Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cleared: Battlefield Bad Company 2

Until the latest Steam sale, I had never played a AAA military shooter. They've always been kind of expensive, and I've always liked my sci-fi elements. However, this one was cheap enough that I decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did. I can now see the appeal of this type of game, but I think in some of the others I might miss the characters from this one. You spend the entire single-player campaign with the same three squadmates, and they're all priceless. Lots of fun. I'd recommend this one, especially if you can get it for under $7 like I did!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cleared: Avatar: The Last Airender, Book 3

Wow. And I thought books one and two were good! Avatar finishes on a very cool note, bringing all the side characters you loved in seasons one and two together as the fate of the world is determined. A very satisfying ending to a kid's show. The writing, animation, and voice acting are ratcheted up one more notch, and it's a great experience. The whole of the Avatar series is available to watch instantly on Netflix right now. If you've not given it a try, do so. It's as good at the end as it is at the beginning and well worth the trip.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cleared: Avatar: The Last Airbender, Book 2

Season two was even better than season one. I can see why this is such a popular show with so many of my fellow geeks. It's pretty amazing stuff. Not much else I can say except that I'll probably be posting that I cleared season 3 in the next few days; this one has hooked me.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cleared: Avatar: The Last Airbender, Book 1

On several recommendations, I finally got around to checking out Avatar: The Last Airbender. Wow, it's good. It compares favorably to the Batman: The Animated series episodes I used to watch when I was a kid - the show is definitely for children, but it's mature, intelligent, well-written, well-drawn, and well-voice acted. It's a very cool piece of work, that I'd recommend without reservation. Of course, this being 2010, many of you reading are probably rolling your eyes and welcoming me late to the party. Hey, that's why it's The Backlog.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Some stuff I forgot/more bargain additions

I'm going to unrepentantly take advantage of bargains this year - a lot of good stuff is available for $5 or less during the holiday season, and even on my current budget, that's doable.

TV Series (forgotten):
  • Avatar The Last Airbender, Book 1
  • Avatar The Last Airbender, Book 2
  • Avatar The Last Airbender, Book 3

PC Games (added):
  • 7.62 High Calibre 
  • Battlefield Bad Company 2
  • Darksiders
  • Dead Space
  • Disciples III 
  • Divinity II: Ego Draconis
  • Chronocles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena
  • Overlord
  • Overlord: Raising Hell
  • Overlord II
  • The Scourge Project
  • Section 8
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
  • The Void
  • Zombie Driver

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cleared: Blood: The Last Vampire

Blood: The Last Vampire is a highly-stylized martial arts action flick with a supernatural edge to it. There's nothing particularly original or compelling in the story, but the fight choreography is good if you like the "flying kung fu" genre at all. I like it occasionally, so the movie was worth a watch. One thing that did get on my nerves, though: there is a LOT of loud, shrill wailing and screaming in this movie. I'd recommend it to fans of the genre or the bored, but it's nothing of any great or transcendent worth.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cleared: Fallout: New Vegas

I finished Fallout New Vegas twice in the last couple of days (I advanced the independent and NCR loyalist storylines until I had to choose and saved right at the proverbial fork). It was good. It's certainly just more Fallout 3, but then again, it's more Fallout 3! The story's fun, there's a huge map to explore (I didn't get anywhere near everything; that's what subsequent play-throughs are for) and the new levels of complexity in the crafting and weapon mod systems are a welcome addition. I'd rate the game a solid 8.5/10. I'll definitely be going back to this one in the future; there's a ton left to fiddle with and explore.

Some more stuff to throw on the pile

Every winter Steam does a fantastic sale where they sell all kinds of PC games at discounts that just aren't found anywhere for most of the rest of the year. So I indulge. This results in additions to the backlog, of course. Here's what's landed on it thus far this year:

Defense Grid: The Awakening
Iron Grip: Warlord

I also got VVVVVV, World of Goo, and Doc Clock, the Toasted Sandwich of Time with the bundle I purchased. I may give VVVVVV and Doc Clock: The Toasted Sandwich of Time a shot at some point, too, but right now they're just bundle extras to me. World of Goo might make the backlog at some point - the steam version appears to play nicer with my multiple monitors - but for now I'll stick with those three, plus whatever else catches my fancy in the sale.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The new List.

