11 / 23 / 2015
"Ahh R2 that's a mighty good gin and tonic." So ends our little Star Wars fest with Super Empire Strikes Back (SNES, 1/5), one of the most bullshit hard games of all time, and Star Wars (NES, 2/5), the Japan-only release from Namco that really cutesy Japanifies the game to hilarious levels. May you live long and prosper and all that, if any of the regulars go see the movie let me know how it was.
11 / 19 / 2015
Eroooo! Groader Stories! Well, on second thought ... that would probably melt the Internet. So instead we have plain ol' Yoda Stories (PC, 2/5). And for those who give no effs about Star Wars we also have Magrunner: Dark Pulse (PC, 3/5) and Hydorah (PC, 3/5).
11 / 14 / 2015
Are you getting jazzed for the new Star Wars? Man, I'm really not. I've always been OK with Star Wars, but it's not one of my favorite things in the world, and I can't muster up any real enthusiasm for this new movie. Probably gonna see it when it hits the $3 theater or HBO tbqh.
Nevertheless, I feel obligated to play some Star Wars games, so how about the handheld-exclusive Star Wars: Lethal Alliance (PSP, 3/5) to start out. Just so the other side of the Great Nerd Divide doesn't feel left out, we've also got the equally handheld-exclusive Star Trek: Tactical Assault (PSP, 2/5). And we've even got you covered if you can't take your sci-fi without a slathering of animu with Neon Genesis Evangelion for Nintendo 64 (1/5).
11 / 8 / 2015
Wholesome family fun today with the original Mario Party (Nintendo 64, 3/5) and Bucky O'Hare (Arcade, 3/5).
11 / 1 / 2015
Welp, fun Halloween, but now it's done and we're back to work in the seedy underbelly of gaming. Devil's Attorney (Android, 3/5) is actually a sort of card game in spirit (and has one of the most scumbag protagonists ever), while Omerta: City of Gangsters (PC, 3/5) is a basic but OK Mafia-flavored strategy game.
10 / 27 / 2015
For Helloween this year we got a couple of Android horror-themed titles -- Organ Trail (2/5) and The Spookening (2/5). I actually thought they were both pretty good, but the touch controls really bring them down. Try the PC version of Organ Trail out and let me know how it was.
Also, Majora's Mask (Nintendo 64, 5/5), because it's got masks, and it's a little dark, and it feels like a fall sort of game to me ... and the moon falls so it's got that going too.
10 / 21 / 2015
Just some random portable stuff today -- Royal Bounty HD (Android, 2/5), which is either a lovingly crafted tribute to or a ripoff of the source code of Heroes of Might & Magic III (really not sure which), and World Series of Poker (PSP, 2/5), the first of these games for handhelds.
Big ol' Hell O' The Ween update coming in a few days.
9 / 29 / 2015
♫ Gotta play the P-S-P / if you wanna be with me! ♫ Yeah, it's PSP again ... literally because ain't nothin' goin' on but the rent and I don't have time for anything else but short bursts of handheld gaming. Though I'm looking into transitioning to some more modern mobile stuff, but this what we got to work with for now. Ape Escape Academy (2/5), a highly disappointing mini-game collection that is nothing like real Ape Escape, and Diner Dash (2/5), which I really don't think is a bad game but is not at all suited to PSP controls.
9 / 17 / 2015
It's a double feature of PSP obscurities today with Valkyria Chronicles III (4/5), the final Japan-only entry in the series that is available to us round-eyes thanks to a fan translation, and Ultimate Block Party (3/5), an overlooked competitive puzzler that is actually pretty good -- at least if you could actually find some competition to play with!
I've also begun cleaning up the broken ad code from the old pages (so much for that going quietly). I'm also using this as an opportunity to improve the readability of many of the older reviews -- shorter paragraphs, larger images, etc. This affects every page made from mid-2013 on back, though, so I expect it will take at least to the end of the year to get to them all.
9 / 11 / 2015
Trump and Trump and Trump and Trump! In honor of our probable future president, we're taking a look at classic Infocom adventure A Mind Forever Voyaging (PC, 4/5). It's hardly a direct parallel, but you can definitely see some possible similarities to what a Trump Regime might look like. Buzz Windrip of It Can't Happen Here is probably the more direct dystopian fiction comparison, but this game isn't a bad one either. The game also holds up better than most text adventures, though admittedly that's largely due to stripping out a lot of the "game" part of it and focusing on story. It's luxurious and fantastic.
