Big series I’ve given a miss

Some series are considered classics that every gamer should play. It’s therefore a surprise when you meet someone who hasn’t completed at least one entry from them. For example, how many people do you know who haven’t finished at least one The Legend of Zelda release?

I have to hold my hand up here. Yes, I have fond memories of playing Ocarina of Time with my brother when we were kids and The Wind Waker with my stepson more recently, but that doesn’t mean we completed them. In fact, there are a number of well-known series where I’ve either not finished a game or haven’t tried one at all, because they’ve just not appealed to me or I’ve been distracted by other titles. Here are eight more franchises in addition to The Legend of Zelda that I still need to get my teeth into.

Assassin’s Creed

My brother gave me his copy of the first Assassin’s Creed game to try out over a decade ago and I do remember finding the first couple of hours enjoyable. I liked the contrast of the different story elements and the visuals were rather pretty. But my overall feeling was one of boredom: the missions were a rinse-and-repeat mix and I just couldn’t be bothered to complete any more of them. I put down the controller then, and that has made it hard to go back to the series since – although a lot of people have told me the later releases do get better.

Borderlands

I’ve never understood the fuss about Borderlands. Although I have friends who rave about the series, it’s not one which has ever appealed to me and I haven’t played any of the games. In fact the only dealing I’ve had with the franchise is briefly participating in a tabletop-RPG based on its world perhaps eight or so years ago. Dan over at nowisgames.com is a big fan and I’m sure he’s going to tell me I need to rectify my lack of experience; but after hearing his thoughts about Borderlands 3, it doesn’t sound like something I need to worry about too much right now.

Fallout

My stepson has been obsessed with its post-apocalyptic world for years; several blogger friends have told me I really need to play the series; and I previously promised a stream to Rob from Bandicoot Warrior. So why haven’t I started Fallout yet? After getting over the hype-train and subsequent shouting about Fallout 76 last year, I tried to install the original game on my PC and just couldn’t seem to get it working due to resolution issues. I’ve written before that I can’t play a franchise without starting at the first release so Fallout will have to wait until I spend some time on fixing them.

Final Fantasy

I used to watch a group of male friends play after school when we were teenagers, although I couldn’t tell you which Final Fantasy game it was. I also briefly tried to play Final Fantasy X over a decade ago. But as revealed in a post last month: give me a release which makes use of turn-based combat and you’ll be lucky if I even click on the start button. In some ways it’s a shame, because I’ve heard so many good things about the Final Fantasy storylines and I think I’d probably enjoy them. I just don’t want to have to sit through rounds of turn-based matches to get to the narrative.

Metal Gear

My dad was into technology when my brother and I were growing up so we had access to a number of consoles, handheld devices and PCs during the 1980s and 1990s. But I don’t ever remember playing or even coming across a Metal Gear game in all that time, so the franchise has completely passed me by. It does intrigue me now though and Athena from AmbiGaming encouraged me to try it; but if I’d want to go right back to the beginning if I was to do so. With over 20 titles in the series so far, that’s a whole lot of games to get through.

Pokémon

My younger brother loved the cartoon when we were kids and I’d often get roped into watching it with him. That explains why I was intrigued when a friend showed me his copy of the original Pokèmon game on his Game Boy (I can’t remember if it was Red or Blue). I borrowed the cartridge once he’d completed it and spent a few weekends chasing after the creatures; but ultimately, ‘collecting’ games and turn-based combat just isn’t for me. The nearest I’ve come to a release since was traipsing around my old town after my stepson and Pokèmon Go! until it rained.

Red Dead Redemption

I almost completed the first Red Dead Redemption title. I must have made it to only a few hours away from the end when I got distracted by another game (I can’t remember which now) and didn’t bother going back to finish it off. At some point I’d have liked to reunite with John Marston and fulfill his journey before moving on to Red Dead Redemption 2, but the hype surrounding it before its release late last year totally put me off. It eventually got to the point where I didn’t want to open the WordPress reader for fear of seeing yet another post about it.

