So I was checking the release list for the upcoming months, and I noticed Max Payne 3 is set to drop in May. “Hooray!”, I thought, “A new game to play”.

As if by some uncontrollable force, my eyes glanced to my right and I saw my current stack of console games. To say I have some unplayed games in that stack is an understatement. And, if you heard last week’s podcast, you know I have 313 games in my Steam library. So why am I so excited about getting Max Payne 3? I think it’s because I’m addicted to having the new and shiny game on the block – partly to say “I have it!” and partly to be an active participant in the dialog that always surrounds new game releases.

So, how do you deal with your backlog and your giddy anticipation of a new game?

Sunday, 8:17 am – Ricky

Up early installing the standard edition of The Witcher 2 so that it auto-upgrades to the Enhanced Edition next week. If you’re not familiar with this concept, read more here. And no, I don’t plan on playing The Witcher 2 next week.

Damn, that “Zombies, Run” thing looks fucking awesome. I really don’t jog though, outside or on treadmills. I really like the idea that the “story” plays in between your jogging music as radio updates. I’ll have to dive into this further and see if it’s worth changing my exercises habits to match my gaming habits!

Albert, here’s your chance to add to your backlog: Fallout (the original) is free on GOG until midnight tonight! Any of you other fine folks can grab it too.

Speaking of backlogs and new games…. err, how did I forget that Diablo 3 drops next month? Yeah, that backlog isn’t going anywhere.

Finally, I’m reminiscing about our time in Boston a couple of years ago for PAX East. The city was incredible, but the convention was fun too. It’s taking place over Easter weekend this year (i.e. this weekend) in the much-larger-than-the-venue-when-I-was-there Boston Convention and Exhibition Centre. I’ve only been paying attention to 2K this year (so far) but I’m loving Borderlands 2 and the new XCOM – the proper one, not the first person shooter…

I played over 200 hours of Borderlands between the Xbox and PC, and Lilith was my go-to first character on both platforms. Here’s some video of Maya, the new siren in Borderlands 2.

Saturday, 11:23 pm – Albert

The PS Vita looks amazing and definitely something I wished for when I bought the original PSP. I will probably wait for a price drop or an impossible game that I cannot resist to come out for it.

It is almost summer, and that means I can run OUTSIDE as opposed to running in Skyrim with ‘W’ pressed down. I saw this amazing app called Zombies Run that caught my attention and I am thinking of making the plunge. It’s an app that motivates you to run. How you might ask? Here is the story:

“You’re Runner 5. Hundreds of lives are counting on you.  You’ve got to help your base rebuild from the ruins of civilization by collecting critical supplies while avoiding roving zombie hordes. Can you save them and learn the truth about the zombie apocalypse?”

I think it would be an interesting motivator. Let me know what you guys think of it!

Other than that, I was looking at gog.com and they have some great sales for Heroes of Might and Magic. Definitely some of my best times playing that turn based fantasy adventure. Might be worth considering since we are all in the nostalgia mood.

Saturday, 9:17 am –matt

speaking of the delectable PS vita, you’re right Ricky nothing can compare, or even come close. Sony seems to actually listen to their consumers and try to improve future products based on that feedback, unlike Nintendo’s ego-maniacal president who tells gamers what they want. honestly anyone who can support the 3DS and the ‘analog boat’ they ‘brainstormed’ over in order to offer gamers true dual analog control is a delusional. Nintendo had years in developing the 3DS to properly implement a dual analog controller into the build design, but are so wrapped in their touch screen they missed the mark. playing a game with one hand on the control stick, and your other hand holding a pen while also trying to hit face buttons doesn’t work very well, in fact it doesnt work at all… the largest complaint regarding the original PSP system was the lack of dual analog controllers, and not only corrected the this design but have made one the greatest systems ever, handheld or not. being able to combine console level gaming with new ‘iphone’ inspired touch screen games offer the best possible experience in gaming today. lets celebrate by ogling at its beauty…

…in this time of peace and being with loved ones lets all try to remember that Ricky sucks at videogames, and will never beat me in Motorstorm…

Friday, 12:23 pm – Ricky

Not much gaming for me this week – lots of nights out means mobile gaming on the go. I recently picked up a PS Vita (because I don’t have enough systems already) and I’ve really enjoyed the experience so far. Gaming on an iPhone really doesn’t compare to playing FIFA with near-perfect graphics and dual analog sticks.

Great times playing Dead Island, and that video is awesome! Definitely need to get in some more over the long weekend. Co-op and other multiplayer games online are amazing and one of the best advances in modern gaming. I also think that it’s one of the main reasons for my current backlog. If I had dedicated the same number of hours to single player experiences in place of Call of Duty 4 through Black Ops, I’d be through all most some of the 315 games I have on Steam (yes, 2 more added).

I’ve also never played MGS4.

Friday, 10:17am –matt

hmm, ive heard that before! it seems stealth action games aren’t always the most popular but i think there freaking awesome. knocking on containers to distract guards and the silly campy stuff Hideo Kojima is known for. I think they are great games, Metal Gear Solid and Snake Eater being the highlights of the series for me…

Thursday, 8:37am – Gavin

I have a confession.

