It’s hard to believe that another year has come and gone in its entirely, but somehow here we are with the sun soon to be setting on one of the busiest gaming years I think I’ve ever had.
A few really important things have happened this year for me in terms of collecting and gaming. Collecting has more or less slowed to a crawl. If you’ve been following here for a while, you’ll likely notice that my posts have become more infrequent since I’ve found a lot of the games I set out to find by this point. I’m still looking for games, but not nearly as carefully or as often as before. It sent me spiralling a little earlier in the year, but I’ve been busy refocusing.
What I mean by that is that I’ve had a really firm shift in my hobby from collecting to actually playing through games. As weird as it’ll sound, as much as I’ve always intended to play through my collection, I was often paralyzed by choice and kept gravitating towards the same few games I had played my entire life. I’ve finally taken a wide step around that issue and started diving into the backlog head first after implementing a bit of organization into my life recently, and I’m really happy with how things have been going. Most of this momentum has grown out of streaming and developing more as a let’s player and a video reviewer over the past year.
The list of games that I’ve worked through in 2018 have been a mixture of RPGs and other games I’ve been playing on a stream night designated Meatstick Mondays, a title established by a viewer that has forced me to pick up games I’d never normally prioritize. The catch: the games have to have meatsticks in them as a power-up item. Brilliant! You’d be surprised how long my Meatstick Monday list is!
I’m going to run through the 26 games I’ve completed and say a little bit about each. Playing through the games has resulted in me spending some time reviewing a few in video form and also doing a second playthrough for a let’s play series. I’ll likely link here to some of those things as well to have the full scope of 2018 all in one place. Here we go!
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island (SNES)
This was one of the first games I purchased off of eBay when I got a credit card but never finished until this year. The completionist in me saw me struggling to make it through the game to a certain standard, but playing it casually turned out to be much more fun and relaxing. I was actually pretty sick at the beginning of the year with a bad cough making streaming a bit cumbersome, but I stuck it out and finished it. I’ve tried to adopt the casual playthrough attitude with all games I’ve been picking up. Completionism is a huge roadblock for me.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega Genesis)
This game is one I’ve had since childhood and finish pretty regularly. Not much to say here.
The Lion King (Sega Genesis)
Jesus and the Temple (NES)
This game is part of the King of Kings compilation by Wisdom Tree. I supported a Wisdom Tree Kickstarter a few years ago and got my hands on a multicart with all their games on it. I finally had my chance to take a kick at the can but only managed to make my way through one of the three games.
David and Goliath (NES)
I must’ve been on a Wisdom Tree kick in early 2018 because this is part of another 3-game called Bible Adventures by them. My skill level at this game is very touch-and-go, so I was thankful to have made it through. I think I played it a few other times and didn’t end up finishing it, but it still counts if I only beat it once, right?
Super Mario Advance (GBA)
I was initially thrilled to see a game that might take a bit of a different approach on a tale as old as time: Super Mario Bros. 2 for NES. SMB2 is one of my very favourite games, but I was pretty disappointed in the remake, mostly because of the voice acting. I articulated more thoughts in a comparison video here. Toad can burn in a fiery death in Hell where he belongs.
Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES)
Naturally, to capture some footage of the original SMB2 game for the video above, I had to play through the game again. Because it’s my favourite Mario game, I played through it quite a few times this year both for fun and also for some practice for a stream race I did against a nice fellow, The ReNesance. There will definitely be an eventual rematch, but you can see our three races with Toad, Luigi and Princess Toadstool. I also put in the Walk Backwards code and put it to some classic Michael Jackson for fun as well. SMB2 will never get old for me!
Faxanadu is pretty much my favourite game for the NES, and I was lucky enough to get to play it through a few times this year. I never seem to get sick of ascending the World Tree and no matter how many times I play through it, I’m still never sure how many keys I need to bring along with me. One playthrough of this game was also done over the month of November with The Renesance, and we did a tag-team playthrough of the game. We’d each play for an hour and pass the password off to the other person to continue the playthrough. We did this until we finished the game, and it was one of my favourite set of streams to date. This is a long one, but I assembled all our legs of the game into one 4 hour-ish video.
