Backlog Blitz: The Games of October 2014


Oh, the holiday season. It’s that time of year when companies do everything they can to get their big releases out in time for Black Friday. It’s also when outlets like Steam, Humble,, and Bundle Stars bring out the big guns, unveiling deals that for even the most resistant of shoppers, make bulk purchases irresistible.

October turned out to be an OK month. I still slipped a little bit, but managed — just barely — to stay in positive territory. We’ll see if that holds in November, but the outlook is grim. Anyway, the format, as with previous updates, is Game Title (Platform, Purchase Price, Play Time).

Games purchased (-4, $78.25 spent):

  1. The Humble Mobile Bundle 9 (Android, $3.25)
    Another month, another Humble bundle… or two. This one included the following titles: Bardbarian: Golden Axe Edition, Devil’s Attorney, First Strike, Leo’s Fortune, Mountain, Neuroshima Hex, Out There, So Long Oregon!, and Syberia. I had just purchased Leo’s Fortune the month prior, and now here it is included in this bundle. Oh well, that’s OK. It’s a wonderful, high-quality game, so I don’t mind double-dipping on it.
  2. Bayonetta 2 (Wii U, $60.00)
    One of the most highly anticipated games on the Wii U, it was exciting to finally see its release! From Platinum Games, who also did The Wonderful 101 on the same console, this game received some of the highest scores last month from gaming outlets, including a number of 10 out of 10s. I’m about a third-way through it, and it’s every bit as good as everyone says. It’s a stunning game that improves upon the original in every way except maybe its story.
  3. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (Xbox 360, $9.00)
    Another game from Platinum, I decided to pick this up on the cheap. I don’t think it sold all that well, being such a departure from the Metal Gear Solid series, but as an action game, it has received very good scores. After enjoying the first Bayonetta as much as I did, I went on a small shopping spree to pick up some of their other games like this one.
  4. The Humble Indie Bundle 13 (PC, $6.00)
    Any “Indie” titled bundle from Humble is usually a big deal, and this one was no exception. It included a number of very high-profile indie games including: Teleglitch: More Die Edition, Tower of Guns, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, OlliOlli, Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs, Jazzpunk, Risk of Rain, The Novelist, Eldritch, and Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack.

Games finished (+3, $26.00 value):

  1. Don’t Move (Android, $1.00, 2 hrs.)
    Excerpt from my review: “Do you need a game to be fun to feel satisfied when you reach the end? Does a game need to be challenging in order for you to enjoy it? Is variation in gameplay and locations key to keeping you interested in a title? Don’t Move will make you ponder these questions and more, long after you reach its Game Over screen. For something to make me think about games like this is a sign of something worth looking at, no matter how painful the experience was to get there.” Overall: B
  2. Lego City Undercover (Wii U, $5.00,  45 hrs.)
    Excerpt from my review: “The world is a pure joy to explore, and the controls are solid. Some platforming and judging of distance is vague, but with unlimited lives and convenient retry features, it’s rarely an issue. Grand Theft Auto could learn a thing or two from this game’s flying controls, which are wonderful. Tons of gameplay variation and abilities will keep you going long after the credits roll.” Overall: A-
  3. Bayonetta (Xbox 360, $20.00, 15 hrs.)
    Excerpt from my review: “Bayonetta is one of the best pure action games I’ve played in a long time. Its combat system is highly satisfying and possesses splendid depth. Although there are frustrating aspects, including gimmicky minigames, instant-death quick time events, performance issues, and a glut of unnecessary cutscenes, the foundation is rock-solid, and is a game that action fans should not miss.” Overall: B+

As I hinted at above, November is looking ugly. With good deals and big releases like Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, it’s likely that November will be the first month that will see me falling into negative territory. Oh well, it’s worth it! See you next time and have a wonderful holiday season.


Backlog Blitz: The Games of September 2014


Hmm, going from a peak of +14 back in March to a +2 in September is not a good omen. After a good recovery in July and August, I’ve once again slipped into near-negative territory. As you’ll see, several nice bundles are to blame, but I did finish a couple high-quality games.

Anyway, the format, as with previous updates, is Game Title (Platform, Purchase Price, Play Time).

