Backlog: Movin' On edition

Well, the day is almost here. I'm going to be driving out to Austin, Texas in a few days to start my new job at Facebook! In light of my newfound employment, please look forward to our relaunch as the brand-new, Zynga-exclusive Silicon Sasquatch! Forget Dragon Age 2 and Diablo 3; from here on out, if the game doesn't have "-Ville" in its name, we don't want anything to do with it.

Nah, don't worry. We're still gonna keep doing what we do best -- as soon as we figure out what that is, exactly.

Doug:

This week's Backlog is brought to you by good game recommendations from various sources. Huzzah! Of course I've been playing Forza and PES and F1 2010, but new games are more fun to talk about.

As part of sending Nick off on his next adventure, he planned an outing to Ground Kontrol for the first Rock Band Tuesday since the completion of the friendly local arcade's renovations. There's going to be some headaches for the GK crew to sort out as they adjust to life in the new space, but all told, I'm really impressed with the changes and improvements — including with how the Rock Band setup is composed.

One of the other improvements and changes is the new Pac-Man Battle Royale cabinet right near the entrance. Imagine fast-paced traditional Pac-Man tropes mixed with musical chairs and a lot of swearing. Five quick rounds go by in a flurry of excitement. I can't believe Pac-Man is still relevant in much the same form 30 years after the series' beginnings.

Next, inspired by discussion of Japanese baseball games on this week's Giant Bombcast, I went and found Baseball Superstars on iOS. It's a deceptively detailed fun little baseball game in the style and tradition of Konami's Japanese Power Pro baseball games. Batting is based on timing and pitching is very pared down compared with console games, but that simplicity isn't an issue. I need to spend more time with it and dig into the deeper single-player modes, but it looks pretty featured for a game I can play on my phone.

Lastly, on the recommendation of both Nick and site contributor Tyler, I downloaded Tiny Wings for my iPhone last night as well. At first glimpse, it looks like it's cashing in on the success of Angry Birds — small cartoonish bird games aren't exactly a common genre, after all. However, Tiny Wings shares more in common with Excitebike than Angry Birds. Your bird has to fly based on momentum and riding hills, all based on one command: holding your finger on the screen. It's incredibly simple but surprisingly deep and capable for such a basic game design. Plus, the graphics and music are really soothing. That's important sometimes, you know.

Nick:

Man, Bulletstorm. I had my doubts about you, what with you slinging adolescent insults at me and threatening to do horrible things to me if I didn't buy you. But purchase you I did, and I couldn't be happier. Developer People Can Fly's previous big-name series, Painkiller, is one of the best shooters I've ever played, and Bulletstorm keeps up with the frantic pace of its predecessor but adds a great new concept in the form of skillshots.

I'd love to write more, but I have, like, 72 more hours in town before I throw all my stuff into my car and drive a billion miles into the middle of Texas. I think right now the best thing I can do is catch up with friends and get my things ready to go, and I'm sure you'll all agree. I'm looking forward to getting settled and getting back into my regular routine with the 'Squatch in time for next week's Backlog.

Until then, let me just say how grateful I am to everyone who has kept up with this blog over the last two-ish years. I think it's fair to say I wouldn't have been able to land a job as exciting as the one I'm going to be starting if I didn't have this body of work behind me, and none of us would have kept it up this long if it wasn't for your continued support and encouragement. To everyone who reads this blog: Thank you so much. I can't express how grateful I am, and I can't wait to get settled in Austin and to keep doing what I love. See you next weekend.