You Bring the Chips, I’ll Bring the Canoes
I’m trying something new at The Punished Backlog. Starting this week, and set to recur every few weeks or so, is my own little pet project I’ve had in the works for some time now. It’s called Weekend at Dave’s, and it’s a new solo podcast I’ve concocted just in time for Halloween.
Weekend at Dave’s was inspired by a recent article I published, which detailed my struggles keeping up with a growing AAA backlog. As of today, I’d like to continue the conversation surrounding my backlog, telling you all about the games I’m playing, the games I’ve beaten, and the games I’ve yet to complete.
Unlike the article, Weekend at Dave’s is intended to be a listening affair. I came to the conclusion that now was as good a chance as ever to delve into the world of audio production (and that video production is a whole ‘nother beast entirely). Audio is straightforward, it’s low-hassle and easy to produce, and it’s fun—hopefully as much for me to put together as it is for you to listen.
That being said, I still plan to provide some written content to complement the experience. Check below each new episode for additional thoughts, notes, and excerpts from the current week.
As of now, Weekend at Dave’s is up and running with just the bare essentials: a simple MP3 player, and a download link for those who wish to listen offline. However, I have plans to expand Weekend at Dave’s to major podcast services in the near future, so please stay tuned! (Oh, and I plan to have a theme song. Every good podcast needs a good theme song.)
With that settled, sit back, relax, and enjoy your very first weekend up in the mountains:
I’m Sorry, Octopath Traveler
I missed Octopath Traveler when I wrote my initial backlog article, and I’m not sure why. Perhaps it was because I didn’t quite consider a non-Final Fantasy, non-Dragon Quest, non-Kingdom Hearts JRPG from Square Enix to qualify as “AAA,” or because it was a Switch exclusive, or because it released in July during an absolute drought for games.
Regardless of the reason, though, I paid $60 for the game, and it should have been on the list. No better time to rectify that fact than the present!
No idea as to when exactly I’ll get to Octopath, but I’m excited to dive back in. Combat was a blast, the music was beautiful, and the premise was second-to-none, considering the dearth of proper JRPGs this generation (and frankly, during last one as well).
Spider-Man 100% Completed!
As promised, finally wrapped up my time with Peter Parker, Mary Jane, and New York in Marvel’s Spider-Man. Boy, was Jonah J. Jameson a riot!
Cleared everything from north to south, east to west, and every direction in between. Lots of repetitive little side missions—particular the crime ones—but then again, it’s hard to keep an open world consistently engaging throughout, and I give props to developer Insomniac for giving their best effort with this first stab at the IP.
The Trap of the Open World
I went out of the way to platinum Spider-Man, and I fully intend to do so for Horizon: Zero Dawn as well. Which brings up the interesting question, though, of why I bother completing some open-world games, despite the monotony. Spider-Man and Horzon: Zero Dawn both share tired mission structure and recycled combat. And yet, their worlds feel so pristine, so pretty, so well defined, that I feel compelled to go for the platinum, in spite of both games’ apparent faults.
Look at games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, however, and it’s clear that not all open worlds share the same philosophy. Compared to Spider-Man and Horizon, the worlds of The Witcher 3 and Skyrim are hardly as clear-cut; they’re not as simple to navigate, their quests aren’t as straightforward, and they certainly are not as easy to platinum… and yet, perhaps that’s why they’re so compelling. The satisfaction of playing through Wild Hunt or Skyrim has little to do with checking completionist boxes, and far more to do with scaling that next mountain in the distance and seeing what lies beyond.
After all, if you can’t beat ’em (quite literally in this case), might as well join ’em and make the most of your time while you’re there.
Red Dead Redemption 2…
Is good. Real good.
The Current Backlog List
New additions are bolded, recent completions are
crossed out, and near completions are underlined.
- Fallout 4
- Far Cry 4
- Final Fantasy XV
- Forza Horizon 3
- God of War
- Grand Theft Auto V
- Horizon: Zero Dawn
- The Last Guardian
- Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
- Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
- Octopath Traveler
- Persona 5
- Red Dead Redemption 2
- Rise of the Tomb Raider
- Splatoon 2
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
- Watch Dogs 2
- Xenoblade Chronicles 2
- Xenoblade Chronicles X
Thanks for joining me on this new wild ride of mine! Check back in soon for another episode of Weekend at Dave’s.