_hojo:Prebacklog Backlogging

August 22, 2009

hojo.artcore_when i first joined the Backloggery, i had over 100 unfinished games in my collection, and close to 325 total. currently, those numbers sit at 49 and 424 respectively (thanks for the Total Game inflation, Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection!). for many years, i had owned a ton of games that i had never played for more than 5 minutes, much less finished. occasionally, i’d look through all these games that i owned, and i’d say “i need to play all these games i’ve never played. one of these days…” then i’d play Xenogears again. but after joining the Backloggery, seeing that Unbeaten Games total fall and those Beaten and Completed totals rise were just the motivation i needed to get me to actually act upon those previous threats of…playing games. but while this was the first time i’d been truly motivated to try to beat EVERYTHING in my collection, this was not the first time i’d been motivated to beat unplayed games in my collection. let’s take a trip back into the past…the long forgotten time of 2007-2008!

_the year…2007. the occasion…my birthday. that year, i got 3 games for gifts. they were Okami, Disgaea, and GrimGrimoire. at the time, i was playing another RPG, i can’t remember exactly what. it might have been Odin Sphere or Suikoden 5. those are the most likely candidates. anyways, gifts were received, and i received them with much candor. “awesome! thanks!” a few days later, i was talking to my sister on the phone, who had bought GrimGrimoire for me, and at one point, she asked me “how is the game i got you?” my response? “…i haven’t played it yet.” in fact, i hadn’t played any of them yet. it was at that moment that i felt the sharp sting of guilt. my loving friends and family did me the courtesy of caring enough to remember me on my birthday and had bought these wonderful gifts for me to celebrate the occasion, and i hadn’t even bothered to repay them the courtesy of enjoying any of them at all for even a moments time. what kind of a person does that? at that moment, i decided that i would play the games i had received for at least an hour each as soon as possible, and once i finished the game i was currently in the middle of, they would all be next on my game hit list. of course, this all happened faster in my mind at the time than it did to type it all out in words right now, and i was still on the phone. i apologized to my sister for having not yet played it, and told her i’d play it first chance i got.

_and play them i did. i started with GrimGrimoire. as with Odin Sphere, the first thing one notices when playing it is the beautiful sprite work done by Vanillaware. Vanillaware’s style just looks so good, you want to like the games before even playing the games. you go into the games saying “this gameplay better be good, because i’m gonna end up finishing this based on the graphical style alone, and i’ll be pissed if i play something shitty for hours on end.” luckily, the gameplay was good. it’s also piss hard. so basically, it’s exactly like Odin Sphere, except the gameplay is completely different in every way imaginable. it had also charmed the pants off of me. i mean, the first thing that happens in the game is that a young girl comes to a wizardry school to learn magic, and the headmaster is named “Gammeldore.” from there on out, it doesn’t really resemble Harry Potter at all, but it’s still totally lol-worthy. but even with the enjoyable gameplay and charm, i was still beaten down into submission by the difficulty. seeing my army of loli-fairies get decimated by a couple of spooky ghosts, who then moved onto my innocent mana gathering elves was too much for me to handle. i saved and put it away for the time being.

_next up was Okami. looking back, the voice sounds in this game remind me of killer7, which is kind of really fucking crazy, considering the difference in styles. so…plop the game in…there’s text. and there’s a fucking TON of it. and every time you think it’s about to end…it keeps going. kind of like the entire game itself. well played, Clover…well played. so, i sit through the opening scene and it takes like 8 hours, then get into some gameplay. “…this is pretty slick,” i say to myself. then i bark and dig holes cause i’m a wolf. “this is something special.” i use the celestial brush to draw a penis and write “LOL” next to it. “this is what video gaming is all about.” Okami ended up being the first of the 3 game i finished. i think it took me about a month.

_the next game on the B-Day Backlog was Disgaea. now…while i hadn’t played it since i got it, i HAD played the game before. i borrowed it for a day. so…i knew i liked it…but that doesn’t excuse not playing it at all after getting it. so, i get a refresher course on Laharl napping for a year, talk with some silly flatties, then run around the underworld acting like total dicks to everybody, but it’s OK because demons are supposed to act like dicks, all amidst some awesome tactical RPG gameplay. as i progressed through the game, i noticed Laharl’s attack power getting close to 999. i said “fuck yeah, maxing out the attack power.” then it went over 1000, and i was all “whut?” then fought that one guy that split into a bunch of insane level enemies, and was all “super whut?” then i looked online and saw where your levels could go, and was all “so those insane level underlings in the castle weren’t a joke? holy fuck.” needless to say, i was intimidated. but the game wasn’t really all that difficult, so i wasn’t scared or hurt like i was with GrimGrimoire. so i had decided…Okami first, Disgaea second, GrimGrimoire third.

_so basically, i had in my mind created what was in fact a 3 game Backlog, with all 3 being Unbeaten, although at the time, i didn’t know it. also, i put more thought and effort into deciding the order of the games i was to play, as opposed to the “uhhhhhhh…i guess i’ll play this” approach i have to my current Unbeaten list. so…how did my plan to beat all of those games go? pretty good at first…i had both Okami and Disgaea beaten before the end of September. GrimGrimoire…didn’t go so well. that got beat more than a year later. i slowly made progress in it from time to time, but i was struggling with the game. i was getting thrashed by ghosts at first, then got over being awful and beat them. then i got thrashed by the cat mages, which aren’t even strong, and that pissed me off more. than i got thrashed by Homunculus, which ended up never really changing throughout the entire game. but for months, off and on with the Grim, i was. eventually, i reached a point where i said “god dammit, i’m literally playing nothing but this until i beat it.” so…i hunkered down and did it. and it was great. i finally became decent at building my magical army, and was able to enjoy the story of the game, which was very well done. in the end, it was probably less annoying than Odin Sphere, but i suppose it’d be hard to be more annoying than that game.

_so…that’s it. the end. let this be a lesson to everyone out there that has received or will receive a video game for a gift…play it before you feel bad about not playing it.


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