A long December and there’s reason to believe, maybe this year will be better than the last…
Greetings! It’s been a few….<ahem>weeks since my last post and I wanted to write up a quick update, if for no other reason than starting off the new year on the right foot. 2021 was a year full of ups and downs. There were many positives to be found in my third year on WordPress and second year on Twitch, along with some negatives as well. I found myself having a hard time feeling particularly motivated or engaged when it came to writing, especially the latter four months of the year where my output dropped to the point I have only managed to write three blog posts since September 26. I was still able to come up with different ideas that I liked, only to struggle to expand upon any of them as the times I would sit down at my computer to begin writing something, I ended up feeling unable to focus and compose any combination of words and phrases I was satisfied with. Stressing out about whether or not I’m able to do something consistently is counterproductive and I made it a point to not beat myself up too much about it – especially something I do purely for my own enjoyment. I ended up backing off a bit not only from WordPress, but also from social media and streaming a few different times over the year when I began to feel a bit overwhelmed. I’ve also noticed many others around the blogging community that have opted to go on hiatus over the course of the year, so it appeared I wasn’t alone in feeling like something was off and deciding to redirect some of that focus to rediscovering things that bring you joy and simply taking care of one’s self.
One consistent thing throughout 2021 was of course, video games. I found myself diving headfirst into gaming as an escape/diversion from everything else – endgame level grinding in Dragon Quest XI, obsessively working towards the platinum trophy in Returnal or simply playing Halo Infinite multiplayer for hours on end. There have been some great games that I played in 2021, whether released just this past year or not and I have been formulating a list of my favorites. I have a gaming blog, so it’s practically a rule that I make up an end of the year list, right? That should be completed sometime between now and this time next year…..keeping expectations in check and all.
It seems I’ve started rambling a bit, per usual, so I’d like to conclude this with wishing you all a happy new year full of great things and a sincere thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read/comment/share anything I’ve written on this site. It truly means a lot.
Quite often, gamers will reference their backlog of games as some sort of fantastical beast which must be vanquished and a source of shame if left unconquered. Blog/stream friends Kim from Later Levels and Solarayo from Ace Asunder, have created a monthly challenge dubbed #LoveYourBacklog in which you embrace your love of gaming rather than feel guilty about a backlog of unplayed games. Having a back catalogue of titles from which to pull a different game for every day of the week isn’t necessarily something to be embarrassed about, but rather evidence of the joy and enthusiasm video games can bring. I rarely ever hear others expressing any kind of guilt for having large film or music libraries, instead they are usually viewed as a reflection of their love for the medium. Your backlog of video games shouldn’t be any different.
In preparation for this year’s #LoveYourBacklog month, I managed to make a quick inventory of all the games in my collection, with a few exceptions(duplicates, mini-consoles, etc.). My final count was 792 different games – give or take a few, with that number being roughly split 50/50 between physical and digital versions of games. I have long wanted to attempt the task of compiling every game down on a spreadsheet or something similar, as I could then go into further detail regarding things like which games I’ve played, completed, or have yet to play. I may even work that into one of my #MaybeInMarch goals alongside completing a couple other games from the ‘ol backlog.
In addition to challenging those of us to embrace their piles(hard drives?) of games, Kim has also prepared a few questions/prompts to go along with discussing one’s gaming backlog, starting with….
