Backlog Report – July 2022

Hello July. Goodbye July. Another month has come and gone in what feels like a bullet train ride through the year. Despite the hot and sticky weather, I will try and cherish these last few days of good mental health before hell starts to break loose. Gaming and writing may take a back seat in the months to come.

This month marks the end of the 50/50 Challenge that I started last year. A post about my results and what I’ve learned will come out shortly after this post. Since I haven’t really been talking about it lately, you can kinda guess how that went.

In other boring news (but really exciting for me), I am almost done cataloging all of the video game guides and art books that I’ve been collecting. This should have been done sooner when I first decided that I was interested in collecting them, but it can also be fun cataloging things in a huge batch. I just have a few more to go since most non-guidebooks are kept in a different room. I want to write about why I’m seeking out these old guide books lately and what makes them interesting to have in 2022. My next inventory project will be to record all of the game systems that Kat and I own.


Blog Posts This Month

Kirby and the Forgotten Abilities (Backlog Tale) – While I enjoyed my time playing through Kirby and the Forgotten Land, I couldn’t help but feel that something was missing. If you played through it and thought something was missing, maybe the structure of Kirby’s abilities was the culprit.

Finishing the Final Game in the Final Fantasy Advance Ports – Final Fantasy V (Backlog Tale) – I found Final Fantasy V to be lackluster, but that is a fault to the day and age that I played it (and games similar to it that I’ve played). While it is a classic game and has one of the best job systems in the mainline series, its spiritual successors like Bravely Default and Octopath Traveler have evolved the concept.


Games Finished This Month

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV

The meme is now over. After 168 hours and playing this game in chunks over the past year and a half, I have finally finished this part in the overlapping saga. If my tear ducts would work properly, I would have sobbed at the end. After getting to know these characters all these years and watching them grow into the heroes they become gave me so many emotions. I’m glad that I decided to randomly pick up this series since it has been an overall good experience for the most part. I would like to say that I am caught up on the current series, but I still have the Sky and Crossbell games to play through before I view all of the pieces in this epic saga. Just give me five to ten years to do all of that…

Gunstar Heroes

This is a blast from the past. I don’t have as much nostalgia for the Sega Genesis like I do with the Super Nintendo. There are a few games on the Genesis that are very nostalgic for me, and Gunstar Heroes is one of those games. We used to play this a lot at my cousin’s house, but we could never beat it due to its high difficulty toward the end. Thanks to the Sega Genesis library via Nintendo Switch Online, my brother and I were able to put this game to rest in a little over three hours. The game still holds up great despite all of the flashing lights (developers loved their epilepsy flashers back in the day). If you have never played this game with someone, now is one of the best times since you can play it with someone online.

Final Fantasy VII

Would it surprise you if I told you that I have never finished this game before? I have played it in the past, but I lost access to it right when I got to the Northern Crater. Despite owning an original copy of the game, I went with the PS4 version since the achievement list would encourage me to see all that the game had to offer. Additionally, turbo mode made getting through some sections a big time saver (wish all JRPGs had a turbo button). Overall, I really enjoyed this game and understand why so many people are fond of it. I appreciate Cloud as a character way more since I finally understand the type of character he is. I’m excited to see the events of Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth and the third game now that I have a better understanding of how the main game’s events flow (the final Midgar raid better be epic). I will now take back my JRPG Player card now that I have finished this game proper.


Games Added This Month

Tokyo Mirage Session #FE Encore

I wasn’t planning on getting many games this month after last month’s splurge fest. Of course deals would pop up that would be too good for me to resist. The first game that I was able to find cheap was Tokyo Mirage Session #FE Encore. I have wanted to try this game for a while, but didn’t feel like hooking up my Wii U just to play this. Hopefully I will find the time to play it soon since it is a good game from what I’ve heard.

The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles

I completely forgot that I got this game this month (for some reason I thought it was last month). I’ve enjoyed the Phoenix Wright series due to its suspenseful nature. I need to finish the rest of the series past Apollo Justice at some point before bringing this game to the stand.

Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town

This is a game that I’ve been waiting to get. Not only does it feed into my Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons collecting as of late, but it is technically a remake of one of the better games in the series. I would also like to point out that the case for this game is amazing since the reverse cover is a redesign of the Japanese box art for Friends of Mineral Town. I wish more companies would be creative with their cover art.

Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin

I had no intention of getting this game, but for $10 USD I can be persuaded to give anything a try. After looking at game footage I’m starting to wonder why I wouldn’t be interested in this. I will have to give this game a try soon just so I don’t forget that I have it.

