B2PN_PS2

Everyone does Top 10 Games lists. The problem with those? Usually, they’re full of games that earn a place because of nostalgia or industry significance. Here at Snackbar Games, we like being a little more practical: if you’re looking to just have fun, what games should you pick up and play today? This time, we return to the system that dominated the early-2000s: the PlayStation 2.

Final Fantasy XII

Despite the juggernaut brand name, Final Fantasy XII was more of a risk than many think. It had been five years since Final Fantasy X and, since then, Square Enix had released X-2 and Final Fantasy XI, both to mixed reception. It also made a rare design choice; setting the game in Ivalice, a world the franchise had used before. All turned out to be well, for the most part. The graphics and environments are grand, the music is pleasant (if unmemorable) and the amount of side content certainly takes influence from Final Fantasy XI’s MMO style of gameplay. The game has aged quite well, retains a ton of replay value and spawned a (less memorable) sequel for the DS, Revenant Wings.  - Henry Skey
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akibastrip1

I’ve never been to Japan before, but I imagine it’s not unlike playing the new title from Acquire and XSEED, Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Undressed. Sure, the game features way more blood-sucking demons than you might find in the real Akihabara, but otherwise it has to be close, right? Akiba’s Trip is exactly as bizarre as I expected, but it’s also surprisingly charming despite its rough edges.

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trickedouthero1

Last year I talked about Dragon Whisperer, a fine if unremarkable trick-taking game with some beautiful art design but no substance to match it. Playing Dragon Whisperer left me wanting more from the intersection of Hearts-style game play and fantasy adventure. Amazingly, a few months later I stumbled upon the Kickstarter campaign for Tricked-Out Hero from Prolific Games, which appeared to offer just that and decided to give it some support. READ MORE

disgaea4vita1

At this point, getting a handheld Disgaea remake is nothing new. The first game was ported to both PSP and DS, and the second made it to PSP. Then Disgaea 3 was released on Vita two years ago, and here we are with the fourth game receiving the same treatment (and uniting the core series on one device). So how does it compare to both its ported peers and the PS3 original? READ MORE

ngp_transistor

Spoilers for Transistor ahead! Don’t read on if you haven’t finished the game and want to keep those last moments a complete surprise.

Let’s talk about Transistor. It’s a game I love, but not entirely for the reasons I expected to. At first, I found myself put off by its combat and story that seemed to constantly keep you far enough away to learn anything. Slowly but surely the pieces began to fall into place, revealing a late game section that began to change things dramatically. But this isn’t about those moments. This is about two characters and most importantly how Supergiant managed to turn an unorthodox relationship into the game’s greatest strength.

As with Bastion before it, there are plenty of worthwhile moments prior to its ultimate conclusion, but its conclusion is, ultimately, what matters most. READ MORE

B2PN_XBX

Everyone does Top 10 Games lists. The problem with those? Usually, they’re full of games that earn a place because of nostalgia or industry significance. Here at Snackbar Games, we like being a little more practical: if you’re looking to just have fun, what games should you pick up and play today? This time, we profile Microsoft’s first console effort: the Xbox.

Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge

While many consider Namco’s Ace Combat series to be the king of the flight combat games around this time, the Xbox version of Crimson Skies is a force to be reckoned with. Ported over from the PC and simplified with console controls in mind, this “dumbing down” of the arcade-style flight game actually made it more fun as a result, creating one of the most fast-paced flight games on a system without many other options. - Andrew Passafiume
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fp2p_dq

In From Pixels to Polygons, we examine classic game franchises that have survived the long transition from the 8- or 16-bit era to the current console generation. In this final installment, Andrew Passafiume and Jeff deSolla discuss the evolution of the RPG legend, Dragon Quest.

We’ve covered many iconic franchises in From Pixels to Polygons, but few share the same legacy as Dragon Quest. Originally introduced to the West as Dragon Warrior, the DQ series helped craft Japanese-style RPGs, becoming the poster child for the genre long before Final Fantasy took the spotlight. Its evolution over time is steady, but significant, as it consistently remains aligned with its roots while still providing small, meaningful steps towards the future.

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metrico1

The world of data visualization is in many ways a novel one for games. I mean, to a certain extent, all games are is data visualization, but it’s never really drawn inspiration from these infographics precepts in a significant way. Metrico developer Digital Dreams saw that hole in its own data and sought to fill it with a game that is both visually arresting and mentally demanding.
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gaijinguide_europe

The longer I write this column, the more often I hear one specific bit of feedback: “Graham, this stuff sounds cool and all, but I like actually knowing what’s going on when I play games.” Fair enough! The language barrier can be overcome, but it’s never without sacrificing some degree of comfort and comprehension. But I can help you too, dear skeptical reader. We’re just going to have to turn our gaze across the other ocean. READ MORE

sero_ti4_2

I’ve written about LAN parties before, but I’ve never been to anything like this. The International 2014, the championship tournament for Dota 2, was held in Seattle from July 18 to 21. It was easily the biggest spectacle in competitive gaming. It was certainly the most lucrative, as the collective prize pool was over 11 million dollars, with the winning team taking home almost half of that. But how was the event? Was it successful? What does it mean for gaming? And, of course, how did it make me feel? READ MORE