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2021.09.24

Rating Badge

As a programmer and businessman, I try to organize the world. So, I created a unified Ratings page consolidating all reviews thats I did. Games, boardgames, books, movies and TV shows.

A few of them I wrote a full blog post. But most I did not. That was driving me crazy. I often mention the same games/movies on multiple posts. When it happens to a piece of art that I did not previously reviewed, I felt a pressure to do so. I even might do so, but now it’s not required anymore. Now the non-reviewed-but-rated are properly acknowledged. And I shall have the consistence.

I’m going to scan, in the next days, all previous blog posts to cross reference, but the main step was done.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Also, in a similar vain the previous post, Rating Art, I decided to give my ratings a more visual appeal. For now, beside the numeric 0-10 rating, it will show the according number of stars.

2021.09.03

Rating Art

Rating things is a real art. Specially if we are rating art. Not much thought is put on it; eventually things start to get complicated and ambiguous.

Time

Also cultural references also change. What was good 100 years ago might simply be unacceptable nowadays. There are plenty of movies, sculptures, paintings and songs that portrait racism, misogyny or prejudice that were normal at the time. It’s complicate to reevaluate them using our modern mental framework.

Also, our own taste changing with time. Things that were cool when we were young might embarrassing years later. #cringe

Technology

Some technological improvements make it change our quality perspective. A silent or black-and-white movie, a radio quality song recording, an Atari Pong. But today, it’s hard sell to have such limitation in a modern piece of art.

Sometimes, these technological changes make plainly impossible to appreciate the art later on. For video games it’s particularly affected, since the medium in which it is consumed is part of the experience. Virtual Boy headaches during hours and hours of playtime were part of the nostalgia, but how to compare with a modern XR game if the hardware itself is hard to find and make it work?

Single Fixed Scale

Finally, we have to reduce all the rich details into a numeric scale.

I prefer an infinite positive scale, that always grows with new titles, would be better. So Pong would never be in the same league as a modern AAA 3D adventure story-driven game. But at the same time, one could honestly appreciate an old movie almost the same as flashy new one.

So having a single fixed scale, from 1-5, 0-10, percentage, or even the super weird American F-A concept, is a easier way to deal things. Almost everyone uses this in some shape or form.

My take

There are much to discuss.

At least for now, I’m going to simplify a bit my ratings. I use a 0-10 scale, with .5 decimals. There is no need for these decimal point. An 0-10 scale is enough to separate good from bad. Numerically, 9.4 is better then 9.3. But in practice, it most convey the information that is an amazing game/movie/book, not that one is better then the other. The details I expect to point are a qualitative analysis in each review.

Also, using half-points in practice doubles the range. It’s in fact a 20 point scale. No need for such granularity.

Updating all these past ratings with decimal points, rounding them up or down, depending each case.

One might notice that I’ve never used the 1-3 ratings and barely used bellow 6. It’s not a problem with the scale per se. It’s more about the selection process that occur before consuming a game or movie. I try to focus on award winning, previously mentioned and commented by someone else before. I might eventually rethink this scale to englobe all bellow threshold in a single category and focus on the above threshold scale.

This way I tend to consume only reasonably good products and, therefore, only set reasonably good ratings! Good for me, if you ask.

2021.08.15

Books From 2021 (So Far)

I continue to read (listen in fact) almost every day for the past years. It’s in my daily routine when I walk the dogs. It’s a very different proposition from laying down and dedicate some time to read them. I have a urge of a secondary task when I am performing a no-brainer routine, just as.. walking the dogs. Otherwise, I just feel wasting my time my just walking and no thinking.

This is the list of this year’s books that I ingested. Later I present a list of books from the previous years that did not mention before. These lists are -definitively- not comprehensive ones. Since I’m not updating my GoodReads personal records nor writing about them in this blog, they are just the ones I remembered. Eventually I might edit this post in case I remember other entries.