Harvest Moon 2, Harvest Moon 3 GBC, & Harvest Moon (SNES)

Yup. I’m back to collecting different versions of Harvest Moon. With the 3DS and Wii U shop closing soon, these may be the last games that I’m interested in getting on either system. Harvest Moon 64 is also available on the Wii U shop, but I’ve decided that I’m going to look for an authentic copy of the game (there are so many replications online). Good luck finding a cheap copy of Harvest Moon for the SNES once the store closes since that is a crazy expensive game.

Mario Golf Toadstool Tour & Mario Power Tennis

We can all agree that the Mario sports games have been extremely lackluster as of late. The whole “release the game now and we will add the rest of the content later” does not work with a full price game and Nintendo has ruined a lot of popular titles with this development model. I’m going to get off this topic now before this turns into an essay. I have never owned these titles despite really liking Mario Golf and Tennis on the N64. For some reason my older brother never had the urge to get these. I was able to find them both complete for a good price; and that means a lot considering that they are Gamecube games. 

Xenoblade Chronicles 3

If I hadn’t finished the other two Xenoblade games recently, I wouldn’t be as excited to play this. With both games’ stories still fresh in my memory, it’s best to play this now and dodge any potential spoilers that will be posted online next week (because people can’t help themselves). Will report once I get further into the game.

Digimon Survive

I felt bad for Digimon Survive. We’ve known about this game since 2018 and it’s finally being released….the same day as Xenoblade 3. That’s not their fault since Nintendo bumped XC3’s date up from its original September date. It is Bandai’s fault for not marketing this game until the last few months. It looks like a really good game with a mix of tactics RPG and visual novel segments. I wanted to support this game because I know this will be found in the bargain bin soon and considered a semi-flop (or maybe not since physical copies are slim).


Currently Playing

I wrapped up Final Fantasy VII for the first time. Despite the frustration I got while trying to navigate some areas, the original game still holds up greatly. I appreciate the whole FF7 universe now that I have a better understanding of the characters and world (I didn’t remember much from the first time I played it). Consider me excited to see where Final Fantasy 7: Rebirth goes and how the Remake project will conclude.

At the time of this writing, I haven’t played enough of Xenoblade 3 to give a formal opinion. I can only assume that I’m enjoying my time with the game and annoying people on the socials about it. This is where I will be for a while.

Once I’m done with Xenoblade 3, I want to take a break from long RPGs and break out into some other genres for a while. Maybe I will start playing through all of these Harvest Moon games since I will need something relaxing to play after work in the coming months. 


And that’s all I got this month. What are your plans and goals for this month? Try to stay cool out there.

Finishing the Final Game in the Final Fantasy Advance Ports – Final Fantasy V (Backlog Tale)

Image from Final Fantasy Wiki

I never really grew up with the Final Fantasy series. My first encounter with the games was watching my older cousins play Final Fantasy VII whenever we would visit them. It wouldn’t be until the re-releases on the GameBoy Advance that I would properly play through the games. I had Final Fantasy 1&2 Dawn of Souls, followed by Final Fantasy VI Advance, and then Final Fantasy IV Advance. The only game in the series that I never got around to buying was Final Fantasy V Advance. The game never really appeared in the stores that I encountered, and I had since given up on finding it. That all changed in 2016 when I discovered one of my favorite retro game stores [include link to estarland] and decided to mark the occasion by completing my set. Now six years later after obtaining it, I have finally played and finished Final Fantasy V Advance. Was it worth the wait? No really.

If you are unfamiliar with the story of FFV, here’s the brief. The world is slowly losing the power of the crystals after overabusing them. Noticing the weak state of the wind, the king of Tycoon heads off to the Wind Crystal with his daughter following behind. At the same time, a meteorite crashes near the castle carrying a man who has lost his memories. All the while, an adventurer with his trusty Chocobo happens to be in the area and rescues the princess near the crash site. The two team up with the asmethic man to investigate the Wind Crystal while picking up a pirate captain on the way. They soon witness the Wind Crystal shatter before them and then are tasked with protecting the remaining crystals with the new powers they have been bestowed. The rest of the story follows how they continue to fail to protect anything and lose a lot of people and places along the way. They eventually defeat the evil being known as Exdeath and somehow restore balance to the world.

If my story explanation seemed rushed at the end, that explains how I felt about the story in this game. The story was the weakest part of the game to me. It felt subpar to me if you consider the game that came before this and the one that came after. Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy VI had a good story foundation that was carried greatly by their characters. The journey of Cecil is interesting to see him go from a dark knight to a paladin. The cast of FFVI all have their story motivation and you understand each of their motivations in both acts. FFV has a good plot to it, but none of the characters have a lasting motivation that carries from start to finish. You are given a reason why they are on this journey and small sections here and there to what keeps them going. There is little interest in these characters since they are not the main attraction in this game. If this game came out before FFIV, I believe that it would have more notoriety since future titles really started to focus on the character developments within the story.

