Mega Man X (SNES) – I play this game at least once a year. Usually I like to have it as the very first and/or very last game that I play in a year, just so I can have one nice, consistent bookend. In 2019, it would be the first, just like in 2018. I was also trying to finish it in under an hour, and I was on pace to be very close! But then I whiffed in the Wolf Sigma fight, got killed, and ended up taking about 1:10 instead. Boo.
Bomb Chicken (Switch) – I was pretty excited about this when it was first revealed, but opted to wait for a time when it was more financially feasible. For example, during the eShop holiday sale while I was swimming in eShop gift cards. As for the game itself, the best way I can describe it is “sideways Bomberman”. That’s not exactly right, but I feel like it gets the idea across: solve platforming puzzles and collect gems as a chicken whose only verb is to poop out bombs. It’s tight, challenging, pretty, and exactly the right length. Aside from the somewhat frustrating final boss, it was a very good way to start the new year.
Chasm (Switch) – You may have heard somewhere that I really like this game. In fact, it was the very last game I beat in 2018. Finishing your first run unlocks “classes” for replays, which changes how your character’s stats grow. I picked the mage class for my first replay, and that mostly just gave me a buttload of MP to incentivize me to use sub-weapons more often. I also played into it by equipping gear that boosted my magic power instead of defense. It made the run more difficult because I was so darn squishy, but also somewhat easier because my main attack method was spamming magical throwing knives. In the end, I shaved roughly two-and-a-half hours off my first run’s time, but still only got a silver medal.
Mega Man 11 (Switch) – There’s an achievement for finishing the game in under an hour, and… I just don’t know that I have the skill to accomplish such a feat. A cursory Googling shows that speedrunners have it down to about 40 minutes. My “practice run” took just under an hour-fifty, so I’m definitely going to need to bone up on some speed strats if I want to actually see this through. (But I probably won’t.)
Ninja Gaiden (NES) – I rented the sequels several times as a kid, but never played the first. It’s just as well, because I kind of hated it. Like Castlevania III, it’s impossibly difficult, but Ninja Gaiden has the added bonus of being broken all to heck. Like, how some enemies will only spawn as you’re in the middle of a jump (which admittedly is more cruel than broken), guaranteeing that you’ll be knocked into a pit. Or how enemy respawns are so sensitive that they’ll often just continue to roll out even if you don’t scroll the screen back. Or how the penultimate boss will usually not bother to take damage when you hit it. It’s a frustrating mess, and I hope to never have to play it again. Ninjas are cool, though.
The Adventures of Lolo (NES) – A puzzle game that I read plenty about in Nintendo Power, but never actually played in my youth. It’s pretty darn good! The puzzles can get pretty complex, and some are truly devious, to the point where I actually looked up hints online. I have two complaints. One: There’s no reason to have lives in this game, and I think it’s stupid that resetting a stage kills you. Two: There’s no tutorial at all, and not all puzzle elements are intuitive. For example, I was halfway through the game before I realized that monsters couldn’t walk on grass. Otherwise, I had a great time, and would highly recommend this one.
Star Ocean (SNES) – To the Demon World!
Pokémon Uranium (PC) – Obtained third gym badge, survived a nuclear explosion
Pic-A-Pix Pieces (Switch) – Nine of twenty panels complete
Aegis Defenders (Switch) – Cleared second level
Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes (Switch) – Cleared Golden Dragon GP
Resident Evil 2 (PS4) – Entered police station, Leon A
Fitness Boxing (Switch) – Not really something you strive to “finish”
Rocksmith 2014 Remastered (PS4) – Again, not defined by in-game progress