Tag Archives: Sega

Dreamcast At 20: What Are Its Best Exclusives Today?

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Source: “The 1 Ross” at “The Dreamcast Junkyard” (http://www.thedreamcastjunkyard.co.uk/2018/02/dreamcast-hunting-in-akihabara.html)

In 2005 I already wrote what I believe to be my own definitive “Dreamcast retrospective” detailing my personal experience with the console, and I’ve edited and reposted it multiple times since. Last year when the 20th anniversary of the console’s Japanese launch brought up some buzz I did another blog post mostly about its flagship games, the Shenmue remaster among them. Even still, this week, the 20th anniversary of the Dreamcast’s famous “9/9/99” North American launch feels like the big one for a lot of people, myself included.

This year, even though I could’ve booted up Shenmue and Jet Set Radio on my PC or even installed Phantasy Star Online on it again, I decided to dust off my Dreamcast and hook it back up to my old CRT. Looking at it now, the big question that comes to me is “what are the best games that you can still only play on a Dreamcast?” Continue reading

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Yakuza 7: Why Turn-Based Gameplay Is Such A Big Risk

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So SEGA finally blew the lid off Ryu Ga Gotoku 7 — Yakuza: Like A Dragon, with a trailer and some gameplay. It’s turn-based. This is a shift unlike any I’ve seen, and reactions suggest this has already been a divisive decision. Whether or not I’m personally fine with it is gonna depend on a lot of subtle details when the game is finally in my hands, probably more than a year from now. Continue reading

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Late to the Party: Contra Hard Corps

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I played the Nintendo Entertainment System version of the first Contra game, Super C, and Contra III: The Alien Wars for the Super NES growing up, but had actually never heard of the Sega Genesis Contra Hard Corps – which many apparently called the best Contra game, until many years later. I’m only just now learning the myriad reasons it’s so revered that involve what it does for the Contra formula as well as the circumstances surrounding its release.

Playing the game now, I’m astonished at how much it added to the series’ gameplay after Alien Wars. I think it’s officially known as a side game or a sub-series (it got a direct sequel on the PS3 and Xbox 360) but I honestly still think it’s close enough to its forbears to more or less be the “Contra IV” before WayForward made Contra 4 on the original Nintendo DS. Continue reading

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Late to the Party: Gunstar Heroes (And 8BitDo’s M30 Controller)

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I’ve been kind of on a run n’ gun game trip since trying out the Metal Slug series, and I thought I’d give Gunstar Heroes another shot as an excuse to try out 8BitDo’s new M30 bluetooth Genesis/Mega Drive controller.

I’d never heard of this apparently seminal 1993 shooter until probably over a decade after it came out. The first time I bought it was on Wii Virtual Console, but I ran into a brick wall at the game’s infamous “Seven Force” boss. Later I bought the PC version of the Sega Genesis Classics collection, copied the ROM out of the game files, and played it on the BlastEm emulator through RetroArch (supposedly the most accurate Genesis emulator yet made). Only just recently did I finally manage to clear the game, finding it to be a really intense but also really unique take on the genre, that likely inspired a lot of what came after it. Continue reading

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Gaming Anniversaries That Will Occur In 2019

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As usual, I’m starting the year on this blog by looking back at previous years through gaming anniversaries. Maybe it’s not as big in that regard as last year, which was the 20th anniversary of all the stuff that came out in 1998, but there were still some surprises looking back on years like 1999 or 1994. 1999 in particular kind of gets overshadowed by 1998, which is still one of the most influential years for video games. Continue reading

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The 2018 Games I Want To Talk About The Most

This isn’t a top 10, and it isn’t even a top games of 2018, the main reason being that, to be honest, I didn’t play anything this year I easily recognized as my game of the year. I played some fantastic games in 2018, but instead of ranking them I’d rather just weave them into a post about what I think happened this year in terms of quality and design traits.

