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?
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 Skelter, and 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.)
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!
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
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
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 V 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
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 5 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 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
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.
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.
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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Thanks for reading; I hope you enjoyed this article. I’ve been writing about games in one form or another since the days of the old Atari computers, with work published in Page 6/New Atari User, PC Zone, the UK Official Nintendo Magazine, GamePro, IGN, USgamer, Glixel and more over the years, and I love what I do.
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