Backloggin’ the Year – Scar’s Streaming Escapades, May-August 2021
Welcome to Backloggin’ the Year, a feature that discusses the challenges and excitement that comes with working through your backlog. Fresh off the site’s Twitch stream, Ryan Radcliff discusses the middle months’ journey through his Random Retro RPG Wheel stream adventures.
The retro wheel had another productive four-month stretch, and during this period we added a Tuesday stream making it a twice-a-week occurrence. This naturally has inflated some of the numbers for the games on the wheel, but it also increased the opportunity to beat more games, and during these last four months I was able to complete three games. I had tons of fun with a second day of retro streaming and all the people who have dropped in and hung out. These streams have been a blessing to my SNES backlog and I am always very eager to jump into them every week.
Below I will detail each game on the list during this stretch, tallying up how many times the wheel has picked said game, where I am currently at, and what my thoughts are about each.
The “New To Me” Games
Wheel Selections: 54 (21 in January-April, 33 in May-August)
Where I am: Start of chapter 12
Thoughts: More or less this game has stayed fairly consistent, though I was finally able to bench those lousy twin devil characters! The dragons are the X factors in fights. They do their own thing, but you are able to feed them and adjust their stats and even have them evolve. I felt I was doing a bad job, so I resorted to a guide and built some super strong dragons to wreak havoc on the imposing army.
Dragon Quest III
Wheel Selections: 44 in May-August
Where I am: Fighting Orochi
Thoughts: The wheel took a liking to this title as it became the top-selected one from these past months. Once it reached the top spot, it never let go. As far as my thoughts on the game? It is a bit cryptic at times, but I have been enjoying the adventure thus far. However, there was one stream where I let the death of one of my party members lead to shots, which ended up putting me in a very awkward position for the channel, but other than that good times have been had!
Live A Live
Wheel Selections: 52 (17 in January-April, 35 in May-August)
Where I am: At the start of the Medieval chapter
Thoughts: I’m still very much enjoying this one. We completed all seven of the original characters during these last four months, the last one being the enjoyable yet spooky alien-thriller robot chapter. The game rewarded me with a bonus chapter, so I am currently enjoying some extra Live A Live action. I don’t want this game to end, but I know I’m close. I am enjoying every moment it has left on the wheel.
Marvelous: Another Treasure Island
Wheel Selections: 50 (14 in January-April, 36 in May-August)
Where I am: Collecting anti-ant ingredients in chapter 4
Thoughts: This game gets mixed signals from the viewers when it shows up. Some seem to enjoy me struggling with the constant barrage of puzzles Marvelous throws at me, some do not like the game at all, and some enjoy just seeing the game since it’s not a popular or very well known one. Personally, I have enjoyed the ride, though I have to check a guide more than any other game on the list, otherwise I’d look like a lost child at a supermarket, wandering around aimlessly, sad, and near tears.
Wheel Selections: 47 (17 in January-April, 30 in May-August)
Where I am: Just jumped into the Wood Ark world
Thoughts: Big oof. I ran into a snag with this game. In world five, there was a glitch in the game which would make the SNES Mini crash at a certain story point. There was a fix I found online, however the patch creates a new ROM file and thus requires starting a new game. So while I’ve had to temporarily remove it from the wheel until I get things fixed and caught back up to where I was previously. We were enjoying the third party member fights though!
Record of Lodoss War
Wheel Selections: 48 (10 in January-April, 38 in May-August)
Where I am: In chapter 4, fighting a confused friend
Thoughts: After three chapters dealing with Karla, Beld, and Fahn, I reached chapter four and finally got to the series’ main character, Parn. Unfortunately, that meant starting all the way back at level one, after having some pretty overpowered units in the first three chapters, but we get to party with characters I was more familiar with. Parn, the young knight, saves his village from goblins and then goes on a journey to save Lodoss. Along the way, Etoh, Slayn, Ghim, Deedlit, and Woodchuck joined us for our first six-man party. Speaking of Deedlit, I also recently beat Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth on our Twitch channel, and very much enjoyed that Metroidvania title. I recommend it for fans of either the anime or the genre.
Sailor Moon: Another Story
Wheel Selections: 55 (17 in January-April, 38 in May-August)
Where I am: Starting chapter 5
Thoughts: You know I was hoping I could use Tuxedo Mask as a party member in this game, but kudos to the devs for making this an all-female cast. That’s something you do not see too often in the genre. Still, we were able to push past the solo chapters and finally were rewarded with the full roster of Sailor Scouts, and there are some broken characters in this game. Well, Pluto; she’s the broken one. She has a move that can freeze enemies, including bosses, and as far as I can tell it cannot be avoided. So as long as she has enough magic (or star power or whatever unit the special system uses), she can keep any enemy stun-locked. The end is near for all the enemies of the moon, and we have just about punished all evildoers in our path.