  • Remote(10), from Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson: I’ve read this book few years back and I’m planning to do a annual reading of this book, along with the other Jason Fried books. They are mind opener, very opinative and thought provoking. Yet so elegant and simple. It points advantages and disadvantages of remote working, some misconceptions and prejudices. During the radical change of life during the pandemic, it was still valid (it was published in 2013)
  • Foundation(10), from Isaac Asimov: a SCI-FI classic that was always in my “want to read” list. Since I’ve heard that it’s going to become a TV Show from Amazon Prime, it climbed up to the top of my next books. And it did not disappointed. A superb novel that deals with the idea of a guy that can forsee the future and plan each step to change it.
  • Parable of the Sower(9), from Octavia E. Butler: a 5 stars recommendation from The Wertzone, it was amazing and rich as I was told. The next book, Parable of the Talents, also recommended, will be read soon.
  • Torto Arado(7), from Itamar Vieira Junior: this Brazilian first time author conquered most of national and international Portuguese awards. Tells a story of two girls from the almost deserted region in Brazil, fighting against poverty, misogyny and happiness.
  • 21 Lessons for the 21st Century(8), from Yuval Noah Harari: another hit from the same author of Sapiens, focusing on some pressing issues of the contemporary times, like genetics, robotics and artificial intelligence.
  • Shaping the Future of the Fourth Industrial Revolution(8), from Klaus Schwab: the same vein of the previous book, analyzing global issues, from the executive chairman of the World Economic Forum. I think I liked more than 21 Lessons
  • Mistborn(7), from Brandon Sanderson: in a universe that magic spells can be casted by consuming metals, Sanderson starts the sprawling saga with a epic heist.
  • Letters From An Astrophysicist(7), from Neil deGrasse Tyson: Tyson is a well known scientist and his polite, yet firm, way to respond questions in TV shows is also presented in this collection of letters received by fans ans not-fans alike. He talks a little bit of everything: science methods, physics, astrophysics and, but also about astrology and religion.
  • Project Hail Mary(7), from Angie: The Martian was a mega hit. As a movie adaptation, it was the most [viewed and profitable project][https://screenrant.com/highest-lowest-grossing-ridley-scott-movies-according-to-box-office-mojo/] from the acclaimed direction Ridley Scott, which includes Gladiator, Blade Runner and Alien. It takes the same Weir' nerdy writing style, again with a very lonely protagonist and the rollercoaster plot. This time, I have big doubts that a film adaptation would be a similar success, due the complex narrative and scope.
  • Foundation and Empire(6), from Isaac Asimov: the second book have two different stories and is less interesting due the lack of the main characters from the first book. Of corse, it takes places centuries after the first book' events. The new characters are all nice, but the Hari Seldon previsions becomes both too mystical and precise to my taste.
  • The Miracle Morning(4), from Hal Elrod: I heard about it while listening the Jeff Goins podcast interviewing the author. He mentioned coming to Brazil to advertise his new book and discovering a huge fan base. So why not try. I found a very obnoxious self-help book about waking up early, do some exercises, meditate and suddenly one would become 999% more productive.

From previous years but not yet mentioned (and worth mention)

  • It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work(10), from Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson: Like Remote, it’s worth to re read periodically.
  • The Name of the Wind(10), from Patrick Rothfuss: Kvothe’s early stories are fascinating. The universe blends Harry Potter with Lord of the Ring, with a very likable cast of characters.
  • The Hate U Give(8), from Angie Thomas: read years before the Black Lives Matter movement, is still a valid story about racism and police brutality. I’m yet to see the movie adaptation.
  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft(7), from Stephen King
  • Judas Unchained(8), from Peter F. Hamilton: the second book, just after the events of Pandora’s Star. Breath holding.
  • How To Write 50,000 Words In 30 Days, and survive to tell your story!(7), from Mike Coville: dogmatic but can serve as a powerful inspiration.
  • Artemis(7), from Andy Weir: first Mars, now the Moon. The this sci-fi story is well grounded in science and the protagonist is tenacious and
  • The Wise Man’s Fear(5), from Patrick Rothfuss: the The Name of the Wind’s protagonist transformed from a poor underdog in the first movie to a almighty demigod. There are basically no impossible obstacles that are solved a couple later.

For more books, you can check my online read list on GoodReads.

2020.12.09

Media List 2020

2020 might compete in the Most Pivotal Year in History Award, but it had its fair share of surprises. I had the time to attack start to finish several games. I reused the commute time to play. Below is the list that I compiled using the new GOG Galaxy app, that tracks games even from other stores.

The list of movies I’m going to skip this time, since it would not fit into a single post.

Games

Finished in 2018-2020 (before pandemic)

Not finished yet (for a reason or another)

Continuous playing

In preparation of the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077!!!

2014.01.03

Dry Year

2013 was a very sad year: I did not watched many movies, nor plays, nor played many games.

The result is that, as you can see in the blog, I could not write about them.

But the worst part for me is that I stopped to keep track of them. My main spreadsheet that I control what movies, books, games or TV shows that I was consuming was almost entirely abandoned. It is a bit demanding and requires a lot of discipline to keep this wheel spinning.

In the gaming side, one of the major contributors to my laziness is the Humble Bundle. It offers some special game deals, mostly indie games, in bundles, in a pay-as-much-as-you-want scheme. It is great. But it also invokes our primitive instinct of irrational buying, and it is hard stop a moment to keep record of this.

I will try to make a better 2014, full of art. It will take some time but I want to do so.

