Personal Ratings



Gained 15+ followers


Mentioned by another user


Liked 50+ reviews / lists


Voted for at least 3 features on the roadmap

GOTY '22

Participated in the 2022 Game of the Year Event

Gone Gold

Received 5+ likes on a review while featured on the front page


Played 100+ games

Best Friends

Become mutual friends with at least 3 others


Gained 3+ followers


Gained 10+ total review likes

Favorite Games

Before Your Eyes
Before Your Eyes
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut
Outer Wilds
Outer Wilds
Life is Strange 2
Life is Strange 2
Paradise Killer
Paradise Killer


Total Games Played


Played in 2023


Games Backloggd

Recently Played See More

Riven: The Sequel to Myst
Riven: The Sequel to Myst

May 21

Life is Strange 2
Life is Strange 2

Apr 05

Scarlet Hollow
Scarlet Hollow

Mar 31

Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4

Mar 26

Wide Ocean Big Jacket
Wide Ocean Big Jacket

Jan 29

Recently Reviewed See More

if you're vaguely familiar with myst as a franchise, you may have heard that riven is the brutally difficult older cousin -- it makes you engage deeply with the world around you, it was a master class of immersive atmosphere design, and most of all, the puzzles are insanely hard to figure out because you don't even know where to start -- what are the puzzles in the first place?
this is some bullshit that people who are bad at puzzles will tell you. this game was trivially, brain-numbingly easy when it comes to puzzles. maybe the only interesting bit was the revelation that the number system was actually base 25 instead of base 10, a neat twist. literally every single other puzzle is just "hey have you heard of this concept where we take two distinct sets of symbols and/or objects and find some way to map the two together?" it's not even fucking done well. it's the most straightforward possible implementation of mapping sets together: often it literally just hands you a device where you slowly click through the animations and get every single object pair between two sets.
occasionally the game is "difficult". by difficult, i mean it's designed like shit -- you can't blame it too much for this, given that it's from the 90s, but the bad UI drags the game down anyways. i suspect that if the game highlighted interactive objects (or changed your cursor on hover) then the game would not have nearly the reputation it does. the animal symbol puzzle is the closest the game gets to non-trivial puzzle design, but it ultimately just reinforces how bad the puzzles in this game feel -- making every single conceptual leap and picking up/understanding all the relevant information (seriously, after i finished my playthrough i went and checked full guides to make sure i hadn't missed anything) and still being fucked over by ambiguous symbols just feels like shit.
a brief aside: holy FUCK i am glad modern games offer plain text transcripts of collectible written objects because reading the handwriting in this game fucking sucked.
ultimately riven was not a very good puzzle experience. the most frustrating thing to me is that i had heard so much about it being brutal but fair and rewarding, and so i wrote notes on literally every single area and possible puzzle i encountered in excited anticipation of the masterpiece i'd heard so much about -- and ultimately all the puzzles were incredibly trivial or the answers were literally written down in journals that you were given. what a fucking waste of my time and effort.

