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Is Evan_B’s backlog too big?

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Author Topic: The Great(?) Video Game Spreadsheet Project: Year 32 Challenge!  (Read 7120 times)

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Offline Evan_B

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The Great(?) Video Game Spreadsheet Project: Year 32 Challenge!
« on: September 04, 2023, 03:34:43 PM »
Current Weighted Top Twenty (as of 9/11/2023):
  • VVVVVV (4.47)
  • Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 (4.42)
  • Crawl (4.36)
  • Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (4.30)
  • The Swapper (4.28)
  • Inscryption (4.25)
  • Roller Coaster Tycoon (4.23)
  • Dandara (4.21)
  • Mr. Driller Drill Land (4.21)
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (4.19)
  • ARMS (4.19)
  • Skwish (4.17)
  • UNSIGHTED (4.17)
  • Tetris Effect Connected (4.16)
  • Kirby's Air Ride (4.15)
  • Pick Pack Pup (4.12)
  • Toree 2 (4.12)
  • Toree 3D (4.12)
  • Paper Mario TTYD (4.11)
  • Lucah: Born of a Dream (4.10)

I've heard talk of these forums being unused. Of Discord emerging as the clear victor over old message boards. Well, I'm here to say that, without old message boards, we wouldn't have places to post unhinged rants like the one I'm about to engage in. You might argue I could toss this over onto r/gaming. I say, yeah, I guess I could. But it feels more at home here.

Having spent the last few years writing for a video game website, I had the privilege of playing a bunch of review copies of games, some of which I probably never would have picked up with my own money. This also led to me playing a bit fast and loose with the money I was saving not-buying those review copy games. Long story short, I generated a healthy backlog. One large enough to likely last me the rest of my days. This is concerning to me, seeing as I know the slow march of time will mean new games will be released in the future that I might want to play.

So, I decided to spend an entire year foregoing new video game purchases, starting on my birthday. We're several days in now, and I'm turning back to my backlog and making sure I give games their proper due over the next year, in the hopes of clearing things out and learning to appreciate what I've got, rather than what society insists I need.

But what does this have to do with spreadsheets? Well, I'm glad you asked. Since I delved into making weird inventories of what I own, I also started doing a bit of ranking of games. This got a bit messy, but it adds another layer of satisfaction when I beat a game, or put a game down for completion. Some games I end up bouncing off, and as a result, they might appear played, but not beaten on my spreadsheet. I can live with that.

How does one rank video games? Well, you're asking a mentally unwell person that question, so you better expect the unexpected answer. I should mention, I actually have two spreadsheets, one for all video games, the other strictly for RPGs, as they are the lion's share of the games I've played in my lifetime, and my personal ranking of RPGs involves evaluating some genre staples and finding trends that don't necessarily align with my overall video game ranking criteria. In any case, I broke down my rankings into six categories, each possessing a scale from 1-5:

GAMEPLAY: An admittedly nebulous label, this seeks to evaluate the breadth and complexity of the overall gameplay experience. Games that rely largely on a single type of mechanic or possess gimmicky, unpolished gameplay elements score low in this category, while more complex games with a variety of gameplay types or well-explored gameplay concepts score higher.
CONTROLS: Essentially, whether or not a game possesses tight and thoughtfully considered control schemes, as well as whether or not controls are customizable. This factors in the notion of developers making player control deliberately difficult or otherwise.
ART: Largely pertaining to visual aesthetics, this is a sterile way of evaluating art, but does have a bit of subjective reasoning. Game art that lacks consistency across elements or comes across as generic or serviceable score lower, with higher scoring games possessing strong aesthetics- not necessarily lifelike visuals.
SOUND DESIGN: Again, a sterile way of evaluating music at its lower rankings, but becoming more subjective on the higher end of the scale. It's music and sound design as a whole.
PACING: This one is contentious, for sure. I love RPGs, but I know for a fact that many of them are not good about respecting the player's time... or being disrespectful in service of presenting a more grand adventure. Do the narrative/gameplay/novelties of the experience seem intentionally spaced out for player enjoyment or appreciation?

Now, the finer requirements for scoring high and low in these categories are more of a toss-up, and while I've tried to be very objective in delineating them, ultimately, each one caps out at a 5 amounting to "standout for the genre." No matter how hard I try, stripping these numerical values of an interpretative aspect feels impossible. However, I have slightly modified things to another extent: weighting values based on my personal preferences. The distribution is as follows:
CONTROLS: 16%
MUSIC: 19%
ART: 19%
GAMEPLAY: 24%
PACING: 18%
STORY/WRITING: 5%

This is not to say I think art and music comprise 38% of an overall game experience, but I do value them more than control options and strong pacing. The latter category is something I think we, as consumers, have a complicated relationship with, though you'll find that my top 20 has a number of very brisk experiences. As for writing, you might find it surprising that I value it so little. In short, I think most video game writing is pretty bad, with occasional bursts of originality and appropriate flair. Some of the best video games I have played have pretty minimal writing, so this category is more about whether the writing is appropriate for the project, and how generic or unpolished the final product appears to be.

