Nostalgia

Early Impressions: Adventures of Pip

Adventures of Pip shirt from Tic Toc Games

Adventures of Pip shirt from Tic Toc Games

PAX South came and went. It was a wonderful experience that I will never forget. One game out of the hundreds that were there left a good early impression on me: Adventures of Pip.

Adventures of Pip is a Kickstarter game made by Tic Toc Studios. The game centers itself on nostalgia, which is not a bad thing. We have Shovel Knight that reminded us what it was like to play as Scrooge McDuck again, we have Broken Age that takes a point-and-click adventure game to the next level with two protagonists, and Amplitude which is the successor to the first Amplitude released back in 2003.

Pip’s Three Forms via Kickstarter

Adventures of Pip is a side-scrolling action platforming game with a twist: a character that can evolve/devolve. There are a lot of inspiring games within the Adventures of Pip such as the Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, and even the Legend of Zelda. The story is very basic, where a princess gets stolen by an evildoer and she must be rescued. However, the gameplay is what makes this game stick out from other indie games out there.

The Demo

I was surprised to see the game I backed on Kickstarter at PAX South. On the last day of the convention, I gave the demo a try. The Adventures of Pip demo was short, but that did not take away from my experience. The controls were solid. The running and jumping mechanics responded well with the Playstation 4 (PS4) controller (this was also the first time I ever used a PS4 controller). Since the expo was so loud, I could not hear much of the music or sound effects.

Pip as Gif via Kickstarter

The Gameplay

Pip has three EVO forms: 1-pixel, 8-bit and 16-bit. Pip can traverse tiny hallways and jump on creatures that can carry him across spikes when he is 1-pixel. Also, this tiny, red pixel can jump higher than the other forms. While in this form, Pip is very responsive and easy to control.

1-Pixel Pip via Kickstarter

Pip’s 8-bit-self was my favorite of the three forms. 8-bit Pip has the agility of a gazelle and can wall jump like Samus. He also has a short jab, but I did not use it in the demo since the enemies were sparse. There was a tiny problem with this form; Pip attached to walls like scotch tape. I spoke with the publisher, Shereef Morse, about this problem and he assured me that it will be fixed by their next demo at PAX East.

8-Bit Pip via Kickstarter

Pip’s final form is powerful with all his 16-bits. He is a bulky, tough and wields a champions sword. Pip can slice through bricks, push over blocks and destroy enemies with ease. During the demo, there were not many chances to play as this powerful form. After watching many videos (and gifs) and demos of 16-bit Pip, it is easy to tell that he will need to evolve into this form to take out the most powerful adversaries.

16-Bit Pip via Kickstarter

The Environment

After watching the demo played by other PAX participants, the environment never ceased to amaze me. The colors and detail in textures made the demo ‘pop.’ There are not many games that fully capture an environment like this (unless your name is Shovel Knight). There were hidden areas within the demo with chests and villagers aplenty.

Part of PAX South Demo via Gamers in Beta

The demo was based on a portion of the game within a Temple. The mechanics of the game were easy to pick up from the start. For example, the demo taught me how to jump on enemies heads to reach higher areas. If I jumped on enemies heads that had a blue glow, it would give Pip the power to evolve/devolve. Thankfully, if I accidentally jumped on their head and missed a secret area, they would respawn later (I am not sure if that was for demo purposes or that is a game mechanic).

Near the end of the demo, I felt anxious and excited. Walls were closing from all around and I had to run as fast as I could. If blue blocks were in the way, I had to evolve/devolve to break them. There were walls that were too high, so I had to evolve/devolve into my 8-bit self and wall-jump as fast as I could. The ceiling and ground level were about to flatten me into no pixel Pip, but was able to evolve/devolve into 1-pixel Pip to fit inside a narrow space from harm. This entire scenario is what made this stick out from side-scrollers without time limits. Adventures of Pip could be one of my favorite indies this year based on this demo alone.