Games purchased (-6, $27.75 spent):

    1. Bundle Stars Night Dive Bundle (PC, $3.50)
      I recently discovered this bundle site based out of the UK, and so far, they’ve been great, with amazing deals and game quality that is pretty high, depending on the bundle. I do hope they’ll allow Steam account linking soon so that it’s easier to add games to the library. Anyway, this bundle included: System Shock 2, Bad Mojo: Redux, Wizardry 6 & 7, Wizardry 8, Harvester, 7th Guest & 11th Hour, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, and Shadow Man.
    2. The Humble Indie Bundle 12 (PC, $7.75)
      Humble continues to offer some of the best bundles out there, even though prices and unlocks seem to be going up. I don’t mind so much, though, since the quality of their offerings remains high. This one was no exception, and included the following: SteamWorld Dig, Hammerwatch, Gunpoint, Gone Home, Papers Please, Luftrausers, The Bridge, Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine, and Race the Sun.
    3. Bundle Stars Indie Jam 4 Bundle (PC, $2.50)
      Another one from Bundle Stars, this one came with a staggering 10 games for just a couple bucks, including: Akane the Kunoichi, They Breathe, Mini Motor Racing Evo, Ichi, Rhythm Destruction, Oozi: Earth Adventure, Oknytt, Hammerfight, SOL: Exodus, and Gearcrack Arena.
    4. The Humble Bundle: PC & Android 11 (PC/Android, $6.00)
      Humble kinda went nuts this month, with three great bundles spanning PC and Android. This one, which covered both platforms, included their trademark collection of high-quality games: Blackwell 1: Legacy, Blackwell 2: Unbound, Blackwell 3: Convergence, Bridge Constructor Playground, Cubemen, Cubemen 2, Don’t Move, Quest of Dungeons, Small World 2, SpaceChem, and one of my favorite games from earlier this year, Thomas Was Alone.
    5. 20141006_leoLeo’s Fortune (Android, $3.00)
      My only non-bundle purchase of the month, this gorgeous puzzle/platformer from 1337 & Senri is a great example of a premium game done on mobile platforms without a free-to-play model. I’ve only just started, but it’s a wonderfully beautiful game full of good puzzles, physics, and challenge.
    6. The Humble Mobile Bundle 8 (Android, $5.00)
      Finally, the latest mobile bundle from Humble was a pretty good one, although admittedly not their best. I’m starting to wonder how many more premium mobile games are still available for this format. Whatever the case, I’ll keep buying them as long as they provide a good value and quality. This bundle included: Doodle Devil Premium, Doodle God Premium, Epoch, Epoch.2, Little Big Adventure, Mikey Hooks, Tentacle Wars, TowerMadness 2, Wave Wave, and Zombie Gunship.

Games finished (+2, $25.50 value):

      1. Kero Blaster (PC, $8.00, 5 hrs.)
        Excerpt from my review: “Kero Blaster is short, at just about 5 hours for two complete playthroughs. However, it’s the kind of game you can’t stop until you’re done, and even after that, it compels you to come back and discover all of its many secrets. While it may not have the historical significance that Cave Story did, it’s still a very fun game that represents all the best qualities of Daisuke Amaya’s incredible talent.” Overall: B+
        REVIEW LINK 
      1. New Super Luigi U (Wii U, $17.50, 20 hrs.)
        Excerpt from my review: “As someone who absolutely loved Mario’s first outing on the Wii U, playing through this world again with completely different levels and character physics was a welcome challenge that at times pushed my abilities to their limits. How Nintendo will top this brotherly combo is something that’s hard to imagine. New Super Luigi U represents some of the finest in Nintendo 2D platforming.” Overall: A

Anyway, there you have it for September, and with only three months left in 2014, we’ll see what happens. I’m currently playing LEGO City Undercover on the Wii U, and based on the amount of content in that game, it could very well be the only game I finish this month. Now to convince myself that I don’t need to buy anything else!

See you next time and have a great week!


Backlog Blitz: The games of April 2014


I slipped in April. What can I say, there were some good sales! April was also the month I created GHG, so that ate significantly into my game playing time. I would make up for it in May, but June’s not looking great so far. Anyway, the format, like previous entries, is Game Title (Platform, Purchase Price, Play Time).

