#LoveYourBacklog Week, 2020

Hello! Are you following Later Levels? If not, get on that; Kim writes lots of lovely things about games, occasionally assisted by guest stars!

Kim’s also one of those people who is great at organising others, and encouraging them to do cool things like supporting charitable efforts and writing community blog posts. She also runs a thoroughly pleasant Discord where you can find support and advice from your fellow writers — as well as some people to read what you’ve written!

Last year, Kim encouraged us to embrace our backlog of unplayed or unfinished games, not fear it. This week, #LoveYourBacklog is back once again… and who am I to stand in the way of such an admirable endeavour?

Yeah, that didn’t quite work out, did it.

Let’s begin with a look back at my own post from last year, and see how I did with the things I said back then. For one, I can already see that another year has passed without me playing Mary Skelterand that trend may well continue — but I do have a copy of the Switch sequel on the way courtesy of Limited Run Games, which also includes the full original game. So I can have two copies that I haven’t gotten around to playing yet! Yay.

(I promise I will play Mary Skelter eventually, because I know it’s a fabulous dungeon crawler and I love me some dungeon crawlers. But, as you know, I’m kind of busy right now.)

Sonic Lost World ended up being one of my favourite games in the whole series.

It’s not all bad news, though; I finished off the Sonic games I hadn’t played yet, and also the remaining Senran Kagura games. I had an absolute blast with both, and Peach Beach Splash in particular went well beyond my expectations in terms of fun factor.

To reiterate something I said last year: when I buy a game I do so in the full knowledge and acceptance of the fact that I’m not necessarily going to be playing it right away. I can’t; the very nature of the games I enjoy the most — visual novels and role-playing games — mean that it’s impractical to dive into too many at the same time, lest you forget the story, the mechanics and any of the other unique little wrinkles each title has. And, on top of that inherent complexity, they also tend to be pretty long, too!

It’s 2020 and I’m still playing Doom. Because Doom is timeless.

But I still buy games if I think they look interesting, or if I know they might get difficult to find down the road. I’ve developed a pretty good instinct for that sort of thing since becoming fully familiar with my own tastes. As such, my game shelves are bursting with enough titles to keep me busy well into my old age at this point… and you better believe I’m going to keep writing about them until I’m no longer able to do so.

And, of course, the backlog fits into all that. I’ve long learned not to fear my backlog — prior to MoeGamer, as some of you may remember, I was part of a group known as the Squadron of Shame, who actively celebrated the games in our backlog, or “Pile of Shame”, as we called it back then — and instead to see it as the portal to endless possibilities. And I stand by that. I have a lot of games; I will never, ever be bored. So if I ever say I’m bored — and I’m not at the day job, which is boring, and which tends to frown upon playing video games during work hours — then please give me a slap and refer me back to this article.

Anyway. The main event: as part of the #LoveYourBacklog celebrations, Kim encourages us all to think about a few specific parts of our backlog. So I’m going to do that right now, just try and stop me.

A game you’re eager to play, but haven’t yet started

Yep.

Aside from all the Atelier games, which are queued up and ready to go, I think this has to go to dear old Mary Skelter. I know I will adore this game. I know I will have a fantastic time with it. I also know that it will devour at least a hundred hours of my life, so I’ve been putting it off.

Everything about Mary Skelter appeals to me. The fact it’s a dungeon crawler. The fact it’s full of cute girls. The fact that the cute girls are intriguing twists on fairy tale characters. The fact that the game embraces the darkness inherent in fairy tales rather than the sanitised cuteness we tend to get in our childhood. And the fact it’s from my Developer of the Decade.

It will happen. When? I don’t know. But it will happen.

A game you’ve started several times but haven’t yet finished

Classic. Timeless. I know, I know.

This is actually a tricky one, because I tend not to even start games that I know I’m not willing to put the time and effort in to finish. Let me delve into my list and see if I can find something.

Oh, I got one. Kind of a doozy, in fact: Final Fantasy V and VI. I have started both of these on several occasions in the past, but for one reason or another have never seen them through to their respective conclusions. In both cases, it’s not because I didn’t like them; it’s simply because each time I started them up, it was out of curiosity or good intentions, only to find myself distracted by something newer and shinier.

