Beyond Oasis (Sega Forever)

(Originally published at It’s been almost a quarter-century since The Story of Thor released in Japan as part of Sega’s Mega RPG Project – a strategy conceived in the final round of the Mega Drive’s bout with the Super Famicom. It’s assumed Sega hoped a quick shot of RPGs would help its weary 16-bit mauler finish strong. That’s just speculation, but it’s a fact Sega abandoned its Mega RPG Project after less than a year. [Read More]

Captain Bible

Of the Christian video games of the 1990s, Captain Bible in Dome of Darkness stands out as the decade’s most derided. Admittedly, the game’s unapologetic theology and style – not to mention DOSBox compatibility – make it a ripe target for satire. A closer analysis, however, identifies Captain Bible as a successful synthesis of the ludic (in Huizinga’s sense) and didactic principles necessitated by the video game form and its Evangelical heritage. [Read More]

SimCopter / Streets of SimCity

(Originally published at Johan Huizinga opens Autumn of the Middle Ages by describing a mindset alien to us: “…all events had much sharper outlines than now…every experience had that degree of directness and absoluteness which joy and sadness still have in the mind of a child.” The arresting power of the original SimCity in 1989 can be just as alien to us today. The simulation is distant, hoisting the player heavenward and granting him the power to zone land for commercial, industrial, or residential development. [Read More]

Unpacking Saints of Virtue

For better or worse, I’m probably one of the handful of people out there who takes any interest in Saints of Virtue. But hey, sometimes things just strike a chord. No need to repeat any of it – if by some miracle you’re interested in this, then you don’t need much background. This blog post is a short tutorial on how to open up the game’s .WRS files and get at all of the assets – graphics, music, code, sound effects, you name it. [Read More]

Saints of Virtue

2022 Update: The 1.0.0 version of SaintsX has been released. Check out the website and download the patch here. It’s the quiet end of a working day, and I just Googled “Saints of Virtue". Yes, that Saints of Virtue. The Christian first-person shooter from 1999 that is sometimes mocked, sometimes derided, but mostly forgotten. I haven’t played the game all the way through in years, yet here I am running a search and scrolling through the results. [Read More]

480p Orta / GunValkyrie on Xbox 1.6

If you’re into the original Xbox, then you probably know that Microsoft released several different hardware revisions over the console’s lifespan. These revisions were released under the covers, with no outside differences between, say, a 1.2 console and a 1.6 console. But the variations are meaningful, impacting both longevity and reliability. CRTGAMER over at Racketboy wrote up a pretty thorough rundown of the various revisions. If you want to know more, that’s your introductory course. [Read More]
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Saints of Virtue Luminous Assets

Definitely sad to see that Saints of Virtue – one of my childhood favorites – is about to bow out from the internet. I was surprised to see it reissued for digital download a year or two ago, but it looks like that was just a brief revival. I used HTTrack to save a backup of the site since Internet Archive often misses files. Email me if you want a copy. [Read More]

Heavy Nova

(Originally published at You tear the parcel open. The action rips the veil of time and space, and a distant refrain of the Japanese Mega CD BIOS lofts to your ears. The jingle transports you back to December of 1991, to a distant shop in Shibuya where you imagine gamers of a bygone era held the same game you hold now. You run a careful finger across the hand-shaded cover art and smile. [Read More]

Blast Wind

(Originally published at Retro gamers call almost any obscure game a cult classic. Unlike most of Technosoft’s catalog, Blast Wind hasn’t amassed enough fans to earn that title. A search of the usual forums produces just a handful of cobwebbed discussions of the game. There are no fansites, obsessive strategy guides, or detailed retrospectives. But the game hasn’t quite been forgotten, either. Technosoft’s reputation keeps Blast Wind afloat as a curiosity among enthusiasts, and a small print run drives prices high on the secondary market. [Read More]

Modern Streets of SimCity

2021 update: I highly recommend you try Streets of SimCity X. The following instructions are not the best option these days. Okay, well, any fan of the game knows that ‘running’ is a relative term. The game was always prone to crashing, even back in the day on 32-bit Windows 95 and XP operating systems. But if you’re reading this then you probably know that some hot Streets action is worth a few “unrecoverable errors”, as the familiar in-game popup goes. [Read More]