Stormblood: Introduction

Square Enix’s second Final Fantasy MMORPG is a big success now, having just enjoyed the release of its second expansion pack, but things weren’t always so rosy.

In fact, the story of how Final Fantasy XIV came to be what it is now is one of the most interesting in all of gaming — and certainly an inspiring example that demonstrates even if you release a completely broken mess of a game, it’s not necessarily beyond redemption.

Today, then, let’s take a look at the history of Final Fantasy XIV as a whole, and in particular how it’s developed since the release of A Realm Reborn in 2013.

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VR and the Third Coming of Lightgun Shooters

Light-gun shooters are, as you’ll know if you read the Gal*Gun Double Peace coverage from last year, a venerable genre, dating back to the very earliest electronic games.

They are, however, also a genre that has fallen by the wayside over the years, thanks partly to changing trends in gaming but also due to significant changes in display technology — most notably the change from the flickering, interlaced images of CRT TVs and monitors to the stable, constant displays of today’s flat panels; a change which meant old-school light-guns no longer worked.

Light-gun games have remained popular in arcades, however, since they tend to be large, “showcase” machines that are immediately impressive to visitors, and the advent of motion controllers with the Wii (and, to a lesser degree, the PlayStation Move) brought about a half-hearted renaissance for the genre at home, albeit pointing a remote-like device at the screen wasn’t quite the same as fervently gripping a plastic weapon in your hands.

With the advent of affordable virtual reality solutions, however, the light-gun shooter is well and truly back, and more fun than ever.

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Outrun 2006: Gone, But Not Forgotten

Ah, OutRun. The quintessential “Sega blue sky” series… and one that has kind of fallen by the wayside a bit since the expiry of Sega’s license with Ferrari.

After listening to a bit of the soundtrack to the upcoming Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash and thinking “gosh, this sounds a bit like early 2000s Sega music, I feel like playing some OutRun” I decided to… well, play some OutRun.

Specifically, I decided to play some OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast. And yep, it’s still a great game.

Continue reading Outrun 2006: Gone, But Not Forgotten

MoeGamer 2.5, and Plans for the Future

MoeGamer turned three years old back at the end of April, and this April also marked a year since the launch of “MoeGamer 2.0”, the current format of the site featuring monthly Cover Games.

You may have noticed a few behind-the-scenes tweaks and pokes over the course of the last week or so, in which case you’re probably wondering what’s going on. (Or perhaps you didn’t notice at all as yet, in which case consider this an official “announcement” of sorts.)

Today I’d like to talk a bit about these new changes, what I’d like to achieve in both the short- and long-term with the site, and unashamedly ask you to continue supporting the site!

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Nekopara: Staying True to Yourself

As the Nekopara series has progressed, it’s clear that Sayori and the rest of the team at Nekoworks have become more comfortable and confident with these characters.

With each new installment, the series steps further away from the admittedly appealing initial novelty value of the main cast being catgirls, and further into stronger characterisation, including deeper exploration of the girls’ personalities, backgrounds and attitudes towards one another.

Nekopara vol. 3, the latest installment to be released at the time of writing (though a vol. 4 has already been confirmed), is the strongest episode to date, featuring some truly touching scenes, wonderful characterisation and, if you’re playing the 18+ version, it has to be said, some of the absolute hottest H-scenes in the series.

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Shmup Essentials: Ghost Blade HD

Those with a longstanding interest in the worldwide shoot ’em up scene may well be familiar with German developer Hucast Games.

A developer primarily known for helping resurrect Sega’s defunct Dreamcast platform for modern audiences through the release of original, new arcade-style games for the system, Hucast’s work has had mixed reception over the years — though not necessarily entirely due to the quality of the games themselves, as this article from Segabits in 2015 explains in more detail.

As we move further into the “digital age”, however, it becomes a lot easier for developers such as Hucast to ply their trade — and, should mistakes occur, to correct them. Which is how we now find ourselves, two years after its original Dreamcast release, with an HD version of Hucast’s shmup Ghost Blade for Windows PC, PS4, Wii U and Xbox One.

And hey! It’s really good.

Continue reading Shmup Essentials: Ghost Blade HD

Nekopara: Honesty is the Best Policy

Honesty is the best policy, as the idiom has it. And the further you delve into the Nekopara series, the more it becomes clear that this enjoyable series of visual novels is designed with this philosophy at their core.

Several of the Minaduki catgirls describe themselves as inherently honest (albeit whimsical) creatures, preferring to rely on their natural instincts and desires rather than indulging the distinctly human tendency to say one thing and mean another… though it comes more easily to some than others.

The rather deadpan Vanilla, who is explored in detail in the first volume of the series in particular, finds it very easy both to be honest — to an abrasive fault at times — and to encourage her peers to be honest with themselves.

Others such as Azuki and Coconut have a tougher time, however, and it’s this latter pair’s struggles with this concept that forms the backdrop to Nekopara vol. 2.

Continue reading Nekopara: Honesty is the Best Policy

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