The main attraction in this game is the new and improved job system. FFV allows you to fully customize your characters in any way that you see fit. Every time you fail to save a crystal, you are given shards of power that contain a new job for the group. Instead of worrying about your character level, the idea is to level up your job experience to unlock job abilities and stat growth.. While each character can only be assigned one job at a time, you do have the ability to assign a secondary action from any job that you have leveled up. This means you can have a knight who can cast black magic, a white mage with monk abilities, and so on. For me, this was the fun part about playing this game, but I wish there was more incentive to use all of the jobs.

You could play the game how the developers intended with changing out jobs when they would be most effective, but that makes little sense if you know the build that you want to go with. Since you normally get around 1 to 2 job points per battle and the number of points you need to level jobs increases, it makes most sense to just level up the jobs that you want to master to avoid the endless grind. Since I was familiar with the job system, I knew which jobs and abilities I wanted to give each character; making experimentation with other jobs pointless when I knew my end result would carry me through the endgame. When I got around to unlocking the “best” jobs in the game, I didn’t bother with them since I had the set up I wanted and didn’t want to grind out more points just to master them. Most of the playtime in FFV comes from grinding job points and not from the length of the game. My 30 hour playtime could have been reduced by a third if I didn’t grind for job points and the ultimate weapons.

While I am someone who enjoys grinding here and there, I was spoiled by the fact that I have played games with a similar job system and have done it better. The obvious example of this is Bravely Default. Bravely Default has the same job system from FFV, but streamlines it so most jobs have some appeal to them either through passive abilities or commands. Grinding job points was easier if you met certain requirements or unlocked abilities that granted more job points. The grind was fun in that game since the game was rewarding you from the start to get the most potential out of each job. If I had played FFV before Bravely Default, I would have personally rated it much higher.

In the end, I was met with a classic game that has been outdone by its spiritual successors in my opinion. After FFV, there would be no other Final Fantasy game in the mainline series that would use this type of job system. It was good for the time, but other games have proved that it can be much better. Pair that with a story, characters, and world that felt very flat to me, I feel like FFV is now at the bottom of my personal tier list. If I ever revisit it, it will probably be in the form of the Pixel Remasters since every other version that I’ve heard of is meh. To leave things off on a positive note, the best character in the game hands down is Gilgamesh. I now understand why he is a recurring character in the series and his death was the saddest one for me.

If you are wondering about my personal rankings of the GBA Final Fantasy games, they are:

VI Advance
Tactics Advance (need to finish)
1 & 2 Dawn of Souls
IV Advance
V Advance

Backlog Tale – Kirby and the Forgotten Abilities

When you think of Kirby, what is the first thing that comes to mind? If you said Kirby’s Avalanche, me too. If you are a normal person, you probably think about the copy ability. This has been a staple concept since Kirby’s introduction in Kirby’s Adventure on the NES. While basic at the time, we have seen Kirby’s copy ability evolve over the years to see them pull off some devastating damage. We have even seen them go so far as to have a copy ability called Black Hole (in Japan). Without the various copy abilities at their disposal, I don’t think Kirby would have as much appeal outside their cozy inhale/exhale gameplay.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land continues this crazy experiment on what Kirby can and cannot copy. The new Mouthful Mode gave us plenty of nightmare fuel, but at the same time felt like watered-down copy abilities. At most, they felt like a gimmick only meant to be used to solve puzzles or traversal. The actual copy abilities themselves saw a better improvement from other games. I got Kirby 64 vibes when I saw that you could upgrade abilities to different forms. Not quite similar to 64’s mix and match abilities, but it was something different than having the same ability do the same thing without any variants. Seeing this mechanic excited me more than Kirby turning into a car and making DaBaby look like a poser.

 Something still felt missing though. Every ability was fun to use, but I felt like some copy staples were missing. Where was the plasma ability? The beam ability was also missing due to the fact that the developers wanted to give Kirby a gun instead. I like the wheelie ability and understood why that was missing, but it would have been cool to have outside the car segments. Even the umbrella ability was missing, and you don’t take Kirby’s fucking parasol away from them! This got me to examine the available copy abilities and try to understand why certain abilities were chosen over others. My observation led to an interesting discovery.

