December is almost upon us, and that means Christmas is coming!
With that in mind, I’m going to hold off on Cover Game features for December, since the month is looking to be fairly chaotic with a combination of things at my day job plus the usual family visits around the main festive period. Normal business will resume in January.
This doesn’t mean I’m not going to write anything, however! I had a bright idea for something fun to do earlier today. And I’d like your help in preparing for it!
November 4 is Game Day for this year’s Extra Life — at least for me.
You can find some information about the event and my contribution to it on my fundraising page — as well as make a pledge — but today I wanted to share a bit more information about what I’m planning for the day itself.
I don’t tend to do a lot of streaming, but my 24-hour stint playing Final Fantasy XIV for Extra Life two years ago was a lot of fun, so I’m looking forward to this session too! I hope you’ll join me for some of the day.
MoeGamer turned three years old back at the end of April, and this April also marked a year since the launch of “MoeGamer 2.0”, the current format of the site featuring monthly Cover Games.
You may have noticed a few behind-the-scenes tweaks and pokes over the course of the last week or so, in which case you’re probably wondering what’s going on. (Or perhaps you didn’t notice at all as yet, in which case consider this an official “announcement” of sorts.)
Today I’d like to talk a bit about these new changes, what I’d like to achieve in both the short- and long-term with the site, and unashamedly ask you to continue supporting the site!
Since we had five Wednesdays this month, I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk a bit about what’s coming up here on MoeGamer.
In the immediate future, you can expect the full Cover Game treatment for the rather peculiar autoscrolling roguelike One Way Heroics next month, starting from next Wednesday. During the course of September, we’ll look at the original One Way Heroics, its substantial expansion One Way Heroics Plus and the brand new re-imagining of the game by Spike Chunsoft, Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics, which, conveniently, is due out for PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and PC in mid-September.
Following that, in October you can expect an in-depth look at Inti Creates’ rail shooter Gal*Gun Double Peace for PlayStation 4 and Vita, including a detailed look at how it blends mechanics from rail shooters, dating sims and visual novels to create something altogether unique — and something that has far more depth than might be immediately apparent.
After that, with any luck I’ll have made it through Compile Heart’s latest (at the time of writing) opus Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force, so that takes care of November. Advent Dark Force is, for the unfamiliar, not only a revamped version of the original PlayStation 3 version of Fairy Fencer F, but it also incorporates two brand new scenarios that diverge considerably from the original storyline. Featuring art by Tsunako of Neptunia fame plus contributions from Final Fantasy veterans Yoshitaka Amano (concept art) and Nobuo Uematsu (music), it’s not a spoiler to say it’s a game that fans of JRPGs won’t want to miss.
By then it will be December and the end of the year will be closing in. With Final Fantasy XV now coming out in November, I’m keen to write about that in some point in the near future, but without playing the game I don’t know if I’ll have done so to my satisfaction by the time December rolls around. Final Fantasy XV, of course, is not exactly a “niche” game, but it’s too big to ignore completely — particularly as the level of trust the general public has had in the series since XIII has been… a little lower than in its heyday, let’s say. In other words, it’ll pay to do some in-depth analysis on what promises to be a remarkable and possibly divisive experience. So I’ll pencil that in for December, though this may end up being replaced by something else I can write about at more short notice if it turns out to be a behemoth, no pun intended.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has shown their support for MoeGamer to date, with a particular emphasis on those who have been kind enough to demonstrate their support with financial contributions via Patreon — if you’d like to join them, please click here. The more I make each month, the less I have to worry about paying the mortgage and bills and whatnot; since I’m between “real jobs” at the moment, and have been for several months now, this is a very real concern, and it would be utterly wonderful to be able to go back to the halcyon days of being paid a living wage to do what I love.
I’m currently looking into other ways that readers might be able to show support on a non-recurring basis, and am leaning towards the idea of a MoeGamer Compendium — a book featuring all the in-depth articles from this year (plus a few extra bits and pieces exclusively for the book), edited for print format and tarted up with all manner of nice shiny coffee table book prettiness. If this proves to be popular, I’d like to make this an annual thing in the long term, building it up into a collection of books that any collector or fan of Japanese games would be proud to have on their shelves.
Another alternative that I’ve been kicking around is a MoeGamer magazine to act as a collectible companion to the site’s monthly content, gathering both the Cover Game articles from the site with some additional supplementary goodies about the game(s) in question.
If either of these options are of particular interest to you, please let me know and I’ll look further into getting things rolling on them.
In the meantime, another hearty “thank you” to those who have shown their support for MoeGamer since its inception — or in some cases, since my earlier JRPG and visual novel columns on Games Are Evil (RIP) and USgamer. I love playing and writing about these games, and knowing that my work is appreciated means the world to me. I hope I can continue to delight you with tales of underappreciated classics and highly creative works of flawed genius for many years to come — so long as there are new experiences out there to be had, I’d love to keep writing about them.