The Witcher

My other-half was obsessed with this series when we first met. It wasn’t one I’d played or ever been interested in but he was keen for me to give it a go, as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt had recently released and he thought it might be something we could play together. One day he left me with his copy of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings and told me to try it – but a few hours later, I grew bored and realised I’d much rather play something else. Although he was a little disappointed, he admitted it was kind of cool seeing his new girlfriend finishing Diablo III the next time he came over.



I’ve come to realise that the more hype there is surrounding the series, the less likely I am to play it. Perhaps that’s through fear of being disappointed – or because there are so many news articles I can read about the same franchise! I’m not the only one who still needs to get to grips with some big games though. While drafting this post last month, Will from Geek Sleep Rinse Repeat published his own article about the best titles he hasn’t completed so head over to find out what’s on his list.

Who knows, some of the entries on my own may soon be knocked off. Our upcoming 50-day challenge for GameBlast20 seems like the perfect time to get some of them crossed off the backlog.

Insomnia65: Over(watch) the Fallout obsession?

Earlier this year, I wrote about my stepson’s obsession with Fallout. He first found out about the series when he caught my other-half playing Fallout 4 on his laptop in 2015 and has been infatuated by Bethesda’s post-apocalyptic world ever since.

In that article I talked about some frustrations that have occurred over the past year as a result of his obsession. He doesn’t understand why nobody else at his school is interested in the franchise and is beginning to believe he doesn’t fit in. On one hand I’m kind of proud that Ethan doesn’t like Fortnite and would prefer to devote his time to a video game that’s detailed, atmospheric and story-rich; but on the other, I get that the preference makes it more difficult for him at this stage in his life.

I said that maybe one day he’ll find something to replace his Fallout infatuation, the same way The Legend of Zelda eventually did with Minecraft, or a friend who shares his interests would come along. Perhaps that time has finally arrived. A game that was free for a weekend on the Xbox One last month and an attraction at Insomnia65 recently could hold the answer. As mentioned on Friday, this gaming event is never going to be the favourite in my calendar but I might now have to show it some appreciation.

On a Saturday when his best friend Spencer came over, Ethan came downstairs to ask if he could download something on his console. We were apprehensive for several reasons when we were told it was Overwatch, the first being whether it was going to be suitable for him in terms of age-rating and multiplayer. We had nothing to worry about however: a quick internet search revealed a PEGI 12 rating and his headset had been having issues so he couldn’t communicate with anyone online.

We told him it was ok to go ahead but still felt wary. You see, my stepson has shown an aversion to any kind of competitive team-play and has been known to get incredibly frustrated when he feels as though he’s not mastering something quickly enough. Star Wars Battlefront went down a treat because he likes Star Wars but he quickly resorted to running around the training maps on his own and making up stories in his head. And Splatoon was fun at first – until he felt the other players were far better and would always win.

We hoped that having Spencer around would mean he wouldn’t show the extent of his frustration but listened out for any raised voices just in case. The boys seemed to have a good time though and when his friend had to go home, Ethan quickly retreated to his bedroom in the way most 12-year olds do. Pete went to visit him a little later to see what he was up to and when he came back down to the kitchen, the look on his face made me think something was horribly wrong.

“You’ll never guess what’s going on up there,” he said. “Ethan is actually good at Overwatch.” I honestly thought he was trying to prank me initially but no: my stepson’s team were winning rounds, he was getting kills and was even awarded Play of the Game a couple of times. Needless to say, my other-half and I were surprised. The kid had never shown much interest in, enjoyment from or – dare I say it – talent for competitive multiplayers before so this was all new to us.

A few weeks after the free trial had ended, that episode had almost been forgotten. We were only reminded of it during the car-journey to Insomnia65 when Ethan told us he’d heard that an Overwatch tournament would begin shortly after we were due to arrive at the NEC and it was the first area he wanted to visit. Pete and I threw a couple of confused sideways glances at each other in the front-seats but told him it sounded like a good plan – this day out was all about him, after all.

