Rance: Introduction and History

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Typically, when we talk about gaming franchises that have been around since the early days of the medium, the same names tend to come up all the time.

There’s Final Fantasy, of course, which first appeared in 1987. Super Mario Bros., which hails from 1985. The Legend of Zelda from 1986. All classic series that are still going strong and have been highly prolific over the years, not just with their mainline installments but with numerous spinoffs, too.

What we’re going to explore this month is a series of games from Japan that has been going as long as these established classics, but which remains relatively unknown in the West so far due to 1) its status as an eroge and 2) the fact it only got its first localised release in December of 2016 thanks to MangaGamer.

I am, of course, talking about Rance. Tooooohhhh!

Continue reading Rance: Introduction and History

Waifu Wednesday: Kat

Gravity Rush and its sequel are both great games, for sure, but they just wouldn’t be the same without the presence of their heroine Kat.

While the simple act of floating around exploring the weird, wonderful Moebius-inspired worlds is a joyful experience in itself, to do it accompanied by a protagonist who is such a pleasure to be around elevates the experience into something truly special and memorable.

So why is Kat such a good heroine? Let’s take a closer look.

Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Kat

Puzzler Essentials: Gunpey

There’s something about handheld systems that just makes puzzle games feel right.

The PlayStation Portable was no stranger to games of this type, of course, what with the excellent Lumines being a launch title for the system and a wide variety of other brainteasers making solid appearances on the platform over the subsequent years.

One of the most interesting and unusual titles on the platform is 2006’s Gunpey, actually the latest installment in a series that got its start on the Japan-only WonderSwan system.

Continue reading Puzzler Essentials: Gunpey

Ridge Racers: The Greatest Hits

I wasn’t originally planning to cover the PSP titles in the Ridge Racer series, but after being well and truly glued to them for the last week there’s no way I can’t say something about them.

Known as Ridge Racers in Japan, the two PSP games are almost identical to one another, so we’ll be taking them as a single “unit” today. The main difference between the two releases is that the confusingly named Ridge Racer 2 has more tracks than its PSP-launching predecessor — most notably incorporating all of Ridge Racer Type 4’s circuits instead of just two — plus a few additional single-player modes, including the return of a “checkpoints and countdown”-style arcade mode of the type that hasn’t been seen since Ridge Racer Revolution.

Other than that, they’re pretty much the same game. It’s fortunate, then, that they’re pretty much the same brilliant game.

Continue reading Ridge Racers: The Greatest Hits

Extra Life: Game Day is Soon!

November 4 is Game Day for this year’s Extra Life — at least for me.

You can find some information about the event and my contribution to it on my fundraising page — as well as make a pledge — but today I wanted to share a bit more information about what I’m planning for the day itself.

I don’t tend to do a lot of streaming, but my 24-hour stint playing Final Fantasy XIV for Extra Life two years ago was a lot of fun, so I’m looking forward to this session too! I hope you’ll join me for some of the day.

Continue reading Extra Life: Game Day is Soon!

Ridge Racer Unbounded: The Black Sheep

Over the last decade, we’ve seen a lot of series attempt to “reboot” themselves for one reason or another.

In many cases, this is an excuse to go back to older games and remake them with a more modern aesthetic or gameplay conventions, but in others, it is in an attempt to completely reinvent the series for one reason or another — usually as an attempt to respond to the ever-present phantom that is “market forces”.

The Ridge Racer series underwent such a reboot in 2012 with Unbounded. Not only was this an attempt to turn the ageing franchise on its head, it marked a shift in development strategy, too; Unbounded was developed not by Namco itself, but by Bugbear Entertainment, a Finnish outfit who had previously been responsible for the FlatOut series and Sega Rally Revo on the PSP.

Continue reading Ridge Racer Unbounded: The Black Sheep

Waifu Wednesday: Alice Kamishiro

It’s the last Waifu Wednesday before Halloween, so who better to explore this week than an honest to goodness witch?

Alice Kamishiro is one of the central characters of minori’s Supipara, a proposed five-part series of visual novels of which we’ve seen the first in the West so far, thanks to MangaGamer. Although the first chapter isn’t Alice’s “route”, instead focusing on the protagonist’s second cousin Sakura, she still plays an important part in the story as a whole — and is a mysterious, intriguing character in her own right.

As the series continues to unfold, we’ll have the opportunity to learn more about this rather odd girl and her remarkable powers.

Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Alice Kamishiro

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