Category Archives: Essentials

A collection of articles highlighting noteworthy or interesting games from the libraries of lesser-appreciated, rarer or retro systems, and in specific genres.

House of Golf: Tabletop Tee-Off

Video games don’t have to be complicated to be enjoyable. They don’t always need to be grand, sweeping great works of art, nor do they always need to have something to “say”; sometimes they can just be fun.

Such is the thinking behind House of Golf, a Nintendo Switch release from Liverpudlian studio Atomicom, a group made up of ex-Psygnosis staffers who were last seen bringing us a game about driving JCB excavators on Mars.

This is a game designed to be nothing more than a bit of fun for 1-6 players — and it achieves this pretty admirably. Let’s take a closer look!

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Rolling Thunder 2: Leila Takes the Lead

Rolling Thunder is a classic Namco title with good reason. Its slower pace, methodical gameplay and learnable patterns make it an obvious precursor to the stealth games of today.

Its 1990 sequel offers more of the same in many ways — but with considerably enhanced visuals, refined mechanics and presentation and an all-new option to enjoy the game with two players simultaneously.

It’s not nearly as well known as its predecessor, but it’s a great game in its own right. And, conveniently, it’s part of the Namco Museum collection on Nintendo Switch!

Continue reading Rolling Thunder 2: Leila Takes the Lead

Splatterhouse: Elements of Horror

Yes, yes, yes, I know it was Halloween yesterday and thus I was supposed to cover a spooky game then, but I was busy then, so you’re getting it now instead.

Splatterhouse is a classic 1988 horror game from Namco, and there are a variety of ways you can play it today — the most recent and readily accessible of which is the excellent Namco Museum on Switch.

It’s also a very interesting game to look back on from a modern perspective, given how popular horrific, gory games have become as the gaming medium has matured.

Continue reading Splatterhouse: Elements of Horror

Columns II: The Most Passive-Aggressive Puzzle Game Ever

Remember Columns? Remember how we talked about how chilled out it was, and how it didn’t want to stress you out? Yeah, you can forget all that with its direct follow-up.

Columns II is an example of an approach to sequels that was popular for a short while in the late ’80s and early ’90s: the provision of an experience clearly geared towards expert players, and a distinct case of “the same, but more so, and way harder“.

While Columns wanted everyone to relax and have a fun old time matching coloured gems, Columns II does everything in its power to stress you out at every opportunity. And I both love it and hate it for that!

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Ichidant-R: Minigame Mayhem

Say the words “minigame collection” to a modern-day gamer and chances are they will roll their eyes and say something about shovelware, perhaps the Wii.

But we’re not about that sort of negativity here on MoeGamer, particularly because I know that minigame compilations can be an absolute ton of fun, and there are numerous great examples from throughout the years.

One such example is Ichidant-R, the sequel to Tant-R, which in turn was a bizarre spinoff of Bonanza Bros. And wouldn’t you know it? Sega just happens to have released Ichidant-R as part of its excellent Sega Ages collection on Nintendo Switch. Let’s take a closer look.

Continue reading Ichidant-R: Minigame Mayhem

nail’d: Look Out Below

I love a good racing game. And, while the definition of “good racing game” may vary from person to person, in my case that means “ridiculous, physically improbable and probably fatal things happening in realistic-looking environments”.

I have no interest in an accurate simulation of what it’s like to drive a Rover Metro around Donington Park circa 1987, but present me with the opportunity to fling myself off the side of a quarry on a motorbike going over 200 miles per hour while I admire the ruins of ancient Greece passing majestically by beneath me, and I am 100% there.

As you may have surmised, nail’d falls very comfortably and firmly into this latter category.

Continue reading nail’d: Look Out Below

Flicky: The Sound of Birdsong is So Beautiful

Ah, the 1980s; a period of shameless attempts to replicate and exceed the success of other people by having a go at doing it yourself.

Well, that was the thinking that drove Sega to create Flicky in 1984, anyway; jealous of Namco’s success with Mappy, the company’s leadership tasked designer Yoji Ishii with creating something that would beat their rival’s game.

Did they succeed? Well, that’s a matter of opinion. Just maybe bring the earplugs if you want to judge for yourself.

Continue reading Flicky: The Sound of Birdsong is So Beautiful