The MoeGamer GameCast: Episode 6 – ZAWAZAWAZAWA

In this episode of the GameCast, we talk about the prevalence of “auteurs” in Japanese game development, NepNep in VR and one of the bleakest anime series I’ve ever seen.

Music, as ever, is the work of MusMus, and the awesome retro font is by Style64. Other music in this episode remains the copyright of its respective owners — though Kaiji fans may be interested to know that the complete soundtrack is available via archive.org: CD1 and CD2.

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If you’re having trouble running the browser version, take a look at the TyranoBuilder FAQ, which explains how to run browser games locally — though be aware there can be some security risks involved, so only follow its recommendations when you want to run a browser-based episode of the GameCast.

Download for Windows (113MB)
Download for Mac (117MB)
Download for Browser (86MB)

As I’ve said previously, if/when I have a bit more money floating around, I’ll sort out some proper hosting for browser versions so you don’t have to go through this process. If you’d like to help out with that — or if you just want to show your support for what I’m doing on the site in general — please consider making a pledge to my Patreon.

If you’re new to the GameCast, start from the beginning to find out more about the characters and what this is all about!

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Shmup Essentials: Minus Zero

Shoot ’em ups are one of the oldest types of video game, having been around pretty much since the birth of the medium. So in order to stand out in this modern era, a new shmup needs to either do what it does really well… or do something unusual.

Triangle Service’s Minus Zero, originally released as part of the Xbox 360 compilation Shooting Love 200X in 2009, opts for the latter approach. It’s one of the most unusual shoot ’em ups out there — and one of the most addictive.

It’s a completely abstract game, consisting entirely of geometric shapes accompanied by a background and soundtrack that increase in complexity as you progress, but its main twist on the usual formula is that the only weapon you can use is a “lock-on” similar to that used in Sega’s Rez.

Continue reading Shmup Essentials: Minus Zero

Wii U Essentials: Xenoblade Chronicles X

While Nintendo platforms were very much the spiritual home of JRPGs in the 8- and 16-bit eras, in more recent times most of those games have jumped ship to Sony platforms.

This isn’t to say there’s a complete lack of JRPG goodness on Nintendo platforms, however; the 3DS has some solid titles, the original Wii had its three famous “Operation Rainfall” titles Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story and Pandora’s Tower — and the Wii U has Xenoblade Chronicles X.

Xenoblade Chronicles X is, it’s fair to say, a fairly different beast from its predecessor, and consequently it wasn’t to everyone’s taste. However, even if you didn’t enjoy it, it’s hard to deny that it’s a truly remarkable game, and a highly noteworthy entry in the Wii U’s library.

Continue reading Wii U Essentials: Xenoblade Chronicles X

Ne no Kami: Exploring Shinto Myths and Legends

One of the best things about the visual novel medium is its ability — and willingness — to tackle things that are outside the normal remit of “video games” as a whole.

In the case of Ne no Kami: The Two Princess Knights of Kyoto, a visual novel from small, independent Japanese circle Kuro Irodoru Yomiji, there’s a certain degree of “crossover” in terms of subject matter. We have the sort of “plucky young heroes tackle otherworldly horrors” angle that we’re most used to seeing from more conventional video games, but at the same time we also have some sensitively handled exploration of romantic relationships, disparate cultures colliding and young people trying to find their place in the world.

Of particular note is Ne no Kami’s exploration of traditional Japanese and Shinto mythology, an angle which it takes great pains to point out is only its author’s interpretation rather than “fact”. But this doesn’t make it in any way “invalid”, of course; mythology, by its very nature, doesn’t have any “factual” basis in the first place, and has only survived so long by being reinterpreted and passed on across thousands of years.

Before we investigate the game’s story in detail, then, it behooves us to have a general understanding of the mythology on which it is based.

Continue reading Ne no Kami: Exploring Shinto Myths and Legends

Eorzean Diary: Lonely Explorer

One of my favourite additions to Final Fantasy XIV over time has been the randomly generated dungeon Palace of the Dead.

I actually like it specifically because it’s one of the few pieces of content in the game that can legitimately be run solo while it’s still “relevant” to you. Other dungeons and Trials in the game only really become soloable once they are so far beneath your character and item level that the only reason to run them is “for fun” or for the sake of their story, but Palace of the Dead is pretty much always useful for something or other, be it levelling an alt class or simply obtaining some endgame tomestones.

The other nice thing about Palace of the Dead is that it’s been specifically designed with soloing in mind, since it even has its own leaderboard for solo adventurers.

Continue reading Eorzean Diary: Lonely Explorer

The MoeGamer GameCast: Episode 5 – The Stacey Dooley Incident

In this episode of the GameCast, we discuss Stacey Dooley’s controversial BBC Three documentary “Young Sex for Sale in Japan”, Kemono Friends and the idiocy of licking Switch cartridges.

Trigger warning: Midori has a bit of a potty mouth in this week’s episode. Deal with it.

Switched up the music a bit for some variety this week. It’s still the work of watson at MusMus, though, and the font, as before, is the work of Style64. Other music used in this episode remains the copyright of its respective owners.

For a broader collection of responses to Dooley’s documentary from manga artists and readers alike since Nogami-san’s original tweets, check out this link.

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If you’re having trouble running the browser version, take a look at the TyranoBuilder FAQ, which explains how to run browser games locally — though be aware there can be some security risks involved, so only follow its recommendations when you want to run a browser-based episode of the GameCast.

Download for Windows (130MB)
Download for Mac (133MB)
Download for Browser (102MB)

As I’ve said previously, if/when I have a bit more money floating around, I’ll sort out some proper hosting for browser versions so you don’t have to go through this process. If you’d like to help out with that — or if you just want to show your support for what I’m doing on the site in general — please consider making a pledge to my Patreon.

If you’re new to the GameCast, start from the beginning to find out more about the characters and what this is all about!

The best of overlooked and underappreciated Japanese and Japanese-inspired games