Nostaljourney is a retro gaming podcast that features an new cast every episode. Each episode is based on discussing a particular game or series, then finding people who are nostalgic for it and people who have never played it before. If need be we go so far as to donate all the necessary gaming hardware to the newcomers. We compare the experiences of the two groups to find out how well a game has really aged as well as discuss its history.
For younger community members it may be a chance to learn what gaming was like in the past. For older community members it may be a chance to discover what games are truly classic and what games are not. In general the show exists to evaluate and discuss the nature of nostalgia and for everyone in the community to get to know each other better. Because the show involves giving out free games, it only records once every couple of months.
Recent changes to the game plan will hopefully entail the show recording every 2 weeks.
Wryviews are my personal review series where I try to do things different from the norm by asking myself how well the game achieved its goal, instead of if I liked the game or not. Wryviews are a personal challenge to stay objective and identify who would enjoy a certain game, rather than complain about who wouldn't. I feel that being a good reviewer entails being able to identify each game's audience.
Gemnalysis is a series where I hunt down lesser known or neglected games and make a case for playing them despite the fact that they're older. Instead of flat out reviewing these games I look at them from the perspective of a collector and go over the game's history, and special trivia it may have.
Fatal Impact is a series of community tournaments revolving around SNK fighters; rather, it was. I happen to host the tournaments, but only once in a blue moon when I have the free time. I accept any and all callers, though I am not an entrant. Instead I am a trainer who organizes my entrants and helps to improve their game while introducing them to new and lesser appreciated fighting games.
The Fatal Impact tournaments will likely not continue until SNK releases games with better netcode. With recent promises from Atlus, King of Fighters XIII is likely to become the next big Fatal Impact game.
The King of Fighters Love Letter is a series dedicated to the storyline and history of SNK fighting games. Many people don't know anything about SNK in general, and with King of Fighters XIII on its way I'm going to bring everyone up to speed on the story in the series thus far.
Now that King of Fighters XIII has an actual release date this series may continue beyond the first story arc (Orochi Saga), but it's difficult to find solid information on the series' backstory.
Podsumaki Episode 09: Mortal Kombat Special Podsumaki is a fighting game podcast that I hosted on and organized. There was a lot of random smack talk but it was a fun show. Currently it's on hold and none of the hosts are sure if it will ever come back. Our last episode was our highlight, where we spoke with three of the best Mortal Kombat players in the US and discussed the Mortal Kombat community and the upcoming game. If you were to listen to any one episode of Podsumaki, I'd recommend it be this.
The Top Three Things "Gamers" Should Care About Less Somebody on Call of Duty: Black Ops screamed at me for not being good enough at the game, even though I wasn't on his team. Thanks to that I decided to write an article on some of the biggest problems with the gaming community, mostly their inability to care about things that actually matter.
Tainted Beauty: The Death and Rebirth of a Genre What we have here is an article revolving around the 2D fighting game genre, the path one must go through to become good at the games, and all the obstacles in the way of this that I feel eventually led to the temporary death of the genre prior to the release of games like Street Fighter IV and BlazBlue.
Wry Guides: Goozex Training Manual Wry Guides are a series where I try to educate the people of the community by writing about something that I in particular know a lot about. More than anything else though, it's just me unleashing a bad pun upon the world.
Top 11 Dreamcast Games You Probably Didn't Play In this article I recap my experience as a guy who loved the Dreamcast, because he grew up with it as one of his primary forms of entertainment. The games listed aren't the popular and trendy choices so much as the lesser played B-list and C-list games that only true Dreamcast veterans touched.
Hey, I liked it: Mega Man VII Hey, I liked it was a series where I reflected on games that I'm fond of that weren't appreciated by many people. As opposed to Wryviews which are meant to be impartial, this was a much more personal series. This series might continue some day but I could really not think of a bigger black sheep game than Mega Man VII.
Wry's Dreamcast Homebrew Guide: Pre-Brewed There was a time when I was extremely, extremely into my Dreamcast. I didn't just play tons of regular games that I found on sale, I also researched the wealth of bootleg Dreamcast programs. These days I'm a collector and I'm not concerned with unofficial software. I'm too busy playing games I actually own. Still I created a quick guide to some of the easiest and best programs available for the Dreamcast that can be used with no hassle.
In my mind the handheld market doesn't have a lot of competition when it comes to RPGs. The most widely recommended RPGs on handhelds are remakes. Now remakes are great; I actually love them more often than not. They just feel like they're games on loan from other platforms. Remakes don't help define a gaming console's library and they reinforce the idea that Japanese styled RPGs are a dying genre that has to rely on old material. There's a variety of original RPGs made for handhelds, but they tend to be lacking in one way or another; it's doubtful they'll be remembered as classics. I'm extremely happy Radiant Historia came along as a result.
Radiant Historia is a game that obviously had tons of love poured into it. It's a complete package where nothing was neglected. It has lovely music (Kingdom Hearts fans take notice of the composer), excellent artwork, a well designed battle system and a creative concept. Is it perfect? No, but it's very ambitious and does a lot of things right that other games don't. This game deserves a ton of praise and I hope you'll at least learn about it. Hopefully I've gotten your attention, so let's discuss the game in some detail. I'm gonna give a fairly detailed description of the story because frankly I think the story concept is really, really cool:
Radiant Historia is a time travel fantasy game revolving around a swordsman in red known as Stocke. Few characters are like him. He's noble and strong, but also a cool headed man of stealth. Stocke works as a member of the Allistelian Special Intelligence. He'll do whatever it takes to get a mission done and ensure the safety of his country. He's strong willed and respected by those who work under him, but his quiet nature means does not fit in with a crowd. Even if he's not very social and is used to unsavory acts like assassination he's very dutiful. He's a cool and enjoyable main character. Too bad that from the beginning of the game Stocke is thrown into a situation he has no hope of surviving. The world is basically stacked against him, because everything that could go wrong usually does. Within the first half-hour of the game Stocke witnesses his friends dying. History has been manipulated in a manner that ensures that the world will perish and become a lifeless desert.
