Love Thy Backlog (Love Your Backlog 2023)

It almost looks like a face.

It is that time of the year everyone! Kim from Later Levels is back with Love Your Backlog Month! Thank you Kim for what is becoming one of my favorite holidays now. Since it is the namesake of my blog, you can probably guess that I have a very steep backlog in my collection. You would guess right since my gaming time has been reduced, but my collecting habit has never stopped. That is kind of a lie since I am reaching the point where I almost have all of the old games that I have been seeking (just the really expensive ones left).

I had to crunch the numbers yet again and made sure that I was as close to accurate. I have officially decided that I am not responsible for finishing any games that Kat has or bought since I did not purchase them myself. This helps take the edge off somethings and drastically brings my number down (even though I want that 1000+ badge…). This year’s grand total of unfinished games in my backlog is…


It is a smaller number from last year! Removing the filler really helped. Since I like working with spreadsheets, I broke down every system that I own and recounted every finished and unfinished game for each. I also started taking liberties when it comes to multiple copies of a game that is either on another console or just a remaster/rerelease of an older game. I have decided that if I have finished it on one console, then I have finished every other version of it, unless it is a completely different game (story changes, mechanics). For example, I own Mega Man X on multiple systems (I love Mega Man X). Since I have finished the game once, I am counting every rerelease of the game as finished as well since it is the same game. This cleans things up a lot since there is no need for me to go out of my way to finish the game again but just on a different system. It also saves me time to play other games.

I am proud that my Game Boy collection is complete since the only one I haven’t played belongs to Kat. The numbers were looking good until I got to my Switch and PC collection. I was expecting my PC backlog to be huge, but I honestly forgot that I have some games since they are not on Steam. The Switch backlog took me by surprise until I realized that that number comes mostly from all the collection packs that are available for the system. The Switch is the perfect little system to bundle a bunch of old games on, and that is where the inflation comes from. The worst offender is the Sega Genesis Classics that has over 50 games in it. If I knew Nintendo was going to add Genesis games to their online service, I probably would not have gotten this pack. I should get around to playing the two games that I own on Wii U virtual console to complete that collection. I am also tempted to not buy or finish anymore GameCube or PSP games just so I can keep it perfectly balanced.

With some of that out of the way, it is time for the Q&A section of this post. I will try my best to not repeat my answers from previous years.

A Game You Are Eager To Play, But Haven’t Yet Started

So many choices, but I think I will have to go with Pandora’s Tower on the Nintendo Wii. We all know the story about Operation Rainfall which helped bring Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, & Pandora’s Tower over to the west. Out of those games, Pandora’s Tower is the only one that I haven’t played. I got it for Christmas a couple of years ago, but I have yet to sit down and play it. I don’t know the reason for this, except maybe I’m just lazy and don’t feel like hooking up my Wii. Will I get around to playing it this year? Maybe?

A Game You’ve Started Several Times But Haven’t Yet Finished

This is a fun question since I recently attempted to play it again a few months ago. That game is Final Fantasy XV.

I’ve had this game since it released on day one. I remember coming home from work excited to play this. During my first playthrough, I got as far as Chapter 2, and then stopped playing. It wasn’t because I wasn’t having a good time, but Kat wanted to play the game as well. So in order not to spoil each other, we would take turns playing to reach where the other one left off. If you are asking why we didn’t just pass the controller to each other, it is because we have different styles of playing games. While I wonder and do the things that I want to do, Kat will complete everything that she can before moving on to the next part. I think this is where things fell off. It also didn’t help that we both got distracted by other games that came out later like Tales of Berseria and Horizon Zero Dawn.

We decided to get a second copy of the game and play side by side when Kat upgraded to her PS4 Pro, but we never got around to it until last year. We stopped playing again because we were getting exhausted from doing all of the side quests to the point where almost ten hours in we still hadn’t progressed much in the main story. With Final Fantasy XVI coming soon, one of us will have to sit down and finish it (which most likely will be me since I want to finish all the mainline games).

The Oldest Game In Terms Of Release Date

I said Super Mario 64 the previous year, but that was inaccurate at the time. The correct answer was Pac-Man on the Game Boy, but I now have something even older than that. The Final Fantasy Adventure was released in September 1990, beating Pac-Man for the Game Boy by one year. This game marks the beginning of the SaGa franchise that Square has been reintroducing to the west for some time now. I have been digging into the SaGa franchise over the past year, but haven’t gone back as far as Romancing SaGa. At some point I would like to do an overview of the series and talk about why the series isn’t as popular as some of Square’s other RPGs.

The Most Recent Addition To Your Library

The last game that I got was the 20th anniversary edition of Final Fantasy II on the PSP. I found a copy of Final Fantasy for the PSP last year, but could never come across the second game in any of the stores I visit. Final Fantasy II may be one of the least popular titles in the series, but I actually enjoy it for what it is. It has flaws, but the music and scenario left an impression on me when I first played it years ago. Honestly, I just want to see if I can still use the Teleport spell to carry to the final boss again.