No Kirby fun times allowed

All of Kirby’s abilities in Forgotten Land can be grouped into three categories: Attack, Traversal, and Sleep. Abilities like Sword, Hammer, and Gunner are mostly used for attacking and solving puzzles. These are the abilities that you will mostly stick with in fights unless you are working on a mission objective. Traversal abilities would include Tornado, Ice, Needle, and Drill. These abilities can be used in fights, but their overall design leads more toward progressing through stages quickly due to their forward momentum. Sleep is an unfair ability that restores Kirby’s health after a good night’s sleep (which we all wish we could have). The selection of abilities is diverse enough to encourage using whichever ability tickles your fancy, but that is not how Forgotten Land wants you to play the game.

Forgotten Land’s level design can be explained simply as “hand-holdy.” It likes to give you the illusion of choice, but the game constantly hints at you which ability you should be using and how long you will be using it for. This is done in several ways throughout each stage. If the game introduces a new mechanic with an ability, it is safe to guess that you will be relying on that ability for the rest of the stage. Even when you need to switch abilities to solve a simple puzzle, the game will “hint” at an ability you need by having it readily available or have an enemy constantly spawn so that you don’t miss out on secrets or puzzles that you need to solve. At least from my opinion from the other (limited) Kirby games that I’ve played, this game seems the most determined to make all the answers simple enough for the player to understand and solve.

I think back to other Kirby games that I’ve played. In Kirby 64, you have to find crystal shards throughout the level. Some would be easy to get, but some were stuck behind walls or other obstacles that would require one ability or the right combination to obtain. It required the player to understand the different combinations available in the level in order to complete the game and access the true final boss. Another example comes from The Great Cave Offensive in Super Star. For being a game about collecting treasure, you would expect some backtracking and puzzle solving. To get that 100% completion rating, you have to go out of your way and use the right abilities to find secrets that the game doesn’t point out in an obvious way. While that sense of challenge is still present in Forgotten Land, it is not as nearly as difficult to figure out when the game highlights it so clearly.

I haven’t mentioned Mouthful Mode abilities yet, but they also feel like a limited ability. They can also be divided into their own categories of Traversal, Puzzle Solving, or Dumb. I will give credit to some of the Mouthful puzzles since a small few of them require some fast thinking on what you need to do. The traversal modes (Car, Arch, Coaster) are fun since they change the gameplay up a bit and provide their own challenges. Car mode would have these time trials that made you observe the track and find hidden shortcuts that you might have missed the first go round. The roller coaster mode would have you dodging and collecting items, but also on the lookout for switches that would be easy or hard to see depending on the speed that you are going. While I appreciated some of those, Mouthful Mode was also scripted to be used for certain points. If the stage did not purposely prevent you from taking an ability with you to a new screen, then it was obvious that you would need it for another section. But what is worse than that is when you just use them for a small section and nothing else. I’m talking about the Light Bulb, Roller, and Dome. These are just used for quick situational moments that could be ignored if you were allowed to. They don’t add any gameplay variety or fun minigames to go along with them. Overall, I would have just preferred old or new, unique copy abilities that I could use outside of the given situation.

I think that is my biggest complaint about this game. Outside of boss fights where I can choose which ability I want to use (as long as it’s not tied to a mission), the game is too busy trying to get me to play the way it wants me to play. There’s hardly any desire to experiment with things unless you want to go out of your way to do it. In more recent 3D platformers (that I’ve played), it seems that the developers openly welcome experimentation with abilities that they give the player. In Forgotten Land’s case, it felt like the developers were too afraid to give players complete freedom in fear of missing out on something. That is not a bad thing, but it does restrict my enjoyment when I’m not allowed to play things the way I want to play them. 

Does this make Kirby and the Forgotten Land a bad game? It depends on the player. I still had a good time playing through the game. Some of the later challenges were fun to do and the overall presentation of the game is charming from start to finish. I won’t spoil the final boss, but if you have ever played a Kirby game it is very much a Kirby final boss. What holds me back from saying that it is one of the best in the series are the items mentioned above. All I’m saying is that if you take the parasol away from Kirby then you have not only nerfed them but the game as well.

Backlog Report – June 2022

Let’s get into it. A lot happened this month.

For those keeping track, I was on a roll for a while posting at least one blog post a week. This was due to the amount of games I had finished and me just writing down my fresh thoughts before I forgot them. While there are still plenty more of them that I need to write (include a bunch more just from this month), I need the time unscramble my thoughts and make them coherent as possible. For example, I have a post about Kirby and the Forgotten Land that I was ready to publish, but after rereading it, it felt unfocused. I had established a subject, but for some reason started to talk about a different one half way through. This is a problem when I have multiple topics to talk about, so I decided to rewrite the entire thing with the second (more interesting) topic in mind. This realization has made me observe my writing process a bit more and has led to some new writing strategies. This would be a good motivator to get more done, but June brought about some other headaches that I wasn’t prepared for.