Games purchased (-6, $29.75 spent):

  1. 20140619_hb9The Humble Bundle: PC & Android 9 (PC/Android, $4.00)
    Another month, another Humble Bundle (or in April’s case, two!). This goes against the entire point of the Backlog Blitz, since this only adds a lot of new games to my ever-growing pile of shame — many of which I’ll probably never play — but they’re hard to resist. This one included the following 9 games: Bridge Constructor, Broken Sword 2: The Smoking Mirror, Kingdom Rush, Knights of Pen & Paper +1 Edition, Ravensword: Shadowlands, Savant – Ascent, Syder Arcade, The Shivah, and Type:Rider.
  2. Batman: Arkham Origins & Season Pass (PC, $15.00)
    I told myself that I’d wait until this dropped in price (I bought Arkham Asylum and Arkham City both at $7.50 each), but I was on a Batman binge at the time, so I decided to be impulsive and bought the bundle on eBay. I knew the Mr. Freeze-focused Cold, Cold Heart DLC would be coming soon, and I didn’t want to miss out on that.
  3. Syberia Collection (PC, $3.75)
    This is another pair of games that I didn’t play when they were originally released back in 2002 and 2004. However, I’ve heard they’re good — particularly the first one. Usually $20 on Steam, at over 80% off, it was a no-brainer.
  4. The Humble Mobile Bundle 5 (Android, $5.00)
    Even though this bundle had a number of games that I already owned, it still offered up some excellent ones. I was pleasantly surprised to see the relatively new and high-profile The Room Two included as part of this bundle. I had purchased it already on Google Play back in February, but hey, I might as well have it again. Makes perfect sense, right? This bundle included the following 9 games: Aralon: Sword and Shadow, Bag It!, Carcassonne, Enviro-Bear 2010, Paper Monsters, R-Type, R-Type II, The Cave, and The Room Two.
  5. 20140619_tokyo_jungleTokyo Jungle (PS3, $1.00)
    Sony ran a terrific flash sale in April, and this game, which normally sells for $15, was available for just a buck! I admittedly don’t know much about it, but it seems like everyone who plays it falls in love with its bizarre originality, so I couldn’t pass this up. Not at such a low price.
  6. Super Stardust HD (PS3, $1.00)
    This is an early PSN game that I never bought. I remember briefly trying the demo, liking it, but for whatever reason, I didn’t purchase it. As part of the same flash sale that Tokyo Jungle was part of, I immediately picked it up, and like most everything else on this list, I hope to get to it soon.

Games finished (+2, $15.00 value):

  1. 20140619_batman_originsBatman: Arkham Origins (PC, $10.00, 35 hrs.)
    After finishing this, I’m not really sure why it gets so much hate. Other PC players talk about bugs that completely broke the game, but I didn’t run into any. Maybe I was just lucky. I thought this was a very good game, with a sinister Joker and one of the better portrayals I’ve seen of Bane. I was also very happy to see Barbara Gordon in this, and can’t wait to see more of her in Arkham Knight. Yes, it feels very similar to Arkham City, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Overall: A- (Review Link)
  2. Batman: Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart DLC (PC, $5.00, 5 hrs.)
    The Arkham Origins Season Pass had been much maligned leading up to this DLC release. I’m not a fan of the Season Pass idea to begin with, and I can see how anyone would get frustrated with the meager, uninspired offerings many of them bring to the table. However, when good single-player content is part of it, that can make a huge difference. I really enjoyed this, as it adds enough to justify it being DLC vs. something they just held back. Overall: B+ (Review Link)

A -4 finish for the month wasn’t so hot, but I was happy about the games I bought and played. It’s been an interesting challenge writing this blog and keeping up with all the games that are out there. I’m still trying to find the right balance.


Backlog Blitz: The games of February 2014

I’m not going to lie — February was rough. Not just for gaming, but my wife and I were in the midst of selling our house and packing up all of our things. Stress was running high, and historically, I like to buy things when I’m stressed. The higher the stress, the bigger the purchase, so I suppose the fact that I kept all of my gaming purchases to just games is impressive. I have yet to indulge in any current-generation consoles or PC upgrades, which is a small miracle for anyone who knows me.

Anyway, February’s purchases and completed games are below. Format, like last time, is Game Title (Platform, Purchase Price, Play Time).

Games purchased (-9, $198.50 spent):

