Atari A to Z Flashback: Missile Command

It’s time for another one of those games that shows up on Atari Flashback Classics several times! This time around, it’s Missile Command putting in its second appearance.

The 2600 version of Missile Command is actually a really solid port of the game, albeit lacking some of the features like the satellites and planes. Most importantly, though, it plays well, looks authentic and is monstrously addictive.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

The Music of Atelier, Vol. 6: Atelier Rorona – The Alchemist of Arland

cropped-atelier-megafeature-header-1.pngThis post is one chapter of a MegaFeature!
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While the move to the PlayStation 3 marked significant changes in both gameplay and visual presentation for the Atelier series, one area in which it remained comfortably consistent was the musical accompaniment to the action.

Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland once again saw Ken Nakagawa in charge of the majority of the soundtrack, with some guest vocalists on a number of tracks. This time around, Nakagawa stepped back a little from the howling guitars and thrashing beats of Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy in favour of something a little closer to what we heard in Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm and Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis.

It’s definitely got that distinctive “Atelier sound” about it, thanks to Nakagawa’s love of traditional instrumentation and composition using an electronic wind instrument, but Atelier Rorona’s soundtrack also has a few elements that make it stand out as its own, immediately recognisable thing, too. So crank up that volume and let’s have a listen to some select tracks!

Continue reading The Music of Atelier, Vol. 6: Atelier Rorona – The Alchemist of Arland

Solaris: The 2600’s Finest Hour

The humble Atari 2600 had an astonishingly long lifespan, being officially produced between 1977 and 1992. As you might expect, this means there’s an equally astonishing difference between the very first games for it and those which came out later in its lifespan.

Solaris by Doug Neubauer came out in 1986, putting it towards the latter end of that lifespan. To date it remains one of the very finest games on the Atari 2600 from technological, gameplay and design standpoints — although not one that gets talked about all that much. And all this makes it a title well worth checking out even if you don’t normally “do” Atari games.

Thankfully, it’s now easier than ever to try it for yourself, since it appears on the Atari Collection 2 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system. So let’s take a closer look!

Continue reading Solaris: The 2600’s Finest Hour

Atari ST A to Z: Ynis Witrin – Isle of Glass

In today’s Atari ST A to Z, my cat Patti decides to make a guest appearance during the introduction, which will hopefully be reason enough for some of you to watch.

For those of you who continue to watch after the introduction, we’ve got a rather unusual and interesting game today: Ynis Witrin: Isle of Glass, which is an action adventure created using Mandarin Software’s STOS Basic, and which there appears to be very little information about online.

It turns out to be a rather entertaining game, though, and one that I’m kind of intrigued to explore in further depth at some point in the future. In the meantime, check out my experiences in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Waifu Wednesday: Amelia Watson

Okay, okay, Amelia isn’t a game character, but the majority of her streams since her debut for Hololive English have been video game-related, so she totally counts. Plus in terms of design and concept I think she’s one of the most interesting English Hololive girls, and I want to talk about that while it’s still a hot topic.

Introduced to the world through probably the most chaotic of the group’s debut streams, and subsequently capturing the hearts of many through her knowledgeable, enthusiastic, occasionally endearingly incompetent and consistently comfortable broadcasts, Amelia, in many ways, feels like something of a “hub” around which the rest of Hololive English has been built — whether this was intentional or not.

But there are some aspects to her design that run a little deeper than just “cute girl plays video games”. So let’s take a closer look — as well as appreciating some of the recent fanart from creators around the globe!

Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Amelia Watson

short;Play: The Club

The dearly departed Bizarre Creations were best known for their racing games — Metropolis Street Racer on Dreamcast, the Project Gotham series on Xbox platforms and the wonderful game that would, sadly, turn out to be their death-knell: Blur.

But throughout the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 era, they actually fiddled around with quite a few different styles of game. They made a James Bond game, for one — you better believe that will show up at some point in the near future — as well as the delightful “techno-classical” rhythm game Boom Boom Rocket.

Today we’re taking a look at The Club, a Sega-published game that combines gritty third-person shooter action with arcadey scoring and racing mechanics; a modern-day (well, late 2000s) Outtrigger, in many ways. Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Earthworm Jim: Shiny, Groovy People

Earthworm Jim is, for many people, a defining game of the 16-bit home console era. Perhaps not in quite the same way as titles like Super Mario World and Sonic the Hedgehog, but it’s definitely a title people look back on fondly.

Probably the main reason for its enduring appeal is its incredible animation, which combines traditional hand-drawn techniques with digital pixel art to create something with a very distinctive and memorable aesthetic.

To my shame, I never played it back in the day. Thankfully, I can now correct that gap in my knowledge and experience thanks to the Mega Drive version being included on the Interplay Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system. So let’s dive in and see what I’ve been missing!

Continue reading Earthworm Jim: Shiny, Groovy People

Atari A to Z: Elevator Repairman

As we’ve seen a few times previously on the Atari A to Z series, the North American Atari-centric publication ANALOG was a prime source of top-quality machine code games that you could type in yourself, then save to a disk or cassette and enjoy whenever you pleased.

Today’s game hails from ANALOG issue number 34 (September 1985), and is a simple but enjoyable arcade game about avoiding elevators and climbing buildings. That main character looks a little familiar, too… though of course any resemblance to certain Italian plumbers, living or dead, is almost certainly unintentional and should not be considered any sort of infringement on established, trademarked intellectual property. Or something. Probably.

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

Atari A to Z

Hololive English: Examining a Worldwide Phenomenon

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

Around the Network

Good afternoon everyone! Hope you’re having a pleasant Sunday. I stayed up much later than I should have done last night watching the debut streams for Hololive English, but I’m glad I did; the whole day was just utterly joyful.

I am suffering a little bit for it today, but at least it’s not a working day, so I can take the time to recover a bit before returning to the day job duties tomorrow. It was definitely worth it; I hope those girls have a great future ahead of them, as they were all a delight to spend time with yesterday.

Anyway, enough talk about virtual people who straddle the line between “existing” and “not really existing”, let’s take a look at what you might have missed in the last week!

Continue reading Around the Network

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