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!

What’s In The Box…Weird Can Thing!? A Gift From My Father-In-Law.

So. My in-laws are moving out of their house a “retiring” down to Florida. I enjoyed the visits we made to their house during the summer and holidays, but know it looks like I will have to venture hellscape that is Florida to enjoy board games and beer (Florida is not a bad state, I just hate the heat down there). While my father-in-law is not the gamer that he once was, he does find the time to enjoy gaming when he can. He currently enjoys his Switch and is currently playing his second playthrough of Fire Emblem: Three Houses. His influence got Kat into gaming as well; and it is thanks to him that we have some impressive games in our collection (all five mainline Suikoden games just to name some). However, some of our taste in games don’t line up well since he is a big sports fan and I know how to play a game but suck at everything else.

That brings us to this wonderful…thing that he sent us. For the record, I have zero interest in Nascar. I have no idea why people spend hours watching cars drive in a loop, but if that is your form of entertain then please keep enjoying it. The only reason I know who this person is, Jeff Gordon, is because of all the Nascar fans from my school (I wouldn’t have known it was him without the signature on the can). So why was I given this cooler for a sport that I have no interest in? For the contents inside apparently. While cleaning out their basement, they decided to place all of his old gaming stuff into this container and let me shift through it to see if there was anything that I wanted. I really appreciate the thought of letting me look through them to see if there was anything that I wanted. They know I am a video game buff, and sadly they appreciate it more than most people on my side of the family. However, they did not realize my policy of not selling or getting rid of games that enter my possession; no matter what the game is or if I will ever play it. It is a self imposed rule that I placed on myself after selling games that I regretted in the past. So, let’s see what fun things this cooler holds.

When I opened up the lid, the very first game that greeted me was Fox Sports College Hoops ’99….

Sigh. Okay no big deal. I know that my FIL (just going to start using this abbreviation now) is big into sports, so of course some of these will be sports titles. I have never heard of this game, or who would be in it that I know. Kobe? Is Kobe in this? Who played basketball in 1999? Dirk? Is that you? Obviously I know some sportsball people, just my knowledge is slim when recognizing famous players. To get some of my “meh” findings out of the way, here is a highlight reel of all the other ball games we found in this thing.

Madden 2000. I might have fun with this one. My younger brother made me play a bunch of Madden games with him in the past, so I will have some idea on how to play it.

PGA Tour 98. This isn’t Mario Golf. This is regular golf for people who want to play actual golf (ie. not me).

Triple Play 98. I’ve never really had a problem with baseball. There was a baseball game that we would rent out a lot of times on the N64, but I doubt this is the same brand (I looked it up and it was All-Star Baseball 99; we tried to hit each other with the ball). I’ll give it a whack and see if it is a home run or a foul.

NHL 99. The sticker on the case says that this is the “coolest game on earth.” Obviously this was the case before Club Penguin came into existence.

Triple Play 2000. I don’t remember much from the year 2000, but Kat informed me that she was in Kindergarten at the time. This made me go into a fetal position and deny the fact that I’m old for my age group. Also I’m pissed that my Triple Play collection is now ruined since I’m now missing Triple Play 99.

NCAA Football 2000. What would make the college football games more interesting would be to let the marching band take the field and watch them play a game. Similar to the mascot mode in later games.

Madden 2002. Apparently Madden 2001 wasn’t that great, so he skipped straight to the 2002 version.

And that is all the sports games that were in the cooler. I joke, but I am curious to test run these games even though I’m not sweating at the palm to play them. Realistic sports games are not my jam. I prefer playing games like the Mario spinoffs or any other fun and creative game that uses a sports formula. There might be a ton of people who had fun playing these games back in the day, and I hope seeing them again brought back some good memories. My memories of these games will probably be bad, but don’t let my dismissive mind tarnish yours.


With that out of the way, let’s look at some things that did peek my interest. Some of these I will talk about in more length than the sports games, and some I will have no clue what the public’s reception is to them. If I had to put them in some kind of ranking of excited to own, I would say these games get an eyebrow raise from me.

