Movies, Books, and Games

Here's a list of all the movies, books, and games I've gone through each year, starting with 2016.

Title
Type
Date
Thoughts
Movie
Jan 3, 2016
I'm going to Harry Potter World with my girlfriend next week, so we're doing a weeklong marathon of all the HP movies. I've only seen the first 3. This one is more cute and charming than I remembered, in spite of some bad child acting and CG.
Movie
Jan 3, 2016
Maybe it was because we watched two in a row, but this one felt like it dragged on forever. Less fun than the first one, not yet serious enough to take seriously like the later ones.
Game
Jan 6, 2016
I loved this game! Clever puzzles, great difficulty pacing, and really charming presentation. Also I can't believe that a AAA studio was willing to do something unorthodox with one of their properties like this.
Game
Jan 7, 2016
So, this was definitely an adventure game. I found most of the puzzles really frustrating and annoying, but the characters, dialogue, art, and *amazing* Peter McConnell score were enough to keep me going to the end. Wouldn't replay it, but I will probably buy the soundtrack :)
Game
Jan 8, 2016
DF shows its age, but you can tell how seriously ambitious it was for a Doom-style FPS at the time. Jedi Knight, its sequel, is lots better in every way, but this one still has some charm. Having said that, I'd had enough after the first 4 levels, but what I did play I enjoyed well enough.
Movie
Jan 9, 2016
Another Harry Potter movie! Booting the Home Alone director was a great move, but losing John Williams on the score was a bummer.
Movie
Jan 9, 2016
Hmm, yikes. I don't know what happened here. This was one of my favorite of the HP books but the movie really made some goofy choices.
Movie
Jan 10, 2016
Hey, now this is more like it. I liked this one quite a bit, especially the scenes inside the Ministry of Magic.
Movie
Jan 10, 2016
Another Harry Potter movie! Not a ton to say about this one, actually. It was fine.
Movie
Jan 11, 2016
OK, wow. This was my favorite of the bunch so far (still have to see part 2) by a *long* shot. Especially that amazing dance scene that's not in the book. That was a stroke of genius.
Movie
Jan 12, 2016
A satisfying end to the HP movies. I didn't like this one quite as much as Part 1, but it was still quite good. Also helped that we watched it in the hotel room the night before going to Harry Potter World :)
Book
Jan 17, 2016
I'm a huge Neuromancer (and the rest of the Sprawl Trilogy) fan, so I figured I should make my way through the rest of Gibson's work. This one's not quite as page-turningly gripping as Neuro, but still enjoyable. Especially fun knowing all the San Francisco landmarks they visit.
Game
Jan 18, 2016
My basic reaction to this was "heh, that's clever." I'd heard nothing but effusive praise for this game, and while I enjoyed it, I think I must be missing something that others see in it.
Game
Jan 20, 2016
A brain-breaking assembly language programming puzzle game. I *really* liked this game. If you are a programmer, you probably will also like it. If you are not a programmer, I feel like you would hate it.
Game
Jan 21, 2016
This has been sitting in my Steam library forever and I've never gotten around to it. I only played an hour or so, but it seems like this game hasn't aged particularly well. I imagine if I'd played the original Doom 3 back in 2004 I'd have been wowed by the sweet graphics, but here in 2016, not so much :/
Game
Feb 12, 2016
I have a lot to say about The Witness, but there's not enough room here for it. One of the finest games I've ever had the privilege of playing, and one I'm sure I'll come back to many times in my life.
Book
Feb 15, 2016
This was fun! I think it would have benefited from being trimmed down a bit. The first third or so is completely gripping, but it starts to get too jumbled up for its own good after that. Still happy I finished it though.
Game
Feb 16, 2016
Very nice writing and voice acting, and beautiful art. I love the walkie talkie stuff. I wanted to love the exploration, but I got frustrated at all the invisible walls and clunky movement. Still really good though!
Movie
Feb 18, 2016
So this is one of those classics that, in spite of being a huge sci fi (and specifically cyberpunk) fan, I had never gotten to. It’s SO GOOD. One of the few examples of the genre that really digs into the philosophical potential that cyberpunk has but rarely explores in a meaningful way. I plan to rewatch this several times in the future.
Movie
Feb 20, 2016
This was not a good movie! I still enjoyed it though, because it's goofy fun and also I unironically love Keanu.
Book
Feb 27, 2016
A decent enough intro to Obj-C and Cocoa.
Book
Feb 27, 2016
Lots of good C knowledge and humorously written. I also love that you can read a C book from 1994 and it's still relevant today :)
Game
Feb 27, 2016
Hmm, I have mixed feelings. I *love* the presentation, with all the cyberpunk stuff and the UI, but I found the core gameplay pretty annoying and frustrating.