Pimping Pip Art via Nintendo News

Conclusions

Overall, Adventures of Pip has great ideas, amazing controls, and needs little tweaks. Each time I would pass by the booth, two people were always playing with smiles on their faces. I remember hearing from onlookers the phrase, “Awe, he’s so cute.” And I mean, look at him! That tiny, 1-pixel Pip is cute. I have a good feeling about this game and cannot wait to see the final results later this year. Adventures of Pip releases in May 2015 for the PC, Mac, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Wait, who is this Pip? via Amazon

Conquered Games of 2014

Video Game Accomplishments via MRWGifs

Backlog, I hate the word. I choose not to put any of my games in that list. Instead, each individual game I conquer goes into a cleaner, better list. A list that shows the date and name of each game I beat. I started this list back in 2013 and will continue to make a list each year. The reason why I love this list is because it shows my gaming habits and brings back memories of games that I might have forgotten. One thing worries me each time I look at this list: it looks like I game less and less each year. Am I losing interest in video games? Do I focus too heavily on certain video games? Maybe, just maybe, my life is becoming more important than video games?

Stacks on Stacks of Games by Pioneer Project

Enough speculation; here is my list:

January

  • 01/01/14 – Dead Rising 3*
  • 01/02/14 – Dead Rising 3 Overtime Mode
  • 01/10/14 – Papers, Please (2 different endings)
  • 01/14/14 – Need for Speed Rivals (Racer mode)*
  • 01/19/14 – Rogue Legacy*

February

  • 02/07/14 – To The Moon
  • 02/08/14 – Do You Remember My Lullaby (interactive movie/game from the “To The Moon” creator)
  • 02/15/14 – Poker Night 2 (Tournament’s Won = 1)

March

  • 03/18/14 – Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

April

  • 04/11/14 – Cool Pizza
  • 04/20/14 – Rayman: Jungle Run (100%)*
  • 04/22/14 – Trials: Fusion

May

  • 05/03/14 – Metroid: Fusion (3:47 with 46%)
  • 05/26/14 – Super Time Force

June

  • 06/06/14 – Mario Kart 8 (50cc)
  • 06/14/14 – Mario Kart 8 (100cc)
  • 06/14/14 – Wolfenstein: A New Order
  • 06/27/14 – New Super Mario Bros. U

July

  • 07/04/14 – 140
  • 07/04/14 – Shovel Knight
  • 07/13/14 – Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

August

  • 08/03/14 – Final Fantasy X
  • 08/03/14 – Final Fantasy X Eternal Calm (interactive movie/game)
  • 08/24/14 – The Banner Saga
  • 08/30/14 – Finding Teddy

September

  • 09/01/14 – Invisible, Inc. (Early Access)
  • 09/21/14 – Kingdom Rush*
  • 09/21/14 – 10000000*

November

  • 11/28/14 – Kalimba (Beta)

Please Note: The games with a * were started in 2013.

Conquering 29 games is pretty successful, especially when you consider three time-consuming games I did not put on this list: Titanfall, Destiny, and Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U.

Titanfall’s Shot Put via Reddit

Titans Can’t Fall

Titanfall is a game that is meant to be played online. The story is insignificant and, possibly, pointless. If you wanted to beat the “story mode,” you had to join matches in progress and hope to play two different sides of the story. I did complete both factions, but the game does not end there. I do not want my story for a shooter to consist of playing online matches. The only way I would consider Titanfall fully “complete,” is by completing 100% of the achievements (which is nearly impossible). The only achievement that is next to impossible is “I Killed Them All” achievement.

The “I Killed Them All” achievement consists of killing all the enemy pilots during the evacuation phase, single-handedly. That means when your team wins, the losing team has a chance to escape by boarding an evacuation ship. First of all, if you are on the winning team, there is a good chance that your team members will attack and kill any enemy pilots who are making their way to the ship. If, somehow, all the pilots get inside the ship without being killed by your team members, you must be the one to destroy the ship before it departs. However, since everyone will be shooting at the ship, it is nearly impossible to be the one that gets the final shot off. This achievement is nearly impossible, and I know I will never achieve it with the diminished number of people who play now.