Sentient. I have no idea what this game is about. The back of the case tells me that this is a 3D adventure game where you have to solve a murder mystery in space…I think. From what I can tell, this game came out early in the PlayStation lifespan and most critics were very critical about it. I’m sure there maybe some redeeming qualities in it, but I will never know until I try it one day. This game is one of the only games that feels odd in my FIL’s games that is outside his normal genres. He likes sports, strategies, and RPGs. Having a semi horror adventure game seems out of place for him to own. Add the fact that their are faded faces in the back ground and the case has semi claw marks on them, I could convince myself that this game is haunted.

Warcraft II: The Dark Saga. I have not played any of the Warcraft games or any other game by Blizzard outside of Overwatch. I have no idea if playing a real-time strategy (RTS) game is comfortable with a controller or not, but sadly I don’t see myself playing this anytime soon.

Jeopardy. Rip to the great legend that was Alex Trebek. Jeopardy will never be the same without him. I used to have a Jeopardy game for PC way back in the day; and surprise surprise I was terrible at it. I imagine I will be terrible at this version since this game came out in 1998. Kat and I will definitely get a kick out it one day and she will dominate me since she is the better one at trivia.


That does it for the mid tier interest level finds from the crate. Again, not bad things, but things that didn’t get me overly excited. These next few items listed are what I consider my highlights from what I found. I thought I had already found the good stuff when I was looking through his games before, but somehow these things skipped my attention at the time.

Riven: The Sequel to Myst. This may sound like blasphemy, but I have never played Myst. That didn’t stop me from being intrigued by what I assume is the collector’s edition of Riven. I have no idea what is going on, but this 5 disc game came with unique slide cases for each disc. For all you Myst buffs out there, this might look really cool to you. I have no idea since this was the first time I realized Myst had a sequel. I have no way at the current time to play this since I lack the software requirement to try (a CD drive), but I’m sure the digital version exist out there. For the time, I will admire how cool and maybe rare this might be (you can tell me in the comments if it is rare or not).

Beyond the Beyond. I have never heard of this game before. What makes me excited to check it out is that this game was developed by Camelot Software Planning. If you don’t know who they are, they mostly now do the excellent Mario Gold and Tennis games, as well the first three Shining Force games and freaking Golden Sun! You can tell that it is from the same developer since they share a lot of aspects in the menus and battle. Some of the screenshots that I’ve seen make this look like an early concept of Golden Sun without the fun Psynergy puzzles to do. Critics didn’t find this game to be special at the time, but I’m always down to try out older JRPGs and see how they stand today. If anything, it will scratch that Camelot RPG itch that I’ve had ever since finishing Golden Sun: Dark Dawn almost 10 years ago.

A Toys ‘R’ Us PlayStation Demo Disk. This still has the factory seal on it, so I guess no one was interested in trying out any of the games on the disk. I’m surprise he held on to since there are some interesting demos on this disk. This disc was trademarked in 1998 and offered some really good games. This disc demoes for the following games:

  • Gran Turismo
  • Blasto
  • Tekken 3
  • Hot Shots Golf
  • Jersey Devil
  • Einhander
  • Gex 2
  • Tomb Raider 2
  • Tomba!

The disc also has some special videos that I’m guessing were teaser trailers at the time. Those videos include:

  • Spyro the Dragon
  • Metal Gear Solid
  • NFL Xtreme
  • MLB ’99
  • Resident Evil 2

Gex alone would have made me play this disc nonstop. I am interested in Hot Shots Golf since it was developed by Camelot Software as well. I know the age of demo disc are a thing of the past, but it is sometimes fun to play old demos and see what a game was at a certain point of development. I’ll pop that seal off one day and do some investigation.

The Final Fantasy Legend. Probably the rarest game that I found in the crate. The Final Fantasy Legend was the first game in the SaGa series that was renamed for us in the states for better sales I’m guessing. I have only played two games in the SaGa franchise and I enjoyed what I played. While this doesn’t have the Free Scenario gameplay that the later titles implement, it might be fun to play an old school RPG and discover its charm. Right now you can play this game on the Switch via the Collection of SaGa if you don’t want to hunt down a copy.

