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ThePhil avatar 9:28 AM on 10.16.2012
Back. Log.: Bayonetta, Soul Calibur, and sports games

I am officially on track. That's kind of a good feeling. A lot of times these self-motivational things that I do tend to die before they're even born. So this is whole positive progress thing is nice.

Being a substitute teacher, I sometimes have a little more free time than I would like, due to not working. Yesterday (and today, unfortunately) was one such day. If I haven't gotten a day of work by around 8:00 a.m., it probably isn't going to happen. So as soon as that deadline passed yesterday, I fired up my Xbox to dive into the last half of Bayonetta.



My main thoughts on that game? Goddammit, Japan.

Don't get me wrong, I quite enjoyed the game overall. If I wasn't on a quest to eliminate my backlog I might go back and start again on a higher difficulty. But that game is so Japanese. Almost to the point of parody -- but not quite. Let me see if I can sum it up in one, hideously long, sentence (From here on out, there be spoilers.):

A 500-year-old outcast witch who has been asleep (or dead?) for the last 400-and-some-odd years travels with a past version of herself while avoiding (and then befriending) a Mugg-- I mean, human who blames her for his father's death, kills a bunch of angels in the process of stopping an evil corporation from bringing about the apocalypse.

And then she kills a god with her hair.

OK so that was one hideously long and one relatively short sentence, but I felt that last point should stand out a little. She kills a god with her hair.

I was going to expand on my incredulity here, but I am just out of words. To sum up: Bayonetta is from Japan. It is a good game, but it is weird. But I liked it.

I also decided to dust off my Dreamcast last night, breaking it out for a little Soul Calibur action.



Fighting games represent a bit of a moral quandary in the context of my quest. It doesn't take much to technically finish most fighting games: Take 15 minutes to beat the arcade mode, credits roll, you're done. So that's exactly what I'm doing.

Look, I'm not what one would call "good" at fighting games. I like messing around with them, but I have pretty much zero interest in actually learning fighting systems, or how to block. Fuck blocking. So with fighting games, I am taking the easy road. As long as I see some credits roll, I am satisfied with my completion of that game. So last night I beat Soul Calibur on medium with Kilik.

This game holds up. I had all sorts of fun with this game at my cousin's house in 1999 when the Dreamcast was shiny, new, and full of potential, and I still enjoyed myself today. Kilik's pole is long and unstoppable and I was destroying fools with it as button-mashingly as I did 12 years ago. Read whatever innuendo you want into that.

Since I've let myself off the hook a little bit with fighting games, I must suffer for that elsewhere: I also have a trio of sports games for the Dreamcast.



NHL 2K, NBA 2K, and World Series Baseball 2K1. These games do not hold up as well as Soul Calibur. But as penance for my lackadaisical fighting game attitude, I will play one full season mode in every sports game in my backlog. This includes the above games, as well as FIFA 09 on the PSP and Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 on the DS. I reserve the right to occasionally simulate a game if I feel like it. Deal with it.

In playing NHL 2K last night, it quickly became apparent to me just how much hockey games have improved over the past 12 or 13 years. Using buttons to shoot? That's not a thing you should do anymore. It feels so much more natural to shoot with the right stick. But I guess the Dreamcast didn't have that option, so I'll have to make do. Also, it took me too damn long to figure out how to save my season. There is no autosave -- I have to do it manually. I figured this out the hard way after playing a game and then exiting the Season mode. I still haven't figured out what the body check button is either. Should probably find that one.

I'm enjoying myself so far. I always felt bad about my backlog (dumb, I know), but now I feel good about it. It's become less of an annoyance hanging over me, and more of a challenge to surmount. Here's hoping I can keep it up. I'm anticipating receiving a few games for Christmas so I want to finish as many as possible before then. I'm off to a good start.

2/167

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