9 / 4 / 2015
A little of your brawling and strategy mixed up together today with Viking: Battle for Asgard (PC, 2/5) and Dynasty Warriors (PSP, 3/5).
8 / 30 / 2015
In the darkness bindin' em today with Lord of the Rings: Tactics (PSP, 2/5) and Lord of the Rings Vol. 1 (SNES, 1/5).
8 / 26 / 2015
So you might have noticed we've been Fighting a lot of Hunger around here lately. Don't worry, I didn't just go off to my first year of college and decide to become an anti-capitalist SJW. What happened is that Amazon's affiliate program made a big fundamental change to their ad code, mostly affecting ads generated before 2012. Which in turn affects literal hundreds of pages on this site that I really don't have time to fix as I'm hanging on by my fingernails financially here right now.
So in place of the non-functional ad code you get these PSAs ... but my understanding is the links will just break entirely at some point next month, so hopefully there will just be nothing there instead. So please bear with us until then.
8 / 18 / 2015
Facade (PC, 2/5), the groundbreaking yuppie argument simulator, and It's Mr. Pants (GBA, 2/5), because why not.
8 / 16 / 2015
"I can play Muttonhead on Expert with 98%!" Today we have a double dose of that early '90s anime sidescrolling with Popful Mail (3/5), a cult classic action-RPG for the Sega CD, and Earnest Evans (Genesis, 1/5), a deservedly forgotten platformer from the team that would go on to do much better things with the Tales games for Namco.
8 / 4 / 2015
Dungeon Maker: Hunting Ground (PSP, 3/5) was supposed to be back there with Deception for a whole "dungeon making" theme, but there was no way I was gonna get it done in a timely manner. Kind of a Diablo-meets-Dungeon Keeper type of thing.
7 / 30 / 2015
Today we have the space marines with the heavy guns and the clunky armor shooting up the aliens and etc.
Halo: Spartan Assault (PC, 2/5) is a mobile spinoff that's really more like Robotron than an FPS, just with more Chugging And Charging, and also being forced to be logged into a Microsoft account to play it. Then there's Alien vs Predator (Arcade, 4/5), one of a batch of great beat-em-ups from Capcom in the mid-90s that kind of got ignored because arcades were dying and people were tired of beat-em-ups.
7 / 26 / 2015
So, as PlayAsia keeps reminding me by email, there's apparently a new Deception game out. This is the series that began life as Tecmo's Deception way back near the dawn of the original PlayStation, and was notorious for having you gorily trap and execute people in service to Satan. These days it seems to have taken a more Anime Titties direction, but today we'll be looking at Kagero: Deception II (PS1, 3/5), which is only a very little bit of titties and still mostly about the gruesome trapping. No more Satan though, it's on some Ancient Assonaut business starting with this one.
7 / 13 / 2015
Frooot Ninja! It's funny because the girl wants to sex the pig, but he would rather play popular phone games instead. Well, if you've ever spent time on a farm (or maybe the grosser parts of the Internet) you'll know she's not missing out on much.
Enough about pig wang, we're having another Casual Monday. Blow off work and play on your fone instead. Today we've got Fairway Solitaire (PC, 4/5), Lumines (PSP, 2/5) and Fruit Ninja (PC, 3/5).
7 / 7 / 2015
Excelsior! Two Marvel games today. They both suck!
Marvel: Run, Jump, Smash (PC, 1/5) is a highly predatory and repetitive "endless runner", while X-Men: Mojo World (Master System, 1/5) is just another bad 8-bit platformer.
6 / 30 / 2015
Riiiiiidge Racer! It's Ridge Racer! (PS1, 2/5). Also, the one for PSP (3/5).
6 / 23 / 2015
Did you see that guy choke away the U.S. Open on the last hole? Man. His putting looks like most of my sessions in Hot Shots Golf.
