Splatoon was not only a great game, it represented Nintendo successfully giving a rather pointed middle finger to everyone who thought it relied too much on its old franchises.
Despite being on the Wii U, one of Nintendo’s least successful pieces of hardware, the game went on to perform extremely well worldwide, proving popular in both its native Japan and the rest of the world. By the end of December 2017, it had sold around 4.91 million copies — a pretty healthy proportion of the console’s entire user base, which stood at a little under 14 million as of December 2016. That means approximately one in every three Wii U owners had a copy.
A new generation of hardware was an ideal opportunity to explore the franchise further. And with the Switch performing much better in terms of sales than its predecessor pretty much from launch onwards, more people than ever before would be able to enjoy the experience of being a kid, then a squid, then a kid, then…
Continue reading Switch Essentials: Splatoon 2 (Part 1 – Single Player)
“The eight soldiers get to attack the wicked terrorists!!”
So ran the promotional blurb on the arcade flyer for SNK’s Shock Troopers, a well-regarded installment in the Neo Geo library developed by Saurus and originally released in 1997 to both home- and arcade-based Neo Geo systems.
This is not by any means a unique setup for a video game, particularly an arcade title from the era, but what makes Shock Troopers truly special is its execution. And its presentation. And, well, everything.
Continue reading Neo Geo Essentials: Shock Troopers
It’s weird how some memories stick with you for the longest time, for seemingly no reason whatsoever.
Prior to picking up a copy again recently, I hadn’t played Top Gear on the Super NES since the early ’90s when it was first released. And yet upon firing it up I confirmed something I had suspected for a while: its music had indeed been stuck in my head for nearly thirty years.
I was also pleased to discover that Top Gear is indeed still a whole lot of fun — and a great example of a type of racing game that has been rendered largely obsolete by the advances in technology over the years.
Continue reading SNES Essentials: Top Gear
I am one of the least sporty people I know, and I find the prospect of winter sports particularly terrifying. But I’ve always found something appealing about games involving skiing and suchlike.
My interest in this type of game dates right back to the imaginatively titled Skiing on the Philips G7000 Videopac (aka the Magnavox Odyssey 2 for American readers, where the game was known as Alpine Skiing) and the slightly later Winter Games from Epyx for various home computers.
Sometime around the PlayStation 1 and 2 eras, winter sports games started to place a heavy focus on technical, trick-based gameplay rather than the straight racing of early titles such as Skiing. And I kind of missed that simplicity.
Enter Namco’s Alpine Racer 3, the third installment of a series that began as a 1994 arcade title.
Continue reading PS2 Essentials: Alpine Racer 3
The late 2010s are often described as one of the most gleefully experimental periods in gaming history, with a wide variety of independent developers from all sorts of backgrounds doing their best to push the boundaries of gaming conventions in both mechanical and narrative terms.
There’s no denying that the rise in phenomena such as digital distribution and crowdfunding has enabled developers to work on games that many would have thought commercially unviable in years gone by. But this period is far from the only time in gaming when developers have had the freedom to experiment in this way.
D3 Publisher’s Simple Series, which originated on the PlayStation platform in the 1990s and continued right up until the Wii U era, provided a variety of developers the opportunity to spread their wings and get creative. The only caveat was that the games would almost certainly have miniscule budgets, and they would be released at a low-cost price point. Beyond that, anything would fly.
Here’s Paparazzi, originally known as The Camera Kozou (The Camera Apprentice), a PS2 game about taking photographs.
Continue reading PS2 Essentials: Paparazzi/The Camera Kozou
Some of my fondest memories from my formative years have the Nintendo 64 as their focal point.
Whether it was indulging in loud-mouthed, profanity-laden four-player GoldenEye, Perfect Dark and Duke Nukem 64 deathmatches or just me and my similarly non-sporty school friends desperately trying to understand the appeal of the World Cup through the use of EA’s imaginatively titled World Cup 98, this console holds a special place in my heart.
And yet somehow up until now I’d never played one of its most well-respected games: Wave Race 64. And now I am kicking myself for not checking it out sooner.
Continue reading N64 Essentials: Wave Race 64
Imagine Tetris. Then imagine it wrapped around a sphere. Then forget whatever you just pictured, because Tetrisphere is nothing like that. It’s still great, though.
Technically Tetrisphere is a little outside of MoeGamer’s normal remit in that it was not developed by a Japanese company, nor was it ever actually released in Japan. It did, however, find its home on a Japanese games console — the Nintendo 64 — and as such it totally counts. Particularly as it’s an awesome puzzle game, and we’re all about awesome puzzle games.
So how can one possibly make something as simple and elegant as Tetris work in a three-dimensional, spherical space? Well, as I’ve previously alluded to, you don’t; you do something a bit different.
Continue reading Puzzler Essentials: Tetrisphere