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New Year’s Backlog Ablutions 2021

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By Nelson Schneider - 01/03/21 at 02:12 PM CT

The results from last year’s revised New Year’s Backlog Ablutions are in, and it seems that the challenge was a bit too much for everyone except me. Thus in 2020, in spite of COVID locking everyone down so they really shouldn’t have had anything better to do than play a few of their games, I was, disturbingly, the only winner, and got 3 new games for my trouble.

Of course, even during the first year we embarked on this little group dare, I was the only one who actually succeeded, so we’ve decided to mix things up once again, especially because Chris whined incessantly about “wanting to play the games HE picks,” even though he didn’t even manage to do that in 2019. Chris came close to succeeding in 2020, but ultimately made the silly mistake of playing “Watch_Dogs 2” instead of “Watch_Dogs 1,” and failing to submit a review of “Fable Anniversary” (which I have on word-of-mouth authority that he hated). While in 2019, Nick came close to success, completing 2/3 of his ablutions, in 2020, he abjectly failed, not ever clocking a nanosecond in any of his titles. Matt… well, let’s just say that the guy who came up with the idea of Backlog Ablutions is the biggest failure of them all, since he still hasn’t even finished ONE of his 2019 ablutions, and only made a token effort an one 2020 title.

This year’s Backlog Ablutions will still be three games (in spite of some waffling suggestions of dropping it to two, which I countered with my own suggestion of raising it to four – a game per quarter), but each will be selected differently. Our first ablutions were chosen by each MJ Crew member from his own backlog. The second was chosen by RNGesus, that irascible bastard, who dwells at Random.org. The third was chosen via a ‘Secret Santa’ style random pull, allowing each one of us would pick a game from one other’s backlog for him.

The challenge will, once again, have a monetary punishment in the form of each loser buying a game for each winner at the end of 2021. Let’s see what we’re playing!


Chris: Community Manager
Chosen: “Hitman: Absolution”
“I chose this for myself because it’s completely different from any of the other two games I got stuck with, and I recently watched someone on Twitch play it and it actually looks like it will be a bit of fun.”

RNG: “Alternativa”

From Nelson: “UnderTale”
“I picked this game for Chris because everything about it just screams "Chris Would Love That": Ugly art style, weird monster characters, a narrative infused with meme fodder… yeah.”


Matt: Erstwhile Photo/Video-grapher
Chosen: “Valkyria Chronicles 4”
“I chose this for myself because it’s the shorter of the two big titles in my backlog that really have my attention, the other being “Dragon Quest 11.” Both games have received high marks on MeltedJoystick and elsewhere, so it wasn’t hard to narrow it down to these two possibilities, but the time to complete is always a huge deciding factor for me. I could easily see ‘Dragon Quest’ taking up double or triple the time as this TRPG. I’m very excited to play “Valkyria Chronicles 4,” since the first game in the series was one of the best games on the PlayStation 3, and I’ve been anticipating playing a sequel for some time.”

RNG: “Tobe’s Vertical Adventure”

From Chris: “Papers, Please”
“I picked this game for Matt because it has gotten amazing reviews and I, myself, would be interested in it, but would like a more personal opinion on it first. Plus, this game seems like it’s right up Matt’s alley.”


Nelson: Editor
Chosen: “The Vagrant”
“I chose this game for myself because it’s been at the top of my ‘play next’ pile for quite some time. I’ve been looking for another really spectacular Metroidvania-style game, but have been disappointed by the mediocrity (or downright awfulness) of the most popular Indie titles in the subgenre. Hopefully this one turns out to be good.”

RNG: “Knightin+”

From Nick: “Mass Effect”
“I picked this game for Nelson because I coun’t believe he has owned all the ‘Mass Effect’ games for a lon time, but hasn’t played any of them yet.”


Nick: Chief Technical Officer
Chosen: “FEZ”
“I chose this game for myself because I actually wanted to play it during 2020. I installed it and everything!”

RNG: “Papo & Yo”

From Matt: “Old Man’s Journey”
“I picked this game for Nick based on a coin flip. It was down to “Grid 2” and this game. I was initially inclined to pick “Grid 2,” since Nick enjoys racing titles. However, I was too intrigued by “Old Man’s Journey,” a Puzzle/Adventure. I think this game will provide quite a different experience compared to the other games on Nick’s ablution list for this year, and it shouldn’t be laborious or time-intensive to complete. Now, the problem (for both Nick and me!) will be not playing “Destiny 2” instead of the backlog!”

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