In previous end-of-year posts I said I felt big-budget games had gotten interesting again in 2015 and 2016 after, in my experience, they’d been in sort of a slump between 2012 and 2014 as the big publishers and developers were still getting used to the current consoles. From 2012 to 2014 I felt like I had to subsist almost entirely on indie games to find anything really new and interesting (maybe I’m ignoring some multiplayer games but you know how I am with those), but not so much the last few years. Looking back on 2017 and 2018, I think the biggest games got formulaic again, but there has been enough interesting stuff for me to play in-between them that I could ignore the blockbusters, which is mostly what I did this year. Continue reading

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20 Years After Dreamcast’s Japanese Launch, Where Are the Its Best Games?

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I wanted to wait until next year — the 20th anniversary of the Dreamcast’s North American launch, to say anything. I know the 20th anniversary of the Japanese launch this week is technically the “true” anniversary, but I think it’s pretty widely accepted the North American launch is the one everybody really remembers. It’s still one of the highest-quality launch lineups ever, partly because SEGA waited a whole additional year for the games to be ready. In any case, I already did my personal “story” about my experience with the Dreamcast a long time ago — 10 years ago in fact. Just read that if you want a general “my feelings about this anniversary” story.

What I am writing about though is how I auspiciously started the Shenmue remaster this week and how we’ve reached a significant point when it comes to the availability of the best Dreamcast games and the console’s viability today. Continue reading

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Why Do The Classic Mini Console Games Have To Be Locked Up In More Pieces of Plastic?

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Sony has jumped on the classic console bandwagon with the PlayStation Classic that includes 20 games from the original PlayStation for $99. Look man, I just want to play those same games on the PlayStation 4 already sitting under my TV, I’d happily pay the same price. Or better yet let me transfer the ones I already bought to play on my PlayStation 3 and PSP.

Microsoft is absolutely right to jab Sony with that “Play 500+ classic Xbox games on Xbox One today” tweet, even if it they didn’t perfectly word it. The point is you don’t have to put another plastic box under your TV to play a handful of games exclusive to it. That’s the whole problem with console gaming. At the same time though I see why console manufactures are making these nostalgia consoles and why Microsoft probably won’t, I’m just asking for some more options here, which SEGA and SNK have been happy to provide. Continue reading

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What New Shenmue Players Can Expect

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The remastered collection of the two Shenmue games is out now and I’m sure many are going into it without a clear idea of just what to expect. Shenmue is a kind of game that isn’t really common at all, at least not in the space of traditional console games. I was really into the first Shenmue when it originally came out in 2000 but haven’t played it in years. I thought I’d take this opportunity to give my own impression of what made it so special at the time and why it remains unique, and divisive, today. Continue reading

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My Own Guide To the Yakuza Series, I Guess (Since People Keep Asking) [UPDATED]

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Update (May 22, 2018).

So SEGA just announced its also going to release Yakuza 3Yakuza 4, and Yakuza 5 on PS4 over the next couple years. These ports probably won’t come out in English for a long time, and they aren’t going to be exactly like Yakuza 0 and Kiwami. They’re going to be straight ports of the games as they were on PS3, just with a higher resolution and framerate. This means they won’t have the gameplay features 0 introduced like the multiple-fighting-style system or passing random pedestrians in distress. Playing them after the newer games will feel like a serious downgrade in terms of gameplay features.

I think there are generally two paths to go here depending on whether you care more about the gameplay of the Yakuza series or the story arc of the whole saga.

If you care more about the gameplay — the combat system and minigames, just play everything in order of release for whatever hardware you own. If that’s only a PlayStation 4, then start with Yakuza 0 and Kiwami, then just go straight to Yakuza 6, then play Kiwami 2. After that, the PS4 remasters of 3, 4, and 5 might actually be optional. If you want the full emotional impact of the saga and its characters and don’t care about gameplay downgrades, then just play the games in chronological order of when they take place. That means waiting for Kiwami 2, then the upcoming remasters.

Original Post.

There are plenty of guides to SEGA’s Yakuza series that have popped up in the year since Yakuza 0 became the game to finally get the franchise some recognition in western territories after 10 years of longtime fans begging for localizations that then sold very little. The official English website for the franchise has a whole timeline and character spreadsheet. Even still, people keep asking where they should start. When I bought Yakuza 6 the cashier asked me where they should start after I told them I’d played all the previous games. I guess it couldn’t hurt for me to put down my own opinion on where to start based on what systems you own and whether you miss out by skipping any games. Continue reading

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