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.

The MoeGamer Podcast: Episode 48 – A Certain Roguish Charm

Welcome to a brand new podcast episode! Sorry it’s been so long, but life has been a tad chaotic (in a good way!) for both of us. But here we are again! Today I am joined, as always, by my good friend and confidant Chris Caskie of CCaskieArt.

The MoeGamer Podcast is available in several places. You can subscribe to my channel on YouTube to stay up to date with both the video versions of the podcast and my weekly videos (including the Atari A to Z retro gaming series); you can follow on Soundcloud for the audio-only version of the podcast; you can subscribe via RSS to get the audio-only version of the podcast in your favourite podcast app; or you can subscribe via iTunes and listen on Spotify. Please do at least one of these if you can; it really helps us out!

Enjoy the podcast in video and audio formats below:

And hit the jump for show notes!

Continue reading The MoeGamer Podcast: Episode 48 – A Certain Roguish Charm

Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea – The Art of Shalchemy

cropped-atelier-megafeature-header-1.pngThis post is one chapter of a MegaFeature!
< Prev. | Contents | Next >


It would have been easy for the Atelier series to just stick with one alchemy system and trot it out for every new installment. And people would have probably been fine if Gust had chosen to keep the exact same alchemy system for all the games in each of the franchise’s subseries.

But as we’ve seen numerous times by this point, that isn’t how Gust does things. Gust likes to experiment, refine, reinvent and occasionally revisit past ideas, all in the name of providing an interesting and varied experience — say, for anyone undertaking some sort of ridiculous mission like playing all of the Atelier games one after another.

Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea is one of those installments where Gust decided to reinvent the alchemy mechanics, rather than refining the systems we’d previously seen in Atelier Escha & Logy and Atelier Ayesha. And it presents us with an interesting new angle to this aspect of gameplay.

Continue reading Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea – The Art of Shalchemy

Atari A to Z Flashback: Slot Machine

Game developer David Crane is best-known today for his highly influential work Pitfall!, which helped define the concept of the platform game.

That’s not all he worked on back in the early days of video games, however; he also brought us Slot Machine, one of the most pointless wastes of time that the Atari 2600 had to offer — although it does at least have some nice smooth scrolling!

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

Atari A to Z

Atari ST A to Z: Buggy Boy

One of the first games I played on the Atari ST is also one of my all time favourites — it’s Elite’s excellent conversion of Tatsumi’s arcade racing game Buggy Boy, also known as Speed Buggy.

Buggy Boy is interesting in that it’s less about driving at high speed and more about negotiating ridiculous amounts of obstacles as efficiently as possible — and scoring points, of course. It still holds up very well today, and the ST version is one of the best ports.

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

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: Hot Lips

Often, simple ideas are all you need to make a fun game work. Such is the case with Hot Lips, a straightforward but enjoyable maze game for Atari 8-bit.

In Hot Lips, all you have to do is make sure the titular giant mouth eats all the enemies and not you. Easy, right? Perhaps initially, but the longer you play, the tougher it gets!

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

Atari A to Z

Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea – What a Girl Wants

cropped-atelier-megafeature-header-1.pngThis post is one chapter of a MegaFeature!
< Prev. | Contents | Next >


Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea draws a number of cues from past Atelier games in terms of its overall game structure and execution — and indeed the way it does things can also be traced forward to some of Gust’s other games such as Blue Reflection.

For those who have played the previous games in the Atelier series, Atelier Shallie most closely resembles Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm in terms of structure — though with a few twists here and there. While Gust aren’t afraid to return to what worked previously, it’s very rare that they will simply recreate it wholesale without any changes.

It’s that game structure we’ll be taking a look at in this part of our exploration of the series as a whole.

Continue reading Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea – What a Girl Wants

Atari A to Z Flashback: Sky Diver

Sky Diver for Atari 2600 is a conversion of the arcade game of the same name, originally developed by Owen Rubin and brought home by Jim Huether.

In typical Atari 2600 arcade conversion tradition, the home version offers a variety of different ways to play — including challenging modes with moving platforms, as well as a “Chicken” mode where only the first player to land gets the points!

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

Atari A to Z

Atari ST A to Z: Arkanoid

Arkanoid is such an influential entry in the bat-and-ball genre that many people took to calling brick-breakers “Arkanoid clones” rather than “Breakout clones”.

Like many other arcade games of the period, Arkanoid had numerous ports to various different platforms over the years — but the Atari ST version was one of the finest out there, offering an experience very true to the arcade original, challenge factor and all.

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

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: Gauntlet

Gauntlet is an all-time classic arcade game — and it got a whole bunch of ports to various different systems over the years following its original release.

The Atari 8-bit version, developed by Gremlin Graphics, is not the best version of Gauntlet you’ll ever play — but it was my first ever experience with the game, and as such will always carry with it certain fond memories.

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

Atari A to Z

Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea – A Fresh Start

cropped-atelier-megafeature-header-1.pngThis post is one chapter of a MegaFeature!
< Prev. | Contents | Next >


And so, after the intriguing adventures of Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky, we come to the grand finale of the Dusk series: Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea.

Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea is a particularly interesting installment in the series as a whole, because it breaks with a whole bunch of series conventions. This tends to have the net effect that, mechanically speaking, it is a lot more accessible to newcomers than many of the previous Atelier games, for reasons we’ll get into shortly.

But at the same time it offers a solid conclusion to everything we’ve seen in the Dusk series up until this point, meaning it’s arguably best played after enjoying Atelier Ayesha and Atelier Escha & Logy to the fullest. And on top of that, there are certain elements that longstanding fans of the Atelier series as a whole will find particularly delightful. So let’s take a closer look at this fascinating game!

Continue reading Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea – A Fresh Start