Category Archives: Features

Log Jammers: Less Wind, More Log

One of the most common arguments in favour of pocket-sized handheld gaming devices is that they’re eminently suitable for bite-sized nuggets of gameplay that will keep you distracted for a few minutes at a time.

The Evercade retro gaming platform is no stranger to this concept, with plenty of the games across its complete library ideal for a quick rag on while you wait for your Pot Noodle to finish festering, your significant other to get out of the bog and/or Amelia Watson to start streaming. And many of these “quick hit” games can be found on the eighth cartridge in the library: Mega Cat Studios Collection 1a compilation of “modern retro” titles where today’s developers make new games for yesterday’s systems.

A fine example is Mega Cat’s self-developed Log Jammers, an exceedingly unsubtle homage to Data East’s Neo Geo title Windjammers, originally released for NES in 2017 and now available for fun on the go thanks to the Evercade. Grab your axe and let’s get rolling!

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Prehistorik Man: Titus Made Good Games Sometimes

Titus, it’s fair to say, is not one of the most fondly regarded names in classic gaming — though a fair amount of their work was at least memorable for one reason or another.

That doesn’t mean it was a company completely incapable of putting out a good game, however. And in fact, when Titus was on top form, they actually made some really good titles that still hold up very well today.

One of those games is Prehistorik Man, originally released for Super NES and now brought to a whole new audience as part of the Interplay Collection 2 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming platform. Let’s take a closer look!

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Dragon Spirit: The New Legend – In Case of Emergency, Use Dragon

The shoot ’em up genre is, it’s fair to say, fairly dominated by spaceships. It makes sense — a sci-fi tale allows for pretty much unbridled creativity, taking the player on a journey through the stars into the great unknown, battling off hordes of unimaginable horrors from many light years away.

But the fantasy genre is ripe for exploiting in this way, too; much like the more outlandish side of sci-fi, a lot of fantasy has never seemed too concerned with respecting the usual laws of physics, time and space. And as such there’s no good reason why we couldn’t have just as satisfying a time blasting our way through a fantasy tale as we could if we were behind the controls of some sort of comically overpowered spaceship.

Namco evidently felt this way back in 1987 when they released the fantasy-themed vertically scrolling shoot ’em up Dragon Spirit to the arcades. And then they remembered it was still a very good idea a couple of years later when they released quasi-sequel Dragon Spirit: The New Legend for Famicom in 1989, with a North American NES version following in 1990. And this 8-bit home console version can now be enjoyed by a whole new audience today, thanks to its inclusion on the Namco Museum Collection 2 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system. So let’s take a closer look!

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Solaris: The 2600’s Finest Hour

The humble Atari 2600 had an astonishingly long lifespan, being officially produced between 1977 and 1992. As you might expect, this means there’s an equally astonishing difference between the very first games for it and those which came out later in its lifespan.

Solaris by Doug Neubauer came out in 1986, putting it towards the latter end of that lifespan. To date it remains one of the very finest games on the Atari 2600 from technological, gameplay and design standpoints — although not one that gets talked about all that much. And all this makes it a title well worth checking out even if you don’t normally “do” Atari games.

Thankfully, it’s now easier than ever to try it for yourself, since it appears on the Atari Collection 2 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system. So let’s take a closer look!

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Earthworm Jim: Shiny, Groovy People

Earthworm Jim is, for many people, a defining game of the 16-bit home console era. Perhaps not in quite the same way as titles like Super Mario World and Sonic the Hedgehog, but it’s definitely a title people look back on fondly.

Probably the main reason for its enduring appeal is its incredible animation, which combines traditional hand-drawn techniques with digital pixel art to create something with a very distinctive and memorable aesthetic.

To my shame, I never played it back in the day. Thankfully, I can now correct that gap in my knowledge and experience thanks to the Mega Drive version being included on the Interplay Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system. So let’s dive in and see what I’ve been missing!

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Magicami DX: Candy-Coloured Darkness

Following on from last week’s look at big-budget free-to-play city pop magical girls eroge Magicami DX, I’ve been spending a bit more time with the game.

At the time of writing, I’m over halfway through the current main story content (on the game’s Normal difficulty), so it’s that side of things I’d like to talk about today — with particular regard to how the 18+ version of the game handles things.

With that in mind, there will likely be mild spoilers ahead, along with NSFW images and graphic descriptions and depictions of sexual violence. You have been warned!

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Midnight Resistance: Under Lock and Key

Throughout the 8- and 16-bit home computer and console eras, we saw numerous developers “paying homage” to one another’s work — and often developing their own interesting twists on the formula in the process.

One cannot look at Data East’s 1989 release Midnight Resistance and not think of Konami’s Contra from two years prior, for example, but in practice the two games play quite differently, developing their own distinct identities in the process.

These days, Contra is by far the better known game, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explore Midnight Resistance for yourself. And, as luck would have it, Midnight Resistance can be found in its Mega Drive incarnation on the Data East Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system — so let’s take a closer look!

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Magicami DX: Magical Girls Go Punk

Critics of popular Asian free-to-play games often joke that those who invest money into their hobbies are “paying money for JPEGs of their favourite characters”.

While obviously a somewhat mean-spirited exaggeration, the truth of the matter is that, barring a few notable exceptions, free-to-play mobile games do tend to eschew flashy technical prowess in favour of a constant barrage of new playable storylines, special events and collaborations with popular franchises. And their players don’t seem to mind this relative lack of “wow factor”; the immensely popular and long-running Granblue Fantasy, for example, is little more than a collection of sluggishly loading HTML pages playing some low bitrate audio in the background, but it shows no sign of slowing down.

With all this in mind, though, wouldn’t it be nice to find a free-to-play game that combined the things people enjoy about this sort of experience with rather higher production values than usual? Well, enter Magicami DX, a game which came out in 2019 back home in Japan, and which has now found itself localised for the browsers and mobile devices of English speakers thanks to adult gaming specialists Nutaku, who you may recall I had a nice chat with a little while back.

Let’s take a first look!

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My Time With Dee Dee, Vol. 4: First Look

If you’ve been following along for a while, you’ll know that friend of the site and big bossman of DigitallyDownloaded.net Matt Sainsbury has been beavering away at a series of visual novels of late.

Collectively known as My Time With Dee Dee, each “volume” of the series focuses on a particular aspect of literature and explores it in depth from a practical perspective, both through the volume’s own narrative and a bonus academic-style explanation of the genre or school of thought.

To date, we’ve taken on the erotic thriller in the first volume, the concept of the male gaze in the second, and existentialism in the third. Now, with the upcoming fourth volume, Sainsbury has set himself a challenging goal: to explore, challenge and confront the ideas of the Marquis de Sade. To that end, he sent me an early version of the new game to take a look at and see what I thought. So let’s do just that!

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Mappy: Your Move, Cat

Mappy is perhaps not one of Namco’s most well-known arcade games from the early days — here in the West, anyway — but it’s still one that the company frequently acknowledges and pays tribute to.

Many of the cars in the Ridge Racer series feature “sponsorship” by the series, for example, and the first Mappy title, which we’re concerned with today, was successful enough to spawn several sequels. There was even an animated series made in 2013 as part of Namco’s ShiftyLook initiative, but sadly this is no longer officially available.

Whether you’re a longstanding fan of the series or a newcomer, you can now enjoy the original Mappy’s NES port as part of the Namco Museum Collection 1 for the Evercade retro gaming platform. So let’s take a closer look!

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