Shadow Madness? Never heard of it. For some reason I get budget title RPG vibes from this. If you have played this game before and loved it, let me know. It looks interesting based on the information on the back of the case. Too bad I won’t be able to test that theory since…

There was no game in the case. How are you going to tease me with this terrible looking game that could be amazing? I’m not going to lie and said this made me want to find the game even more, because while nice I don’t have any intention to seek this out. But why would my FIL just pack an empty case? Did he believe that there was something inside and just packed it in haste? Or, was there something else hidden on the other side of the case (since this is a multi-disc case). Sure enough, I open the other side of the case and found this.

Original release copies of the Final Fantasy Anthology. Why is this here!? Did he lose the case to this at one point and decided to hide them away in a place no one would think to look? Regardless, this might have been my second favorite find out of everything that was packed. I already own these games for the PlayStation, but my copies are the Greatest Hits rereleases that replace the disc art with a generic label. I think that’s what made me excited about finding this since the disc art on these are gorgeous. Final Fantasy V’s disc has the four heroes in different job class outfits. I don’t think I have ever seen this artwork before, so it is a neat bonus. Final Fantasy VI’s disc has the iconic artwork of Terra on the magitek armor overlooking the capital of Vector (I think). Look, I just find this really neat to have since I miss the days of effort in packaging an item. Am I eager to play these…ehh maybe one day when I have the patience to tolerate load times. I do own both of these for the GBA, so it might just be a crossing off my list type of ordeal.


That does it for the games that I found in here. Not all the games I found were bad, just games that will be hanging around until I get the curiosity of playing one day. That doesn’t end all of the other things that were included in this package. There were other random things in there, like tons of PS1 controllers. Most of them were all third party controllers with some I just outright tossed since they were sticky and falling apart. I did keep most of them including a wireless PS1/2 controller that has the L2 and R2 buttons further down the bottom of the controller. I honestly like the design of it since the button rest where my middle fingers would on the dualshock controller. I have to make sure that the receiver that was in the case is the correct one and see if it still works.

As much as the controllers were cool, they were pointless to me since I don’t own an original PlayStation. I came in late to the PlayStation game by getting a PS2 right as the PS3 came out and was the new kid on the block. I had the chance of getting a PS1, but I had no way of justifying the $7 USD price tag and purpose at the time. That’s no longer an issue now since towards the bottom of the container was my FIL’s PlayStation.

The collector side of me is happy since I now almost have a complete PlayStation console collection (looking at you PS5). I may now play my PS1 games through the original console for that “authentic experience.” All I am missing now is the CRT TV.


And that is where the highlights end. I hope this was entertaining for you as it was for me to randomly pull these out of Gordan’s can. My in-laws do want the cooler back, so unfortunately that will not be rotting away in my backyard. There were a few other miscellaneous items inside, but they weren’t much to talk about. There are more boxes to go through that have come from my in-laws house, so if I find anything else interesting that’s worth talking about, I might post them up on my Instagram (trying to force myself to post more there). If you would like for me to do another box opening post in the future, then I would need to go like thrift shopping or visit yard sales or something. Magical boxes full of video game items just don’t show up at my door all the time, so don’t hold your breath something else like this will happen again.

Thanks for reading,

DanamesX

Obligatory Post About Gaming This Decade

It is hard to believe that we are leaving the 2010’s and moving into the 2020’s. It felt like 2010 was yesterday and that everything in between happened in a blur. While a lot of things happened to me personally over the past decade, this post is not about that. Instead, I want to take a look at each decade and point out three games from each year that meant the most to me. It was hard to come up with one game to hold my heart for each year, so with me highlighting three games it makes me feel a little less guilty of not recognizing some of my favorite games. I will be using an arbitrary tier list of Bronze, Silver, and Gold to differentiate my favorites. My taste are way different from others, so please don’t be up in arms if (insert game here) is not on my list. Without further delay, let’s get in to it.

2010 – The Beginning of the Decade

Bronze – Yu Gi Oh! 5D’s Tag Force 5

This may still be one of my favorite Yu Gi Oh! games. I have sunk so many hours into this game and will still play it on occasion. I know that it is follows an outdated ruleset now, but there is some simple pleasure of playing games by old rules.