I’ve never played a single MGS game.

Wednesday – 2:20 pm – Albert

First of all, yes Matt, I am ashamed of myself for never finishing MGS4. I have played most of the MGS games except for the mobile titles with the exception of Metal Gear Acid (that was a wicked game). I still have it in my PS3 collection, so i’ll add it to my bucket list.

Secondly, UFC 2009! C’mon guys, wicked game. I loved that the demo showed me the mechanics and what to expect. I am currently still playing the new UFC Undisputed 3 and it is awesome. If controls were giving you trouble, they now give you an option of between pro controls and amateur controls to start off easier. I did really like EA MMA too which reminded me of my love for Fight Night but nothing says “Fun” like jump knee’in someone to the face!

Lastly, you are weird Preezie. But maybe you’re a completionist. I cannot throw rocks at you because I live in a backlog glass house… or whatever. But you did remind me that I took some screen shots of Dead Island when we played… I need some practice but above are two which are dece.

Wednesday – 1:43 pm – Preezie

Is it weird that I don’t really have a backlog of games to play? I mean, I know I’ve missed plenty of games that I SHOULD’VE played but once a year or even 6 months goes by I can’t even be bothered – for the most part.  If I miss a game in a franchise that I follow, I will definitely keep it around until I play it but smaller games that haven’t been recommended by friends or get amazing reviews quickly fade to the back of my mind and ultimately never get installed.  Maybe its just me.. Ricky, I think you and I are on the extreme ends of this point – you with 313 games, me with maybe 2.  We should find a happy middle point.

Speaking of happy, here’s a little video from the Dead Island session we had that other night.

Wednesday – 10:45 am – matt

I don’t even know where to begin… I wish I was a part of the podcast just so albert could hear the disappointment in my voice over the news you still haven’t beat metal gear solid 4… honestly its not even funny. That has to be one of the greatest endings to anything I ever seen ever. There I said it. Without trying to hype it up too much, and especially if you have actually been a solid snake fan up to this game, its an unbelievable ending to of videogames greatest heroes/series of all time. How can you not load up that game, hear the eerily chilling guitar pick intro theme and not get chills? SHAME….

Now onto a lighter note, I agree with gavin, UFC was a great demo in that it told me exactly what I already knew, I’m not a fan of UFC and the same can be said for the videogame too. 200 plus moves for a character is ridiculous, and theres something a little … about controlling sweaty guys lying on top of one another…

One of the best demos I ever played was for… skate. Anything that convinces you and friend to take a trip to another country to buy a videogame HAS to rank up there pretty high. BUT THE GREATEST demo for me was the 2 minute P.O.S demo for Final Fantasy 7. I had never ever ever ever ever ever played a role playing game up until that point, but something about the commercials and everything I knew the epicness was coming, so I found a demo and played it relentlessly until September 7 1997 came along…

Wednesday – 8:45 am – Gavin

I admit that I didn’t play the first one, nor any of the demos – I jumped straight into DR2 at the request of a good friend. It’s wonderfully cathartic to just plow through a a crowded scene on a tricycle, and then start beaning zombies with baseballs, but they screwed up by not offering what I think is the most basic tenet of a game like that – a time-delimited open arena wherein you can screw around for hours, getting to missions when you feel like it, but otherwise just letting you be a complete goon. Sometimes I like extended sessions of sandbox-based fuckoffery, and I don’t want to always have to go to Rockstar for those offerings. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t have made the game Grand Theft Zombie. And yeah, the boss battles were just enormous pains in the ass. The only one that wasn’t was the last one, and that’s because it glitched when I played it, and I was able to stand on a platform immediately beside the boss, but lower, and just hack at him with my longer weapons and he couldn’t hit me.

I think that when a company releases a demo, there’s a delicate balance that must be struck. You have to leave the gamer wanting significantly more, but you also have to show off the game’s potential. I know that realities were different back then, but when ID released DOOM as a three-episode game, but released the first episode for free as shareware, I thought that was a pretty gutsy, but ultimately fantastic move. What other company has recently released a “demo” that was essentially the first third of the game? That was very common back in the late 80s, early 90s when shareware was all the rage, but it has petered out significantly. I suppose with the games industry being as cutthroat as it is (you try going up against Activision, and see how far you get), you can’t be as open to free distribution of your wares as you once might have been.

I think that extended gaming demos do contribute to gaming disappointment, but I think it’s for financial reasons more than anything else. If you play 1/3 of a game for free, and the remaining 2/3 of the game are average, not great but certainly not terrible, you’ll probably be quite disappointed by virtue of the fact that you spent $40 (or whatever) for a game that either a) let you down significantly after the demo, or b) that you knew was fairly middling from the demo in the first place.

I’m all for short demos. When it comes to demos, I only want a taste of the game. Three demos that stick out in my mind as being very good were all played on the Xbox 360 – Shadow Complex, Braid, and UFC 2009: Undisputed.

Shadow Complex, which just about everyone knows is a wonderful game (that I haven’t played) with definite throwbacks to Metroidvania, gave you the first level, basically enough to get used to playing that kind of game with two analog sticks instead of a directional pad. I know it’s a short game; I just haven’t had the time to play it yet.