The Game Which Has Spent The Most Time On Your Backlog

I think it is the same answer as last time (Super Mario 64), so instead I will pick the game on my purchase tracker. All the way back in 2015, I bought Grand Theft Auto 5 for the PS3. I am not the type to play the story mode of a GTA title. I normally just goof around in the world and make up my own objectives as I go. Kat and I played online often when we were long-distance dating at the time. Good memories. Any who, this is the oldest from when I started recording, so it will remain old until I get around to that story mode.

The Person Responsible For You Adding The Most Entries To Your Backlog, Due To Their Good Recommendations

No one really influences my decision when purchasing games. I tend to just decide for myself if I am interested in playing something. The internet helps with this since I stay away from most things that are highly talked about (I wish Tears of the Kingdom would interest me). When I look at my PC list however, I will have to blame my friend E for the behemoth of a backlog that it is. He is the one who helped me build my first gaming PC, so it is completely his fault that I have so many unfinished games. He will recommend games that we can try out together and I will give it a try until something else would come up that he would want me to try. I’ve enjoyed his recommendations, but it is hard to finish one game when we keep jumping all over the place or can’t find time to play games in the evening. Even so, without his recommendations I wouldn’t be interested in some games like Total War, Borderlands, or Divinity.

As for what I want to do for Maybe in March, maybe I should do the story mode for GTA5. Knowing me, I doubt that will happen. I do however want to finish another GBA game since technically they have all been in my backlog longer than GTA5. Which one will that be? I guess you will just have to wait and see (I still need to figure it out).

That’s all I got. Thanks again Kim for hosting this event and I will see you all next month (or sooner since I have other things to write and talk about)!

The Return of EXP Share?

Merry New Year everyone! I hope you had a good holiday season if you are into that type of thing. Production over at Tales From the Backlog is ready to go back into full swing, and I’m looking forward to some of the things that I have in the works. One idea that I have been working on is the return of the EXP Share community topics that ran from October 2020 and suddenly ended in June 2021. I didn’t intend on it ending so quickly and had plans to return to it, but first it needed some tweaking. I believe I have come up with some changes that would improve it, so today I wanted to ask everyone in the community if they would like for this event to return. This is basically an interest call to see if anyone is still interested in it. Here are some new ideas that I have for “Season 2”:

  1. EXP Share topics occur on a bimonthly timeframe. The problem I was having with the original format is that it was hard to come up with an original idea each month for a topic. On a bimonthly schedule, there should hopefully be more time to come up with a topic that is fun but not something too simple. Of course if you like simplicity that is fine.
  2. New “Host” for every prompt. I am one person with limited ideas. One idea I had was to find someone new each month to host the EXP Share topic for that month. They would be the one to choose the topic, post the results, and select the next host for the following month. I personally like this idea since it would feel more like a community event rather than one person coming up with everything. Do you like this idea? Would an EXP Share Discord help with organization? Of course there is no pressure if someone volunteers you to take over next, but you are unable to.
  3. Planned Breaks and Restart Times. I imagine that at some point things might get stale. Maybe having defined start and end dates will help? I’m unsure unless you all would like to keep the train going.
  4. Open the topics up to other forms of media and topics. Topics don’t just have to be about video games anymore. I know most of us like to write about games, but we do have other interest outside the virtual one. Get creative and ask to share things about the other hobbies that we enjoy. It might incline others outside the video game realm to want and participate in the future.

Those are my proposed changes to the format. I would like to know what all of you think since this thing can’t work without others participating. There are somethings that might need a little more fleshing out, but there would be time to do that before the first event goes live. Leave a like or a comment to let me know of your thoughts.


May 2021 EXP Share Post + Topic #8

It’s summertime!
Another EXP Share month has ended. While on the short side, I’m happy that everyone seems to be enjoying these random discussion post. Here are the post from last month’s theme:

Your Wit’s Got To Be Twice As Sharp As Your Sword by Later Levels – There are a handful of lines that I can remember vaguely from games. Kim has a whole script memorized to the point she could perform a one-actor stage performance. It also helps that it comes from one of her favorite games of all time.

Gaming Strengths and Weaknesses…. (EXP Share) by Board Musings – One of the greatest strengths that you can have is understanding some of your weaknesses. Melanie shares not only their biggest strength, but also one of their favorite games that has an adorable penguin on the cover.

Name That Tune! – EXP Share #7 – I like music. One of these days, I hope to recognize more than just Final Fantasy music and become a true patron to video game music.