The Never Ending Game via TFJ

Destiny’s “Endgame”

Destiny never ends. I have completed all of the story missions (including the new Dark Below expansion), but that does not feel like I beat the game. I almost wanted to consider beating the raids on their hardest difficulty was “beating the game,” but I just cannot do that. I continue playing the raids over and over again to get better gear or upgrade my current gear. It never stops and it almost seems pointless at times.  It feels as if there is no ending to this game since there are continuous updates, expansions, and possibly hundreds of hours of gameplay.

Sleeping Soundly via Mii Gamer

Super S-“Meh” Bros.

Surprisingly, the newest Smash Bros. is not all it is cracked up to be. I love the game, it is polished and well balanced, but something is missing from my experience. The main reason it feels “meh” to me is because my friends have lives of their own and cannot usually come over to play this party game, so I have no one to look at my awesome kills, swift dodging or bat-swinging madness. Playing this party game solo is not quite as thrilling as it is with a group of friends, but I have beaten the single-player mode with seven or so characters, and I own two amiibos (Little Mac and Fox). It is a fun game to pick-up and play, but only for a few minutes. I have not tried to play online much since it is not the same as having the person next to you and talking trash. Players can complete this entire game by either collecting all of the trophies or unlocking every challenge. Since this can take nearly 120 hours to complete, and since I have lost motivation to play, there should be no surprise as to why I haven’t been able to add Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U to my list.

Conclusions

I have no idea where I will end up this year with video games. I beat two games already this year, but continue to play Destiny more than ever. I want to work on all the games I received during Christmas and try to get away from Destiny. I do not believe I am losing too much interest in video games, I just have other priorities that are more important. Video games are not a lifestyle, it is a hobby. I would rather look at my accomplishments in video games, and be impressed rather than force myself to play every video game on the planet. Luckily, I have tons of video games that I am looking forward to playing in 2015.

Scott Pilgrim Always Continues via The AWL

Another Year, Another Game

The Very Best via shawnblanc

2014 is over. There is only one way to start off 2015, and that is with my Game of the Year (GOTY). My GOTY is not an easy choice to make. I believe my GOTY will surprise many, and video game websites and magazines will probably not even give my game a mention. Instead of picking one game to talk about, I picked three. All three of the games on my list were very close, but there can be only one.

Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight Camping Out by Yacht Club

The moment I saw Shovel Knight in 2013, I knew this game would be great. Shovel Knight is no ordinary game, it is the Kickstarter game. I was one of the early backers before every gaming website and editorial wrote about it. When the media basically made it a must-have in 2013, everything changed. The Kickstarter page blew up with more goals, promises, and backers than anyone could have imagined. Shovel Knight’s Kickstarter goal was only $75,000, but it raised over $310,000 instead. That is an incredible feat.

I backed Shovel Knight on April 13, 2013. The game was set to release in September 2013, but with more and more support, new stretch goals appeared. In their fourth update, stretch goals introduced achievements, new music, genderswap, battle mode and much more. While the new additions sounded nice, it only meant that the game would most likely not release on time. At first, I was a little upset since I am impatient when it comes to video games, but once Shovel Knight released on June 26, 2014, my entire view of on the game changed.

Shovel Knight Stretch Goals via Kickstarter

I remember the first level like it was yesterday. The game looked flawless and everything felt right. The controls were spot on with simple to use jumping mechanics (inspired from the greatness of Scrooge McDuck from DuckTales) and the simplicity of its attack/spells system (heavily inspired from Castlevania and even Zelda II). The puzzles were not mind numbingly hard, the characters/villains were all hilarious, and the music was phenomenal. Without a doubt, Shovel Knight was better than most platformers I have played in recent years. The worst part about Shovel Knight was the ending; only because I did not want this game to ever end.

Comedy At Its Best by IGN

Shovel Knight will go down to be one of my favorite Indie Games of all time. If you have not played it for yourself, what are you doing reading this? Go play Shovel Knight, right now!

Destiny

Squat Like A Guardian via Verge

If you have been reading my blog, you noticed the large number of Destiny articles. Yes, the game is very addicting and I am still going to write about it. However, it is not my GOTY.

Instead of stating reasons why this game should/could be my GOTY, I would rather make a list of concerns.

