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.

On the eighth day of Blogmas

Our choir of gaming Christmas carollers is back again for the second day of Blogmas, where creative conductor Athena from AmbiGaming is leading us in a rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas – but with a video game twist. Check out her blog to see what she’s written for her eighth answer, and keep your eyes peeled for all of the other bloggers out there taking part.

Yesterday we looked at six gaming and blogging resolutions to see us into the New Year. With the choir clearing their throats and warming up in the background, let’s see what the subject of today’s verse is:

On the eighth day of Blogmas, the gamers said to me:
What are your 12 favourite gaming memories?
Tell us 11 games you love!
What are ten reasons you’d play a game?
Give us nine games on your to-play list!
Who are eight characters you love?
Share seven of your favorite posts!
What are your six gaming or blogging resolutions?
What are five games you’ve played more than once?

1990: The Secret of Monkey Island

I’m sure this one is no surprise to many people reading this! I’m not even sure how many times I’ve played The Secret of Monkey Island, along with all its sequels, since discovering it as a kid. It’s made a few appearances during past GameBlast streams and at some point I’d love to do a Monkey Island marathon on Twitch. The only game in the series I’ve only played once is Tales of Monkey Island and I’m not entirely sure I want to go back there; more about that in another Blogmas post coming soon.

1993: Simon the Sorcerer

I’ve played this adventure so many times that I now don’t have to think about the solutions for any of the puzzles. It’s like comfort-food: when I want something nostalgic that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, Simon the Sorcerer is often the game I’ll return to. Last year I joined forces with nufafitc from Emotional Multimedia Ride to celebrate the series and I streamed the first two releases, but I haven’t yet had a chance to return to the third… that’s probably for the best however.

2011: To The Moon

I first played this title after getting into the indie scene and reading about in on a gaming website. I then played it again before starting the follow-up so Chris from OverThinker Y and I could discuss the title in depth. And I’m sure I’ll play it again before the next game in the series, hinted at during the ending of Finding Paradise, is released. I now can’t hear Everything’s Alright by Laura Shigihara without getting tears in my eyes because it makes me think of To The Moon’s story and I get all emotional.

2012: The Secret World

This game is my nemesis: I’ve racked up almost six hours on Steam but have never been able to get further than the first half-hour. I turn into a raging button-mashing mess every time I try to play it and end up quitting in frustration, with keyboards being thrown across the room. I’m determined to overcome this however because I really want to love it and so I have no doubt I’ll end up trying yet again in 2019. Just make sure any valuables are removed from the room before I start up the PC.

2014: The Elder Scrolls Online

I’ve never come anywhere close to completing all of the quests in The Elder Scrolls Online but I have restarted with a new character on a number of occasions. I’ve recently done the same once again as my other-half is now getting involved with the game: we spent Christmas adventuring through Auridon together after he decided to purchase a second PlayStation 4 last autumn. I’m not sure my on-off addiction to this title is ever going to truly end and with a partner-in-crime, perhaps this will be the time I make it further than ever before.

It’s time for the choir to take a short break so we’ll be back for the ninth day of Blogmas tomorrow, with four memorable video game moments. In the meantime, why not tell us about the titles you’ve played multiple times in the comments below?

On the fourth day of Blogmas

Our choir of gaming Christmas carollers is back again for the second day of Blogmas, where creative conductor Athena from AmbiGaming is leading us in a rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas – but with a video game twist. Check out her blog to see what she’s written for her fourth answer, and keep your eyes peeled for all of the other bloggers out there taking part.

Yesterday we looked at ten reasons that will make us play a video game. With the choir clearing their throats and warming up in the background, let’s see what the subject of today’s verse is:

On the fourth day of Blogmas, the gamers said to me:
What are your 12 favourite gaming memories?
Tell us 11 games you love!
What are ten reasons you’d play a game?
Give us nine games on your to-play list!

Due in 2019: Draugen

The thought of there soon being another narrative-driven game by Red Thread Games fills me with excitement, although it’s bound to be quite different from the Dreamfall series. Players will find themselves unravelling a mystery which goes back decades but questioning the protagonist’s sanity at the same time: can we trust everything he sees and hears? I first found out about Draugen at Rezzed in 2013 during a developer session, so I’ve been waiting for this one for a while.

Already out: Detroit: Become Human

Not everyone is a fan of Quantic Dream and their releases have a polarising effect on both the community and critics alike. Personally though, I’ve loved their games since completing Fahrenheit in 2005 and couldn’t wait to try the demo of Detroit: Become Human at EGX last year. Adult life has meant it’s taken me a while to get around to playing the full release however, but I know what I’m now going to be doing this Christmas after purchasing it last week. Stream incoming!

Due in 2019: In the Valley of the Gods

It was Cameron from Dragon In The Castle who suggested I try Firewatch in 2017 and what a great recommendation that turned out to be. I’m now looking forward to Campo Santo’s next release set in Egypt, In the Valley of the Gods. Players step into the role of an explorer and filmmaker who, along with their old partner, has travelled to the middle of the desert in the hopes of making a seemingly-impossible discover and an incredible film.

Already out: Fallout

Although an overload of news about Fallout 76 recently has totally put me off for the moment, at some point during 2019 I really do need to make a start on the series – from the beginning. I have a weird gaming habit whereby I’m unable to play a title in a franchise unless I’ve played all previous instalments, even if they’re now unavailable or absolutely terrible. Some kind bloggers have told me that I’ll probably be able to get the GOG version of the original game working on my PC so I’ll give it a try.

