Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey – Taking a Trip

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Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey isn’t the first time that the Atelier series has attempted to focus on a protagonist going on a long journey. Far from it, in fact.

While the “modern” Atelier games are typically associated with the structure of being based around a “hub” location and then radiating out from there, this style of play only makes up some of the series. Atelier Totori and Atelier Ayesha are both explicitly about going on a journey, while Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana, Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny, Atelier Meruru and Atelier Shallie all have a significant “journey” component to their narratives, even if they also feature a “hub” location to call home.

But Atelier Firis manages to be a bit different by virtue of the way that it is constructed. Its “open world” nature gives a very different feel to the protagonist’s journey — and makes it stand out amid its peers in a very interesting and positive way. So let’s take a closer look at this idea.

Continue reading Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey – Taking a Trip

Atari A to Z Flashback: Super Breakout

Yep, here we are again with Super Breakout, this time for Atari 5200. This was the pack-in game for the system for quite some time, and left a fair few people rather underwhelmed — the system was certainly capable of better.

That said, it’s still a competent enough version of Super Breakout, and comes complete with all the different ways to play you’d expect from that game. There are certainly far worse ways to spend your time with your Atari 5200!

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

Atari A to Z

Retro Select: Deep Water

The Simple 2000 series for PlayStation 2 remains a continual source of fascination for me — particular as a surprising number of these odd games made it west via 505 GameStreet.

Deep Water, also known as The Daikaijuu, is an open-world game about pootling around in your boat blasting sharks and cannon-toting pirates. Supposedly there are also sea monsters, too, but I couldn’t figure out how to find them…

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

Atari ST A to Z: Renaissance

Sometimes, the concept of something is sound, but the execution is disastrous. Such is the case with Impressions’ Renaissance, ostensibly a collection of classic arcade games with “enhanced” contemporary versions.

Unfortunately, an absolute mass of broken promises set by both the packaging and the manual makes this an enormously disappointing package that, quite rightly, still makes people surprisingly but understandably furious to this day.

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

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: XPoker

When contemplating video game history, an important side of things that often gets overlooked or ignored is the public domain sector.

Here, programmers would put together often very good pieces of software, release them into the wild for free and be perfectly happy for people to distribute them as they saw fit. Such is the case with this week’s game XPoker, which was originally released via a bulletin board system, and subsequently found itself getting into the hands of all sorts of people.

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

Atari A to Z

Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey – Your Friendly Neighbourhood Alchemist

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There’s a recurring theme throughout Atelier games: the idea that alchemy isn’t inherently “good” or “evil”, but that its value to society is determined by how its practitioners make use of it.

This is most commonly explored through the means of Atelier protagonists deciding that they want to make use of their talents and skills to help people around them — and Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey is no exception to that rule.

The big difference in Atelier Firis, of course, is that rather than being centred on a single location as in many other Atelier games, our heroine is instead on the move, hoping to eventually reach a final destination in order to prove herself. So let’s take a closer look at what that means for the overall game structure.

Continue reading Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey – Your Friendly Neighbourhood Alchemist

Atari A to Z Flashback: Super Breakout

Super Breakout for Atari 2600 is one of the best adaptations of the classic block-breaker out there — and much more fun than the arcade version due to its far more reasonably sized paddles!

It also plays host to a spectacularly overblown and completely unnecessary narrative setup. Because when you’re knocking bricks out of a wall, what you really need is some sort of narrative motivation, right?

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

Atari A to Z

Retro Select: Beijing 2008

It’s the Olympics! Given that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are… somewhat lacking in atmosphere due to understandable circumstances, let’s take a look back at an Olympic games where there were actually people watching.

Eurocom’s Beijing 2008, published by Sega, is an excellent multisports game with a surprisingly substantial offering for the solo player. There’s a ton of variety, there’s character progression and there’s some solid TV-style presentation. If you’re after a fun Olympics game for an older platform, this is well worth your time.

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

Atari ST A to Z: Quartet

Time for something a bit different today! The Atari ST plays host to a variety of excellent applications as well as games, many of which are still well worth your time today. So let’s take a look at some of them every so often!

Quartet is a four-channel sample sequencer and synthesiser by Microdeal. It was well-regarded for its ease of use and flexibility, and was used by a wide variety of composers in both the commercial and demo scenes. It’s not hard to see why — a little effort can produce some surprisingly excellent results that are a far cry from the ST’s usual pitiful warblings!

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

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: Winter Olympiad ’88

The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics may be going on at the time of writing, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some winter sports action from 33 years ago!

Tynesoft’s Winter Olympiad ’88 was a well-regarded release for Atari 8-bit despite its relatively limited number of playable events. Despite releasing Summer Games on the Atari 8-bit, Epyx had decided to eschew the platform for its follow-up Winter Games, so many critics and consumers alike saw Winter Olympiad ’88 as a more than acceptable substitute.

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

Atari A to Z

The best of overlooked and underappreciated computer and video games, from yesterday and today