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.

Evercade A to Z: Solaris

With how long the Atari 2600 stuck around — and its position in the early days of the games business — it’s no surprise that games from its latter days bear little to no resemblance to its launch titles.

There are few games in which this is more apparent than Solaris, the official follow-up to Star Raiders on the 2600. But not the sequel to Star Raiders on the Atari 8-bit; that was just called Star Raiders II. Also, just to confuse matters, both Star Raiders II and Solaris were originally intended to be licensed games based on the movie The Last Starfighter, but for one (mostly Tramiel-shaped) reason or another, neither ever happened.

Fortunately, we can still enjoy Solaris for ourselves today. Check out my writeup for more thoughts, enjoy the video below and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Tanglewood: Outfoxed at Every Turn

Following the initial batch of ten cartridges for the Evercade retro gaming platform, one of the releases that people were most excited for was cartridge number 11: a double pack featuring arena shooter Xeno Crisis and platformer Tanglewood.

We’ll get to Xeno Crisis in due course, but I wanted to make a point of looking at Tanglewood first. Because while Tanglewood was, like Xeno Crisis, a successful Kickstarter project that ended up being released on both Mega Drive and modern platforms, it’s Xeno Crisis that has had the lion’s share of attention to date. And you know how much I love an underdog. Or an underfox, in this case.

Fortunately, Tanglewood is a lovely game in its own right, so I’m glad I decided to give it a look first. Let’s explore together!

Continue reading Tanglewood: Outfoxed at Every Turn

Atari ST A to Z: Dark Side

Dark Side is a game I have very fond memories of from back in the day, and it’s a game that actually holds up rather well today.

The second game to make use of Incentive Software’s revolutionary cross-platform “Freescape” 3D engine, Dark Side challenged players to explore a network of interconnected sectors while attempting to untangle a mess of power cables supplying energy to a deadly laser. While you can beat the whole thing in less than 15 minutes if you know what you’re doing, the fun is in figuring out exactly how you pull that off.

Well, aside from one really stupid puzzle, but I show you all how to complete that in the video below. So watch it! Then subscribe on YouTube for more if you aren’t already. Thank you muchly!

Atari A to Z

Waifu Wednesday: Merurulince Rede Arls

It’s not until next week that we’re starting to explore Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland in earnest, but it doesn’t hurt to get ahead of the game with a celebration of its protagonist!

Merurulince Rede Arls, better known simply as Meruru, is the princess of the tiny kingdom of Arls. But this girl is not your average fantasy fiction “stand around looking pretty but being quiet” sort of princess. Nope; Meruru is a thoroughly modern young lady who likes to Get Things Done, and absolutely will not stand for petty inconveniences like her father’s disapproval getting in her way.

She’s a delightful leading lady for a fondly regarded installment in the series as a whole, and a joy to be around. Let’s take a closer look at who she is and where she came from.

Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Merurulince Rede Arls

short;Play: Fuel

As you’ll know if you’ve listened to our episode of The MoeGamer Podcast on the subject, I love me a good arcade racer.

One of my recent discoveries in this genre was Fuel, a game developed by Asobo Studio and published by Codemasters. If Asobo Studio’s name sounds familiar, it’s because they’re the developers behind the latest Microsoft Flight Simulator. Turns out they’ve been making spectacularly huge, fully explorable open worlds for quite a long time now — although Fuel “only” offers a play area roughly the size of Connecticut rather than the whole Earth.

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

Petal Crash: Like the Game Boy Colour Never Left

One of the things I miss the most about eras of gaming gone by is the way that different platforms had their own distinct capabilities — and, by extension, their own distinctive look and feel for their software.

On the flip side, one of the things I enjoy the most about gaming today is the fact that a lot of developers are very keen to pay tribute and homage to these platforms of the past while incorporating modern design philosophies. In many ways, this idea of “enhanced retro” gives us the best of both worlds — the comfort of a classic platform’s familiar aesthetic, coupled with all the things developers and players alike have learned over the course of gaming’s history.

A great example of this at work is Petal Crash, a new puzzle game from Friend & Fairy, published by Freedom Planet developer Galaxy Trail. Let’s take a closer look!

Continue reading Petal Crash: Like the Game Boy Colour Never Left

Atari A to Z: Java Jim

It’s both fun and frustrating when you come across a game that no-one seems to quite understand how to play.

Such is the case with today’s Atari 8-bit game, Java Jim in Square Shaped Trouble. It doesn’t help that the Commodore 64 and Atari 8-bit versions have markedly different mechanics and structure to one another, and very few people appear to understand either of them.

Having looked into it a bit further, the 8-bit version appears a little more straightforward, so let’s explore it in the video below. Don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Golden Axed: A Prototype with a Dark Past

As part of Sega’s 60th anniversary celebrations, the company has been putting out a number of limited-time-only free minigames on Steam, including a Streets of Rage-inspired brawler based on the Yakuza series, a tank blaster based on Company of Heroes and a Fantasy Zone/Endless crossover.

By far the most controversial of these freebie releases is an unfinished prototype that has become known as Golden Axed. It was originally intended to be part of an ambitious series known as Sega Reborn, which would not only feature reimaginings of Sega classics such as Shinobi, Altered Beast and Streets of Rage, but also tie them all together with some sort of coherent plot and a “hub world” to explore.

The project as a whole never happened, but the team from Sega’s Australian studio behind the pitch did manage to put together a short prototype for the Golden Axe part of the whole package. But there’s an interesting — and somewhat depressing — story behind it that is well worth sharing. So let’s explore further.

Continue reading Golden Axed: A Prototype with a Dark Past

Around the Network

Good morning everyone! Sorry for the lack of one of these last weekend, but I was super-busy and ended up not finding the time. You can enjoy a bumper edition today to make up for it.

Life has been continuing pretty much as usual here at MoeGamer Towers, with the Atelier MegaFeature continuing apace. We’re just wrapping up Atelier Totori on the site right now; next up is Atelier Meruru, which I’ve already finished my replay of. I’m currently enjoying Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland a great deal, and am looking forward to writing about that.

Anyway. Enough talk! Let’s see what you might have missed in the last couple of weeks.

Continue reading Around the Network

Atari A to Z Flashback: Off the Wall

As we’ve previously seen a few times on this series, the Atari 2600 managed to stick around for an astonishingly long time, particularly considering how quickly gaming technology was evolving in the early days.

From about 1986 onwards, Atari decided to try and give the platform a “second wind” by releasing a variety of new games for it. Some of these were developed by Nolan Bushnell’s studio Axlon — and a good example is today’s game, Off the Wall. It’s a take on Breakout with lovely colourful graphics, a few interesting twists on the standard block-breaking gameplay, and a bunch of cool power-ups to collect.

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

Atari A to Z