120 Games, 1 Goal - Pile of Shame: 0


Shamelog #034 - Doki Doki SteamWorld

The Switch is a neat ass system. Some people bemoan its lack of functionality, but I think that’s what makes it great - it keeps it clean, fast and, most importantly, all about the games. Maybe Microsoft should take a cue?

SteamWorld Dig 2 is a fantastic little gem, something that seems to be fitting the niche of the Switch just perfectly. I only spent 9 hours working through this cool little metroidvania game, and it was a joyous time. The pace keeps up at a good clip - you’re moving through environments, picking up upgrades, mastering those upgrades, then obtaining more, while always maintaining a forward momentum. Moving through and finishing this game was satisfying from end to end, without any unnecessary fluff or extraneous systems. I never played the first, but after digging this, I certainly want to.

I’ll keep my thoughts on it it short because I’ve got big piece going up on it soon, but Doki Doki Literature Club is fantastic and you should definitely play it if you are ok with the themes. Damn this game goes places… even when you’ve seen the credits, there’s still so much more to it. Also, it’s free!

Games Left to Play: 111
Currently Playing: Suikoden
Budget Remaining for 2018: $300


Shamelog #035 - 108 Stars of Destiny

Suikoden somehow blends the dichotomy of a tight, personal experience and a world-affecting JRPG. I was surprised to find that despite travelling the entire world, visiting dozens of towns and recruiting up to 108 characters in your posse, Suikoden clocks in at 20-25 hours of game - not that that’s a bad thing by any stretch. Suikoden has a clear beginning, middle and end without having hours of excess side content and grinding built in - something modern RPG’s could well learn from.

That 108 characters to recruit was a particular sticking point for me - I was sure that I 1) would barely recruit 50% of the characters, and 2) wouldn’t remember most of them anyway. Suikoden somehow endears every single character to the player, having the collecting aspect be a (quite fun) key part of the game. I used a guide for some - Clive and Jabba were a bit more difficult - but are 100% worth it for what happens toward the final battle.

The game has a real good flow to it - once you get into the thick of it, the rhythm of heading to a new area, moving through the localised story beats, hitting the crescendo of that area’s plot then having the downtime to explore and recruit is satisfying. I especially loved the storyline involving Neclord and the Warriors Village.

8 hours into Suikoden, I still wasn’t sure if I was getting into this game, which seemed damning. But at 10 hours, something weird happened with the save file on my Vita, causing me to need to rebuild the Vita database, delete the game and re-download it - at which point I breathed a sigh of relief at the game working. I realised just how bummed I was at the idea of not seeing Suikoden through to the end during this process, and how much I was really getting into this adventure. Also, reading this tips post at Kotaku really helped me right the rudder in those beginning to middle hours.

Early on, I was of the thought that maybe these PS1 JRPG’s are only great if you were really into them at the time. Having completed the game, I can safely say that they are still 100% worth going back to, regardless of if you were into them or not - they set the stage for what has come since, and stand as excellent stories (and fun games) in their own right. Very much looking to digging into Suikoden 2 some time this year - I hear that’s an alright game?

Games Left to Play: 110
Currently Playing:
Budget Remaining for 2018: $300


Shamelog #036 - More Short Games Please

I wasn’t really keen on jumping into the Zelda DLC… until Austin’s story came up. Breath of the Wild - turns out, still a fantastic game.

This week, I’ve tackled a few smaller games in between Zelda sessions - dipping into Kamiko and playing through Monument Valley.

Kamiko - a cool 2D hack and slash game, quite short. The epitome of a good game to get at launch for the Switch, but given the calibre of releases now available on the system, it becomes harder to recommend. I get the feeling this is a game that is meant to be speed run, as each level is only short - the first couple took me ~10 minutes to complete, but I’m willing to bet completion of levels in a few minutes/seconds are achievable.

Monument Valley - A fantastic example of great puzzle game design specifically for mobile. I played it all through in a sitting, it was pretty engrossing. It is also absolutely beautiful on the big iPad screen. I almost wanted to spring for the extra downloadable packs it was that good.

On a tangent note, and something I will probably include as a check in each week to keep me on track - I started diving in to GameMaker Studio today. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for so long, and finally am biting the bullet. Like many here I imagine, I have all these ideas swirling around in my mind, which I’d love to at least try and make a reality! Completed the first tutorial today, which was fun, so… onward!

