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 comes from… well, me, because I wanted to write about it. I’ve really taken to collecting games over the last few years, particularly quirky, interesting or rare Japanese titles that don’t typically get a lot of attention — fodder to write about, in other words — and have spotted a few trends this year that may be of interest to those seeking to expand their own collection.
Specifically, if you’re not particularly attached to the idea of always being totally “current” with your game collection, or if you’re keen to see how far things have come (or not!) over the course of the last 20 years or so, these are the systems you might want to focus your collecting efforts on.
And the winner is… err, winners are…
Continue reading The MoeGamer Awards: Best Retro Systems to Collect For in 2017
Nintendo’s new miniature SNES Classic system is here, and it’s a historically significant release for one big reason: Star Fox 2.
Fully developed but never released due to its completion near the end of the SNES’ lifespan (and the subsequent birth of the Nintendo 64), Star Fox 2 has existed in limbo for a long time now. A few times over the years, ROMs claiming to be the full game have shown up, but they’ve generally been early alpha or beta builds, not offering quite the full experience that Nintendo originally intended for the game.
Now, in 2017, we can finally play Star Fox 2 in its original form as it was always intended to be played. Was it worth the wait?
Continue reading SNES Essentials: Star Fox 2
Although it was quite a few years ago, I have some vivid and fond memories of my first experiences with what I now know to be visual novels.
I commonly attribute my present love of visual novels to 2012’s Katawa Shoujo, but in fact my earliest encounter with the medium was some years earlier. This was back when I first discovered an interest in Japanese popular media in general thanks to a combination of promotional Manga Video VHS cassettes my brother brought home on one occasion, and the discovery that I really liked JRPGs thanks to Final Fantasy VII.
Those early visual novels had a pretty strong impact on me, and I was delighted to discover that there are ways to play them once again on modern machines — more on that later.
Continue reading My Earliest Visual Novel Memories
Roguelikes have been around for many years now, but in recent years we’ve seen an explosion in popularity of more accessible games that present a friendlier face to this notoriously obtuse genre.
Well-received Western indie titles such as Spelunky, Rogue Legacy, Dungeons of Dredmor, FTL and numerous others helped popularise (and, some may argue, dilute) the roguelike genre. At the same time, games such as One Way Heroics and the Mystery Dungeon series helped develop the genre in a distinctively Japanese direction.
But this development isn’t quite as recent as you might think. In fact, we’ve had accessible console-style roguelikes since the 16-bit era, though many may not have been aware of “roguelike” as a genre at the time. And a great — if particularly punishing — example can be found in the form of Sega’s Fatal Labyrinth (aka Shi no Meikyuu: Labyrinth of Death, no relation to Compile Heart’s MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death) for Mega Drive.
Continue reading Mega Drive Essentials: Fatal Labyrinth
It may seem faintly sacrilegious to include a game like Deep Space Waifu in the same column as legends such as Thunder Force II, Raiden IV and Dariusburst Chronicle Saviours. But the fact is, this rough-around-the-edges, budget-price affair is actually well worth your time and attention.
Developed by the mysterious “Neko Climax Studios”, whose only online presence appears to be a Facebook page under the ID “@nekohentaiking” and whose credits consist entirely of initials, Deep Space Waifu describes itself as a “casual strip ’em up action game, full of colours and girls”. And, really, that’s pretty much the perfect description.
At first glance, this appears to be a game that does not take itself at all seriously. But beneath the neon colours, chaotic visual effects and questionable artwork, there’s a surprisingly solid shoot ’em up that has clearly been designed with some care and attention.
Continue reading Shmup Essentials: Deep Space Waifu
Those of us of a certain age have a habit of looking back on things with distinctly rose-tinted spectacles.
When we actually come to revisit those things that we regarded with fond nostalgia, however, it can sometimes be disappointing. And it can be difficult to convince those who weren’t around for those things we’re nostalgic for that they, in many cases, have great value and historical significance, even if they “don’t hold up all that well today”, as the saying goes.
While Nintendo has enjoyed a certain amount of retro fever recently thanks to the launch of its dinky, mini-sized NES with a selection of pre-loaded games, many modern gamers still find the brutal challenge of games from this era — the notorious concept of “Nintendo Hard” — to be nigh-unpalatable. And even for those who don’t mind a bit of a challenge, it can be difficult to know where to start when developing the skills to play these games.
Enter NES Remix and its sequel, then, which tackle these problems head-on and create two brilliant experiences in their own right.
Continue reading Wii U Essentials: NES Remix