Backlog Report – November 2022

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I am late this month. Blame it on the time of the year and blah blah blah. I am going to just jump into it, as I don’t have much to talk about November.

Blog Posts This Month

We Need A 3D Castlevania Collection. My Experience With The Early 3D Castlevania Games – The 3D Castlevania games are not bad if you have a means to fix some of there issues. October’s selection of Castlevania games had me playing four new games that I had never experienced and really showed me what elements make a good Castlevania game.

My Time With The Gameboy Advance – Every year around this time, I take a look at one of my gaming devices and talk about my history with it. This year’s feature was the Gameboy Advance; a device kept me playing games during a drought period for me. I am almost out of handheld devices, so who knows what I will pick next year.

Finished Games This Month

Pokémon Alpha Sapphire

The only game that I was able to finish this month was Pokémon Alpha Sapphire. If this game taught me anything it is how to make a great remake. The third generation of Pokémon may not be my favorite, but replaying something familiar but greatly improved on made the experience fun. My only critique that I have is the music. For some reason I find the original soundtrack to be better than the remake. Maybe because it doesn’t have enough trumpets. I still need to finish the endgame content and finish Episode Delta. I miss when Pokémon stories could be dark or mature.

New Additions

Warhammer: Vermintide 2

I have no idea what this game is about. It was made available on Steam for free for a limited of time, and one of my friends suggested it to me. From what I can tell, it looks like an interesting action RPG that can be played with friends. One day I may get around to it. If I don’t, blame him for making me get it.

Judgment & Lost Judgment

The Yakuza series is something I’ve been wanting to get into. With seven mainlines games already out with an eight on the way, it may take some time for me to properly get into the series. Until then, the Judgment spinoff only has two entries that speak my language. I picked both games up during the multiple sales going on this month, so I don’t feel too bad hanging on to them until I’m ready for them.

Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition

I am still salty that Square released this game right after I decided to pick up the original version. I am even more mad that you couldn’t transfer your data from the vanilla version to the definitive version. All of these factors kept me from getting the ultimate version of this game. I was waiting for a cheap opportunity to double dip back into this game, so here is my chance now. I purposely didn’t do any of the postgame content in the original version just so I didn’t have to do ever single thing again for the second time. Here’s hoping I don’t take forever to finish this again.

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet

Kat and I have been waiting all month to play these games. I was cautious at first since I wasn’t impressed with what I had seen so far, but as of now those troubles have gone away. The game is technically flawed at points. When it works, it is fun; and when it doesn’t, I deal with it. Strangely though, it never gets to the point where it ruins my enjoyment. I have enjoyed my time with this game so far and am close to finishing it in one or two more sessions. As of now, it doesn’t come close to my top three Pokemon games, and I believe Legends: Arceus was the better Pokemon game that came out this year. Future DLC for the game may affect my feelings towards this game later. I will probably talk about this game in a designated post one day.

Castlevania Anniversary Collection

I now have the original Castlevania games in one easy collection. When will I play them? My current plan is to save the OGs for last in my grand tour of castles. It has nothing to do with the fact that I don’t like the original games as much. I promise!

Vampire Survivors

It is such a simple concept, but it keeps me engaged and wanting more. Vampire Survivors was something is was not expecting to play, but one look at it (and cheap price tag) made me curious to try it out. Ten hours later and I’m almost have everything unlocked. At first I thought I was surviving a horde of monsters. It turns out in fact I was trying to survive a new addiction.

Currently Playing

Pokémon Scarlet will be done this weekend. I am hoping that the endgame will have more things for me to do besides finishing the Pokédex. There are some other games that I would like to try and get finished by the end of the year, but I know my mood and attitude will decide that. While we were waiting for the new Pokémon games to come out, Kat and I started playing Divinity: Original Sin 2 as a way to pass the time. I was not expecting Kat to be really into it, but she quickly got into it. Hopefully we can finish out first campaign and maybe start a new one. We are also playing it with two of my other friends on the weekend, and I don’t see that campaign ending any time soon.

Plans For Next Month

I have one final post planned for this year. I have been working on it slowly for the past few months. It is about all the games that I played this year. I’m hoping to squeeze a few more titles in before we reach the end.

