A Year Of Progress

Hard to believe it’s been over a year since I joined the Backloggery.   A lot of things have happened in that time.  I went from using the site as a place to organize my gaming collection to my current home.  It’s been a long journey.  I would have never thought I’d be so involved in the community a year ago.  I think what really helped me was finding a place where I could continue blogging after I left 1up at the very beginning of this year.  I tried to run a group blog with some people I knew from a forum, but I ran into a lot of problems.  I abandoned it and shut it down once I joined the Masters of Unlocking.  So yeah, here I am.

If there is one thing that I can say about my first year on the Backloggery, it’s that it changed the way I played games forever.  Over the years, I amassed a large gaming collection.  A lot of games in my collection were those that I would play for a while and then stop to move on to something else.  This is what usually happened with my RPGs.  I was pretty lucky if I managed to finish a game considering how many games I owned.  My collection would be a lot bigger, but I was always selling and trading in games as I bought more.  Because I used to count Formerly Owned, Other, and Borrowed games in my collection, I can’t say how many games I owned last December.  I also can’t tell you how many Unfinished I used to have around that time because I nulled titles that I haven’t started playing.  If I were to guess, I would say that I had around 80-85 Unfinished games when I joined the Backloggery.  I started going back through my old games right away, playing the many PS2 games that I bought and never really played.  Blame that on my old gaming habits.  I started out with short games like Area 51, Sonic Rush, and God of War and even finished games soon after buying them.  It was a new idea that I’d finish Chrono Trigger DS within a month of buying it.  The old me would have never done that.  In fact, that was the first game I beat this year.  I soon began to tackle other RPGs, like Persona 4, one of the longest games in my collection.  That game took up a lot of my time and I’m amazed that I was able to finish it while dealing with school at the same time.

I didn’t start keeping track of my Unfinished count until this summer.  Now that I was out of school, I had plenty of time to work on games I wasn’t able to play because of college.  I could have used the time to work on some of the bigger RPGs, but I put that off for much later.  At the beginning of July, my :U: count was at 70.  This was thanks to me beating a number of games at school and getting rid of the ones I knew I wouldn’t enjoy.  Otherwise, I sat through my games and played them to the end.  This meant sitting through some rather difficult games like God Hand, a game that wore out one of my PS2 controllers.  Bak’laag was going to take the better of me thanks to me buying and getting a ton of games through trades, but I fought back in what was the Summer of the Beat.  For every game I bought or obtained, I finished a lot more.  My greatest accomplishment this summer was beating my N64 collection.  Granted, it was a matter of going back to old files and finishing what should have been done years ago, but at least they’re Beaten or Completed.  Had I focused entirely on lengthy RPGs like Final Fantasy XII or Dragon Quest VIII, I could have come close to becoming a Minion of Bak’laag.  But I didn’t.

September

By the time my summer was over, my Unfinished count was at 63.  That doesn’t seem like a lot between July and August, but it was thanks to my assault on Bak’laag that my backlog didn’t go up this summer.  So I go back to school and work on the games I could fit within my time schedule.  My first plan of action in September was to go after my Virtual Console collection.  I bought a ton of games in 2006, 2007, and 2008, many of which I played for a bit and left unfinished.  I knew I wasn’t going to play through everything I had, so I trimmed my collection and took out any games I wasn’t serious about playing.  By that, I mean I deleted them from the Wii.  I can always add them as long as I re-download and start them again.  That cut my backlog for that list by a lot.  This meant that I had 3 games left to beat: Castlevania, Kirby’s Adventure, and Super Metroid.

Castlevania was short, but made up for the difficulty.  I lost count of how many retries it took to defeat Death and then Dracula.  I managed to beat the game, though.  Kirby’s Adventure wasn’t too bad, so I wanted to do that first before taking on my last Virtual Console game: Super Metroid.  I can understand why people love Super Metroid so much after playing through it in September.  It’s how everything works together to deliver a great experience.  The last game was beaten, the Virtual Console list was at peace.