Games Left to Play: 108
Currently Playing:
Budget Remaining for 2018: $300


I hate to come in and be a critic so long into this project, but I would like to make a gentle suggestion. There are a bunch of notable high budget, 6 or 7/10 games on here, like Assassins Creed 3, Beyond Two Souls, Heavenly Sword, Metro: Last Light, Fallout 4, Thi4f etc.
I’m just wondering, have you considered maybe knocking some of these titles off the list, especially the longer ones, and replacing them with smaller/lesser known games, particularly experimental ones, that might give the list more variety?
Obviously if you want to play these games, more power to you! All I’m really doing here is projecting my own tastes onto you. Still, I wonder if this is something to consider.


Totally know where you’re coming from dude, you are right. For me, this list already is cut down by a fair margin - there are a ton of other games I have (particularly on Steam) that I just am never going to play because I’m not really that interested that don’t appear on this list (Alan Wake, for example, is a game I know people adore, but it’s just not for me.)

The games on here are all ones I’ve been super keen to play through for a long time, I just haven’t had time, been distracted or any number of excuses really. I generally tend to dig those rougher 7/10 games honestly - I’ve already played through AC3, and found that way more interesting than most people seem to (being an Aussie I knew nothing of the civil war, so it was broadly informative in a sense.

One major point of this project isn’t necessarily to play every single one of these through entirely - if I bounce off them I bounce off them, at which time I’ll put it down and move on (which I did with Lumo for example - as interesting as that game was, I never was around for the games it’s cribbing from, so the nostalgia can’t carry me through there.) I suspect there will be a few more of those yet!

You’re right in this list is highly subjective - I’m not playing through “every release” or anything like that. I’m mostly not into shooters for example, so there’s basically none of those on here. These are just the games I’ve found appealing for one reason or another, so I ended up buying them a while ago (years in some cases) and that’s the habit I want to break - spending ridiculous money on games and leaving them untouched. It’s (mostly) worked so far at least! :smiley:


Hah, I’m a kiwi who also knows nothing of the Civil War. But I played through AC3 so I can tell you all about the American Revolution.

Honestly I think the 7/10 games (I hate that dismissive terminology for them) are what lists like this were made for. None of these games are outright bad. They come with a number of caveats, but the good usually by-far outweighs the bad. They just so happen to lack mass-market appeal and thus sit unplayed by many.


Lol my bad :sweat_smile: that is what I meant. In my defense, it was 7am in the morning after a night trying to sleep in 40+ degree Celsius weather without a proper air con, so I obviously hadn’t woken up yet :rofl:

Yeah that’s kinda what I was getting at - these games appealed to me in their own ways, either because of or despite the review scores. My favourite game of all time (prior to Nier Automata at peast) was mostly looked over by the gaming public, but that is a game I’ve played through 10 times and still love going back to it again and again. Throw me an interesting game with a few rough edges over a polished masterpeace any day.


Ah, ok, I guess I missed that you weren’t commited to completing every game. That makes a lot more sense.
Hello from Melbourne!
@supa_kappa I think you misunderstood me a little. I was actually trying to mainly list games that have mass market appeal, but at the time or in retrospect didn’t actually have the quality to live up to the hype (and expensive marketing campaigns). That to me is what a game like AC3 is. Less an “interesting rough edges” kind of thing and more “a bland waste of millions of dollars”. Though obviously even it has its merits! It’s at least worth playing an AC game long enough to unlock most of the map.


Oh wow, another Aussie! :smiley: I’m also Vic based, but a bit more north :slight_smile: was gonna ask how you’re coping with this heat til I looked up Melbourne weather, turns out I should be moving further south maybe?

That’s also part of the fun to me, digging into games that fell short of the hype. Being removed from all that, it’s interesting to see where the game really lands - you get the high of hype and the low of unmet expectations, but where it eventually settles is different game to game. I ended up quite liking some bits of AC3 I’d never even heard about, like the homestead for example. Building your own little community of misfits was awesome! AC3 was on my list thanks to my deep interest in the modern day stuff from the earlier games (granted which wasn’t wrapped up well with 3) so it was interesting to see that flipped through this game.

I’ve found coming to these games later to actually be really beneficial - having that degree of separation and expectations reasonably set helps me work through what actually is good or bad about a game, separate from the news cycle. Obviously there are some games that are better off being played more immediately - things like Destiny, or even something like Wolfenstein 2 which I think benefits off current politics - but games like AC3 really was a good time capsule project that has a whole lot of added context playing now vs then.


Shamelog #037 - When Something is No Longer Yours

So, I think it’s time we had the talk - about Fire Emblem.

Prior to the release of Nier Automata, a Fire Emblem game was my favourite of all time. The weird thing was which one it was - the Wii iteration, Radiant Dawn. Not the typical answer for a favourite FE game, let alone of all time - often it is referred to as the black sheep of the series. It was the first I played; I fell so head over heels for it that I played it over again twice after finishing it the first time. I bought a Wii U based on the (incorrect) assumption that Nintendo would release a Zelda (they kinda did) and a Fire Emblem (they did not) for the system. Since the last console release, Nintendo have released 3 more FE’s - all on 3DS.