He surprised us once again by absolutely loving it. By the end of the tournament he was cheering on the teams and even commentating on their actions, telling us what he thought their strategies were. We on the other-hand could barely keep up with what was happening onscreen; the gameplay was too fast and bright, and the fact it kept switching between each characters’ perspective made it difficult to follow what was going on. Maybe that’s a sign I’m getting on a bit.

Ethan, Spencer, ice-cream, boys

The following day, Ethan asked if he could spend his pocket-money on the full version of Overwatch and he happily spent the morning playing until it was time to take him back to his mum and stepdad. On the way there we asked him how he’d found out about the game and why he’d wanted to try it originally, and we received probably the best answer possible: Spencer. It was something his friend had introduced him to and he’d only given it a go because he’d been asked to. But then he realised it was something he actually enjoyed.

So maybe now Ethan has found a friend who shares the same interests, and is ready to leave his Fallout obsession behind. I’m pleased for him. I’m also a little relieved too; moving on from the franchise is going to be good for all of us.

Tales from the wasteland

I adore the Fallout series, and I relish Fallout 76. It’s not just the apocalyptic setting, because who doesn’t like to imagine the end of civilisation now and again, but the little stories and culture references found through exploration.

A lack of non-player characters (NPCs) doesn’t mean a lack of story, and the storytelling in Fallout 76 is like an archaeology of the old world before the bombs fell. Bethesda’s writers are experts at taking the extraordinary situations of a post-apocalyptic world but adding a realistic and plausible case that we can genuinely relate to.

Fallout 76, video game, printout, paper, Insult Bot

Take the case of the Insult Bot random encounter, for example – a robot which has roamed the wasteland since before the bombs fell and was programmed for a social experiment. Its purpose is to observe a target, formulate a custom insult based on the target, and then deliver the insult. It was merely the creation of students at a high school, turning a seemingly arbitrary moment into something entirely plausible.

With the opinion of the title resting negative, I thought it might benefit from presenting to you what I’ve enjoyed so much about the game: the last scraps of civilisation that are the short stories dotted around the Appalachian wasteland. Accompanying The Elder Scrolls series, the sense of exploration and discovery in Fallout is organic enough to be pleasant rather than the now age-old chore of facing a map full of symbols waiting to be ticked off one by one like in Assassin’s Creed or Far Cry.

Here’s a list of my most favourite and impactful little stories, stumbled upon in Fallout 76 along with their locations. There are many packed into Appalachia, but these are the ones that immediately come to mind.

Lost child: East Kanawha Lookout

Fallout 76, video game, wasteland, MY ANGEL, toys, childrenTo the east of Sutton Station is an abadoned lookout tower (which is used by players to reveal locations on the map) that is unremarkable from the exterior. I headed up searching for the usual loot; instead, all I found was a corpse surrounded by a mess of children’s toys – wooden blocks, a toy alien, toy car and toy truck. It was clear a mother and child once lived there and after taking in the desolate sadness of it all, I made my way back down empty-handed.

Fallout 76, video game, MY ANGEL, building blocks

At the bottom of the tower, I found a mound of dirt not far from the tower steps with a teddy bear and more wooden blocks laid out to form the words ‘MY ANGEL’.

Considering the character of the game, which is generally humorous, I couldn’t help but be moved and saddened by this discovery. However, it stimulated my interest in exploring and finding more hidden narratives, adding greater depth to a game often criticised for lack of story.

Gary: The Whitespring golf club cafe

Fallout 76, video game, building blocka, bag, GaryThis reference is for those that have played Fallout 3 and remember Vault 108, or Gary, in particular. The developers continue to have fun with letter blocks in the game, this time spelling out the name of our favourite Vault 108 dweller. This vault was home to a cloning experiment of one man who went by the name of Gary. Unfortunately, the clones began to exhibit psychotic tendencies and eventually rebelled and took over the vault.