Movie
Mar 01, 2016
I'm not really sure how to describe this one, other than to say you absolutely should watch it. It's only 16 minutes, so you have no excuse! It's super good.
Book
Mar 10, 2016
Ehh, I didn't really like this. I enjoy William Gibson, but I think he's better at novels than short stories. Also I think maybe I just don't like short stories very much.
Game
Mar 15, 2016
This was a good time! It felt kind of like a stripped down Deus Ex. It was pretty uneven in a lot of places, but I still had fun and played to the end.
Movie
May 11, 2016
You know, I think I might be finally hitting superhero movie fatigue. I enjoyed this, and it was everything you could want from a Marvel movie! But also...I think I need a break from the genre for a while.
Movie
May 14, 2016
I liked this a lot more than I thought I would! I dismissed it as too goofy for me when it was in theaters, but it was actually a pretty good time.
Game
May 29, 2016
Wow. Holy crap, wow. Underneath the silly exterior, this game has some of the deepest and most challenging/rewarding puzzle design of any game I've ever played. Between this and The Witness, it's an unbelievably great year for puzzle games. Seriously, please buy this game.
Movie
May 30, 2016
Ehhhh it certainly was an X-Men movie. It was fun to watch superheroes fly around and fight each other, but the rest was pretty bad. Usually I don't notice or care about bad writing in action movie scripts, but this script was SO BAD even I was bothered by it.
Movie
June 02, 2016
It's Jet Li and DMX in a kung fu heist movie. What's not to love?
Movie
June 07, 2016
This movie was really bad, but since I knew ahead of time that it was bad, I set my expectations properly and had a good time with it. Also I wish I could love anything as deeply as Luc Besson loves rapid-cut stock footage.
Book
June 08, 2016
A pretty good introduction to Rails. It tries to also be an introduction to almost all of the component skills of being a modern web developer. I thought it did a better job of the former than of the latter, but still a great resource overall.
Movie
June 15, 2016
It doesn't get any more 1995 hacker movie than this. Super goofy but also holds up way better than I expected it to.
Movie
June 18, 2016
This is as bad as the original Crouching Tiger is brilliant. Completely devoid of any of the soul that made the first one so special.
Book
June 20, 2016
I've attempted to read LotR probably four or five times in my life, each time enjoying it a wildly different amount. This time I found that I enjoyed it quite a bit!
Game
June 21, 2016
It's Professor Layton! Which means silly puzzles tied together in the most absurd fashion with a cheesy mystery story. I love this series, game design/writing faults (of which there are many) and all.
Book
June 22, 2016
The classic usability book. Even though it's been around since before the iPhone, it's still full of wisdom.
Game
June 25, 2016
This was a delightful little gem of a game! Lots of exploration, fairly tight combat mechanics, and a somewhat Dark Souls-y sense of skill improvement as you play. The Disasterpeace soundtrack is also top notch. There were a few things I thought could've been tightened up a little more, but by and large really good.
Game
June 26, 2016
Basically Minesweeper but on a hexagonal grid. Not really my cup of tea, but very nicely presented.
Movie
June 26, 2016
Hey, it still sort of holds up! Kind of... Jeff Goldblum is delightful, at least.
Game
Jul 02, 2016
A cool idea for a puzzle mechanic, and a few interesting explorations of that mechanic. There were several puzzles that annoyed me by being overly timing/physics based, as it isn't set up to be a reflexes game. Also the color palette never changes and it starts to weigh things down by the end. All in all, though, an enjoyable enough 5 hours.
Game
Jul 10, 2016
Whoa. A beautifully polished, deeply disturbing experience. Takes everything about the studio's previous title LIMBO and improves it to an incredible degree. I'll definitely be replaying this one in the future.
Game
Jul 16, 2016
I love Cyberpunk shit, and this is a pretty damn Cyberpunk game. Beyond that, the open world real-time tactics gameplay is pretty fun. It does get a bit repetitive, and I'd had enough after just a few hours, but I did enjoy it for that time.
Movie
Jul 17, 2016
I've watched this movie 3 or 4 times at this point, and I just love it. Not sure what else to say, it's just a near-perfect action movie.
Book
Jul 20, 2016
More Gibson good times! I loved the setting and characters of this one, but the plot was a little on the weak side. Still, I'm a certified Gibson superfan, so I enjoyed it.
