Mini Backlog Tales Collections Vol. 1

There are some games that I finish that I really don’t have a lot to say about. It is kinda unfair that they don’t get the same treatment like others, but with this I hope to rectify that a bit. These mini compilations will feature some of those games that don’t need a whole dedicated post to them. There will be some that I want to talk about more in length, so if you don’t see it mentioned in this post, then chances are I’m working on a larger post for it.


Pokémon Trading Card Game

Starting things off is the Pokémon Trading Card Game for the Gameboy Color. I played this via the 3DS Virtual Console release, and it’s one of those games that didn’t take long to finish. I did have to start the game over since I did something stupid that the game warned me about. Apparently there is an NPC who will trade you one card for all the other cards that you have in your trunk. Not knowing this, I accepted the trade and lost all my cards not in my possession. I was also bad and didn’t manually save since the virtual console version will suspend where you last left off. So I just thought it best to just start from the beginning again.

This is a solid representation of the early card game. If you are like me and never knew how to play the game (but like collecting the cards), then this was the game to have back then. The card game itself is pretty simple, but can be challenging towards the end. Since the game only covers the first edition of the TCG, there are a limited number of cards that you can use at your disposal. Even with the small amount of cards, there is enough possibility to create decks that focus on one element or help feed to whichever Pokémon is your ace.

In order to beat the game, you need to defeat the eight club leaders and then defeat the four masters at the Challenge Hall. If you have played a Pokémon game, this set up feels familiar. Instead of walking around a region in order to catch and train new Pokémon, you instead just select where you want to go on the map and it will take you there. I wish each locale had something different an unique to them, but all the entrances and side rooms look the same. I also wish there was a way to buy card packs instead of only getting them from defeating other players. It makes searching for specific cards hard since you have to find the right player who will reward you with the card pack you need, and then hope that you get it. In most cases, you will probably rely on your starter deck for the first three areas until you build up enough cards to create different decks.

All in all, Pokémon Trading Card Game for the GBC was a fun time. I wish we got the sequel that came out in Japan since they added new cards that were current at the time. I also wish we would get a new standalone game that wasn’t Pokémon TCG Online. I may give the online version a try one day, but if Yu Gi Oh! Master Duel taught me anything, it’s that I’m probably out of my prime when it comes to current trading card games.

Game Stats:

Game Started: 1/27/2016
Game Finished: 10/31/2021
Total Play Time: 21 Hours


Astro’s Playroom

This is a great tech demo. This game is preinstalled on all PS5s, and it does a great job of showing what the PS5 Duel Sense controller can do. I know the game is supposed to demonstrate how awesome the PS5 is, but if you’re someone like me who does not have an eye for fancy tech words and numbers, then this plays just like a fun game. 

The thing I enjoyed the most about this game are all the references to PlayStation’s history. The main collectables in the game are all past and present PlayStation hardware and accessories; going all the way back the original PlayStation to the current PlayStation 5. I didn’t grow up with a PlayStation, but I still found this interesting to see all the past accessories, handhelds, and iterations of all of Sony’s gaming products. Once collected, the items are displayed in a museum and can be interacted with as a little touch to see how these items worked. Again, if you have no attachment to the PlayStation brand, then you may not find it interesting. Other than that, there are Easter Eggs that represent classic PlayStation games in each stage. These were fun to find and try to figure out which game they were from.

I hardly play anything that doesn’t feel like it’s missing something or the length should be altered. Astro’s Playroom is one of those games where I felt like I was playing a perfect game. All the components of the game felt perfectly tuned to make the game feel complete. The length of the game felt comfortable, the levels had enough challenge to them without making them feel too easy or too challenging, and the reward for collecting everything felt rewarding. Not many games have been able to achieve that feeling nowadays, but this game was a perfect introduction to how the Duel Sense controller works and feels. Of course their may be others who found problems with the game, but during my entire playthrough, there was nothing that I could find to complain about.

Other than that, this was a fun, small game that came along with my PS5. I can’t claim that I got all the achievements on my own since Kat took the game from me and played half of the stages (even though she created her own account and did everything on her own). There’s not much to go back and replay once you’ve collected everything, so it becomes a fast uninstall once you’ve done everything (which you can do in half a day). This is the type of demo that I wish newer consoles would include just to give the player an idea of what the new console can do. It was definitely better than Nintendo asking you to buy a $50 game that could have easily been included with the system.

Game Stats:

Game Started: 7/31/2021
Game Finished: 8/8/2021
Total Play Time: Between 10 to 15 Hours
Achievements Unlocked: 45/46 (have the Platinum, too lazy to do the speed run achievement)
Puzzle Pieces Obtained: 96/96
Artifacts Found: 46/46
Favorite PlayStation Console: PS2


Mario Party Superstars

Nostalgia is a dangerous weapon. If you use it incorrectly, you risk damaging a cherished memory by trying to cash in on that past magic (insert your own personal betrayal here. There are plenty to choose from). Mario Party Superstars was one of those games that I was cautiously optimistic for. It was like Nintendo was actually listening to the fans for once and were giving us a traditional Mario Party game without motion gimmicks, car gimmicks, or microphone gimmicks (I actually liked the microphone games). This was a return to form quite literally since it was a collection of boards and minigames from previous games in the series. This “new” game was set to highlight what made the series fun to begin with and try to gain faith in the series. 