So I've had some time to build up more stuff in my queue and also to lose interest in things that were there before and also clear out stuff that was in it. Here's what's in the hopper this go 'round.

PC Games
  • Avernum 6
  • Baldur's Gate w/Tales of the Sword Coast
  • Baldur's Gate II w/Throne of Bhaal
  • Beyond Divinity
  • Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena
  • Company of Heroes
  • Dead Space
  • Defense Grid: The Awakening
  • Drakensang: The Dark Eye
  • Eufloria
  • Fallout: New Vegas Cleared on 11/27
  • Fallout Tactics
  • F.E.A.R.
  • Gears of War
  • Iron Grip: Warlord
  • Jade Empire
  • Metro 2033
  • Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer
  • Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir
  • Oni
  • Planescape: Torment
  • Prince of Persia
  • Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
  • Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
  • The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion
  • The Witcher (Enhanced Edition)
  • UFO: Aftershock
  • UFO: Extraterrestrials
  • Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines
  • Warhammer: Mark of Chaos
  • Warhammer: Mark of Chaos: Battle March
  • X-Com: UFO Defense
  • X-Com: Terror From the Deep
  • X-Com: Apocalypse
  • Zombie Driver
Fiction Books:
  • 1984
  • American Gods
  • Best Served Cold
  • Devil's Rose
  • Fire Warrior
  • Good Omens
  • Last Shot
  • Matthias Thulmann: Witch Hunter
  • Neuromancer
  • Night Watch
  • Nothing to Lose
  • Temple
  • The Eyes of God
  • The Hero of Ages
  • The Ladies of Grace Adieu
  • The Last Wish
  • The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
  • The Protector
  • Up in the Air
  • Whitechapel Gods
Nonfiction Books:
  • Beyond Band of Brothers
  • Citizen Soldiers
  • Liberty and Tyranny: A conservative Manifesto
  • Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror
  • Life After Death: The Evidence
  • On Killing
  • On Combat
  • The Gift of Fear
  • The Long Walk
  • The Sociopath Next Door
  • What's So Great About America?
  • What's So Great About Christianity?
  • 9
  • 28 Weeks Later
  • Alien
  • Blood: the Last Vampire Cleared on12/4
  • Bullitt
  • Children of Men
  • Daybreakers
  • Eden Log
  • Event Horizon
  • From Paris With Love
  • Gran Torino
  • High Noon
  • Inception
  • Live Free or Die Hard
  • Max Payne
  • Pale Rider
  • Pan's Labyrinth
  • Quantum of Solace
  • RocknRolla
  • Seraphim Falls
  • Smokin' Aces
  • Stardust
  • Taking Chance
  • The Book of Eli 
  • The Hurt Locker
  • The Losers
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
TV Shows:
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender, Book 1 Cleared 12/12
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender, Book 2 Cleared 12/18
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender, Book 3
  • John Adams 
  • The Equalizer, Season 1
  • The Pacific
  • The Shield, Season 7
  • The Unit, Season 1
  • The Walking Dead, Season 1

The List - Old stuff and its fate

The Old Backlog  

PC Games

  • Alpha Centauri - Removed. Still interested, but it's a 4x game and therefore isn't "beaten"
  • Beyond Divinity - Moved to new list.
  • Braid - Pulled. I honestly just don't care enough to puzzle it all out.
  • Company of Heroes - Moved to the new list.
  • Drakensang: The Dark Eye - Moved to the new list.
  • Dwarf Fortress - Pulled. There's no way to win and it seems more of a lifestyle than a a game.
  • F.E.A.R. - Moved to the new list.
  • Fallout Tactics - Moved to the new list.
  • Gears of War - Moved to the new list.
  • Jade Empire - Moved to the new list.
  • Jagged Alliance 2 - Cleared. Still playing it with mods off and on.
  • Mass Effect 2 - Cleared. Fantastic game.
  • Mirror's Edge - Gave up. Last few levels so hard as to be not fun.
  • Oni - Moved to the new list.
  • Prey - Pulled. Didn't care for it enough to finish it.
  • Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones - Moved to the new list.
  • Prince of Persia: Warrior Within - Moved to the new list.
  • Red Faction: Guerrilla - Pulled. Repetitive sandbox game. Meh.
  • Silent Storm - Pulled. Sadly. I may try to find an old enough PC to run this on some time, but it didn't like my modern graphics card.
  • Silent Storm: Sentinels - Pulled. Sadly. I may try to find an old enough PC to run this on some time, but it didn't like my modern graphics card.
  • STALKER: Clear Sky - Moved to the new list.
  • STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl - Moved to the new list.
  • Supreme Commander - Pulled. I find it hard to get into RTSes of this type.
  • Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance - Pulled. I find it hard to get into RTSes of this type.
  • The Witcher - Moved to new list.
  • Torchlight - Cleared. Fun game!
  • UFO: Aftershock - Moved to new list.
  • Vampire: the Masquerade: Bloodlines -Moved to new list.
  • Warhammer: Mark of Chaos - Moved to new list.
  • Warhammer: Mark of Chaos: Battle March - Moved to new list.
  • World of Goo - Pulled. Has issues with multiple monitors. I may put it back at some point, but for now, it's not worth the hassle.
  • X-Com: Apocalypse - Moved to new list.
  • X-Com: Terror from the Deep - Moved to new list.
  • X-Com: UFO Defense - Moved to new list.