  1. My total play time is currently 334 hours.
  2. I am stuck at level 31 since I do not have enough Radiant Shards (a new currency which came out with the new Dark Below expansion).
  3. I have three different characters.
  4. I play at least 1 to 2 hours a day.
  5. Changing the volume in the game’s option menu is impossible.
  6. I lose heavy ammo when I die, everytime.
  7. The Iron Banner is not a constant thing.
  8. I have lost a lot of interest in Player vs. Player (PvP).
  9. Random Number Generators (RNG) is the worst.
  10. The story is hidden in the grimoire cards.

Y U DO THIS via Troll.Me

Again, these are just concerns, not complaints. I want to state one thing though: the Destiny Raid’s are the absolute best part about Destiny. It would make too much sense to put Destiny as my GOTY with all the time I spend with it, but it did not change anything. It is a Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) game with lots of potential. I believe future installments in the Destiny world could change my opinion about the game, but it is not my GOTY.

Titanfall

Titanfall = GOTY via WCCF

I bet you did not see that coming. Titanfall is my GOTY. After talking to myself on numerous occasions, I picked this game because it reminded me of how good PvP can be. I do not care that Titanfall has no story (it was there, somewhere), I do not care that I always had to be online, and I do not care what people say about my decision. This game was the multiplayer experience I have been waiting for after all these years.

It is worth noting that my favorite multiplayer experiences are from Call of Duty 4 and Gears of War. Both of these games showed me what PvP was all about. I found many of my current friends online with these two games. I have never played anything remotely close to these two games that resembled an excellent multiplayer experience, until Titanfall came along.

Titanfall was a breath of fresh air (or exhaust from the Titans). It gave me the first-person shooting (FPS) aspect I like with Mirror’s Edge mixed in; the wall-running and platform climbing changed everything. Titanfall is a fast-paced game with mechs thrown in for fun. The maps are are easy to remember and strategic on their own with numerous game type. A huge plus was that I played/met tons of great people because of this game.

I do not play Titanfall much anymore, but overall, it was a phenomenal trip (all 107 hours of it). This game gave me hope that PvP can change, and will change with time. Call of Duty: Advance Warfare and the next Halo game took a page out of Titanfall with their increasing speeds and unique futuristic equipment. The FPS experience is changing for the better.

Even though the community may be dead for Titanfall, I know I can still go back with a group of friends and have fun. The updates they provided are some of the best in the industry. We have seen tons of new game modes, new and improved burn cards (these give your character boosts with their equipment, Titans or extra experience), and even emblems.  I am very surprised by how far Titanfall has came and will continue to watch it close; I am definitely looking forward to the next Titanfall.

Conclusion

I use the term “Game of the Year” cautiously and believe my opinions are probably not ideal. I am not handing this prestigious award to just any game, but I hope that Titanfall can/will change the FPS experience. I would be surprised if someone agrees that Titanfall is the GOTY, since there are so many strong games that came out this year. I have yet to play Far Cry 4, Shadow of Mordor and other indie titles, but will eventually. My opinion could change down the road, but I hope we all can agree that 2014 was one of the best years for video game enthusiasts everywhere.

My History With Fighting Games

Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson via Soul Bounce

The great Michael Jackson once sang sweet-nothings to Paul McCartney, “I’m a lover, not a fighter,” in the billboard-topping song The Girl Is Mine. Anytime I pick up a new fighting game, this song plays in my head; the reasoning is quite strange.

Set The Stage

My memory is not what it used to be (many say this when they think they are getting old). In the mid-1990s, I became a huge fan of Michael Jackson. My brother is solely to thank for this since he played his music non-stop. One day that has always stuck out from the rest is the time my brother played Super Nintendo (SNES) while I had my headphones on, listening to Michael Jackson. I am not sure why I did this, but I am glad I did.

At that ripe young age, I did not know any better. I barely paid attention to lyrics in songs, but the smoothness of The Girl Is Mine has always stuck with me. The fun banter between Michael and Sir Paul from is pure greatness! The one line that will never leave me is this: “I’m a lover, not a fighter.”

Ready? Fight!