The effect that the 2020 apocalypse had on your backlog
I don’t think any of the calamitous world events of 2020 had all that much of an impact on my backlog of games, actually. If I were to put blame on anything, I would say it was getting an Xbox One X and subsequently signing up for Game Pass Ultimate; along with finally building a gaming pc, giving access to Steam in its entirety that resulted in an avalanche of games new and old(ish) getting added to my already sizable backlog. Deciding what to play next has typically been less of a deliberate decision and more of whatever I happen to feel like playing at any given time, which is not a bad problem to have by any means, but that doesn’t always make it easy to FINISH games…
The oldest game in terms of release date
Rad Racer – The oldest game in my collection would have to be a copy of Rad Racer for the NES I got last summer. The game was originally released on August 7, 1987 – three weeks before Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest was released(the next-oldest game I own). I remember playing Rad Racer as a young kid and thinking how cool it was when the upcoming horizon would get dark, only for the far-off lights of the city to eventually illuminate the view from the lonesome highway. There’s also the area later in the game where you were driving through(around?) the Grand Canyon and would see the rocky cliffs ahead of you. I’d love to play this, along with quite a few other old NES games, but I don’t currently have a NES in order to play them. This is typically where I make impulse purchases like this and attempt to justify it to myself as something I can write about or potentially play on Twitch…
A game you bought on day one, only to not play it
I honestly don’t think I have a game for this one as if I was awaiting a game release eagerly enough to buy it day one, it’s pretty much guaranteed I at least played it within the next few days. There’s a few games that I’ve bought right around the time they were released and played for an hour or two, only to start playing(or resume) something else and never quite made it back. The most recent example of this would likely be Cyberpunk 2077, which I’ve only played for a few hours – not even reaching the title screen before setting it aside to finish up other games I was currently working on. I will resume Cyberpunk in the near future….no pun intended?
The game which has spent the most time on your backlog
Dynamite Headdy – There’s a couple games that could possibly be the one that has spent the longest time in my backlog without ever being completed, I’m certain it would be a game I got for my Sega Genesis as a kid and still happen to have in my possession. I could also mention the X-Men game for the Genesis(one of several, actually) for this question, which…..I’m not likely to finish anytime soon as there’s some notoriously difficult(i.e. cheap) enemies and boss fights. So, like last year’s #LoveYourBacklog post I’ll once again name Dynamite Headdy – one of the Genesis games that I’ve owned for many, many years and was never able to beat as a kid. I remember renting this game once or twice before I believe I got it from a Kay-Bee Toys from the big table of assorted Genesis games they had out on the main floor near the registers. The game itself is pretty cool – a neck-less, armless puppet who attacks enemies by firing its disembodied head at them. I remember liking the game quite a bit, but never finished it, likely due to it being fairly challenging, the same as any other game made by Treasure. Perhaps I’ll take another shot at finishing the game and write about it for the upcoming #MaybeInMarch tag…
The most recent addition to your library
Army Men RTS – I was sitting working a couple weeks ago and had the utterly random thought – “remember the Army Men games?”. I looked at all the games currently available on Steam and added a couple to my wishlist. It was only a couple days ago(Friday, I think?) that I was sent an email that Army Men RTS was currently available for only $1.74….what the hell, it has to be worth at least two bucks, right? The fact the game was developed by Pandemic Studios before they went on to make the original Star Wars: Battlefront games has me intrigued and I plan on playing through the game and writing up my impressions of it afterwards. As you can see, I don’t usually put in much thought before throwing yet another game on top of the pile…
The person responsible for adding the most entries to your backlog, due to their good recommendations
Umm….I could just take the easy road and point to the internet in general as being responsible for exposing me to far, far more games than I would have known about otherwise. We’ve come a long way since getting any gaming-related news and announcements exclusively through gaming magazines(showing age here). AAA games are very easy to keep track of as the average gamer remotely interested in upcoming games is aware of game releases due to the enormous marketing budgets afforded by the publishers. One area of gaming in particular that I appreciate is the abundance of quality indie games that don’t usually get the attention or exposure they deserve; this includes bloggers in our community that have introduced me to a number of interesting indie games….whether I’ve gotten around to playing them at this time or not. Just a few fellow gaming bloggers here on WordPress I hold “responsible” for this are – MagiWasTaken from Indiecator, Frostilyte from Frostilyte Writes, Kim from Later Levels, and McKenna from McKenna Talks About Games.
Let’s talk about video games. What’s a game that has been in your backlog for years and would like to get around to playing? What platform/system do you have the most games for? Let me know in the comments…