Those were the post for May’s EXP Share Posts! If there were any that I missed, please let me know. Now to this month’s topic:

The post that I wrote for the last EXP Share made me a little heated. You shouldn’t take that anger out on anyone or anything. Instead, you should use that energy to do better things and push you to great things. I’m not the only one who uses some of my pent up anger to give me the extra boost to tackle difficult things. With that in mind, this month’s EXP Share will be able overcoming obstacles that at one point seemed daunting.

Share A Story About A Difficult Obstacle In A Game That You Were Able Overcome.

What classifies as difficult is subjective to the person performing the task. I find playing survival horror games difficult to play due to my heighten anxiety, but others can play them normally with no problem. Sometimes, just finishing something you set out to do can be the most difficult part to do. Whatever felt difficult for you, let us know for this month’s EXP Share post!

Happy Sharing,


Something New, But Familiar (EXP Share Post #3)

Welcome back to another EXP Share post. This month, I asked the community to write a post about a new game that they have never played before and talk about the experience. I originally wanted to do Resident Evil VII for this post since it is a game that I would never play, but wanted to give it a chance since RE8 looks interesting. I could not get past the opening of the game. I am weird when it comes to horror games. I hate being in control, but I will pop some popcorn and watch others play. I don’t like playing games that keep my anxiety on high levels all the time. I play games to take my mind off my anxiety and feel good at the end. Since then I have watched a let’s play of the entire game, so one day I may go back and play it since I know where all the jump scare BS will happen.

So instead, I will commit this EXP Share post to Borderlands 3. Prior to this, I have only played Borderlands 2 a few years back, but never finished it due to losing my save data. I remember liking Borderlands 2 with its absurd gameplay of finding guns to find better guns to annihilate crazy maniacs and the like. What made me enjoy it were the characters and writing of the story. You can get me to laugh and enjoy dumb humor, and Borderlands is packed full of that. I was hoping for more of that silly goofiness in this game as well. What I got was something familiar, enjoyable, off-putting, and annoying all in my two and a half hours of playtime.

For full context, I played the PC version of this game through Steam. I don’t know if different versions have different problems, but wanted you to know that my experiences came from this version.

I was smart enough to decide that I should play this game with other people. I teamed up with Kat and my good friend Eric to explore this new wasteland with. This is when my first issue came up. Launching the game for the first time froze my game. After having to force it to shut down, it booted up normally with no problem, but then the game was confident that my computer was not connected to the internet….which it was. Third time was the charm however and I was able to get into a group with Kat and Eric. After realizing that we had to go into the settings to switch voice chat from “Push to Talk” to open comms (no game should ever default to Push to Talk), we could finally start the game. In most circumstances, I would have probably given up and reinstalled Borderlands 2 since that gave us zero issues in the past.

From there it was time to select our characters. I went with the big boy Beastmaster since I liked the idea of summoning monsters to do some dirty work for me. Shout out to my first companion, Mr. Chew. Once we got into the game, everything felt smooth from there with each of us facing a technical glitch here and there. Kat had framerate issues, but we think it is because her computer is due for an upgrade in the near future. Me on the other hand had the most petty things happen to me. For starters, Kat and Eric’s names kept disappearing on screen, so I had to rely on the minimap a bunch of times to help me find them. I thought it was a setting issue, but Mr. Chew’s name was always above him, so I think the game just hated me. Another issue I had was that the notice to go into my skills menu would not go away no matter how much I pressed or held the Tab button. Again, little issues that shouldn’t amount to much, but got annoying when the game would fix itself and then break again. Eric was the lucky on among us who had the least issues with the game (if he did he didn’t really tell us).

All this makes it sound like we had a bad time playing, but that wasn’t the case. Once we could actually got past the technical issues, we had fun blasting our way through the two areas that we got to. My favorite weapon that I found so far was a shotgun with a stupid blast range that sent enemies flying if I was close enough to them. Eric was able to summon a D.VA mech with his Gunner class and mow down enemies before Kat and I could do anything. Kat was having a good time despite slowing down at certain points. I think our commodore helped us get through the frustrating points and enjoy ourselves loot and shoot gameplay to follow.

Even though we were having fun, I felt like this game is not as good as the second game was. For starters, I didn’t find Claptrap as annoying in the second game as he is in this one. It feels like he just never shuts up. I know that is his character, but our patience with him started to drain real fast. The worst is when you have to find him a new antenna and he gives you hints on new moves like the slide and power drop. It might have been our fault for splitting up to tackle the tasks individually, but when one of use were at this tutorial moment, he would just keep repeating the same dialogue over and over until the person did what was needed. Again, this could have been our fault for splitting up, but it was nevertheless annoying to hear him over and over again. Another thing that feels meh is the story and setting. It feels…like the same game, but worse? You meet up with Lilith and underpants dude (who’s name I don’t remember and too lazy to look up), but their dialogue and the hub world feels bland compared to Borderlands 2. It could be that we never made it to the actual hub world, but nothing felt interesting or exciting about each area. That might all change later in the game, but after two and a half hours, it was a struggle to continue that night. I want to continue playing the game to see if my frustrated mind was clouding my judgement that night, but right now, it feels like another game in the series that doesn’t do anything too new to make me excited to play.

