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New Year’s Backlog Ablutions 2020

View Nelson Schneider's Profile

By Nelson Schneider - 12/22/19 at 04:26 PM CT

Last year’s New Year’s Backlog Ablutions experiment turned out to be quite the success. While both Nick and Matt ultimately failed the challenge, this goal-setting activity succeeded in getting both of them to play more regularly.

However, Chris and I both found the challenge to be “2EZ,” so this year the MeltedJoystick Crew has decided to mix it up a bit and add some actual consequences for failure. Instead of picking three games from our own backlogs and pledging to play them in the year 2020, we’ve each picked a single game for everyone else. Justifications for our given picks can be found below.

Finally, we found that the lack of a penalty for failure didn’t motivate certain Crew members quite enough. Thus, this year, anyone who fails to clear their Backlog Ablutions must buy a game for the Crew members who did off of their respective wish lists. This should be fun!


Chris: Community Manager
From Matt: “Metro 2033”
“Metro 2033” is a FPS based on a post-apocalyptic novel by Dmitry Glukhovsky. Acclaimed for its horror and intricate environments, this mutant-killing, body-scavenging, and tunnel-lurking game should fit well within Chris’ favorite genre. Hopefully this title will provide some entertaining Twitch streams as THEDisgruntledDwarf navigates the ruins of Moscow, post nuclear fallout.

From Nelson: “Fable Anniversary”
‘Fable’ and its defunct developer, Lionhead, are kind of in a strange place. If you ask an Xbox fanboy, they’ll tell you “Fable” is the best RPG ever. Of course, we should all give a hearty chuckle and a condescending pat on the head when an Xbox fanboy deigns to speak on the topic of RPGs – a topic they know literally nothing about. I finally got around to playing this “open world,” “do anything” game a couple years ago and was… underwhelmed. I’d like Chris’ perspective on this title because, while we usually have very comparable views on what constitutes a good game or a bad game, when we differ, we WILDLY differ.

From Nick: “Watch Dogs”
I got a free copy of this with a GPU purchase. I didn’t want it, so I gave it to Hurto. He needs to play it.


Matt: Erstwhile Photo/Video-grapher
From Chris: “BioShock”
In terms of my choice for Matt, “BioShock” is the rare game I have played that surprised me. It mixes a clever story with interesting characters, a truly unique setting, and some decent gameplay to back it up. Since Matt has already experienced “BioShock Infinite” (another great game), I am interested to see how this one will stack u – and whether it truly does stand the test of time and still belongs among the top tier of games. While I do enjoy games where you just shoot zombies, Nazis, or Nazi Zombies, I also do like a game with some meat on the bones, and “BioShock” has stuck with me. I don’t know if Matt already knows all the spoilers… but even if so, it’s still worth the effort and, on a personal note: Man, did Hollywood miss an opportunity to make THIS into a film!

From Nelson: “Dragon Quest 5”
Matt has been a good student in the Way of the RPG. He has partaken in the best of ‘Final Fantasy’ and come out the other side with a thorough understanding of why the series was an inextricable part of the Golden Age of Gaming. But it’s time to move on. I wish to spare Matt the horrors of witnessing ‘Final Fantasy’ go completely off the rails after “Final Fantasy 6,” so for his next lesson, he will begin the other major RPG series: ‘Dragon Quest.’ But instead of forcing him to slog through the drudgery and tedium of its beginnings, I want him to move straight to the series’ high point with “Dragon Quest 5,” which he can either play fanslated in RetroArch (my recommendation) or in remastered form on his DS (I lent him my copy years ago). As a family man, “Dragon Quest 5” should really speak to him with its central themes.

From Nick: “Cthulhu Saves the World”
I enjoyed it, Matt should too.


Nelson: Editor
From Chris: “To the Moon”
I want both Nelson and Nick to play “To the Moon” because, honestly, I found the game to be incredibly moving – and while it has game elements, it’s really more of an experience, and I truly want to know if either of those stone-hearts will feel the same or not. The old-school graphics differentiate it from the more well-known Walking Simulators out there, but it’s more akin to an Adventure game at heart. While there are a lot of people out there who don’t consider videogames to be on the same level as film, TV, or novels – I would say that “To the Moon” makes as much of an impact as any other medium out there, and is truly one of the exceptional (though non-traditional) games I have played.

From Matt: “Valkyria Chronicles 4”
Is the original “Valkyria Chronicles” the best Tactical RPG? Possibly. I played the first game on the PS3 after Nelson highly recommended it, and greatly enjoyed it. Since then, the franchise bounced to the not-so-popular-PSP (“Valkyria Chronicles 2”), then to a Japan-only release (“Valkyria Chronicles 3”), and now it’s back on all the major US platforms. This pick is partly selfish, since I am interested to see how it stacks up with the first release in the series.

From Nick: “The Messenger”
This game looks really good from watching it during Summer Games Done Quick. We all got this for free from Epic Games, but Nelson’s opinion may sway me to play it sooner rather than later.


Nick: Chief Technical Officer
From Chris: “To the Moon”
I want both Nelson and Nick to play “To the Moon” because, honestly, I found the game to be incredibly moving – and while it has game elements, it’s really more of an experience, and I truly want to know if either of those stone-hearts will feel the same or not. The old-school graphics differentiate it from the more well-known Walking Simulators out there, but it’s more akin to an Adventure game at heart. While there are a lot of people out there who don’t consider videogames to be on the same level as film, TV, or novels – I would say that “To the Moon” makes as much of an impact as any other medium out there, and is truly one of the exceptional (though non-traditional) games I have played.

From Matt: “FEZ”
“FEZ” is a 2D platformer with puzzle elements developed by the Indie, Polytron. You play a small, rotund, fez-wearing character as the power of the hat reveals the true complexities of 3D world. The 8-bit style is appealing and the gameplay looks promising. Deep down, I am hoping that 54Lightning finds a way to speed run through this title and start a new YouTube trend.

From Nelson: “Dark Souls”
Nick actually bought this abomination with his own money AND had the nerve to wishlist both of its sequels on Steam. He loves to mock me for hating a challenge – even when he’s always the first one to fold when a coop game presents a difficulty spike – so it’s time to put up or shut up. I really want to know if Nick’s weird fetishism for 8-bit “Nintendo-Hard” games will allow him to enjoy this PoS or if he’ll end up hating the series as much as I do and finally remove the sequels from his wishlist.

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