I wandered from game to game, not having any agenda to finish off my next console.  I wandered to Phoenix Wright: Justice For All as my first game after finishing the Virtual Console collection.  It wasn’t as good as the first game, but the fourth and last case was totally worth it.  The next game was a trial of manliness.  That game was Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero.  Orpheon was trying to convince me to play this game for the longest time, so I finally gave in.  It is one of the manliest games I have ever played.  If I thought platformers today were soft, this game gave me a whooping.  I swore and almost threw my PSP multiple times as I ran through deadly levels and hard-as-hell bosses.  Don’t get me started on the Chefbot boss.  I almost drove myself crazy when I tried to do a no sleep until clear.  I was so happy when I beat the game that I probably flexed upon defeating the last boss.  Oh yeah.

The next game on the list was The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.  It was just a matter of going through the City in the Sky, the Twilight Realm, and Hyrule Castle back to back since I spent enough time exploring Hyrule.

October

I then moved on to The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.  I did the crazy move of finishing the game within a week.  I pulled the longest no sleep until clear to date for that game, playing from 6 pm on a Saturday evening to 7:30 am on Sunday morning.  The Triforce quest took me such a long time that by the time I got to Ganon, the sun was already up.  I defeated him and took a short gaming break to recover from my lack of sleep.  When I got back into my gaming mood, I finished Klonoa 2: Dream Champ Tournament.  In a nutshell, it was Klonoa 2 Lite.  A few days later, I would finish Viewtiful Joe 1 for the Gamecube on Kids Mode.  I ended up using 3 Continues, all on Fire Leo.  After that, I sped up my progress on a game I was working on and off for a while.  That was Final Fantasy III DS.  Once I figured out where I needed to go in my file, I prepared myself for a ton of level grinding.  I spent hours storming the Crystal Tower and the World of Darkness, only to be met with a soul-crushing defeat by the Cloud of Darkness.  I was in such a bad mood when that happened, I actually went to sleep early that night.  So I took on the last dungeon again the following day and won that time.  My party was a Dragoon, a Devout, a Summoner, and a Dark Knight.  Unfortunately, both screens went black during the credit sequence, but the deed was done.  I finished Final Fantasy III and never looked at the game again.

I went on to Complete Pikmin 1.  Thanks to multiple playthroughs of the game in the past, I was able to do an extraordinary job on Pimin 1 this time around.  I managed to get all 30 spaceship parts with 24 days, and that was with the room I left for screwups.  I could have easily finished the game within 22 days, but I screwed up against the last boss and saved over my file by accident.  I had to spend a day to rebuild my forces and then the next day to kill the boss.  At least I finished the game.  I still find it hard to believe that people can finish the game within 9 days.  That’s enough to drive me crazy.  Then again, that’s Master Run material.

I went into a gaming lull for the rest of the month.  I didn’t know where to focus my gaming progress and then decided to beat the rest of my Gamecube games.  I focused a lot of my attention on Tales of Symphonia, a game I started right before going back to school and then playing on and off since leaving home.  It took me a while to get through the game and I usually saved my progress for the weekend.  I had time at most for level grinding during the weekdays because I had to do a little of it if I wanted to survive.

November

To avoid potential RPG burnout,  I bought Splosion Man off Xbox Live and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 for the 360 from Best Buy not long after it came out.  Splosion Man took me about two or three days since I didn’t feel like doing most of the game in one sitting, seeing how the levels got very frustrating near the end.  Still, Splosion Man has one of the best video game endings of this year.  Watch it if you haven’t seen it already.  Beating the game made the ending sequence all the better.  Modern Warfare 2, as a lot of people know, had a very short campaign mode.  I did most of the game within a Friday afternoon.

It was time for me to get back into Tales of Symphonia and really make a drive to finish the game.  I enjoyed the game along the way and while it isn’t the great game that people like to make it out to be, it is a very good introduction to the Tales series.  I can understand why it did so well when it came out and why it gained the fanbase it has.  I now want to get Dawn of the New World for the Wii.  Even if it isn’t the greatest Tales game, I still want to get it.

Then I worked on Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, a very fun game that runs a very close second as my favorite Paper Mario game in the series.  The Pit of a Hundred Trials, an optional challenge with the toughest boss of the game waiting at the end, can wait another time.  I played through the game within the matter of a week.  I everymanned the fight against the Shadow Queen, the last boss of the game, despite being prepared for the fight after two failed attempts.  The fight was fairly long, lasting about an hour, but it didn’t drag on nowhere as much as the final boss in Persona 3.  I don’t think any last boss fight is longer than that.

