Backloggin’ the Year – Sam’s Sojourn, April to June 2024

Life has been crazy on my end these last few months. I went to a beautiful tulip farm in April, and and had an asthma attack that kept me hospitalized for three days. June is our Summer Reading Club ramp-up at work, which means visiting all of the local schools to share what we are doing at the library all summer. It’s pretty exciting stuff!

We also had to say goodbye to our eleven-year-old bulldog, Brutus. Those who have been following these quarterly columns or in Discord are always treated to some Brutus photos, but unfortunately, he got so sick that we had to put him down. He lived a fantastic life and I couldn’t be prouder to have been able to give him that. He was a fantastic, stubborn dog who could smush himself into looking like he had no bones. He was a sweet lil’ guy.

Moving into summer, I have so many grand plans for lumping about. While I have personal plans, I also will be hosting #JRPGJuly with my partner-in-crime Joshua Carpenter throughout the month. I’m hoping to knock out a bunch of backlogged titles and just enjoy playing some games for myself, as the last three months I did more content for the site and less for me. I’m nearing the end of Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin, so expect a review for that very soon, but otherwise I’m keeping my options open to see what game clicks with me next. This column mainly focuses on titles I did not review for the site, so if you’d like to read that content, check out the links below!

The RPGs I Played:

My love, my everything! You bet your ass I smooched Mitsuru!

Persona 3 Reload: BESTSONA! Seriously, no Persona game beats Persona 3 for me and Reload is definitely the definitive version. My husband and I were playing this game simultaneously, and somehow I beat the game in less than a month, while he was nearing the final boss but got distracted by Baldur’s Gate III. I am worried he won’t complete his goal of smooching Mitsuru, but you bet your ass I succeeded in that! I adore this cast and I love how this game makes you work for their trust to build a solid relationship with them. There are so many scenes that still resonate with me, and the heartbreak that I felt was still just as strong this time around as it was in all my previous playthroughs. I loved all the UI improvements, how stylish the game is, and even all the needed combat additions that add the right amount of change that truly improves the battle system over the original. I cannot wait to replay this game again, but I need to hold off on starting another playthrough for the moment as there are still some gems in my backlog waiting to be discovered.

Super Mario RPG Remake: While I was hospitalized for that severe asthma attack (don’t let your blood oxygen go below 90% folks!), my husband was sweet enough to bring me our Nintendo Switch and Super Mario RPG to play. It was the perfect comfort game after such a scary situation, and it was perfect to play during long periods when they were replenishing my body with steroids and magnesium. There is literally no way you can feel sad or scared when playing Mario RPG, and seeing the world transformed on the Switch was such a wonderful experience, as Bowser and Mallow’s expressions were priceless throughout. Mallow is the most wholesome cinnamon roll that I will protect with my life. I also loved all of the additions to the game, such as the joint attacks, as the animations for them were phenomenal. Having Peach and Bowser on the same team? You gotta love it! Smithy is also just a great villain, along with his supporting cast. Booster and Peach’s “wedding” always makes me laugh, and Booster’s Tower is easily one of my favourite game areas ever, just for how ridiculous everything in it is. This was the perfect game to get me through my hospital stay, and I’m grateful I was able to replay it during a difficult time.

Whatcha Playing Now, Sam?

Me watching teenagers during exam time.

Considering how busy I was these last few months, most of the games I played were things I also reviewed for the site. However, we are moving into #JRPGJuly, and I am ready to bust through a bunch of half-started JRPGs. I started Sand Land back when it was released, enjoyed it, and then had to return it to work because of a library hold, but it is back in my possession and I want to finish it. This game has such a wonderful sense of humour and unexpected wholesomeness that gets to me. Who knew there would be a game out there to make the quest for water so interesting? I also have Valkyrie Elysium, Tokyo Mirage Sessions, NEO: The World Ends with You, Atelier Lydie & Suelle, and Trails of Cold Steel III… all games I bounced off of due to “oh shiny!” syndrome. Here’s hoping that during #JRPGJuly I can complete a few of these and give you all my thoughts. But who knows what will be in store for the next three months? I need to also survive Summer Reading Club first!

2024 Game Tally

Games Completed: 17

# of RPGs Completed: 9

# of Non-RPGs Completed: 8

# of Games Purchased: 5

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