Visual Novel Maker: First Steps

Now that we’ve had a whistle-stop tour of Visual Novel Maker’s main features, it’s time to delve into how it all works.

Today we’ll be taking a look at how you can get started with the application using its built-in resources. In subsequent articles we’ll look at importing custom resources and creating new characters, but for today we’ll primarily be focusing on the core functions of the program, getting a playable game up and running as soon as possible.

Let’s dive right in, then!

Continue reading Visual Novel Maker: First Steps

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Waifu Wednesday: Shizuka Masou

This week’s waifu is once again drawn from the extensive cast of the Rance series, and is a character who has been part of the brutish hero’s saga almost since the very beginning.

First appearing as an antagonist in Rance II: The Rebellious Maidens, Shizuka has been a fixture in the series alongside her best friend Maria Custard ever since.

She’s an important figure to Rance’s complete narrative arc as well as one of the most consistently popular heroines in the series — evidently a clear case of “treat ’em mean, keep ’em keen” in full effect so far as the audience is concerned!

Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Shizuka Masou

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

Rance 5D: Roulette, Role-Playing and RNG

2002’s Rance 5D (finally localised into English in 2017) is probably one of the most unusual RPGs you will ever play.

At least part of its rather distinctive nature is due to the fact that it is actually developer Alicesoft’s fourth attempt at a fifth Rance game, hence the “D” on the end of the title — A, B and C were all failed attempts that never saw the light of day.

Thankfully, Rance 5D did, however, and it’s nothing if not a memorable experience, both from a narrative and mechanical perspective — and from the perspective of its rather troubled development history, too.

Continue reading Rance 5D: Roulette, Role-Playing and RNG

SNES Essentials: Yoshi’s Island

Super Mario World marked the point at which “Mario games” were no longer really one series, though this didn’t become obvious until much later in retrospect.

Still, the fact that its sequel was called Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island rather than Super Mario Bros. 5: Yoshi’s Island should have tipped you off a bit… and if that didn’t work, then the fact that you didn’t actually play Super Mario would definitely do the job.

The “rebranding” that Yoshi’s Island ultimately underwent was a good idea though, because although having elements in common with its predecessor, it’s a distinct type of experience in its own right. And one of the best platformers on the SNES.

Continue reading SNES Essentials: Yoshi’s Island

Shmuzzler Essentials: Every Extend Extra

Every Extend Extra is a game that defies easy description. Is it a shoot ’em up? Is it a puzzle game? Yes. And no. And… uh…

For those familiar with the work of Tetsuya Mizuguchi and Q Entertainment, it is somewhat par for the course in that it is developed around the concept of “synaesthesia” — the subconscious connections that some people make between different sensory inputs, in this case sound, visuals and “touch” of sorts through gameplay.

But for everyone else, it’s an initially baffling experience that, before long, becomes utterly compelling and fiendishly addictive.

Continue reading Shmuzzler Essentials: Every Extend Extra

Waifu Wednesday: Sill Plain

Now our exploration of the Rance series is well underway, it’s only fitting we celebrate some of its excellent female characters.

And where better to start than the protagonist’s perpetual companion (and slave) Sill Plain?

Sill has been a fixture in the series from its inception through to its current status, acting as Rance’s long-suffering sidekick and primary romantic interest despite her status as a slave. She’s one of the series’ most beloved characters, and the perfect counter to Rance’s shameless, brutish nature.

Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Sill Plain

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