Other than that, I am going to relax a bit this month. The semester long project that I’ve been working on at work is coming to an end, and I have to prepare myself for the clean up that will come after the holiday break. I’m not looking forward to it and I kinda wish some of these responsibilities weren’t my problem. When I start looking for something new, I will try my hardest to avoid a supervisory position.

That wasn’t about gaming or blogging! Sorry. Just things that I need to get off my chest somewhere. Speaking of talking to the void, I have no idea what I’m going to do about branching into new social media. It makes sense to branch my content out in new avenues, but jumping into new communities can be rough for me. What might happen is that I create a new account somewhere, but take my time to see what I like the most. If anything, I will just create an account just for the blog and just share my content through those networks. I’m old and can’t keep up with what is hip with the kids these days.


Happy Holidays everyone!

Learning Things About Myself – The End of My 50/50 Challenge

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A year ago today, I challenged myself to lose 50 pounds and finish 50 games off my backlog. I decided on this challenge right after I had completed my Master’s program. I needed something to fill the void and to keep myself aiming for some goal or I would just sit around and feel miserable. Now that the challenge is over, I can share with you all my results and what I’ve learned from this experience.

After a year of working on my backlog and weight loss, here are my results:

Weight loss: Loss between 5-10 pounds (Can’t give accurate number since my scale started to act weird)

Games Finished: 29/50

Hooray I didn’t do it! To be completely honest, I knew that I wasn’t going to meet my goals. This is not me trying to sound defeatist. I try to not gave up on my goals at any time, but I didn’t put in all the effort that I know I’m capable of. If anything, this challenge has helped me understand more about myself that I was unaware of.

The Observation

I will say that the biggest thing that I have learned about myself is that I don’t like to do what I tell myself to do. It is bizarre and weird for different reasons. I am the type of person who will drop anything that I am doing to do any request asked of me. That trait is thanks to my upbringing (for better or worse), and I never hesitate to help others when asked (within reason). That doesn’t apply when I tell myself what I want/need to do. I will actively fight with myself over the things that I need to do over what I want to do. For example, if someone told me that I need to wash the dishes, I will get up and do it with little to no fuss. When I tell myself that I need to wash the dishes, I will mellow over it until I finally do it…a few hours or days later. It could be something subconsciously that weighs other’s tasks more important than mine, but that is a whole can of worms for another time.

So how did this affect my challenge? First and foremost, this was a self-imposed challenge that I gave myself. I was doing this for myself and no one else, so naturally I was going to stop caring about it sooner or later. Unlike other projects of mine, like this blog or my spreadsheet projects, I didn’t have the same amount of passion for it. Sure I was determined to make my goals, but at the end of the day it was just for me so my subconscious rejected it. This was very evident in my weight loss goal where I saw the least results in. The desire to lose weight is there, but the only motivator that I have is myself; and since I hate myself apparently, the motivation gets lost pretty quick. I thought talking about it would help keep me accountable, but no one (IRL) was keeping me to my word or encouraging me to keep going. Without that, I saw it as something only I wanted.

Video games are different apparently. Playing games has always been for my enjoyment, so playing through them is for my sole benefit. The problem came from my attitude when choosing and playing the games I want to play. Earlier this year, I made a post about the games that I wanted to finish this year and how they were going to be a priority for me. So far, I have finished 3 out of the 15 that I said I was going to do. Yes I still have time this year to get them done, but I no longer have a strong desire to do so back when I had the desire to play them. Kat was the one who actually pointed this out to me. I have a hard time agreeing to play games that people recommend to me. I tend to play only what I feel like playing right in the moment. When it came to deciding what games I should play for this challenge, the easiest thing that I could have done was to find all the games I had that could have been finished in the shortest time. That felt like cheating in some way. If I shied away from them during this period, then I would shy away from them in the future in my decision making. Being actively engaged with what I’m playing makes the hours-long RPGs go by faster since most of my time is spent only on them rather than sharing the game time with two to three other games. I know the response to this is “well duh,” but this is me that we are talking about.

The Positives

This whole challenge was not a bust. I did learn a lot about myself and what makes me tick. I also have started new habits that will benefit me in the long run.

