Backlog Report – September 2022

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

The only thing that has been keeping me going is that a new Theatrhythm game is coming out in February.

Hello. September is finally over and I couldn’t be happier. Jumping straight into things, let’s talk a little about what I’ve been up to personally. All month long, I have been in webinar trainings to understand this new system that we are moving to in January.  They started off harmless, but some of the content does not apply to what I do or will be controlled by us in the end. Honestly, I’m just here to be a second set of eyes for my supervisor. I am a hands-on learner, so most of this stuff will come to me once I can play around in the system on my own. I just hate spending my entire morning glued to my computer and attempting to retain all of this.

This schedule has had some positive effects on me. To escape the icy cold dungeon of my office, I now find a nice bench to sit on outside and read a book. This has been one of the best changes to my routine since I am now getting a mental break from my work area instead of being around it all the time. I am currently reading Jason Schreier’s Press Reset: Ruin and Recovery in the Video Game Industry, and it has been an interesting and depressing read. Hopefully this routine will help me get through the other books that I have bought over the years and have yet found the time or motivation to read through them.


Blog Posts This Month

Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate – The Missing Piece to the Puzzle (Backlog Tale) – This game will come up two more times in this post. I went from hating this game to playing it almost every single day. This is a good and a bad thing since I have the Sunbreak expansion to Monster Hunter Rise and want to play through that at some point.

Games Finished This Month

Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate

Not going to spend a lot of time on this. Read post above.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is not a long game if you stick to the main story. Unlocking additional heroes and doing side quests to build up classes and the world turns this 30-40 hour game into a 100+ hour game. That’s not bad, but it does leave a sour taste in my mouth when important resolutions in the game’s story are hidden behind optional side quests. I will have to write about it one day, but it is something that frustrated me with this game. Other than that, I really enjoyed the rest of the game. Gameplay felt so much better than the second game, though I think I still prefer the original’s battle system. The story is somewhat predictable, but the whole idea of living in the present where it is safe and avoiding the unknown future is a topic we all could relate. The ending even managed to get a tear out of me, so I would say that overall it left a good impression on me. Hopefully the story DLC will answer one of my burning questions about a certain fur ball.


New and Finished Games This Month

Trombone Champ

In the beginning, there was light. The light filled the world with its bliss, and gave birth to wondrous things. One of these brilliant gifts was the trombone. From the trombone, toots of various tones filled the world in harmony and made the world equally divine as the realm of the gods. But, where there is light, there is always darkness. With the rise of man emerging from the shadows, the brilliant light of the trombone was tainted. What was once a symbol of ultimate power was now treated as a fool’s humor for when people did silly things. To ensure that this gift was not wasted completely, the gods sealed most of the power of the trombone inside a vessel, waiting for the day a true master of the trombone to emerge and unleash its power once again. For millenium, the tootvessel has slept. Waiting for the new champ to rise and claim their rightful place amongst the gods.

…at least that’s what I think the story is about. The in-game item descriptions make it hard to understand.

Trombone Champ knows exactly what it is and I appreciate it for that. As someone who has studied music and can play the trombone decently, this game comes very close to how it feels to play the trombone. Originally I thought that this would be a silly game with no depth to it, but the more I played, I found myself deep into mastering the mechanics to unlock everything and earning S ranks on all the songs. I don’t know what it is, but I find myself in a trance to discover all that the trombone has to offer to me. Also baboons for some reason?


New Games This Month

Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland

My last visit to the secondhand store resulted in my buying two games and one guide. The first was a physical copy of Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland. I know I bought this digitally during a PS sale last year, but finding this with the case and manual for around $10 was hard to ignore. I still need to test the disc since it does look a bit scratched up.

Splatoon

I was told to go to the store and pick up Splatoon, so I did. Maybe next time someone should clarify. Jokes aside, I was able to find a brand new copy of this game at the secondhand store for the same price as the other used copies. I mostly got it to complete the series set, but who knows. I may get around to playing through the single player content at some point.

