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: Mitsuru Kirijo

With this week’s podcast celebrating the wonder that is the PlayStation 2, it’s only fitting that for Waifu Wednesday this week we look back on a classic character who made her first appearance in a PS2 game.

Yes, this week it’s the turn of Mitsuru Kirijo from Persona 3, the game that established the Shin Megami Tensei spinoff’s current format. She’s a consistently popular character from Persona 3’s core cast, and has put in appearances in several other games from the series over the years, too — including Persona 4, Persona Q, Persona 4 Arena and Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight.

Better get your grades up, though; Mitsuru doesn’t hang out with anyone who isn’t a Genius, remember…

Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Mitsuru Kirijo

short;Play: TimeSplitters

I love me some TimeSplitters. And I was in the mood for some TimeSplitters lately. So what better way to scratch that itch than to play some TimeSplitters?

The original TimeSplitters was a PlayStation 2 launch game developed by ex-Rare employees who previously worked on GoldenEye and Perfect Dark — and it actually got some flak for being less narrative-focused than its spiritual predecessors. Today, however, its arcade-style, mechanics-centric action is blessed relief from the myriad open world, XP-grinding, 100-hour epics we have today, even outside the RPG genre. Just turn on, play, enjoy.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more. There’s more I want to talk about with regard to TimeSplitters, so this will likely return to short;Play at some point in the near future!

Mad Rat Dead: Prepare to Die

One of the best things about Nippon Ichi Software is the company’s willingness to take some risks and put out some highly creative, artistic titles alongside its longstanding cash cow franchises.

A reliable source of these fascinating “B-tier Nippon Ichi” titles is designer Yu Mizokami who, to date, has given us the Yomawari series of horror games and contributed to the excellent (and perpetually overlooked) Lapis x Labyrinth. Now he’s back once again with a brand new but equally stylish title: Mad Rat Dead, which aims to blend rhythm action with 2D platforming.

Both are genres that demand committed, attentive players with an eye for detail and a willingness to put in some practice. But can these two styles of game work together? Let’s take a closer look.

Continue reading Mad Rat Dead: Prepare to Die

Atari A to Z: Maniac Mover

Type-in listings were a key part of 8-bit home computer culture, both in Europe and across the pond in the States.

The quality of games varied wildly, but it was always an interesting and satisfying experience to type something in to the computer’s BASIC interpreter, save it to a disk or cassette and have something you could enjoy at any time — just like something you’d bought from a shop.

Here’s an example from the latter days of Atari User magazine; a machine code type-in known as Maniac Mover. Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Atari A to Z

The MoeGamer Podcast: Episode 44 – Happy Birthday PlayStation 2

Welcome to a brand new podcast about what is now a surprisingly old console! I’m joined for this discussion once again by the freshly rebranded 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 44 – Happy Birthday PlayStation 2

Around the Network

Good morning everyone! I have a podcast to edit, but I thought I’d get this done before I spend all day editing and end up too exhausted to write anything coherent at 11pm. So here we are!

It’s been a pretty eventful week for world events, huh? And I suspect the chaos isn’t quite over as yet, but at least things are moving along in one way or another. I’d like to remind everyone that you’re all welcome here if you want a break from the barrage of noise that is the rest of the Internet; I’m just here to talk about good ol’ video games, so come hang out and chat about what I’ve been writing about this week!

And on that note, let’s check out exactly what I have been writing about this week; hit the jump to explore what you might have missed.

Continue reading Around the Network

Atari A to Z Flashback: Quadrun

It’s fun times four with Quadrun, which is one of the rarer Atari 2600 games thanks to its original status as a mail order-only game for Atari Club members.

It’s a shame this didn’t get a wider release, because it’s an intriguing, unusual, experimental and rather fun game once you get your head around its core mechanics, which see you moving around four distinct quadrants of a playfield to dispatch enemies and rescue “Runts” from the dreaded electric toaster grids.

Check it out in the video below, and please subscribe on YouTube for more.

Atari A to Z

Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland – A Princess’ Work is Never Done

cropped-atelier-megafeature-header-1.pngThis post is one chapter of a MegaFeature!
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As Princess Merurulince Rede Arls faces down the formidable task of expanding the tiny little hamlet that is Arls kingdom into a bustling city of 30,000 residents in the space of three years, she clearly has a lot of work ahead of her.

More to the point, she has a lot of different types of work ahead of her, too, meaning she’ll need to carefully balance her time between cooking up alchemical creations in her workshop and heading out into the field to listen to the requests of the people, slap down the local monster populations and generally go rather above and beyond the expectations of someone of her social standing.

She loves every minute, though, and you’ll be right there alongside her as she takes on her many and varied challenges. In this part of the Atelier MegaFeature, we take a look at how Meruru crafts items, and how that helps her long-term objective of developing the kingdom.

Continue reading Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland – A Princess’ Work is Never Done

Evercade A to Z: Prehistorik Man

It’s always nice when your expectations, preconceptions and prejudices are proven wrong — particularly when the result is something you find surprisingly enjoyable.

Such was the case when I first booted up Prehistorik Man from Titus, originally released for Super NES and more recently found on the Interplay Collection 2 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming platform. Developer Titus has a somewhat… variable reputation, shall we say, so it was a pleasant surprise to discover that Prehistorik Man is actually a solid, interesting platformer with some fun, varied level design.

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

SpyHunter: Who Needs Stealth?

Midway’s 1983 title Spy Hunter is a fairly well-loved title from the golden age of arcade games. While some would argue it’s not quite as well-known as the Pac-Men and the Space Invaderses of the world, it’s still a game a lot of people have fond memories of.

Its top-down combat racing action provided an interesting blend of different genres to enjoy; there was the high-speed skilful manoeuvring of racers, coupled with the focus on high-score chasing typically associated with shoot ’em ups. And it had a distinct sense of style, too; originally intended to be a licensed James Bond game, the game ended up becoming iconic for its use of Henry Mancini’s Peter Gunn theme as its in-game music. And early example of a video game being genuinely “cool”.

When a mechanical reboot and narrative sequel showed up for PlayStation 2 in 2001, then, it had quite the shoes to fill. How well did it pay homage to the original while providing an up-to-date experience for the early 21st century gamer? Let’s take a closer look.

Continue reading SpyHunter: Who Needs Stealth?