Braid gave you two levels – control wasn’t an issue but the time-rewinding gameplay mechanic was obviously new for a lot of people (I understand that Prince of Persia: Sands of Time did it first – haven’t played that).

UFC 2009: Undisputed gave you one match between two fighters. I’m an unabashed fan of mixed martial arts, and I loved this demo, because it taught me very quickly that I would bloody well hate the game. I’ve got no real problem with strong learning curves – I’ve played Alien 3 for the NES – but this was just too much. When you’ve got something like 400 different kinds of moves for each fighter, you’re going to need players who are dedicated to learning the game. And above all else, my one requirement for gaming is that it has to be fun.

Tuesday, 10:03 pm – Albert

Dead Rising 2… so much fun, so much grief. I really enjoyed what Capcom did with Dead Rising: Case Zero. Released as a demo/prequel was a brilliant idea. It really captivated me and I had hilarious times with Ricky killing zombies, sticking “lego” heads on them, making them slip on ketchup… all that fun. Dead Rising 2 was a great game as well, but just the amount of sheer jackassery that the boss battles were was just enough to turn me off the game. Not to mention that the game wanted to break me in my will to 100% it. Too bad that it damaged my gaming soul so much that I did not even try the next Dead Rising with Frank West in it. He’s covered wars y’know, but he wasn’t there with me and Chuck Greene… and the amount of bullshit we had to handle. This boss battle had me and Ricky crying.

Tuesday, 10:46 am – Ricky

Speaking of Dead Rising 2…

Albert and I played through that game twice, mostly through sheer force of will. We also played through Dead Rising: Case Zero first, a $5 demo / Xbox Live Arcade title that has a bit more content than your standard demo. Based on our playthroughs of Case Zero, we were really anticipating Dead Rising 2. Speaking for myself, I was let down. I’m not sure iff the mechanics of the game let me down or the hype we built up around it, but it didn’t meet my expectations. For clarification, we were addicted to 100%ing the game, and that didn’t even happen. Who knows what the hell we missed.

Do you think that extended game demos can contribute to gaming disappointment? Can you burn out on a game before it’s even released? For instance, Diablo 3 has been in beta forever. I’ve had a few playthroughs, but haven’t touched it in a couple of months. Will that stop me from grabbing the retail release on May 15th? Ok, bad example… by the way, don’t try calling me on the 15th, I’ll be on battle.net.

Monday, 6:06 pm – Albert

I can definitely attest to this topic. I have quite the backlog as well but to me, it’s games that i’ve enjoyed but that I know that i’ll never come back to. What is worse, it’s games that i’m very very close to beating but just don’t have enough interest to carry on. First on the list, which pains me greatly, is Metal Gear Solid 4. What an amazing game, but after spending all that time in cutscenes, and creeping around, my attention got diverted. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Starcraft II, Settlers 7, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Witcher 2, Jagged Alliance – Back in Action, Frozen Synapse, L.A. Noire, Infamous…

Luckily for me I have completed all the Half-Life(s)! (Spoilers to come in the next podcast for Gavin!) Someday i’ll finish those games… someday… but for now, Minecraft. (woop Notch)

Monday, 2:51 pm – Gavin

My backlog is silly. Not as large as Ricky’s 313-game pile-up on Steam, but still stupid by virtue of the specific games I haven’t played. As we discussed during last week’s podcast, I just finally beat Half-Life 2 for the first time ever the week before (only eight years late), and I still haven’t played Episode 1 or 2. I haven’t played Portal, Portal 2, anything in the Mass Effect trilogy, anything in the Assassin’s Creed series, anything in the Battlefield series, Bioshock…you get the point. I pretty much eternally live in the past due to my desire to play older games that I love.

I just finally got a computer capable of playing games at the end of December, and it’s been overwhelming. There’s too much choice, and with the holiday Steam sale, it’s been killing me.

The hardest part of dealing with any backlog and with eagerly anticipating playing a new game is avoiding media about it, especially whenall you want to do is talk about it. Unfortunately, I’ve read spoilers for Portal (that is, I know the punchline), and HL2ep2, and it kills me. I had to avoid reading anything to do with Zelda: Skyward Sword. I’m playing it now, and all I want to do is run out to forums and talk about how awesome it is, but I know I’m going to get things spoiled for me.

It’s been damn-near impossible not to read something about Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Ever since they announced it, I couldn’t wait. I saw the first few trailers, and I had to change my underpants. I had to read about the game’s technical requirements to make sure that the laptop I got (unfortunately, my household needs a laptop, not a desktop) could run it at acceptable settings, and it was very difficult not to read a review or to hit up the message boards. I hate going into games with others’ expectations and experiences in mind. I’ve found that that is the easiest way to disappoint me, which is what happened with Dead Rising 2.

Then DE:HR came on sale on Steam two weeks ago, so I had to grab it. It’s waiting for me. Taunting me. Mocking me. DAMN YOU SQUARE ENIX.

Monday, 12:00 am – Ricky

I believe Garfield said it best…

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