  1. Device 6 (iOS, $4.00)
    Quality, premium mobile games are unfortunately becoming a rarity these days as most developers find it more sustainable to go the more casual and/or free-to-play route. So, when I hear about a game like this, that is neither of those, I take notice.
  2. Bravely Default (3DS, $40.00)
    After enjoying the demo so much in January, buying this was a no-brainer. I had originally purchased the limited edition from, but they sent it to me in a padded mailer, and it got destroyed in transit. They sold out, of course, so I had to replace it with the standard version.
  3. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS, $34.00)
    I’d heard lots of great things about this game, and being a fan of the GameCube original, I finally pulled the trigger.
  4. Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS, $35.00)
    I’ve never played any games in this series, and am curious to see what it’s all about. I’m worried that it will turn into a major time-sink!
  5. Danganrompa: Trigger Happy Havoc (PS Vita, $40.00)
    Described as a mix between Persona, Phoenix Wright, and rhythm/music games, that was a combination that sounded too interesting to pass up.
  6. The Last of Us: Left Behind DLC (PS3, $15.00)
    I declared The Last of Us to be the best PS3 game in my last Backlog Blitz update, so picking up the single-player DLC was essential, and as you’ll see below, that was the right thing to do.
  7. The Humble Indie Bundle 11 (PC, $4.50)
    Another great bundle that includes Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, The Swapper, Dust: An Elysian Tail, Guacamelee! Gold Edition, Antichamber, Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine, FEZ, Beatbuddy: Tale of the Guardians, and Starseed Pilgrim. I have most of these already, but that’s OK. It’s a good cause.
  8. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U, $23.00)
    I’m a big fan of the Super Nintendo series, and absolutely loved Donkey Kong Country Returns on the Wii. I was sold on this after seeing the first trailer and learning that David Wise was returning to score the soundtrack.
  9. The Room 2 (Android, $3.00)
    The original The Room was terrific (see below), and I have to see where the story goes next!

Games finished (+9, $222.00 value):

  1. Device 6 (iOS, $4.00, 5 hrs.)
    This is an interesting game that is mostly text-based, but makes effective use of sparse imagery and atmospheric sound. Its presentation and the way it has the player interact with it is very original, and the overall production value is nice. I found some of the puzzles to be too weird and obscure, though, and it was over quickly. Still worth checking out. Overall: B
  2. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (PS3, $60.00, 10 hrs.)
    I’d originally beaten this back in 2008, but after finishing The Last of Us in January, I decided to replay this series again. I finished it on Hard, got all 61 Treasures, and came away still impressed with the game’s variety of locales, high energy, and trademark chemistry between the characters. It still looks good for its age, but the animation and texture work are dated, especially compared to Uncharted 2. Overall: A-
  3. 10000000 (Android, $1.00, 5 hrs.)
    What a surprise! This game’s mixture of classic match-3-or-more gameplay with an addictive RPG-like upgrade system make this a must-play. The old-school 8-bit style graphics are fun, and the game’s pacing is spot-on. It can sometimes be a bit confusing to focus on the tile board and the obstacles/enemies you’re facing up top, but you get used to it after a while. It was also over before I knew it, but for a buck, I can’t complain too much. Overall: A-
  4. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3, $60.00, 15 hrs.)
    Next up in my Uncharted playthrough was this one, and it was just as impressive as it was the first time I played it. It’s crazy how much Naughty Dog leveled up between the first game and this one. Like the original, I finished it on Hard this time and got all 101 Treasures, which took some time. This is definitely the best in the series, with amazing set pieces, technology, and vertigo-inducing exploration. Overall: A+
  5. The Room (Android, $1.00, 2 hrs.)
    Like 10000000, this was a pleasant surprise, and it’s a game I’d consider a “show off” piece for phones and tablets. It has terrific puzzle design that feels tactile and rewarding, all wrapped up in some beautiful 3D graphics and a slightly unsettling soundtrack. Be sure to wear headphones! It’s very short, but those few hours are highly satisfying. Overall: A-
  6. Around the World in 80 Days (Android, Free, 10 hrs.)
    This is another match-3-or-more game with various goals and item drops. It’s nicely done with pleasant art and smooth gameplay, and I got pretty far into it, but unfortunately, I ran into a repeatable crash that’s making it impossible for me to get past the China stages. Too bad, because it’s a good game otherwise. It was a Free App of the Day on last year, so it may just be an update issue. Overall: B-
  7. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (PS3, $60.00, 15 hrs.)
    I was pretty tough on this game back in 2011, because it just didn’t feel right. I thought the spirit of the series changed, as characters became more serious, the art style was different, and it just didn’t hit the highs of Uncharted 2. Hearing later that most of the team had been moved off to work on The Last of Us explained things a bit, but that’s a tough pill to swallow when you’re talking about one of Sony’s key PS3 franchises. It’s still a good game, just not a great one. And why they decided to try making Elena sexier is beyond me. Overall: B
  8. The Last of Us: Left Behind DLC (PS3, $15.00, 3 hrs.)
    Amazing. This is how you do single-player story-based DLC. It’s a stunning and very personal chapter that fleshes out a key relationship from the main game’s narrative. It’s short, but a must-play for any fan of The Last of Us. Finished on Survivor with all Trophies. Overall: A
  9. Tomb Raider (PC, $20.00, 25 hrs.)
    I went into this not expecting much, but I walked away completely impressed. Although the game suffers from a lackluster story, some amateurish voice acting, and a comically over-the-top villain, the rest of it is top-notch. The game’s open-world nature makes it a joy to explore, upgrades keep coming at you until the very end, and Lara Croft herself is a vulnerable, three-dimensional personality that you come to care for. Graphics and environments were impressive, and the gunplay was buttery smooth. In many ways, I like this more than most of the Uncharted series. Overall: A