— Ryan A. Radcliff (@RadShadow) June 11, 2021
Secret of the Stars
Wheel Selections: 50 (14 in January-April, 36 in May-August)
Where I am: Storming Gara’s castle
Thoughts: As with many of the RPGs we have played these past four months, I believe the end is near. We have collected all of the main characters, and I think all the adults too, though we rarely need the latter any more. We have flown into the sky, and now have an aerial vehicle to travel around the world map. It is a pretty bland story in general, and the characters look annoyingly awful in battles, but I have persevered this long. I want to see this game to the end, and hope there isn’t much left!
Wheel Selections: 33 in May-August
Where I am: Playing with lions in the Zue
Another fresh name that adorned the retro wheel these past four months, Terranigma is the last game in the “Quintet trilogy”, and the second from it to show up on our wheel. I really like this game! It’s fun, and there is a real sense of adventure with how the game presents the story. After falling from the heavenly starting area, our hero Ark has to go around and restore life to the unknown barren wasteland of a world below. We just got done rescuing a bunch of animals and are currently playing with some lions at a Zue, though I think one of the cubs has gone missing which will lead me to the next story adventure.
Treasure of the Rudras
Wheel Selections: 46 (15 in January-April, 31 in May-August)
Where I am: Beat Sion’s scenario on August 31
Thoughts: This game really started to wear on me as we went on, and finally we were rewarded with completing Sion’s story scenario during the last stream of August. I made an executive decision to shelve the game instead of trudging through two more characters’ stories. I was considering playing both of them off stream and bringing the game back for the fourth and final chapter, but that requires me to play through two more arcs of this game, and that seems more like work instead of fun. Good sprite work can only take you so far unfortunately.
The Ol’ “Like Riding a Bicycle” Games
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Wheel Selections: 38 (13 in January-April, 25 in May-August)
Where I am: Beaten on August 10
Thoughts: I felt happiness and sadness when I beat A Link to the Past on the stream. We also were able to beat Ganon in one try, which is something I wasn’t able to accomplish for all the games I beat thus far. Still, A Link to the Past is one of the best games on the SNES, and now it has been removed from the wheel, and it feels a little more empty. The show must go on, as they say, and we were able to replicate many of the fond memories I have always cherished while playing this classic. Adios ol’ friend, ’til we meet again.
Beat A Link to the Past on Tuesday’s Stream and busted out my very own Triforce. You may need to tune into tonight’s stream stream to find out what I wished for. pic.twitter.com/ODzP5IC2E9
— Ryan A. Radcliff (@RadShadow) August 13, 2021
Breath of Fire II
Wheel Selections: 49 (14 in January-April, 35 in May-August)
Where I am: Just recruited Bleu (Deis)
Thoughts: I must say, the middle parts of this game have become a blur to me, as while streaming I have wandered around the world map like a doddering old man, lost and unsure where to go next. I guess I don’t remember this game as well as I thought I did. Still, after bumbling around for a little, we eventually found the right way to go, and also recruited the game’s secret party member (Deis). There’s still plenty of game left, so expect to see more of it in the next few months. We are reaching the point where the good shamans are, as well as the overpowered fusions. Good times!
Wheel Selections: 56 (23 in January-April, 33 in May-August)
Where I am: Need to find a book about overcoming shyness
Thoughts: We got Poo back and he came packing that powerful Starstorm spell. I’m still enjoying this, but I know what’s coming up. The next dungeon is under Stonehenge, and with it comes the only place to snag Poo’s only weapon in the game, the Sword of Kings. I’m not looking forward to grinding that out on the stream. I always seem to have such a hard time finding that weapon, and I hate leaving that place without it, because Poo’s equipment screen looks so wrong without a full Kings set. Maybe we will get lucky on one of the upcoming streams…
Final Fantasy IV
Wheel Selections: 61 (20 in January-April, 41 in May-August)
Where I am: Inside the Giant of Babil
Thoughts: If you catch my streams and this game ever gets selected, you can see in my face how much I adore this title. I may even just sit there and listen to the music for a short while before doing anything. Sadly, we are coming up to the end of this wonderful journey, though the Pixel Remaster version did just release on Steam, so maybe there is another playthrough for me in the near future. New music and updated graphics are really all I need to jump back in and give this game another spin.
Final Fantasy V
Wheel Selections: 38 (14 in January-April, 24 in May-August)
Where I am: Fighting some boss bombs
Thoughts: There was a long period where this game was absent from the stream, as it almost took an entire month off without being selected by the wheel! Thus we are a bit behind in progression on this game compared to the rest. We finally met the Big Bad in the game, and found out about Galuf’s past! Now we just need to find the old man, so that is where our adventure is taking us next: a whole new world!
Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest
Wheel Selections: 44 (20 in January-April, 24 in May-August)
Where I am: Beaten on July 23
Thoughts: This is the first game we beat during the middle months of the year. We sliced through the final boss with a single Cure spell, and put this game to bed once and for all. The gameplay has its issues, but the music is still top-notch. We collected all the spells and equipment, but the game doesn’t really offer much in the way of extra content, so when I was done, that was it. It was a nice run, but it takes a seat for some new faces to replace it in the rotation.
Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals
Wheel Selections: 47 (19 in January-April, 28 in May-August)
Where I am: Inside the Ancient Cave
Thoughts: We were able to experience one of my favorite RPG moments recently, as Maxim and Selan tied the knot and witnessed mid-game faux ending. The world is saved, love is in the air and the two heroes get married, seasons go by and peace has been restored, and a new life is brought into the world. Happy times for all, until the threat reemerges, and the heroes need to put their happiness on hold to save the world once again. It was a nice break from all the drama, giving the heroes some time to relax, but when the darkness came back, they knew the peace can not truly remain unless they go out and put an end to the evilness. I love it.
Secret of Evermore
Wheel Selections: 47 (21 in January-April, 26 in May-August)
Where I am: Nearing the end of the game
Thoughts: We have journeyed though all the areas, witnessed my pooch turning into everything from a dire wolf to a toaster with lasers, and now have to put an end to the blackheart butler. We saw Final Fantasy VI members in the area, and even bought some equipment from Final Fantasy IV‘s Cecil Harvey. With the energize spell in hand, every monster goes down with the quickness, and our journey through Evermore will soon be over. It has been quite a run, and I enjoy it every time. Wish they had done more with this property, as the Mana ring system and battle engine seems like a simple concept to duplicate to produce more gems like this one.
Wheel Selections: 39 (14 in January-April, 25 in May-August)
Where I am: Beaten on August 13
Thoughts: If you caught me beating this game on Twitch, then you got to see me fail numerous times before finally beating the final boss. I am not perfect, and sometimes even if I know what I need to do, I still end up failing in front of the live audience. Still, this was another game we completed and it was a fun journey. With Terranigma on the wheel and this one all wrapped up, we just have Illusion of Gaia left to complete the trilogy.
Super Mario RPG
Wheel Selections: 48 (18 in January-April, 30 in May-August)
Where I am: Inside Bowser’s Keep for the second time
Thoughts: I tried to get the reward for consecutive jumps, but I can’t seem to figure out the timing, so we will have to push past that item. This is another game where we are nearing the end of the adventure, and Mario is close to acquiring all of the missing stars. We also climbed a beanstalk and got Mario’s best weapon and also the best defensive item in the game that we gave to Peach. Once we clear Bowser’s castle, there are a few more extra bosses to beat, but this is another RPG that is close to completion.
The 7th Saga
Wheel Selections: 39 (19 in January-April, 20 in May-August)
Where I am: Near the end of the game
Thoughts: What a jerk! That Lemele guy trained us to gather these illustrious runes, which were so beneficial during our travels, but when we collected all seven, Lemele — or something pretending to be Lemele — blasted us and threw us back into the past. Now, lost and without the runes’ powers to keep us afloat, any longer our brave heroes need to find a way back to their normal timeline. Thankfully I have Valsu as my partner and he has the broken Elixir spell, I can self-sustain as long as he has enough MP to cast it. For the uninformed the spell restores all HP and MP for either character.
Our Twitch chat has set me up for a potentially dangerous stream with roughly a 23% chance I take a shot any time the wheel spins. Sounds like fun, right!? Starting with the 7th Saga, maybe I will be awake for the end of the stream. Join @ 6:30pm at https://t.co/vHw9CU4jwq pic.twitter.com/FP3pYllnjO
— Ryan A. Radcliff (@RadShadow) July 30, 2021
(This was probably the best level up I’ve seen with Kamil while playing The 7th Saga!)
We added some new features to the wheel, and three additional games were beat during this four-month stretch, and with one game being retired that means four new games get to join the RNG fun. I am hoping to enjoy them all equally and look forward to another four month of good times, with shots, giveaways, Florida Man streams, and much more.
What’s Next for the Wheel?
I’m now using a wheel to pick what games show up next on the retro wheel! Confused? Good. I placed all the SNES games I have in my pending queue on a wheel, and when I beat a game, I spin the wheel and allow the RNG to determine what games shows up next. What games made the cut this time? Der Langrisser, Final Fantasy VI, Secret of Mana, and Super Robot Wars EX were the lucky four games that will be replacing the games we beat during these last four months. Two are games I am very familiar with, and two are going to be new experiences for myself.
THE FINAL TALLY
Completed: 5 (Shadowrun, Wanderers From Ys, Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, the Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Soul Blazer