Maybe it's the warm weather or the fact that California can't afford to have living grass on courses anymore, but for some reason I've been getting in the mood for golf games lately. The Hot Shots series (along with counterpart Mario Golf) has basically become the standard-bearer for casual golf titles, so why not start there. Hot Shots Golf (PS1, 3/5) and Hot Shots Golf 2 (PS1, 3/5) were the first two titles in the series and the only two developed by Camelot, while Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee (PSP, 3/5) was the first portable entry.
6 / 19 / 2015
I'm still trying to adjust to being in a world in which Shenmue 3 is actually in development. Show must go on though.
Today, we're going back to the roots of the "Musou" games with Dynasty Warriors 2 (PS2, 3/5), which was actually the first of these games as the prequel was a one-on-one fighter, and Dynasty Wars (Arcade, 3/5), which is a brawler from Capcom but likely was an inspiration for Koei later on.
6 / 17 / 2015
Pop a Fruda and celebrate! It's finally happening!
What a strange world. Just two days ago I happened upon the Quantic Dreams rumors in a forum and remember thinking, "Just stop with this stuff already. Every year it's more BS."
Two days later I own a digital copy of Shenmue 3. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
If you're like me and were paying zero attention to E3 yesterday and are just waking up to what is about the most unexpected news possible, then don't worry, the game is already funded (took all of about nine hours). But there's still stretch goals and the Kickstarter is open for 30 days yet so you can get your copy (PC or PS4) and some goodies.
6 / 16 / 2015
Today we're debuting a new Facebook section, and the first review is myVEGAS (2/5). Why an MGM casino marketing tool? I think it's noteworthy as a rare example of a game that gives you real-life freebies (comp rooms, free buffet, drinks, etc.) for totally free play, and if you're smart about it you never once need to buy virtual chips. It was introduced a few years ago and the rewards keep getting nerfed by the year, though, thus the mediocre rating.
6 / 10 / 2015
Today, two of the better casual mobile games out there: Game Dev Tycoon (3/5), which has you build a game company from scratch starting in your garage in the early '80s, and Rayman Jungle Run (3/5), which pretty much takes the assets of Rayman Origins and makes a decent endless runner out of them.
6 / 6 / 2015
Makin' websites, makin' books and fightin' round the '90s! Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower (PSP, 3/5) is basically Darkstalkers 3 with some elements of previous games blended in and the new "Tower" mode. Blandia (Arcade, 2/5) is the more Street Fighter-esque follow-up to Gladiator, which '80s kids may remember as the arcade game where you could knock people's clothes off.
5 / 30 / 2015
Well now them ol' Duke boys are one of my guilty TV pleasures. Well, actually not guilty, I give no effs. I try to catch re-runs whenever I have a chance. Quality television.
Surprisingly, Dukes of Hazzard: Racing For Home (2/5) on the original PlayStation was the first licensed Dukes game. There was a beta for the Atari 2600 (NR) that was mostly complete, but got canned for some reason.
5 / 27 / 2015
Today, two experimental RPGs for the Nintendo DS. Contact (3/5) decided to go ahead and be the unofficial sequel to Earthbound, even though Nintendo released the official sequel that same year. And along with 999, The World Ends With You (2/5) really makes clear there is a major, major, major gulf between what I consider "good writing" and what most of the message-board-posting handheld gaming community thinks.
5 / 22 / 2015
Gettin' our Groader Groove back today with some terrible "adult" games. As always, pics are censored and on the tame side, but seriously, don't get fired over something this ridiculous.
Become Tentacle, Destroy Town (PC, 0/5) is really much more about the Tentacle than the demolition aspect. Then you've got MILF Warrior (PC, 1/5), which will give you fond memories of the hard-working summers of your youth, when bored housewives would perform lascivious acts on your lawnmower while you watched in utter perplexitude.
5 / 18 / 2015
Sonicu! A rare dip back into the sometimes troubling world of the Blue Hedgehog with Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed (PC, 4/5) and Sonic Generations (PC, 2/5). The former is maybe the first great kart racer available for the PC. The latter ... ehh. About what you expect from the platforming end of the franchise anymore.
5 / 11 / 2015
Alright, just a little more platforming. Beatbuddy: Tale of the Guardians (PC, 4/5) is kinda like a more casual Ecco the Dolphin. And Ape Escape (PS1, 3/5) is a great franchise, though this first entry hasn't aged tremendously well.