Even though February was tough, I managed to play and finish just as many games as I bought, so I was pretty happy about that. There were some real standouts, and Tomb Raider in particular set me on a course to tackle some other high-profile open-world games, which I would dive into headfirst in March.


Backlog Blitz: The games of January 2014

Earlier this month, I shared the Backlog Blitz process that I’ve been using to track what games I’m buying and playing. While it gave a very basic overview of what it is and why I do it, I thought it’d be more interesting to dive into what actually makes up those numbers, my brief thoughts on each game, and some other statistics. I plan on doing this for each month of the year, so I should hopefully be caught up by the time mid or late May comes around.

Anyway, here we go with January. Format is Game Title (Platform, Purchase Price, Play Time).

Games purchased (-1):

  1. The Humble Indie Bundle X (PC, $6)
    I love Humble Bundles for their value and high quality. There are lots of indie bundle sites out there, but none of them come close to the ones offered here. This one included BIT.TRIP Presents… Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien, HOARD, Joe Danger 2: The Movie, Papa & Yo, Rues, Strike Suit Zero, Surgeon Simulator 2013, To the Moon, and Toki Tori 2+.

Games finished (+13):

  1. Super Mario 3D World (Wii U, $60, 30 hrs.)
    This game was just pure joy to play through. I’d say it’s the equal to the Super Mario Galaxy games on the Wii. It’s wonderfully varied, stars/stamps are fun to collect, and it runs smoothly at 60fps in 720p. It’s also full of inspired level design and perfectly responsive controls. It’s definitely my favorite game on the system, and is as good as platforming gets. Overall: A+
  2. Drill Dozer (GBA, $30, 20 hrs.)
    A 2006 side-scrolling platformer by Game Freak, makers of all things Pokemon. After playing the fun but uneven HarmoKnight last year (also from Game Freak), I decided to play this, and I’m glad I did! It’s extremely deep, and the treasure hunting in it was very addictive. Flying and swimming controls tarnish it a bit, but otherwise, it’s easy to recommend this. Overall: A-
  3. You Must Escape (Android, Free, 1 hr.)
    This is a pretty standard “escape the room” puzzle game. It contains a good number of rooms to solve, and most of the puzzles are intuitive. Some are a bit obscure, and the game itself isn’t anything special, but it’s still OK and worth checking out for free, especially if you enjoy the genre. Overall: C-
  4. The Last of Us (PS3, $60, 55 hrs.)
    My favorite PS3 game to date. It truly grabbed me and didn’t let go. It’s one of the rare times I’ve ever felt compelled to go through a game for every trophy, and although I skipped the multiplayer ones, I successfully collected the rest. It’s the most powerful gaming experience in recent memory, with solid gameplay that, while not extremely deep or revolutionary, supports the narrative perfectly. The world Naughty Dog has crafted here is just amazing to look at and explore, the soundtrack is haunting, and the acting is superbly top-shelf. Not to be missed. Overall: A+
  5. Forza Motorsport 4 (360, $37, 20 hrs.)
    This is my current favorite racing game series. It provides a good balance between arcade and simulation style racing, gives rewards to the player often, is graphically polished, and has powerful audio. The Top Gear contributions are fun, and the car selection is very good. Photo mode isn’t as good as Gran Turismo‘s, and I hate that it requires you to have Xbox Live Gold just to upload and save your own pictures. Still, it’s an excellent game with an abundance of content. Overall: A
  6. Crashmo (3DS, $9, 10 hrs.)
    The follow-up to Intelligent Systems’ Pushmo, this takes the familiar formula of that game and changes things up significantly by allowing you to now slide blocks sideways. It doesn’t sound major, but even early puzzles were giving me trouble due to preconditioning! Things really clicked later, and while I haven’t finished them all (I’m about 67% through it), I’m considering this one done. I’ll surely go back to it for months — if not years — into the future. Overall: A-
  7. The Beatles Rock Band (360, $60, 5 hrs.)
    My wife and I played this quite a bit back in 2009 (her on vocals and me on drums), but I decided to play Story Mode to see what it was like. I was pleasantly surprised by its quality, with great bits of Beatles history and trivia tucked away inside an excellently produced campaign. Very nice for a music game, and you can tell that the team that worked on this truly cared about the subject matter and source material. Overall: A
  8. Quell Memento (Android, Free, 5 hrs.)
    I made it about 70% into it, but I lost my progress as a result of my phone having to be replaced, so I stopped. It’s a well-produced puzzle game with good graphics and smooth, familiar gameplay. Hidden items and puzzles add an exploratory element to it. Perhaps after the sting of losing all my progress fades, I’ll give it another go. Overall: B
  9. Ridiculous Fishing (Android, $1, 5 hrs.)
    This is a fun game that puts tablet and phone tilt controls to great use. It’s pretty simple (and as the title suggests, ridiculous) in concept as you not just fish, but fling said fish up into the air to be shot out of the sky! I didn’t expect much from it, but it’s surprisingly deep with lots of upgrades, responsive controls, a funny story, and beautifully stylized graphics. Overall: B+
  10. Pet Rescue Saga (Android, Free, 2 hrs.)
    These types of puzzle games are usually OK, but this one doesn’t do anything particularly interesting, and lacks the smooth feel of Bejeweled Blitz or King’s own Candy Crush Saga. The animal designs are also not very good, and thus, I lost interest before too long. Overall: C-
  11. Bravely Default Demo (3DS, Free, 20 hrs.)
    It’s been called a better Final Fantasy than Final Fantasy, and after playing through this, I have to agree. It has a great combat system, lots of jobs to master, adjustable encounter and difficulty settings, a nice aesthetic, and an excellent soundtrack. It rewards players who put more into it with extremely powerful skill combinations that make the game almost too easy. It’s so fun though, so I figure most players will end up doing that. Overall: A
  12. Candy Crush Saga (Android, Free, 15 hrs.)
    King put some time into making this nice to look at, and its popularity isn’t a mistake. I stopped after 50 stages, since I’m not a fan of games that make you wait up to a full 24 hours before you can keep playing. You can pay to get through these, but I would rather these companies simply offer premium versions that do away with these annoying roadblocks. Overall: C+
  13. NES Remix (Wii U, $15, 5 hrs.)
    This has some good ideas, and there are challenges here that really do make you approach these old Nintendo titles differently, but the game selection itself is what hurts it. The developer Indieszero has put together a nice title that is smooth and polished, but there are better games out there to revisit. I had to support this, though, since they also made the excellent Retro Game Challenge for the Nintendo DS. Seek that out if you don’t have it yet. Overall: B-

