I’ve decided to make some lists to take stock of where I am with games right now. I feel like laying it all out will help me organize my thoughts and #gamergoals for 2023. I’ll give some further thoughts in the “details” section for each, and will probably update the lists as the year progresses. Please feel free to contribute any thoughts and suggestions :)
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball
The Case of the Golden Idol
SOTN was an utter joy to play, and was made even more fun by having some IC buds to hang out in the discord during my “MiSTer could pass.” sessions–shout out to @Karnovski for all of the tasteful hints and to @Lunarchivist for jumping in, bewildered, during the surprisingly sensual staff roll music. I had played every subsequent “Iga-vania,” but this game was a pretty glaring omission on my part. This one exceeded my (very high) expectations and solidified my belief that Souls+ games are the true descendants of the this genre.
Mother 3 was a real slow burn for me, with chapters or fragments of chapters spread apart over many years and many different incarnations of my preferred GBA hardware. It’s fitting that I reached the conclusion on the Analogue Pocket, which is probably the pinnacle of said hardware. I knew I was in store for an stirring conclusion, and it did not disappoint. The length of my personal journey through the game may have only enhanced the impact. I have some formless thoughts coagulating on this one that will probably be appropriate for @treefroggy ’s Twin Peaks/Mother thread.
- Have made significant progress, probably time to finish it:
Shin Megami Tensei IV
Final Fantasy 1 Remaster
Half Life: Alyx
The Case of the Golden Idol
Final Fantasy X
Castlevania: Rondo of Blood & Super Castlevania IV
I played 99.9% of the way through Hollow Knight, which I am thoroughly convinced is one of the best games in one of my favorite genres. I simply could not defeat the second form of the true final boss, but I fully intend to hunker down and just get it done at some point.
I was completely enthralled by SMTIV, but Elden Ring came in like a wrecking ball last year and completely disrupted my flow with anything else I was playing for a good ~ 170 man hours, so I put it aside. I feel like I’m perhaps ⅔ ish of the way through? I need to pick this one back up, but it’s going to be a little bit of effort to get my momentum back up…not an easy game!
After completely failing to do much with Wild Arms as a teenager aside from gawk at the opening cinematic, I’ve finally started to make some actual progress in the game while re-playing it on my MiSTer. I wish the battles were a little less slow/clunky, but it’s such a charming game and, after all these years, I’m at least a bit invested in the world and story. I think I’ll actually mosey through this one for real, maybe even on stream :)
Tunic has been a real struggle for me to get into, but based on reputation alone I don’t want to write it off quite yet. The handling of the character just feels a bit too floppy for me and I 100% agree with @exodus ’s assertion that there’s a bit too much “where the heck am I going”-ishness, but I at least want to get to that tipping point where everyone seems to think it gets real good.
I started FF1 remaster at least in part because I wanted to experience that before the goofiness of Stranger of Paradise (the exact relationship between these stories is still a mystery to me, , but I would like to discover that organically). I’m maybe halfway through and so far it’s been both more and less impressive than I was expecting for such an ancient JRPG.
I want to enjoy Sekiro so badly and I feel like every time I play for a substantial amount of time I am on the cusp of truly resonating with the game mechanics. I was feeling pretty confident during my most recent attempt (months ago, now), but a flaming bull bully just absolutely mopped the floor with me. This is not the end.
The main impediment for Alyx is getting my VR setup reconstructed again. That and the legitimate sense fear that the game instills in a way that only VR can really provide. Game mechanics feel wonderful, though, and I’m at least a little interested in seeing where the story goes (although I consider the entire HL canon kind of nonsense garbage).
I played some of Bayonetta on PC before inexplicably switching to the, uh, Switch. Honestly, the performance is just fine and I actually think I’m having a better time with the incredibly goofy Nintendo character costumes. As with Sekiro, I don’t think I’ve really mastered the gameplay, but I might just pop this one back in and mash the rest of the way through just for the ridiculous spectacle of it all. The muted reaction to Bayonetta 3 has put this lower on my priority list, however.
Thank you @yeso for introducing me to The Case of the Golden Idol! No real excuse for not finishing this one–this is a game I really wanted on this list just so it doesn’t slip into my mind void forever.
