While they’ve fallen a bit out of fashion in more recent years, tanks have been an important part of the gaming landscape pretty much since its dawn. (Then, of course, they trundled right over said landscape, flattened it and blew it up.)
Indeed, one of the earliest competitive games — Atari’s Combat for 2600, released in 1977 — is most well known for its highly enjoyable two-player tank battles, though the game’s myriad modes also incorporated a variety of other vehicles.
Namco got in on the tank battle action in 1980 with its arcade title Tank Battalion, subsequently followed up by spinoff title Battle City for Famicom in 1985. Then, finally, we come to 1991’s Tank Force, the game that we’re concerned with today — and an underappreciated arcade title that is well worth your time to check out.
Continue reading Namco Essentials: Tank Force
It’s honestly kind of surprising how many times the sport of golf has been adapted to the arcade format.
On the surface, you wouldn’t think the two things are particularly compatible; golf is a terribly sedate, polite sort of sport that takes all day to play, whereas arcade games are typically noisy, spectacular and, in many cases, over and done with in five minutes or less.
And yet that hasn’t stopped a number of developers trying their best to adapt it to a quarter-munching format, with one of the very best examples being Nazca’s Neo Turf Masters for Neo Geo, a game which has had a bit of a resurgence recently thanks to numerous ports to PC and console.
Continue reading Neo Geo Essentials: Neo Turf Masters
What a glorious name for a video game: Cameltry. Say it to yourself a few times. Cameltry. Cameltry. Cameltry.
So far as I can determine, there is no meaning to the word beyond “a 1989 arcade game by Taito”, which is sort of a shame, but, well, a game having such a peculiar name is at least one way to ensure it is memorable.
Fortunately, Cameltry is also a highly enjoyable if often overlooked installment in Taito’s arcade back catalogue, and well worth your time if you enjoy fiddly puzzle games and obstacle courses.
Continue reading Taito Essentials: Cameltry
While I was familiar with most of the other games in the Namco Museum collection for Switch, one that I hadn’t come across before was Sky Kid.
First released in 1985, Sky Kid is a horizontally scrolling shoot ’em up based on the company’s Pac-Land hardware introduced the previous year. Indeed, this fact is fairly obvious, as the two games have a similar aesthetic, and in a later mission there is even a billboard where Pac-Man in his Pac-Land incarnation (sporting arms and legs) makes a cameo appearance.
It’s the first of Namco’s games to support two players simultaneously, and aside from all that, it’s an entertaining, interesting take on the arcade shoot ’em up.
Continue reading Namco Essentials: Sky Kid
Dig Dug represents a type of game that doesn’t really exist any more, at least in its original form: what I shall refer to from hereon as “Dirt and Boulders” games.
The idea of a Dirt and Boulders game is that you dig through a bunch of dirt while trying to accomplish something, attempting not to get squashed by inconveniently placed boulders, and occasionally trying to use said boulders to your advantage.
Dirt and Boulders games were big in the ’80s, with titles like Mr. Do!, Boulder Dash and numerous clones of both keeping people entertained both in arcades and at home. But 1982’s Dig Dug was the game that established the template for all subsequent Dirt and Boulders games to follow — and a template that modern offshoots of Dirt and Boulders games, such as Minecraft, Terraria and suchlike, have somewhat drifted away from in favour of crafting and exploration.
Continue reading Namco Essentials: Dig Dug
Some games are utterly timeless, remaining just as fun today as they were back on their original release.
Namco’s Galaga is definitely one of those games, though it’s also a title the company has taken great pains to keep “relevant” over the years with numerous re-releases, the most recent at the time of writing being as part of the Nintendo Switch version of Namco Museum. It even showed up as one of the company’s “loading screen games” in the PS1 era, putting in an appearance during the initial load time for the original Tekken.
It’s had a number of sequels and remakes since it first showed up in 1981, but there’s an endearing purity to the original that is hard to beat, making it a true classic from gaming’s early days.
Continue reading Namco Essentials: Galaga
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!
This year, there’s been one game I’ve covered that has indisputably drawn more traffic to this site than any other. The article (singular — yes, it wasn’t even a Cover Game feature) about it gets an impressive number of hits every day and shows no signs of slowing down; likewise my YouTube video of its gameplay remains one of my most popular videos.
It’s interesting how this works. The game in question is a solid and enjoyable game, of course, it just seems like a strange one to be so popular. And yet people keep coming here to find out about it. Maybe I’m the only reliable source of information about it on the Web? Who knows. Either way, there’s only one clear winner of this award for 2017…
And the winner is…
Continue reading The MoeGamer Awards: The Traffic Magnet