Book
Jul 25, 2016
I found this book utterly vapid. The author contradicts himself repeatedly while offering up content-free platitudes and self-indulgent "laws" of consulting that are all named after some inane anecdote that he obviously invented on the spot. On the plus side, the book did prompt some genuinely fruitful discussions in the book club I read it for.
Game
Aug 01, 2016
This was pretty charming! It's just dripping with style and humor. I know it's cliché to say, but I really felt like it should've been longer. I was really just getting warmed up to the setting when it was already over.
Game
Aug 08, 2016
Just as charming as Gravity Bone, by the same guy! And just like Gravity Bone, I wanted it to be longer. Even just out to a couple of hours would have felt much more satisfying.
Book
Aug 12, 2016
Hmmm, I'm not 100% sure on this one. I love Stephen King, but I didn't love this book. However, I have heard that the Dark Tower series gets a lot better after book 1, and I liked the ideas that were hinted at here, so I will continue the series.
Book
Aug 21, 2016
This is the second time I've read this book, and I enjoyed it just as much this time around. Just an utterly enjoyable, spooky good time.
Book
Sep 15, 2016
Ugh. I rarely put down a book after just a few chapters, but the narration in this was so grating that I just couldn't stick with it.
Game
Sep 16, 2016
Ahahahaha what an utterly delightful little iOS game. Seriously, go download it now! I can't say anything else and spoil it. It takes like an hour total to get through the whole thing.
Movie
Sep 24, 2016
A really fun, super straight-ahead action movie. I also unironically love Keanu. It's quite violent and a dog gets killed early on, so avoid if either of those things bother you.
Book
Sep 27, 2016
It does a somewhat decent job of giving an overview of what sorts of topics you’d need to learn more about, but it hits everything at such a superficial level that I left wondering why they’d even bothered. Also most of the examples are from students, which is fine, but I’d rather learn from the pros.
Game
Oct 03, 2016
I wanted to like this game, but I really couldn’t get into it. :/
Movie
Oct 04, 2016
Good stuff. I’m just now getting into John Carpenter for the first time, and this was a good start. I’m a little bummed I already had the big reveal spoiled for me by Slavoj Žižek, but I still had a good time.
Game
Oct 04, 2016
Hey, it’s Bioshock! It’s better than the first game in every way except for novelty. I didn’t finish the whole thing because I got tired of the repetitive gameplay, but I plan to watch a Let’s Play of the remainder so that I can see the gorgeous art and level design.
Movie
Oct 05, 2016
My second John Carpenter movie! I really liked this one a lot. Very tense, with some great scares. Setting a horror movie in Antarctica makes a ton of sense because it so neatly solves the "well why don't they just go somewhere else" problem. I get grossed out pretty easily, so some of the effects were a bit much for me, but overall I had a great time.
Book
Oct 05, 2016
This didn't break a *whole* lot of new ground for me, but it was a good reminder that I need to spend more time on focused, valuable work, and less time on distracted, low-value, shallow things. The suggestions about how to structure your life to spend more time working deeply I found interesting, and I plan to try to adopt some of them into my own routine.
Movie
Oct 06, 2016
I love this movie. I've rewatched it multiple times, which is something I can say about only a handful of films.
Game
Oct 06, 2016
An incredibly stylish and funky Metroidvania-style game. The gameplay itself has some novel ideas but is overall sort of a B-, BUT the art style and soundtrack are such a beautiful love letter to 70s-style sci fi that it's worth the playthrough just for that.
Game
Oct 07, 2016
Picross is a visual constraint-solving puzzle reminiscent of (although in my opinion more interesting than) Sudoku. The 3D version is quite a lot of fun, and this implementation of it is very cute and user friendly. Highly recommended if you have a 3DS and are into puzzle games along those lines.
Book
Oct 09, 2016
A really good road-trip/epic/myth retelling story. I'm a midwesterner and the book takes place all over the midwest, so it was fun recognizing all of the place names and accents. It was a bit on the long side, but I only felt like things got bogged down in one or two places.
Game
Oct 15, 2016
This game feels like it was made just for me. It's a cyberpunk heist game where you carry around a computer and actually physically plop it down and interact with it to hack open doors, security cameras, etc. It has all the charm of Blendo Games's other games, but it's much more fleshed out and satisfying. I did have an issue where it stopped running on my machine during the second to last mission, and I had to watch a YouTube video of the conclusion, but other than that I loved it.
Game
Oct 16, 2016
I love that this exists, but I couldn't play more than a level or two. It's a super technically demanding game that explores one mechanic to its fullest depths. I'm not patient enough to actually develop the touch needed to be succesful at this game, but I can appreciate the design all the same.