I’ve been doing some thinking lately: about what to do with MoeGamer, which you’ve doubtless noticed has been dormant since last August; about how I can provide good quality writing that will encourage people to show their support via my Patreon (which is due a revamp — watch that space over the next few days for details); and about how I can help plug the gaping hole the mainstream games press has left when it comes to coverage of more niche-interest Japanese games.
MoeGamer has always been a passion project that I’ve worked on when I’ve had 1) the time and 2) the motivation to write something. It’s easy to get wrapped up in something like this and start pressuring yourself to provide “content” day after day as often as possible — this is the model the majority of the Web operates on, after all, but it’s partly why the games press (and much of the press at large, it has to be said) is in such a mess right now. That constant drive for content — not writing, not criticism, not analysis, content — makes it very easy to get burnt out, which I think is partly what happened here.
Whenever I’ve done regular writing about Japanese games, be it for my READ.ME and Swords and Zippers columns on the now sadly defunct Games Are Evil or for my JPgamer column during my time at USgamer, I’ve always felt the pressure to always try and be on top of things: to be writing about something new; to be writing about something relevant; to provide an interesting spin on something that takes the pulse of (supposedly) popular opinion as well as my own take; to maintain the audience’s interest. Content, content, content.
While that may be an effective way to operate an ad-supported site with a team of regular staffers, it’s no way to run a passion project in which I just want to write in-depth articles about games that have particularly resonated with me — and which I want other people to experience the joy of, too. As such, I’m rebooting my thinking with MoeGamer and trying a new approach that will hopefully create something a little bit different to other games coverage out there.
Hello, welcome and thanks for stopping by. This is MoeGamer, a little corner of the Internet carved out as a safe haven for those who enjoy and are passionate about Japanese interactive entertainment.
Those of you who have followed me here from other sites will already know I’m a strong believer in the hidden depths of games that are often misunderstood, maligned or outright neglected by the mainstream press. It’s a balance I attempted to redress with my regular JPgamer column at USgamer, but since, at the time of writing, I am currently counting down the days until my stint on that site comes to a close, I wanted to ensure I had a dedicated place to write about this aspect of gaming I derive such enjoyment from, even if wherever I end up next doesn’t provide me with such an opportunity.
It’s more than that, though; I wanted to ensure I could continue to provide interesting content for those people who expressed their support for me and my work after I announced my impending departure from USgamer. Somewhere along the line, I had picked up the reputation as someone who treated Japanese games with respect, and who understood the “otaku gamer” mindset rather than dismissing it out of hand. Otaku gamers may be but a small niche in the games business as a whole, but it’s a niche ill catered to by the mainstream press in 2014.
And so we come to MoeGamer. As a completely independent site, MoeGamer is not beholden to any specific editorial or commercial agenda. I’m not chasing hits, nor am I trying to produce content that goes viral, nor any other such considerations of the modern, socially connected era. I’m simply trying to provide compelling, interesting content about Japanese games — new and old — that those who share a similar interest in this side of video games might enjoy. And if someone who doesn’t know much about Japanese games stumbles across this site and finds out something they didn’t know before? So much the better.
So what can you expect to find on this site? Well, don’t expect the typical games site mix of news, reviews, previews and features. Instead, you can expect to see more in-depth readings of games, explorations and celebrations of trends in the medium, and my personal take on various aspects of Japanese gaming. The content already on the site at the time of writing will hopefully give you an idea of what to expect; more to come going forward.
One thing to note, though: at the time of writing, this is very much a “side project” for me as I attempt to secure a new full-time position for my post-USgamer time. You’ll also notice it’s currently hosted on a WordPress site rather than its own domain. (Edit: No longer! Welcome to moegamer.net, with thanks to my partner Andie for the birthday present domain name!) This is because I want to gauge interest in and response to the project before committing more time and resources to it. As such, at present I’m not going to make any brash promises about regularity of content or a posting schedule, though I will do my best to keep a reasonably steady flow of new stuff coming each week.
So here’s where you come in. If you like what you see, please leave comments, click the Like button and share your favourite posts. Every bit of engagement I get on the work I do helps show me that there is an audience for this type of content, and that they want to see more of it. Should that audience prove sizeable enough, I’ll look into making MoeGamer more ambitious in scope. I have a few things in mind, but we’ll save discussion of that for another day.
For now, I hope you enjoy what MoeGamer has to offer. Thanks for your support.
– Pete Davison
The best of overlooked and underappreciated Japanese and Japanese-inspired games
A humble, but mostly less than half-assed, blog of a pessimistic Otaku that was saved by Anime first, Manga then, just to be saved once again by Light Novels and Visual Novels; and thus wishes to share the beautiful world that is 2D. Yet, you will find mostly rants. Also available at 7thStyle.