Fiction Books

  • 1984 - Moved to new list.
  • A Game of Thrones - Pulled. Decided to wait for the author to finish the series before trying it.
  • Chronicles of Amber - Pulled. Lost interest.
  • Devil's Rose - Moved to new list.
  • Fire Warrior - Moved to new list.
  • Gibraltar Earth - Cleared in "off season". Fantastic read; look forward to the sequels some day.
  • God's Demon - Cleared. Enjoyed it a lot.
  • Gone Tomorrow- Cleared. Also a good read.
  • Last Shot Moved to new list.
  • Matthias Thulmann: Witch Hunter - Moved to new list.
  • Neuromancer - Moved to new list.
  • Night Watch - Moved to new list.
  • Nothing to Lose - Moved to new list.
  • Temple - Moved to new list.
  • The Eyes of God - Moved to new list.
  • The Ladies of Grace Adieu - Moved to new list.
  • The Last Wish - Moved to new list.
  • The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Moved to new list.
  • The Protector - Moved to new list.

Nonfiction Books

  • Beyond Band of Brothers - Moved to new list.
  • Citizen Soldiers - Moved to new list.
  • Infidel - Pulled. My wife read it. That was enough for me.
  • Life After Death: The Evidence - Moved to new list.
  • The Long Walk - Moved to new list.
  • The Sociopath Next Door - Moved to new list.
  • What Would Google Do? - Pulled. Lost interest.
  • What's so Great About America? - Moved to new list.
  • What's so Great About Christianity? - Moved to new list.


  • 28 Weeks Later - Moved to new list.
  • Alien - Moved to new list.
  • Children of Men - Moved to new list.
  • Dead Space: Downfall- Pulled. Sucked.
  • Defiance - Cleared in the "off season". I liked it well enough.
  • Dune - Cleared. Fantastic watch.
  • Eden Log - Moved to new list.
  • Event Horizon - Moved to new list.
  • Law Abiding Citizen - Cleared in the "off season". About what I expected. All right, I guess.
  • Live Free or Die Hard - Moved to new list.
  • Mutant Chronicles - Pulled. Blah.
  • Pale Rider - Moved to new list.
  • Pan's Labyrinth - Moved to new list.
  • Pulp Fiction- Cleared. Well, I've seen it. Getting the references now is probably a more enjoyable experience than the film itself.
  • Quantum of Solace - Moved to new list.
  • Righteous Kill- Cleared. Okay, somewhat disappointing.
  • RocknRolla - Moved to new list.
  • Seraphim Falls - Moved to new list.
  • Smokin' Aces - Moved to new list.
  • Stardust - Moved to new list.
  • Street Kings - Pulled. Lost interest.
  • Taking Chance - Moved to new list.
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - Moved to new list.

TV Shows

  • John Adams - Moved to new list.
  • La Femme Nikita, Season 1 - Cleared. Good.
  • La Femme Nikita, Season 2 - Cleared. Okay.
  • La Femme Nikita, Season 3 - Pulled. Been there, done that.
  • La Femme Nikita, Season 4 - Pulled. Been there, done that.
  • La Femme Nikita, Season 5 - Pulled. Been there, done that.
  • The Equalizer, Season 1 - Moved to new list.
  • The IT Crowd- Cleared; not quite what I'd hoped, but still entertaining.
  • The Shield, Season 7 - Moved to new list.