Someone or something wants the world to wither away, and if you played as any character other than Stocke you would have died a long time ago. Stocke however is given a magical book called the White Chronicle that lets him rewind and skip through time. He is tasked with unlocking the "True History," the one perfect timeline where the world will not perish. Essentially his mission is to correct the damage done to the world. Stocke's ability to escape through time allows him to avoid deadly situations and save the lives of all the people necessary for his success. No game has really tried to approach time travel in quite the same way that Radiant Historia has. This is essentially a first try at an extremely ambitious idea. When you travel to Historia (the realm that allows you to control time) you're able to view the entire game's timeline. Every major event is mapped out on over 200 points, and many of them can be altered to change history. History splits off between two timelines as well. One is the standard history where you remain a Special Intelligence officer. The other is an alternate history where you become a Military officer with your character's best friend. Stocke is essentially able to live out two lives at once, and the skills you gain in one timeline can allow you to advance in the other. It's a very interesting approach to the timetravel genre. It's a good bit more creative than your standard "go back in time and do things differently" angle. Radiant Historia has that too, though.
There is one downside to this style of storytelling, at least in Radiant Historia's case. You're essentially playing through a main story and then a "what-if" scenario on the side. While the two stories take you to different areas of the game's world, there are points where the two storylines will feel a bit similar. The game starts with great pacing in the beginning, but when the split happens I'd say somewhere in the middle of the game things feel a little slow because you'll get a feeling of deja vu once in a while. The story itself is still well told with some cool plot twists and a cast of mature characters.
Thankfully Radiant Historia improves its pacing in other ways compared to other RPGs. The game is wonderfully designed. The save points are even arranged intelligently so you can save at least every 10-20 minutes. The battle system is both basic and complex at the same time, but there are absolutely no random battles. The game allows you to simply walk around enemies on the field, as well as stun them before a fight. What's more compared to other RPGs you don't need to fight much in order to make your characters stronger. If you're a grinder you can fight often and make the game easier for yourself. If you'd prefer to simply fight less often but use more strategy the game also accomodates you. Every aspect of the system is useful for strategy. In many RPGs things like status buffs, ailments, and elemental weaknesses are nearly worthless (I will not name names), but in Radiant Historia they can make a huge difference. I was personally someone who leaned more toward strategy. I didn't fight often but I fought hard and I won with my wits. Admittedly bosses are very strong and I died more than once, but I had more fun with the game this way. That's just me.
That aside Radiant Historia makes sure that every character has their own strengths and weaknesses, partially in thanks to the game's battle system. Radiant Historia feels like a classic RPG with all the standard menu options (attack, defend, magic, ect.) but it adds spacial thinking to the mix. Enemies are arranged on a 3x3 grid and can be pushed or pulled around in 4 directions by certain characters. If you push multiple enemies into eachother they will all receive damage from a single attack. You're also able to arrange your turns so that your characters can create combos. You can literally swap around turns so that one character attacks twice in a row. You can even swap turns with your enemies so that perhaps you can attack 6 times in a row without any pause. Hitting multiple times in a row creates damage bonuses, so there's a risk-reward factor.
The game's individual characters all have skills that let them use the 3x3 grid in different ways. The battle system is very easy to understand in concept because it appears basic, but the difficulty eventually ramps up and requires you really think spatially and build combos to increase your damage. I wouldn't say the battle system feels 100% new (it still looks and plays like a lot of other turn-based games) but it definitely doesn't feel old either. It's a really good balance between being easy to understand and still innovative. The fact that the game makes so many good design choices backs everything up too.
I honestly liked the game's battle system, but every once in a while when I found myself getting tired of fighting and I would start jumping around the game's timeline. The great thing about the game's time-romping sidequests is that most of them don't require actual fighting. It's often just finding one person at a certain place and jumping around time to find what they need. I found it engaging to alter history in little ways. It gave me an excuse to re-live parts of the story and soak in the environments a bit more. I was extremely happy to see that my sidequest efforts had an impact on the game's ending too. I plan to go back and personally discover every one of the 236 points on the game's timeline to discover the game's "true" ending. Because I was fairly diligent about exploring the game I already have about 200. I probably don't need every point. I'm just being a completionist.
When I felt the story dragged on a little bit I was still engaged by the characters and wanting to know what would happen next. When I was tired of fighting I would jump around time and play the game's non-fighting related sidequests. The only thing that I think genuinely holds this game back is that its approach to time travel is jarring. The way the story is told, time travel doesn't just work in one way. You'll think you know how this game's time travel works and then something new will happen and you'll be right back to the drawing board. It attacks the idea from at least 3 different angles and it's hard to wrap your head around it. There is a very good chance that you will be confused by certain parts until you have played the game for a long time.
Trust me when I say it does make sense in the end, even if you'll have to think about it for a while. Don't let it get to you. You kind of signed up for this as soon as you read the words "time travel." Though the game is complex at points I wholly recommend it to anyone curious about it. Even to people who are new to RPGs this game exemplifies some of the genre's best qualities. The game's fights can be difficult to newcomers of the genre, but the game also throws away common frustrations like random battles. I'd say that more than makes up for it. This game is creative and forward thinking, even if it does have a flaw or two. If every DS RPG had this much hard work put into it the system would be considered a paradise for the genre, as opposed to one that relies so heavily on remakes these days.
PS: The start button is the skip button. Just like most games. It's in the manual too. Please stop complaining, other reviewers.