In any case, here are some curious notes, as the spreadsheet does go beyond just weighted and unweighted averages: (This list curated on 9/4/2023, subject to change in a year)
  • My admittedly meager Steam library and PC games are very underrepresented on this list, which is something I hope to update in the near future. I'm missing a number of classics like Roller Coaster Tycoon, Age of Empires, and Starcraft, to name a few.
  • Either I'm a nice guy or my ranking criteria are far too lenient, but a whopping 336 games out of the currently-listed 494 are rated a 3.00 or higher, unweighted. In contrast, my weighted preferences put 309 out of 494 at a 3.00 or above.
  • For more precision, 37 games score a 4 or higher.
  • There is a range of 22 unique average scores out of 495 games. There is a range of 208 unique average weighted scores, though this number is impacted by the amount of unique calculations factoring in weighted percentages. I will need to streamline this calculation in the future.
  • 11 games have, in my opinion, a 5 out of 5 Control Scheme.
  • 40 games have 5 out of 5 Sound Design.
  • 48 games have 5 out of 5 Art/Aesthetics.
  • 3 games have 5 out of 5 Gameplay. Yikes! They are: Mr. Driller Drill Land, Hand of Fate 2, and Tears of the Kingdom.
  • 28 games have 5 out of 5 Pacing.
  • 12 games have 5 out of 5 Writing.
  • The top three averages on the sheet are 3.17 (67), 2.83 (61), and 3.33 (54).
All of these notes are based on weighted averages:
  • The top three most frequently recurring genres in my top 20 are platformers (5) and party/competitive games (5), and Role Playing Games (3).
  • The lowest rated game I loved was Dokapon Kingdom (2.61). See, I enjoy average games!
  • The highest rated game I liked was Dandara, which I think demands a replay for re-evaluation. I do really enjoy the ideas in Dandara but there were a couple of instances where I was a bit underwhelmed. The lowest rated game I liked was Metroid: Other M (2.16).
  • I have a category of preference called "meh," and the highest and lowest games rated in this category are Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (3.61) and Sonic Heroes (2.03), respectively.
  • The highest rated game I disliked was Crypt of the Necrodancer (3.65). I totally get what the game is trying to do but I think mastering its systems requires a single-minded obsession and a punishing reaction time. The lowest rated game I disliked was The Atla Archives (1.67). A recent release, I can't forgive its poor design, but I do know that it is an early effort from an ambitious and green developer.
  • The highest rated game that I hated was Arc of Alchemist (2.61). Kind of shocked it even got that. The lowest rated game is Witch and Hero (1.65). This is a very mean ranking and is entirely based on buyer's remorse.

Here's the kicker. There's a backlog sheet on here, as well, and it contains a whopping 156 games. Some are near finished, but I don't feel confident enough adding them to the ranking sheet. 82 of these games remain literally unplayed, while the other 74 have been started or are in some progress. I need to sink a comfortable amount of time into a roguelike before I feel I can properly add it to the ranking sheet. Some of the near-finished games require a second look before adding them to the ranking sheet- I do not personally feel I need to complete a game to add it to the ranking sheet.

I do not know how I got to this point of having such a disgustingly large backlog, but I want to claw my way out of it, one way or another. I understand that having a bunch of RPGs and multiplayer/endless games in my backlog won't help that battle, but it is one I am committed to tackling, at least for the next calendar year.

If you have any questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to leave them here. May the gods have mercy on me.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2023, 07:40:54 PM by Evan_B »
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Offline M.K.Ultra

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Re: The Great(?) Video Game Spreadsheet Project: Year 32 Challenge!
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2023, 10:29:18 AM »
This is very interesting to me. It occurred to me to use a holistic rubric for evaluating the quality of any game a few years ago. I did envision something similar but I was always too busy to actually carry it to fruition. I did have music, art, and controls on my list as well. Pacing was not one I had thought of so that is neat, and certainly a factor that affect the enjoyment of the game. I almost feel like you would want to use a different distribution for different genres but perhaps that would disrupt the whole idea. Any plans to perhaps share you actual .csv file for others to take a closer look?

