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Backlaugust 2023 - Onto the Finished Pile
It's that time of year yet again! Now to copy over this post from ludist210...

Backlaugust: The Official Negative World Month for Decimating Backlogs!™ is back again for more action! So start looking through your backlog and get started! The idea is to finish games during the month of August.

Here are the "rules":

Games can be on any system, not just Nintendo systems. I know we're a Nintendo fan site, but most everyone here is a multi-console owner. So play a game on any system you want.

Let us know what you're playing. Mostly just so we can cheer each other on.

Play games you already own. A lot of people tend to buy a game then not play it, or play it for a significant amount of time and then put it down. This is what we're aiming for. Games that launch in August don't count.

Try to pick up games you aren't actively playing right now. Games you're currently playing can be allowed, but in the spirit of Backlaugust, let's try to make them games you aren't playing at the moment. Make it a game you haven't touched in a month or more if possible.

When is a game done? That's up to you! Mark a game off your backlog when you've seen the ending or end credits, or once you've seen enough of the game in a game without a "proper ending" (like an arcade-type game). You don't have to do or get everything unless you want to.

Finished games will be posted in the OP. Because everyone likes to see their accomplishments recognized. Just post when you're done and I'll try to update daily.

Last year, we finished a whopping 35 games. That might be a tough number to top, but if everyone pitches in, I think we can do it!

1. DooM Eternal - NSwitch - r_hjort
2. Lunistice - NSwitch - r_hjort
3. PowerSlave Exhumed - NSwitch - r_hjort
4. Lunistice - NSwitch - nate38
5. Storyteller - PC - Secret_Tunnel
6. Castlevania Bloodlines - Genesis (NSwitch) - Mop it up
7. A Short Hike - Xbone - Mop it up
8. Pokémon Trading Card Game - GBC (NSwitch) - Mop it up
9. The Revenge of Shinobi - Genesis (NSwitch) - Mop it up
10. Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker - PC - Hero_Of_Hyrule
11. Islets - NSwitch - r_hjort
12. Shadow Dancer - Genesis (NSwitch) - Mop it up
13. Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master - Genesis (NSwitch) - Mop it up
14. Tunic - Xbox X|S - Mop it up
15. Astro's Playroom - PS5 - DrFinkelstein
16. Oxenfree II: Lost Signals - NSwitch - DrFinkelstein
17. Halo 3 - X360 - Brick

URL to share (right click and copy)
07/26/23, 02:16    Edited: 09/03/23, 20:18
Not sure if this counts or not, but I just beat PowerSlave Exhumed and want to talk about it. I'll leave it up to Mop it up to decide if it qualifies.

I had started playing the game on the PS1 at a friend's house back in the 90's, but wasn't impressed, so I quit. Last week I got my own physical Switch copy from Limited Run, decided to boot it up, and now I'm done. Also significantly more impressed.

It's like, boomer FPS Metroidvania with mummies and magical artifacts that give you new abilities! I don't think I ever realized that the console versions of the game had that kind of progression to it, or how well crafted the game in general actually was and still is. Anyone else ever play this?
08/04/23, 21:01   
Edited: 08/04/23, 21:05
@r_hjort What would be a reason that it wouldn't count? Because you bought it last week? If you hadn't played it right away then it would have become part of your backlog, so it sounds fine to me!

I've never heard of this game but it sounds interesting! I'm always down for a classic FPS, and your description of it makes it sound kinda like Hexen, which I liked on the N64.
08/04/23, 22:27   
@Mop it up
Yeah, I was thinking maybe it wouldn't count because it's a new Switch game rather than an old game I've had lying around, even if it kind of is a game I started playing almost 30 years ago. It should probably be listed as the NSwitch version rather than the PSX version, btw, 'cause this new remaster is apparently an amalgamation of the Saturn, PS1 and DOS versions of old, all of which were different, with the PC version basically being an entirely different, entirely linear game.

I guess it does sound like Hexen. I never played that a lot either, I think I only played around with Heretic. I think Hexen has some kind of hub type thing going on, right? PowerSlave is kind of like Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia or Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, maybe? So, like a lite Metroidvania if you will. You have levels that you can access via a world map, and in order to reach certain levels you need to find alternate level exits (represented by a camel just standing around, chilling) that often require some sort of ability to reach. It's got a fair amount of backtracking, but not the aimless-running-around-kind.

Gonna have to look into getting a copy of Hexen now.

