The Mound of Shame: My Gaming Backlog for 2013 - Tim Gruver Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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The Mound of Shame: My Gaming Backlog for 2013

 

(Note of the above: I’m not actually that behind. . . :P)

Like many gamers this time of year, I can look back at the year behind me with both pride and disappointment. No matter how many hours I’ve logged in with 2012’s titles, I can’t ever seem to keep up with the amount of old games currently in my backlog. Don’t get me wrong, 2012 had more than a few fun games to play, but so many escape me each year that they inevitably make the past just as interesting as any upcoming title. Okay, perhaps the picture above may be a gross exaggeration, but as 2013’s slew of games approaches us, I sometimes continue to be irked about how my gaming past will come back to haunt me. Each time I hear somebody chatting about their GOTY title or their favorite character, I feel a tad left out due to that one game I unfortunately never got a around to playing myself. With inside references, spoilers, and jokes a plenty, I can’t help but wonder what little gold mines of entertainment I might still be sitting on. Take a look, if you would, at the games I am dedicating at least part of 2013 to knocking off:

Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption [Status: Completed]

As much as a fan of both sci-fi and Nintendo, I’m greatly ashamed that I never delved into this earlier. Having played its two predecessors for the first time on the collection, I loved Metroid’s historic entry into theh 3D world and highly regard them as one of gaming’s best 1st-person shooters. I remember being all amped and ready to go for the trilogy’s final chapter, but then. . . nothing. I can’t remember what rival games were released at the time or what went on around home to interrupt this playthrough, but I’m nevertheless eager to rectify this big Metroid entry and finally discover the real Samus’s last great tale. In addition, after many fans’ angst over Other M, I am all the more motivated to see how Metroid Prime 3 did with one of Nintendo’s great legacies. 

[Status: Completed]

On the JRPG front, one of the interesting entries I’m still missing in my gaming accomplishments is Final Fantasy 9. It’s been said to be one of Final Fantasies last great entries and I’ve heard plenty of good things about its gameplay and memorable cast of characters. My brother’s already beaten me to this and regards this as one of his favorites for the Final Fantasy of old. Though part of me’s always been hesitant at starting the typically 30-50 hr. RPG, I don’t think I’d be much of a Final Fantasy fan without this one under my belt. 

Xenoblade Chronicles: [halfway there]

While I’ve technically had Xenoblade Chronicles sitting on the shelf since well into 2012, technical difficulties on the part of the house’s old, original Wii model just couldn’t get this started early enough in the year. That all change after the arrival of the far more powerful Wii U, however, and I’ve been chipping away at this regularly whenever I can. I’m only a mere 15 hrs. in and am already enjoying the story and characters quite a bit. I firmly believe that it’s one of the best JRPGs around in recent memory and am quite glad to be playing it. Being the intimidatingly long game that it is, though, I highly doubt I’ll be able to continue straight through and poor Xenoblade might eventually suffer being shelved. I’m very confident that Xenoblade will be the toughest of my backlog entries to finish and what much of my 2013 gaming will be dedicated towards.

Update: I'm now officially 45-50 hrs. through Xenoblade Chronicles and it's looking like I've finally gotten through halfway through the game. This summer's probably gonna distract a lot from poor Xenoblade with Animal Crossing: New Leaf having hit my 3DS and Pikmin 3 already on its way, but I feel like I'm close and love the story so far. Thus, I'm confident this won't be forgotten on my list anytime soon.

The Last Story

By now it may be obvious that the majority of my backlog is dominated by JRPGS and includes none other than the latest creation from Final Fantasy’s developers: The Last Story. As a fan of most Final Fantasy stuff, I’m embarrassed to say that, maybe like a lot of people, got this game on name recognition alone. I haven’t gotten around to playing it at all yet, but based upon fairly negative reception for this odd duck, I’m not exactly eager to dive in. Thus, Last Story’s probably towards the bottom of my backlog priority and even if only 25 hrs. or so, I’m not confident in liking what experience I might find.

Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes

Aside from gaming, my other big passion is Legoes, and that shines through with my desire to check out Lego Batman 2. I’ve kept up with nearly every Lego game since the first Lego Star Wars hit the PS2 during Revenge of the Sith’s release and have loved most of what Traveller’s Tales has done with my favorite franchises and building blocks. I also happen to love comic characters and with the combination of Batman in brick form and the whole Justice League, how could I say no? Lego Gotham’s free-roam cityscape looked great from day one of the game’s hype and I’m looking forward to when I can finally wreck every little brick truck and plane in sight with the Dark Knight and cohorts. With the announcement of a Lego Marvel game too, I’m just as interested in seeing what Lego Batman 2 has paved the way for in gameplay that may be an inevitable mold for Lego’s second round of superhero mania. 

Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force  [Status: Completed]

Perhaps the oldest game in my backlog, Elite Force isn't from this generation, but it's mostly the Star Trek nerd in me that's been aching to give this a looksee all the same. My brother picked this up from Gamestop quite a few months ago and, distracted from all the shiny, current-gen blockbusters lately to finish, I'm still curiously interested in this old-school game. Though obviously equipped with rather primitive graphics and less than robust gameplay, it's a Voyager game. From what I'm told, it has a storyline, shiny pre-rendered cutscenes, and even the majority of the show's cast to boot. Sure, I don't expect to go in playing a classic, but if enjoying a superficial bit of sci-fi fan-bait is always my cup of tea when it comes to wasting a weekend.