So the current top twenty are the twenty highest rated games that you have played? What exactly is on your backlog, could we get a sneak peak of some of the 156?

Offline Khushrenada

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Re: The Great(?) Video Game Spreadsheet Project: Year 32 Challenge!
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2023, 04:44:22 PM »
I'm loving that Kirby's Air Ride is the highest rated GameCube game. Take that, Mario Kart! Even higher than the great TTYD. And ARMS! No one talks about ARMS anymore on the Switch. Splatoon got two releases on Switch while ARMS is left behind. That 2015 - 2018 when Nintendo seemed to be getting creative with game ideas and franchises.

Evan_B(iscotti) does have a Backloggery page though I'm not sure how up-to-date it is. It only shows 105 total unfinished games. I'm not sure if he'd be alright with me posting the link to it or not so to err on the side of privacy, I'll wait to see what he says after reading this post.
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Offline Evan_B

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Re: The Great(?) Video Game Spreadsheet Project: Year 32 Challenge!
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2023, 09:56:38 PM »
So the current top twenty are the twenty highest rated games that you have played? What exactly is on your backlog, could we get a sneak peak of some of the 156?
So the list at the top of the thread is my current weighted top 20. When you do unweighted ranking, some games move around, and some games sneak into the top 20 that definitely deserve to be there. Weirdly enough, it feels more like the list is more biased when it's unweighted... in any case, here it is:
  • VVVVVV
  • The Swapper
  • Inscryption
  • Crawl
  • Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
  • UNSIGHTED
  • Paper Mario TTYD
  • Pikmin 3
  • Vagrant Story
  • The Last Story
  • A Short Hike
  • Dandara
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  • ARMS
  • Kirby's Air Ride
  • Toree 2
  • Toree 3D
  • Lucah: Born of a Dream
  • Scram Kitty and his Buddy on Rails
  • Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze
…I’ll be honest, I kind of feel bad about Toree 2 and 3D taking up two spots on the list. But I also kinda don’t. EDIT: Also of note is how Mr. Driller drops out of the top 20 completely when not weighted.

Regarding your comments on genre... I at least have an RPG-exclusive spreadsheet, which does have some other crazy categorizations. As for the .csv, it looks like a trainwreck when I try exporting it, so I can only offer a .pdf. It as my backlog page on it, as well: PDF view
I'm loving that Kirby's Air Ride is the highest rated GameCube game. Take that, Mario Kart! Even higher than the great TTYD. And ARMS! No one talks about ARMS anymore on the Switch. Splatoon got two releases on Switch while ARMS is left behind. That 2015 - 2018 when Nintendo seemed to be getting creative with game ideas and franchises.

Evan_B(iscotti) does have a Backloggery page though I'm not sure how up-to-date it is. It only shows 105 total unfinished games. I'm not sure if he'd be alright with me posting the link to it or not so to err on the side of privacy, I'll wait to see what he says after reading this post.
Thanks for keeping me honest. Though I've added a number of games to my backloggery over the past year(s), I haven't really kept up with managing it, so the status of many games listed there are not up-to-date. I am switching over to this weird spreadsheet instead, so you can use the link above.

And yes, while ARMS was very much laughed at for its gimmicky premise and shallow features out of the gate, the game has a lot of variety to it, great aesthetics, and excellent control options and mapping. I can't believe I think so highly of it, but I do. As a reminder, the ranking system here, as holistic as it tries to be, is still horribly biased towards my tastes.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2023, 08:50:06 AM by Evan_B »
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Offline Evan_B

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Re: The Great(?) Video Game Spreadsheet Project: Year 32 Challenge!
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2023, 08:05:37 PM »
Week 2: Current Weighted Top Twenty (as of 9/11/2023):
VVVVVV (4.47)
Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 (4.42)
Crawl (4.36)
Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (4.30)
The Swapper (4.28)
Inscryption (4.25)
Roller Coaster Tycoon (4.23)
Dandara (4.21)
Mr. Driller Drill Land (4.21)
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (4.19)
ARMS (4.19)
Skwish (4.17)
UNSIGHTED (4.17)
Tetris Effect Connected (4.16)
Kirby's Air Ride (4.15)
Pick Pack Pup (4.12)
Toree 2 (4.12)
Toree 3D (4.12)
Paper Mario TTYD (4.11)
Lucah: Born of a Dream (4.10)

I figured I'd post new rankings each week I update the sheet. I added a few oldies to the mix (mostly PC games) as well as my Playdate catalogue, which did a bit of a rankings upset.

...I also added more games to my backlog, which means now there are 175. Whoopee.