Street Fighter II SNES Box via GameFaqs

My first fighting game, and one of my all-time favorites, is Street Fighter II for the SNES. It was a spectacular one-on-one fight with subtle mini-games thrown in. My favorite character to use was Chun-Li because her list of moves were easy to perfect. I could never figure out how to use Ryu, Ken and Guile (cue Guile’s Theme) to their full potential, so I usually stuck with Chun-Li. Every now and then, I chose Blanka to see how far I could get, but mostly as a joke.

When you select your character, you are automatically thrown into the game’s tiny plane and flown to your first resort (opponent). With its minimal list of fighters, I still had trouble with each CPU fighter. I was never great at Street Fighter II, but I enjoyed the challenge; I knew which fighters I could destroy, and which would give me the greatest trouble.

A Challenger Approaches

The three fighters I always feared was Balrog, Vega and M. Bison. It was rare for me to fight these characters, since I never got that far in the game; I could never figure out their fighting technique. You could also never play as these three characters in the game, which was a bummer.

M. Bison, Balrog and Vega by El Bloj

Balrog is fast, and his punches are swift. I did my best to dodge his incredible strength and kicked when I had the chance. One of the cheapest things I had to do against him was to jump into the air at an angle and use my powerful kick; BOOM – right in the kisser.  I usually died within seconds, but every once in awhile, I would defeat him and continue my effortless journey.

Vega is made of lightning. His speed is unmatched and his reach is uncharacteristic. It did not help that he is the cheapest fighter in Street Fighter II. He can jump on the fence and nose dive on top of you like a eagle catching its prey. It was a grueling matchup for me, but I did my best. My heart would always beat faster and faster when I saw Vega’s health deplete. Every Time I would beat Vega, I would cheer and give my own fist-pump of victory.

Finally, M. Bison, the most powerful and scariest final boss. My heart races when I reach that final stage. Whenever I made it this far, I had no idea what I was doing. It was rare for me to reach this point, but my brother would always do it with ease. M. Bison is very unpredictable. His speed was on par with Balrog with his strength being greater. If I managed to beat him, it was the most gratifying win. I remember losing to him more often than winning, so I cherish those wins until the day I die.

Jackie Chan as Chun Li by Gifsoup

After Street Fighter II, I never played played another in the series. I dabbled in the arcade scene with the later Street Fighters, but I had no idea what I was doing; basically, I was wasting quarters. I played many of the Tekkens, Soul Caliburs and Dead or Alives, but none really satisfied my fighting game mentality. I wanted something more. Something that involved loved characters from my youth. Something that would be an all out brawl.

Super Smash Bros. N64 Box by My Generation Toys

Super Smash Bros.

It was the late 1990’s and a new fighting game comes out: Super Smash Bros. Hands down, this was my favorite Nintendo 64 (N64) game (sorry Perfect Dark and Goldeneye). The crazy part is that this was the one fighting game I did not own. The first time I touched this game was at a friends house with three other people. I had no idea what I was in for until I picked up the controller; talk about a mind blowing experience. After my first match, I was hooked.

Super Smash Bros. is a giant brawl where four characters can face off against each other individually or with teams. The one thing that set this game apart was the fact that it involved all kinds of Nintendo characters, useable items and team-based gameplay. My favorite characters to use are Fox, Samus and Link. One of my favorite parts about this game was the friendly competition among friends and those friends did not have to be great at the game. Though, being the competitor I am, this was one game I would master so my friends eventually hated playing against me.

Super Smash Bros. Melee Box via Wikipedia

Super Smash Bros. Melee

The next game in the Super Smash Bros. series was Melee. The only reason I wanted the GameCube was so that I could play Super Smash Bros. Melee. I did not care about any other game on that console, I just wanted the non-stop fighting game that I could enjoy with friends. The game was and still is one of the best fighting games I have ever played. The roster was huge, the graphics were out of the world and they included more features than its predecessor.

I was addicted to this game like no other. I probably put in over 100 hours, by myself, not including matches among friends. I remember training against the computer and setting their levels at 9, which is insanely difficult when 3 CPUs gang up on you. The only reason I did this was because I wanted a challenge, and none of my friends were around normally. I collected all the trophies and made sure I knew how to use every character.

