Waifu Wednesday: Hanako Ikezawa

In this new weekly series, we’ll be taking a look at some of the most memorable, interesting, attractive, sexy, badass and just plain awesome female characters in Japanese gaming, as well as highlighting some great fanart.

And what better place to begin than with Hanako Ikezawa from Katawa Shoujo, my favourite character from the game that truly got me into visual novels and the Japanese style of interactive storytelling once and for all — even if the game in question itself was actually developed as something of a worldwide collaborative effort.

Hanako is a character that I found to be deeply relatable, enormously sympathetic  and highly memorable; she’ll always occupy a very special place in my heart, and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Hanako Ikezawa

Shmup Essentials: DoDonPachi Resurrection

My first encounter with DoDonPachi Resurrection — also known as DoDonPachi DaiFukkatsu — was in its iOS incarnation.

I’d never really played a danmaku shooter before, so it was to be a new experience to me, but I’d been assured by people whose opinions I trusted that I would have a good time with it. Those assurances turned out to be emphatically true — which is just as well, because at the time I originally purchased it, DoDonPachi Resurrection was rather expensive for a mobile game.

Since that fateful initial encounter several years back, I’ve since sought out the various other versions of this game, and have found it an incredibly challenging but rewarding experience whatever form it takes — and absolutely one of Cave’s finest games to date.

Continue reading Shmup Essentials: DoDonPachi Resurrection

Puzzler Essentials: Detonator

You can make games about pretty much anything.

Demolishing buildings, for example, is a theme that we’ve seen a few times over the years, most notably in Midway’s classic arcade game Rampage, though you might not think this inherently destructive activity is the best fit for the rather cerebral puzzle game genre.

You would, however, be wrong, as Kadokawa Shoten’s PlayStation 2 puzzler Detonator aptly demonstrates.

Continue reading Puzzler Essentials: Detonator

PS2 Essentials: Party Girls

Party Girls is an interesting anomaly in D3 Publisher’s Simple Series in that its Japanese title is much more interesting than its somewhat generic sounding localisation, rather than the other way around.

Party Girls? Eh, pass, sounds like shovelware. Mogitate Mizugi! Onna Mamire no THE Suiei Taikai (Fresh-Picked Swimsuits! The Swim Meet Packed with Women*), on the other hand? Sign me right the hell up.

This situation wasn’t helped by Western publisher 505 GameStreet’s rather generic-looking cover art for the game, which looks like it was knocked up by an intern messing around with WordArt on their lunch break. And consequently, I’d be rather surprised if you ever played Party Girls.

And this is a shame. Because Party Girls is fun.

Continue reading PS2 Essentials: Party Girls

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed: Driving Into Dreams

There have been a number of attempts to dethrone Nintendo’s Mario Kart over the years, but none of them have been successful, at least in the multiplayer sphere.

There is one aspect of Mario Kart that has pretty consistently sucked over the years, though, and that’s the single-player offering. Offering little more than predefined Grand Prix championships, one-off races or time trials even in the most recent installments, Mario Kart has always struggled to provide anything of real substance for the solo player. Which is fine, as the series has always been known for being best experienced with at least one friend, right from its inception in the 16-bit era.

This has, however, left a decent-sized gap in the market for other developers to come along and offer more robust solo experiences in kart racing titles. And one game that succeeds admirably in this regard is the cumbersomely titled Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed from Sega.

Continue reading Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed: Driving Into Dreams

Stormblood: The MMO as Musical Theatre

“Video games aren’t movies.” That’s a line of criticism that those who prioritise mechanics over narrative like to level at cutscene-heavy games, particularly those by creators such as Hideo Kojima and David Cage.

And while it’s true that making effective use of games as a form of interactive media tends to emphasise actual interaction over passively watching cutscenes, one can hardly deny the spectacle offered by strongly movie-inspired titles, and the flexibility that entirely computer-generated scenes and characters can provide creators.