With that, I hit 50 Unfinished.  By getting rid of games that were generally bad and not interested in playing and thanks to my continued fight against Bak’laag, I hit my main gaming goal for this year.  I could have slowed down my gaming progress now that I had hit my goal of 50 Unfinished games by the end of this year, but I wanted to bring it down even further.

My next victim was Dissidia: Final Fantasy.  I bought the game around the time it came out and put it away on my shelves for the time being while working on some other games.  I pulled it out again around Thanksgiving and did a straight run through Story Mode.  This meant finishing Destiny Odyssey with all 10 Characters and then completing all 4 chapters of Shade Impulse with Squall, my character of choice.  I had to do a little bit of level grinding, but doing most of my progress on my Bonus Days made a lot of difference.  Chaos, the last boss of the game, was arguably one of the most frustrating and annoying bosses I have fought in a while.  It didn’t help that the fight was accompanied by one of the most ill-suited songs for any final boss battle.  Seriously.  Every time I thought I was doing well, I would manage to screw up and lose the battle right away.  Eventually, I beat him.  It took a lot out of me, I had to say.  I could do a lot more in Dissidia now that a lot of new options and modes have opened up, but I’m done with the game as far as I’m concerned.

December

I took things easy by playing through Super Paper Mario.  I wrote about it in a review post, but again, I enjoyed the game for what it was.

For now, my Unbeaten count rests at 48.  I expect it to rise soon because I may be getting some games later this month.  Then again,  I may not be getting a lot since I had to get my laptop replaced since I broke my old one on the way back home.  I ended up getting a Sony Viao, so I’m now a PC user.  Goodbye Mac, hello PC.  I’ve been working on and off on Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance.  It’s easily one of my favorite Gamecube games of all time and after dropping the disappointment that was Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon for the DS, I was reminded why I got into the Fire Emblem series in the first place.  The cast of characters and the intensity of the battles have kept me playing this game.  It moves at a slower pace than the seventh Fire Emblem game and Sacred Stones for the Game Boy Advance, but I really don’t care at this point.  I’m having fun.  That is all.

If I’m not playing Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, I’m playing Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations.  I’m on the first case.  Not much to say so far, but it’s already better than the second game.

I’ve managed to reduce my Unfinished from around 80-85 to 48, but my biggest battles have yet to come.  While I finished off a lot of games, I still have a lot more to finish.  Over half of those games are RPGs.  A good majority of them will take me a while to finish.  I’m going to be hard pressed to find the time to play them seeing how busy I’ll be next year.  I may save Final Fantasy XII or Dragon Quest VIII for next summer.  At least I don’t have to play through Persona 3 FES or Persona 4, two of the longest games I’ve finished to date.  Persona 3 FES ate up my summer last year and Persona 4 took me a good amount of time for the first half of this year.  If I want to remain on course on my quest to defeat Bak’laag, I will either have to seriously cut back on the amount of games I get or finish them as soon as I buy them.  It’s going to be a long battle against Bak’laag next year, but maybe I’ll make it well into the Final 20 by the end of this year.

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~ by WanderingMind on December 17, 2009.

3 Responses to “A Year Of Progress”

  1. Congratulations! That’s quite the progress, cutting down nearly half of your backlog in such a short amount of time!

    For me, I average about 20hrs of gaming per month only! I’ve been keeping track of my hours for two years now, and have amassed a workable graph of my estimated backlog hours, completion patterns, gaming patterns, etc. It’s quite the reality check when you get it all down in numbers.

  2. I would imagine so. My gaming has slowed down a bit now that I’m in Japan, but I’ve been getting much use out of my DS Lite on the trains and subways. Sorry for the late reply. ^^

  3. Recently, I’ve been hitting gaming quite hard. 47hrs in January! That’s over twice my norm! It’s 20hrs more than when I was gaming last year in January!

    A lot of heavy emphasis on portable gaming for sure! Public transit is the perfect time to play.

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