If there’s one thing Nintendo has absolutely always been good at, it’s sequels.
How do you follow up a big hit like Donkey Kong? More of the same? Some lesser companies might think that is a good way of doing things, but not Nintendo — even back in the ’80s. Instead, they chose to take a very interesting approach: they’d take the formula of Donkey Kong and flip it on its head, placing the previous game’s hero in the role of the villain, and tasking you with rescuing the titular big ape.
Donkey Kong Jr. was born, and Nintendo’s rapidly establishing reputation for creating simple to understand, difficult to master and highly addictive games was further cemented.
Continue reading NES Essentials: Donkey Kong Jr.
One of the nice things about revisiting old games from a modern perspective is the fact that you can see how certain genres have evolved over time… and sometimes seemingly morphed into different things altogether.
The original Castlevania is a great example of this. Far from being your common-or-garden everyday mascot platformer that we saw a fair bit throughout the 8- and 16-bit home console eras, Castlevania provided an experience that was altogether its own thing, immediately recognisable and immensely influential.
Atmospheric, idiosyncratic and consistently challenging, it’s a game that still holds its own today — just don’t expect an easy ride!
Continue reading Delving Into Castlevania – #1
SNK is primarily known for its fighting games these days, but in its earlier years it was known for a number of solid (and influential) shoot ’em ups.
While Alpha Mission (also known as ASO: Armored Scrum Object in Japan) isn’t the company’s first shoot ’em up by any means, it is an important one and forms the first in a loose “trilogy” of titles that we’ll explore over the course of the next few articles.
Drawing inspiration from Western RPGs, of all things, this is a fun but challenging vertically scrolling shoot ’em up that any fan of the genre owes it to themselves to become intimately acquainted with.
Continue reading SNK Essentials: Alpha Mission
What’s that? A new feature? Why yes, yes it is.
In MoeGamer Music, an occasional feature, I sit down with a blank post and sit down to listen to a whole album without interruptions. While doing so, I will pen some immediate thoughts about each track, as well as providing a bit of information about the album as a whole.
And yes, being a physical release sort of person, everything I will be covering in this column is available on CD, and I will be listening to it on CD rather than ripping it to my digital music library. Distraction-free listening for the win.
We begin today with Diggin in the Carts: A Collection of Pioneering Japanese Video Game Music, published by Hyperdub. If you want to listen along, check out the Bandcamp page here.
Continue reading Diggin in the Carts – A Collection of Pioneering Japanese Video Game Music
I’ve always enjoyed games that subvert your expectations in one way or another — be it narratively, mechanically or both. And Tecmo’s Mighty Bomb Jack from 1987 is nothing if not charmingly fast and loose with the definition of what you might expect from a NES-era platform game.
I wasn’t familiar with Mighty Bomb Jack back when it was “current”, but I did have a soft spot for Elite’s solid Atari ST port of the 1984 original arcade game. That was a much simpler game; what Mighty Bomb Jack does is take the base mechanics from its predecessor and apply them in an interesting and unusual new way.
Let’s take a look, shall we?
Continue reading NES Essentials: Mighty Bomb Jack
Dragon Quest is a great example of what I like to think of as a “comfy game”. That is, the kind of game you can pick up and play, and immediately feel like you’re welcome in its world.
There are certain series that do this very well. Gust’s Atelier games — particularly from the PS3 era onwards — are especially well-known for it, and my journey through Chapters of the Chosen on Nintendo DS is making me feel like Dragon Quest as a whole is very likely to be the same way.
As controversial as it might be to say these days, I feel a big part of the pleasant atmosphere the later English versions succeed in creating is down to the efforts of the localisation team and how they made some significant changes to how the original scripts were presented. So let’s take a look at that aspect today.
Continue reading Delving Into Dragon Quest: Chapters of the Chosen – #2
Welcome to the first installment of what will hopefully become a regular (though not necessarily scheduled) feature here on MoeGamer: Delving Into…
The aim of this column is to give me the opportunity to catch up on and write about games and series which perhaps aren’t entirely practical to fit in to the monthly Cover Game format — usually due to them being much too long or consisting of too many individual titles to squeeze into a single month… or, most likely, a combination of both.
I have a number of different series that fit into this category, including Dragon Quest, Yakuza, Trails in the Sky and Trails of Cold Steel, so as time goes on, I’ll be exploring each of these gradually — and offering some immediate, ongoing, personal thoughts about my experiences as I proceed through them rather than a single, “final thoughts” article. We begin today with the Nintendo DS version of Dragon Quest IV, aka Chapters of the Chosen.
Continue reading Delving Into Dragon Quest: Chapters of the Chosen