I am fortunate enough to possess a [CENSORED TO AVOID NINTENDO HITMEN] and thus I had access to this game a little over a week early. Normally, this is something that will prompt me to dive deep into a game. When Pokemon Legends Arceus (not a good game! yet somehow the best Pokemon game) leaked about a week early, I was absolutely in love and I played about 100 hours of it before it officially released.
As of right now, I have played... maybe 7-10 hours of Tears of the Kingdom. I can already feel the reflexive "you haven't played enough to know if the game is good!!! it gets better!!! delete your review!!" comments coming in. Unfortunately, I'm already confident I've seen all I need to see to know that this game is just unspeakably uncompelling. One or two of the new guys in this game made me go "neat!" and I was impressed upon first seeing The Chasm. But, man, the beginning of this game just utterly fails to pull you in like Breath of the Wild did. It's such a failure that I'm questioning whether BotW was even good in the first place.
Going into this game, I was a massive fan of Breath of the Wild. As someone who has historically been skeptical of both Zelda games and open world games, it managed to thread the needle and be an absolute obsession for the better part of one summer in high school. The way it naturally pulled you in every which direction was so engaging that I could not stop exploring and appreciating the intrinsic joy of finding cool new bits of the world. (I maintain that BotW does this far better than any other open world, sans Genshin Impact, strangely enough. Somehow despite the utterly predatory monetization, shallow writing, and clunky mechanics of Genshin, the world design is absolutely beautiful and entrancing in a way that is hard to compete with.)
But Tears of the Kingdom has none of that. Is it just a DLC? No, not at all -- comments to such regard seem like absurdly hyperbolic contrarianism for the sake of Cool Gamer Cred On Backloggd Dot Com. The world feels completely unfamiliar with how completely it has been redesigned, and at times that is a weakness of the game. If you've ever played a randomizer of, say, Super Metroid, Hollow Knight, or even a Zelda game like Link to the Past, you will be familiar with the feeling of playing a game that distinctly feels like it was not designed to be played in the way you are experiencing it. That feeling of almost disorientation is largely why randomizers are so fun: they extend the lifespan of a game that you love but wouldn't want to play in the exact same way yet again. If only these randomizers could be hand designed by the original developers to allow you to experience the game in its full glory several times over!
In theory, that's something like what the TotK overworld should feel like. Yet the ways in which the world has been shuffled feels, well, random, like a generative AI was fed a list of structures and locations and ideas from BotW and spat them back out in a soulless jumble. It would have almost been better if the world was copy+pasted.
To TotK's credit, this is not true of the newer parts of the game. The Sky Islands and The Chasm are both very distinct from the overworld and feel far better designed, if a bit same-y within their own bounds. In fact, the new things about TotK tend to lean towards the "really good" side -- the handful of new boss enemies I encountered were quite fun to crack (but upon figuring out their tricks, they became trivial), and in particular the cave systems in the overworld do an actually good job of lending new life to a familiar land. My favorite moment out of my playtime so far was being ambushed by a mass of writhing shadow hands in one of these caves, getting up to higher ground, and bombing the shit out of the hands until they died. I jumped down, proud of myself for dealing with them safely, and then a fucking health bar appeared at the top of the screen and Shadow Ganon kicked my ass with his Dark Souls-lite-ass moveset. Fucking incredible moment that came out of nowhere, but I'm legitimately afraid that somewhere in the game there is a guy you are supposed to talk to who will loudly exclaim HEY DID YOU KNOW THIS IS A THING? HERE IS WHERE YOU GO TO FIND HIM AND THIS IS HOW YOU BEAT HIM because that has been my experience with most things in TotK thus far when it comes to natural exploration and the open world.
In a way, it's all too reminiscent of my experience with the similarly middling game Horizon: Forbidden West. That game has a million flaws which I won't go into too much here, but the distinctly best parts were tackling the hardest challenges in the game while incredibly underleveled and undergeared. (Cauldron KAPPA, anyone?) But after doing that, there was really nothing of interest left, and the world itself was just too big and too generic and too arbitrary. That describes my time with TotK to a T.
I dunno. Maybe I'm just missing something. Maybe the game does get better. The first dungeon has given me no hope at all that the game is going to be particularly good when it comes to the scripted content, the side quests are already unappealing and overwhelming, all the points of interest I give a shit about are locked behind invisible walls and story quests with no indication of how to get to that content Now. It feels like the core feedback loop that was so addictive about BotW has been both bloated and constrained to the point that it is lying swollen and dead on the ground, and occasionally when you kick it, it will posthumously cough up a rare nugget of interesting world design.
Or maybe BotW was never good and I just needed to play TotK to realize that. It's absolutely dire that the result of playing the sequel to a game I love is not being disappointed that it doesn't live up to the original, not even blown away with how much better it is than the original, but outright doubting whether the original was good in the first place. Is there any stronger condemnation of a sequel than that?
I'll likely pick the game up again and get further into it out of obligation at some point soon. Maybe I'll eat my words by the time the game is over. Maybe I'll permanently drop it halfway through. Stay tuned to find out!