Silver – Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies

This was my second Dragon Quest title after XIII. While I was a little put off of it at first, I came to realize how great of a game this was. The ability to create your team and yourself was new to me as well as inviting other players to join your game. My younger brother and I used this feature countless times and it became the one game that we would play all the time. Here’s hoping that we will get a remastered version one day on the Switch!

Gold – Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver

How do you make my favorite Pokemon generation better? Update everything and add new content to blow the original out of the water. I played SoulSilver and I loved everything about it. From Pokemon following behind you to the added content, these games are almost perfect in my eyes.

Honorable Mentions:
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars
Final Fantasy XIII
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey
Monster Hunter Tri
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Xenoblade Chronicles
Persona 3 Portable
Civilization V
Etrian Odyssey 3: The Drowned City
Golden Sun: Dark Dawn

2011 – Fun Times

Bronze – Pokemon Black and White

While HeartGold and SoulSilver are the pinnacle DS Pokemon games to me, Black and White are a close second to me. I was put off by the idea of only using new Pokemon only at first, but I grew to really enjoy that mechanic and I would not mind revisiting the idea in a future title. It allowed me to understand these new Pokemon and break out of my comfort zone of finding mons that I was familiar with. I would not have learned the destructive power of Garbodor if not for this restriction.

Silver – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Oh Skyrim. So many adventures traversing the region and discovering new things. The beauty of Skyrim is that no two play sessions are the same depending on what you are doing. If you get bored of a normal existence, there are a plethora of mods for the game that make it re-playable all over again. And if you never have to worry about this point on how to play the darn thing since its on every console and now appliances!

Gold – Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3

What! A mediocre game beats a game like Skyrim for my personal favorite? Why yes! Even though I only got around to play this in 2014, I hold it high as one of my favorite games of all time. When I first got my PS3, this was the first game that I pick up for it and nearly platinum it (pesky online achievements). I had just graduated from college at the time so I had a lot of free time on my hands while looking for a job. This game got me through a lot of solitary days and reignited my passion for getting good at games (even though this is not a hard game unless you are playing on the hardest difficulty). That is why this is my favorite game that came out in 2011.

Honorable mentions:
Bastion
Radiant Historia
You Don’t Know Jack
Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy
L.A. Noire
Sonic Generations
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

2012 – Meh…

Bronze – Pokemon Black 2 and White 2

Black and White 2 had some really good moments and ideas, but for me I still prefer the first games. The inclusion of the Pokemon World Championships was a fun challenge that kicked my butt all the time and made me start thinking strategically and cautious about my teams stats and move set. The story felt weak, but it was nice to see another direct sequel to a generation.

Silver – The Last Story

I have a feeling most people have either played, heard, or remember this title. This was one of the last big games that hit the Wii along with Xenoblade Chronicles and Pandora’s Tower. While Xenoblade got all the attention, I really enjoyed my time with The Last Story (so much that I finished it while I have yet to finish Xenoblade yet). It would be cool to see either a remake or a sequel to this game but chances seem low since its developer, Mistwalker, has not made a console game since.

Gold – Persona 4 Golden

I bought a Vita to play this. Worth it.

Honorable Mentions:
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2
Tales of Graces f
Xenoblade Chronicles
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Liberation Maiden
Guild Wars 2

2013 – The Year of the 3DS

Bronze – Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

2013 marked the year I got my first real job; and the first thing I did with my first paycheck was buy a Nintendo 3DS and two games. This was one of the first games I bought and sunk many hours into. This game helped with me finding my expertise in gaming and made me appreciate playing difficult games. People may dunk on the swimming mechanic and all I can say is “get gud.”

Silver – Fire Emblem Awakening

The second game that I got for my 3DS was this title. This may be the last Fire Emblem game that I truly enjoyed and wouldn’t stop playing till the end. The marriage system was kinda weird at first, but it made more more cautious of support relations in order to build a stronger army. Though if I am to be honest, I do not think every title going forward needs to have forced romance and fan service (I’m looking at you Fire Emblem Fates).

Gold – Animal Crossing New Leaf

Guys, I’m afraid of Animal Crossing New Horizons. If it is going to be anything like New Leaf, my world is going to revolve around me playing it from sunrise to sunset. The mayor mechanic was addictive. For the first time you had almost complete control of how your village looked and operated. With a lot of quality of life updates and thousands of ways to customize your experience, New Leaf has the honor of being the second game that kept me glued to my 3DS.

