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.

Atari A to Z: Octopus

Nintendo’s Game & Watch series of LCD gaming handhelds might not be the first things you’d think needed converting to other platforms — but on the occasions when we have seen adaptations of them, they’ve always been a lot of fun.

It helps that their simple gameplay remains somewhat timeless and thus easy to update with slightly fancier presentation without having to make significant changes to the mechanics. So that’s exactly what a group of Polish developers did on 2011: they took on the second of the “Wide Screen” Game & Watch releases, and converted it to Atari 8-bit.

The result is a simple but immaculately presented and enormously addictive little game. I give you Octopus.

Atari A to Z

Streets of Rage 3: The Most Notorious Localisation

Ah, Streets of Rage 3. Probably the most notorious entry in the franchise due to how heavily it was altered between its original Japanese release as Bare Knuckle III and its Western incarnation.

Thankfully, modern compilations such as the Sega Mega Drive Classics collection make it very easy to access the Japanese version — though it’s worth taking a look at the Western release too for an extreme example of what unnecessary localisation due to external pressure looks like.

Let’s hit the streets once again!

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Around the Network

Hello everyone! Hope you’re all having as pleasant a weekend as can be expected under the current circumstances.

It’s gone warm and summery here, but to be honest this is my least favourite kind of weather because I do not deal well with being too hot. It’s time to get all the windows open and get the fans blowing, I guess.

Anyway, enough of that very British babbling on about the weather; let’s take a look at what you might have missed in the last week.

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Atari A to Z Flashback: Football

FOOTBALL! It’s time to play some FOOTBALL! YEAH!

Those of you who have been following this series for a while will be all to familiar with my general lack of experience with sports games — particularly those focusing on American sports. Despite my wife once referring to American football on camera as “shit rugby”, I hope I have at least given the impression that I am giving these games a chance!

If anything, I find the simpler, vaguer digital interpretations of sports — such as seen here in this very early American football game for Atari 2600 — a lot more palatable and understandable than the more realistic simulations we’ve had since the 16-bit era or so. So you know what? I didn’t have a terrible time playing this.

Atari A to Z

The Music of Atelier, Vol. 3: Atelier Iris 3 – Grand Phantasm

cropped-atelier-megafeature-header-1.pngThis post is one chapter of a MegaFeature!
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It’s time to once again return to the wonderful world of Atelier music, this time with a look at Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm’s soundtrack.

Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm was a noteworthy installment in the series from a musical perspective, because it marked the point where Gust’s sound team switched from using synthesised, sequenced music to streamed prerecorded music. This allowed them considerably more flexibility to put together more elaborate compositions and make use of more realistic sounds.

So turn up the volume and let’s have a good listen to find out exactly what that means!

Continue reading The Music of Atelier, Vol. 3: Atelier Iris 3 – Grand Phantasm

Final Fantasy Marathon: High-Intensity Stat Training – Final Fantasy II #21

Sometimes, you know you’re just not up to the job. And you know that you have two choices at that point: give up, or work hard to overcome the obstacles in your path.

Minwu and company decide to take the latter path. Interestingly enough, they manage to take down Ultima Weapon with relatively little difficulty, but as soon as they set foot in the strange inverted form of Pandaemonium, they get their arses kicked again.

Clearly some training is in order. And in Final Fantasy II land, I’m sure you know what that means. Let’s get it over with!

A Hat in Time: Hat the Nipper

Despite what anyone who has ever worked in the teaching profession (including myself) might tell you, children are not inherently evil.

They’re not inherently good either, mind you, and that’s what potentially makes them interesting as characters. Particularly characters in some form of interactive media where you get to explore the consequences of “good” and “bad” behaviour in various contexts.

Among other things, A Hat in Time is a joyful exploration of what it means to be a child. A child who has their own spaceship and is clearly a lot more 1) intelligent and 2) affluent than they might let on, but a child nonetheless. Let’s explore this strange and wonderful world through the eyes of the one and only Hat Kid.

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