Capcom Fighting Collection

I bought this solely for Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. Other than that, this is a neat collection to have with some of Capcom’s fighting games that have never been revisited. I don’t know if many of the games will get any playtime out of me, but the option is there in case I ever need them.

Monster Hunter Portable 3rd

“Will he please stop talking about Monster Hunter!” In my defense, this is a different game, so back off. Portable is the first “enhanced” version of Monster Hunter Tri that came out exclusively in Japan. It added new monsters and locations, but took the swimming mechanic out of the game. It would go on to be one of the best selling Monster Hunter games in Japan, but one year later we would all get Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. Despite the release of 3 Ultimate, Portable 3rd is still regarded as one of the best games on the PSP; and I am going to see if that is true. The Japanese-language barrier be damned!

Tales of Rebirth

Speaking of the Japanese-language barrier, I finally got a copy of Tales of Rebirth since Bamco has no interest in bringing these games over ever. I have decided to stop wondering if a remaster collection of the older titles will ever be rereleased for the overseas audience. While it is nice to have this game in my collection, I may have to find other means to enjoy this game fully in a language I can read. And don’t get me started on how they are butchering Tales of Symphonia with their lazy remake (even though I love Symphoina and will get it eventually on sale).

Live A Live

I know absolutely nothing about this game. And that is a good thing. It’s rare for me to not know much about a game with the internet these days. I know it is a classic from the SNES days, but outside of that I have no idea what the story is about or how the combat works. It will be a new discovery for me and that feels refreshing to me. Plus, my older brother has been playing it and he hardly plays JRPGs these days. It will give us a nice conversation topic when we have the time.

Splatoon 3

Do you know how hard it was to find a physical copy of this game days after it came out? Kat really wanted to play it, so we went to the store to get a copy, but the local game store and others around were all out. We didn’t think it would be that difficult to find a physical, but we did eventually and she bought me a copy as well. I like the game despite being bad at it. I can only play in short burst before I get frustrated by either the people who play these games for thousands of hours, or when I constantly get kicked out of games due to connection errors. One day Nintendo. One day.

Gundam Evolution

It’s Overwatch but with Gundams! I have only played a little bit of this game, but it is a learning curve that I’m still learning. Each Gundam plays differently, so understanding their strengths and weaknesses along with how well they go with the rest of your squad is a lot to consider. I know there are huge complaints about the progression system in it and I find them scummy as well. For now, it will be a casual experience until I get bored of it or the skill level starts to kick my ass.

Toukiden 2

I forget exactly what day it was last week, but I remember scrolling the tweet tweet app and seeing this countdown for a new game by EA and Koei Tecmo. I looked at the image and I was like “that looks like Toukiden.” After watching the trailer, I was like “yep that Toukiden.” If you don’t know what Toukiden is, it is Koei Tecmo’s Monster Hunter but with Oni. It reminded me that I have the first game on the Vita, but I never got around to getting the second game. I decided to get it now before the interest of the series starts to build again. This game was released with very limited quality, so I assume the price for this game is going to skyrocket soon (the Vita version already has).


Currently Playing

Third time mentioning it, but yeah Monster Hunter. In Generations Ultimate, I am currently working on finding G Rank armor that 1) I like, and 2) I can obtain on my own without dying. I have several targets in mind, but of course they would be some of the most annoying monsters to hunt. On the Monster Hunter Rise side of things, I need to finish most things on the PC version. I’ve decided that I want to play through Sunbreak on PC just to change things up. Just need to beat up Thunder Serpent Narwa and I’ll be all good. I did return to World briefly to try and work on achievements, but I found the camera in that game makes me dizzy now. I greatly prefer the snap camera focus over the constant tracking camera of World.

After finishing Xenoblade Chronicles 3, I decided that I needed to take a break from long RPGs and focus on a more chilled experience. With the announcement of Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life, I decided to finally give Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town a go. My first impressions so far is that it is a Story of Seasons game. I know I could play Stardew Valley again for the tenth time, but it’s sometimes nice to go to a familiar game with a different aesthetic. Hopefully the Wonderful Life remake will be as good as this one and not like the PS2/PS4 version (which I need to start working on…).