In summary, January was a productive month, with some truly standout games on a wide range of systems. I barely spent anything, which is always a good thing when you’re trying to stay focused on games you already own. February ended up being a rougher month on the wallet, but it definitely didn’t skimp on overall quality.

To be continued!


The Backlog Blitz

A few years ago, I realized that I was buying way too many games. Actually, this has been true for at least the past two decades, and well, I’ve known it all along. I mean, it’s very easy to amass a large collection of games than you have yet to play. With so many weekly deals, holiday specials, and peer pressure from your friends, it’s not hard to give in. Even if you make a cutoff for yourself — say, nothing older than the 16-bit generation or nothing more than $20 — you still end up with dozens (if not hundreds!) of titles in your queue.

Enter the Backlog Blitz. Originally conceived on my favorite gaming forum NeoGAF as a way for members to focus on playing games they own, this has become my preferred way to track what I’m buying, playing, and finishing.

How does it work? It’s simple: Each purchase counts as a -1, and each game played or completed counts as a +1. The goal is to stay in positive territory as much as possible. I don’t include gifts or freebies, and bundles count as single purchases. You also don’t have to finish a game to get a +1, especially if you’re not enjoying it.

+12 for the year so farThis is the third year tracking my progress. The first year (2012) wasn’t pretty. I ended up with an overall score of -36. Those Steam, GoG, and Humble Bundle holiday sales destroyed me! That was also the year I bought a Nexus 7, so I went a little overboard on Google Play.

In 2013, I did much better and finished the year with a +3. That’s cutting it close, but I was pretty happy with the results, and was thankful that the Steam holiday sale offerings were more or less a repeat of 2012’s.

2014 has been a good year so far, and I’m at +12 right now. I’m slipping a little bit in April, but that should be remedied soon as I wrap up Batman: Arkham Origins on PC and Persona 4 Golden on Vita.