Game
Oct 16, 2016
I'm garbage at stealth games, so I didn't finish this, but I loved the time I did spend with it. It's amazing how many design ideas in this game feel so fresh and modern, given its age. I especially love how the map is not always accurate and there are no on-screen waypoints to break immersion.
Book
Oct 16, 2016
Everyone should read this book. It's a great kick in the pants for anyone pursuing a creative endeavor. In service of making his point, the author ventures into somewhat offensive territory (especially with regard to mental health issues), but if you can just take it for the hyperbole it is, there's a lot of wisdom here.
Movie
Oct 24, 2016
I watched this for Culture Club (like book club but all types of media are fair game) at work. I missed the original hype train for this movie as a kid, seeing it for the first time in high school. At that time, I was very much in a "I hate everything popular" mindset, so I hated it. This time around, I enjoyed it much more! It's definitely a kids' movie, but in that "fun for the whole family" way that so few films actually achieve.
Movie
Oct 29, 2016
My John Carpenter extravaganza continues! I loved how understated this film is compared to most horror movies. I love horror in general but jump scares really stress me out in an I'm-not-having-fun kind of way, so I like how Halloween has basically zero jump scares and instead generates the horror through more atmospheric means.
Movie
Nov 11, 2016
A pretty enjoyable superhero movie. Kinda goofy, great special effects, cheesy storyline, cool acrobatics. At this point you know exactly what you're getting from a Marvel movie.
Movie
Nov 18, 2016
I really enjoyed this! It was super fun to return to the Harry Potter world, but in a new setting and time period. Also, and I feel like a jerk for saying this, but I liked it way more to not have children as the protagonists.
Game
Nov 24, 2016
A very cute and stylish little assembly programming game. The base game is pretty straightforward if you're familiar with the programming concepts, but the speed/space challenges can get pretty tricky!
Movie
Dec 11, 2016
This is basically an extended interview with author William Gibson, which I think on its own I would have found interesting, but the interview is overlaid with this completely spastic rapid-cut stock footage of various "technology" things, and the end result is just totally unwatchable. I made it about 15 minutes before I got seasick and had to stop.
Movie
Dec 15, 2016
I will need to watch it again, I think. I came away from the first viewing thinking it was wildly uneven. Some of the battle scenes, especially on the beach at the end, are up there with the best that any Star Wars property has to offer. Some of the stuff, e.g. CGI Tarkin, was so bad that I was groaning out loud every second it was up on screen. On balance, I had a good time. Like I said, I need to rewatch it.
Movie
Dec 17, 2016
It was okay.
Book
Dec 18, 2016
I'm trying to learn more about personal finance, and I was foolish enough to start off with this turd. The whole thing is pretty much an extended advertisement for participating whole term life insurance. Gross.
Game
Dec 25, 2016
A cute and surprisingly deep farming game very much in the vein of Harvest Moon. I played for a few hours and had fun, but decided that was enough for me. Charming and fun but not the kind of thing that holds my attention for as long as it does some. I'll probably come back to it a few times over the course of a couple of years.
Game
Dec 26, 2016
I haven't been interested in a Hitman game since Hitman 2 back in 2002, so I was surprised by how much fun I had with this one. The game realizes how silly its premise is and just has a ton of fun with it. The levels are beautiful and interesting to explore, and the designers have left you literally thousands of ways to complete each mission, so there is a lot of depth. I also really respect the way this game handles DLC; they got the formula just right.
Game
Dec 28, 2016
This is a little gem of a game. The puzzles are sort of interesting but too easy, and the story suffers that perennial mystery writer problem of being much better in the beginning than the end, but this is mitigated completely by the gorgeous visuals and amazing atmosphere. At a leisurely pace, I got through it in about 4 hours, so it's absolutely worth checking out.
Game
Dec 30, 2016
Yup, I like Twin Peaks too. (flip comments aside: I thought the visuals and music were truly beautiful, but it so desperately wanted to be a short film instead of a game. Worth the 2 hours and $6 I spent on it, but I wish they'd made better use of the medium.)
Game
Dec 31, 2016
I'd bounced off Diablo 3 a couple of times in the past (once right at launch and again a year or so later), but a coworker convinced me to give it another go with the expansion, and I found that this time around I enjoyed it quite a bit. Looking forward to playing the online Seasons stuff coming up soon.
Game
Dec 31, 2016
Nintendo's first foray into iOS gaming is perfect. Incredibly fun gameplay, uses the phone controls just right, multiple levels of challenge, and a great use of in-app purchases to offer you a demo of the game but never nickel and dime you. So good. I hope they make more iOS games.