My diet has changed drastically. In the past I have cut out soda and other sugary drinks, but now I’ve cut off almost all of those types of drinks by 98%. I will have one now and again, but now I gravitate more towards diet or zero sugar versions of those drinks (which are still not the best). Fast food no longer appeals to me. I now start to feel great discomfort whenever I eat at most places. I already didn’t eat a lot before, but now my portion sizes and what I eat have greatly diminished. The only thing holding me back are gummy candy since it gives me something to gnaw on while I’m playing or working on things. My hope is that my improved diet will help me reduce my calorie intake and start seeing small results there.

In addition to that, I do have some neat additions that will hopefully steer me to do better things. I convinced my boss that I needed a new desk for my office, so now I have an adjustable table where I can choose to sit or stand. I also keep a resistance band in my drawer so I can do some workouts during my breaks. For at home, I now have a workout bike on each floor, so now I have no excuse for when I feel like peddling.

With gaming, not much has changed. Now that I understand how my brain ticks, I have been playing more games to completion. According to my data, I have finished more games during this challenge than I have in any other year since 2017 when I started tracking. Currently, I am on track to finishing the most games than I ever have by the end of the year. This is good to know since I have so many games in the backlog to finish.

The Future

So what would I like to do with all of this information? For starters, I think it will be beneficial for me to either join others who are trying to lose weight or hire a personal trainer. I’m fortunate enough to have options via my job, so I may look into those benefits. It’s weird to think that I’m more motivated to do something if I know that others are willing to participate with me.

There are not a whole lot of changes that I need to do with gaming. The only real change is for me to start playing what I feel like playing and not something out of obligation. 

If I decide to do something like this again in the future, I think I will take some more time to prepare myself and be absolutely ready on day one. This doesn’t conclude my weight loss or backlog goals. Rather, I see this as a new outlook on what I want to accomplish in the future and what I need to do in order to see it through.

Vacation is Over. So What’s Next?

It’s finally over.

After two and a half years of working on my Master’s degree, it is finally over! For those of you who don’t know the origins of this blog, I created it as an escape from writing research papers while still improving on my writing skills. I needed an escape from the pressure of writing for a grade and just for fun on topics I actually wanted to talk about. That escape lead to this fun journey where I have meet new people and found an online community that I’m happy to be a part of. Thank you all for allowing me to be a part of the community and reading the random content that I write.

But enough of the mussy stuff. Now that I have more freedom and less stress to worry about (laughing at myself), what am I going to do with the extra time and energy that I will (pretend to) have? I have many ideas on how I want to expand myself a bit more and really concentrate on things here on the blog. So let’s start with one project that I’m excited to get started on!

My 50/50 Challenge!

While I’m happy that I was able to finish grad school, there were two negative effects that happened during the course of it. The first one is my health. Besides increasing my anxiety levels to a whole new plateau, I really let myself go in the weight department. I would definitely consider myself overweight to my standards and have been trying to diet and exercise when I could. Now is the time for me to fully commit myself to getting healthier and reduce a lot of this body fat. So for my first challenge, I want to lose 50 pounds (22.68 kg) by this time next year. Sounds simple enough since I was able to lose a lot of weight in one summer (but that was due to walking everywhere in the Summer heat and only eating one meal a day. I do NOT recommend). I’ve already started a routine and made changes to my diet to avoid overwhelming myself to get started. So far the routine is fun and manageable minus the soreness I feel everywhere. The gym that I go to is fairly empty during the summer months, but once students return to campus in a few weeks I may have to invest in some home gym equipment (I don’t like crowded gyms…).

That’s one half of the challenge. So what is the other half? My waist wasn’t the only thing that expanded these past two years. My backlog has expanded to a level that I was not anticipating when I started collecting. There are many games on my shelf that I picked up during a sale or found a good offer on that I could not refuse. I originally had the hope of playing them sooner than later, but I have games that I got five years ago that I have yet to play. It is time to make amends with this betrayal by finally reducing my backlog a bit. So for my second challenge, I want to finish 50 games on my backlog by this time next year. It would be simple if they were shorter games, but I’m a RPG fan and I like to take my time while playing; so this part of challenge may be the hardest. The good thing for you is that I will write about every game that I finish, so expect lots of new content for each game I finish*.

