Around the Network

Happy Sunday evening, everyone! Hope you’ve all had a good weekend.

Our home renovations are almost complete, it was our fifth wedding anniversary this weekend and there’s a new episode of the MoeGamer Podcast ready to fire into your ears tomorrow, so I’ve had a pretty decent weekend!

In the meantime, let’s round off the week as always with a look at what you might have missed over the last seven days.

Continue reading Around the Network

Atari A to Z Flashback: Hangman

The early days of the 2600 consisted of developers trying to figure out what a “video game” really was.

A significant part of this experimental period consisted of adaptations of simple board, card and parlour games. Some proved to work well in the digital format; others less so.

Hangman? I’ll let you be the judge. Enjoy the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

The Music of Atelier, Vol. 4: Mana Khemia – Alchemists of Al-Revis

cropped-atelier-megafeature-header-1.pngThis post is one chapter of a MegaFeature!
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As has become MegaFeature tradition, now we’ve finished exploring Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis from mechanical and narrative perspectives, it’s time to celebrate the sterling work of Gust’s sound team with a look at its soundtrack.

Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis is the second game in the Atelier series to make use of pre-recorded streamed music rather than real-time synthesised, sequenced music. We were already starting to get a strong feel for the distinct audible aesthetic lead composers Ken Nakagawa and Daisuke Achiwa were aiming for with the series in Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm, but Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis and its sequel further codify many of the musical conventions of the series.

These conventions would remain in place as Atelier bid farewell to the PlayStation 2 and jumped to the next generation with the Arland trilogy. So let’s dive into some highlights from Mana Khemia’s score!

Continue reading The Music of Atelier, Vol. 4: Mana Khemia – Alchemists of Al-Revis

Final Fantasy Marathon: Climb Every Mountain – Final Fantasy III #3

The adventure continues, and now everyone has a capital-J Job!

Yes, having defeated the dread djinn in the previous episode and proven themselves as worthy Warrior of Light candidates, our group of four plucky heroes sets out on their journey proper. Along the way, they have plenty of things to deal with: a big rock, a crying woman, a mountain full of scary beasties… and a big ol’ dragon!

Enjoy the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Dig Dug II: Bring Out the Drill

Dig Dug is one of those retro games that is an established classic, but which relatively few people seem to be aware actually got a rather enjoyable sequel.

Most of this is likely due to the fact that the 1985 arcade original was only released in Japan, and the game wouldn’t come West until the 1989 release of the NES version. And, well, good luck to any mid-’80s 8-bit arcade-style game releasing in the same year that gave us Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, Phantasy Star II, SimCity, Populous, Mega Man II, Golden Axe and an early incarnation of Windows Solitaire.

Still, that doesn’t mean Dig Dug II should be consigned to the dustbin of history by any means. It’s fortunate, then, that we can try it out for ourselves on the Namco Museum Collection 2 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system! Let’s take a closer look.

Continue reading Dig Dug II: Bring Out the Drill

Atari A to Z: Mouth Trap

Back in the 8- and 16-bit days, everyone was encouraged to try their hand at programming. The 8-bit microcomputers came with BASIC built-in, while 16-bit platforms played host to packages such as STOS.

Mouth Trap, part of a compilation called Games Galore, was put together by Darren Ithell as a demonstration of what the BASIC-like STOS programming language was capable of producing in the hands of someone who knew what they were doing. And the result was a rather convincing, enjoyable game that wouldn’t have looked out of place in an arcade.

Returning to it today, it’s still an enjoyable game, too — an interesting twist on the single-screen arcade game formula, with more than a hint of dot-eating funtimes, albeit without the maze. Check out the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Dark Chambers: What a Dandy Dungeon This Is

The history of how a lot of old games came to be is deeply fascinating.

One such tale that I’ve found rather interesting is how Atari’s Dark Chambers came to be. This is a game that has its roots in John Palevich’s Dandywhich is the reason the all-time classic cooperative top-down dungeon crawler Gauntlet exists, but then there’s also several versions of Dark Chambers out there to enjoy, too.

The Evercade retro gaming handheld allows us to experience the Atari 2600 version for ourselves as part of its Atari Collection 2 cartridge. So let’s take a closer look!

Continue reading Dark Chambers: What a Dandy Dungeon This Is

short;Play: Ion Fury

I’m not so hot on them these days, but back in the ’90s I absolutely loved first-person shooters — and for me their pinnacle of pure fun factor was Ken Silverman’s Build engine.

It was with some excitement, then, that I booted up Ion Fury for the first time; this is the first Build engine game to be produced for about 20 years, and promised a somewhat different twist on the “enhanced retro” experience that is quite a popular aesthetic approach these days.

I was not disappointed. This game is like being back in the ’90s again. Join me for some foul-mouthed fun in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Incantation: Having a Wizard Time

Nintendo’s widely beloved Super NES continued to get new games long after the Sony PlayStation and its rivals had brought in the “next generation” of gaming in 1994.

As you might expect, many of these titles from the latter days of the 16-bit era have very much flown under the radar over the years, and a lot of them have become expensive rarities that only those with deep pockets can hope to collect.

Incantation, a 1996 release by Titus, and a game that subsequently fell into the hands of the Interplay brand, is one such example, with carts commanding three-figure prices on the collectors’ market. As of the time of writing, you no longer need to pay through the nose for it, though, since you can find a modern rerelease of it on Interplay Collection 1 for the Evercade retro gaming handheld. Let’s take a look!

Continue reading Incantation: Having a Wizard Time

Atari A to Z: Saboteur!

I never played Clive Townsend’s classic open-structure 2D platformer Saboteur! until his recent Nintendo Switch version, which I absolutely loved.

Imagine my delight, then, when I saw that some talented AtariAge members had taken it upon themselves to port this classic game to the dear old Atari 8-bit. How would it come out, I wondered.

Pretty damn well, as it happens; some speed inconsistencies aside, we have a very true port of a ZX Spectrum classic here — now available for any Atari fans to enjoy! Check out the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Atari A to Z

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