The Backlog: Speed Kills Edition

We're all fast this week. Like Goose and Maverick, we've all got the need for speed — Nick's taken a quick trip down to Los Angeles, Aaron's gotten through Fable 3 so fast it made our heads spin, and Doug is still strapping on the helmet and racing cars.

We're going too fast to post more of an introduction, so let's get on to the Backlog.


Remember that game I was spending a ton of time playing earlier in the year? You know, La Vida Graduate Student? Yeah, I didn't spend nearly as much time with that during the summer but hoo, boy, that has come back with a vengeance. I'm right near the end — just two achievements left before I get the coveted S-Rank! — but I have an insanely difficult next four days ahead of me. Time to test my skills.

In real game news, I've definitely been enjoying some speed. Formula 1 2010, aka the game I've had in my 360 for the last two or three weeks, has finally gotten patched. Hallelujah! As I promised in the F1 2010 review, I'm going to play for a bit and discuss the impact of the patch...because look at how many issues it fixes. I'm already seeing improvements, but as I've been powering through race after race in my career — now up to six wins in my first season — I've been living with the quirks.

Half the fun of real Formula 1 racing is the "silly season," the rumor mill discussing which drivers and teams will see changes the following season. I didn't get to that part of the career in time for the review, but it definitely delivered — I turned down a contract extension with my initial team, Sauber, because they weren't willing to make me the lead driver. I ended up burning bridges but, because I finished ahead of my rival in the championship, I was offered a ride from his team. So now I'm starting my second season, driving for the famous Ferrari F1 team. Incredible.

Due to the incredible run the real Oregon Ducks have been making on the football field, I'm picking NCAA Football 11 back up. It's not too surprising to see an Oregon football team ranked #1 in the nation on my Xbox 360...but in real life? First time ever. It's kind of wild to see how well the Ducks are doing, but even wilder is to try and play on offense in NCAA 11 as quickly as head coach Chip Kelly runs plays for Oregon. It's almost impossible. But now I do have a date in the National Championship with #2 Boise State, and it's time to turn them into a fine paste.


It's been a weird week for me. I flew down to L.A. on Tuesday to visit some friends and see what the area's like. Apparently, either I'm allergic to sprawl or my body just can't tolerate mid-90s weather in November, but I've spent most of the last 48 hours nursing some nasty, disgusting stomach virus.

So, that's cool.

Before my body decided to make my life miserable, I spent some time playing around with Minecraft's Halloween update, which is predictably terrifying but unfortunately not functional online yet.

I also spent some time checking out VVVVVV, a clever anti-platformer with fun retro stylings. If you're looking for a fresh take on the tough-as-hell platformer genre, this one's surprisingly original and charming.


I offer you, dear reader, a Backlog in three rapturous parts.

"Part One: In which Aaron becomes a king."

Well, I beat Fable 3. I'm a king and shit, and it's pretty awesome.

"Part Two: A return to familiarity, under the auspices of love."

Thursday was a great day. I spent a lot of quality time with my girlfriend Megan, and at least 65% of that time we traded and leveled Pokemon together within our separate copies of Pokémon HeartGold.

Stop laughing, please.

Though I spent about 90 hours of my free time in a portentous attempt to "catch 'em all" earlier this year, my interest was eventually snuffed when I realized that after I beat the Elite Four I would have to up my team by another 30 levels to actually beat the game. It wasn't until I found out about Megan's absolutely sordid Pokémon past that my Poké-habit was rekindled. She was a fan of Pokémon Yellow and other great old school pocket monsters titles (including Snap!) during her youth, and was more recently compelled -- some might say forced -- to get back into the series when I explained how fantastic the newest DS games were.

Luckily she owns a DS, meaning my sales pitch never dipped into hardware territory.

So yesterday we compared our teams, and helped each other evolve more than a few critters via wireless trading. And I can say with much conviction that it was a completely bad ass activity for couples.

"Part Three: Undead hijinks"

I purchased Undead Nightmare this week, the zombified expansion DLC for Red Dead Redemption, and it is absolutely amazing. I'm not in a position as of this typing to go into an extreme amount of detail, if only because I really need to make dinner and keep putting it off, but I seriously believe it's the best downloadable content I've ever played in my life.

The tone, atmosphere, writing and soundtrack are top-notch, and I'd have purchased Undead Nightmare even if it was a full-priced game set entirely in an undead western world. It's that good.

Go buy it.