EDIT: Btw, PowerSlave Exhumed disclaimer: The game isn't perfect. The enemy roster could be a bit bigger, and could probably focus less on insects. The first few levels are basically just full of spiders and scorpions, with the odd Anubis headed demon dude thrown in. But, if you're not expecting Doom levels of enemy fauna and mass fights, it's still got a satisfying shooting mechanic that spruces up the exploration, the platforming and trap avoiding.
08/04/23, 23:06   
Edited: 08/04/23, 23:38
My mistake, I seemed to have glossed over the word "Switch" in between "physical copy." Whoops!

I'm glad I was mistaken though as I was thinking the game was stuck on PS1, which made me unlikely to bother tracking it down. Seeing it's on Switch however, it's definitely going on my list! I know to keep my expectations in check when revisiting games of that era, and it doesn't surprise me that a game of this type would have a smaller enemy variety.

Yeah, Hexen has a hub level that you use to travel back and forth between various levels, similar to Quake II. And while there are useable items to find, you don't gain abilities to progress, just flip switches to open more sections of levels. It's still a DooM-engine game at its core.
08/04/23, 23:40   
@r_hjort Whoa, how has Lunistice escaped my notice to this point? That looks 100% up my alley. Downloading the demo now.
08/05/23, 01:57   
@Mop it up
Yeah, the OG Doom engine sure had its limitations. People do crazy stuff in Doom nowadays, but I think that's mainly in source ports. PowerSlave does real room-over-room (which is kind of nuts for the time, now that I think about it), swimming and flying and destructible parts of the environment, so it's a different beast for sure.

Its on, like, three different engines now or something. The Saturn/PS1 game ran on some proprietary engine called SlaveDriver, the PC game ran on an early version of Build and the remaster is supposedly mainly based on the Saturn version but running on Nightdive's own KEX Engine that they use for everything. Feels kind of like a Build game, though. Except with tighter hitscan, or something. It's weird.

Let me know what you think of it!
08/05/23, 15:33   
@r_hjort That was fun! And cheap! And short! Three things I like. I finished the game and collected all the doodads with Hana in a few hours. I'll probably do the same for Toree and the other character as well.

I'm guessing it doesn't count for Backlaugust if I finished a game I bought yesterday...
08/05/23, 19:21   
That is a good combo of three things to like! It's kind of the "I want shorter games with worse graphics made by people who are paid more to work less and I'm not kidding" thing. It's nice to play a game that's just plain fun, and does the couple of things it does really well. Glad you liked it too!
08/06/23, 12:53   
I totally forgot all about this this year!
08/07/23, 08:34   
@nate38 I don't see why not. The way I look at it, if you hadn't played the game you bought yesterday, it would have been added to your backlog. You prevented the game from entering your backlog, and you know the old saying about prevention...!

@Brick No worries, there's still plenty of time to jump in now!
08/09/23, 00:52   
I played through Storyteller! Very short good puzzle game. I liked Daniel Benmergui's flash games back in the day, and this is their same concept turned into a full set of mechanics.
08/11/23, 05:35   
Castlevania Bloodlines

Looks like this is the only game left on the Anniversary Collection that I hadn't yet played, and apparently this is the same one that's included in the Genesis NSO dealie, so I s'pose there will just be one Castlevania game this year for me. To round out the collection, I still played it there, even though the NSO version has better emulation features. I don't know if I ever really heard about this game, so I didn't have expectations for it. And I've gotta say...

...It's a'ight. There's always a bit of a disconnect when I play a game like this: the controls and physics are still the same as the NES titles, but now with Genesis graphics and sound. Thanks to advances in hardware, games during this era tended to improve on things like smoother controls and more dynamic physics, so it's always jarring for me to play a game that looks 16-bit but plays like something much older. Although, at least the dude in this game learned how to whip upwards, even if only while jumping; still surprised me to see that! There's a fun variety of visual tricks across the stages, including reflective water, and a real mindfunk of splitting up the screen in a late stage. Relatively speaking, the tone of this one feels a little goofier than is typical, including a boss that is some sort of grouping of metal gears that dances across the room.

Moving past that however, the stage design here generally feels easier and more fair than the NES titles. There are usually less enemies in each screen, and it relies less on infinite enemy spawns, though there are still a few such sections. There are also a fair amount of bosses and sub-bosses, relatively speaking, and their patterns are typically slower and more predictable than the erratic ones in previous games. This one felt shorter than the previous ones, though I dunno if it actually has less stages, or just feels shorter due to the much easier difficulty. I'm actually kind of surprised at how breezy this game is, since it was released during the height of the rental era where many games were made absolutely brutal to combat rentals.

