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Managing Your Backlog

Managing Your Backlog

At the end of October, Valve will be running their annual Halloween sale on Steam. No big deal, right? That’s more than a month away! Except Valve ran their annual Steam Summer Sale just two months ago, and that’s a bigger sale than Halloween. If you’re like me—weak-willed—then your gaming backlog grew considerably with minimal impact on your wallet during the Summer Sale. Not only that, but the first wave of new game releases is next week, with another coming at the end of November.

Or perhaps you resisted the sweet siren songs during the Steam sale, but somewhere along the way, you’ve accrued a backlog. A backlog that is insurmountable! You have all these games but no time to play them. If you do have the time, which one do you even start with? Do you have space on your hard drive to install the game? How long will the download take? Once you have all of that out of the way, you might not have time to actually play the game anymore.

Personally, I have a few games in my backlog. Let’s just say it’s somewhere between understating-four-dozen and four-dozen. Some of these are games that I have already played, but intend on replaying to write an article about it. I’ve started some games, but played them for only 2 hours before stopping. I have a few games downloaded but haven’t installed them. The rest I haven’t touched at all.

If you’re interested in cutting down your backlog before it grows larger, here’s how I’ve been working through my own backlog.

I Used to Play Super MNC

I Used to Play Super MNC

I really enjoyed playing Monday Night Combat (MNC). I enjoyed playing it on the Xbox Live Arcade, and I enjoyed playing it on Steam. I have very fond memories of the game. When Super MNC was announced, I was excited; when I heard about all of the changes Uber was making, I was wary. I tepidly signed up for the beta anyways.

I didn’t enjoy Super MNC at first. After participating in the beta for 60 hours, everything suddenly clicked. I would later go on to play Super MNC for over 200 hours; I actually played Super MNC more than I played MNC. In fact, Super MNC is my third most-played game of all time, with World of Warcraft and Halo 2 coming in at first and second, respectively. There were typically over 1,500 players online in Super MNC at a time, with peaks of 2,500 players, putting it among the top 50 games played on Steam.

I haven’t touched Super MNC since May, and having 200 players at peak hours is a rarity these days. What happened? I can’t speak for the thousands of players who have moved on, but I can tell you why I stopped.

Super MNC: Super Blitz is Super Fun

Super MNC: Super Blitz is Super Fun

Uber Entertainment rolled out Super Blitz mode for Super MNC. I love it. It’s fast, frantic, and chaotic fun. I never really cared for Blitz mode in Monday Night Combat because it was too slow and too easy. Super Blitz mode fixes those issues, and adds a bunch of new stuff.

For the uninformed, Blitz pits Pros versus Bots. Bots will come out and march down a lane toward your Moneyball, and your team has to defeat them. As defeat the bots, more bots and varieties of bots come out from additional lanes. The game ends when your Moneyball is destroyed, which is inevitable. On average, matches will run for 18 minutes.

Being a fan of new stuff and trying new things, these are my notes for players unsure about playing Super Blitz. (Hint: just play it, you’ll love it.)

Revisiting Psychonauts

Revisiting Psychonauts

Psychonauts was originally released in 2005 on the Xbox and was met with limited commercial success despite being received with critical praise, which raises the question: how did consumers know to avoid the game? Prescience would be the most fitting answer—perhaps the discs were printed on psitanium— but it’s far more likely that Majesco simply did not market the game as well as Double Fine would have liked.

Recently, the game was included in Humble Indie Bundle V which, as a gift, brought the game to my immediate attention. I had heard good things about Psychonauts for several years before I finally had a chance to play it. Even though it could be better, I would hesitate to call it a bad game.

SMNC: Prudent Players Not Welcome

Uber Entertainment recently rolled out a new Pro character, Artemis, for Super Monday Night Combat. She’s a mutated woman from the Outland who uses an energy-based bow and radioactive-themed debuffs. She’s a sharpshooter with a kit that makes her great for focus-firing with her teammates.

I don’t like it.

I’m not opposed to Uber adding more sharpshooters, per se. Before Artemis, the only sharpshooters were the Gunslinger and the Sniper; sharpshooters were the last role to have only two playable characters. Enforcers have Cheston, the Veteran, the Gunner, and the tank. Strikers have Megabeth, Karl, and the Assault. Defenders have Leo, Combat Girl, and the Support. Commandos have Wascot, Captain Spark, and the Assassin. More variety and parity is a good thing.

So what’s not to like about a new Pro? Much, actually.

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