Backlog: Dueling Backlogs edition
I really dropped the ball on this one, guys. Everything was all ready to go well ahead of schedule last week but I just never got around to compiling the damn thing and getting it out the door. I sincerely apologize; I take this stuff seriously, and I'm still trying to figure out how to balance work and free time.
There's another Backlog dropping within the next 48 hours, but hopefully this one won't appear too stale in comparison.
Let's just get right to it: Aaron and Doug have some great stuff to share, and I've got this bangin' new 3DS to talk about. Baller.
In The Matrix, Morpheus told a bewildered Neo that he would show him just how deep the rabbit-hole goes when the latter found out his once perceived reality was actually a trick to keep his body feeding the machines. We all remember this scene: Two pills were presented, one red and the other blue. Neo chose to leap down that hole without hesitation, and his fate -- really, his destiny -- was sealed thereafter.
On Thursday, April 7th, I took my own red pill. Pokémon has infected me...has made me doubt my own existence like Neo did. I'm fucked, and absolutely down the rabbit-hole.
Why the melodrama? Well, I'm now an officially registered member of the Pokémon website. I've made my own trainer avatar, and used the coins I earned playing the "Play to Befriend a Pokémon" Flash game (which promises to bequeath upon me one of the seven Eevee evolutions if I reach the fourth level) to purchase new outfits and, um, animated scenes for my avatar.
The only reason why I'd stoop so low is because I'm preparing myself for the most exciting, most next-generation feature of Black and White: the Pokémon Global Link. It's been pushed back to an undetermined date in response to the continuing natural disasters striking Japan on a daily basis. Wait: A company would deny millions of children (and adults) an integral aspect of their latest mega-hit to help conserve energy after nationwide destruction of life and property? Respect, Nintendo. Respect.
Whenever the Global Link does show up I'll be able to earn special Pokemon and items and fight real trainers online with my kick-ass team. The Global Link has all the charm of a schoolyard at lunchtime, but without the social implications of a 24-year-old man hanging around children on school property to trade and battle with his Poké-peers.
I didn't believe that the fifth generation of Pokemon games were going to hold my interest past the sixth gym battle, but I've been proven wrong -- and I'm ecstatic about that. Sometimes I feel like it's 1998 all over again.
Also, I bought my first Blu-Ray movie this week. For $14.99 I couldn't pass on The Road, which I thought was a beautifully poignant take on Cormac McCarthy's dreary-as-all-hell novel. Does my purchase mean I'm finally ready to live in the high definition future? Is there now but a small step over the cliff into the churning sea of 3D television? Will I ever get a smartphone?
Unlikely as that all is (even though I bought Infinity Blade for my nonexistent iPhone when it was on sale last month), I'm probably going to pick up TRON Legacy on Blu-Ray after my next paycheck. Fuck that movie looked good, and Daft Punk's soundtrack has to be the best film score I've ever heard.
There's a famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi: "We need to be the change we wish to see in the world." And whether that relates to major parts of your life or something as frivolous as one's gaming habits, it's something I'm better at espousing than actually following. However, with nothing to do but figure out how I must change and improve myself, I might as well give it a try in relation to this site and my gaming habits.
I guess that's a more high-brow way of restating the impetus behind my current Retrospective Overdrive shenanigans. In this way, I'm trying to make gaming fun and interesting for me again, and try to rediscover the past, both my own and gaming's. And you know what? It's working, to a certain extent. I'm still booking time in Forza 3 and on other games on my 360, but I've also powered my Dreamcast on for the first time in a while and gone through a couple of my favorite games. A couple can't be mentioned because I want to do Retrospective pieces and announcing that would spoil the fun, but a couple were just for fun. Crazy Taxi is just as batshit crazy as ever, but it's a shame the Xbox Live and PSN re-release had some of the licensed content cut and put out at too high a price point. For $5, it'd be a scream with leaderboard support, but anything higher is too expensive. Plus, frankly, it's not Crazy Taxi if I don't have The Offspring and Bad Religion greeting me.
You know what other game has survived the test of time pretty well? Soul Calibur. As if I needed more reason to wish I'd bought that damn Dreamcast arcade stick in Tokyo for $2, picking that game up again provides me yet another. Best 3D fighter of all time? Best system launch title of all time? Certainly has my vote in both areas. Might have to do more of a write-up on this game soon.
So, in short, I promise to play more old games — even just in short bursts — to provide me with more reason to write and more articles to publish on the site. Productivity is a habit learned.
What can I say about the Nintendo 3DS? The only thing most people care about is whether it works, and I'm happy to report that it totally does. The 3D effect is pretty impressive, the button layout is solid, the GUI is fantastic and the feature set is strong for the first iteration of a new system. In other words, everything is there for a smash success. All that's missing is the software library.
I picked up Pilotwings Resort along with my 3DS, fully cognizant of its less-than-stellar reception but driven to a purchase by raw nostalgia. It's Pilotwings, but it feels pretty spartan compared to previous games in the series. With only three vehicles available (although I've heard more are unlockable eventually) and a relatively small open world to explore (by today's standards, anyhow,) it's not doing much to keep me coming back. But because it leverages the 3D effect and control scheme pretty well, it makes for an excellent system showcase. So that's why I've sunk so many hours into it already; it's not much of a game on its own, but it lets the 3DS really shine.
Oh, and I got Pokémon White, and it's the first Pokémon game to hold my attention past the third gym since Blue and Red. That's about as ringing an endorsement of a Pokémon game as you'll ever get from me, so go pick that ish up.