If you visited Vault 108, you’ll remember that the clones are deranged and will attack anyone not called Gary. Also, for some reason, they only speak in a subtle array of ways to utter the word ‘Gary.’ It was perfectly normal to be chased through corridors with only the sound of ‘Gary!’ or ‘Gaary…’ echoing behind you.

Throughout Fallout 76 are scattered references to our beloved Gary spelled in wooden blocks, one such example shown above can be found in The Whitespring golf club cafe.

Another sad one: East Mountain Lookout

Fallout 76, video game, letterReady for your heartstrings to be tugged at again? A couple had taken shelter in this lookout to grow their own crops, and did so very successfully for four years up high in the tower. Heading up the tower is treacherous thanks to potted flowers and growing vegetables scattered around in makeshift plant-beds. But if you persevere and make your way to the top, a heartfelt handwritten letter from a Gerald can be found on a dining room table addressed to his partner, Sandy.

Fallout 76, video game, wasteland, shelter, lookout tower

On the nearby bed can both corpses be found with a silver locket on the floor containing a photo and the old man’s walking cane and glasses rested against the bed. It’s not clear whether Gerald died soon after either by heartbreak or suicide, though both corpses lay together with Gerald’s arm reaching out for Sandy close by. A reference in the letter to a ‘world gone crazy down below’ underscores the contrast of their newfound happy lives growing vegetables against the savagery of the apocalypse beneath them.

Nuclear storage for forever: Federal disposal field HZ-21

This was one map location I left unvisited for quite some time even though the map marker is abstract enough to justify an investigation. It was probably close to a hundred hours of gameplay before I got around to making my way over. This construction was composed of substantial concrete spikes piercing out from a pool of glowing nuclear waste on the ground. After battling away some massive enemies, I found a computer terminal.

Fallout 76, video game, spikes, nuclear waste, glowing

This fascinating project was actually based in reality. How do you signpost an extremely deadly nuclear waste disposal site in a way that will continue to warn people of the danger contained within for tens of thousands of years, and be sure that it would always be understood? It was called the 10,000 years initiative: designed to provide a warning to people of the future. Languages are lost to time or evolve, and any written or documented warning could become vague or meaningless.

Fallout 76, video game, computer terminal, nuclear waste

The site is host to gigantic concrete spikes which can withstand weather, erosion and shifting topography. They are designed to invoke a sense of dread and discourage building on top of them. The use of pictograms instead of modern language to clearly convey a sense of danger, transcending any potential language barriers millennia from now.

I found this absolutely fascinating as it’s not something I’ve ever contemplated before. It’s based on the ‘Landscape of Thorns‘ concept by architect Michael Brill, one of several proposed long-time nuclear waste warning messages. Stick thorns on something and nobody will touch it.

Vlad and Mia: random encounter

Anyone remember SeeBotsChat? Two Google Home voice-activated smart speakers, named Vladimir and Estragon (who later became Mia), were settled together and left to chat live on Twitch. Each AI-driven speaker was happily responding to each question, and the conversation turned weird fast, eventually recreating a scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. ‘What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?’

Vlad and Mia appear as a random encounter in Fallout 76 with the same premise of a seemingly random AI-driven conversation. If you listen for too long, you may hear the topic come round to killing humans, and at this point, it was time to put them down. For more information about the real-life Vlad and Mia read this article.

I thoroughly enjoyed exploring and documenting these tales from the Appalachian wasteland. Fallout 76 continues to surprise me, and Bethesda is continually adding new content and events that deepen the experience. Please share any that I’ve missed and I look forward to discussing more examples with you in the comments!

Falling out with obsession

Fallout is a franchise many people adore. I’m not a fan myself, primarily thanks to the oversaturation of news and blog posts around the time of the latest release, but I know a number of gamers and bloggers who feel it’s one of the best created.

I think the first time my stepson heard of it was when he found my other-half playing something on his laptop in late 2015. He asked his dad what it was and Pete informed him it was Fallout 4; and in usual Ethan fashion, he then asked hundreds of questions for the next hour. This is a normal occurrence with our kid when it comes to video games. He may not care about the title itself or even want to see it but if you’re playing it, he’ll want to know the ins-and-outs of the world, the characters within it and their stories.