5 / 7 / 2015
On a bit of a platforming jag at the moment. The Swapper (PC, 4/5) is a surprisingly good game inspired by Metroid but not really playing much like it, and Starseed Pilgrim (PC, 3/5) is one of *those* indie games, but I actually thought the core concept was pretty good.
5 / 1 / 2015
Somewhat unconventional platforming for the PC today with Trine (3/5), which is kinda like The Lost Vikings but with all three characters crammed into one body, and Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams (3/5), a nicely polished platformer that gets off to an almost Genesis Sonic-like start but then descends into standard-issue Meat Boy crap.
4 / 19 / 2015
FPS Warriors ... Sniper: Ghost Warrior (PC, 2/5) and Shadow Warrior (PC, 2/5). The old, really racist one, not the new mildly-racist one.
4 / 16 / 2015
Old-school vehicular mayhem is the watchword of the day with Crazy Taxi (PC, 3/5) and Twisted Metal (PS1, 2/5)
4 / 9 / 2015
♫ Gruber's in da heeeart! ♫ Did you know that Lady Miss Kier of the Dee-lites sued Sega for unauthorized use of her image for Ulala? She lost, but man, Konami should thank their stars every day that celebs didn't really notice video games in the 80s and Arnie and Sly didn't sue them into nothingness.
Anyway, Space Channel 5: Ulala's Cosmic Attack (GBA, 0/5) is a pretty wretched port of the first game. And then Sega brought Space Channel 5 2 to PC (3/5), but without first porting the original game, which already had an enhanced port for the PS2 that came packaged with the sequel and also was available in English 'cause it came out in Europe. Standard Sega procedure.
4 / 5 / 2015
"FEESH!" The weather is getting warm again here in the US, the time of year when a young man's fancy turns to fishing. Why go outside if you don't have to, though? Sega Bass Fishing (PC, 3/5) is Sega's digital download port of the arcade/Dreamcast title, and Legend of the River King (Game Boy, 2/5) might be the world's only fishing RPG. I'll get the research team on that. Enjoy your fishing!
4 / 2 / 2015
Dreams dreams. Out of the waking world for a while with NiGHTS Into Dreams (PC, 3/5) and Nemo (Arcade, 3/5).
3 / 26 / 2015
Bitches can't handle my banchosity! Into the world of slouchy Japanese delinquents today with Kenka Bancho: Badass Rumble (PSP, 4/5) and Renegade (Arcade, 2/5). There's no cure for shabazos!
3 / 22 / 2015
Today we have two RPGMaker ... wait wait, don't leave, they really aren't bad! Skyborn (PC, 3/5) is kinda an RPG-lite a la FF Mystic Quest, while Sweet Lily Dreams (PC, 3/5) is more in-depth and throws some surprises your way.
3 / 16 / 2015
I would totally stay at Hotel Dusk (DS, 3/5) for $40 a night. No bedbugs, no rats and roaches, no dealers, no tweakers, no pimps and prostitutes, no screamy couples beating each other up? I travel on a budget a lot and believe me, in the $40 price range that's kind of hard to find.
Also, 999 (DS, 3/5), which nerds are rapturously in love with, but I was kinda disappointed by.
3 / 13 / 2015
Another Friday the 13th is upon us ... time for BUCKETS OF GORE! Well ... maybe more like a sports bottle of gore. Like the ones that you put under your bike.
Shank 2 (PC, 2/5) is honestly something I probably would have never played if it hadn't been included in a bundle with a bunch of stuff I actually wanted to play. It hasn't changed much from the original, so I still don't like it. And I've been meaning to get back around to Locomalito's freeware catalog of games ever since I played (and greatly enjoyed) Maldita Castilla a year or two back. His take on the FPS, 8-Bit Killer (PC, 3/5), wasn't as good but still pretty good, especially if you miss the frantic circle-strafing of the '90s.
3 / 7 / 2015
Fans of uncomfortable metal bikinis, have we got a treat for you today! We're finally cracking into the Valis series, starting with the Sega Genesis ports of the first two games -- Valis (2/5) and Syd of Valis (1/5).
3 / 3 / 2015
His name is Alan Wake (PC, 3/5). He's a wanker.
