Category Archives: One-Shots

One-off articles about games, cultural phenomena, anime and anything else that isn’t getting the Cover Game treatment.

Can Post-Launch Support Go Too Far?

The hot news today has been the announcement of the Final Fantasy XV: Royal Edition, which not only features the base game and all of the Season Pass content, but also adds a number of additional elements to the mix that some may argue should have been in the game in the first place.

This is not, however, where the ongoing saga of Final Fantasy XV ends. Square Enix is planning a second round of premium downloadable content for the game, including standalone “Episodes” themed around antagonist Ardyn and fan favourite Aranea — and who knows what else?

There’s no denying that despite its immensely troubled development history, Final Fantasy XV has had more post-launch support than any big-budget triple-A game in recent memory — and by this point is starting to approach MMO levels of updates and patches. But is this actually a good thing?

Continue reading Can Post-Launch Support Go Too Far?

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Memrise: Another Daily Way to Practice Your Japanese

A while back, we took a look at Duolingo’s iOS and Android-based solution for training your Japanese skills on a daily basis.

Duolingo has since launched the Web-based version of its Japanese course and it is still a worthwhile use of your time, particularly if you’re starting out. But I’ve been exploring an alternative recently after my friend “Firion Hope” on Twitter made me aware of it… and I think I prefer it slightly after spending a couple of weeks with it.

That alternative is Memrise, and if you’re looking for a way to get into the habit of daily study as well as challenging yourself a bit, it’s well worth a look.

Continue reading Memrise: Another Daily Way to Practice Your Japanese

New Year Well-Wishes, and a Look Back on an Interesting 2017

A slightly early “happy new year”, everyone! I was originally going to post this at midnight but figured no-one would actually read it then, so I’m posting it now to go with all the other people posting 2017 roundup threads on Twitter and suchlike.

It’s been an interesting year and, I’m pleased to say, one that has been overall very positive, which is a very nice contrast to the numerous challenges I’ve encountered over the course of… well, probably the last seven years or so, now.

As such, I wanted to make this post a bit of a personal one to look back over the last year, to celebrate the things that went well, and to look forward to what 2018 holds. Regular gaming coverage will continue on Tuesday!

Continue reading New Year Well-Wishes, and a Look Back on an Interesting 2017

The MoeGamer Awards: Help Wanted!

December is almost upon us, and that means Christmas is coming!

With that in mind, I’m going to hold off on Cover Game features for December, since the month is looking to be fairly chaotic with a combination of things at my day job plus the usual family visits around the main festive period. Normal business will resume in January.

This doesn’t mean I’m not going to write anything, however! I had a bright idea for something fun to do earlier today. And I’d like your help in preparing for it! (EDIT: Suggestions are now closed. Thanks to those who participated!)

Continue reading The MoeGamer Awards: Help Wanted!

Nintendo on Atari: Donkey Kong

Today, Nintendo is primarily known for its excellent first-party games that it produces for its unique consoles and handhelds. But there was a time when Nintendo games were a lot more platform-agnostic than they are now.

That time was the early ’80s — specifically, the years before the release of the Famicom in 1983, and its Western incarnation, the Nintendo Entertainment System, in 1985. During this time, Nintendo was making arcade games. And there was a great hunger for ports of these arcade games to home-based systems of the time.

Nintendo’s 1981 classic Donkey Kong was a game that got ported to pretty much every platform imaginable at the time. And the 1983 version for Atari home computers was one of the best.

This is a cross-post with my new site AtariXL; please head over there and follow if you’re interested in Atari computers, games, software and hardware!

Continue reading Nintendo on Atari: Donkey Kong

Microtransactions: The Battle Isn’t Over

The controversy over microtransactions in full-price triple-A games has been brewing for a few years now, but it finally came to a head with EA’s release of Star Wars Battlefront II.

To recap: Reddit poster “MBMMaverick” was frustrated to discover that he had paid $80 for the game only to find that a favourite character, Darth Vader, was locked behind either an extremely long grind or having to pay further real money for a chance of unlocking him through the game’s loot box system. And with the variable character abilities and other unlockables in the game, this meant that the game most definitely had an element of “pay to win” about it, since those with the cash could simply pay up and get better things with which to dominate other players.

EA’s response became one of the most downvoted Reddit comments of all time, sitting at a mighty -676k points — that’s minus six hundred and seventy-six thousand — at the time of writing. And things didn’t get any better from there.

Continue reading Microtransactions: The Battle Isn’t Over

Games Awards Should Embrace a Broader Spectrum of Games

At the time of writing, the 2017 nominees for The Game Awards — referred to by some as “gaming’s Oscars” — have just been announced.

While it’s nice to see some high-profile Japanese games — most notably Persona 5, Breath of the Wild, Final Fantasy XV and Super Mario Odyssey — get some recognition, once again the overall lineup for the awards is a fairly predictable affair that primarily boils down to “which games were most popular and/or made most money this year”.

And while there’s some merit to celebrating those games that have performed well from a commercial perspective over the course of the year, it presents a rather narrow view of the industry that leaves a number of titles underrepresented and underappreciated.

Continue reading Games Awards Should Embrace a Broader Spectrum of Games