Tag Archives: gameplay

Groove Coaster Wai Wai Party!!!!: Rockin’ Out With the VTubers and Vocaloids

The original Groove Coaster, which released on iOS in 2011, was a revelation. It was an accessible yet challenging rhythm game that made excellent use of its touchscreen control method — and which beautifully demonstrated how a completely abstract aesthetic can be just as thrilling and enjoyable as a detailed, realistic one.

While the series isn’t as well-known today as it was during the initial fever for it when it first appeared on the scene, it’s been quietly rumbling along for a decade at this point, taking in several sequels for both mobile phones and arcades, a Steam release for PC in 2018 and, towards the end of 2019, a special Switch version subtitled Wai Wai Party!!!!

At fifty quid, Groove Coaster Wai Wai Party!!!! may look a tad pricey for a downloadable game to the casual observer, and I must confess I’d put off checking it out for far longer than I should have because of this. But having been generously given some eShop credit as a leaving present from my old job, I figured it was high time I gave it a look for myself. So let’s explore it together!

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Atari A to Z: Water Ski School

My parents, I believe, still own a complete collection of Page 6 magazine, right from its very first issue as a publication primarily intended for the Birmingham User Group, up until its slow demise as an A5-sized subscription-only affair in the twilight years of Atari.

One edition which always stood out to me was Issue 23, whose cover sported a large image of a water-skier performing a stunt he didn’t quite seem to be ready for. The cover image was promoting the big type-in game for that issue: a machine-code game known as Water Ski School. Although I typed in a lot of games over the course of Page 6’s original run, for one reason or another I never got around to doing this one. Seems like a prime candidate to check out on Atari A to Z, then!

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z Flashback: RealSports Soccer

In real life, I despise soccer, or “football” as we call it over here. But there have been a number of soccer games over the years that I’ve rather enjoyed — and RealSports Soccer for the Atari 2600 is one of them.

The reason for this is that RealSports Soccer for the Atari 2600 resembles real soccer on only the most superficial level, and is instead simply a highly enjoyable video game, particularly if you have the opportunity to enjoy it with a friend or two. Its mechanics, which make no logical sense from a “realism” perspective, make it a ton of fun — and I can attest from personal experience that this is a game that can produce genuine howls of laughter that stem from genuine enjoyment.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk – Alchemy in a Fading World

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Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk is, as we’ve already established, something of a step in a different direction for the series.

Over the course of the series, Gust has always drawn a hard line underneath each of the main “sets” of games before moving on to the next; the narrative of the setting isn’t necessarily wrapped up conclusively (which leaves things open for titles like Atelier Lulua to revisit past series) but there’s usually a significant reinvention of, at the very least, overall aesthetic and mechanical components.

One of the most obvious places where we see this is in the heart of the series: the alchemy component. So let’s take a closer look at exactly how Atelier Ayesha handles this side of things!

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Checkered Flag: Where the Driver’s Gender Becomes Important

Fun fact: I have the manual for the original Atari Lynx version of Checkered Flag framed in my toilet.

For a certain period during the Lynx’s lifetime, Atari eschewed booklet-style manuals in favour of posters for the games with the instructions on the back. My wife liked the art on Checkered Flag’s instructions sheet — which I somehow still had despite having not owned a Lynx for a good ten years or so — and so we put it up on the wall. Consequently, every time I’m having a poo I get to read those instructions for the umpteenth time.

Believe me, I am now intimately familiar with how to play Checkered Flag effectively — helpful now that it’s been rereleased as part of the Atari Lynx Collection 2 cartridge for the Evercade — and the fact that, in Atari’s own words, the winner of each race is rewarded with “a trophy and a big hug”. And, in a surprisingly progressive, inclusive step for a video game on a failed console from 1991, the manual also takes care to note that said big hug is “where the driver’s gender becomes important”. Oh, also there’s some racing game action in there, too, I suppose; let’s take a closer look.

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Atari ST A to Z: Paperboy

Porting an arcade game to home computers often wasn’t an immediate process back in the days of the 8- and 16-bit microcomputers. In fact, sometimes it took a good few years!

Such was the case with Paperboy from Atari Games, which first hit arcades in 1985 and didn’t come to Atari ST until a full four years later! Elite put together a rather solid port that played well, but which was regarded as somewhat “outdated” by reviewers of the time.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

short;Play: Rise of the Dragon

Adventure games — particularly point-and-click affairs from the ’90s — are a genre I’ve loved for a long time. And one of my all-time favourites from back in the day is Rise of the Dragon, a futuristic dystopian adventure by Dynamix that feels all the more plausible today.

Taking on the role of William “Blade” Hunter, trenchcoat-wearing private detective extraordinaire, it’s your job to investigate the strange and horrifying death of the mayor’s daughter, stop the spread of a deadly DNA-altering drug and prevent the resurrection of an ancient Chinese wizard who really wants to take over Los Angeles for some reason. I say he’s welcome to it; LA’s a shithole now, and it looks even worse in the future.

Check out my full playthrough of this adventure game classic in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Malibu Bikini Volleyball: Beach Body Ready

Dear old Atari. They captured lightning in a bottle in the early days of video games with the 2600, then struggled to recreate that sort of success ever again. It certainly wasn’t through lack of trying on the tech front, though.

The Atari Lynx was one of their more impressive efforts, providing the first 16-bit handheld gaming platform with a backlit colour screen, hardware scaling and distortion. It even had a decent selection of games for it, but as was always the case with post-2600 Atari, its marketing was a complete disaster and as such the system remains largely forgotten by most gaming enthusiasts today.

Except for the folks behind the Evercade, of course, who have brought us not one but two collections of Atari Lynx titles for the diminutive retro gaming platform. So let’s take a look at one of the games from the Atari Lynx Collection 1 cartridge and see whether or not these forgotten titles have anything to offer to the modern gamer!

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Atari A to Z: Valgus 2

Valgus 2 (or possibly “Valgus Squared”, thinking about it) for Atari 8-bit is an interesting and creative take on Tetris that, for once, doesn’t just knock off someone else’s game.

While superficially resembling Alexey Pajitnov’s official follow-up Welltris, Valgus 2 is actually a rather different sort of game, tasking you with surrounding a central piece rather than making lines on the floor of a “well”.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Combat Crazy: The Genesis of Bizarre Creations

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The late Bizarre Creations is, it’s fair to say, a developer that a lot of people have very fond memories of. And for a variety of reasons.

2021 marks the tenth anniversary of their unceremonious closure at the hands of Activision after the disappointing (to Activision) commercial performance of their excellent “powered-up racing” title Blur. And so I thought it was high time we paid them tribute.

Over the course of this ongoing MegaFeature, we’ll look at Bizarre Creations’ complete back catalogue, stretching from the company’s roots back in the Commodore 64 days, all the way through its classic racing titles on sixth- and seventh-generation consoles, and onwards to its sad demise ten years ago. You might be surprised at some of the lesser-known titles these Liverpool lads put out during their time in the business — and I’m sure we’re all sorry they’re no longer around today. So let’s get started by taking a trip right back to the very beginning.

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