Actually, this is Sam Lake. At least judging from his Twitter account, Sam is a pretty cool guy. Seems well grounded and has a good sense of humor, not common things for a game designer, especially the ones that hit it big young. Wish I actually enjoyed his games more. Well, there's light at the end of the tunnel with Alan Wake: American Nightmare (PC, 4/5), which I thought improved on the original by embracing the heavy combat nature.
2 / 25 / 2015
Ah, finally ... Rolling Thunder (Arcade, 3/5). I remember playing this on MAME back around 2002-03 or so, then it stopped working with an update ... and never worked again. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the work the MAME devs do for free and all that, but apparently they have some Borg attitude toward development where if a game works in one iteration, it's totally fine with them if it's broken in every future iteration as long as it worked that one time ten years ago, all that matters is Assimilating new games with every update. Anyway, finally found some "new version" floating around that works, so yep.
While we're on the subject of shooty games in the Badass Platformer mold, how about Vice Project Doom (NES, 3/5) as well. Shameless clone of Ninja Gaiden, but at least it has the decency to be fun.
2 / 20 / 2015
Got some strategy-RPGin' goin' on today with Suikoden IV (PS2, 2/5) and Fire Emblem Gaiden (NES, 3/5). Also finally got another article/editorial/whatever up, inspired by this recent fuss over Eurogamer dropping review scores - the site's position paper on the subject, if you will.
2 / 15 / 2015
Today we have JRPG-style games made by Westerners for the PC. Septerra Core (3/5) came out back in the late '90s and was an attempt to do Squaresoft's style of the time, while Space Funeral (NR) is just some guy from Moonside mucking around with RPG Maker.
2 / 10 / 2015
FPS'in it up today with Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2 (PC, 3/5) and F.E.A.R. (PC, 3/5)
2 / 5 / 2015
I guess today's theme is "chesty women in impractical outfits firing off heavy weaponry." And in that line we have Tomb Raider: Legend (PC, 3/5), first of the series reboots along with Anniversary, and Soldier Girl Amazon (Arcade, 3/5), a pretty shameless clone of Commando but with an Amazonian warrioress toting a laser cannon.
1 / 31 / 2015
oooOOOOooo it's ... not even close to Helloween. Nevertheless, we got Spooks today. One game about micromanaging them, one game about saving girls from them. Don't ask Congress which is which though, they'll have no clue.
Anyway, Ghost Master (PC, 2/5) is kinda like the obscure spiritual sequel to obscure house-haunting game The Haunting Starring Polterguy. Except it somehow makes an RTS out of the Sims engine and has you managing a team of spooky special operatives. And I know that Fingered at Freddy's or whatever is the indie horror hotness right now but instead we're gonna play Night Trap (Sega CD, 2/5), to which it probably owes some debt.
1 / 27 / 2015
♫ You don't have to be lonely ... with hornyfarmers dot cooom! ♫ Singin' songs about the Southland today with Redneck Rampage, a weird experiment with the Duke Nukem 3D engine (PC, 2/5), and The Adventures of Bayou Billy, which I swear I'd reviewed before but apparently not (NES, 1/5). City folks just don't get it!
1 / 23 / 2015
Life is a Japanese time management game. You actually can't blame Japan for Campus (PC, 2/5), which takes the whole "student life visual novel" style but somehow crams it into an engine resembling Fallout 1 and 2. And I don't think Japan is directly responsible for Long Live The Queen either (PC, 3/5), though it rocks the whole moe animu visual novel style. Tempting to compare it to Princess Maker, but it's really a different type of game, and packed with adorable deaths.
1 / 15 / 2015
♫ Swords ... and tequila ... will carry us through the update! ♫ Today we have Brutal Legend (PC, 4/5), rockin' paean to an era that I was just a *little* too young for ... I did like Def Leppard when I was like 8 though. We also have the very obscure Gooka 2: Mystery of Janatris (PC, 3/5), an odd adventure-RPG hybrid based on a fantasy novel series that's big in Czechoslovakia. I can't say it ties in with the metal theme in any way, other than that you're swinging medieval weaponry around and some of the characters look like they could be heshers.
1 / 6 / 2015
Kicking off the new year with FULL SCREEN ANIMATION!!! The Last Express (3/5) and Jack Orlando (2/5) both went hard with the presentation but left something to be desired in the gameplay. Both are adventure games for PC.