Mario Party Superstars is by far one of the best Mario Party games that has come out in a while. While I did enjoy Super Mario Party, I felt like the boards were lacking, but the minigames were great. Superstars comes with five classic boards from the first three Mario Party games and refreshes them up with some updates from Super Mario Party. Each board feels unique and fun with their original concept still intact. The minigame collection contains games from all the numbered games with only a few of them being boring. The minigame collection is what Mario Party: The Top 100 should have had, but didn’t and caused it to be a flop in my opinion.

There are a few things that I wish this game included or had at this point. I feel that the roaster is small compared to other Mario Party games. I know Toad and Bowser can’t be playable characters, but there are other characters they could have added like Shy Guy, Koopa Troopa, or Bowsette. This may sound blasphemous, but this game would benefit greatly with DLC or free updates. While the board and minigame selections are great, this game would be so much better with one or two new boards. I am mostly a quality over quantity person, but this game has great quality and just needs some more things added to it.

In a great surprise to all, the online function actually works! A game like this is meant to be played with others on the same couch, but online play works just as well. Players can either que up with friends or join random people in a fifteen or twenty turn game. If someone leaves the group, they can either rejoin or a computer player will take their spot. For most of my games, we would start with four people and then around turn three we would be down to just two players. The only time I would experience any slow down in a game was when someone was leaving; other than that the gameplay is smooth. Another component that makes playing online or locally fun is the sticker mechanic. Nintendo is still afraid someone is going to learn the autonomy of their mom one day, so instead of a voice chat feature the game uses stickers to communicate with others. While screaming at someone is always the superior version of communicating with others, something about spamming these stickers just feels like a fun game mechanic. How else can I congratulate someone with a straight face when someone loses their stars to Bowser?

Mario Party Superstars was a surprise success for me. The game has other minigame modes that you can participate in, as well as an achievement system; but the party mode is still the best mode to play with others. It is fun to play with others or complete strangers locally or online. I don’t know what else to say about a good Mario Party game except to play it for a month and then move after you’ve cursed your friends and family out for landing on Chance Time and screwing you over on the last turn. Good family fun from your friends at Nintendo.

Game Stats:

Game Started: 10/29/2021
Game Finished: 11/15/2021
Total Play Time: 16 Hours
Achievements Unlocked: 24/50 (Offline) ; 0/10 (Online)

The Co-Op Tales: A Party of BS

When you think of games like Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros, or Dokapon Kingdom (for those who know what this game is), you think of party games that can get competitive, but at the end you have a good time with who you are playing with. You may play one game of Fortune Street and get mad at your friend for making you play Fortune Street, but in the end, your friendship is still intact but questionable for a while. However, there exist on franchise that no matter who you play with friendships end, controllers get destroyed, and lives end.

I am talking about Mario Party. Maybe Monopoly on a bad night, but for this story I am talking about Mario Party! We all have our own horror stories of how someone screwed you over or the game decided that it was your turn to experience Hell on Earth. This post alone may trigger some repressed memories that you may have. I guarantee that most people do not walk away from a game of Mario Party without some hatred toward the people they played against.

This story takes place back when I was in college. I had a friend that I would hang out with regularly and we would play games on her Gamecube often. For the purpose of this story, let’s call her Buttons (because of all the ones she pushed for this one). The Mario Party of choice that evening was the fourth installment, a personal favorite of mine. I represented ya boi Luigi like I tend to do and Buttons was fond of Peach. The setting was with computers set to hard and the board was Shy Guy’s Jungle Jam I believe. We played for twenty turns with no handicaps. From there the game played out normally with races to the next star and one upping each other in mini games.

The turning point of the game came at the end of the game. With two turns left, we were tied for first place. Last turn she had managed to obtain a magic lamp, which takes you automatically to the star. When her turn came, she used the lamp to teleport to the star space and was able to collect one.

Then came the real scummy part.

After collecting a star, a scene is played showing where the next star location is.

The star spawned three spaces away from her. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It is at this point that I wanted to start calling hacks. What are the chances of something like that happening!? And of course Buttons was sitting over there with the biggest **** eating grin on her face and saying the game knows who the queen of Mario Party is. But, the game was not over yet. The star was three spaces away and there was a chance that the die could roll a 1 or a 2. I had seen crazier things happen in Mario Party, but something like this was what I needed to not throw my controller across the room. Buttons goes to roll her die…..

She rolls a 10.

WWWWWHHHHHHHYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!

Photo taken at the time

At this point I am out of my seat and calling all of the hacks. Buttons is dying of laughter in her seat. It was as the game just knew it had to piss me off somehow and rub the salt into my wound. Buttons goes to collect her star and I was left to watch as Peach pranced around the board like she owned it. In the matter of one turn, I went from being tied for first to second in the blink of an eye. The star respawned to the other side of the map far away from the harpie queen that and took my life and turned it upside down. Surely, the worst had to be over by then right? Right?

It got even worse.

Peach took her last seven moves on the board and landed on a blue space. Then, a hidden box appeared……….

There was a star inside the box.

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

I believe I walked out of my apartment when I saw that. As the door closed behind me, I could hear the shrieking laughter from Buttons. The game stared at me and asked itself how it could ruin my day further. It handed Buttons a golden gamecube controller that had the power to make others bend to her will, and gave me a gigantic middle finger. Never had a game targeted me specifically and decided that it would do everything in its power to humiliate me. I returned to the room with Buttons sitting high on her throne; laughing at the insect who would try to dare take her status as ruler of Mario Party.

The game ended with Buttons winning two extra stars during the Bonus Star section. She won 9 to it doesn’t matter.

We have not played Mario Party together since.