From the Archives: Thou Art the Innocent Blade, Demonbane!

“From the hate-scorched sky, with righteous anger in our hearts, we draw forth the sword that smites Evil! Thou art the innocent blade! DEMONBANE!”

This is one of the most iconic, regularly-occurring quotes from Nitroplus’ visual novel Deus Machina Demonbane, and it doesn’t get any less thrilling each time you hear it — even as the game stretches on and on well past the 20-hour mark.

By the end of the game, you’ll be triumphantly bellowing it along with protagonists Kurou and Al as they prepare, once again, to smite Evil with the titular metal monster.

This article was originally published on Games Are Evil in 2012 as part of the site’s regular READ.ME column on visual novels. It has been republished here due to Games Are Evil no longer existing in its original form.

Continue reading From the Archives: Thou Art the Innocent Blade, Demonbane!

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Wii U Essentials: Pikmin 3

Pikmin is one of Nintendo’s series that often gets forgotten about, but it’s a real gem — and its Wii U installment is no exception.

Often (arguably) erroneously decribed as a “real time strategy” game, the games are actually more akin to puzzle adventures, in which you explore a world and figure out the best ways to proceed and defeat the enemies in front of you. In the grand tradition of games that feature sprawling, huge maps, too, there are plenty of shortcuts to unlock and lots of revisiting earlier areas with new abilities to find hidden secrets.

And the whole thing is tied together with a delightfully cute aesthetic that fits the tone of the experience perfectly.

Continue reading Wii U Essentials: Pikmin 3

Grisaia: Michiru – The Girl in the Box

Matsushima Michiru is one of Grisaia’s most unusual, interesting characters, initially appearing to be present primarily for comic relief, but subsequently showing herself to be a complex, fascinating character with a considerable amount of depth.

We’re first introduced to Michiru in the common route of The Fruit of Grisaia, when protagonist Yuuji comes across her doing vocal exercises in an empty classroom, closely followed by her practicing bellowing out stock tsundere phrases such as “i-it’s not like I’m doing this for you or anything” and “d-don’t misunderstand!”

Already well aware by this point that his new classmates are a little on the peculiar side, Yuuji doesn’t probe too deeply into the matter, but it’s immediately obvious whenever Michiru interacts with Yuuji or her other classmates that her tsundere personality isn’t who she really is; rather, it’s a façade she’s putting up for reasons that, at the outset of the story, aren’t entirely clear.

Continue reading Grisaia: Michiru – The Girl in the Box

The MoeGamer GameCast: Episode 1

In this episode, Midori, Yumi, Penelope and I talk Grisaia, bonking, Ace Combat and more.

You’ll notice a few tweaks from the pilot episode, most notably the addition of a custom interface and font as well as some distinctive PC-98-inspired FM synthesis music.

The font is the work of Style64, a North American demogroup for the Commodore 64 and PC. It’s the same font used for MoeGamer’s logo.

The music, meanwhile, is from MusMus, a site run by a composer from Japan known simply as “watson”, who rather generously releases all his work royalty-free.

I made the interface, because I’m so 1337 pro noscope with Paint.Net. Also that’s why the buttons look a bit shit.

I’m going to aim to release one of these each Monday for at least a little while to see how practical it is. Doubtless they’ll become more ambitious over time. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy Episode 1!

Download for Windows (78MB)
Download for Mac (82MB)
Download browser version (untested!)

< Enjoy the GameCast from the beginning!

Grisaia: Makina – The Girl in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time

We see a lot of different aspects to heroine Irisu Makina over the course of Grisaia’s complete story to date.

Initially, she’s presented as a shy, young-looking girl — a self-professed “loli” — who has difficulty trusting new people, so she finds it difficult to interact with protagonist Yuuji, who is himself not the easiest person to get along with at times.

It doesn’t take long for Yuuji to convince her out of her shell, though, and our hero subsequently finds himself an important part of the complete group of friends attending Mihama Academy — and an important part of Makina’s life.

Continue reading Grisaia: Makina – The Girl in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time

The MoeGamer GameCast: Pilot Episode

There are a variety of different game creation packages available these days, allowing even those with no knowledge of coding to put something that looks convincing together.

Visual novels have always been a bit more of a challenge, though, thanks to their strong use of visual art as well as descriptive prose. For those who are like me and… somewhat deficient in the artistic department, visual novel creation packages like TyranoBuilder seem like a good idea, but impractical without the ability to create your own resources.

That is, until you find ways of using other tools in creative ways to put together some convincing-looking graphics. Like using KISS’ Custom Maid 3D 2 to create the basic model for character sprites, touching them up in Paint.Net and then combining them with filtered photographs as backdrops. Which is exactly what I’ve done today with this strictly experimental pilot episode of what I like to call The MoeGamer GameCast: a podcast in visual novel form.

screenshot-2017-02-03-21-47-27

I don’t yet know if this is something that will be practical to do on a regular basis, but… well, we’ll see. In the meantime, feel free to download the pilot episode (featuring somewhat redesigned versions of site mascots Midori and Yumi, created with Custom Maid 3D 2 instead of MangaMaker ComiPo!) and see what you think.

Download here (Windows only; leave a comment if you want to see a Mac version. Click the “Download” button in the top right of the page that opens to download the .zip file, and extract the contents to any folder to play.)

Download browser version (untested!)

From the Archives: Why Do We Play?

A philosophical question for you today, prompted by a thought-provoking discussion I had with a friend the other evening.

It’s a particularly interesting question with regard to visual novels, which are regarded by some as not being “games” in the traditionally-understood sense, but it also applies to the interactive entertainment medium as a whole.

The question is a pretty fundamental one for anyone who chooses to make gaming part of their life, whether it’s as a casual hobby, something they share with friends or their favorite form of entertainment.

It’s this: Why do we play?

This article was originally published on Games Are Evil in 2012 as part of the site’s regular READ.ME column on visual novels. It has been republished here due to Games Are Evil no longer existing in its original form.

Continue reading From the Archives: Why Do We Play?

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