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Freedom, friends, and points of no return in Final Fantasy XV

Story and gameplay spoilers for Final Fantasy XV

There’re wearing too many layers for being at the beach (FFXV/Square Enix)

44 hours, 28 minutes, and 49 seconds. That’s how long I played Final Fantasy XV before I finally sailed to the second continent.

I’d already hit the recommended level for the final boss and turned off XP collection. I’d taken hundreds of photos, trekked thousands of miles, and upgraded the Regalia as much as I could manage. It’s insane to me, sometimes, that a game where I spend a significant amount of time watching an AI babysitter drive me to my next destination, is one of my favourite games of all time. I’m cheating, by counting it in my backlog; I’ve definitely played it more than almost anything else I own.

The thing is, though…


Jedi: Fallen Order and the benefits of the bare minimum

Let’s go ziplining! (Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order/Respawn Entertainment/EA Inc.)

This can be put down to my time management skills, and the way in which well-designed game structure can addict you to the “one more thing” mentality. I’d spent much of the time wall-running, reliving Cal Kestis’ personal traumas, and slowly mastering the combat by continuously jumping down onto a giant frog and trying not to die. After about an hour and a half, I finally didn’t die, and the big frog thing did. I couldn’t, however, open the chest that was in the cave yet, because my little droid pal BD-1 didn’t have a specific upgrade. I could use…


I Finally Finished The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

I hate finishing games, which is something I think I’ve mentioned, and if I haven’t hammered it home by now, here it is:

I. Hate. Finishing. Games.

Now, I think game endings can be beautifully crafted, emotionally resonant, wonderful things, and that endings in general are a vital part of understanding the arc of life. Your time in relationships, school, work, or just in your house will all come to an end, providing a real-world point of no return that will in some ways divide your life into the before and after period. …


3-D Platforming, Nostalgia, and Growing with Games

Where it all begins (Super Mario 64/mario.fandom.com/Nintendo)

I forgot how much I loved, and how many hours I played, Super Mario 64 DS until I opened the Switch remake.

I spent months, if not years, coming back to that game, exploring as many of the nooks and crannies of Peach’s castle and the worlds within its paintings. The fluidity of Super Mario 64’s controls, the clarity of its level design, and the bright ebullience of its world combine to form one of the greatest achievements in gaming . Its DS remake was an improvement on all fronts, with substantial quality-of-life tweaks and expanded gameplay via alternate playable…


Whoops, I wrote a thing that isn’t about a game I’ve owned for seven years.

This was the first time I used a meme-maker am I good at it yet.

Writing about games you own but have been meaning to play for years is a great motivator to actually try them, and even if I stopped now I’d be happy that I’ve done it at all. It does, however, occasionally get in the way of me playing video games I want to play but haven’t yet purchased (or are on Game Pass or Nintendo Online). For instance, I’d love to wax lyrical about the upcoming New Pokémon Snap, but without a Delorean, Tardis, or other time machine piloted mostly by fast-talking white people, it’d be hard to put that in…


Final Fantasy IV and the Glory of the Goofy

Mild spoilers for Final Fantasy IV

Look at all these characters to love (FFIV/square-enix-games.com)

Sometimes, nostalgia lets you down. Thankfully, Final Fantasy IV didn’t.

I have never been so relieved when replaying a video game. Most of the time, that’s because the only video games I replay are Pokémon games or games I played as an older teen so I have a more mature perspective on why I enjoyed them so much. So when I picked up Final Fantasy IV again, I was slightly nervous that the writing, gameplay, and pacing would let me down a bunch. What I discovered, however, was that in the time since I’ve last played it, I’ve gone through the three phases of…


A brief review of the first Final Fantasy game

I don’t like this game but damn this is cool (Final Fantasy, Square Enix, finalfantasy.fandom.com)

Square released first Final Fantasy came out in 1987, the same year TSR, Inc. began development of the second edition of Dungeons and Dragons. This is a coincidence.

For context, I’m a huge D&D nerd. I listen to podcasts, watch streams and videos on running games, and am in the middle of a campaign that’s lasted three years. It’s one of my favourite pastimes, partly because of the fantasyland setting, partly because of the social aspect, and partly because telling shared stories is really cool. Playing the first Final Fantasy game, in its re-release on Virtual Console for Wii, was like playing D&D but less fun.

I never played earlier editions of the “worlds greatest roleplaying game,” as back then D&D was further on the outskirts of nerd…


February is Final Fantasy Month Here at the Backlog

Where’s The Camera, Exactly? (Final Fantasy XV/Square Enix/Screenshot)

If someone asked me my favourite RPG of all time, it wouldn’t be a Final Fantasy game.

It would be Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies, a game in which you play an angel doing good deeds across the land. That, or Avalon Code, where you play the Chosen One, who is basically a librarian trying to write down the whole planet before the apocalypse happen.

If you asked me what the first RPG was that I ever played, excluding Pokemon, it’s probably the Nintendo DS version of Final Fantasy IV, originally titled Final Fantasy II when it…


Firewatch’s Real Little Life

Just, like, constant spoilers for Firewatch.

Home Sweet Home (Firewatch/Campo Santo/Steam)

Maybe I’m sentimental, but sometimes I really miss not having the internet in my pocket.

I love the internet — I write this on it, I currently exclusive socialize on it, and much of the media I hold dear wouldn’t exist without it. There is a feeling, though, that Firewatch evokes so well: isolation. You, as Henry, are one slightly stocky man in a large section of national park, and the only person you really get to talk to, over a handheld walkie talkie, is your supervisor Delilah. …


Bad Romance and Completionism in The Witcher

Hair like snow he’s so chill (The Witcher/CD Projekt Red/Steam)

I am not always a completionist, but something about large-scale RPGs brings out an obsessive instinct in my gaming.

Skyrim, Final Fantasy XV, and Dragon Age: Inquistion are three very distinct RPG styles, but every time I delve into one of them I become deeply, emotionally, concerningly involved in extracting every last bit of content out of them. These large-scale, open-world(ish) games are built for that kind of play, rewarding curiosity and investment regularly. I’ve 100% completed Batman: Arkham Knight and Arkham Asylum, thankfully finding an emotional limit with the insanity of the Riddler challenge in Arkham City. Part of…

Sandy Wright

Canadian he/him who likes video games, writing, and music; has more than one job, which isn’t this.

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