Backlog Update 4 + 5

Time for another backlog update. I finished another 9 games. During all that TRAUMA business, I completely forgot to do an update! Also funny thing: the actual games I end up playing often turn out to be very different from the list I initially come up with. On the other hand, I did play a lot Catherine and Demon’s Souls and might finish them very soon. I just happened to finish other games in the meantime.

  1. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow Finished this shortly after the last update. I thoroughly enjoyed it! It is a vastly superior game to Harmony of Dissonance. I already wrote about it. In fact, I loved it so much I moved on to Symphony of the Night. But I got distracted mid-way through which means I will probably need to re-start it. :(
  2. Dinner Date I had the opportunity to play Dinner Date by Jeroen Stout at the NotGames Fest. It’s not a long game. It’s not a game in the strict sense. Nevertheless, a beautiful and inspiring and smart experience I can wholeheartedly recommend to anyone interested in games as means of expressing ideas.
  3. Dear Esther Another NotGame I played at the NotGames Fest. Mind you, it’s not the breathtaking high-end Dear Esther everybody is so eagerly waiting for. It’s the original student project that is the basis for the new one. So it’s on a very different level visually. But it’s an incredibly powerful piece nonetheless. The focus on voice-overs as a means to provide contex is something I really enjoyed. But you know, I’m biased.
  4. ICO I recently got the HD collection and re-played ICO as part of the CGL Game Club. I realized I haven’t really written about it, except a short blurb on the CGL Blog. I recorded a very cool video of a commented speedrun playtrough. But the recording cut out midway trough and the speedrun I attempted haven’t worked out either. I might record some of my thoughts at some point. But really, there is hardly anything I can add at this point. Instead, I recommend the Experience Points Podcast.
  5. Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP Started it some time ago. Finally decided to finish it on one weekend. Despite what I wrote on it’s difficult bosses, I actually loved it. It pleasantly smears a couple of genres to a beautiful audiovisual experience. Yes, there is a hick-up every now and then. But it’s also brim-full with great ideas and moments. Again, haven’t written too much on it. But there is the beautiful quote from a recent post-mortem I can totally see and wholeheartedly get behind: “… solve game issues with something other than game solutions.”. Amen.
  6. Amnesia Again, a game I played for the CGL Game Club. It wasn’t technically on by backlog but it’s an indie game so I decided to play it anyway. Needless to say, I loved every second of it. Because we are going to discuss this at Game Club, I collected a ton of information on it, too. I posted some of it on the recent article about gameplay without mechanics. Note the similarity to Sword & Sworcery. Zeitgeist anyone?
  7. Penumbra: Overture After Amnesia, I was left craving for more. And I was interested how Amnesia came to be. So I went back and played the first game by Frictional Games, Penumbra: Overture. This one was actually on my backlog. I got it with one of the Humble Bundles. It is a fascinating game, especially when you know Amnesia. You can clearly see the learning process of the studio.
  8. Penumbra: Black Plague And I also played the second part of the Penumbra series. The game was released episodically. I went ahead and got all parts. I think Black Plague is the best part of the series. It has some moments, which are very close to Amnesia in terms of sheer terror value. They actually even do a lot more with experiments with “insanity” than in Amnesia. But they are just individual scenes instead of being an integral part of the game. Still, it’s pretty much the missing ling between Overture and Amnesia. I will write some more on it soon.
  9. Penumbra: Requiem And I recently also finished the third episode from the Penumbra series. This one is a fascinating experiment. It’s a departure from the story-driven adventure game the studio has been using until then. Instead, it’s pretty much a riff on Portal. No wonder, it was released shortly after the original Portal! I’m not sure if it’s the best idea. And the studio clearly went away from it. But it has some clever moments. I particularly enjoyed the disjointed narrative.

So I finished 9 games. With the 2 I already had on my last update, I’m at 11 games. This mans I allowed myself to add two games to the Backlog. The new backlog additions are Xenoblade Chronicles (because of Operation Rainfall) and Torchlight (Impulse buy. Needed to kill things and collect loot).

And this also means I already have a yet another played game in the bank and need only 4 more to finish the next batch. Here are some ideas.

  1. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night I started it shortly after Aria of Sorrow. Sadly, I got distracted so I will need to re-start my attempt. On the other hand, I was enjoying it a lot. If I get a solid, uninterrupted week or two, I should be able to plow through it.
  2. Catherine I actually finished it twice already. I still wanted to unlock some of the endings and special features. I just got distracted at some point. Will certainly get back to it soon.
  3. Demon’s Souls I got back into this big time actually. I was playing this a lot and I’m very far ahead. I think the reason why I haven’t finished it is because I started obsessing about Trophies. It’s one of the first instances of Trophies spoiling a game experience for me. I think I will just let them be and play it on my own terms.
  4. Torchlight And of course I’m eager to play some Torchlight. It’s a good game to play while listening to podcast to enjoy in the evening. So I might finish it very soon actually.

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

Comments are closed.


The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


follow Krystian on Twitter
follow Yu-Chung on Twitter
follow Daniel on Twitter