As part of Sega’s 60th anniversary celebrations, the company has been putting out a number of limited-time-only free minigames on Steam, including a Streets of Rage-inspired brawler based on the Yakuza series, a tank blaster based on Company of Heroes and a Fantasy Zone/Endless crossover.
By far the most controversial of these freebie releases is an unfinished prototype that has become known as Golden Axed. It was originally intended to be part of an ambitious series known as Sega Reborn, which would not only feature reimaginings of Sega classics such as Shinobi, Altered Beast and Streets of Rage, but also tie them all together with some sort of coherent plot and a “hub world” to explore.
The project as a whole never happened, but the team from Sega’s Australian studio behind the pitch did manage to put together a short prototype for the Golden Axe part of the whole package. But there’s an interesting — and somewhat depressing — story behind it that is well worth sharing. So let’s explore further.
Continue reading Golden Axed: A Prototype with a Dark Past
Good morning! I’m here bright and early today to share some exciting news with you, fresh out of the 2020 Tokyo Game Show and courtesy of the lovely folks at PQube and Inti Creates.
The original Gal*Gun — the direct prequel to Gal*Gun Double Peace, and a game which was never previously released in the West — is finally coming to English-speaking audiences in 2021, as part of the series’ 10th anniversary celebrations. This newly remastered version, known as Gal*Gun Returns, will be released on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PC via Steam. PlayStation 4 is, quite understandably, being left out in the cold, presumably due to Sony’s amorphous and nonsensical content policies with regard to sexually provocative content.
This is exciting news! So let’s take a closer look at what we can expect from the newly localised version.
Continue reading Gal*Gun Returns on Switch, Xbox and PC in 2021
Over the weekend of the 12-13 September 2020, the world was treated to the debut streams of “HoloMyth”, a group of five virtual YouTubers specifically designed to entertain the English-speaking online community.
HoloMyth, or Hololive English as they’re also known, are part of the rapidly growing Hololive agency run by Japanese “virtual entertainment” company Cover Corporation. To date, the numerous Hololive virtual YouTubers have been primarily aimed at the Asian market, though several of them have enjoyed breakout worldwide success thanks to the efforts of community subtitlers — and the talent’s own enthusiasm to embrace their overseas viewers.
Hololive English demonstrates that Cover Corporation is very much aware of the international enthusiasm for virtual YouTubers, and is keen to provide entertainment to that market. It just makes good business sense, after all — but is it worth English speakers finally diving down that rabbit hole if they haven’t already? Let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading Hololive English: Examining a Worldwide Phenomenon
With a few exceptions, officially licensed video game adaptations of the Olympics tend to be little more than footnotes in video gaming history.
Often regarded by critics as collections of minigames rather than anything of real substance, they tend to enjoy a brief period of popularity around the time of the real-life Games they find themselves based on, then afterwards fall into complete obscurity, never to be seen again. Which puts Sega’s Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – The Official Video Game (Tokyo 2020 hereafter) in a rather interesting position.
First releasing in Japan in July of 2019, a full year before the actual Tokyo 2020 games were set to begin, it now finds itself in the peculiar position of being an official adaptation of an event that never happened — and that, at the time of writing, we’re not 100% sure will happen as the global COVID-19 pandemic continues. Which makes it an interesting historical curiosity at the very least — but thankfully it’s also an entertaining game, too. Let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: The Game of the Games That Never Were
Xbox Live Arcade and its contemporaries are interesting places to look back over. Since XBLA and PSN were some of the first high-profile digital storefronts for console gaming, a lot of companies decided to get a bit experimental with their low-cost, download-only releases.
For some developers, this meant the opportunity to experiment with new and exciting styles of game that probably wouldn’t have gotten greenlit by retail publishers at the time. For others, it was a good excuse to return to some of their classic properties that had lain dormant for a while — and a chance to bring these beloved names kicking and screaming into the digital, high-definition age.