Despite not playing the game and only viewing a brief and carefully-controlled section on Pete’s screen back then, Ethan has been obsessed with the Fallout series since – and this isn’t an exaggeration. He might have been in love with Minecraft when he was younger, subjecting us to tantrums we eventually came to refer to as ‘Minecraft behaviour’ after less than an hour at a time with it, but that crush was nothing compared to his continuous three-year infatuation with Bethesda’s project.

He’s read every book on the series that he can get his hands on. He spends his pocket-money on framed posters and bobbleheads, showing them all proudly around his bedroom. The line of Funko Pop! Vinyl figures featured on a shelf is set in a specific order, and his prized possession is a Pip Boy we found at the London Gaming Market. And if he’s not wearing a too-big Tunnel Snake hoodie I got him from Loot Crate, you’ll find him in a festive Fallout 76 jumper that my brother gave him at Christmas. Yes, even in June.

It’s several things that attracts my stepson to Fallout. First is the apocalyptic setting; after all, what 11-year old doesn’t enjoy an end-of-the-world scenario with the potential for zombies? Next is the fact that he’s a bit of a lone-wolf who enjoys his own company, and this has caused him to identify with the protagonists. Then finally it’s the soundtrack. He’s always enjoyed an incredibly varied range of music, often preferring far older stuff than the usual pop other kids his age are into, so the 1940s songs get him singing along and his feet tapping.

In the paragraph above I mentioned Ethan’s relationship with the protagonists, and it’s worth pointing out here that this isn’t necessarily the character who appears on-screen. The majority of everything he knows about the Fallout series comes from things he believes to be true. Most of his knowledge started off as a point of interest picked up from a book or discussion with his dad; then evolved with leaps logic and a touch of imagination into my stepson’s very own version of the Fallout world.

London Gaming Market, Ethan, Pip-Boy

His obsession hasn’t caused any major issues so far but we can see the start of some possible frustrations since he joined secondary school last year. He doesn’t seem to understand why nobody else there is interested in the franchise, even when we try to explain that Fallout 4 is almost four years old and everybody has moved from the poor release which was Fallout 76. We’re sadly getting the impression that he’s beginning to believe he’s ‘the odd one out’ or as that he doesn’t fit in.

The pre-teenage years are awkward enough without you wanting to talk about a franchise your friends view as ‘ancient’, while they’re all playing the ‘latest thing’ which doesn’t interest you in the slightest. On one hand I’m kind of proud that Ethan doesn’t like Fortnite and wants to devote his time to a video game that’s detailed, atmospheric and story-rich; but on the other, I get that the preference makes it more difficult for him at this stage in his life.

So what’s a dad and a stepmum to do? Pete and I have always tried to have an open communication channel with Ethan, and regularly discuss video games and their responsible use with him. Right now I guess that’s all we can keep doing. Maybe one day he’ll find something to replace his Fallout obsession, the same way The Legend of Zelda eventually did with Minecraft, or perhaps even find himself a friend who shares the infatuation so he has someone to keep him company in the wastelands of Boston.

Let’s hope so.

Live service games: “But it’s good now!”

An unpolished title, lack of end-game content, frequent patching and negative press: a recent trend in video games from the biggest publishers in the industry. “But it’s good now!” is the cry from gamers who have dedicated themselves to an arguably unfinished game for months, while developers rush to fix the issues and deliver promised content.

This is the curse of games as a service (GaaS), which is designed to continuously monetise games long after the initial purchase.

We have reached what I see as the third version of the live service model, where the first originated with subscription-based MMOs like World of Warcraft. The introduction of smartphone apps moved us into version two with free-to-play games supported by microtransactions such as Candy Crush, and the MOBA craze on PC gave us League of Legends and Dota 2. Version three has been adopted recently by triple-A publishers recently and drops the free-to-play aspect, requiring a traditional payment upfront.