Thanks for reading,


Real Neat Blog Award the First!

I have been nominated for my very first Real Neat Blog Award. That is really neat!

I have to thank Jelly Puff for nominating me! Jelly runs a great blog where she shares her travels, feelings, and gaming hobbies. Follow her along as she knows how to canvas her emotions with her writing.

Image links to Jelly Puff’s Site

The Rules

  • Display the Award Logo. Check!
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and post a link to their blog. Check!
  • Answer the questions of the one who nominated you.
  • Nominate 7-10 bloggers.
  • Ask them seven questions.

Jelly’s Questions:

What’s your favorite book? If you don’t have one, what is a piece of literature that you’d recommend for me to read and why?

My favorite book (and possibly series) is Redwall by Brain Jacques. My fourth grade teacher introduce me to this series and I have loved them ever since. Jacques knows how to set you into the world by detailing each area vividly and giving each race their own dialect. It amazed me at the time that it made sense that different cultures and races would speak differently from one another, and Jacques pulls it off so well for young readers. I have not read all of the books in the series (slowly working on obtaining them all) but it is a series that I differently want to read to my kids.

If you only got to play one game for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

That is a tough one, but if I had to choose it would be Monster Hunter World. There is so much content packed in this game with more on the way. While I do prefer areas and content in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, my hands are not what they used to be anymore with the claw hand. I also have friends that could help with completing some of the achievements in the game and try to obtain all weapons and armor in the game.

Where’s the next place you’d like to travel to and what are the reasons?

Around this time next week, I was suppose to travel to Japan for the first time. With the state of the world right now, we obviously had to postpone it. My wife had been watching a lot of travel blogs, and she loved looking at the ones about Tokyo Disney. She is a huge Disney fan and she hopes to one day visit all of the parks. We choose Japan because we both obviously want to go, but there is more to do in the area than just Disney. We were planning on spending a day or two roaming around the different cities and trying out all the food (that look appetizing). We still plan on going later this year hopefully when things start to die down a bit.

How do you like your coffee or tea?

I like a dark roost coffee blend with a little cream (french vanilla) and sugar.

For tea, I am a southern boy and I like it iced and sweet!

Do you have any allergies?

I have no known allergies except for a few exceptions:

Regular Milk: Regular milk gives me an upset stomach, but things made with milk does not bother me. It’s strange, but I cannot consider myself lactose intolerant when it is just regular milk that messes me up.

The Marinara Pasta from Pizza Hut: This is the strange one. I am not allergic to any other type of marinara nor any pizza from Pizza Hut. It is just the pasta that sends me into hives. I discovered this by eating an entire dish by myself. The next thing I know my entire body is covered in hives and I want the itchiness to stop. Worst situation I had gotten into in my entire life.

Are you a morning lark or a night owl?

I have definitely become a morning lark. I work eight to five almost everyday and have become use to waking up early in the morning. I also feel better in the morning doing things rather at night when I’m worrying when I should go to bed. My body is not use to staying up pass 11pm most nights, but there are times that I can ignore it and continue on.

Who’s that artist or band you have on endless repeat when you’re looking for something to listen to?

I have various artist that I listen to since my go to music is video game soundtracks. There is always a soundtrack out there that fits the mood that I am feeling. If I had to pick a favorite composer it would have to be Nobou Uematsu without a doubt. His music made me realize how artful video game music can be (despite my music teachers telling me that it was not :/). I love listening to orchestral arrangement of video games and I have been lucky to see The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses when they were touring.

For non video game music, I enjoy brass bands. We have a local group called No BS Brass Band and their music is excellent. If you care for a listen to their music, I left a link to their Spotify page here.

And that is it for my Q&A. Thank you again Jelly for the fun questions! Now it is my turn! I nominate the following bloggers for a Real Neat Blog Award:

Kelly from Why We Play Games

Larissa from Games (and Other Bits) // Musings and Thoughts

Gaming Omnivore from Gaming Omnivore

Naithin from Time to Loot

Hobbit of Hyulre from It’s Dangerous To Go Alone

Ryan from Games With Coffee

Pix1001 from Shoot the Rookie

And here are my questions:

  • Yes or No?
  • Do you experience any aches or pains in your body?
  • If you could create a new type of sport, what would it be or similar to?
  • What is a game that is generally received as bad but is your guilty pleasure?
  • Do you prefer writing with a pencil, pen, or keyboard?
  • When was the last time something made you laugh so hard?
  • Do you play an instrument? If so what is it? If not, do you have an interest in learning how to play one?

Thanks for reading!