“Art games” have a somewhat polarising reputation among the broader gaming community. Some love how far creators are willing to stretch the definition of “game” in order to tell a story or explore a theme; others feel like these titles are a boring waste of time.
I’ve gone back and forth a bit on this over the years, but one thing most art games have in common is that they tend to de-emphasise mechanical depth and complexity in favour of telling their story. In some of the most well-regarded cases, you don’t even really “do” anything; you just walk forwards while a story passively washes over you.
198X is a bit different. It’s definitely an art game — or perhaps it’s more accurate to call it a short, animated, pixel-art film — but unlike many of its peers, it’s designed to be satisfying and enjoyable to play as well as to emotionally engage with. Let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading 198X: Retro Games as Art
If you were to tell me a couple of weeks ago that one of the most addictive, satisfying games of the summer would be a peculiar combination of venerable (but largely forgotten) Sega arcade title Pengo and ’90s Japanese arcade eroge I’d… have probably believed you, to be honest, but here we are anyway.
Yes, the aptly named Crawlco Block Knockers is a deliberate homage to dank, smoky, sleazy Japanese arcades in the ’90s and the games you would find therein. Drawing particular inspiration from Kaneko’s Gals Panic series and Mitchell Corporation’s Gonta the Diver duology, the game combines strategic thinking, arcade action, ’80s inspired vaporwave music and the opportunity to gradually reveal images of attractive, curvy women not wearing very much.
Sounds like a party, right? Let’s take a look. Some mildly NSFW shenanigans after the jump!
Continue reading Crawlco Block Knockers: A Game That Indeed Contains Both Blocks and Knockers
This article is one chapter of a multi-part Cover Game feature!
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If one thing has become apparent over the course of exploring the complete Sonic the Hedgehog series, it’s that no-one seems to be able to agree on how to handle it “best”.
We have Sonic Team’s attempts to move the franchise forward with various gameplay styles, new narrative components and a somewhat coherent, consistent narrative that ties in with other forms of media. We have Sonic Lost World’s much-maligned but utterly joyful jaunt into Super Mario-esque territory. And we have probably the most disappointingly “mainstream” opinion: that “Sonic hasn’t been good since the Mega Drive”.
Among other things, the perhaps vain hope of shutting this latter group up is the reason Sonic Mania exists.
Continue reading Sonic the Hedgehog: Everything Old is New Again