My wife and I have hit a tight patch financially, so it seems a good time to resurrect this project. I'll be posting a new list of stuff and probably a simplified version of the rules in the next day or so.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cleared: Mistborn

Mistborn is a wonderful fantasy novel by Brandon Sanderson. Nothing except the magic system is terribly new, but it's very well-written with some very likable characters. If you enjoy or even can tolerate fantasy, you'll almost certainly enjoy it. Anything else I could say is a potential spoiler.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wow- busy and rules rewrite

My life has been a whirlwind lately; I'm starting a new job soon, and the transitional process has eaten up a lot of my free time. I'm going to amend the rules, because formalizing this is just too much for now and my income (and therefore cool media purchasing power) are about to rise a bit. So here's the new rules:

1. Maintain a current list.
2. Keep clearing stuff.
3. Keep posting capsule reviews as I do.
4. No more rules.

Additions to the backlog:

Nickle and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenrich

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

District 9

PC Games:
Prince of Persia
Beat Hazard
Splinter Cell: Double Agent
Metal Heart: Replican't Rampage
Death Track: Resurrection
Space Siege
Shadowgrounds: Survivor

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Elimination: La Femme Nikita, Season 2

Cleared: 3/8/2009 at around 11:30
Verdict: Still watching

Season 2 is got deep into conspiracy theories and politics in the Section. I'm still a bit annoyed at some of the technical details they get wrong (people don't look through their gunsights when shooting and fire from the hip a lot) but the plot's not bad. I'm glad it's available to watch on the WB's website, though, because I don't think I could justify buying this one, and I'd probably lose interest if I was renting it.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Elimination: La Femme Nikita, Season 1

Cleared: A few days ago - I realized that I'd finished it and hadn't blogged it this morning.
Verdict: Moved right on into season 2

La Femme Nikita is a black ops/espionage series from the mid-late 90s. I used to watch it occasionally as a high school kid. It's got a very grim, ruthless, and shadowy counter-terrorist operation at its center that recruits convicted murderers for its operatives and kills people for mistakes. It's not even remotely convincing on a number of levels, but it is a fun series to watch. It's kind of a spiritual predecessor to 24 in a lot of ways. Season 1 deals with the recruitment of the central character, Nikita (a woman innocent of everything except being in the wrong alley at the wrong time and therefore wrongly convicted of murder), and her entry into the Section.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Swapping out some content

My interests have shifted a little, and I'm going to do a 1-for-1 swap from the TV season portion of the backlog.

Coming off: a bunch of HBO stuff. I'm sure Carnivale and Deadwood are very compelling, but I'm just not in the mood for mystical carnivals and westerns these days. Maybe I'll put them back on, maybe not.

Going in instead: La Femme Nikita, seasons 1-5.

This is technically breaking my own rules, but I'd rather have something on the backlog that still interests me. There's no point in keeping something on there that I'm no longer interested in watching.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Elimination: Jagged Alliance 2

Cleared: 2/23/2010 at 9:00 PM
Verdict: Best PC game, ever

Wow, what a ride. I originally picked up Jagged Alliance 2 right after it came out in 1999 and had never, up until this point, beaten it. In a way, it was because I liked it too much. The game is amazingly good, and with the fan-created 1.13 patch on top (which adds lots of new weapons that have been invented since 1999 and a new inventory system based around load-bearing equipment, weather effects, and improvements to the AI) it's absolutely sublime. The graphics and voice acting are dated by today's standards, but holy cow, the gameplay is amazing. If you've never played it, it is well worth the $10 is charging for it. I was tempted to "retire" this one and take it off the backlog without completing it, and in fact, for a few days I had a post here that said that that was my intention, but then I realized how lame that was and made myself push through to the end. 11 years to beat a game. Sheesh. Better late than never, I guess.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Addition and Elimination: Mass Effect 2

Cleared: Saturday, 1/30/2010 at around 11:30pm
Verdict: Blown away

So, uh, I know this site kinda went dark for a while. There was a reason for that: Mass Effect 2. I spent a bunch of time feverishly playing through Mass Effect 1 so I'd have a savegame I liked to import and then spent the last week playing through Mass Effect 2. It may have been the best PC game I have ever played, period. The gameplay was tightened up significantly from the first (which was still a great game) the story was absolutely jaw-dropping top-notch, and the weight of choices from game 1 carrying through was fantastic. I cannot recommend the game highly enough, but I also recommend that you play through Mass Effect 1 first and get a savegame with choices you're prepared to live with. It's an amazing experience, and the only game I've ever seen to use quicktime events in a way I genuinely liked. I'll probably expand this post later, but if you trust my opinion at all, this is one to get.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Are you a Gamer?

