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)

August 2021 Report

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these end-of-the-month reports. The layout is mostly the same, but there will be some additional content included in these reports.

It feels good to get back in to writing. I say this as I’ve been struggling to sit down and actually write things out. The beginning of August saw some positive changes to my life as new possibilities are open to me. I was excited to start some new things and spend more time on the things, but as always, life sometimes has different plans. Work really picked up the second half of August with getting ready for the new school year and training some of our new part-timers. My schedule was altered these last few weeks, so any habits and motivations I had before then have to be reestablished. Luckily, things should be fairly constant now, so here’s to getting back into a normal routine.

Finished Games

Hey look! I have less responsibilities now. Meaning I can actually get games done! I managed to get three games done this month! Let’s see if I can keep this streak going next month (probably not since Tales of Arise is coming out).

Astro’s Playroom

Astro's Playroom Box Front

I didn’t make a big deal about it when I got it, but I was able to obtain one of those new fancy gaming devices that people have been after. In true fashion, I stumbled on what to play first, but I ended up going with Astro’s Playroom since it was preloaded on the system. For a tech demo, this has to be one of my favorites. I feel like I not only understand the hype behind the DualSense controller better, but I felt like this was a big ‘ol love letter to PlayStation’s history. It was fun to located all the easter eggs and find all the collectables since it felt like finding artifacts to put in your museum. The entire presentation and vibe just made it fun to play (so much that Kat ended up playing the majority of the game on my profile). I don’t think I will write a full Backlog Tale on this game since I basically said all I had to say right there. Definitely a better (and cheaper) tech demo demonstrating the PS5 than what Nintendo did with the Switch (would compare Xbox but they have no demos).

The World Ends With You: Final Remix

This month’s unexpected finisher was The World Ends With You: Final Remix. I just happened to start the game up on a whim one afternoon and eventually finished it a few days later. I was not prepared to get hooked on this game with its shitty controls on the Switch, but I ended up really enjoying the story in this game. Finishing the game on the Switch has compelled me to finish the original on the DS and eventually get Neo: The World Ends With You when I eventually get around to getting it. As I write this I am listening to the soundtrack on Spotify since I find it weirdly catchy. There will be a full Backlog Tale on this game coming next month.

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

The other big shocker to me is that I finished Dragon Quest XI a few days ago. This is a game that I have been playing off and on since 2019. It’s not a bad game, I’m just really bad at finishing games that I’ve started. I enjoyed playing this Dragon Quest and I can see why people praise it so highly. It’s definitely pretty and has one of the best cast of characters. I just have a few nitpicks with it that places it at my #2 Dragon Quest game. To find out more of my thoughts on this game, you will have to wait until I write about it in a Backlog Tale next month.


New Additions

Demon’s Souls

This was the game I was looking forward to playing the most when I finally acquired my PS5. I had two gift cards that I had to use up before I forgot about them, and this was one of those purchases. I played the original on the PS3, but oh boy do those framerates hold it back from being fun. I managed to play up to the part where I left of in the PS3 version, so now I am back at playing the game of trail and error to figure out where I’m going. Otherwise, I am enjoying this remaster.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD

You know, I’m just going to say it. Skyward Sword may be my favorite 3D Zelda title. It was the first one that I played and finished when it came out on the Wii. There is something about it that’s appealing to me where the other 3D Zelda games didn’t. I wasn’t planning on getting this anytime soon, but I had that second gift card and this was the first to catch my attention.

Samurai Warriors 5

Somehow this game escaped my radar. When I was getting the other two games, I saw an ad for it. I asked if they had a copy and they found a used copy that was cheap enough for me to buy it. So far this game is a comfort musou game that I was looking for this year. I did play Persona 5 Strikers, but that is more of a Persona game than a musou game. The only thing that throws me off in this game is the lack of a dash button since I’m used to having one. Other than that, I’m having fun playing this in burst when I just need to mow down hoards of people out of frustration.

