One of the very first things I created on this site was my list of lists. At the time I had intended for it to be kept up to date as I found new stuff and my tastes changed. What I’ve found is that much of my personality was cemented in place in high school and college. I’ve made very few changes.
More recently though I’ve found that my tastes are changing. Some combination of the recent cultural shifts in the US and what is probably the start of a midlife crisis have led mean to change more now than I have in a decade. I’ve also found that Questlove’s advice about curation in his book Creative Quest is having a pretty significant impact on how I approach my interests.
With that in mind here are a few changes I’m making immediately.
Upon long reflection I don’t really like Boku dake ga Inai Machi nearly as much as I thought I did when I first saw it. The plot itself really sucked me in and I enjoyed it, but it isn’t the kind of show I could find myself returning to. Some of that is because you can’t unsee the ending and experience it again “for the first time” or whatnot. However even that first viewing hasn’t really given me something special to carry with me the way many other things on these lists have. Therefore I’m dropping it completely.
American Gods still strongly influences my belief system, but is no longer a book I would return to regularly. I’ve decided to remove it completely in favor of other stories that I relate to more.
I’ve mentioned Becky Chambers on here before. I think A Psalm for the Wild-Built surpassed many of my favorites the moment I picked it up. The worldview communicated by Chambers’ writing, especially the Monk and robot series, speaks to me and makes me better. I think it is an easy replacement for American Gods for me. Making this switch demonstrates how I’ve changed too.
Reamde hasn’t really stuck with me. I do remember thinking it was one of Stephenson’s better books. Maybe if I re-read it I will add it again.
While I still enjoy it, No Game No Life has overstayed its welcome in ways that the other series on my list have not. I’m choosing not to keep it in honorable mentions for the same reason. The story simply feels far too drawn out and repetitive. As the power creep sets in the games they’re playing are becoming more difficult to follow. I still love some of the author’s takes on philosophy and games, but overall don’t feel the same about the series as I did when I first added it here.
I’ve been mentioning Ascendance of a Bookworm here for quite some time. I’m now many volumes into the series and the quality has only improved. The English translation is great, and the story is fascinating. The interconnected logic of the world is meticulous. The unintended consequences of the main character introducing new technologies is hilarious! I think the tone is really locked in perfectly. Cozy but with stakes.
- In: Diabotical
- In: VA-11 Hall-A
- In: Umurangi Generation
- Out: Super Street Fighter II Turbo
- Out: Soul Calibur V
I secretly added Diabotical to the list unannounced a while ago. I’ve been talking about Diabotical since it came out. It carried me through 2020. Aside from Halo 2 and 3 I think I have more hours in Diabotical than any other game. It definitely deserves a space in my list.
Proving that, aside from the ghost addition of Diabotical, I haven’t updated this list in many years, neither VA-11 Hall-A or Umurangi Generation were on here! These two games only miss the top 5 due to not being either games that consumed years of my life (Melty Blood and Vampire Savior) or childhood favorites (Halo 2, Star Wars Racer, Metal Gear Solid). Someday perhaps I will switch this from a top 5 to a top 10. Not today though!
When I first started playing fighting games, I convinced myself that I liked Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, but I’m not sure I ever really did. The inputs are incredibly strict, damage is unpredicatable. Normal gameplay often devolves into inescapable situations… I actually own the arcade board for this game. It was great for making my inputs better. I don’t regret playing it, but damn there are so many other fun fighting games out there.
Soul Calibur V is being dropped because verything I like about this Virtua Fighter 5 did better. This list is getting long these days. So I needed to cut something. Honestly I would still recommend this game though.
- In: Creative Quest
- In: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
- In: Getting Things Done
- In: Code Complete 2
I used to avoid nonfiction at all costs. School had taught me that it was dry and boring. Full of recitations of dates and impractical advice about situations that would never apply to me. Thus no nonfiction list was needed.
Now, over a decade into my recovery from the American education system, I read nonfiction frequently and I have some recommendations to make! I’ve added 4 here to start. I won’t go into detail as this writeup is getting quite long. I recommend each of these books highly! With the exception of Code Complete 2, which should be read by developers with a few years of practical experience, I would recommend each of these to anyone. You are sure to get something out of them.
I suspect more changes are coming. I am changing and growing parts of myself that have been locked in place for over a decade. I’ve written a bit about some of that in my last post as well. If I do make any significant changes to the lists I hope to remember to write about them in the blag as well. In the meantime be sure to check out the whole list of lists for all of my recommendations!