Konami’s Frogger: Hyper Arcade Edition from 2012 very much falls into the latter category, as you might expect. And while it’s a far from essential part of any digital console library, it does manage to keep the essence of Frogger intact while providing some intriguing new ways to play — particularly if you have friends over.
Continue reading Frogger Hyper Arcade Edition: Froggy Moves One Step At a Time
Nutaku, if you’re unfamiliar, is a Canadian adult gaming website that launched in December of 2014 and quickly racked up a million registered users within its first year of operation.
Over the course of the following five years, that number has exploded to over fifty million — and the platform has big plans for the future.
I had the good fortune to spend some time picking the brain of company representatives (who wished to remain anonymous) on the subject of these plans — and the platform’s place in the growing adult gaming sector. Read on to find out more!
NSFW images ahead. You can also go ahead and assume that all links are NSFW as a pretty safe bet!
Continue reading Nutaku: Destigmatising and Democratising Adult Video Games
Remember Battleship? ‘Course you do. It’s the game parents use to teach kids about grid references, and a game that, despite being regarded as an all-time classic, has all the tactical depth of playing “Guess What Number I’m Thinking Of”.
Do you remember the 2012 movie, though? It had Rihanna in it. Also aliens. And there was a video game adaptation for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, developed by Double Helix and published by Activision. Both were pretty roundly panned by critics at the time of original release for being seemingly stupid ideas that had very little to do with the source material they were supposedly based on.
With the seventh generation of video game consoles rapidly entering “retro” territory, you can now pick up unpopular, poorly received, critically maligned titles like Battleship for less than a fiver. And you know how much I love a good unpopular, poorly received, critically maligned title, particularly when you can divorce it from its original context and enjoy it on its own terms. So let’s take a closer look at Battleship.
Continue reading Battleship: B4 U H8
Steam has reinstated Bokuten after investigation confirmed the issue with the missed (and inaccessible) CGs mentioned below. This article remains relevant, however, because Steam’s treatment of MangaGamer in this incident was totally unacceptable. Original article follows.
Steam is the largest, most well-established PC gaming platform out there. For many gamers, “PC gaming” and “Steam” are pretty much synonymous.
To put it another way, in much the same way that Grandma thinks that Facebook is “the Internet”, there are many people out there who don’t look beyond Steam as a place to buy new games. And while there are perfectly valid reasons to favour Steam — its social features are pretty good, its frequent sales make gaming very affordable and it’s where you’ll find the largest communities for many online games — there are certain parts of the industry that are being treated extremely poorly by the platform.
One of those is the localised Japanese visual novel sector, which frequently finds itself the victim of Valve’s seemingly amorphous content policies. So it’s time we looked at what we, as a community, can perhaps do a bit differently.
Continue reading Steam’s Inconsistency is Hurting Visual Novels – How We Can Help
I love me a slippery-slidy, drift-centric arcade racer, as you’ll know very well if you followed the extensive Ridge Racer Cover Game feature from a while back, or indeed were kind enough to watch my playthrough of Split/Second Velocity on YouTube.
As such, I was immediately interested when PQube announced its upcoming racer Inertial Drift, developed by an outfit known as Level 91 Entertainment. This game promised a ’90s style aesthetic, exaggerated arcadey racing action… and what sounded like a rather unusual control scheme.
How exactly does a twin-stick racing game work anyway? I fired up the Inertial Drift Sunset Prologue interactive demo to find out.
Continue reading Inertial Drift Sunset Prologue: A Bold New Take on Arcade Racing
There have been a few games released over the course of the last few years that purport to be based around the life of a streamer or YouTuber, and I’ve typically shied away from them.
When Hammerfist, developers of the Deep Space Waifu series, reached out to me and asked me to take a look at their new game based on online video culture, though, I was interested. Hammerfist has a distinctly “punk” attitude towards game development that I rather like — and I was intrigued to see how they would approach this subject matter.
What followed was a rather entertaining game that can be beaten in a couple of hours, but which provides an enjoyable experience along the way. Hit the jump and let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading TubeLive: Living the Streamer Dream