Honorable Mentions:
Mighty Switch Force! 2
Project X Zone
Shin Megami Tensei IV
Tales of Xillia
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Grand Theft Auto V
Pokemon X and Y
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

2014 – Another Meh Year

Bronze – Bravely Default

This was an interesting RPG to me. I liked the style of the game and the customization options that we available. I made it my job to make the most broken combination that I could think of and I think I came close. I will admit that repetition did kill me at the end and I was ready to be done with it at that point. I have not touched the sequel ever since it came out, so let’s hope that it fixed my issue. Also, I am really looking forward to Bravely Default 2 even though it has a confusing name.

Silver – Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call

Do you know what is better than Final Fantasy? The music in Final Fantasy! The soundtrack to all the Final Fantasies have always been one of my favorite aspects, so when you make a game focused all around the music I’m pumped! The second game added more songs, modes, and a good progression system to get you playing for hours on end. I doubt we will see that arcade version of the game anytime soon, but I would be down for a new Theatrhythm anytime (even that Dragon Quest one!).

Gold – Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS

I chose the 3DS version of this game not because I didn’t own a Wii U at the time, but it was the better version to me. Sure you may not have the accessibility of local co-op play with a system, but this experience let you smash wherever you went. Who needs a Gamecube controller when you got Smash Run; the best mode Smash ever made because it felt like Kirby Air Ride! I also enjoyed the stages in the 3DS version more than the Wii U version, but this is all personal taste. It seems redundant to replay this version with Ultimate out now, but don’t tell me that you don’t sneak a round of Smash Run here and there!

Honorable Mentions:
Battleblock Theater
Tomodachi Life
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn
Tales of Xillia 2
Destiny
Tales of Hearts R
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth

2015 – GOTY

Bronze – Bloodborne

I didn’t play this game until 2018, but it was worth the wait. I don’t think I could have handled a game like this back in 2015, but 2018 Carlton made this game his. Unlike in Dark Souls (which I played before this) the rule was to be aggressive and act fast to the situation. There is no waiting game in Bloodborn. You find your opening, hit hard, fast, dodge, heal, and then get back in there. Your opponent is not going to wait for you, so why should you?

Silver – The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel

It has been a while since a game made me feel emotionally involved with its characters. I recently finished my first playthrough of this game and it left me feeling good and wanting more. The structure of the world may seem confusing at sometimes since the game tries to set up everything that it can while you play. The battle system is now one of my all time favorites and the level of customization is unbelievable. It may take me another three years to finish the second game, but I need to know what happens next and how the story unfolds.

Gold – Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

For how good Trails of Cold Steel is, it was not beating my favorite game of all time. Earlier I mentioned that Animal Crossing had the second most play time on my 3DS. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate takes the cake for the game that I played the most out of almost all the games I own. This game made me into the cocky bastard that I can be sometimes because it made me grow as a gamer. It taught me that experience in the game is not what makes me stronger and better, but the real life experience of improving little by little over time while taking on more difficult opponents. This game also gave me one of my favorite gaming moments when me and my friend took on the hardest monster by ourselves and won. For that, I will always cherish this game and appreciate it for helping me grow. On a side note, this is the game that almost destroyed my original 3DS by destroying the circle pad and the shoulder buttons. Rest easy my friend.

Honorable Mentions:
Dragon Ball Xenoverse
Final Fantasy Type-0
J-Stars Victory VS+
Yu Gi Oh! Legacy of the Duelist
One Piece: Pirate Warrior 3
Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below
Tales of Zestiria
Divinity: Original Sin

2016 – Most Memorable

Bronze – Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth

Digimon does not have the same appeal (and marketing) that Pokemon has. It does however have some of the most mature and dark themes that Pokemon wish that it could have. There has not been a Digimon game that kept me invested until I played Cyber Sleuth and it is one of the most underrated games that I know. Combat may be simple and the cutscenes may be cringe at some points, but this game delivers an impressive story and an addictive leveling mechanic that is not hard to understand and get the hang of. If you have a Switch, you have to get the complete edition that includes this title and the sequel. You won’t be disappointed.

