Our World is Ended: First Impressions are Lasting Impressions

A common theme explored throughout the visual novel medium in general is the idea of people not being quite what they appear at first glance.

The reason for this is mostly a practical one: the very nature of the visual novel medium makes deep dives into multifaceted, layered characters a viable thing for creators to explore. Enthusiasts of visual novels are already accustomed to the medium’s slow pace and relatively limited interactivity compared to games with a stronger emphasis on their mechanical components, so writers and developers are more than happy to allow us the opportunity to get to know the main cast extremely intimately.

That doesn’t mean those first impressions the characters set don’t matter, mind you. On the contrary, they are extremely important for setting expectations as to how those characters will behave and interact — and then, in some cases, subverting rather than confirming those expectations. Let’s take a look at how Our World is Ended’s cast presents itself in the early hours of the game as the narrative is getting underway.

Continue reading Our World is Ended: First Impressions are Lasting Impressions

SNK Essentials: Athena

Sometimes there are games that aren’t the most fun to play today, but remain significant from a historical perspective nonetheless. SNK’s 1986 title Athena, in both its arcade and NES incarnations, definitely falls into that category.

Acting as a spiritual predecessor to Psycho Soldier but having pretty much nothing to do with it — the “Athena” in this game is supposedly a distant ancestor of the “Athena” in Psycho Soldier, so it’s not even the same character — Athena is a monstrously challenging platform action game that does a lot of interesting things… and a lot of frustrating things!

Let’s take a closer look.

Continue reading SNK Essentials: Athena

Atari ST A to Z: HeroQuest

I absolutely loved MB and Games Workshop’s HeroQuest as a kid, but I rarely got the opportunity to play it on the tabletop with real people.

Imagine my delight, then, when Gremlin announced that they were developing a computerised adaptation of the board game I’d come to love so much. And imagine my even greater delight when it turned out to be a very good game indeed — although arguably perhaps a little too true to the original board game for a computer version!

This is a game that still holds up pretty well today in both its tabletop and electronic formats. Gather a party of friends — or go it alone — and see how far you can get in the substantial campaign!

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Waifu Wednesday: Tatiana Alexandrovna Sharapova

Well, it’s character-centric visual novel time again here on MoeGamer at the time of writing, and that always provides plenty of interesting female characters to discuss!

The first heroine from Our World is Ended that I wanted to look at is Tatiana Alexandrovna Sharapova. She has been the subject of a certain amount of controversy thanks to the ever-reliable outrage machine that is the Western games press, but she’s also an interesting character in her own right, and well worth exploring.

So let’s do just that, shall we?

Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Tatiana Alexandrovna Sharapova

Warriors Wednesday: Scantily-Clad Barbarian Ladies

There’s no rest for the Shu forces as they come face to face with Masamune Date!

Thankfully, Date’s friend Magoichi Saika, who has been rolling with the Shu crowd largely because of its disproportionate number of attractive and formidable female warriors, has a cunning plan ready to go… assuming he can keep his mind on the battle, that is.

Zhu Rong, Ginchiyo Tachibana and Yue Ying surely have their work cut out for them this time around…

Delving Into Kirby’s Dream Course – #1

During my exploration of Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush, I mentioned that I wasn’t sure what to expect from a Kirby game other than, well, the unexpected.

I was expecting at least some of the games in the series to be relatively conventional platform games — and I know they’re there somewhere! — but the next one I happened to alight upon, courtesy of the SNES Mini’s built-in lineup of games, was Kirby’s Dream Course.

I had no set expectations for what Kirby’s Dream Course was going to be before firing it up for the first time. But I can tell you I didn’t expect it to be a thoroughly charming minigolf game!

Continue reading Delving Into Kirby’s Dream Course – #1

Atari A to Z: Master of the Lamps

Once upon a time, Activision was not the bloated mess of a money-hungry corporate behemoth it is now. Well, it was slightly less of one, anyway.

The key difference between the Activision of now and the Activision of then is that the latter was much more willing to take significant risks on games that were as much a work of art as they were a piece of interactive entertainment.

One of the best examples of this practice — and one of Activision’s best games, full stop — is Master of the Lamps, one of the earliest ever music games and a spectacular example of what the Atari 8-bit was capable of in the hands of talented programmers.

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

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