It’s strange how certain memories — or fragments of memories, at least — stick with you, long after you’ve forgotten the original context. And yet they continue to be lodged in your brain somewhere, perhaps even colouring your own attitudes.
For me, one such memory is from — I believe, anyway — a childhood trip to the United States, and a TV show I happened to catch a snippet of shortly before I was supposed to be going to bed in the hotel room. I don’t precisely remember what the TV show was; I want to say it was LA Law, but I can’t find any reliable record of the scene I believe I remember to check.
The context doesn’t really matter. The thing that stuck with me was a single line that was part of a heated exchange between a man and a woman. “We had sex; we’re bonded for life.” And that’s a concept that’s very much come to the forefront of my mind since starting Evenicle.
This post contains some mildly NSFW images.
Continue reading Evenicle: Sex is Power
Alicesoft was a developer that wasn’t really on my radar before I played the English releases of Rance 5D and Rance VI, and chances are if you haven’t explored eroge in any great detail you may not be overly familiar with them either.
However, between the Rance games and my experiences with Evenicle so far, I’m very comfortable with saying that they are an excellent developer that any fans of high-quality enjoyable RPGs with interesting mechanics, solid narratives and extremely memorable characters would do well to check out. Particularly if you’re keen for your games to actually treat you like an adult — and I’m not just talking about sexual content here.
So what is Evenicle? Let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading Evenicle: Introduction and First Impressions
The MoeGamer Awards are a series of made-up prizes that give me an excuse to celebrate games, concepts and communities I’ve particularly appreciated over the course of 2017. Find out more and suggest some categories here!
There are certain games and series whose reputation precedes them. Of course, there are those series that are legendarily excellent — which, to be honest, I tend to find often sets you up to be disappointed and underwhelmed when you finally try them — but there are also those that are known for… less salubrious reasons.
Today’s award looks at something which I had held off trying for a while because I wasn’t sure I’d be into it… but subsequently it turned out to be one of my favourite things ever. That is, as they say, the way game chasin’ go… wait, that’s something else, isn’t it?
And the winner is…
Continue reading The MoeGamer Awards: The “I Shouldn’t Have Hesitated” Award
Whew. Sorry for the somewhat delayed appearance of this article, but as you will know if you’re a regular reader, I like to beat at the very least the main story of games before I write about them in detail.
Rance VI’s main story is a substantial, ambitious affair — and there’s a whole bunch of post-game stuff to do once you’ve cleared it, too, if you really want to ensure you’ve got the most out of the game. Beating it to my satisfaction before penning this article took a little longer than anticipated!
In fact, Rance VI as a complete package is a substantial, ambitious affair, not just from a narrative perspective. There’s a whole lot to talk about, so the best way to go about this is going to be to tackle it a bit at a time. Make sure you visit the toilet before we set off… this is going to be a long journey!
Continue reading Rance VI: An Epic for Adults
2002’s Rance 5D (finally localised into English in 2017) is probably one of the most unusual RPGs you will ever play.
At least part of its rather distinctive nature is due to the fact that it is actually developer Alicesoft’s fourth attempt at a fifth Rance game, hence the “D” on the end of the title — A, B and C were all failed attempts that never saw the light of day.
Thankfully, Rance 5D did, however, and it’s nothing if not a memorable experience, both from a narrative and mechanical perspective — and from the perspective of its rather troubled development history, too.
Continue reading Rance 5D: Roulette, Role-Playing and RNG
One of the most remarkable things about Alicesoft’s Rance series is quite how detailed its lore is.
This might not be something you expect to hear about a series of 18+ games with rather a lot of sexually explicit content, but just a few minutes with a Rance title will make it abundantly clear Alicesoft takes this franchise very seriously indeed. At least, so far as ensuring its lore is internally consistent; as a series with absurdist (and often black) humour at its heart, Rance is anything but “serious”.
This combination of a significant humorous component with deep, well-crafted lore established over a long cycle of individual works particularly brings to mind Terry Pratchett’s influential Discworld series. And if we look a little more deeply into that lore we can see a number of similarities along the way, particularly in terms of how things the audience will recognise from modern life are blended with the conventions of fantastic fiction.
NOTE: A hanny from /vg/ helpfully pointed out that the original version of this article used terminology from the original Japanese versions and fan translations. It’s now been updated with terminology from MangaGamer’s “official” translation to prevent confusion for series newcomers!
Continue reading Rance: The “Discworld” of Eroge
Typically, when we talk about gaming franchises that have been around since the early days of the medium, the same names tend to come up all the time.
There’s Final Fantasy, of course, which first appeared in 1987. Super Mario Bros., which hails from 1985. The Legend of Zelda from 1986. All classic series that are still going strong and have been highly prolific over the years, not just with their mainline installments but with numerous spinoffs, too.
What we’re going to explore this month is a series of games from Japan that has been going as long as these established classics, but which remains relatively unknown in the West so far due to 1) its status as an eroge and 2) the fact it only got its first localised release in December of 2016 thanks to MangaGamer.
I am, of course, talking about Rance. Tooooohhhh!
Continue reading Rance: Introduction and History