Plans for Next Month

My schedule is more open this month, but as always I am not going to make any promises.

At one point, I was going to write a post about all the announcements from a few weeks ago, but I started to lose interest when I realized that most things I was excited for were remakes. I don’t know what that says about me as a person, but I may return to it soon if nothing but a reminder for when things are coming out (seriously I can’t keep track of anything). I also need to put something together for Xenoblade Chronicles 3. I already have a topic in mind. Just need to find the best way to articulate my words.

It’s October! This means I get to continue my journey through different Castlevania titles. This might be the year that I play through the PS2 titles, but I also have the Lord of Shadows games to knock out as well. I’m holding off on the DS titles since I still need to get Portrait of Ruin and I’m kinda holding out that Konami will re-release them in a DS collection. There is definitely one game that I want to play, but I want to step outside my comfort zone a bit while playing it. My hope is that I can live stream myself playing through Castlevania 64 from beginning to end. It would be the first time that I start a game on stream and end it, and I think this game will help me through it. After playing the first 30 minutes of the game, I can tell that I’m going to have a fun time. 


Thanks for reading!

Collection Tale – The Young Fool Who Bought Skyrim

In 2011, I became a victim of a series issue that unlucky young adults find themselves in when faced with misinformation, societal influence, and being vulnerable and unprotected. I of course am talking about peer pressure. I was a victim of peer pressure to the point where I look back and feel ridiculous for my actions. During my second year of undergraduate studies, I became close to a group of friends within our department. At the beginning of the semester, all of them couldn’t shut up about this amazing game that was coming out in November and it was going to be the highlight of gaming for ages to come. That game (if you didn’t read the title) was The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. At the time, I didn’t know what an elder was and what they were scrolling from. I had never heard about the series before, but the way my friends were describing it, it sounded incredible. Soon, I would start watching the trailer with them and start feeling the hype for it. There was one small issue however.

Back in 2011, I had no consoles on me. The only gaming device I had with me was my DS and PSP. Not a single one of those would play Skyrim on it (I doubt that would stop Todd Howard today) and I didn’t have the money to just go out and buy a system. I was getting hyped for no reason, since I couldn’t play the game regardless. One of my friends however told me that the game was coming out on PC, and that I could play it on my laptop if I wanted to.

This was mistake number 1. I was rocking a Gateway POS that could only run my school work on. There was no way that my laptop was going to run this game well enough. But my friend (who went on to build his own PC and help me with mine later) assured to me that my potato with buttons would be able to play the game just fine. So with the hype building, I borrowed some money from my savings (mistake #2), went to GameStop and preordered the Collector’s Edition of Skyrim for PC (back in the day when you could preorder physical PC games *thunder sound effect*). Nothing really mattered to me at that point since I could now be part of the group and conversation when this game came out. Little did I know that this event would mark the beginning of when I stopped listening to people’s advise on games I should play and how to play them.

Let’s talk about the Collector’s Edition for a minute. The Collector’s Edition for Skyrim cost about $125 USD if I recall correctly. It came in this big box and had the Skyrim scenery all around it. There were five items included in the box. The first was the game obviously, but also included was a behind-the-scenes DVD that talked about the development of the game. I’m pretty sure I have never watched it. A mild trinket was a map of the entire region that you can see in game. Its made out of nice material, but I haven’t done anything with it. An interesting item included was a 200 page art book that had illustrations of characters, enemies, items, and scenery. That doesn’t compare to the item that possibly influenced me the most to get the Collector’s Edition. The edition came with a 12 inch statue of Alduin, the main antagonist dragon. This statue could be classified as a lethal weapon since it is sharp and could easily be used as a blunt-force weapon. These days it probably wouldn’t be worth the price, but for what you get I think it was a good deal at the time.