Pokemon Blue (Game Boy)
I’ve been vying for a long while to actually finish a Pokemon game. Earlier in life I had dabbled in a little bit of Pokemon Sapphire but I never completed it. Some kind of Pokemon anniversary date had me pull Blue out of the pile and I decided to see it through to the end over a few weeks. I enjoyed my playthrough overall, and it was surprisingly more difficult than I had been expecting! The limited inventory got on my nerves pretty quickly, but I loved my little team (especially Butterfree!) and enjoyed pushing through to finish this one.
Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (Sega Master System)
This game changed how I’ve felt about games I’ve played before and every game I’ve played since. I wrote a post about it, but the long story short is that I am constantly humbled by how many quality of life changes RPGs now integrate to make the gamer’s life easier. Ultima IV also made me think quite a bit about who I am as a person, and I would love to play more games in the series. There’s so much hype about Ultima V out there, but I have such a long list of other things to play that it might be a while before I get there.
Final Fantasy Mystic Quest (SNES)
Mystic Quest was a nice break from the hardcore RPG-ness of Ultima IV. It took a lot of the thinking out of the equation, but with a truly exceptional soundtrack and some tricky puzzles, I really loved it! A lot of people rip on the game because of its “easiness”, but if you didn’t have the option to retry battles you died in immediately after death, this game would be significantly more difficult. That boss music will be popping into my head for the rest of my life.
Kirby’s Adventure (NES)
I played this game on a stream viewer’s recommendation and had a way harder time than I ever could’ve imagined. When I think of Kirby, I think of easier games that anyone can pick up and play. This was definitely the case, but despite playing through the entire game in one sitting, I still didn’t feel like I had a handle on the game by the end of it all. I think it’s the up-to-float that kept getting to me, as well as a bit of a delay when jumping and attacking. I don’t think I’ll play it again for a long while.
Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (SNES)
The Lost Levels is a game I’ve played a handful of times in my life. I remember first playing it seriously in my late teens and having a standoff with 8-3 for several days before finally making my way through it. I somehow made it through the entire game back then but ended up playing through it again twice this year: once for a let’s play and once on stream. I find this game so tricky that I can’t help but laugh at myself whenever I don’t make a jump or get killed over and over again by the same hammer brother. It’s honestly one of my favourite ways to just relax and get my smile on while enjoying some Mario. Here’s a link to the stream archive which includes the full game.
Illusion of Gaia (SNES)
I’m going to be blunt here and say that this was probably my least favourite game of 2018. I loved aspects of it like the action and the RPG mechanics of how your character levels, but the story was absolutely deplorable. I have very little love for any of the characters, and I played it through twice: once for stream and once for a let’s play. I did a review of it here and there’s a let’s play up on my channel if anyone is interested in checking it out.
Playing Conan (a PAL exclusive) was one of the biggest steps I’ve taken out of my comfort zone this year. It’s a rather interesting 3D adventure game with platforming and RPG elements that had me laughing away. There are a lot of problems with this game that I won’t really get into here, but in a nutshell it was just about as frustrating as it was funny at times. I assembled some of what were my own favourite parts of the game in several clips videos that can be found in this playlist. The playlist also includes a clips video from my N64 007 playthrough, which I did not complete this year but still had a thoroughly good laugh while playing.
Space Quest II (PC)
I’ve played a few of the King’s Quest games over the years and loved them, so when a viewer requested I take a stab at SQII, I couldn’t help myself. It was so much fun getting back to basics with this adventure, and playing it through blind with a bunch of people biting their nails as you struggle through puzzles was one of my favourite experiences of 2018. I desperately need to get back into PC point-and-click/text adventures.
Super Bonk (SNES)
One of the Meatstick Monday games, Super Bonk was surprisingly fun albeit a bit on the easy side. I finished it in one sitting, but it definitely made me want to play more games in the series. It doesn’t look like I’ll be picking up a Turbografx-16 any time soon since collecting for that system right now is like throwing fistfuls of money into the wind, but perhaps someday I’ll chance upon the NES Bonk game at a yard sale for $2. A girl can dream! I put some thoughts together on Super Bonk in the review below.