Three people at my job resigned this month. I was close with two of them, so seeing them leave is bittersweet. With the scare of layoffs floating around campus, I’m glad they were able to find new jobs that move them upward in their fields. One of them was the only one I could talk to about video games around here, so now I’m back having no one to share in my hobby.

And if that wasn’t a big kick to the tibia, my boss announced that they were diagnosed with one of the worst news that your doctor could give you. What makes things stressful is that in the coming months we will be switching our ILS to a different company that will take effect in December. This means lots of training, ensuring our data is up-to-date and ready for migration, pulling everything that we’ve had for the past 20+ years and making sure that the switch goes off without any major hiccups. My boss may or may not be in the office around this time, so they are relying on me to take charge incase they are not around. I’m up for the task, but I won’t lie and say that it has already taken a toll on me with everything that has happened so far.

Ok. Had to get that out somewhere. Onto the best distraction from work that I could ask for. A warning first. My birthday was this month. With how things are going, Kat gave me her blessing to do the one thing that I restrain myself from doing. She told me to splurge. So splurge I did…


Finished Games This Month

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury

I believe I have come to the realization that I don’t find modern Mario games appealing. I wasn’t the biggest Mario fan to begin with, but the games I had on the SNES and the Galaxy games (surprisingly) were enjoyable experiences. While the music and visuals in 3D World are great, the gameplay frustrated me the most. I have bad depth perception. This is a reason why I avoid 3D platformers and hate when 3D action games include random platforming. 3D World feels fast; and when I’m pressured to do fast platforming action, I fail terribly. When trying to be precise with my landings, I would always be off by a hair and either get hit by an enemy or fall to my death. The moments when the world is shifts to a 2D perspective is worse since it retains the 3D space in the foreground. Instead of having a fun, whimsical time, I was clutching my controller hoping that my fuddled hand-eye coordination would work together. Good game, just not meant for me.

Super Mario 3D Land

Take all my issues with 3D World and throw them out the window. This was one of the best Mario games that I’ve played in a long time. Everything about this game just felt better than 3D World. Mario controlled just fine and I didn’t have many issues with the platforming challenges. This is one of the games where I enjoy playing with the 3D effect turned one since it works with the game and not just tied in gimmick. The only time I got frustrated in the game was during the final Bowser level where the game doesn’t give you a normal checkpoint halfway. I messed up during the final part and thought I had to redo the entire stage again, only to be greeted with a checkpoint at the beginning of the final confrontation again. I will have to do some research on the two games and try to really figure out what the main difference was. I wish I had this game sooner in my library. It would have possibly been in my top 3DS games.

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

After watching the Final Fantasy VII anniversary event, I came to the conclusion that I should really finish the original game… The other thought that I had was that I should finish the original Crisis Core since the remake/remastered/rebranded was announced. So I did that instead. I knew I was close to the end of the game where I last left off. I didn’t realize however that I was standing right outside the door to the final fight. Blame younger me. The last time I played Crisis Core was sometime during or right after college, so I had to remember how to play the game while fighting the final boss. It might have been easier if I took the time to do the missions, but I did it and got to see Zack go out like a badass. I’m looking forward to the remake now not only to refresh myself on the story, but to take advantage of skipping cutscenes since you can’t do that in the original. If I have to watch the cutscene before the final fight I’m going to have a crisis soon.


Added and Finished This Month

Mario Strikers: Battle League

Only play this game if you have friends you want to play with or a big fan of unregulated football. Mario Strikers: Battle League is not a bad game. It is a stale one if you don’t have people to play with. I’m not going to fault the game for a lack of content since the pervious titles didn’t have many modes either. Playing against high level CPU or random people online who know what they are doing will lead to some heated matches that will make you scream at your TV to simulate watching a real football match. I had some entertainment with it, but until I can get my brothers and friends to play along with me, there’s not much here for me.


Added This Month

Tales of Destiny 2 (JP)

I made the trip to visit one of my favorite game stores. Sometimes it is nice to visit in person since they will have items in stock, but not updated on their website. Imagine my reaction when I saw this in a display case. It was listed as unavailable on their site, but there it was just hanging out. It wasn’t a pricy game either only being around $35 complete. Now I just need a translation guide in order to play it…

Drakengard 3

Have you ever had a game that keeps popping up out of nowhere and taunts you to try it out? That’s my relationship so far with Drakengard 3. I have no idea what this game is about. I know it is connected to the Nier series, but that is all I know. Something was just bugging me to get it, so I gave in and welcomed it to the collection.