Which makes it all the more unusual that so many games focus on movies as their primary inspiration rather than other forms of media. Sure, some role-playing games might be rather operatic in tone, visual novels are effectively “Books Plus” and rhythm games provide a new way of experiencing pieces of music, but video games have never embraced the idea, of, say, musical theatre.

Or so you thought…

This article is also a video! Hit the jump to watch it, or catch it on YouTube.

Continue reading Stormblood: The MMO as Musical Theatre

Puzzler Essentials: Hell Girls

We’re enjoying a bit of a puzzle game renaissance at the moment.

While we’re not quite at the same level as we were in the 8-, 16- and 32-bit eras, where puzzle games would happily share retail shelf space with 100+ hour RPG epics (Puyo Puyo Tetris aside), we are at least starting to see more and more puzzle games that aren’t free-to-play mobile titles primarily designed to repeatedly part you from your cash rather than providing a well-balanced, fun experience.

One interesting game that may well have passed you by owing to its low price and seemingly low production values is Hell Girls from Taiwanese circle SakuraGame. And you should most definitely give it a look!

Continue reading Puzzler Essentials: Hell Girls

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

The Yuri Nation

Where Yuri and Girls Club Shows Reign Supreme

Shallow Dives in Anime

Bitesized thoughts on Anime; Done in 10 minutes or less!

This is my place.

A place where I let it all hang out.

Everything is bad for you

Escapism through gaming

McWritestuff

Where Alex McHotstuff writes stuff

Jud's Artwork

PAINTINGS; DRAWINGS; ART HISTORY; TECHNIQUES; DESIGN; CONCEPTS

Jud's Creative Writing Medley

Artwork, Haiku, Poetry, Stories, Novels, Literary Essays & Thesis

Nerd Side of Life

Fangirling since 1995

Musings of a Grouch

The insane ramblings of Chris Scott

kainetertainment

Games, comics, convention and personal stuff!

DJMMT's Gaming (& More) Blog

Serious posts for serious gamers . . .

Home Button

Your Home For Video Game Articles and Reviews

PHOXEL

FROM THE MIND OF A CRAZY PHOX

Atarieviewer

Reviews of old Atari 8-bit games

AmbiGaming

Understanding Virtual Worlds Through a Lens of Reality

Atari A to Z

Atari games, software, hardware... and memories

Videopac Games

An Odyssey of Interactive Entertainment

gamergal.exe

exploring the universe of PC gaming

The Zerathulu View

Reviews for the discerning indie gamer.

Livid Lightning

Striking words without fading away

Git Gud at Life

Life is a Game - Press GG to Start

3PStart

A blog focused on old-school gaming, among other general gaming information and communities.

Upon Completion

One day we will finish a game

FTWRuubin

Your Video Game Adventure Starts Here!

The Codex: Online

Give a game a chance.

geeksleeprinserepeat

We chat video games, board games and all other things Geeky!

Shoot the Rookie

The not-so-pro gaming blog

TWOTALL4UFOOL's Gaming & More

Video Game Reviews, Tech Reviews, Gaming News and much more!!!

HideNGoShauna

MLIS student in Northern Alberta blogging about geeky, fangirly stuff, and life in general. What is it you seek?

Later Levels

XP comes with age

A Geeky Gal

all things geeky: reviews, cosplay, fashion & gaming

The BookWorm Drinketh

Give Tea to the Tillerman, But Booze to the Bookworm!

KAWAIIPAPERPANDAS

"Everything I’ve done so far has sparked a flame that is now burning me up.” -Violet Evergarden

Mr Backlog

Gaming with purpose

Anime QandA

Asking The Big Questions on Anime and Manga

MEGA ALATREON

A journey of a man reaching Video Game Heaven

Normal Happenings

Appreciating Everyday Life

hungrygoriya

A little about gaming and hunting for retro gems...

Otaku Alcove

Reviewing anime, manga, games, and more

KimchiSama

Anime for the Soul

Pantsu Blog

A blog about panties, butts, and all that good ecchi stuff