I am not a man. For most of my life, approximately the first twenty years of my existence, I identified as one, and it seems likely that unless I radically change who I am to hide behind the aesthetics of androgyny, I will always be externally identified as a man by those around me. To escape a bioessentialist lens of analysis in our society is near impossible -- it is a lens that permeates even my internal self, leads me to question whether I am really non-binary or simply afraid of being labeled as a man, and by such label being condemned as inherently violent, hateful, and dominating. I despise patriarchal masculinity for the ways in which it has defined the world around me, shaping my relationships with my parents, friends, classmates, and partners, continually seeking to shunt me into a role which I have always found repulsive. I am not a man, and yet it seems impossible for me to exist without the baggage of maleness.
All this is to say that my relationship with masculinity and maleness is a strange and complicated one. At once I want to disavow it and reclaim it. To do either, or both, or neither requires that I understand masculinity better, that I understand boyhood better, that I find a means by which to deconstruct the patriarchal and toxic frameworks in which these experiences have been shaped, and that an alternate model -- a positive, feminist masculinity -- must take their place.
Within communities centered around the Life is Strange series of games in the several years following Life is Strange 2's release, a common criticism was often levied of the game that I could not seem to understand. The sentiment was, roughly, that Life is Strange was a series about women -- Max, Chloe, Rachel -- and that to write a new game in the series and center it around male protagonists was a step back. Yet another story about men! How tiring. It took me a long time to figure out why, exactly, this criticism rang so hollow, even though in other contexts I would agree with this same piece of criticism about other pieces of media. As someone who would consider themselves an intersectional feminist, diversity in media is something I value -- to have a series centered around the internal experiences of not just women but specifically sapphic women in a landscape of gaming dominated by stories of men was something that I felt was an achievement by Life is Strange.
In an all-too misogynist media sphere, Life is Strange was a breath of fresh air, a piece of media that aimed to take seriously and capture the internal lives of teenage girls -- one of the most maligned groups in the popular consciousness! -- and for doing such, it received extreme criticism in the public eye. There's much to be said about how Life is Strange breaks down the typical archetypes of teenaged femininity, presenting a cast of young women who at first glance fit easily into typical tropes of the cheerleader, popular girl, nerd, manic pixie dream girl, and then going out of its way to humanize those characters and deconstruct those tropes. This, of course, is a prime reason why so much male hatred was directed at the series -- if you were on the internet at any point during Life is Strange's release, it was impossible to avoid accusations levied at Life is Strange of being an "extremist SJW toxic feminist" game. As teenage girls in real life have been mocked for their patterns of speech, so the same was replicated in the virtual space with an absurd assertion that the regionally accurate slang was "cringe" and stupid. It was one of the games picked up by Gamergate as an icon for how "far-leftism is coming for your vidya." All of this for presenting women as humanized characters in a video game!
But this is exactly why this criticism of Life is Strange 2's protagonists fell short for me -- Life is Strange is not a series about women, but a series written from a strongly feminist lens, and feminism cannot exist as a substantial framework of analysis if it only has room for one of the sexes. Feminism is a radical rejection of the patriarchal norms which shape and define our society. It is an insistence that we do not need the patterns of male domination and violence which have come to be implicitly accepted as natural -- more than that, it insists that these patterns are harmful to every person in our society. An analysis, deconstruction, and positive reconstruction of masculinity is not going above and beyond the bounds of what feminism is supposed to be, but is crucial to any feminist project that would seek to abolish patriarchy once and for all.
