Backlog Episode 6 – Real Life Isn’t Written Well – Charlie Vissesmith 2018

Episode 6 is packed with conversation. We have a lively discussion about the recent games we’ve been playing, we go overtime with a discussion over Altered Carbon, and Inuyashiki – Last Hero on the second half of this episode.

Marc is fuming over Altered Carbon’s mediocrity while the rest of us run the gamut between like and dislike.

As usual beware of spoilers. If you haven’t yet watched Altered Carbon or Inuyashiki Last Hero and plan to, watch before you listen to this episode.

Thanks for listening!

Games Discussed:

Final Fantasy XIV
Mario Odyssey
FInal Fantasy XV Mobile
Monster Hunter Worlds
Hello Neighbor


Backlog Episode 5 – Doki Doki WTF Is Going On Club


In this episode of The Backlog we discuss the last couple weeks of our gaming lives AND we focus on Doki Doki Literature Club.

Games discussed:

I am Setsuna
Dragon Ball FighterZ
Among others


Doki Doki Literature Club

Backlog Episode 4 – The Press X Parable… & Stanley ?

This time on The Backlog we talk about our time off what we’ve been playing over the last several weeks. In the second half we discuss a game that has long been on my list of games to return to, The Stanley Parable. It’s been nearly 5 years since I last played it and though I was fascinated by it I had not played it much. And so, on the proverbial shelf it sat collecting virtual dust in my Steam account…Until now.

Join us in revisiting this gem of an Indie game.

– Shane

Thanks to Rethink Canada for the “Time’s Up” Music:


Backlog Episode 3 – There are definitely Stranger Things…

We dig into some of our earliest experiences with games. Turns out “memory lane” is long and wide. In the second half we  discover what is stranger in Stranger Things than what has become the norm.

Hosted by : Alex Johnson , Patrick Allocca,  Shane Rivera, and Stephanie White

Thanks for listening!

Backlog Episode 2 – Pastime with Cuphead

We discussed a bunch this episode and went a bit off the rails. We hope it makes for a fun listen, if  not informative. Here’s a list of the main games we discussed.

South Park: The Stick of Truth
The Bridge
Super Hot

Feature Cuphead


Backlog Episode 1 – Destiny, Destiny, Yap, Yap, Yap

For our first official episode of The Backlog Charlie, Marc, and Shane discuss and recommend some recent games they’ve been playing. Also, Destiny, Destiny, Yap, Yap, Yap!

Happy Gaming!


The Backlog: The Last Guardian – a pet simulator

irecently finished one of the games on my Backlog list. The Last Guardian. While some of the games on my list are made up of games that were released within a year or so, some have been on my personal, “must try,” list for sometime, The Last Guardian is a little different. It’s a much more recent game than those on my list and it’s a game I’ve been waiting for for many years, as many of us have. Through The Last Guardian new light has been shed on the previous two games from Team Ico, Ico and Shadow of the ColossusThis game is not merely an adventure game, or a puzzler, or a platformer. It’s all of these things, but it’s more than that. In conversations with the podcast crew Alex mentioned a different genre that i had not thought about in some time, the Pet Simulator.

The first instances of this game are about building some semblance of trust between Trico and Boy. Trico is clearly injured and chained. Your job is to relieve Trico of his pain and free him from his shackles. There is a metaphorical wall that needs to be scaled here, a wall of fear. As a player you feel no fear, but Boy certainly does as you see the scenario play out. Trico though large and powerful seems to have more fear than either of the two and Boy’s fear stems from that, as Trico’s fear manifests as aggression. It, trust, is one of the most important steps to building the relationship between the two characters. Boy has to gain Trico’s trust. 

Not long after freeing Trico you’re introduced to the “command” mechanics. Dealing with Trico was at first frustrating. You’d call to him and he would arrive slowly and with no sense of urgency. You needed Trico to stand near a wall so you could climb his body to a ledge or window. Sometimes Trico would line up properly and sometimes not. In the middle of frustration over controls and camera (as you may have read in reviews on other sites, the camera and controls have some real problems at times) this would appear to be another flaw in mechanics, and while I’m inclined to agree with that, I’m also inclined to think a little more about the subject.

Now I may be projecting on Trico, but it would seem that Trico really only follows for the possibility of being fed, at least at first. Both Boy and Trico are getting what they need from each other. Trico get’s to fill his belly with barrels filled with some glowing blue-green substance and Boy get’s a bunch of help with trying to get out of his geographic prison. Cooperation is necessary. Trico doesn’t always cooperate and it can be really really annoying. However, this is not unlike dealing with a live puppy. Try getting a puppy to ‘sit,’ a few days after bringing it home. Or getting your new best friend to stand on it’s hind legs. Not gonna happen. Within the context of a game, again, this is annoying, BUT what if this were part of the games design?

Consider, perhaps, that it’s possible Trico is actually getting better at responding. OR that you as the player are getting better at recognizing when and what to ask him to do. While the latter is more likely, the former is more interesting. Of course the other possibility is that BOTH are happening, and now we’re getting somewhere.

Trico and I, uhhhh…Boy… went through a lot together through the course of The Last Guardian. Oh Trico I remember that one time I was traversing those weird suspended bridges above an endless abyss and when they started to collapse you ran over to save me. I jumped towards you, you tried to catch me, missed, and I fell to my death. You saved me on the second try, though, and almost every other time I was in trouble. Thanks.

 I, and I do mean ‘I’, began to care about Trico as one does a pet. It was through our time together that that happened. Whenever Trico was attacked with spears and I pulled them from his body, I massaged the spots around the wound until the blood disappeared. Trico seemed to like that. After some difficult puzzles we would spend a few moments together. I would climb Trico and pet him in a spot that would make him lie down. I’d dismount and approach his beak and he would nuzzle me gently but hard enough to push me back. Through all this there was a moment that “Boy” became “I”, I’m not sure when that happened exactly. It happens often when gaming and it’s always difficult to pinpoint the exact instant that it does. My best guess when Boy become I would be when I felt most connected to Trico. When the relationship between he and Boy matured. 

Perhaps the perspetive shift happened when I began to believe that Trico was in fact more willing to respond. Quicker to rush to my aid. A partner in the adventure. While I was still unsure that Trico was responding better, I began to believe he was. I wanted to believe so. I have never played a pet simulator that was as convincing and compelling as this. A “real” relationship was developed, but it’s the combination of genres that makes this so successful. In Nintendogs while the pets are cute I was never convinced of them being actual pets. I’m not sure I even like pet simulators, but if this is what a pet simulator can be, I’m all for them.

The Last Guardian is a combination of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. It combines the the adventure and mystery of those two games, but with fresh eyes explains why I loved those games so much. They were about relationships. They were about responsibility to cause and character. The Last Guardian‘s strong suit is best seen through the relationship it builds. Through the experiences in the adventure, the forced mechanic of dealing with another independent character became a relationship. A relationship that would eventually come to an end, but would stick with Boy and I.