Harvest Moon: Magical Melody

I found this in a second hand store (the same place where I seem to be finding a lot of good retro games). I have good memories of the other Harvest Moon game on the GameCube, Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life. I have never seen Magical Melody in the wild before, so I took this as a sign of good faith to get it. For an obscure GameCube game, I was surprise that it wasn’t expensive like other GameCube games. Nice to have this in the collection and I’m looking forward to giving this game a try.

Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town

I have never owned this game, and the only reason I got it was so that I could try the feature out on A Wonderful Life where you have to hook up the GBA game to the GameCube game via the link cable. Have I done it yet? No. I got too busy finishing the other games I was working on. I would say I would do it in September, but you know…Tales of Arise.

Harvest Moon: Back to Nature

YES I BOUGHT A THIRD HARVEST MOON GAME! SO WHAT! COME AND SUE ME IF YOU WILL! ….I saw it when I was getting Friends of Mineral Town and bought it as well because you can never have too much Harvest Moon. Just be happy I stopped there and didn’t pick up Save the Homeland as well.

Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland

Scarlet Nexus

Fantasy Sci-fi is hard for me to get into sometimes. Scarlet Nexus has my attention solely because it was made by present/former members of the Tales of series. Picked it up on sale. I will be going into this game blind since the only thing I know about this game is anime and psychic powers.

Prinny Presents NIS Classics Vol. 1

This compilation snuck in at the last minute; arriving at my door step yesterday evening. I preordered this a ways back and wasn’t expecting it to come in time since I was getting email from NIS America that the game was going to be late due to deluxe edition items arriving late. It didn’t make my top 10 games, but I adore Phantom Brave and it might be one of my favorite strategy RPG. Soul Nomad is a great bonus since I played the game on the PS2. Sadly I had to sell my copy since the game would freeze at the start of the final boss fight. Here’s hoping that doesn’t happen again.


Currently Playing

Since I just finished playing Dragon Quest XI, I don’t have any real plans currently. I want to do the post game content in Dragon Quest XI, but I don’t want to make that the main focus of my gaming time. I am about to embark on the Shadowbringers content for Final Fantasy XIV, so I am excited for that. The word is that Shadowbringers has one of the best stories in Final Fantasy, so I’m ready to see if the hype is real. Also if it seems like I am playing a lot of Square Enix games recently, I promise that it is just a giant coincidence.

Plans for Next Month

My current playlist is sparse right now since I am waiting for the release of Tales of Arise. If there were ever times to get me to stop playing something because something new was coming out, it would have to be a new Monster Hunter, Tales of game, or a new mainline Pokémon. After playing the demo for Arise, I am interested in seeing how the full mechanics playout and to get a real handle on combat. Using R1 for your standard attack is new and weird, but pulling off combos has never been easier and more fun. I’m going to have a good time with this game and hopefully I don’t procrastinate around to get it done.

Once I get off my lazy ass to do it, I hope to debut my Collection Tales series next month. Collection Tales are post where I talk about things in my collection and stories of how I came across them and the game itself. I’ve had the first one sitting in my drafts folder since about March, so I think it’s time to finish that up and get that series started.

50/50 Challenge Update

I had a good routine going on. I was exercising daily and made sure to keep track of everything. The work schedule change however ruined my routine and the heat outside had sapped the remaining energy out of me. I have not given up yet though! There shouldn’t be any schedule changes for me for the rest of the year, so I can reestablish my habits again. Unfortunately, I feel like I undid any work I put in at the beginning and feel like I’m back at square one. I don’t have a working scale at home, so I can’t monitor where I’m at throughout the week. In the next update post, I will have an update with how many pounds I’ve lost so far.

As for games, I am in a good spot right now. I don’t count Astro’s Playroom since I finished it before I started my challenge (got to keep those technicalities in there). If I can keep going at this pace, I should be able to meet my challenge goals (if I can stop playing 60+ hour RPGs).

Challenge Statistics:

Weight loss: ???
Pounds to go: 50

Games Finished This Month: 2
Total Games Finished: 2/50

That’s all I got this month. Here’s to seeing if I can regain my lost motivation and start kicking ass in September.

DanamesX