Category Archives: Features

Sega Ages: OutRun – Chasing the Horizon

Trivia of the day: the shiny red car in the original OutRun is not, as many people assume (and as both the Internet and some incarnations of the game’s original manual widely claim), a Ferrari Testarossa; it’s just a car designed to look uncannily like a Ferrari Testarossa — in other words, it’s a thoroughly unlicensed knockoff.

The fact that the car in OutRun is almost-but-not-quite a Ferrari is probably why this first game in the series has been so widely ported and still remains relevant today, while the officially Ferrari-branded OutRun 2 and its expanded quasi-sequel OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast remain tragically trapped in licensing limbo.

The original OutRun has been ported to enough platforms to make the original Final Fantasy and Ys games blush over the years, as well as putting in occasional guest appearances in games such as Shenmue 2 and Yakuza 0. The latest direct port at the time of writing is for Nintendo Switch as part of the Sega Ages collection and is the work of emulation maestros M2, so let’s once again put our foot to the floor and get driving.

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The Zelda Diaries: Part 4 – Peace and Quiet

I’m not an especially active or outdoorsy type… but I’ve always enjoyed the atmosphere of being out in nature. You know, so long as it isn’t trying to bite, sting, cut, burn, poison crush or otherwise bring me to harm in one way or another.

Some of my fondest memories are from childhood, when I had the good fortune to be able to go camping with both my class at school and my Cub Scout pack. My most longstanding, happiest recollections of those trips do not involve the many activities we participated in — but rather simple things, such as gradually drifting off to sleep to the soothing sound of rain on canvas (occasionally punctuated by class clown Christopher Smith farting) or feeling a quiet sense of awe at the almost complete silence around us, save for the leaves on the forest’s trees rustling in the wind.

Breath of the Wild is making me extremely nostalgic for all this sort of thing. And, best of all, I don’t have to go out in the blazing hot British summer sunshine and/or torrential British rain to enjoy it.

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The Zelda Diaries: Part 3 – I Wonder What’s Over There

“I wonder what’s over there” has been an aspect of game design that creators of open world games have been grappling with for some time now.

Ideally, when playing an open world game, the player should be able to find a definitive answer to “I wonder what’s over there” simply by… well, going there. “You see those mountains in the distance? You can actually go there” and all that.

Not every open world game gets this quite right, but Breath of the Wild presents an excellent example of how to do it very well indeed.

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Sega Ages: Virtua Racing – Arcade Perfect Plus

The Nintendo Switch has seen a real renaissance for classic-era Sega.

The launch of the Sega Ages collection on the platform has brought a host of the company’s most beloved titles to a whole new audience. Even better, these releases have brought these titles up to date with modern conveniences without sacrificing what made the originals great in the first place; a true example of “enhanced retro” at work.

The latest title from Sega’s golden age to get this treatment is Virtua Racing, so let’s take a look at where this influential title came from… and how the Nintendo Switch incarnation honours its legacy.

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The Zelda Diaries: Part 2 – Toys of the Trade

One key way in which Breath of the Wild differs from its predecessors in the Legend of Zelda series is in how it handles protagonist Link’s core abilities.

In past Zelda games, Link would typically (though not always) gradually acquire a selection of useful items over the course of his adventure, and in most cases these would correspond to the challenges in the dungeon or situation in which he found them.

In Breath of the Wild, meanwhile, you get given all of your abilities almost from the very beginning of your adventure, and then it’s up to you to spend the rest of the game figuring out all the different ways in which you can use them.

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The Zelda Diaries: Part 1 – A New Beginning

I’ve had The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sitting on my backlog for a long time now, and I’ve been trying to work out the best way to cover it, because I knew that I definitely wanted to cover it in one form or another.

Was a Cover Game feature right for it? Perhaps, but with one or two exceptions, I tend to prefer to reserve the Cover Game slot for games that don’t get much attention from the mainstream press. And Breath of the Wild has certainly had plenty of mainstream attention.

The other consideration was that Breath of the Wild is a massive game, so doing something a bit more… “long term” was perhaps in order. With that in mind, then, I welcome you to the first installment of The Zelda Diaries, chronicling my journey through this ruined Hyrule, and the thoughts that occurred to me along the way.

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The MoeGamer Awards 2018: Game of the Year 2018

The MoeGamer Awards are a series of “alternative” awards that I’ve devised in collaboration with the community as an excuse to celebrate the games, experiences and fanbases that have left a particular impression on me in 2018. Find out more here, but you’re out of time to leave suggestions, I’m afraid!

Well, here we are once again on the last day of the old year, awaiting the arrival of the new. And, of course, that means one thing for anyone interested in games: the completely arbitrary declaration of “Game of the Year”.

Everyone has different criteria for selecting their own personal Game of the Year. For some, it’s simply the game they enjoyed the most or which took over their life to the greatest degree. For others, it’s to do with technical or artistic achievement. For others still, it’s all about sales figures.

For me, it’s quite simply the game I played this year that I feel was… “best”, across all its various aspects. A game that is a real showcase of just what is out there today, and which I feel is a shining example of what being interested in video games really “means”.

And the winner is…

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