Silver – Overwatch

Shooters have never really been my genre. I don’t find a lot of enjoyment in running around and just shooting other people (not because I’m bad at it T_T). That is why I enjoyed Overwatch so much. There is more to the game than just shoot the other team for points. There is cooperation with your teammates to ensure you work together to complete the objective. There are different characters that have different weapons and abilities so teams could look completely different. Overwatch is what I like about teamwork and fun gameplay to make each match a challenge or a walk in the park.

Gold – Pokemon Go

Originally I wasn’t going to consider this a game. But when I thought about the hype and involvement the people around me made when this game came out, I cannot ignore how influential it was in 2016. Everyone was out and about search for Pokemon everywhere. At my job we had a gym right outside, so we had a board and kept it updated on which team owned it. Pokemon Go was not a perfect game when it first launched, but it accomplished its goal in being fun, getting people to interact with one another, and to get our lazy butts off the couch.

Honorable Mentions:
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4
Stardew Valley
Dark Souls 3
Monster Hunter Generations
Pokemon Sun and Moon
Final Fantasy XV

2017 – “My Body Is Ready”

Bronze – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Such a legendary game! The Zelda formula went somewhat back to its roots at being a game about exploring the world and figuring out what to do next. The crazy and amazing things that you can do in this game is mindblowing and I am in the minority that does not mind the weapon durability system. This game would be higher on my list if I actually finished it. I completed one divine beast and then got stuck/lost in the Lost Woods. One day I will pick it back up and get out of there.

Silver – Sonic Mania

I played a lot of the genesis titles back in the day. Having a new Sonic game come out that played like a genesis game gave me full nostalgia and enjoyment. If we ever get a Sonic Mania 2 or something, I hope other new and forgotten characters are able to join the fray.

Gold – Persona 5

While I personally prefer the fourth entry, I cannot deny that this game has a lot of style and personality. I appreciate the new dungeon layout instead of the randomly generated level design previous games had. I also like the inclusion of the series demons being the enemies you fight instead of random masked things. It makes the series feel more like it belongs in the Shin Megami Tensei franchise than previous entries. While I did not fall in love with the game like my wife and friends, I’m hoping Persona 5 Royal fixes the small issues that I had and blows my mind.

Honorable Mentions:
Tales of Berseria
Puyo Puyo Tetris
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadow of Valentia
Tekken 7
Destiny 2
Monster Hunter Stories
Divinity: Original Sin 2
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
Gundam Versus
South Park: The Fractured but Whole
Super Mario Odyssey
Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon

2018 – Amazing Year

Bronze – Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

I honestly have not gotten far into this title as I would like, but the amount that I have played I’ve been enjoying. I would like to get the definitive edition since it has a full orchestral soundtrack, but my wife will not let me until I finish the PS4 version first -_-

Silver – Monster Hunter World

I was a bit worried at first that the Monster Hunter that I enjoyed would be toned down a bit for more casual play. While that was not the case, I would be lying if I didn’t say that I didn’t find this game as challenging as the previous. The quality of life changes are the best though, and I sometimes feel odd going back to the old play style. I have yet to touch Iceborne yet (mostly because I have burned myself out of Monster Hunter right now), but I have heard that it brings back the challenge of G-rank with other difficult monsters thrown in, so I am looking forward to that.

Gold – Super Smash Bros Ultimate

I remember freaking out when I saw the reveal trailer for this. Ever since, I was obsess with learning who the new fighters were and being blown away when I learned that all the characters from previous titles were in. I am not a competitive Smash player whatsoever and enjoy just having goofy fun times playing with familiar characters. With more characters being added this year and constant updates, it will be hard to play any other Smash game after this one.

Honorable Mentions:
DragonBall FighterZ
Dissidia Final Fantasy NT
Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition
Dark Souls Remastered
Octopath Traveler
Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate
Super Mario Party
Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu! and Let’s Go Eevee!
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon

2019 – Still Processing

Bronze – The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

GIVE ME THE ORACLE GAMES IN THIS STYLE PLEASE!!!!! This game was so charming and a blast to replay. Awakening was the first Zelda title that I finished on my own, and has been a favorite of mine. I already talked about my thoughts on the game so if you want to read about it you can find it here.