Lego Lord of the Rings [Status: Completed]

On top of superhero Legoes, I’m just as much of a fan of Peter Jacksons’s Lord of the Rings films as well. (the books, eh) It should go without saying, then, that Lego Lord of the Rings, with its tons of characters, gorgeous scenery, and comical tribute to some of LOTR’s best scenes is an automatic must-play for me. I love the detail and care put into the game’s look and like the trademark humor put into the Fellowship’s cast. I'll definitely pick this up when I have time and ad re-watch of the original films is probably to follow. Along with playing Lego Batman, the year of 2013 will then be one to decide which Lego game is the one to rule them all. 

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask

Whether it’s their challenges or just my sheer laziness, I hardly ever frequent puzzle games, but in the case of Professor Layton, I give a hoot about sliding puzzles and mysteries to solve. Perhaps it’s the franchises’s fine trademark of love-able characters and fun-filled stories that get me motivated enough for puzzles, but regardless, Layton’s annual releases have been keep me fiddling away at my 3DS just to keep up. It was only last fall that I finished 2011’s Last Spectre and for fear of getting behind, the latest entry of The Miracle Mask will definitely give me a reason to give my handheld some attention. Apparently The Miracle Mask isn’t stellar in comparison to series standards, but no matter how goofy the teenage Layton is, I will be loyal to the good doctor’s chronicles for a while to come.

Starfox 64: 3DS Remake  [Status: Completed]

Of my collection of age-old classic Nintendo titles to play, Star Fox 64 stands near the top of my list. Believe it or not, I was quite little when Star Fox first came out and at the time, I don’t think I was either very interested or very good at gaming yet to be doing barrel-rolls with Slippy and Falco. Since then, I’ve played a variety of Star Fox games including Assault and Command, but was waiting for the reported remake of 64 to experience it in all of its HD finest. With a new save feature and additional multi-player, I can’t wait to see how the game handles with so many great sounding touches. I’m just almost disappointed that I won’t be hearing Slippy’s original girl voice. Being such a short game, I know I’ll be easily finding time for this baby and know how 3D barrel-rolling looks to in this new century.

Paper Mario: Sticker Star  [Status: Completed]

The last big Nintendo handheld in my priority backlog is Paper Mario’s latest tale of Sticker Star. Thousand Year Door was one of my all-time favorites for the Gamecube and a stand-out among my childhood game gems, so I can in no way excuse myself from passing this one up. It may apparently not stand up to the level of Mario’s past RPGS according to many around me, but if I see any of the same hilarious dialogue and ludicrous characters like I love from Paper Mario, I’m set. 

Final Fantasy VII [Status: Completed]

  

The giant at the very top of my backlog list is probably the most iconic of all those mentioned. Claimed by many to be one of the very best Final Fantasies and even JRPGS of all time, I’ve always thought it high-time for me to finally play Final Fantasy 7 to see the buzz for myself. I’ve found many classics to be overrated, but on the other hand, I never try and judge any game I’ve never had proof against. Players of the older generations constantly refer so many of Final Fantasy’s greatest moments and I have to see if my gamer experience might be lacking without this famed entry.

Any Ace Attorney Game: [Status: Gett'in there]

If never having gotten into a a triple A Japanese handheld series was a crime, then I'd be sweating in my seat in court for never once in my life having played an Ace Attorney game, either with Phoenix Wright or anyone else. As much love for the dashing man in blue as many of my friends on this very site seem to have, it's only right that I at last make the effort to go with the flow for cracking my first case. After all, who's to say that the lawyer who prosecuted Galactus in Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 is a push-over?

Psychonaughts:


Psychonauts is a blind purchase on my part. Aside from the rave buzz surrounding it, I technically haven't ever researched much about it. It's one of the top PS2 classics out there, and I somehow have good feelings about decidedly quirky, cartoony games with a personality. I like the premise of weird kids with neat telekinetic abilities, but is it any good? I'll see if my time as a pyschonaut is worth the mere $5 I paid for it on the PSn. I hope it is out of my love for defending cult classics.

Last Gen Splinter Cells:

I've been a long-time Metal Gear fan, yet Tom Clancy's rival stealth-action series has always eluded me. Maybe Snakes have always satisfied me over Fishers, but as much as I love the genre, I'm fully obligated to try out the beloved series. Splinter Cell 1, Chaos Theory, and Pandora tomorrow are all on my to-do list for this year even as Blacklist nears its arrival and my backlog's too-cool for school sneakiness. 

The Long, Winding Road Ahead

Amidst its other releases, 2013 will be a testing year for my gaming. I fully intend to blog around this time next year with a full update on whether any of these titles were vanquished once and for all form my backlog. Hopefully I’ll get a least half of these in the marked off in my mental check-list and will be able to more fully appreciate new stuff to come. So, have any memories of these games of your own? Any of these that I shouldn’t bother with ever? Thanks for reading my self-absorbed thoughts and glad to for another year of video-games. 

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