If so, you may want to go check out what's going on at DrivethruRPG right now. Don't worry, if it's before the end of January 2010 as you read this, it'll be obvious.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Elimination: Prey

Cleared: 1/14/2010 at about 8:20pm
Verdict: Did not like enough to finish

Prey is an old-school first-person shooter. It's got a lot of unique mechanics in it, but ultimately, it's just a confusing, dated-looking corridor shooter. It's gruesome, but not truly scary, the graphics are old enough that it's serious "uncanny valley" and so forth. I wanted to like this game, because it's got some very cool tricks. You can walk up certain walls, there are portals in the game, the weapons are unique and different, your character can leave his body and walk around in spirit form, but it just didn't matter. The story didn't grab me, the characters didn't grab me, and wandering lost through twisting alien corridors didn't grab me. I'm done with this one. Not my thing. Oh well. Some free space on the ol' hard drive, I guess.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Elimination: Gone Tomorrow

Cleared: 1/7/2010 a few minutes before Midnight
Verdict: Liked it

Gone tomorrow is the latest Jack Reacher novel by popular thriller writer Lee Child. For those unfamiliar, Jack Reacher is one of those literary heroes that can best be described as "badass". He's an ex-military cop who wanders the country writing wrongs and getting into trouble. The books aren't the most plausible thing you'll ever read, and Reacher is formidable and lucky beyond what could be called realistic at times, but they're gritty and a lot of fun to read, and this latest was no different. It was also a nice change of pace from God's Demon. I have to admit, however, that I didn't start this one from scratch. Like a number of things in my backlog, I was partway through when I made the list, and I just decided to finish it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Elimination: Torchlight

Cleared: 1/6/2010 at around 9:00 pm
Verdict: Really enjoyed it

Torchlight is a fun little Diablo clone. It's not terribly innovative, but it's extremely polished. The game is a straightforward dungeon crawl down a 35-level dungeon and then an infinite one opens up. It's really fun,  ridiculously addictive, colorful, and easy to pick up on. It's also got a bunch of nice little refinements that make playing more convenient, like a pet who functions as both a battle companion and a way of selling loot without leaving the dungeon. The story is next-to non-existent, but who cares? It's a hack & slash loot-collecting game. If you've ever enjoyed this type of game in the past, I'd say it's worth your time to check it out. I played through as an alchemist and focused on minions - by the end of the game I had my pet, 2 different golems, a half-dozen nether imps, and some spell-generated minions following me around. I was able to stand back and blast enemies from afar while my army pounded on them, which worked pretty well. On my next playthrough, I'll probably play as a vanquisher (the ranged combat class) and see how that goes.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Elimination: God's Demon

Cleared: 1/3/2010 at about 9:20 pm
Verdict: LOVED IT.

God's Demon is a fantasy novel written by Wayne Barlowe. The story centers around a Demon Major (archdemon or demon lord) who, weary of Hell and filled with remorse over what he's become, decides to try and win his way back to Heaven. The rest of Hell, predictably, does not take this lying down. What follows is an intense, brutal, gruesome, and ultimately uplifting story of redemption, vengeance, politicking, and war. Some of the plot twists are somewhat predictable, but they're also very satisfying. Some surprisingly likable characters, too, considering the entire cast is damned souls and demons. Barlowe is very imaginative and consistent in his depiction of Hell, and does a good job of making his questers for redemption somewhat flawed and shaky on their feet. Nothing in the "theology" of the book particularly rankled me, either, which was nice. In some ways the themes in the book, particularly at the end, reminded me of C.S. Lewis's The Great Divorce. I'd heartily recommend God's Demon to anyone who likes a good fantasy.

On another note, it's nice to have finally cleared something other than a movie or TV show.