The Backlog, Vol. 1 – Blogger’s Manifesto edition

Dear Friend of the Sasquatch:

The editorial staff at Silicon Sasquatch is dedicated to bringing you news, reviews, opinion and analysis with journalistic professionalism and engaging prose. We’re just a few poor guys with BAs in magazine journalism, but we do what we can.

However, we would never describe a gaming blog as pure journalism. Most of the content we’ve posted to this date could better be described as criticism: In-depth, analytical opinions on games and news in the videogame world, but opinions nonetheless. Journalism implies digging into each story, double- and triple-checking facts, getting in touch with contacts and divining the important news values behind every published story.

We aspire to go beyond the status quo as established by the snark-over-substance mainstays of the major gaming blogs. They serve an audience and function as a business, and that’s good, but we’d rather leverage the harsh reality of this blog probably never being profitable in order to give you an honest and well-thought-out story with every post. We don’t have a publisher or advertising clients to please, so we might as well be on the level with you.

Over the last week we’ve been posting weekly updates to major (and minor) news stories, along with brief analysis. Today marks the start of another weekly feature, The Backlog. Essentially, it gives the editorial staff a chance to reflect on the games they’ve been playing and give some impressions and reflections on those experiences. Again, it’s not journalistic, but we hope it’s helpful to our readers; at the very least, we hope it makes for an interesting read and a starting point for good discussion.

In the coming weeks, you’ll begin to see some meatier features where we dig a little deeper and produce some original research and content. We’re all intimately familiar with the vice-grip of the journalism bug, and we’re not ready to abandon the profession we studied for years. Just bear in mind that such features take time, energy, clout and resources — things we’re all in short supply of. In the meantime, we want to extend our sincere thanks for your continued reading and hope you’ll stick with us in the coming weeks.

Now, click the link and read all about the games we’ve been slogging away at!

Aaron:

This weekend I’ll be graced with a new DSi as a birthday present to replace my stolen DS Lite and to fulfill my childhood dreams of a blueish/turquoise handheld.

I won’t be gaming at all until I return from the annual excursion, but over the past week it’s been a steady diet of Mass EffectCall of Duty: World at WarResident Evil 5 and Penny Arcade Adventures: Episode 1.

Mass Effect continues to be one of the best gaming investments I’ve ever made, and though my current playtime motives are dubious (read: achievement-related) I’m still having so much fun and would note it still holds up well after a couple of years.

WaW is frustrating, annoying and…addictive. I honestly don’t know why I put myself through it, just like in CoD4, but the multiplayer advancement makes me come back for more. Of course, it wouldn’t be worth it without four friends to play with. And Nazi Zombies is pretty entertaining, though give me L4D or give me undeath.

RE5 has maintained its enjoyment levels of “over 11.” That’s on a 10-point scale by the way. Co-op has really been refined to perfection with this game and I hope future co-op experiences are even half as polished. Though I will admit the intrigue is kinda lost when you finally buy infinite ammo for the time-honored and series mainstay: the ginormous magnum.

PAA: EP1 is probably one of the best Live Arcade titles I’ve purchased, and I feel guilty for holding out until it was 50% off. So much humor, so much fun.

Nick:

This week has been especially busy for me. On top of working full-time, I’ve been writing the weekly updates for the Sasquatch, which isn’t as easy as I thought it’d be. However, I’ve still found the time to play a little Team Fortress 2 and Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, as well as my old mainstay, Rock Band 2.

There’s not much I can really say about Team Fortress 2, other than it’s shocking how fresh the game feels a year and a half after its release. The continuous flow of new content packs and the intricate level of strategy that emerges in each class is staggering. If you’re on Steam, look me up!

I love Grand Theft Auto, but I’m not sure how I feel about Chinatown Wars. While a technological marvel and an impressively immersive game on the DS, it straddles an awkward line between the rich narrative experience of GTA IV and the reckless, devil-may-care fun of earlier games in the series (and more recently exemplified by the awesome Saints Row series.) I’m struggling to stay engaged with the story and the gameplay, but both seem a little short-changed and loosely connected. I’ll have a full review next week.

FACT: Rock Band 2 is the best game ever. It’s my desert island game. It’s the greatest damn thing short of playing in a real band. While I shudder to think how much of my money has been siphoned away by Harmonix’s impeccable, far-reaching music tastes, I find myself booting up the 360 and plowing through a few songs every day. If there’s any triple-A game that deserves even more credit than it already has, it’s this one. Some of the latest and greatest songs I’ve been enjoying are “New Slang” by The Shins and the hilariously terrible but shred-tastic “Warriors of Time” by Black Tide.

Doug:

I’ve been slogging away at a bunch of games this week, mostly stuff for review and consideration for the Sasquatch, but with a smattering of stuff for my own personal entertainment as well.

Retro Game Challenge was, of course, for review – and I’m glad to have spent all the time with my DS Lite and that game. I will eventually let at least Nick borrow the game to give it a shot in his own free time, too, but I’m definitely hanging onto the game long-term – because the games it has within are great time killers, Star Prince and Rally King especially.

No week would be complete without me playing a bit of NCAA Football 09 on my 360. I’ve been heavily involved with the game since it’s release last July – specifically, I threw myself into some organized online dynasties. I’ve been playing, recruiting, and talking smack with other members of a forum for…ages, now, it seems, but things are slowing down a bit. I’m only in two dynasties – a Pac-10 conference one with Oregon, and a Big 12 one with Colorado – and only played a bit for both.

The other sports game I’ve been playing is FIFA 09, specifically its “Be A Pro” mode. For a sports game and soccer game junkie like me, this is the ultimate – create a player, take them through the lower levels, build them up from a scrub to a superstar, and then start to dominate. It’s far too much fun. I haven’t even played a game with a full team in ages.

I’ve been putting little bits of time into a couple other games – Fallout 3 (which I’m finally playing), Rock Band 2 (specifically Rock Band Tuesday) – but, with no game to plug through and review this week, I hope I can spend some time with other things…like Diablo II.