Due in 2019: Observation

Stories Untold turned out to be one of my favourite games of 2017 thanks to a recommendation from Bradley from Cheap Boss Attack so, as is the case for many of the entries on today’s list, I’ve got my eye on the developer’s next release. The idea of uncovering what happened to Dr Emma Fisher and her crew through the lens of the space station’s artificial intelligence (AI) sounds intriguing – and there are bound to be a few surprises if No Code’s previous title is anything to go by.

Already out: The Secret World

The Secret World should be a game I’ve already fallen in love with as it’s made by the same developer of one of my favourite titles. Unfortunately though, I’ve tried several times and can’t seem to get to grips with it: there’s just something about it which turns me into a button-mashing mess. Next year will be the year that I overcome that though. With the combat system getting a redesign for the Secret World Legends relaunch in 2017, perhaps this time I’ll succeed.

Due in 2019: Someday You’ll Return

I played J.U.L.I.A.: Among the Stars during a lazy week off work and thought I’d found a new entry for my favourites list. Unfortunately though a game-breaking bug struck and I haven’t been able to continue (if anyone happens to have a save file, please do get in touch!). This hasn’t put me off looking forward to CBE Software’s upcoming release however: psychological horror Someday You’ll Return looks as creepy as hell and it has already been added to my wishlist.

Already out: The Shapeshifting Detective

I’m partial to a full-motion video (FMV) game every once in a while and I picked up The Infectious Madness of Dr Dekker back in January. Getting the text parser to recognise some of the entered questions was a little frustrating at times but I got sucked into the story and trying to figure out what was really happening. Wales Interactive is now back with another release, The Shapeshifting Detective, a supernatural murder-mystery which sounds right up my street.

Due in 2019: The Occupation

I had the opportunity to try White Paper Games’ The Occupation at Rezzed last year and wasn’t only me who ended up enjoying this politically-driven narrative title. My stepson first asked if he could have the headphones so he could hear the sound; then decided to sit on my lap so he could see better; and eventually ended up taking over the keyboard completely. Who knows, when the full title is released early next year I might actually have the opportunity to play it for myself.

It’s time for the choir to take a short break so we’ll be back for the fifth day of Blogmas tomorrow, with the video game characters we love. In the meantime, why not tell us about the games you’re looking forward to next year in the comments below?

UK Blog Awards, UKBA19, logo, voteHello there! If you like what you see in this post, why not take a moment to vote for Later Levels in the UK Blog Awards 2019?
Doing so will bring you great loot, increase your XP by +100 and make you immune to fire.*
(*Not guaranteed.)


The one that got away

Everyone has their ‘one that got away’: a video game they should finish but just can’t do it. Whether it’s down to limited time, a preference for a different genre or being distracted by newer releases, we all have a title we started but which now sits gathering dust.

Earlier this week I wrote about the reason why I can’t bring myself to complete Dreamfall Chapters, despite adoring The Longest Journey series since first playing it in 2006. It seems like a ridiculous one now it has been put into words on the screen before me: I don’t want to finish it because that would mean the end of the story. But regardless of how silly that is, I’m not yet ready to push forward to the finale and watch the credits roll.

Dreamfall Chapters isn’t the only title by Ragnar Tørnquist that I haven’t been able to complete; there’s another which torments me just as much, albeit for a different cause. This ties in nicely with a question put forward by Dan from The Couch Petito as part of his recent Unique Blogger Award (for which I’m very grateful and humbly thank him for!). Which game did you start but not finish either because it was too difficult or not for you?

Since being introduced to the world of indie gaming and creating my Steam account a number of years ago, there were two releases I wanted to play. The first was To The Moon, which I completed in one sitting and then promptly added to my list of favourite games. The other was The Secret World (relaunched last summer as Secret World Legends), a ‘story-driven shared-world action RPG’ developed by Funcom.

The main reason for this was the fact it had been directed by Tørnquist, the person who’d had a major hand in creating The Longest Journey. The other was the story hook: ‘Players plunge into a shadowy war against the supernatural, where ancient myths and legends cross over into the modern day. Armed with both weapons and superhuman abilities, you will build your powers, solve deep mysteries, and destroy terrifying evils to uncover a dark and captivating storyline that traverses the globe. Can you reveal the truth?’

Well, I certainly wanted to try and do just that. But it just didn’t work out that way.

My Steam profile shows I’ve played five hours but I can’t have made it more than 30 minutes into the game. 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 The Secret World 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.

I’ve tried to play this game at least ten times and the sad thing is, I still want to. I have a feeling I’d really enjoy it if only I could overcome that initial hurdle. My other-half tried to help by learning and teaching me the control scheme a couple of years ago; but that training session was short-lived after a mouse was launched and missed his head by inches (sorry Pete).

I recently purchased Monster Hunter: World and after a few hours of playing, I thought it was going to go the same way as The Secret World. But after getting some good advice from Ben, The Optimistic Gamer and Daniel from Home Button, I’ve actually been able to stick with it (changing to the Dual Blades really helped). I doubt it’ll ever make my favourite games list but I proud of myself for persevering.

So it could be that’s what I need for The Secret World: some more good advice. And with the combat system having been redesigned for the Secret World Legends relaunch last year, perhaps I need to try again. Maybe it’s time to turn this ‘one that got away’ into the ‘one that I finally got to grips with’.