My consciousness of this is one of the reasons I started the Final Fantasy Marathon project on YouTube. It’ll be a long time before we get to even and VI at this rate — but it’s a worthwhile journey that I’m enjoying taking so far.

The most recent addition to your library

I’m really glad these aren’t dubbed any more. The f-bombs in the PS2 original became comical in their frequency.

The Yakuza Remastered Collection literally arrived today. At some point, I’m going to have to figure out how to tackle the Yakuza series; it may well be prime MegaFeature fodder if this Atelier shenanigans goes well.

I have played some of the previous Yakuza games; specifically, I’ve played the first and second games on PS2, and Yakuza 3 on PS3. Never started 4, though; was put off starting by its digital-only release over here in Europe (which is no longer an issue thanks to the aforementiond remaster; and haven’t played Dead Souls, 6 or Zero at all yet. I do own them all except 6, however — and I’m very curious about Judgment, too.

The more I think about this, the more I think there’s a Yakuza MegaFeature in me at some point in the future. I think that will be really interesting to do — particularly if Yakuza 7 is out in English by the time I get around to it. Please look forward to it!

The game which has spent the most time on your backlog

I know about this bit.

I think it’s probably Final Fantasy V and VI again, you know. The PS1 copies of those I have are the same ones I bought when I was a teen (or possibly at university) so they’ve been sitting on various shelves for quite some time now. And when I get around to VI, that’s probably not even the version I’ll play, given that I have a SNES Classic!

The person responsible for adding the most entries to your backlog

Short games like Fairune are a great palate-cleanser sometimes.

I’ll give the same answer to this that I gave last time: it’s me. I remain unswayed by either popular opinion or mainstream coverage of games, and resolutely pick up only the games that I think look interesting for one reason or another.

This means that there are “big” games out there that I won’t bother with at all because they either don’t interest me, or because other things are higher priority. I haven’t jumped on Death Stranding, for example, even though I know that would be a fascinating game to explore, because I’ve got all manner of other games that I want to play more than that. I’m not writing off the possibility altogether, mind you — but as we’ve seen, I’m not exactly short of things to play, so it’s definitely not high on my list of priorities.

I still have plans to tackle Unlimited Saga, too.

Aside from that, I think a particular shout-out (or enraged bellow) is due here to Limited Run Games. I’ve gone for a lot of limited-run packaged releases of games in the last year in particular — in many cases of games that I’d already wanted to get, but had held off in the hope that I’d one day be able to put a copy on my shelf.

By the very nature of Limited Run’s releases — and those of their rivals and peers — you need to pick them up when they’re current, otherwise you simply won’t get them. I refuse to pay scalpers’ prices on eBay, and that sort of shitty behaviour most certainly shouldn’t be rewarded.

Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana is next on the hit list.

So what’s next? Well, you already know: the Atelier MegaFeature, which in itself is an attempt to cross off a significant number of games from my backlog, including some I’ve been interested in trying for a number of years now. I have plenty of smaller experiences to enjoy along the way, too — particularly on the PS2 — so there’s plenty of other stuff from my shelves that I can explore as we make our way through Gust’s magnum opus.

I love my backlog. It’s always got something new to show me. It’s always growing and changing. And it keeps me in things to write and make videos about. Plus it looks pretty neat on the walls of my living room.

Embrace your backlog, and look forward to all the wonderful experiences you’re yet to have. I know I am.


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10 thoughts on “#LoveYourBacklog Week, 2020”

  1. My problem with RPGs is precisely this, the immense amount of time investment. I actually have the Atelier series to replay, part of my excitement is that your feature might get me playing them. Then I want to replay Baldurs Gate saga and Ys series, though I’m not sure if replay throughs of new editions counts for the backlog… I’m trying to break up longer plays with shorter games (I have lots of HoGs and puzzle games to shore up the extended play times of RPGS). Nevertheless. Looking forward to Atelier.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The nice thing about several of the games you mention there is that they provide RPG funtimes in a more condensed package. The early Ys games in particular can all be blasted through in less than 10 hours — assuming you don’t run into a wall with your own skills, obviously! — and, in my experience, most Ateliers are 20-ish hours or so each… though many of the later ones have multiple endings and reward replays.