Can it be… Falco? by Smash Bros Wiki

My Mains

My main characters in Super Smash Bros. Melee are Falco, Link, Young Link and Kirby; I could dominate anyone with these characters. Falco’s speed is unmatched, unless you play as Fox or Captain Falcon. The main reason I used Falco over Fox is because his blaster can stun opponents unlike Fox’s which never phases anyone. I will also say that Falco is faster than Fox, but I know many people will disagree.

Link and Young Link play very much the same. Both have basically the same move set, but Young Link was more agile. Before choosing whichever Link when playing with friends, I would wait to see what my friends would pick and then decide on which Link to pick. The Downward-A attack was one of my favorite moves Link could use; the power is catastrophic. I also believe their Upward-B spin-attack is one of the best recovery moves in the game.

Kirby is a well-rounded character. His speed is fair, his attacks are fast, and his recovery was one of the best as well. When you can blow yourself up like a balloon, there is no way you cannot reach the platform safely. His Downward-B attack was quite powerful like Link’s and Young Link’s. Kirby will turn himself into a heavy object, such as a brick or spiked ball. However if you missed your opponent, you would most likely be in a world of hurt after changing back to normal. Kirby had one of the worst Over-B attacks, but the fact he could steal other fighters abilities made up for that attroaches attack.

Smashing College Kids

Super Smash Bros. Brawl was the next game in the Super Smash Bros. series. It came out during my college career, and few friends were as excited as I was. This was my very first midnight release game I went to, but more on that later. Before the game came out, a couple of my friends and I decided to beat 100 percent Super Smash Bros. Melee. This was no easy task. We beat every challenge, used every character in the story mode, obtained every trophy and fought against each other for countless hours. I will always remember this experience since it showed me how hardcore a couple of my friends were at the game.

It is strange how a game that conquered hours of my life and skill resurfaced in college. I did not play Melee with many friends when the game first came out. However, I finally got my competitive juices flowing again when a buddy in college would compete with me without items. We were well-matched and could nearly use every character against one another. Our battles would last a long time with five stocks (lives) at our disposal. If we used items, the match would be over too quick and more luck-based. It is worth noting that this was the first time I played Super Smash Bros. without items. I actually like this format a lot, and I wish that I would have competed in tournaments. Those were my prime years with Super Smash Bros. that I hope I got back with Brawl.

Super Smash Bros Brawl by IGN

Midnight Release

My very first midnight release game was Super Smash Bros. Brawl. I just started college, but since Nintendo is nice enough to release games on Friday’s, I made sure I had no class or work on Friday. The funny thing was that the line consisted of people of all ages. Kids age 12 could be seen excitedly jumping for joy while older men in their late 30s were talking among each other about which characters to use and new strategies.

It felt weird being there, since I am not a hardcore gamer who does these midnight releases. I felt out of place, so I kept to myself. After I picked up my copy, a friend of mine invited me to his place where they had two televisions playing the new Super Smash Bros. Brawl. I could have went home and played by myself, but I rather play with friends instead. I stayed there for two hours hamming it up with newly met friends and playing until I was too exhausted to lift the controller. This was one of my favorite moments for a midnight release yet.

Pit Falling by lsosceles

Go Pit Go!

My very first character I played Brawl with was the legendary Pit. I have never played a game involving Pit, but he became my new main ‘go-to’ character. His speed unprecedented, his glide ability makes for phenomenal strategies and his moves overall are most likely overpowered; Pit is out of this world.

One of Pit’s strengths was his Over-B attack that could send projectiles back at opponents. If Samus shot her giant cannon at Pit, it could easily reflect the shot back at Samus. Pit’s fast tapping A attack created crazy combos that could last a very long time. His normal B attack was a blue arrow that could be arched all over the map. There were barely any flaws with Pit, and it felt good.