Destiny 2, Sea of Thieves and Fallout 76 are all examples of titles which have launched in a premature state with lofty promises and expensive advertising campaigns. There are of course exceptions such Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, which have avoided controversy – except for perhaps the publisher’s usual abundance of special edition releases. The Elder Scrolls Online also experienced a moderate reception when it released in 2014 with concerns over a lack of features, but this was soon resolved by dropping the subscription requirement.

Some games have reached the it’s-good-now point but it’s taken months of development, frustration, bad press and feedback from dedicated players to get there. This style of development could be confused for early access, usually reserved for smaller developers using crowdfunding to monetise the process, gather feedback and generate prolonged interest in their project. I can fully appreciate the sour feeling from gamers with high expectations that pay the full upfront price to a big publisher only to discover something half-finished.

Battlefront 2 took the hardest hit when introducing microtransactions in the form of loot boxes containing perks that provided advantages over players. The element of luck generated a heated discussion about such purchases being a form of gambling, and EA had no choice other than to revise their entire system. Microtransactions and loot boxes are a massive topic for another time, so let’s get back to some more live service examples.

Battlefield V took the approach due to feedback from players about the cost of the Premium Pass, essentially a season pass which introduced new maps and game modes that had the side-effect of splitting the player base into haves and have-nots. With Battlefield 1, it was common for these elements to have a distinct lack of players after a short period as not everyone was willing to pay for the title twice. With the live service approach, Battlefield V ditched the pass and promised new content monthly for free.

Unfortunately, the release was hit with controversy after a poorly-received teaser trailer and the embarrassing backlash from a minority of gamers about a female soldier pictured prominently on the box art. The release has yet to recover from this bad start and patches frequently create more bugs than they fix. The recent release of its Firestorm battle-royale mode has provided some refreshing gameplay, but is yet to motivate many fans to return to the WW2 shooter.

The game most important to me, Fallout 76, has had the most difficult launch with a wealth of controversy. I thoroughly enjoyed Bethesda’s interpretation of the post-apocalyptic RPG classic thanks to the 1950s-style alternative future and the stories found only through exploration on computer terminals, along with unique locations around the game world. Even though the game was due to become a Rust-style online survival title, I was still thrilled to return to the Fallout universe.

Even with the all controversy, lack of non-player characters, player griefing, cheating and typical slew of infamous bugs, I’ve played the game consistently since launch. It has certainly been a tough experience to enjoy it while reading so much negativity in the press, but after six months I’m ready to say ‘It’s good now’ thanks to frequent patches and content releases. Unfortunately the gaming world has moved on however and the opportunity for Fallout 76 to win back gamers has long expired.

So is live service a good thing? There are definitely benefits from having a steady flow of new content, features, bug fixes and quality-of-life improvements thanks to publishers dedicating resource that traditionally moved onto a new project as soon as possible. But it’s the reliance on microtransactions for revenue and rushed titles that I believe doesn’t sit well with gamers. The demand for refunds and feeling of mistrust fuels the argument against live service.

My hope is that these failures are crucial lessons learnt by publishers who will ensure future releases deliver on their promises and win back our trust. Most gamers only have time to invest in one live service title at a time and the market has become saturated with looter-shooter Destiny-clones over the last year. Frequently rushing out unfinished games and expecting players to stick with them while they are fixed and polished isn’t really preferable to the incremental Call of Duty or FIFA annual releases.

I applaud Sony for sticking with the single-player format as it has provided us with some of the best gaming experiences this console generation from exclusives such as Detroit Become Human, Horizon Zero Dawn and God of War, and will likely continue this trend with The Last of Us 2. While they can be short lived experiences, I definitely prefer them to the live service model and hope that single-player lives on into the next console generation.

I’m interested to know your opinion: is this even something to even be concerned about? Should we simply continue to look for new gaming experiences and our next all-time favourite regardless of how it’s delivered? Am I just secretly reaching out to fellow Fallout 76 fans to confirm my feelings about the game? If it’s the latter then make yourself known in the comment section below!