      Baldur’s Gate, though… man. There’s a long-haul game. At least the quest structure of that means that you can sort of dip in and out of it almost like a TV show, rather than necessarily committing to the whole thing in one go!

      Like

  2. Thanks so much for joining in, Pete! And thank you for all the kind words too.

    Several mentions of Final Fantasy games, I see. One day I’ll have to take your advice, overcome my aversion and actually play one. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fun initiative. I’ve just finished Portal 2 recently, and I bought it on release, so that should give you an idea of how good I am at keeping on top of my backlog…

    A game you’re eager to play, but haven’t yet started
    428: Shibuya Scramble. Any day now I’m just.. gonna.. start it!

    A game you’ve started several times but haven’t yet finished
    Baldur’s Gate 2: Throne of Bhaal. I adore the Baldur’s Gate saga, especially the second one. But the expansion pack really ramps up the challenge and while I’ve taken several parties to that final, elaborate, multi-stage boss, I never did conquer it. I don’t think it helps that I was so reluctant to finally beat the game and leave that world.

    The most recent addition to your library
    Carcasonne. Just as I finally developed the self-discipline not to buy game after game during Steam sales, along came the Epic Games Store to continue to pile on the titles. I’m not really interested in most of the stuff they give away, but I can’t say no to free!

    The game which has spent the most time on your backlog
    The Legend of Zelda. After six or so dungeons I just got stuck. Like a lot of exploration/collectathon games, it’s a perfectly good time until you’ve gotten most of the secrets. Then getting the last few becomes an exercise in haystack-searching.

    The person responsible for adding the most entries to your backlog

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sad to hear that you’ve never really gotten around to beating FFV, since it’s the only Final Fantasy I really care about/love. Suppose it will be nice to see you play it though, when the time comes. Not to mention that you won’t be lacking for reference materials, since that game has a wide (and crazy) range of variants full of fascinating information and strategies.

    On the subject of your other topics, I finally sat down and beat Stella Glow; it’s definitely a good game, and about as fitting an end for the developer as you could ask for. I’d forgotten how much Imageepoch likes to make their final bosses knock-down, drag-out fights; it took me an hour or so to beat it, and I got dangerously close to losing several times along the way. Made the victory very rewarding though, alongside the very emotional ending.

    For the game I’m eager to start but haven’t yet, it would probably be a (proper) replay of Gotcha Force. Gone through that game at least ten times at this point, but I need to do it at least a couple more times to get all the guaranteed unlockables. Not to mention that it’s just a blast to play in general.

    Going to roll two into one with the next one: don’t think I’ve started it too many times, but it’s definitely a game on my backlog that has been there a long time and needs to be properly completed: Spectrobes Origins. As much as I love the game to bits, I’ve never really beaten it. Gotten close to the end and just stopped for no real reason, so I have to fix that at some point.

    Most recent additions to my library are the physical collectors editions of both the Switch and PS4 versions of Luminous Avenger iX, and The Alliance Alive HD. Stella Glow and Luminous Arc 3 are very likely to join the list soon, I just need to decide how much money I’m willing to burn to either just get the games themselves or all of the other things associated with them.

    Person that contributes the most to my backlog is myself/whatever random things I find people talking about/mentioning when trudging through JP Twitter/YouTube.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhhh, EVERYONE keeps mentioning Spectrobes to me, I’m going to have to hunt these down, aren’t I?

      Yeah, FFV is probably my most shameful non-completion. I love what I’ve played… I’ve just never got around to beating it, because any time I’ve started it I’ve just done it on a whim and then ended up distracted by something else. Doing the videos will give me the incentive to finally knock it out though!

      Good to hear you enjoyed Stella Glow. I haven’t played it myself, but I believe my podcasting partner Chris is familiar, and my (admittedly limited) experience with Imageepoch suggests that they’re a rather underappreciated developer who often does things quite differently from the “norm”.

      Like

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