Silver – Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Sekiro gave me the same feeling that Bloodborne gave me. Sekiro gave me more chills actually than Bloodborne gave me, so take that as you will. I enjoy all of the combat and mobility at your disposal that all challenges become a game of chess almost. One wrong move can cost you the game, but if you are smart, you can make a comeback and win. I plan on finishing this game this year so by then I will have my full retrospective of it.

Gold – Pokemon Sword and Shield

I was not expecting this game to be so high on my list. A lot of people will criticize the inclusion of this game on any list, but for me there is a special reason why I love these games so much. There will be another post that goes into great detail about why these games mean a great deal to me and I hope you will understand my reasoning (article can be viewed here once it is published).

Honorable Mentions:
Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition
Jump Force
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
Super Mario Maker 2
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Yu Gi Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution
Ring Fit Adventure

So there you go! This past decade had a bunch of really good games with some that I still have not had time to sit and play. This decade is already off to a good start and I can’t wait to see what new experiences are on the way. Let me know if any of the games I mentioned were on your favorite game list and let me know of some titles that I may have missed. Here is to the new year and video games as a whole!

DanamesX

Advent Gaming Calendar 2019 Day 19: Suikoden II

Credit to SpaceRunaway’s YouTube Channel

Onto yet another game franchise where I (my wife) have all the games and I have yet to play any. When retirement hits me 50+ years from now maybe I will finally get to it. All of the intros to Suikoden are good, but the second on takes the cake for the one I enjoy the most.

A compressed but nice chorus intro shows important characters, key symbols, and fire; lots of fire. You see characters fade in and out with armies shown and the music getting more intense towards the climax. The music and visuals are executed perfectly together to pull the exact feeling that you should have during each scene. You should feel intimidated when crazy screaming man turns around while standing on top a hill of corpse (my favorite part of the opening). You should feel that there is hope somewhere out there with the shoot of the plant in the ruined town. Speaking of that shot, I feel that the opening would have been perfect if it ended there. It would give the player a sense of determination to get through the game in order to see a brighter future. Instead, we are treated to character images of what I assume to be all the characters in the game since there are around 108 characters that you can recruit. Nothing wrong with this part as it feels good that each character is represented as potential saviors in this story, but let’s be honest you will find the ones you like using and will stick with them. The others are completion fodder. Overall a solid resonating opening that is always fun to watch even when I do not know the story behind it (I refuse to look up the game’s story as I would like to be surprised when I do actually play it..eventually). I promise that this will be the last entry on a game that I have not played all the way through.

Tune in tomorrow for Day 20!

DanamesX

Advent Gaming Calendar 2019 Day 17: Wild Arms

Credit to ShinigamiKyo’s YouTube Channel

I do need to get around to playing Wild Arms one day. I have always had an interest in playing them, but I have never found the time to get around to doing that. It is an interesting mix of fantasy set in the wild west that is wholly unique to this day. The first Wild Arms was a success and things looked great, until it didn’t like back in 2007 when the last game came out. I am not sure what happened to the franchise afterwards, but people I know tend to praise the series for better or worse.

The thing that captivates me with this opening is all of its style. This opening reminds me of an old anime like Trigun or Cowboy Bebop. The setting is a fantasized wild west world where things look bleak and dusty. There are grave markers everywhere signifying that this is a harsh world where many people die for what they are searching for. As a contrast however, none of the characters shown have the look of despair, but more so of determination and resolve. There is never a shot of a robust town or lush forest to downplay the world of this game. Characters are mostly alone until the last shot with the three main characters. There are scenes of magic to show that there are mystical elements in play. These things help solidify the world to which you are about to embark on and it is a telling one. Again I have not played the game before, but I do really like this opening. Another great detail is the song choice for the opening. The guitar and whistle have strong connotations to the west and it brings the charm of the setting to life.

When I do eventually get around to playing this game I hope my thoughts about this opening change a bit. There could be hidden meanings behind the grave markers or the dog tag left on the specific one. I’ll give myself another year or three before I can fully appreciate this theme.

Tune in tomorrow for Day 18!

DanamesX