Coming Clean


Happy New Year to any Russian spam-bots reading this.
When I started this blog, it was to chronicle what to me was a daunting duration of time without buying video games. I didn’t know if I could do it, and I don’t know how committed I actually was to actually accomplishing my task.

Full disclosure: I’ve bought some games since starting My Year of Backlogs. If you looked at the last entry with a discriminating eye, you would notice I’ve played games that released after my October 9 start.

I won’t mention all the games I ended up picking up during Black Friday sales and the like, but I will say it is both more than I’d like to admit but less than in years past. And most of them were iPhone games, because I still haven’t determined whether those count or not.

The one I will mention is XCOM: Enemy Unknown, because it’s my 2012 Game of the Year. I know Dishonored was my muse for this blog – and that is a damn fine game – but XCOM is so strategic, so habit-forming, so satisfying… It’s also a pretty long campaign.

A small but significant feature is being able to customize your soldiers. This means giving them the name and likeness of people you know. I’ve done this for all but the “bonus” characters. This means I owe a couple friends an apology, as they were KIA. However, that’s a small price to pay for the personal touch this game affords you. If you can afford it, I suggest you pick it up.

Okay, stop looking at me like that. I also got The Walking Dead (PC) – many outlets’ selection for Game of the Year – but I’ve only played about 45 minutes of it.

My game buying: 2012 vs. 2011

Every year, Game Informer magazine makes a list of their top 50 games of the year. I was an editor for them for 4 years, so I at least pay attention to the list. This year, it’s a great way to gauge just how little I’m buying games.

Of the 50 games on the 2012 list, I own 9 of them, and have beaten 4 of those 9. Not a bad record for your average gamer. Here are the 9 games:
Journey (beaten)
Mass Effect 3 (beaten)
Dishonored (beaten)
10000000 (beaten)
Asura’s Wrath
Dragon’s Dogma
Final Fantasy XIII-2
XCOM
The Walking Dead

I decided to revisit the 2011 list. I own(ed) 32 of those games, and have beaten 8 of them. Now, some may have been purchased in 2012, so there’s not a direct correlation. Still, it’s a big difference, isn’t it? That’s 350% more than the 2012 list, but I beat only 25% of them compared to 45% of the 2012 games, even with the extra time. I guess that shows a portion of my backlog. Here’s the list of games owned/beaten from the 2012 list:
Bulletstorm (beaten)
Portal 2 (beaten)
LA Noire (beaten)
Gears of War 3 (beaten)
Dark Souls (beaten)
Batman: Arkham City (beaten)
Uncharted 3 (beaten)
Skyrim (beaten)
Little Big Planet 2
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
Dead Space 2
Marvel vs. Capcom 3
Killzone 3
Radiant Historia
Crysis 2
Mortal Kombat
The Witcher 2
Infamous 2
Shadow of the Damned
Bastion
El Shaddai
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Jetpack Joyride
Driver: San Francisco
Dead Island
NBA 2K12
RAGE
Super Mario 3D Land
Rayman Origins
Saints Row: The Third
Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Infinity Blade 2

Christmas in November!

No, my headline is not referring to Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday deals (though I will admit to breaking my game-buying ban thanks to Steam & The Walking Dead. Oh well, back on the horse). I mean I just played Sonic Generations for the first time.

What does that have to do with the Christian gift-giving event? That’s when I received the game, back in Christmas of 2011. It was one of 2 games I asked for (and received). The other was NBA 2K12, which I first played on May 23, 2012. So, it took me six months to play one of the games I got last Christmas, and almost a year to play the other. Not a very good track record. See why I started this project?

But Sonic Generations is pretty sweet so far. I only played maybe a half hour – long enough to go through the first two worlds both as new-ish and classic Sonic. I even liked the crazy 3D sections which will take up half the game. I put the voiceover on Japanese and turned on captions, just because I thought it would capture the vibe a little better.

I had the first two Sonic games back on the Genesis, and played a ton of both. Not sure if I beat either one without using the debug code, however. I ignored Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, but did catch Sonic CD – which became my favorite game of the franchise. It holds up pretty well on iPad, too. Maybe I oughtta go back and play Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles one of these days, via the amazing Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection.

All About The Paper… Mario.

In a 24-hour period, I completed two games I started a LOOO0000oooong time ago: Super Paper Mario (Wii) and Puzzle Agent (iPhone).

The first was a game I reviewed back in 2007. I got about 11 hours in, but never completed it. Kate and I started from scratch a couple months back, and played through it. It’s funny, adorable, entertaining, insulting, redundant, innovative, ugly, and clever. I’m glad we played it. And I’m glad I had someone alongside me who would help me voice all the characters and read their dialog.

Not sure what we’ll pick as our next play-together game. Driver: San Francisco? iNFAMOUS 2? Silent Hill 2? Zelda: Skyward Sword? Luckily, I can use my as-yet-unplayed Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story as a backlog replacement for the new Paper Mario: Sticker Story.

Puzzle Agent is by Telltale Games, who is keeping the adventure genre alive with episodic titles like Back to the Future and The Walking Dead. This game is closer along the lines of Professor Layton, except the story is along the lines of if Fargo and X-Files had a baby. I rarely ever had a time when I played it extensively, and really the last year I’ve barely touched it. I just fired it up on my new iPhone 5 while synching Kate’s iPhone 5. Four puzzles later, it was over. Okay then.

In other news, I’ve decided to not include any video games on my Christmas list. I originally thought this would be a good workaround for my year of backlogs, but decided it would be akin to cheating. And I’m no cheat… at least, as far as you know.