Strangely enough, Pit’s downfall was Ike. Yes, the ‘oh-so-powerful’ Ike. While Ike was a slow character, less than half the speed of Pit, Ike’s attacks were powerful enough to knock Pit into next week. Pit could be launched in the air quickly by Ike’s normal attacks. If Pit is hit by any of Ike’s B attacks, Pit would most likely be dead. The only way for Pit to counter Ike was to use his speed to his advantage.

Dem Graphics Link on Tumblr

What’s Next

Super Smash Bros. for the 3DS is out and the Wii U version is up next. I tried the 3DS demo but could never fully understand the controls. My main problem is the analog stick that feels wonky when controlling the movement of characters. It also gives me fear that I would break off the analog stick from playing too much.

The Wii U version is not that far away. From all of the previews and discussions, I can already tell that Little Mac, Pit and Falco may be my main characters. I love their fighting styles and speed is influences on which character I choose in the Super Smash Bros. world. The hardest part about the Wii U version was choosing which version to buy.

Mega Man in Smash Bros? via Giphy

3, 2, 1… GO!

The Super Smash Bros. series is the most enjoyable game in the fighting genre. It fits my playstyle and has some of my favorite characters in the Nintendo universe. It is good to know that the next Super Smash Bros. has online gameplay so I do not have to play the game alone. I am positive that I will spend hundreds of hours with the next installment. To celebrate the release of the Wii U version, I will have a tiny Smash Party at my house for the midnight release and take a day well-deserved day off work. Finally, the reason for me purchasing my Wii U is almost here!

Backlog, I Hate The Word

“Backlog. Backlog? I hate the word. As I hate hell, all procrastinators and thee.”

That’s right, I hate the word backlog. You can argue all you want about how everyone who owns a video game has a “backlog” of games that are still on their to-do list. I will destroy this word. Delete this word from your vocabulary, bleep out the word like raunchy comedies do on public television (Always Sunny in Philadelphia returns in January 2015!), or scream when someone utters this disgusting word.

It occurred to me in 2011 that I should keep track of how many video games I complete over the course of a year. Since then, I realized that the term “backlog” when used with video games is all intrusive. When anyone refers to their “backlog” of video games, I think of how much work and effort they are putting towards a huge list of games that must be completed. It is annoying hearing/reading about people who reveal that they have over 100 games that they just have to complete before they die. It is an unrealistic expectation unless you drop everything in your life and fully work on your “backlog.”

Now for the cliché: Wikipedia notes that “backlog” generally refers to an accumulation over time of work waiting to be done or orders to be fulfilled. I agree that the word itself can be involved with a gamer’s vocabulary, but I want to show you how to avoid thinking in those terms.

My Wallet Is Hurting

Your wallet can hurt if you focus too hard on your “backlog.” We are in 2014, but some gamers insist they have to play the original video games. They do not want to touch the Playstation Network or Nintendo eShop to buy a game that plays exactly like the original. Gamers would rather own the old Final Fantasy VII Playstation disc or Super Mario World RPG SNES cartridge instead of purchasing it digitally at a quarter of the price.

Run Simballet! via Cheezburger

Note: Currently, Final Fantasy VII is selling at roughly $150 new and $17 used while Super Mario RPG is nearly $400 new and $46 used.

I will admit that I went through a phase where I had to buy the rare original video game so I could play them later. For example, I rebought Final Fantasy VII on eBay for over $30 used a few years ago. More recently, I bought Xenosaga: Episode III for more than $40 on eBay since I wanted to complete the saga.

I Have To Beat This

When you work on your “backlog” of video games, do you say, “I have to beat this”, and if so, why? Why does this one game matter so much more than the hundreds that have come out over the course of a year that may interest you more? I understand that after you beat something in your “backlog” that it must feel great, but you did not have to beat it.

Dark Souls is hard via GTTMY

The worst way I look at this is when a gamer scratches a game off their “backlog,” and feels more excited when they see its ending. Are you more excited about beating the game itself or just happy to see another game off your “backlog” list? Further, there is always the chance that the gamer rushed through the dialogue or missed the entire climax in the story. There can be hundreds of factors that they missed because the only thing they focused on was completing this task.

At least, once a game is marked off their “backlog” list, they can start another.