*The posts on SaGa: Scarlet Grace – Ambitions and Mario Golf: Super Rush do not count as part of my challenge since I finished them before the challenge began.

So that is my new challenge from me to me. I don’t want to flood the blog with updates with my challenge since most of it would be small updates. I will instead use my old almost-abandoned Instagram account to post updates there (and hopefully start using it more). I’m really looking forward to see if I can beat this challenge.

Reorganize Content

For a while, my content has kinda been all over the place with the types of post I upload to the format of them. After much consideration, I have decided to go with these formats to help structure my posts a bit more:

  • Backlog Tales – Posts about games that I have recently finished for the first time.
  • Collection Tales – Posts about games that I’ve already finished, but want to talk about.
  • Opinions Are Just That – My opinion pieces on various topics that I feel like talking about
  • One-off Posts – These would be things like holidays, events, collaborations, the January Awards Ceremony, etc.
  • EXP Share Posts* – Community engagement posts
  • Monthly Reports – My monthly blog report at the end of each month.
  • Updates – Ye ole updates.

I have decided to alter the EXP Share posts a bit. To me it felt like I was heading into generic territory when coming up with prompts each month. I like to be creative when coming up with questions, and I feel like I have been for the most part. So from here on, EXP Share posts will no longer be a monthly thing, but instead pop-up only when I can think of a really good topic that most people will enjoy writing about and/or reading about. I think this will make the posts feel more special rather than a monthly obligation for you and I.

Recording Gameplay

One thing that I really want to get into the habit of doing is recording most of my gameplay. Eventually (and with practice), I want to start creating videos with highlights of my gameplay. Just a fun idea I’ve been playing around with that would also serve as extra content. This also goes in hand with my return to streaming throughout the week.

“BuT Danames,” someone might be saying. “Didn’t you try streaming before and found it weird and stressful?”

Yes. But I realize that that was entirely my fault for making it weird. I was still in the mindset that I needed to be “entertaining” at all times. This resulted in me stepping outside my comfort zone of forcing myself to talk when I have nothing meaningful to really say. I have learned that I am more entertaining to myself when I tell little jokes to myself that turns into a running gag later on. So that will be my strategy going into streaming; and if that doesn’t work for me then I will give up on the streaming idea. This is what my tentative schedule would look like:

Sunday – TBD (most likely in the afternoon)

Friday – 7PM EST – 10PM EST

I will be streaming over at ye olé twitch.tv/danamesx. Come watch me struggle with control inputs and talk to myself as I start to get tired and loss my mind (I talk to myself a lot when I’m tired).

That’s all I got. I’m excited to get back to writing for fun and sharing more gaming related posts in the future!

DanamesX

It’s Not A Hiatus, It’s A Vacation!

As the title says, I am going on vacation soon. How long of a “vacation” am I taking? I’m thinking about a good two month long “vacation.” This isn’t because I’m not enjoying writing or bad mental health. I’m weirdly very motivated right now, but I know when I need to take time for myself; and now seems to be the perfect time. It does also have to do with life changing events, but those are good events that I’m excited for.

End of a Character Arc

I am at the end of my Master’s program. I have my week long End of Program exam starting tomorrow, and then a month long web development class in July. After that, I’ll have to find a new routine to my life. While I’m excited to close this chapter in my life, I would like to use the knowledge I gained these past two and a half years to use outside of my job. This could lead to a change in style of how I write things or spinoff into a new project. I don’t know yet.

Vacation

The other big thing that I’m looking forward to is my actual vacation. Due to a virus that shut the world down, I was unable to go to Japan last year. While we ended up scraping the whole trip, we decided to use the funds to plan this new trip. What makes this trip special is that I get to bring my mom and brother along. We haven’t had a family vacation in a looong time, so I’m excited to share some time with them. They both need the RnR.

Future Posts

There will be one more post from me coming out before I go on my vacation. It will just so happen to be my 100th post on Tales From the Backlog (this is a giant coincidence that I did not plan out). It may turn out to be a long post, but I hope you enjoy reading about some of my favorite games.

