The original Castlevania is a great example of this. Far from being your common-or-garden everyday mascot platformer that we saw a fair bit throughout the 8- and 16-bit home console eras, Castlevania provided an experience that was altogether its own thing, immediately recognisable and immensely influential.

Atmospheric, idiosyncratic and consistently challenging, it’s a game that still holds its own today — just don’t expect an easy ride!

Continue reading Delving Into Castlevania – #1

Around the Network

It’s the end of another week as we head onward into springtime, and I hope you’ve had a good one!

This week has seen the release of Konami’s Castlevania Anniversary Collection on various platforms, which I’ve been very excited about for some time now. I wish there was a packaged release of it, but I can’t complain too much at the value the download version offers. Watch out for some Castlevania-related articles in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, let’s have a look back over the week that was and see what you might have missed.

Continue reading Around the Network

Atari A to Z Flashback: Missile Command

Dave Theuer’s Missile Command is an absolute classic of the “golden age” of arcade games, and still puts up a formidable challenge today!

Embodying the paranoia many people were feeling towards the Cold War and potential nuclear conflict in the early ’80s, Missile Command is a relentless, frantic affair. Despite that, it’s more important than anything to stay calm and take careful, strategic shots rather than just blasting away in a mad panic.

I am bad at Missile Command, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy playing it! So let’s get on and do just that, shall we?

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

New Game Plus: Night’s Domain

How tough is our girl Rorona? Only tough enough to fell both a dragon and a demon in a single expedition, that’s how tough!

In this week’s installment of our New Game Plus run through Atelier Rorona DX, we find ourselves exploring Night’s Domain, a dungeon at the northernmost tip of Arland that is somewhat… mysterious and otherworldly in nature. It’s full of some of the most valuable, high-quality ingredients in the game, though, so it’s well worth taking your time to explore… if you’re up to the challenge, that is!

Meanwhile, there’s a final bit of intrigue with Lionela… could she have finally found some peace in her life…?