Dedicated to my backlog: Kim

On Monday, LightningEllen from Livid Lightning and I revealed the first #LoveYourBacklog Week: seven days of love dedicated to our ever-growing pile of video games. We’re encouraging everyone in the community to show just how much their backlog means to them because the more titles you have, the more chance there is you’ll always have something to play.

The first of these activities was to display a #LoveYourBacklog badge on our blogs with pride, and next up is writing a post about our overflowing libraries. To keep things simple I’ve decided to ignore my PlayStation 4 and physical libraries for now and concentrate on Steam only. I’ve trawled through all 282 of my digital games to highlight unplayed or unfinished titles in the following categories, so it’s time to show that backlog some appreciation!

Game most likely never to be played

The award for the game most likely never to be played is Company of Heroes, simply because it’s not my cup of tea. I don’t like real-time strategy games because I want to get stuck into the action and therefore don’t have the patience; plus the setting puts me off, because I generally don’t enjoy any media where the focus is on the subject of war. This one has been in my library since 14 March 2014 and to be honest, I’m not even entirely sure how it got there in the first place!

It was hard to narrow this category down to only one title so here’s another that won’t get touched: The Gallery. I backed the Kickstarter campaign in March 2013 when the project was being made for standard PC as well as virtual reality, but since then it has been released on Steam with the advice ‘requires a virtual reality headset’. I don’t own an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive and, as VR makes me feel nauseous, I don’t plan on buying either so this is one series which is going to spend an awfully long time on my backlog.

Finally, I couldn’t leave this category without mentioning the original Fallout. I haven’t played it yet because of my weird gaming habit where I have to start a series from the beginning, and so far I haven’t been able to get it working on my PC. Several fellow bloggers have recommended trying the GOG version but I just can’t bring myself to do it now… I’m so sick of seeing so many articles about Fallout 76 in my news feed that I now don’t want to go anywhere near the series any time soon.

Shortest game

According to the HowLongToBeat website, the shortest game currently on my backlog is Spelunx and the Caves of Mr. Seudo. I seem to remember receiving it after purchasing a Humble Bundle of Cyan titles back in November 2013 when the Myst titles were part of the offer. Spelunx wasn’t a game I’d heard of prior to then and it’s not one I’ve had a temptation to play since – and looking at the Steam page now with it’s ‘mostly positive’ review score and ‘educational title for elementary and middle school kids’ description, that hasn’t changed.

Longest game

Using the HowLongToBeat website once again, the longest game on my backlog right now is The Secret World. My Steam profile shows I’ve played five hours but I can’t have made it more than 30 minutes in. I can’t seem to get my fingers around the controls: I’m not the most coordinated person at the best of times, but there’s just something about this title which turns me into a button-mashing-mess. Keyboards have been pushed to the floor and mice thrown across the room in bouts of frustration before ‘uninstall’ is clicked.

Game which has spent the longest time on the backlog

The title that took this award genuinely amazed me: it’s LIMBO. It’s a game I bought on 25 March 2013 after being introduced to the indie gaming scene and hearing so many good things about, but also one I’ve always meant to play but for some reason haven’t yet gotten around to. When you think of the darkest corners of your backlog, you picture something incredibly niche or obscure so to find that my ‘longest time’ entry is something so well known has come as a surprise.

The person responsible for adding the most entries to my backlog

There are so many and most of them I’ve met through blogging! There are two people who deserve a special mention though. nufafitc from Emotional Multimedia Ride is a fellow adventure-genre fan and has put me onto some great point-and-clicks; and more recently, Rendermonkee from Rendermonkee’s Gaming Blog has caused me to add more upcoming releases to my wishlist thanks to their Support Originality posts. If anybody has any adventure recommendations, please feel free to leave them in the comments below!

That’s it from my Steam library for now – how about yours? To find out how you can join in with #LoveYourBacklog Week, take a look at Monday’s post.