Backlog Update 9

It’s time for another Backlog Update. I completed another set of 5 games some time ago.

  • Rayman Origins Finished this quite some time ago. I wrote a little about sexism in that game and possible ways to have avoided it. But generally, I liked it a lot. I was also pleased to see that my GF played it for a considerable time – until she got stuck and lost all interest. It was announced today that the sequel Rayman Legends was delayed, which is a huge bummer for the both of us.

  • Far Cry 2 Played it before Far Cry 3 came out. I also finally got why people like it. It creates a very bleak and nihilistic atmosphere very quickly. Part of it is because it’s a world without civilians and where everybody is shooting at you. Sadly, that feeling soon fades away as you master the mechanics. There is a good emotional payoff to the buddy system at the end. But the game is overall just to long to maintain that sort of emotional arc. Or perhaps I’ve been indulging in too many sub quests? Either way, not much I can add to the body of knowledge created by Ben Abraham and Idle Thumbs. I might comment on the collectibles because I think they are very good.

  • Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Finished the single-player campaign. Wanted to try multi-player too, but quickly decided not to waste my time with it anymore. As I wrote, it got too self-important. The only way to pull that off would have been to make a Nolan reboot. Not sure how that would works with robots that turn into cars.

  • Lost Planet 2 That playtrough is documented in our YouTube series. I was genuinely surprised by it. It seems like a generic shooter at first. And it kinda is. But there are a lot of very creative scenarios and gadgets. The game constantly keeps pulling those amazing rabbits out of your sleeve you just did not see coming. I started out playing it more in an ironic / grumpy fashion. But the game really won me over. Not sure exactly when it happened. The train level was certainly the highlight. I also recall being incredibly impressed by the fact that you can transform the robots of two players together to make one big robot controlled by two players. And the game never openly advertises it. In fact, that feature is actually more of a secret. In an industry so keen at showing the features of it’s products in your face, this kind of understatement is precious.

  • Gravity Rush Man, I love Gravity Rush. I wrote a little about its Bande Dessinee roots and it’s character design. It’s a beautiful little game and a good reason to get the Vita for, in case you have the disposable income.

So the game in return for this Quintuplet is Gravity Rush. I have been lagging with updates so apart from the above games, I also completed the following:

  • Little Inferno Finished it recently in the Wii U. I was impressed by it immensely. A smart and thought-provoking experience. Quite moving too. It can be a clever commentary on games if you want it to be. But it also works as just an enjoyable distraction.

I’ve come to realize that the 5:1 ratio to reduce the backlog may have been to high. I broke the self-imposed rules too frequently in this last update. I indulged in buying more games that I finished. I got the Wii U with a couple of games, X-Com, Persona 4, Tokyo Jungle and Ni No Kuni. Which defeats the purpose of this exercise. Especially when buying a new console like the Wii U, it’s impossible to get a system with two new games or so. It may be possible to finish a quintuplet when I see an interesting new release coming up. But it’s just not realistic to finish over 5 games in a short time. If I slip on one game, it’s easy to slip on multiple ones. I have been adding rules like “indie games don’t count” and “co-op games don’t count”. But adding workarounds just seems to soften my resolve to stick to the rules.

So I want to try to reduce the ratio to something more realistic. As an experiment, I’ll reduce it to 2:1 – the lowest possible ratio – just to catch up. If that turns out to be too easy, I’ll go higher.

Upcoming games I’m planning to finish:

  • Super Mario Wii U playing a few levels everyday. More than halfway in. Enjoying it a lot. Also, playing with a second person on the Wii U pad works incredibly well. It’s easy to get jaded on it being yet another Mario game or yet another platformer. Somehow, the game won me over. Oh Mario.

  • Dark Souls Played it a lot. Got though Blighttown which many people seem to have disliked. Had my problems with the game too. Might write about it. But recently, I was started enjoying it more.

  • Tokyo Jungle Great fun. Probably my game of the year 2012. Haven’t finished the story yet but I must be on one of the final levels. Planning to unlock all animals.

  • Ni No Kuni Had to get the special edition. I love it. It’s very much a standard JRPG with all of the tropes and pitfalls of that genre. But it is a very well designed JRPG. Incredibly polished and juicy interface design. It’s probably very long so I hope I will be able to hold on to it.

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.

One response to “Backlog Update 9”

  1. Michael


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.


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