November 10, 2011 arrives. My friends I are at the midnight release of the game (the one and only one I’ve ever done) and the doors open. When its my turn in line, I proudly declare that I was picking up my PC preorder for Skyrim. The employee designated me as the weirdest person that night, but seeing that there were two more people who preordered the PC version, I didn’t feel too out of place. I get back to my room, I can hear my roommate’s cheers of joy that all his dreams have come true, I put the game in my disc drive, and then it askes me for my Steam account. Come again? Yep, this was my first encounter ever with Steam. The disc just had the installation software on it, but in order to download and play the game, I had to create a Steam account and download the game from there. No real biggie. I created my Steam account, started the installation, and Steam told me it would take 20-23 hours for the game to download. You could feel the regret lining up at my door to start beating the crap out of me.

The next day, all of my friends had either skipped their morning classes or just never left their places to begin with. Since the game was still downloading on my laptop, I couldn’t bring it to any of my classes and couldn’t use it for most of the day. The one’s who did show up later in the day were talking about the character they created and their builds, and here I was still waiting for the game to download. That night, I was finally able to launch the game. The launcher checked my laptop’s specs and I’m surprised it didn’t just refuse to launch. It set everything to the lowest possible setting available and told me good luck. The iconic music starts to play on the home screen, and I’m finally ready to dive into dragonslaying adventures.

The game struggles to run. My laptop was able to run it decently, but since I had everything set to either low or off, a lot of the beauty of the game was lost. I believe at one point the game wouldn’t run since so many things were still running in the background, that I had to manually turn things off just so the game could get past the character creation. When I finally got the game past the opening, I set off in this low texture, slow development, 15 frames per second world. It was vastly different from the game that I saw my roommate playing, and I’m pretty sure I felt frustrated that I couldn’t play this game that I spent money on to not work on my laptop. But after I got over those initial hurdles and could play the game comfortably as possible, I started to make lemonade out of this limes that I had.

Imagine the game looking 800x worse than this

Would you believe me if I told you that I played the entire game on that laptop and finished the game? Would you believe me if I told you that I put over 100 hours into that version of the game and had a time doing so. Just me, my small screen, and my mouse and keyboard. I don’t know what possessed me to keep playing the game in that state. I guess at that time it was one of the few things that I had, so I was committed to play it and have fun with it while I could. Eventually I got used to the slow combat, aiming my fireballs without actually seeing the flames leave my hands, and reading every tip the game offered due to slow load times. I even managed to get through that one story quest where you have to solve a puzzle that involves reflecting lights off mirrors. Yeah, try and do that puzzle with no light effects whatsoever and relying on tiny particles moving in the air as your only guide that you maybe doing it correctly. I thought that puzzle was going to be the end of me, but I solved it and continued my ball busting run through Skyrim. I must have finished the game offline since I don’t have the achievement for it, but my last achievement from the game (to this day) is from December 8, 2012. It took me a year to finish it, but I managed to beat Skyrim on the lowest settings possible on an electronic typewriter that probably hated me.

A picture I took a long time ago with no context

To this day, I haven’t really gone back to Skyrim as much. When I got my actual gaming PC, I remember playing some of it, but not a lot. I have all the DLC and can now enjoy the game the way it was meant to be played, but nothing has called me to return to it for long. Before a few months ago, the last time I played the game was back in 2016, probably around the time I got my gaming PC and played around for a while. I think I just got my fill of it from playing on that busted laptop that I felt like I got my fill of it for the time being. To this day, it still holds the number one spot on my Steam account for the most hours played at 156 hours (rookie numbers I know). This post is not to make me sound superior in any way of playing and beating Skyrim in a difficult way. I believe the moral of this story is to do your own research and don’t let the influence of others dictate all of your decisions. I didn’t need to play Skyrim on release. Hell, I was more than happy playing the few DS games I had at the time over again. I desperately wanted to be a part of something that the group I was with were into and I made a foolish mistake for it. I don’t mostly talk to anyone from that group anymore, and I feel like me not keeping up with the “trends” was one of the reasons; which is completely fine by me. Don’t make my mistake. Say no to peer pressure.