Category Archives: Just Musin’

2022: The year I became a Taito fan

Taito, despite being one of the absolute titans of the early arcade industry, and one of the major players in video games throughout the ’80s and ’90s, was for a long time a bit of a blind spot for me. Obviously I’m well aware of the importance and legacy of games like SPACE INVADERS and BUBBLE BOBBLE, and I’d certainly played and enjoyed my fair share of Taito games over the years. Even as a kid I was really into the black & white Mac port of ARKANOID, and LEGEND OF KAGE was definitely a standout game on my friend’s “700-in-1” Famicom pirate cartridge – but of course at the time I wouldn’t have known to attribute those games to a particular creator.

I’d go on to spend most of my middle and high school years playing and learning about hundreds of console and arcade games thanks to emulation (as well as hanging out in a local game store after school)… But even then, despite discovering and falling in love with games like PUZZLE BOBBLE, THE NINJA WARRIORS, and ELEVATOR ACTION RETURNS, for some reason or another I just never developed any attachment for Taito as a developer, the way I had for SEGA, Capcom, SNK, Konami, Namco, or a number of other companies. Having now spent a couple of weeks diving deep into Taito arcade history with the excellent Egret II Mini, I’m happy to say this old blunder has finally been corrected: I am big a fan of Taito.

Continue reading 2022: The year I became a Taito fan

Ten old games I really enjoyed playing for the first time in 2021

Hey, it’s a yearly tradition! Even after a full year of apparent inability to get even a single article written, I am once again compelled to document some thoughts on a handful of standout experiences I’ve had with old games in the past twelve months. With my backlog of old used games already being several hundred deep, I’d set out to cut down on game purchases in 2021, and with considerable amounts of time being spent with FINAL FIGHT, METROID and ONIMUSHA games, I was a little unsure I would even be able to come up with a full list of 10 memorable games – but after a bit of digging in spreadsheets and stream VOD archives, it turns out I was definitely worrying for nothing!

I definitely played a lot of interesting old games in the past year, but I was able to narrow it down, so let’s go: In rough chronological order – Ten old games I really enjoyed playing for the first time in 2021:

Continue reading Ten old games I really enjoyed playing for the first time in 2021

Ten old games I really enjoyed playing for the first time in 2020

Just like last year (and I guess, every year?), I have not felt particularly compelled to put together any kind of “Game of the Year” article – partially because it’d have to be a woefully incomplete list given how many contemporary games I didn’t bother playing yet, but more so because I’m far more interested in championing the games that managed to make an impression on me without leaning on the novelty of being brand new. I play a lot of old games, and I go out of my way to procure games I’ve never played before (and in many cases, barely know anything about) – and although I’ve got my fair share of stinkers in my collection, whenever I get a batch of old games from Japan, more often than not at least one of them seems to really stick with me.

So here’s a look back at some of those games! Presenting, in rough chronological order – Ten old games I really enjoyed playing for the first time in 2020:

Continue reading Ten old games I really enjoyed playing for the first time in 2020

Pacing, tempo and tedious grinds (or: “Short games are good, actually”)

Although my tastes have evolved and my particular interests have changed over the years, I think it’s fair to say I’ve always had more of an affinity for mechanically driven over narrative driven games. Of course, there have been plenty of story-heavy games which I have fallen in love with in large part due to the writing; THE SECRET OF MONKEY ISLAND kickstarted my passion for point & click adventures as a kid, and in more recent years I have sunk hundreds of hours into the YAKUZA games. And I’d probably be lying if I said the narrative and storytelling of DEAD RISING wasn’t a big reason I fell in love with that game, too.

Still, these examples all feel like outliers to me. If I were to attempt listing the aspects of a game that typically draw me in, I’d say it’d be kind of a toss-up between aesthetics, tone/atmosphere and game mechanics – if I enjoy the narrative it’s still usually secondary to one or all of those. Most of my favourite games or series of games are things like STRIDER HIRYU, VIRTUA FIGHTER, PRINCE OF PERSIA, BAYONETTA, BARE KNUCKLE, etc, etc.