In my last update post, I said I was going to fill June up with different Monster Hunter posts from the mainline games. I got two posts in and didn’t make my deadline. I will still publish those two and the others when ready; just know that the style will be more like my Backlog Tales in structure and format. I like to replay and take notes on the games I write about, and after playing a lot of Rise lately, I’m a little burnt out the Monster Hunter formula. Those will come out over the next few months.

EXP Share

Unfortunately, there won’t be an EXP Share post for July. June’s topic will be extended to August, so everyone will have two months to get their thoughts out there. If you want to know the prompt for this month, you can find it on my most recent posts.


To make this post not sound gloomy, here is the latest updates on the games that I’ve been playing:

Finish Games This Month

I finished Astral Chain this month after neglecting it for a while. I wrote a post on a while ago, so you can read that to get my impressions on the game. That is all I did. I promise you all that I do like finishing my games.

Currently Playing

I was originally planning on finishing two other short games this month. Those games would have been Katamari Damacy REROLL and Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury. I was making good progress in Katamari Damacy REROLL, but the game angers me at certain points, and for some reason I just haven’t finished Super Mario 3D World. So instead, I accidently stumbled upon one of my current obsession, SaGa: Scarlet Grace – Ambitions. The SaGa series is a hard one to get into. The battles are difficult, it’s impossible to do everything in a single playthrough, and worse of all, the Free Scenario gameplay means that you can play the story out however you want to. For some reason though, I’m really enjoying it. It feels good winning a hard battle with all of your party members still standing, when you pull off multiple unison attacks in one round, and just learning about all the mechanics as you play. I am getting to the point where I am ready to wrap up my first playthrough though, and I’m not sure if I will be tackling and different character’s scenario after I’m done. I’m willing to try out more SaGa games (I’ve only played Romancing SaGa (PS2) and Romancing SaGa 2), but they just take so long to finish one character’s playthrough.

The other obsession right now is Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age. This is the base PS4 version and not the definitive edition that came out on all other platforms. I’ve had this game for a while, but for some reason kept going back and forth with it. I’m fully committed right now, and the only thing I worry about right now is not finishing it before I leave for vacation (I’m not packing my PS4 to take with me even though it is tempting). I have also decided to go for the platinum trophy on this one since it feels doable. I don’t know if I will play the definitive version after this, but I will probably get it for my collection and play it again one day.

Other than that, I have hopped back into Final Fantasy XIV. The trailer for Endwalker got me pumped for me and my friend to be edgelord brothers with the release of the Reaper class. Now I just need to finish post-Stromblood and finally figure out what the heck happens in Shadowbringers.


And that is pretty much it. I won’t be completely offline during my “vacation.” I will still be active on Twitter for most of the time. E3 is also happening, so that will be my prime source of new things that are talked about. Once again, there will be one more post after this before I’m gone for the summer, so please enjoy it. I hope you all enjoy this summer and find ways to recharge your mental batteries!

Thanks for reading,

DanamesX

First Update Post of 2021

Hello Hello.

Normally, I would post a monthly update on what I’ve been playing this month, but I wanted to use this time as an update post to let you know what my current and future plans are.

Personal Garbage

At the time of this writing, I am two tasks away from finishing up my Masters program. I have a test at the beginning of June to take and a one month web development class in July; and then I will be done. Finish. Over with. Never again. Stick a fork in me, I’m done. I am a tired man and wish to rest. My free time will be restored and hopefully my anxiety levels will start to fall.

On another quick personal note, hi! I feel like in the past months I have become less social than I was before. Its to no one’s fault as I tend to go into hyper introvert mode and recharge my social energy when needed. Almost all of my Discord and Twitch notifications have been turned off for a while since I felt like I wasn’t contributing anything and I wanted to focus more on what I needed to do at the time. I do still lurk, so if you see an extra eye looking at you it could be me who knows (chanting my name three times at your screen will not summon me). My shell will start to crack again soon and my efforts to be more social will surface again…once I get enough sleep which doesn’t happen a lot. I do plan on going on vacation late June, so hopefully the time away from my normal walls will help with the healing process.

