Way back in January, I set a goal for myself. I wanted to spend a majority of the year attacking games in my backlog. Twelve months later and having played 57 games total, or at least 57 games I spent enough time with to feel okay having an opinion about, I can say that doing so has been both wonderful and awful in the same breath.
So before I get into my general feelings about this undertaking, I wanted to do a quick roundup of everything I have played this year. Below is a list of games I have played, with those in bold as ones I finished (or considered finished if it had a story mode):
- Papers, Please
- Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
- Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
- The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit
- To the Moon
- Mortal Kombat X
- Let It Die
- Digimon Cyber Sleuth: Hackers Memory
- Titanfall 2
- Disneyland Adventures
- Rise of Insanity
- The Last of Us: Left Behind
- The Witness
- Watch Dogs 2
- Doki Doki Literature Club
- Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
- The Chronicles of Quiver Dick
- Astro Bot: Rescue Mission
- Dig Dog
- Arkham Knight DLC
- Super Smash Bros Ultimate
- Sonic The Fighters
- MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death
- Suikoden 2
- Destroy All Humans!
- Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
- A Bird Story
- Bad End
- Alan Wake
- Golf Blitz
- One Night Stand
- Tekken 7
- Assassin’s Creed: Freedom Cry
- Bubsy The Woolies Strike Back
- LEGO DC Super-Villains
- Middle-Earth: Shadow of War
You might realize that this accounts for 44 of the 57 games that I have played this year. The remaining 13 games consist of a mixture of free games either through review copies or gifts, a free game in general, some under $5 Steam games, and a few that were bought in sales. In total, I spent roughly $150 total in games released in 2019 which is far better than what I did in previous years.
It’s easy to get lost in the brand new thing. Not only is being part of the conversation a fun thing for people in this hobby, but it also prevents spoilers from being too harsh as coming to things much later loses a lot of impact. For example, I already knew what was going to happen in The Last of Us: Left Behind. While that didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the game as a whole, it did weaken the ending somewhat for me since I already knew how it would play out. Staying on top of things in the here and now gives players a better chance to finish them before spoilers are rampant.
Another aspect of playing current games is seeing where the industry is going. While replaying Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, I was reminded how much the Nemesis system was praised at the time and how everyone pictured it being the next big mechanic in games. It wasn’t. Instead what ended up happening were big budget open-world games that featured many similarities to open-world Ubisoft games for example. Games as a service was another case of something that came into prominence this generation. And dare I mention how many attempted to try battle royale games?
As nice as it is to keep on top of all this stuff, it’s also great to play what came prior. Well told stories are still well told stories. Fun gameplay is still fun gameplay. Sure some games don’t age as well as others and improvements throughout the industry or sequels in general usually make older games a bit harder to replay; but there’s still plenty of quality in the past.
That’s partly why I disliked doing these Back(log) to the Front pieces. In an effort to bring something new to the table with each new written piece, and usually several per piece were attempted, I oftentimes couldn’t finish the games I was getting invested in. I tried to better my odds by changing it from a weekly feature to a bi-weekly feature, and that did help some. However, not all games are a handful of hours to play. I never got around to the Yakuza titles, Nier Automata, and more because of the fear that I wouldn’t finish it in time or try and rush through without enjoying it to the fullest as I would have had I taken it at my own pace.
So in all honesty, I’m glad I’m done with this series. I still plan on finding time to play an older game from time to time, especially since the cost of gaming as a whole gets quite expensive. Even more so next year with the release of new consoles. This has been a fun experience though as it gave me a reason to force myself to play something in the past, although not as much from older generations as I would have liked. Though with this format no longer necessary, I can go play them at my leisure like I should have in the first place.
Where does that leave me now? Well, I do have an idea for bits to write next year. They won’t be as frequent and not nearly as long, but something occurred to me about certain games to play and write about that will show up on the Nintendo eShop. It does the exact opposite as my backlog approach as this will result in me spending money. Not a lot mind you, but I will actively have to spend money. Hopefully that’s a good enough hint without coming right out and spoiling it entirely, but keep tuned to see for sure!
That’s it! My year-long piece is done. Thank you for anyone who took the time to read my impressions for each game I played both on this site and the previous one. It was fun while it lasted, but I’m looking to have even more fun with both old and new games from here on out!