I foolishly jumped into FFX as part of an actionbutton discord game club thing, knowing full well that my lethargic pace of playing games would render it futile. After settling on the PC version (and actually sticking with the surprisingly enjoyable English VO) I was able to make it a few hours into the game. The tropical setting and quintessential Y2K aesthetic were never really my cup of tea, but I’m intrigued enough to tentatively leave this on the “to play” list.
I’ve lumped these two Castlevania games together, as I jumped into both of them hot on the heels of SOTN filled with the hubris that comes from handling a fully tricked out Alucard. As we all know, piloting a Belmont is a decidedly more methodical process, so my skills did not exactly translate over to these older games lol. I have made some progress, though, and I’m on track to finally vanquish SCIV, which completely thwarted me as a child. Rondo will probably happen as well, with generous use of the PCE mini save states.
- Bravely scratched the surface:
Yakuza: Like A Dragon
Crusader of Centy
Demon’s Souls (PS5)
Secret of Evermore
Final Fantasy Origins: Stranger of Paradise
Secret of Monkey Island
Like A Dragon was my first stab at a Yakuza game (not the best entry point, i know!). The story grabbed me right from the get-go, though I’m still on the fence about the battle system. Honestly, I probably barely played an hour, though, so I think it would be worth restarting when I pick it back up.
Centy is always sitting in the back of my mind somewhere. I acquired a repro cart a few years back based on Brandon’s glowing endorsement, but I didn’t make it too far past entering the protagonist’s canonical name “Corona” (lol). I’ll probably fire this one up on the MiSTer at some point.
I was afraid to touch the Demon’s Souls remaster for some time after picking it up along with my PS5, mostly because this game represented the sole (soul?) justification for even owning this hardware. What if it was a disappointment? After over a year, I finally fired it up and…….I’m not sure what to think to be honest. Objectively, it looks very good. However, there is this almost ineffable disconnect for me, as if in remastering it the game has transformed from a proper FromSoft Souls game into a very convincing but still qualitatively removed Souls-like. It feels like it’s caught in this purgatory between the distant, detached, and honestly a bit janky qualities that I associate with a proper From game and this (somewhat reserved) bombast and bravado typical of Western fantasy. It’s weird!
Death Stranding is a game that I want to like so badly, but it just hasn’t quite gelled. I’m all in on the bizarre self-indulgent world building, but it feels like nuggets of interesting weirdness suspended in a miasma of empty space and needlessly frustrating gameplay. This was especially disappointing coming from MGSV, which had some of the most satisfying controls and mechanics of any game I’ve ever played. I’m willing to eventually meet this one on it’s terms, though, so I haven’t written it off.
Not much to say about Evermore other than I’ve heard Tim mention it enough times that I gave it a shot on the MiSTer and it seems like a chill way to bask in some pure SNESiness.
Stranger of Paradise will happen (as soon as I get around to finishing FF1).
I had a blast with Ys I Chronicles on PC and, now that all the Steam Deck issues with these games seem to be ironed out, I’m looking forward to bumping around some more with Adol in Ys II.
As a lifelong fan of Lucasarts adventure games, it’s almost embarrassing that I haven’t played Secret of Monkey Island to completion yet. I’m constantly looking for the “perfect” way to experience this one (I’m sure Frank has the definitive opinion on this), but I think I finally have a nice thing going with ScummVM hooked up to a real life MT-32.
Shin Megami Tensei V
Persona 3 Portable
Persona 4 Golden
Soul Hackers 2
Metroid Prime Remaster
Tactics Ogre Remaster
Lots of SMT on here! These are all going to have to wait for my self-imposed requirement of finishing SMTIV. There’s so many more SMT games that I could have put on here, though, including Apocalypse, SMT 1, Strange Journey, Devil Survivor, etc.
I know I’ll enjoy Nier…no rush with this one, but I like knowing it’s ready to go when I get around to it.
Metroid Prime Remaster looks incredible–I actually started this game over not too long ago on my ODE/HMDI modded GameCube and was completely blown away by how good it looked…I’m sure this version will be even more impressive and definitive. I’ll probably end up using modern dual-stick controls, but I can’t help but at least try the classic controls on a real GCN controller.
I was a big fan of FFTA and the Disgaea games back in the day, so I have a feeling Tactics Ogre will be scrumptious when I finally get back to using my Switch.
Golden Sun is next up on my personal GBA to-play list, which was on near perpetual hiatus until I finished Mother 3. I honestly don’t know much about it!