The new games that I've played (Pikmin 4, Trigger Witch, and Nova 111) haven't made it into the top rankings... yet. I still need to sink a bit more time into Nova 111 to see if I think its pacing is stellar. As far as strategy/puzzle games go, though, I'm pretty confident in rating it highly. Pikmin 4 was not an enjoyable experience, I found it simplistic and slow-paced, with the new modes not offering well-constructed challenge and the control options a huge letdown. The game feels like a big step back from Pikmin 3. Trigger Witch is adorable and stupid, but gets by on its gratuitous violence and dynamic soundtrack.

Playdate games are a bit tough, in terms of visuals and sound design. It's such a feature-light system that when developers push its 1-bit visuals, it really sells the charm of the console and the product. But are the sound and art standout for the genre, or for the system? That's what I often mull over, which ends up settling the ranking. Anyway, Skwish and Pick Pack Pup are excellently-paced, pocket-sized offerings that are well-worth experiencing, and I'm glad to see them up on the top of the list.

If anything, it has proven to me that, despite my love for extra-meaty RPGs, a punchy, succinct experience often burrows into my brain and gives me warm and fuzzy feelings. I'm pretty pleased with how the top 20 looks right now, which at least leaves room for some old favorites while acknowledging the blossoming modern gaming scene.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2024, 12:11:24 AM by Evan_B »
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Offline Stratos

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Re: The Great(?) Video Game Spreadsheet Project: Year 32 Challenge!
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2023, 01:06:21 AM »
I was about to make a snarky comparison to a certain "food documentary" director who most likely faked their numbers and refused to release their food logs, then when pressure increase he claimed they were all lost in a fire...but you posted the spreadsheet!

If I include all of the free games I've gotten on Steam and Epic Game Store I would probably be in the thousands. I like to say my backlog is my "retirement entertainment plan". Some folks wither away with nothing to do when they retire. Not so for me!

I might make a version of this sheet for myself in the future. But not nearly as intricate. Would be fun to chronicle my backlogging journey.
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Offline Order.RSS

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Re: The Great(?) Video Game Spreadsheet Project: Year 32 Challenge!
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2023, 07:50:45 PM »
Pretty interesting method!

So, is there a strategy to shedding the remaining backlog? I guess some basics could be:
  • Acquire fewer games than you complete/drop (you're already doing this)
  • Wrap up any unfinished savegames. Don't restart; either continue or drop
  • Next, start some short ones to get completions rolling?
  • Consider trying the worst games in your backlog early, as you might drop them before the end, which would whittle down the pile faster?
One thing to worry about would be turning your hobby into a job with targets to hit, though.

The ones from the list which jump out to me are:
- GRIS is short and you're almost done already.
- Transistor, Sonic 3D Classic, Sayonara Wild Hearts, and Nano Assault EX are 5 hours tops each. Those are good early candidates to get a head start. Tony Hawk might take 10 perhaps, fewer if you're good. 
- Townscaper gets real boring real fast unless you're a self-motivated player who likes to build worlds. I dropped it in 15 minutes, but YMMV.
- You've got a few doubles listed, like Skyrim, Astria Ascending, and Paradise Killer. There's some freebies to cross off immediately!

Offline Evan_B

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Re: The Great(?) Video Game Spreadsheet Project: Year 32 Challenge!
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2023, 11:09:35 PM »
Pretty interesting method!

So, is there a strategy to shedding the remaining backlog? I guess some basics could be:
  • Acquire fewer games than you complete/drop (you're already doing this)
  • Wrap up any unfinished savegames. Don't restart; either continue or drop
  • Next, start some short ones to get completions rolling?
  • Consider trying the worst games in your backlog early, as you might drop them before the end, which would whittle down the pile faster?
One thing to worry about would be turning your hobby into a job with targets to hit, though.

The ones from the list which jump out to me are:
- GRIS is short and you're almost done already.
- Transistor, Sonic 3D Classic, Sayonara Wild Hearts, and Nano Assault EX are 5 hours tops each. Those are good early candidates to get a head start. Tony Hawk might take 10 perhaps, fewer if you're good. 
- Townscaper gets real boring real fast unless you're a self-motivated player who likes to build worlds. I dropped it in 15 minutes, but YMMV.
- You've got a few doubles listed, like Skyrim, Astria Ascending, and Paradise Killer. There's some freebies to cross off immediately!
I appreciate the recommendations and the advice! I am aiming to get shorter games/game I’ve already started out of the way as fast as possible, in the interest of time. All of your comments are valid. Thank you.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2023, 12:49:17 PM by Evan_B »
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Offline Evan_B