I played through the entirety of Awakening a few months after release. I was so happy to hear the world sing its praises - the series was saved! - but if you ask me now what happened in that game, I couldn’t answer. I can barely even remember the characters, which is so important for a game all about the characters. Fates came along a couple of years later, with the promise of 3 separate storylines - yet, it still sat on my pile.

I think I have to admit something - I’m not a typical Fire Emblem fan. The horniness of the 3DS releases is well known at this point, which is one of the big draws for a lot of players. Now I’m not shy in the slightest about some horny in my games - my sweetest memories of Dragon Age: Inquisition was my time with The Iron Bull - but something about the way it’s focused on in 3DS FE’s just rubs me in a weird way. I totally get that others are into it, definitely no judgement here, it’s what has kept the franchise alive more recently - but I can’t shake the feeling that I used to be the target audience, yet am no longer.

It was with a heavy heart that I shut down my play through of Fates for likely the final time this week. I had tried twice to work my way through Birthright, both times getting around 12 maps in, yet all I could feel was frustrated at the battles and couldn’t care less about the story. It just wasn’t working for me. The story was excessively dramatic, the characters felt overly caricatured and shallow and weirdly enough there were too many characters. The game throws them at you 2 or 3 at a time - you barely get a chance to be aquanted before you’re whisked away to another group of newcomers. Even the number of classes are excessive - there’s just too much to wrap your head around.

What makes my favourite in the series so good to me is it’s restraint - though the story flourishes into a world spanning anime ass anime story, the beginnings see you following a group of half a dozen rebels fighting back against a cruel occupying force. There’s political intrigue and character conflict, racial tensions and strategic warfare. I can barely remember any of this being key in Awakening, and Fates feels even further from that.

I was resigned to my fate (heh) and was planning to leave it at that, but I still have 1 more 3DS FE left to cross off the list. I chucked the cart in not knowing what to expect, though I was optimistic - the story of Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia is a retelling of a much older game, when the series was simpler and smaller scale. The story also follows 2 separate protagonists - another common link with Radiant Dawn. The fact that this game got only OK reviews and not much attention, weirdly enough, gave me hope.

I’m glad I dropped Fates and moved on. Shadows of Valentia is everything I hoped it would be. The story begins as a simple group of ragtag commoners fighting in a resistance against a lavishly hostile regime. The parties remain small throughout, with a total of less than 30 across 2 different character sets 20 hours in. The story unfolds with satisfying reveals at a quick pace. There is still a bit of horny present - I’m all in on the unabashedly gay Leon, and the way Claire handles Grey’s attention is just sublime. In short, it’s everything I’ve wanted in a Fire Emblem since Radiant Dawn.

It’s tough, coming to the realisation that you are a minority in a fanbase. We all love the same basic concept, yet all come at it from slightly different angles. That being said, I hold no bitterness for the fans that are passionate for this series in ways I’m not - they are the ones helping it flourish after all, and we wouldn’t have this fantastic remake if it weren’t for them. And hey, who knows - Nintendo may end up making another Radiant Dawn yet.

Games Left to Play: 107
Currently Playing: Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
Budget Remaining for 2018: $300


Yeah I’m with you. Shadows of Valentia is my favorite too. The core gameplay was so much better and the dialogue was actually a huge improvement (thanks 8-4 Play!). I think that the new entry on the Switch should recognize and incorporate Echoes’ best aspects, but unfortunately that probably won’t happen.


Oh that’s right, it is an 8-4 joint hey! I did think of them when the bacon line came up, but it didn’t even click for whatever reason. I was thinking the writing is real good, and the voice work is pretty exceptional for a 3DS game. Damn they do good work!


Shamelog #038 - Echoes of Valentia

I think I’ve found my new second favourite Fire Emblem!

Shadows of Valentia does so much well for the type of fan I am. There is a total of 33 recruitable characters across 2 parties, making it much more manageable to focus on and level up. Every character is great in their own right, with several aforementioned standouts - Mae, Leon, Mathilda, Clare, Sonya and Est were all wonderful. Almost all the characters are viable to use, which is a bonus - some of these games can have some dud characters, but here I had more than enough to round out 2 top notch teams.

Echoes sure feels like it is meant to be played on “casual” mode though. Even on the easiest difficulty, you will lose people. Thankfully they return after the battle when played this way, so strategically it’s smarter to go casual - using some characters as kamikaze units towards the end of a fight saved me on a number of maps.