Planet Puzzle League

Pokémon Puzzle League is probably the only game where I get very competitive in. I don’t understand why Puzzle League games are not made as often as Tetris or Puyo Puyo games. Puzzle League is a great game that rewards fast thinking and reaction. It is my go to when claiming a puzzle game that you are good at. Anyway, I never knew a DS game was made, so I picked it up for cheap and showed it off to my brother (who is also very competitive at the game). He informed me that the game was made available on the 3DS shop and he already knew about it…

Kirby: Planet Robobot

After finishing Kirby and the Forgotten Land, I started to look at other Kirby games that I may have looked over. Planet Robobot was seen as an interesting shake up from the normal Kirby gameplay. Piloting mechs that can use Kirby’s copy ability does seem like an interesting concept, but for some reason I had no desire to pick it up. Now seemed like a good time (especially with rising 3DS prices) to check this adventure out.

Unlimited Saga

With the remaster of Romancing Saga: Minstrel Song coming out this winter, I no longer feel obligated to play the unforgiving PS2 version. With Square seemingly interested in remastering all of the SaGa games, it is only eventual that Unlimited Saga will get that same treatment. So to hasten that inevitability, I found a copy and added it to the collection. I will play it so that I can get an understanding why critics hated it, but knowing my luck the improved remaster is already being worked on (I hope…).

Pokémon White

The most expensive game I purchased this month (go figure). Pokémon Black & White would be my favorite generation of Pokémon if Game Freak never released HeartGold & SoulSilver. Kat has never played these games before, so I mostly got it for her to play and understand why these games were so good. If not, I can just play this version since I’ve never have. I won’t have a problem with that.

Super Smash Bros. Melee

Thanks to having this game in the past (and the memory card data), I don’t need to add this to my Unfinished list. I was just happy to find a copy that wasn’t for $90 or $100 dollars. After playing it for a few minutes, I still don’t think its the greatest. I’m not a competitive player or give a damn about the competitive fighting scene to play this the way the community wants me to play it. I just enjoy doing adventure mode and looking through the gallery since that was what I always did. Any who, it is back in the collection after losing it all those years ago.

New Super Mario Bros 2

I saw it for least than $10 dollars complete and said sure why not. The New Super Mario Bros games all look bland, but I seem to fair better at them since they are not in 3D. I will see if this surprises me like 3D Land did, but I’m not holding my breath on this one.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time

I greatly disliked Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Rings of Fate back in the day. It didn’t feel like a worthy successor to the enjoyment that I had with the first game on the GameCube (despite playing it all the time with another friend). When Echoes of Time first came out, I avoided it since it looked too similar to Rings of Fate and I wanted none of that. Nowadays, I can distinguish Rings of Fate for what it was, but it still remains one of my least favorite games. Adding Echoes of Time to the collection not only means that I have a complete collection now (minus the Wii Ware titles), but it also gives me a chance to give this game a chance and judge it for what it is.

Xenogears

For my birthday, my in-laws tasked Kat with picking out a gift card for me. Kat choose a PlayStation gift card, so I had to figure out what to do with that. I immediately came up with the idea to purchase some classic games that are f***ing expensive to buy physically. Xenogears is one of those games that is stupid expensive to buy. I will gladly pay the $10 dollars on the online store versus the $120+ prices from other places. Now if only Xenosaga Episode III would become affordable…

Mega Man Legends

Along with Xenogears, I also purchased Mega Man Legends. I have played and finished this game in the past on the N64 and emulation. Since I have never owned it before, now seemed like the perfect excuse to own it officially. And before you ask, yes. I am also one of those who is upset that we will never get a third game in the subseries.

Bleach: Soul Resurrecction

I have never seen/heard of this game before, but I became curious once I saw that it was published by NIS America. Not one of my favorite anime, but I did enjoy some of the concepts. I can’t wait to see how much filler is in this game.

Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires

This game has been on my radar for a while, but I was a little hesitant since reviews were mixed. While I do enjoy musou games, I’ve come to find that I enjoy when they are mixed with other franchises (Dragon Quest/One Piece/Gundam). Finding a copy of this game at a low price will convince me to try it out however. After playing through the tutorial, I have come to the conclusion that I like it. The emphasis on controlling bases is something I really enjoyed in Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3, and I’m glad to play another game that makes capture points relevant. I can see myself finishing this game through.