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Re: The Great(?) Video Game Spreadsheet Project: Year 32 Challenge!
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2023, 06:04:50 PM »
Week 7: Current Weighted Top Twenty (as of 10/16/2023):
VVVVVV (4.47)
Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 (4.42)
UNSIGHTED (4.41)
Crawl (4.36)
Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (4.30)
The Swapper (4.28)
Donkey Kong (1994) (4.25)
Inscryption (4.25)
Roller Coaster Tycoon (Deluxe) (4.23)
Dandara (4.21)
Mr. Driller Drill Land (4.21)
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (4.19)
ARMS (4.19)
Skwish (4.17)
Tetris Effect Connected (4.16)
Kirby's Air Ride (4.15)
Pick Pack Pup (4.12)
Toree 2 (4.12)
Toree 3D (4.12)
Paper Mario TTYD (4.11)


Sometimes, you have to make really tough choices, like asking yourself: is UNSIGHTED the best top-down Zelda ever made? The answer is obviously yes, but how much better is it than the highest-rated Zelda title on my list? Eh, it’s a toss-up.

So I’ve gone through my top 20 and done a bit of restructuring. First of all, I was a bit shocked to review my rankings and realize I didn’t have DK94 on my spreadsheet- it’s a game I regard very highly. But, in the month I have spent working through my backlog, I have made the following additions to my spreadsheet:
DK94 (4.25) - Loved
Evil Tonight (3.80) - Loved
For a Vast Future (3.74) - Liked
Wolfstride (3.71) - …
Master Blaster Zero 2 (3.67) - Liked
Lone Ruin (3.41) - Liked
Ender Lillies: Quietus of the Night (3.41) - Liked
Traumatarium (3.16) - Liked
Evertried (3.00) - Meh
Nova 111- (2.92) - Liked
Townscaper (2.92) - Loved


…As you can see, I had a moment of weakness. Traumatarium was so cheap, I couldn’t resist. Turns out, it’s maybe the perfect Game Boy-sized RPG, wrapped in an even nicer 3D simulation wrapping. But, there’s not much to it outside of its randomized dungeon crawling, so it was easy to rate. This is in contrast with games like Lone Ruin Nova 111, which do require a bit of fast-paced, skill-centric gameplay. I don’t think I’ll ever really get much further than the basic difficulties of the former and I am hoping to finish out the latter soon, but both felt right enough to rate at the moment.

I don’t know how I feel about Wolfstride. Objectively, it’s such a unique game from an aesthetic and gameplay standpoint, and my disdain for video game writing and some of the artistic choices make it hard for me to love. I’m going to need a bit more time with it.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2024, 12:11:54 AM by Evan_B »
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Offline Khushrenada

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Re: The Great(?) Video Game Spreadsheet Project: Year 32 Challenge!
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2023, 07:42:47 AM »
LOL! Just got rid of a spambot that posted in this thread. It gave itself away by trying to use my own writing! Spammers trying to be clever with bloody plagiarizing AI. Anyways, just thought I'd post a record of what the spambot posted along with my earlier post for comparison to examine since I'll also admit that it's slightly fascinating to see how these programs are able to understand some of the meaning and reword things. Gives me flashbacks to school when you weren't supposed to just copy out a paragraph from a book for an answer so it was often just this kind of trying to change the words enough to put it in your own words while saying the same thing.

I'm thrilled that Kirby's Air Ride holds the top spot as the highest-rated GameCube game, giving Mario Kart a run for its money! Surprisingly, it even outshines the fantastic TTYD and the somewhat forgotten ARMS on the Switch. While Splatoon enjoys two releases on the Switch, ARMS seems to have been left in the shadows. It's a nod to that period from 2015 to 2018 when Nintendo was truly exploring creativity in game ideas and franchises.

By the way, Evan_B(iscotti) maintains a Backloggery page, though I'm unsure of its current status. It displays 105 unfinished games. To respect privacy, I'll hold off on sharing the link until Evan_B gives the green light after reading this post.

I'm loving that Kirby's Air Ride is the highest rated GameCube game. Take that, Mario Kart! Even higher than the great TTYD. And ARMS! No one talks about ARMS anymore on the Switch. Splatoon got two releases on Switch while ARMS is left behind. That 2015 - 2018 when Nintendo seemed to be getting creative with game ideas and franchises.

Evan_B(iscotti) does have a Backloggery page though I'm not sure how up-to-date it is. It only shows 105 total unfinished games. I'm not sure if he'd be alright with me posting the link to it or not so to err on the side of privacy, I'll wait to see what he says after reading this post.

