I’ll level with you, dear reader: as a heterosexual man, I’ve never really made checking out boys’ love (BL) media a particular priority — though I must also admit that I’ve been curious for quite a while to see what it’s like.
My past experiences with otome games aimed at heterosexual women have been universally positive, after all (play Sweet Fuse, it’s amazing!) so there’s absolutely no reason why I shouldn’t be able to enjoy a BL title, too. As I’ve discovered since leaving the mainstream side of gaming behind, keeping an open mind and stepping outside of what you might typically think of as your “comfort zone” pretty much always pays off with some memorable experiences.
And thus, when independent developer Studio Senpai reached out and asked me to take a look at their work-in-progress visual novel The Secrets We Keep, I thought this would be a good opportunity to take my first steps into a brave new world. Also, the concept of the novel sounded highly intriguing, too, so that definitely helped! So let’s explore together.
Continue reading The Secrets We Keep: A Modern Love Story
It’s always a pleasure when a developer, publisher or localiser reaches out to me and asks if I’ll take a look at their project, because it tends to expose me to things that I might otherwise have been unaware of.
In turn, I can then share those things with you, and you can check them out as well! Everyone wins.
The latest title I’ve encountered in this manner is Bluemoonpark, an upcoming Kickstarter-funded visual novel by LA-based startup Amateras Inc and Korean developers Archive Factory Creative Group and Project Team Heimdallr. Let’s take a first look!
Continue reading Bluemoonpark: The Most Precious Wings
Those of you who have been following my work for a while may recall a good few years back now I was rather enthusiastic about a game called Magical Diary: Horse Hall.
This unusual game, developed by Hanako Games and Spiky Caterpillar, blended elements of visual novel, life sim and first-person dungeon crawler to create something very interesting indeed — and something that was clearly intended to be the start of a series.
That was back in 2012. Now, in 2019, we’re finally getting a follow-up — so let’s take a first look at what the sequel, Magical Diary: Wolf Hall, has to offer, and how Hanako Games and Spiky Caterpillar will be making use of crowdfunding to realise their goals.
Continue reading Magical Diary: Wolf Hall – A Wolf in Wizard’s Clothing
If you are one of the many people disappointed in the recent news surrounding Sony cracking down on content with even the slightest whiff of “adultness” about it, you need to start paying attention to the Japanese PC games market if you’re not already.
Parallel to all the kerfuffle surrounding the cancellation of Omega Labyrinth Z and the news that Xseed was being forced to cut out the “Intimacy” feature from the upcoming Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal, the localised Japanese PC games market has quietly been becoming an even more open and welcoming place to fans of games with adult content than it was already: just recently we’ve seen the release of AliceSoft’s excellent Evenicle on Steam, MangaGamer is continuing to work on English versions of the Rance series… and a long-running, well-received series of fantasy-themed games is getting a much-anticipated localisation.
I’m talking about VenusBlood Frontier, an upcoming Kickstarter-funded localisation project that, as I type this, you have a little over a day to back if it sounds like something you might want to see more of. Hop on over to Kickstarter if you’ve already made your mind up… or read on if you want to know more.
NOTE: For those who care about such things, I am a Kickstarter backer of this project but am otherwise unaffiliated with either Ninetail or JAST USA. Continue reading VenusBlood Frontier: Divine Conquest
OutRun is consistently cited as one of the best, most influential arcade games of all time, so it’s surprising Sega hasn’t done more with it over the years.
And speaking more broadly, I’ve seen enough people bemoaning the lack of arcade-style racing games in today’s landscape that it’s even more surprising more developers haven’t attempted to capitalise on this apparent hunger for old-school, no-frills racing.
It was with this in mind that, on January 16 2016, when my friend Chris (of MoeGamer Podcast fame) noted that “here’s a Kickstarter worth $5“, I didn’t hesitate to fling the aforementioned five bucks in the direction of Slipstream, a humble project from solo Brazilian developer Sandro Luiz de Paula, aka ansdor — someone who seemingly wanted nothing more than to make a new OutRun.
Continue reading Slipstream: The Road to ’80s Arcade Racing Nirvana
I have a bit of a thing for robot girls, I won’t lie.
It’s perhaps more accurate to say that I have a bit of a thing for certain types of robot girls, particularly those as depicted in Japanese video games and anime. I am, to be specific, a fan of robot girls who speak Japanese in a voice that simultaneously sounds kind of emotionless but also infused with urgency; a fan of robot girls who deliver their lines with a delightfully percussive, clipped tone; and, of course, robot girls who are cute.
I most certainly, in short, have a bit of a thing for Call from Mighty No. 9.
Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Call
Mighty No. 9 is an interesting tale from 21st century gaming that has doubtless been very influential… though perhaps not in the way that was originally hoped for.
One of the earliest success stories of the crowdfunding boom in the early 2010s, the Kickstarter campaign for Mighty No. 9 promised something a lot of people were hungry for: a new Mega Man game in all but name. And oh boy, people were hungry for it; the campaign smashed through its initial $900,000 goal within days of its announcement, and the final total raised through crowdfunding cleared $4 million.
It was a game that should have gone down in gaming history. Instead, its lasting legacy was as an example of how not to manage a crowdfunding campaign, and a final product that had a somewhat mixed reception. But was it actually that bad?
Continue reading Mighty No. 9: “Better than Nothing” – The Game People Love to Hate