It's increasingly clear to me that Classicvania just isn't for me. I don't know if there's necessarily anything wrong with them, and I can see why they're popular as they often had great presentation for the era. They look good, they sound good, but I just don't care for the stiff and rigid gameplay, even when the game is overall easier like this. I played a couple stages to try out the second character, but seeing that they appear to have the exact same levels, I think I'll call it here.

And thus, the Castlevania Anniversary Collection is also complete! Now I know that won't count as its own completion for this, ha ha, but I can still mark it as such in my own backlog.
08/11/23, 20:33   
I tried the Lunistice demo! Very fun. It's interesting that there's this new genre of 3D platformer that's emerged in the past few years.

Speaking of SGDQ, any good runs this year? Any good TAS stuff?
08/13/23, 05:07   
There were a few great runs. The only TAS that I remember off the top of my head is the Celeste TAS, but that was great.

There was an interesting category in Silent Hill: Homepour, where shmumbler ran Silent Hill: Homecoming and Silent Hill: Downpour at the same time, only playing Homecoming during Downpour's cutscenes.

Bubzia played Breath of the Wild friggin' blindfolded.

There were also some great runs with great vibes that spawned memes and in-jokes, but as far as I'm concerned, the very best vibes came out of giygasblues's and Crak Atak's Wild Guns run.

Possibly the least informative, but also the most loveable couch in a while. It's honestly mindblowing that giygasblues managed to play the game as well as he did, considering he seemed to be bent over laughing constantly after a few minutes.
08/13/23, 12:49   
Edited: 08/13/23, 13:00
A Short Hike
This was recently added to Game Pass, and I remembered some people here speaking highly of it as a nice breezy, relaxing time. And I've gotta say...

...It's one of those games that delivers exactly what it promises on the tin, nothing more, nothing less. I was worried when I first opened it up and was greeted by images that are a mess of undefined chunky pixels, but fortunately I quickly found the option to smooth out the graphics and then it looks fine. This is generally my ideal type of open gameplay: a small, condensed area with a focus on exploration and clear goals. I also appreciate any game that's able to deliver an engaging experience without containing violence or dangers.

I felt compelled to complete all the tasks (including the cheevos) since moving around the island is quick, easy, and fun, becoming moreso the more golden feathers collected, and the race minigame challenged me to improve my gliding skillz to get around even faster. There are a few niggling issues here and there; a largely static camera which doesn't always show what I want to see; switching tools should be assigned to buttons instead of having to open the menu; and some presentation choices I don't care for, but they're minor enough to not hinder the experience. All in all, I enjoyed the hike.
08/14/23, 22:04   
I feel like I’ve been playing 3 Houses for at least 40 hours, yet I’m not even halfway through. Yikes. A war was just declared in the game. Chapter 12 I think. (Yeah, a war on my time, amirite?)
08/15/23, 00:48   
@Mop it up

Oh I know I was just alarmed that I forgot and lost time to play some games.
08/15/23, 03:12   
So, I have gotten intentionally nowhere with my backlog, but whilst playing Downwell as a time waster I found I can get to the final boss almost effortlessly. I started playing this every now and then since what, 8 years ago? If I beat this it will be the oldest thing on my backlog.
08/17/23, 19:52   
Edited: 08/17/23, 19:53
Pokémon Trading Card Game
I was always mildly curious about this game, but never ended up getting the cartridge. Its inclusion on NSO is a nice addition. Now that I can finally try it out, I've gotta say...

...It's a card game all right! While there is a simple structure of progression for the title, it does very little to game-ify the card game, delivering it pretty straight. No grand adventure, no storylines, no real characters, not even something cool like having the Monz pop out of the cards, it's literally cards in the context of the game as well. I've never played the physical card game and have no interest in it, so I don't know what, if any, changes were made to this video game incarnation. I get the feeling it may be simplified over the real thing however, seeing that there are just 7 types.

Being a card game, luck is of course a big factor, especially starting out with a standard deck. As I went along and defeated more opponents to collect more cards, I was slowly able to add some better cards into my deck to mitigate the luck aspect and have useful cards pop up more often. The standard opponents seemed easy enough to tackle them with a wide variety of deck setups, but the final bouts required me to figure out some more specific ones to handle what they throw out.

Overall, while I didn't particularly enjoy the game itself, it was an interesting curiosity to learn some things about the card game and how things work. I would imagine that any fan of the card game would be satisfied.
08/17/23, 21:08   
@Stan McStanly Are you using the knife and fork? Easily the most OP thing in the game. Can get so much health back from it.

The end boss isn't super tough so if you can get there consistently you should be able to beat the game soon-ish.
08/17/23, 21:09   
Edited: 08/17/23, 21:10
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