Plans For the Blog

Between now and August, post from me will be all over the place for the most part. I have new material for post that I want to write about and slowly getting my butt into gear writing them. The one thing that I am focusing on right now are post for the month of June. June is normally my month to write multiple post about a specific series/topics with a little more “polish” to the post. I will be talking about Monster Hunter again, but more of a retrospective of each game that I’ve played. Shouldn’t be bad since I only have to cover Tri, 3 Ultimate, Freedom Unite, 4 Ultimate, Generations, Generations Ultimate (XX), World, Rise, Stories, and soon; the original. That’s…going to be a lot to write and talk about. They will mostly be in the style of my Backlog Tales with maybe a little less humor but still have that charm I like to put into my post. So if you are a Monster Hunter fan, I hope you enjoy these posts because it will probably be the last time I talk about it….until the next game comes out.

After that, it will be full on post about the other games in my backlog and anything interesting that comes along. Collaborations posts are always a good time and I’m happy to contribute if I have something to contribute. Whatever comes after that will come after that then.

Streaming Attempt Number Who Knows At This Point

I promise nothing, but since my calendar suddenly just opened up, I have time to do other things. I have attempted streaming in the past, but I couldn’t keep it consistent and only did it on a whim. I want to start utilizing the technology I have to start capturing my own photos and videos for projects, and streaming would kill two birds with one stone. I think the other motivator is that Kat has gotten a sudden interest in streaming. So for now, I will say that I will be streaming more here and there at twitch.tv/danamesx. Also please consider checking out Kat’s streams when she does. I do play games with her there and make cameos as her tech support.

Games I Have Played, Finished and Acquired in April

Since this post is replacing my normal end of the month recap, I thought I would still share the games that I’ve played, finished, and bought this month. I am a little upset with myself this month since I had the opportunity to finish more games than I did. There would have been three more games on my finish list if other things and Monster Hunter Rise didn’t get in my way.

I started Astral Chain on a whim and found myself enjoying it. I definitely have hit the point of repetitiveness with chapter structure, but things move fast and the chapters don’t last that long, so I would say that I am enjoying myself. Looking forward to talking about this one.

On to a frustrating topic, I finally bought Katamari Damacy REROLL on sale and gave it a try. I don’t know if I’m just trying to hard or what, but the controls make me so mad. There are days where the controls make sense and I have no problem playing the game, and then there are times where I barely beat the clock. I know you can change the controls to make it a little easier, but I’ve been practicing with the default too long just to abandon ship and change now. Minus the controls, I enjoy all the other aspects of the game including the not-so-intimidating-whatsoever King of All Cosmos.

There were two games that I finished this month and one of them was obviously Monster Hunter Rise. I will save my thoughts about the game for the post in June. I thought I was done after doing the village quests since that is normally the “story” mode in these games, but nope. The games decides that you need to do the multiplayer hub quest in order to get the “true ending” and regular Monster Hunter experience (some mechanics are like decorations, layered armor, and monsters are locked behind the hub quest and can’t be unlocked through the village quest). Again, I will tackle more of this in June.

The other game that I finished this month was It Takes Two with Kat. We streamed the entire thing on her Twitch channel and I can honestly say I enjoyed 95% percent of it. The game has a lot more going for it than simple cooperative platforming that made it hard to stop playing at times. I wrote a post on it already, so if you want to read my full thoughts on it you can do so there.

As far as games that I got this month, it wasn’t a whole lot. I did find a copy of Super Monkey Ball 2 for a not so bad price and I remember having fun with this game with a friend from college. Didn’t expect my GameCube collection to still be expanding, but here we are. The only other thing that I got was New Pokémon Snap. I originally did not care about this game since I found the N64 game fun, but boring after going through each level. I never understood the hype around it then, and I kinda don’t get the hype around the new game. Kat convinced me to get it for us, and after watching her play and finish it in one day, I can see the “long lasting” appeal to this title. There is definitely more to do in this one and different things can happen depending on when you visit the stage. So I will say New Pokémon Snap surprised me with its content, and I hope those who were counting down the days for this are happy.

Ok that’s enough out of me for the time being. One of these days I will figure out how to end something properly, but until then….go play some games?

Thanks for reading,

DanamesX