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!
There are certain games and series whose reputation precedes them. Of course, there are those series that are legendarily excellent — which, to be honest, I tend to find often sets you up to be disappointed and underwhelmed when you finally try them — but there are also those that are known for… less salubrious reasons.
Today’s award looks at something which I had held off trying for a while because I wasn’t sure I’d be into it… but subsequently it turned out to be one of my favourite things ever. That is, as they say, the way game chasin’ go… wait, that’s something else, isn’t it?
And the winner is…
Continue reading The MoeGamer Awards: The “I Shouldn’t Have Hesitated” Award
Rance 5D’s main heroine Rizna Lanfbitt is a great character — and pleasingly, she gets plenty of time in the spotlight in the subsequent games, too.
Initially presented pretty much as a textbook example of a “damsel in distress” — right down to being trapped inside a castle, fairy tale-style — Rizna shows herself over the course of her subsequent adventures to be a character with considerable depth and appeal to her, not to mention plenty of flaws that humanise her somewhat.
One might argue that Rance perhaps isn’t the best influence on her, given the things she’s been through, but when our “hero” isn’t taking advantage of her, they enjoy a good relationship that comes across as one of the most genuine friendships in the series.
Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Rizna Lanfbitt
A real highlight of Rance 5D is the amount of time you get to spend with Athena 2.0.
Utterly devoted to her master, but in a completely different way to the genuine feelings Sill holds for Rance, this rather peculiar artificial lifeform is a reliable source of comedy, cuteness and, more often than not, erotic scenes.
She’s definitely a memorable character for sure, and her interactions with Rance, Sill and the rest of the cast form an important part of Rance 5D as a whole.
(There’s a disappointing lack of Athena fanart around the Internet, so there’s a couple of mildly NSFW images from the games after the jump; consider yourself warned!)
Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Athena 2.0
2002’s Rance 5D (finally localised into English in 2017) is probably one of the most unusual RPGs you will ever play.
At least part of its rather distinctive nature is due to the fact that it is actually developer Alicesoft’s fourth attempt at a fifth Rance game, hence the “D” on the end of the title — A, B and C were all failed attempts that never saw the light of day.
Thankfully, Rance 5D did, however, and it’s nothing if not a memorable experience, both from a narrative and mechanical perspective — and from the perspective of its rather troubled development history, too.
Continue reading Rance 5D: Roulette, Role-Playing and RNG
Now our exploration of the Rance series is well underway, it’s only fitting we celebrate some of its excellent female characters.
And where better to start than the protagonist’s perpetual companion (and slave) Sill Plain?
Sill has been a fixture in the series from its inception through to its current status, acting as Rance’s long-suffering sidekick and primary romantic interest despite her status as a slave. She’s one of the series’ most beloved characters, and the perfect counter to Rance’s shameless, brutish nature.
Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Sill Plain
One of the most remarkable things about Alicesoft’s Rance series is quite how detailed its lore is.
This might not be something you expect to hear about a series of 18+ games with rather a lot of sexually explicit content, but just a few minutes with a Rance title will make it abundantly clear Alicesoft takes this franchise very seriously indeed. At least, so far as ensuring its lore is internally consistent; as a series with absurdist (and often black) humour at its heart, Rance is anything but “serious”.
This combination of a significant humorous component with deep, well-crafted lore established over a long cycle of individual works particularly brings to mind Terry Pratchett’s influential Discworld series. And if we look a little more deeply into that lore we can see a number of similarities along the way, particularly in terms of how things the audience will recognise from modern life are blended with the conventions of fantastic fiction.
NOTE: A hanny from /vg/ helpfully pointed out that the original version of this article used terminology from the original Japanese versions and fan translations. It’s now been updated with terminology from MangaGamer’s “official” translation to prevent confusion for series newcomers!
Continue reading Rance: The “Discworld” of Eroge
Typically, when we talk about gaming franchises that have been around since the early days of the medium, the same names tend to come up all the time.
There’s Final Fantasy, of course, which first appeared in 1987. Super Mario Bros., which hails from 1985. The Legend of Zelda from 1986. All classic series that are still going strong and have been highly prolific over the years, not just with their mainline installments but with numerous spinoffs, too.
What we’re going to explore this month is a series of games from Japan that has been going as long as these established classics, but which remains relatively unknown in the West so far due to 1) its status as an eroge and 2) the fact it only got its first localised release in December of 2016 thanks to MangaGamer.
I am, of course, talking about Rance. Tooooohhhh!
Continue reading Rance: Introduction and History