How Long To Beat

Hours Well Spent? via NPC Comics

Time is of the essence when it comes to some gamers who want to complete their entire “backlog” list. How Long To Beat is a wonderful tool for gamers to find out how long it will take to beat the next game on their list. I like to use this website every once in a while to determine which game I should play next, but I do not limit myself to these times.

If you use this website, ask yourself: does it really matter? Do you care about the time you have to put in to your next video games? I have explained in one of my previous blog posts that “Time is Money,” but this may go too far. Gamers may rush through the game instead of experiencing the game how it is supposed to be experienced. For example, I started playing Final Fantasy X-2. This game will roughly take me 35 hours to complete since I will do some of the side missions as well. However, there is another part of the game that gamers may or may not touch: The Fiend Arena.

The Fiend Arena in Final Fantasy X-2 is an arena where your character can capture monsters called fiends, watch their Fiend Tale progress, manage their skills and powers, and fight in a battle arena. This is sort of like Pokémon, but it is more randomized when capturing fiends. This entire side story of the game is for fun. The story can progress without the added feature, but the interesting take on Fiend Tales can be important if you are interested in the lore of the game, extra missions, or new items.

Fiend Arena Art via Final Fantasy Wiki

To watch a Fiend’s Tale, you must level up your fiend to a high enough level and release it back into the wild. Once you do this, you will learn the history of the fiend and get a possible item or mission to complete within the game. This adds more to the Final Fantasy X-2 lore and only helps the player. The feature adds another depth to Final Fantasy X-2, but will those who have it on their “backlog” list even give it a try? I think not, since their goal is to finish the game in a certain amount of time.

Note: To learn more about the Fiend Arena, visit The Final Fantasy Wiki.

The Juggling Maneuver

Currently, I am playing Titanfall, Mega Man: Battle Network, Invisible, Inc., and Final Fantasy X-2. This may sound like a lot of games to go between, but I can handle them. I can remember what is going on in each game and make time for each one when I see fit. One day, I may feel like mindless, fast-paced killing and play Titanfall, and the next day, I may want to relax and lose myself in the story of Final Fantasy X-2.

Mr. Game & Watch Ball Game via GiantBomb

Juggling a bunch of video games can be hard. The only reason I do this is because I know I can take my time and experience the entire game. I do not want to burn out on one video game because I played it nonstop for a week. I like to dabble in different games to help break up the monotony.

If a gamer is too heavily invested in their “backlog,” they may focus too hard on a single game and lose interest. A role-playing video game could take hours and hours until it is completed. I remember putting in over 60 hours with Final Fantasy XIII and that took me nearly two years to complete. Focusing on one game could hurt you like I mentioned before, so it may be in your best interest to alternate between several games. Take a break from one video game, and then go play something else. Do not worry; the game will still be there for you when you return.

Let’s Focus On Completion

Here is what I do: I focus on how many games I complete in a given year. This is a great way for me to see how much time I dedicate to one of my favorite hobbies. I look forward to completing games and adding them to my list, so at the end of the year, I can either brag or wallow in my lack in gaming. It can also be a great identifier to see what game I might have dedicated a lot of my time to. For instance, with the March release of Titanfall, I saw a drop in completed games. I put a lot of effort and time into Titanfall and I did not want to touch any other game.

Now That’s Focus via Business In Focus

The other reason I like to keep this list is because it helps me to form a positive outlook on things. I would rather have the happy thought of all of my gaming accomplishments embedded in my brain than a sad, negative one of all those I have not completed. I am not saying all gamers look at their “backlog” as a negative, but I can see how some could. Gamers see a list of hundreds of games, so instead of looking at the positive experiences to come, they visualize the negative and see at least half the games as a hassle.

Video games should not become a chore, they should be played for fun. Remember, a game is just a game. It does not matter if you have a million games to play in your lifetime. As long as you are having fun, and look at the positive side of gaming, there is no reason to think that you have to play this or that. Take one game at a time, and keep track of them in a different way. Ignore the word “backlog,” erase it from your dictionary, keep track of your accomplishments, and have fun with your video games.

Make A List by See Sarah Eat