Long story short, I tend to favour short-form, mechanically focused (if not mechanically dense) action games. Games which more or less inherently invite repeated play by making the act of playing the game the goal in itself, as opposed to making it to the end of a journey. This all probably informs my long held hot take: more often than not, games are like, way too long, man.

Continue reading Pacing, tempo and tedious grinds (or: “Short games are good, actually”)

Ten games I’m looking forward to in 2020

With the 2019 retrospective behind us, let’s look forward to 2020. I actually ended up doing a surprisingly decent job of at least trying out almost all of my most-anticipated games of last year (though let’s ignore all the 2016-2018 games still sitting untouched on my shelves) – hopefully we can keep that trend up in 2020! On that note, what games am I actually looking forward to playing this year? Let’s find out!

Continue reading Ten games I’m looking forward to in 2020

Ten old games I really enjoyed playing for the first time in 2019 [2019 Retrospective part 2]

I never feel too comfortable or interested in doing any kinds of ranked “Game of the Year” lists, for a number of reasons, not least that I typically don’t feel like I play enough games to really be able to do a meaningful ranking. However, between streaming projects and picking up a lot of random old Japanese games on a somewhat regular basis, I still end up experiencing a lot of games for the first time over the course of a year. So without caring so much about when a game came out (which I typically don’t, anyway), I thought it would be fun to highlight some of the non-2019 games that made the biggest impact on me in 2019.

So let’s get to it – Ten old games I really enjoyed playing for the first time in 2019:

Continue reading Ten old games I really enjoyed playing for the first time in 2019 [2019 Retrospective part 2]

“Games I’m looking forward to in 2019” – The Aftermath [2019 Retrospective part 1]

So about a year ago I wrote an article about ten then-upcoming games I was looking forward to play in the year 2019. Before we get to some other end/beginning of year listicles, I thought it’d be appropriate to do a short followup on that article; a little mini-review to sum up my thoughts on each of the games (or at least confirming whether they came out and if I played them!). Without further ado, here’s “Games I’m looking forward to in 2019” – The Aftermath.

Continue reading “Games I’m looking forward to in 2019” – The Aftermath [2019 Retrospective part 1]

Ten games I’m looking forward to in 2019

It’s 2019! Another year has come and gone, and as usual I enjoyed a whole bunch of new (and old games)…. and also as usual, there were a bunch of games that I’d looked forward to, but then for one reason or another ended up never playing (or, you know, didn’t play yet). GOD OF WAR, MONSTER HUNTER WORLD, 428: SHIBUYA SCRAMBLE, SOULCALIBUR VI, MONSTER BOY, SUPER SMASH BROS ULTIMATE – eh, hopefully I’ll find a little more time for y’all over the coming 12 months.

So, it seems almost a given that at least half of the games I’m looking forward to in 2019 will end up sitting in my shelf, unplayed, till at least 2020, but hey – as bad as I am about buying games and then not play them, I’m sure as hell not gonna feel any backlog shame months in advance… so for now I’ll peacefully enjoy just being able to look forward to stuff, guilt-free!

So here we go, ten games I’m looking forward to (possibly!) playing in 2019: Continue reading Ten games I’m looking forward to in 2019

Ten characters I really want to see return in Mortal Kombat 11

So, I recently wrote a post with a bunch of collected thoughts and speculation on MORTAL KOMBAT 11, but to be perfectly frank the real reason I wanted to write about MK11 was basically to talk about my personal wish list for what (or who) I would like to see in the game. Leave it to a verbose dimwit like me to spend 1,700 words without ever getting to the point! But hey, this way I get to spin off this wish list nonsense into its own post, which is probably for the better, anyway.

A few minor notes before we get started:

  • This is a list of who I want to see in MK11 – but I’ll make note of how likely I think each of these guys are to actually make it into the game
  • I’m operating under the assumption that all purported “leaks” are inaccurate, or at the very least not worth acknowledging until corroborated by official announcements
  • The list is not in order of who I’d like to see more or less, or any other particular order for that matter

All right, so without further ado, let’s get on to the list!

Continue reading Ten characters I really want to see return in Mortal Kombat 11