Joe & Mac (NES)
You’d be surprised at how many caveman games easily sneak into Meatstick Mondays. Unlike the way cooler SNES Joe & Mac game, this one fell a little flat for me overall. Despite being ridiculously clunky to the point of crying laughing occasionally, I don’t know that I’ll be wanting to play through this one again any time soon. Meatstick Mondays giveth, and Meatstick Mondays taketh away.
Wizards & Warriors (NES)
This was a game I tried out after buying and had no idea what to do. I put it away for a long while and only ended up playing it when it popped up for Meatstick Mondays. I actually really, really enjoyed the game overall. After getting through some of the stumbling blocks with respect to which items did what and finally figured out where I needed to go, it all came together really nicely. The soundtrack was definitely one of the highlights for me, and I can certainly see myself playing it again sometime.
Final Fantasy III (SNES)
You might be wondering why it has taken me so long to play this game, and I wouldn’t blame you. I couldn’t really tell you why I put it off, but I’m certainly glad I played this masterpiece this year. I actually met a lot of new folks streaming this game blind. There were many folks that just dropped in to let me know that FFIII was their favourite and that they hoped I was enjoying the game. I think I cried at least 4 or 5 times throughout the game (probably more) but especially at one specific part where it felt like I had the wind knocked out of me. I still haven’t been able to get all my words down on paper to assemble some thoughts on the subject, but it’s a work in progress.
This game was requested by a viewer and had been sitting on my shelf for a long while. I decided to make my own map for the game and go in blind, and it was a real grind for me for a little while. At times I feared that I wouldn’t be able to finish the game, but that’s one of the benefits of streaming: there’s always someone there to encourage you and give you advice if you need and want it. I didn’t review this game, but I did bust out a bit of science to put together a video on the plants of Brinstar if anyone wants to take a gander.
Ys III: Wanderers from Ys (SNES)
As a lover of Faxanadu, it should come as no surprise that I would gravitate towards the side-scrolling, platforming, RPG-element-filled Ys III. I liked this game so much I played it through twice within a few days. Despite some grindy bits, the game comes highly recommended. If you do nothing else, take a listen to the soundtrack! I did a full playthrough of the game here, too. I still need to play Ys II and IV.
Golden Axe Warrior (Sega Master System)
I loved this game. It’s everything that the original Zelda for NES was and then some, and I can’t recommend this game enough to anyone that loved the original Hyrule. I put some thoughts into a review and am still uploading parts of the playthrough I did, and I could easily pick up the game and play it through again already even though I just finished it. I don’t want to spoil too much about the game, but not only is it more beautiful than Zelda, but it’s also better in virtually every way (except maybe the soundtrack). I also love the meatstick work my boyfriend did for my thumbnail. It makes me chuckle every time!
E.V.O. Search for Eden (SNES)
If you can recall some of my collecting blogs from the early days, you’ll know that this game was on my “to buy” list for a while and it took me some time to find for a good price. I played through it this year in its entirety, and it was… strange. Good, but strange. I’m still not really sure how I feel about it but I’d recommend playing it just to experience it. It’s definitely something you need to experience yourself to even begin to formulate an opinion about. I will always treasure the moments I had playing as a horsecat and eating scared dinosaurs.
Aladdin (Sega Genesis)
I used to rent this game all the time as a little one and bought it sometime over this past year or two. I laid it to rest as recently as last night, and I’m glad to turn the page on it (finally!)
Forgotten Worlds (Sega Genesis)
I played this through with my boyfriend just last night as well. There was much air spooning and decimating of enlarged body parts. I’m glad to say we were victorious!
That just about ends my year in review, and looking back on it all, I’ve been awfully busy in 2018 pursuing a new extension of my collecting hobby. I can honestly say I’ve been loving every bit of it, and I’ve certainly adored getting to know everyone I’ve met over the past few years since starting up this blog and getting more into video-making and playing through my collection. I keep hoping that this blogging world and the streaming/video-making worlds collide. We all loves games so much and there are so many wonderful, wonderful people to connect with.
I truly hope 2018 has been great for you all. Though I’m not posting as much here as I used to, I’m still keeping an eye on all the goings-on here. I wish you all the very best in 2019, in both your gaming endeavours and everything else in between. Happy New Year!
Thanks for reading!