Also, for the record, I had clicked on this thread to see the latest post and when it loaded, it was actually the second paragraph that caught my eye because I saw the Evan_B(iscotti) name and was confused for a moment as to why someone would be using that to refer to him and if other users were now using that to reference him. Then it suddenly clicked in my head that I was being ripped off by AI! Just goes to show that dumb jokes are the key to defeating the rise of the robots. They can't understand our humor yet!
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Offline Evan_B

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Re: The Great(?) Video Game Spreadsheet Project: Year 32 Challenge!
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2024, 12:07:26 AM »
Week 19: Current Weighted Top Twenty (as of 2/8/2024):
VVVVVV (4.47)
Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 (4.42)
UNSIGHTED (4.41)
Crawl (4.36)
Paper Mario TTYD (4.35)
Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (4.3)
The Swapper (4.28)
Inscryption (4.25)
Donkey Kong (1994) (4.25)
Roller Coaster Tycoon (Deluxe) (4.23)
Crystal Project (4.23)
Dandara (4.21)
Mr. Driller Drill Land (4.21)
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (4.19)
ARMS (4.19)
Skwish (4.17)
Tetris Effect Connected (4.16)
Kirby's Air Ride (4.15)
Pick Pack Pup (4.12)
Toree 2 (4.12)

You thought I’d given up on this wild and crazy ride, didn’t you? Well, as it turns out, I’m still going, though my previous commitments have been… compromised.

I did spend the holiday season getting some eShop credit and using it to pick up some new releases that I had an interest in, so I guess my streak of buying no new games… ah, who am I kidding? It barely lasted a quarter of a year. But I am still doing everything in my power to chip away at old games that have sat in my backlog for far too long, as you’ll see from a number of my completed list for this update.

I once again took a look at my top 20 and did some restructuring, in addition to adding a newcomer that has proven to me that I can still fall in love with something new. I also added more pages to the spreadsheet that are even as of the past week very much outdated. Oh, joy.

Transistor (3.56) - Disliked
Can’t say much about this one, other than the slow unlock of abilities and lack of helpful tutorials made for an uninviting and bland play. I’m sure Supergiant managed to do this thing a bit better with Hades, but I don’t care much for that game’s priorities.

Mortal Shell (3.25) - Liked
The Switch version of this game seems to run better in handheld than docked, oddly enough, but the mechanics are sound enough to make for a decent Soulslike experience. A little harsh with its world traversal, though.

Gone Home  (3.5) - Liked
I don’t see why people were miffed with this game. It’s a very earnest attempt at making a meaningful narrative experience, and I can respect that. Sure, it is a bit ham fisted at points, but I do love how the house is designed.

Kingdom Eighties (3.36) - Meh
Feels the most linear of the Kingdom games, which makes sense for the narrative but isn’t really why I play these games. Beautiful, as usual, but I’m so tired of the eighties and that might have affected my enjoyment.

Everhood (3.31) - Meh
I respect this game’s commitment to being weird, but I can’t really justify its rhythm-oriented combat system for any reason other than “bullet hells are fun.” This is not really a statement I agree with, and I also don’t really think the game does a good enough job with its mechanics to make any of its first half enjoyable. Aesthetically, it’s really quite special.

West of Dead (3.23) - Liked
I like Ron Perlman, I like roguelikes, I like West of Dead. I think its cover system is a bit too sticky at times, but I also think it is very smart about using guns and cover to develop build variety.

Toodee and Topdee (3.4) - Meh
I think there’s a very novel concept here and I respect this developer for following through on their vision, but the cutscenes are overly long and I don’t really need as much writing as what is present here to play a puzzle platformer.

Disjunction (3.45) - Liked
A stealthy action adventure game with a bit of customization of experience and multiple narrative threads. Nice pixel art and solid gameplay that benefits from having concrete choices.

Shadows Over Loathing (3.69) - Loved
It’s more of the Loathing series, which is criminally underrated despite its great writing and pretty solid role-based gameplay. I don’t know what else to say. If you don’t like stick figures, I don’t like you.

Under the Castle (3.75) - Liked
A cute little roguelike about a guy in a hat that I played for Playdate. One of the highest quality games to be released on the system from an aesthetic and playtime standpoint. I thought very highly of it.

Tasomachi (3.16) - Liked
Janky platforming in a sterile, but beautifully rendered world. Weird and charming as a result, I couldn’t possibly recommend this game to anyone, but I did enjoy it.

Undergrave (3.09) - Liked
A crushing strategy/resource-management roguelike with neat mechanics and highly punishing combat. Nowhere near as compelling or replayable as the greats of the genre, but unique enough to worm its way into my heart.