This brings us to Life is Strange 2. The core conceit of this game is that two young Hispanic brothers, Sean and Daniel, witness their dad being shot by a police officer. In reaction to this, Daniel suddenly gains powers, and in a moment of overwhelming grief and rage, he kills the police officer, without knowing that he did any such thing. The series begins from this point on, the two brothers weaving their way across the west coast of the United States, traveling from their now-abandoned home in Seattle to Mexico in pursuit of freedom from the ever-looming violent hand of the criminal justice system. There is much to say about the obvious racial politics of this game, which are largely transparent and at times lacking in nuance, but it seems to me that the racial politics of this game are more of a mechanism than anything else. They create an impetus for the brothers to leave their home and define a goal for the brothers to pursue, but the real meat of the game is everything in between those two points. In-between those two points is a story about brotherhood, love, family, and masculinity, one which I believe is often overlooked by people when they engage with this game, and one which I think is an incredibly lacking narrative in much of the medium of gaming to this day. Life is Strange 2 is the rare game that explores feminism by positing what a positive model of masculinity and male connection can and should look like.
It would, perhaps, be too trite to step event by event, or even episode by episode through this game and notate the precise ways in which this analysis is done. It is easy to point to the traumas that the Diaz brothers experience and how those make them shut out their emotions, how they (especially Daniel, but both of them at times) seek control over their life with violence and domination, and how Sean's initial instinct towards patriarchal masculinity alienates his brother. It is easy to note that from the very first episode, we see a complex mix of positive and toxic masculinites expressed in the people that Sean and Daniel meet on the road who help them and hurt them, connect with them and steal them away from one another. I think once you're aware that the game is using this lens of analysis in its writing, much of this falls into place naturally, and I believe there's significant value in revisiting the game to see what ideas about masculinity it presents for yourself. For me to prime others to see the exact same messages that I see would be a mistake, as it is not often that we have the chance to critically engage with pieces of media that recognize the toxic nature of patriarchal masculinity and are interested in showing us a image of what positive masculinity can be. To steal that chance away from you, the reader, would be a legitimate shame.
And yet, I cannot help but express the absolute beauty that I find in Episode 3 when this lens of analysis clicks into place and everything suddenly becomes more clear than it has ever been! In the midst of a journey full of pain and hatred and violence and rage, where the brothers fight not only with the world around them, not only between one another, but with their own internal selves, the third episode is a sudden break away from the patterns that have dominated the lives of Sean and Daniel, the structures that have defined our own lives. For a brief moment, Sean sees what life could be like free of the baggage of the patriarchal scars that he's been burdened with for his own life! It is a vision of community and family and love, where he yields his need to control and dominate his life and allows himself to open to the people around him. He sits quietly next to Cassidy and watches her play guitar. He talks earnestly and emotionally with Finn. At some point Sean and I blur into one. I walk around the camp with Daniel and do chores together and finally, at long last, two states away from his home, Sean treats his brother like someone he loves and respects rather than an annoyance to be cast away. We stop being afraid of our brother's potential to hurt. We kiss Finn. We go on night swims and help Daniel train his powers and it seems like finally we're free of all the suffering, that we've broken the cycle of the violence and estrangement innate to our lives under patriarchy!
But it is a brief moment, and no longer. All too easily the outside world and the norms and power structures rush back in and the episode ends again in violence and loss and rage, a patriarchal norm forced back onto its unwilling victims, and as Sean loses an eye and his brother runs off alone, I weep.
I am not a man. But over time I have come to think that it is impossible for me to extricate myself from the relationship to masculinity which has been foisted upon me by the world. The best I can hope for is to shape that relationship into something positive, something not corrupted by the sexism that eats at every aspect of our relationships to others and ourselves alike. Episode 3 is a snapshot of what that might look like, a haven from the world. It is written with a love of men and masculinity, it embraces of all the positive potential that they have, and it denies the insidious idea that the standards of patriarchy we live under are innate and biologically determined. It is wonderfully feminist, and in its quiet but firm commitment to a better masculinity, it is even a little bit radical.
I am not a man. I do not think I will ever be a man. But if this was what it meant to be a man -- perhaps I wouldn't be so terrified of being seen as one.