Every so often a game comes along that really makes you sit up and pay attention.
Sometimes it’s because it features a beautiful refinement or evolution of some established mechanics. Sometimes it’s because it really pushes graphical technology forwards. Sometimes it has famous names attached to it.
And sometimes it’s 428: Shibuya Scramble, a title so far removed from what we traditionally think of as a “video game” that you can’t help but notice it.
Continue reading 428: Shibuya Scramble – Introduction and History
Somewhere in a dusty old attic sat a dirty, forgotten cassette tape, chronicling the experiences of both me and my good friend Woody, someone I grew up with and someone who had a defining influence on my gaming habits in the early years.
High-tech audio recovery technology has been used to retrieve the content from this cassette, which had been badly damaged by the passage of time (just ignore the fact we talk about having a Nintendo Switch and stuff like that) but was just, just still salvageable.
Or perhaps I just made a boo-boo with the recording of this conversation and decided to run with it. No, no, no, that couldn’t possibly be the case.
Continue reading The MoeGamer Podcast: Episode X (Starring Woody)
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
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!
Today’s category suggestion is brought to you by my dear friend and talented pixel artist Mr Chris Caskie, aka MrGilderPixels. Check out his site for progress updates on his awesome wooden pixel art standees and wall plaques, and order some of his past work or commission a pixel art avatar on his Etsy shop.
Since we’ve looked at a bunch of short-form arcade-style games throughout the year, particularly shoot ’em ups, Chris suggested I should highlight what I thought was the most interesting or distinctive scoring system in the games I’ve played. So let’s do that!
And the winner is…
Continue reading The MoeGamer Awards: Coolest Scoring Mechanic
There’s been an unwritten rule ever since the days of the Game Boy that every major new handheld system must launch with at least one awesome puzzle game.
Sony’s PlayStation Portable was no exception, launching with the wonderful Lumines (pronounced “luminous”, not “loo-mines”, as I’ve heard some people call it), a game that combined the familiar style of falling-block puzzling with the synaesthetic blend of light and sound patterns designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi had used to such great effect in his renowned Dreamcast title Rez, and which he would later use once again in the PSP versions of Gunpey and Every Extend Extra.
Lumines isn’t a complex game in mechanical terms. But it is most definitely not a quick-hit throwaway experience, either; on the contrary, when you sit down for a game of Lumines, expect to be staring glassy-eyed at your PSP for at least half an hour before you’ll be able to tear yourself away.
Continue reading Puzzler Essentials: Lumines
1998’s Ridge Racer Type 4 is the quintessential PS1 game.
Perfectly embodying the spirit of late ’90s “cool” that Sony was so keen to pursue with its platform, particularly in the West, the game is also a showcase for exactly what the humble PlayStation was capable of in its later years as well as a perfect balance between widespread accessibility and hardcore long-term challenge.
In short, it’s a comprehensive realisation of what Namco had wanted to achieve with the home versions of the Ridge Racer series ever since Revolution, and one of the most consistently enjoyable arcade racers ever created.
Continue reading Ridge Racer Type 4: Real Racing Roots ’99
While the arcade installment Ridge Racer 2 and its home conversion of sorts Ridge Racer Revolution went in slightly different directions, it was the third “generation” of Ridge Racer games where the two approaches finally diverged completely.
1995’s third arcade installment Rave Racer again acted as more of an evolution from the previous games, featuring more detailed graphics and a couple of new tracks as well as the circuits from the original Ridge Racer. Notably, it was also the first Ridge Racer game to put a strong emphasis on a female “mascot” character in its epilepsy-inducing attract mode; some conjecture this is actually the first appearance of longtime series “image girl” Reiko Nagase, though the hotpants-clad polygonal model doesn’t look a lot like how we came to know and love her in later installments.
1996’s Rage Racer, meanwhile, was a complete reinvention for home systems, featuring an actual single-player “campaign” of sorts to work through, with gradual progression and car upgrades as well as the abandoning of arcade game conventions such as tight time limits and checkpoints with which to extend it. The immediacy was still there, but now the game wanted to keep you in your seat for more than five minutes at a time.
Continue reading Rage Racer: Point of Divergence