Super Crush KO (3.35) - Liked
Stylish and cute platforming brawler with more of an action vibe than a belt scroller. I don’t have the urge to master it, but it was enjoyable and very charming

Blue Reflection: Second Light (3.41) - Meh
I don’t know if I only consider this a “meh” as its unique premise is enough to make it one of the more memorable JRPGs I’ve played recently. I guess there is a demographic out there that can enjoy slice-of-life anime magical schoolgirls for 30+ hours, but it ain’t me. The combat was very passive, too, which didn’t help things.

Collection of SaGa (3.09) - Meh
I respect this collection very much, but it did a great job of reminding me that my memories of Game Boy RPGs are definitely not what they actually looked like. I was a bit bummed to see a lack of customization/accessibility for these games, as they could definitely use it.

What Remains of Edith Finch (3.74) - Meh
I don’t really know why this story needed to be told. It’s very artful in its presentation and the controls are simple and intuitive, but I don’t think it’s all that thematically rich. I don’t regret playing it- the game was a very brisk hour and a half, or it felt that way, at least. This was actually in preparation for a “video games as literature” unit for my Senior English class.

Crystal Project (4.23) - Loved
Finally, the job system I was promised from Bravely Default mixed with a non-intrusive narrative and meaningful exploration and dungeon design that game lacked. I’m really happy to say that I’m consistently finding new favorites, and I’m also very happy that Crystal Project exists and does what it does. Excellent experience that continues to reward with its substantial NG+.

Born of Bread (3.59) - Liked
Well, here it is. The Paper Mario clone. It’s definitely got its own style, though I find some of its nature and mechanics a bit too squarely rooted in pop culture. The combat lacks a bit of depth and I’m not sure if the swapping system is bugged on Switch or if it’s designed to be bad, but I don’t think the game does enough to escape the shadow of The Thousand Year Door or even Bug Fables.

Super Kiwi 64 (3.69) - Liked
It’s a Siactro game, which means it has a very acute understanding of its source of inspiration, and it’s also bite-sized. This one might take you a bit longer than any of the Toree games due to its expansion, but it’s still a very brisk experience that presents a healthy variety of level designs and mechanics. If anyone ever asks you to sum up the 3D Platformer era, you can point them in this game’s direction. It might not be as bloated as the games from that era, but it has the right mixture of charm and jank to accurately represent it.

Sephonie (3.67) - Liked
Well, this the odd 3D Platformer that feels inspired in its design, and not inspired by any particular classics of the era. Or maybe it is, and I missed them. But Sephonie is a rare 3D Platformer with a STORY. It uses its narrative and setting to show off some pretty crazy visuals, oh, and there’s also a weird puzzle mini game. It’s not perfect, but it’s incredibly unique and the writing is wonderful.

Spooky Ghosts Dot Com (3.22) - Meh
It’s a low-grade Metroidvania that relies on tight, but floaty platforming and punishing damage optimization to make it worth your while. The art style is simple, but cute. The game is simple, but cute. It’s slightly below average.

Once again: the linked spreadsheet.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2024, 09:17:33 AM by Evan_B »
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Offline Evan_B

  • Formally known as Bevan Ee
  • Score: 5
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Re: The Great(?) Video Game Spreadsheet Project: Year 32 Challenge!
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2024, 09:46:23 PM »
Week 24: Current Weighted Top Twenty (as of 3/12/2024):
VVVVVV (4.47)
Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 (4.42)
UNSIGHTED (4.41)
Crawl (4.36)
Paper Mario TTYD (4.35)
Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (4.3)
The Swapper (4.28)
Inscryption (4.25)
Donkey Kong (1994) (4.25)
Roller Coaster Tycoon (Deluxe) (4.23)
Crystal Project (4.23)
Dandara (4.21)
Mr. Driller Drill Land (4.21)
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (4.19)
ARMS (4.19)
Skwish (4.17)
Tetris Effect Connected (4.16)
Kirby's Air Ride (4.15)
Pick Pack Pup (4.12)
Toree 2 (4.12)

Another month, another slow step of progress. I feel like I need to do better than a game a week. This batch of additions has me pondering at what point I can really rank a game- I think it depends on how confident I am in having experienced its "loop," especially since some games long overstay their welcome for the sake of justifying their price. In any case, with no changes on the top 20 list, here's an overview of what I've played:

Firewatch (3.45) - Meh
Wow, with such a strong start and really compelling gameplay, I'm honestly surprised how quickly this game fizzles out in its conclusion. This is a game I'm very curious to replay, as I want to see how changes in behavior affect the dialogue, but knowing the truths behind the narrative, I find it hard to muster any enthusiasm.