Yoshi’s Wooly World

Every time I think I’m done collecting games for the Wii U, there are still some games in the library that don’t get ported over to the Switch. I think most people were beating on Nintendo to release Wooly World on the Switch, but we got Crafted World instead. Seeing that Wii U games are becoming rarer these days and the online store retiring soon, I decided to give the wooly game a proper home.

Satisfactory

My friend Eric gifted this game to me on Steam. He was telling me how obsessed he had became over this game and that it would be fun to play in multiplayer mode. I do enjoy a good simulation game, but I was not prepared for the chaotic nature of this game. The whole game is about striping the planet of it’s resources and creating factories and machines to do all your work, so it is pretty messed up to begin with. The fun part is figuring out how to use the tools to create new machines and become completely automatic. Some would say that watching your factories run by themselves to your benefit, satisfying.

Cross Edge

I was watching a video on gaming cross overs and heard about this game. I have never heard of this game before, so I immediately scooped it out. Not an expensive game to acquire, but one that may soon be.


Currently Playing

I should be playing Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak right now, but I’m not. Would you be surprise to know that there are monsters in the base game that I never got around to fighting? I finished most things in the game before updates were added in over time, and I just never got around to finish them. I plan on doing those quickly before moving on to the expansion.

What I am currently playing is the final chapter of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV. I have been playing this game on and off for almost a year and a half now. After finishing all the quests, side content, and collectables (and still missing some), I am finally ready to conclude this saga. It will be a bittersweet moment since I’ve already decided at some point I am going to replay all four games in the saga to earn all of the achievements. And eventually, I will get to the Trails in the Sky trilogy and the Crossbell duology when both games come out. What I am saying is that I have come to really enjoy this series enough to experience the entire overall story. Thank God the developers included a High-Speed mode to get through a lot of things.

Before jumping into that nightmare, I need to start getting myself ready for Xenoblade Chronicles 3. If I didn’t finish Xenoblade Chronicles 2 this year, I wouldn’t be as excited for this game as I am now. I will try and find some shorter games to play and finish before this game comes out; because I will probably be glued to this until I roll credits.


Blog Content

I will try to upload the posts that I had in mind for last month this month. I make no promises. The hot, sticky days of Summer are here and most of the time I want to get comfortable and play some games. I still want to write some fun things alongside my backlog posts for variety, but we will see how that goes.


I’m going to stop talking now. If you need me I will be burying my debit card somewhere in the backyard so that I never splurge again and then play more Monster Hunter.

Turning 30

*Today is June 6th. You wake up normally around 6:30am. Despite your efforts to try and go back to sleep, you give in to your body’s urge to get up. After performing your normal morning rituals, you open the blinds and look outside the window to view your normal surroundings. It is a hazy day where the sun has already risen above the other houses in the neighborhood. There is fresh dew on the grass and the normal traffic noise has been replaced with the symphonies of the local avian duet. This peace is broken by the sound of your phone going off. You checked the number to see that it is a call from…yourself? Curious, you answer the phone.*

Good morning birthday (checks notes) boy! Congratulations! You did it! I never imagined you would make it this far; yet alone reach the milestone that is thirty years old. How did you get this old? How have you not found a nice comfortable room somewhere and decided that that was our world for the foreseeable future? You have changed so much from the quiet, shy, timid, invertebrate that you were when you finished high school. You are now somehow a more confident, independent, vertebrate who is still somehow afraid to open his mouth. Don’t worry. I’m sure in the next ten years you will learn how to get that mouth moving more frequently.

–     Who is this?

–    Sorry wrong number.

→ Thanks…

What are some of the things that you have accomplished over the years? Well for starters, you were the first in your family to graduate college with a Bachelors! You might not have been the first or second person to graduate college with a degree, but it’s the technicality that counts. Music may not have been the best degree program to go into, but the experiences, people we met, and life lessons learned were well worth the debt. Besides, it’s thanks to that degree that you met your wife. Another thing that you can rub in your family’s faces is being the first one to get married. Sure technically your mom beat you to that, and you weren’t the first to give her a grandchild, but no one (especially you) would have thought that you would ever get married. It has been the highlight of your life so far and you could not imagine life without her. It was truly a chance of lucky events that made it all happen.

–    What do you want from me?

–    Wrong. My tuba was my true love.

→ Can you please move on?

