Tag Archives: Sony

PS2 Essentials: Energy Airforce

A core part of my gaming “diet” in the 16-bit home computer era and onwards into the early days of mainstream PC gaming was the military flight simulator.

I have many fond memories of piloting numerous pieces of military hardware around the virtual skies, dropping bombs on filthy commies (this was the height of the Cold War, after all) and dictators in the desert — but for me, it wasn’t necessarily the action-packed parts of these games that was appealing. No, it was the simple satisfaction of remaining in control of several tons of metal that really had no business being up in the air and not immediately plummeting to the ground.

This was a feeling I hadn’t really experienced for a while, to be honest; the Ace Combats of the world have their considerable appeal, but they’re not exactly realistic. Taito’s 2003 release of Energy Airforce, on the other hand… well, let’s take a look.

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PS2 Essentials: Under the Skin

One aspect of gaming we’ve lost sight of a bit over the course of the last couple of console generations is the idea of a game that is “nothing but fun”.

I’m talking about mechanics-centric games where the aim is to just have a good time and challenge yourself; games that aren’t trying to “say something”; games that aren’t trying to be artistic in a narrative sense.

This kind of game hasn’t died out completely, of course, but at the time of writing they remain primarily confined to the independently developed, digital-only sector. Capcom’s Under the Skin for PS2, meanwhile, reminds us of a time not so long ago (2004) when this type of experience would get a full retail release and no-one would bat an eyelid.

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PS2 Essentials: Paparazzi/The Camera Kozou

The late 2010s are often described as one of the most gleefully experimental periods in gaming history, with a wide variety of independent developers from all sorts of backgrounds doing their best to push the boundaries of gaming conventions in both mechanical and narrative terms.

There’s no denying that the rise in phenomena such as digital distribution and crowdfunding has enabled developers to work on games that many would have thought commercially unviable in years gone by. But this period is far from the only time in gaming when developers have had the freedom to experiment in this way.

D3 Publisher’s Simple Serieswhich originated on the PlayStation platform in the 1990s and continued right up until the Wii U era, provided a variety of developers the opportunity to spread their wings and get creative. The only caveat was that the games would almost certainly have miniscule budgets, and they would be released at a low-cost price point. Beyond that, anything would fly.

Here’s Paparazzi, originally known as The Camera Kozou (The Camera Apprentice), a PS2 game about taking photographs.

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The MoeGamer Awards: Game of the Year 2017

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 here, but you’re out of time to leave me suggestions, I’m afraid!

Well, here we are on the last day of 2017, and I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling something of a sense of anti-climax after what has been an extremely chaotic and interesting year in many ways. Still, what better way to see out the old year than with a completely arbitrary declaration of what the “best” game of 2017 was?

This was an extremely tough decision, particularly as I’ve always said these awards were based on what I played in 2017, not necessarily what was released in 2017. But, as it happened, the two front-runners happened to both come out in 2017, so that all works out pretty nicely, doesn’t it? So which one did I pick? I’m sure you’re on the edge of your seats.

And the winner is…

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The MoeGamer Awards: The Second Chance Award

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 award is pretty simple: it reflects a game I gave a second chance to, and ended up being extremely glad that I did.

It’s often worth revisiting things that you bounced off some time ago, as you may well find that changes in your outlook and tolerance for certain things may change over time. Of course, in this digital age, there’s also the possibility that games might be patched and improved over time, too — and, as in the case of today’s game, there may also be superior ports down the road to improve the overall experience, too.

And the winner is…

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The MoeGamer Awards: Best Retro Systems to Collect For in 2017

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…

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Puzzler Essentials: Lumines

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.

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