The 3rd person dungeons are a neat addition. Not that much can really be done on a 3DS graphically, but hunting down weapons and silver for upgrades was a great distraction. Plus, it serves as a way to allow grinding if you feel the need - though the game is pretty well balanced, so it’s not required. There are also a couple other changes that may seem off to series fans - the lack of the weapon triangle seemed odd initially, and the changes to magic are a big departure - but the changes are well implemented, helping the game feel fresh despite it being a part of a long running series (and a remake of a 20 year old game to boot.)

I finished the main campaign this arvo, which wrapped up nicely, though to my surprise there is a postgame element present. It doesn’t really feel too meaty so far, but I’m keen to delve in a little deeper. A good sign that you enjoyed a game is that you want to keep going when it’s finished, which is definitely true here.

Games Left to Play: 106
Currently Playing:
Budget Remaining for 2018: $300


Shamelog #039 - The Complicated Relationship of Developer & Fan

This weekend saw me delve into The Magic Circle, a shamefully overlooked indie game from 2015. It’s a good single sitting game, clocking in at ~3 hours, though that could be expanded upon in some sections depending on how creative you want to get.

The Magic Circle sets itself up as an unfinished game, a sequel to a beloved adventure 20 years in the making. As the player, your job is to move through the unfinished game by delving into enemies and changing their variables - make a mushroom follow you around and fight for you, steal the fire blasting power of a flame ball and attach it to a drone. The possibility space is quite large and fun to toy with. As you work your way through the world, you experience the back and forth of the original creator, a long time employee and a new passionate intern, as they work to try and “finish” the game for release. The game itself, however, has other ideas.

The mechanic of manipulating the game from within itself is intriguing in itself, but it was that human story that drew me in. Especially cast in the light of the last few years, the back and forth of creator-employee-fan is a tough one to grapple with. What are reasonable expectations for a fan to have? How does a creator build upon their past, and how do they cope with “bigger and better” expectations?

Chris Kohler’s article over on Wired was what got me to purchase this game in the first place, and it stays just as relevant as ever. The Magic Circle is a lot of things, but at it’s heart it is a game about building a game, and everything that goes along with that. The human cost - the fan outrage, the developer clashes, the sacrifices - all are on display here.

The saddest part is that the people that would benefit the most by playing this game, are the people that wouldn’t even give it a second glance.

Games Left to Play: 105
Currently Playing:
Budget Remaining for 2018: $300


Shamelog #040 - Just a Little Faster Than Light

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve found it increasingly harder to start something new. Fallout 4, Suikoden 2, Blue Reflection, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Stellaris - all these games I’ve played for an hour or two, then bounced. I managed ok with The Magic Circle purely because it was a couple hour long game. I’ll be honest - this project is starting to feel a little more like work instead of fun with each game I tick off the list… and that sucks.

So for now I’ve decided to take a proper break. Sometimes you need to take a step back for a while, and that’s what I’ve done. I didn’t play a single thing all week, then ended up falling back to one of my favourite single sitting games for a few playthroughs - my first ever rogue like, FTL.

For the few times over the past couple of years, FTL has been a mainstay for chilling out between games. I purchased an iPad Pro when they were released in 2015, and needed a game to showcase that beautiful screen - FTL was it. The perfect blend of strategy, nail biting skirmishes and micro choices, FTL plays perfectly on the touchscreen. It has me secretly hoping the next game by Subset Games, Into The Breach, makes that jump to touch sooner rather than later.

Well that’s me - what’s your favourite fall back game for those times when you just can’t get into anything else?

Games Left to Play: 105
Currently Playing: FTL
Budget Remaining for 2018: $300


Right now that would be Total Extreme Wrestling 2016, which is like Football Manager but for pro wrestling. It’s my way of self-care, because I get to feel like I’m doing something productive even when I’m feeling frustrated and stuck in my real life. It’s a way to let my imagination breathe because I get to create stories with these fictional characters, and also I’m a huge stats nerd so that’s a whole other dimension for me to get lost in for an hour or so.


Xenoblade Chronicles 2 takes about 5-6 hours before all the tutorials sink in and it starts to get super fun. Save that one for a rainy weekend for sure.

My fallback game is either a multiplayer shooter like Overwatch. Or something that I can mindlessly plug away at like Civ.


This is such a good shout. Love the game. Easy to lose too many hours just playing around with each promotion.


Thanks! Thought for sure I’d be the only TEW stan on Waypoint. For me i mostly just stick to one promotion and see how things pan out. I’m 1 and a half in-game years into SWF and shit’s wild.


I did that with CZCW once and then couldn’t get my pop up so I just started bouncing around. Then downloaded real world mods, played a few months there. Developer created quite the world to enjoy.