Enough mussy stuff now. There are other accomplishments that you made that you never saw coming. You found a career that you enjoy and never thought you would have. The library world was something that you never considered, but it chose you after a wonderful student work study experience. If you didn’t fail that music praxis test by one question, you would probably have gone and done music therapy which was the plan at the time. Stupid Praxis. Why not get influenced by your supervisor and coworkers to pursue a Masters in Library Science instead? That way you don’t have to take the Praxis and can use your job experience to get through the program.* Which you did! Another star point on the board for being the first person (that you know of in your immediate family) to hold a Masters in a field of study! Surely this upward momentum would propel you to get a Doctorate at some point. Wait. Why are you shaking your head so fast? You’re done with school for the rest of your life? Cool. We will see how that changes in the next ten years…

*Different programs require different tests or other prerequisites. I just happen to find one that didn’t need any of that.*

–   I’m going to hang up now

–   Why ask mostly choir/vocal questions for an instrumentalist?

→ Please talk about something else

Enough about you. Let’s talk about other things about you that you don’t want to talk about. Look how much of a changed person that you’ve become. People would have sworn that you would turn out to be some weird outsider with no social skills, but you have come to surprise even yourself. You’ve met people who liked you for who you are and were not out to just get something from you (some of them did creep in). You’ve also found friends who you would consider true friends no matter what. This is something you are not accustomed to since no one has stuck around longer than they have outside of being in the same group. Your trust issues are still the same, but for once you have a pretty good support group that won’t let you down.

–   I don’t like talking to you

–   My friends are my true strength

→ Sir, this is a gaming blog

What? This is a gaming blog so we should talk about video games instead? Sure that seems like a good segway into a different topic. Your love for gaming was strong to begin with, but know now it’s astronomical! You used to be the kid who was intimidated by 3D console games and mostly stuck to your Gameboy Advance and DS. Now, no game seems to intimidate you after playing games like Monster Hunter, Dark Souls, and Metal Gear Solid. Those were the types of games that you would never think about picking up the controller to play. Horror games are still a pass and 3D platformers are still the bane of your existence. We are just happy to see that your gaming horizons have expanded over the past decade.

–    I’m going to hang up the phone now

–   Take me back to the good ‘ol days

→ A lot has changed hasn’t it?

Speaking of expansion (I’m not going to talk about your weight), you have become quite the collector of games. It’s hard to believe how your small collection of GBA and DS games turned into a big collection spanning eighteen different platforms with over 1000 titles. I guess this is what happens when your two main hobbies are playing music and video games. These aren’t just random games that you just bought willy nilly for the sake of having a collection. Every game you own has a story or reason why you added it. It’s more than just plastic inside of plastic sitting on a wooden shelf, or data stored on a mechanical device housed inside another mechanical device. These are the worlds that you have thrown yourself into. These are the connections that you have with other people near and far. It’s what helps make you feel comfortable in certain social groups. It makes your relationship with your wife even better since you two share in the hobby. You don’t collect games out of the habit of collecting. You collect games that have a certain interest to you so that you may one day share that with others.

–    …

–    I have spent so much money…

→ You’re right

Oh! Look at the time. I know holding conversations is a struggle for you, so we should wrap this up. The future is unknown at this point. Right now, there is no clear sign what direction we will take in the coming years. You have an idea what the next big step in life is going to be, but you are unsure when that will happen. It’s unclear if any of your goals will be met since life has a way of always being unpredictable. You used to never let this idea of uncertainty get you down, but I guess with age comes a more conscious awareness of things around you. I’m asking that you try and not let these unseen forces ruin and dictate how you go about your life. This is a tough request since anxiety has plagued us for a while now. Just try to take it one day at a time until you figure out what needs to be done and plan accordingly. You made all of your other accomplishments work this way; so I’m sure that your hidden talents will lead you in the right direction.

You never told me who you were.

–    I think this is going to be the best season yet!

–    …I’m scared.

You should already know that. I believe a famous video game series stated that “I am thou, and thou art I.” Just know that in the next ten years if you ever feel lost or unsure about yourself, look back on this exchange and hopefully this will remind you that you are on the right track. I may be your harshest critic, but I’m also your biggest supporter. Together, there is nothing that we can accomplish.

–   …okay.

Is this the part where we go and kill God?

–   Thanks.

Yes, Unknown to you. A Godlike entity has been waiting on the line to give you a cryptic message on where and how the world will be destroyed unless you found four elemental thingamabobs to seal him away. It is weak to lactose, so make sure that you keep a steady supply on hand. Now get out there and show the world what you are made of!

The phone call ends. You are unsure if all of this was part of a dream or if you are still just waking up. The sounds of hearing a cat scratch on furniture confirms that you are indeed awake. You reflect on the phone call and all the things “you” said to…yourself. Thirty years is a long time, but that just means the next thirty will have to be just as eventful as the last.