Tagged: written by Adrian

Sega Ages Gain Ground (Switch) – the game I bought a Switch for

That title is a joke. Kind of. A half-joke. Honestly I have been anticipating this game since it was first announced many moons ago! Gain Ground on the Megadrive/Genesis is one of my favourite games. I have alluded to this game several times over the years, and I’m here to reiterate that it rocks, especially in co-op. It’s a slow, deliberate and strategic action game. An old and obscure Sega arcade release originally, it finally makes a long-awaited return… I can hardly wait and I want you to be just as excited. (Ha, fat chance.) But I’ll try my best here anyway – bring the hype! Continue reading

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Valkyria Chronicles 4 (Switch) – War, but not as you know it

What better way to kick off the new year than with World War II, anime-style. Or at least, with a game that starts off 110% anime. Valkyria Chronicles 4’s story gets pretty dark by the end but not without shrapnel chunks of teen banter, mishaps and romancing along the way. As the main character, Claude states at one point: “It was a battlefield… but it was also where we grew up.” That makes it sound quite sweet actually! Indeed, there are plenty of growing pains and hormones to be found in this war game, certainly moreso than the original Valkyria Chronicles. Continue reading

Console modding: Sega Saturn and PlayStation

I’ve always shied away from the topic of console mods. Perhaps because it’s the kind of discussion that can result in bannings from forums and websites, auctions being shut down on eBay, that sort of thing. It’s a legal grey area – not the act of modding itself, but what modding can allow for. At the risk of indicting myself, I’m writing about it here because I find it to be an interesting topic that I hear and read little about in mainstream circles. So to begin with, let’s talk about what modifications are out there, and why someone might want to modify their console in the first place, and then I’ll talk a bit about my modded Saturn and PlayStation. Continue reading

The best games I didn’t blog about in 2018

Happy New Year everyone! I have very few traditions on the blog but this is one I enjoy, always a fun way to kick off the new year. Alas here I am with preparing for my only end of the year tradition and I discover I didn’t even do one of these for last year, 2017! *sigh*

Never mind though and we’ll press on in the spirit of renewal. 2018 was a bit of an odd one: an unreasonably large number of the games I played in the first half of the year were disappointing. A lack of inspiring games is partly why I blogged very little – my socks just weren’t being consistently rocked by the stuff I was playing.

Then in the second half of the year things changed when I finally picked up a Switch. At the same time, reluctantly, I packed away my old CRT TV. Some weeks later I decided to re-dedicate myself to blogging, and since then I’ve been more thorough than ever before in terms of my output, writing about most of the games I played these past few months.

Given my journey this year and how consistent I’ve been with blogging lately, all of the games featured here I played in the first half of 2018, prior to my Switch purchase. Enough pre-amble, bring on the highlights! Continue reading

Is gaming an opiate?

With Christmas now officially over and New Year on the horizon it’s a good opportunity to reflect. I’ve been on a strong gaming kick this year since getting the Switch – even more than usual, and it was already “on” as far as gaming goes. My history with games is full of ebbs and flows but the level of flow recently is starting to make me uncomfortable.

I’m reading a book, ‘How Music Works’ by David Byrne (lead singer of the Talking Heads), and there’s a line that got me thinking. Byrne quotes the philosopher Theodor Adorno who described the experience of listening to music alone as an ‘opiate’. Byrne unpacks the idea: ‘like a drug, instead of bringing real happiness, the music heard on jukeboxes only creates more desire for itself’. As a music fan this reasonates with me to an extent. And If we apply that to games, it’s the idea that playing games doesn’t produce any tangible benefit – rather all it does is increase our desire to play more. Continue reading

8-bit reimaginings, or why I wish they all could be Blaster Master Zero (Switch)

I hope everyone is having a lovely Christmas break and finding time to relax and game. It’s a much-needed reprieve at the end of a hectic year for me, that’s for sure! Among others, one of my go-to games recently has been Blaster Master Zero on Switch, a Metroidvania remake whose source material, Blaster Master for the NES, predates the -vania part of that neologism.

For someone like me who only played on NES a mere handful of times, most of my experience with the system’s library comes from the Wii-era and the Virtual Console. At the time Nintendo graced us with many NES classics which I played and loved, but sadly the original Blaster Master was not featured on the service. Continue reading

Yarr! An air pirate’s favourite final boss music

Who remembers Skies of Arcadia? I certainly do since I played it over this summer. It was quite the game, one of the most memorable I (re)played this year, and it has quite the soundtrack too. Like most RPGs it’s an epic affair – 67 tracks with a run time of nearly two and a half hours. Overall it’s an enjoyable score with some real standouts, but if I had to name one track that has burrowed its way into my consciousness these past few months it’d be the final boss theme.

This may very well be the happiest final boss theme ever laid down for a game. The second half especially is a spectacular uber-triumphant-angels-singing moment that I never want to end. Thank you Sega and Overworks for bringing us this gem!