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure (3.54) - Liked
Now this is a charming adventure. I love the proliferation of short, open-world games with strong narrative theming, and although Alba's controls sometimes get in the way, its environmentalist theming and infectious do-gooder attitude are more than enough to sell the whole experience. Not a great deal of complexity, but a satisfying, short title on the whole.

No Man's Sky (2.83) - Meh
Well, I definitely didn't complete an entire run of this game, but I did get pretty deep into an expedition before I realized that, while this game is addictive and contemplative, the moment-to-moment gameplay is better served in something like Minecraft, and no amount of alien lore breadcrumbing or retro sci-fi aesthetic can mask the relatively shallow mechanics. This is also an example of a game being lower ranked thanks to the Switch, which really can't handle the graphics and complexity of this game with any degree of grace. I'd love to give this a more earnest try on better hardware, but I can't imagine that happening.

Tenderfoot Tactics (3.33) - Loved
This game is equal parts bite-sized tactics skirmishes and contemplative, transportive exploration, and it's a great example of a game I love that isn't necessarily highly ranked. I fully acknowledge that this game is a bit bloated and not all that elegant, but honestly, walking through its surreal landscapes and situating myself with the weird in-game maps is more than enough to satisfy me. Do I think it could be done better? Yeah, but I'm not complaining.

Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince (3.22) - Liked
I have a great deal of nostalgia for the Dragon Quest Monsters games on the Game Boy. So when I picked this up, I was hoping it would update that experience for modern hardware and sensibilities. It does that in the way that Dragon Quest always seems to do things. Take that as a compliment or an insult.

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Offline Evan_B

  • Formally known as Bevan Ee
  • Score: 5
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Re: The Great(?) Video Game Spreadsheet Project: Year 32 Challenge!
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2024, 09:04:21 PM »
Week 28: Current Weighted Top Twenty (as of 4/8/2024):
VVVVVV (4.47)
Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 (4.42)
UNSIGHTED (4.41)
Crawl (4.36)
Paper Mario TTYD (4.35)
Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (4.3)
The Swapper (4.28)
Inscryption (4.25)
Donkey Kong (1994) (4.25)
Roller Coaster Tycoon (Deluxe) (4.23)
Crystal Project (4.23)
Dandara (4.21)
Mr. Driller Drill Land (4.21)
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (4.19)
ARMS (4.19)
Skwish (4.17)
Tetris Effect Connected (4.16)
Kirby's Air Ride (4.15)
Pick Pack Pup (4.12)
Toree 2 (4.12)

Small games... good?

I'm really happy to have played a number of smaller titles that have allowed me to feel that I'm still progressing in my goals while also tackling larger projects. I have been working away at an "analysis" article that requires some scrutiny of a previously-played title, so in the meantime, ticking some games off of my backlog thanks to brief gameplay experiences has been a nice balancing act.

With that said, I guess I finally feel confident in saying "here for a good time, not a long time" is an adage that I can get behind, as I've found many of these shorter games to be highly impactful and memorable.

Donut County (3.82) - Loved
Entering into the top 100, Donut County is amazing. It's probably one of the easiest recommendations I could make to a potential game enthusiast of any age. Funny writing, great aesthetics, and novel little twists that keep the experience fresh in addition to brisk and lovely. A quickly digested experience, but absolutely worth it.

Paradise Killer (3.26) - Loved
This is a weird one, because as much as I really, really love the writing and world-building of this game, I think it's a bit of a mess from a design standpoint. If everything means something, this game is actually harmed by its excess- excess in collectibles, in dialogue options, in an open-world that has way too much stuffed inside it, yet still feels a bit too sterile and large for its own good. But man, what a ride. It's so satisfying... except for the one random missable secret that blows the entire plot wide open and is hidden behind heaps of alternative dialogue. Also, amazing soundtrack, but pretty terrible sound mixing, to the point where you're constantly being bombarded by irritating sound effects for doing nothing other than exploring. Such a mixed bag of good and bad, but the incredible amount of personality the game possesses helps it win out in the end.

Sonic Superstars (2.55) - Hated
Hell is playing a Sonic game in 2024.

Oom (3.91) - Loved
Another game entering into the top 100 with ease, this is proof that a simple concept and novel controls can a fun and engaging game make. Oom is rhythmic, but sometimes its exploratory. You don't always need the music in order to find success, but it can help. What also helps is the very granular control options provided by the crank, which is really the selling point of the game overall. It comes together very well even though some rooms feel a little bit redundant. Just a tiny bit.

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