2011.01.10

2010 Art Review

2010 was a great year. This was a not typical year for books. The list is quite short. This list is what I could remember.

Games

  • Most, but not all, I finished
  • 3 Cards To Dead Time
  • Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None
  • Agatha Christie: Murder On The Orient Express
  • Amnesia
  • Assassin’s Creed 2
  • Borderlands
  • Cities XL
  • Civilization V
  • Darwinia
  • Dawn Of Discovery
  • Democracy 2
  • Donkey Kong Country Returns
  • Dragon Age: Origin
  • Epic Mickey
  • Europa Universalis III: Heir To The Throne
  • F1 2010
  • Fallout: New Vegas
  • Fifa 11
  • Gratuitous Space Battles
  • Harvey Teh Attorney
  • Kirby: Epic Yarn
  • Little King Story
  • Mafia 2
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit
  • New Super Mario Bros
  • No More Heroes 2
  • Rock Band Beatles
  • RUSE
  • Settlers 6
  • Settlers 7
  • Shatter
  • Super Matio Galaxy 2
  • The Saboteur
  • The Secret Files: Tunguska
  • Thief
  • X-Com: AI

Movies

  • 2012
  • Alice In Wonderland
  • Alien 3
  • Aliens
  • Angels & Demons
  • Avatar
  • Bounty Hunter
  • Brüno
  • Clash Of The Titans
  • Crazy Heart
  • Escape From New York
  • Fantastic Mr Fox
  • Funny People
  • Ghost Writer
  • Gosford Park
  • Green Zone
  • Halloween
  • Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Pt 1
  • Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire
  • Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
  • Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix
  • Hot Tub Time Machine
  • Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus
  • Inception
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Kick Ass
  • LA Confidential
  • Law Abiding Citizen
  • Murder On The Orient Express
  • Near Dark
  • Paprika
  • Paranormal Activity
  • Prince Of Persia
  • Princess Mononoke
  • Pulp Ficiton
  • Robin Hood
  • Shanshank Redemption
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Shutter Island
  • Taxi Driver
  • Terminator Salvation
  • The A Team
  • The Blind Side
  • The Fisher King
  • The Silent Warrior
  • The Sound Of Music
  • Time Bandits
  • Twilight
  • Up
  • Up In The Air
  • Where The Wild Things Are
  • Zombieland

TV Series

  • Death Note
  • Fullmetal Alchemist 1-10
  • House S6
  • Lost S6
  • Naruto 1-20
  • Mad Men S01 S02
  • Breaking Bad S01

Books

  • Some of them I used the audiobook
  • Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  • Butcher’s Hill – Laura Lippman
  • Dramatica
  • Screenplay – Syd Field
  • The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
  • The Blue Ocean Strategy – W. Chan Kim And Renée Mauborgne
  • The City And The City – China Mieville
  • The Comic Toolbox: How To Be Funny Even If You’Re Not – John Vorhaus
  • The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd – Agatha Christie
  • The Murder On The Links – Agatha Christie
  • The Naked Face – Sidney Sheldon
  • Y: The Last Man – DC Comics
2009.12.30

2009 Art Review

2009 was a great year. I had the opportunity to watch/play/read/listen several great games, films and books. This list is what I could remember.

Games

Most, but not all, I finished

  1. Braid – PC
  2. Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars – Wii
  3. The Beatles: Rockband – Wii
  4. Dawn of Discovery – Wii
  5. de Blob – Wii
  6. Dragon Age – PC
  7. Drakensang: The Dark Eye – PC
  8. Machinarium – PC
  9. Neverhood – PC
  10. Planescape Torment – PC
  11. Race Driver: GRID – PC
  12. Torchlight – PC
  13. The Witcher – PC

Movies

  • 5cm Per Second
  • Akira
  • Amadeus
  • Army of Shadows
  • Citizen Kane
  • Cowboy Bebop
  • The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
  • Doctor Zhivago
  • Drag Me to Hell
  • Ghost in The Shell
  • The Hangover
  • Helvetica
  • Home
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Lady Vengeance
  • The Manchurian Candidate
  • Oldboy
  • The Sinning
  • Star Trek
  • Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
  • Tokyo Godfathers
  • Up

Books

Some of them I used the audiobook

  • David Allen – Getting Things Done
  • David Allen – Making It All Work
  • Malcolm Gladwell – The Tipping Point
  • Malcolm Gladwell – Blink
  • Malcolm Gladwell – Outliers
  • Peter F. Hamilton – Fallen Dragon
  • Peter F. Hamilton – The Dreaming Void
  • Peter F. Hamilton – The Temporal Void
  • Raymond Kurzweil – The Age of Spiritual Machines
  • Stephen King – The Dark Tower: The Waste Lands
  • Stephen King – The Dark Tower: Wizard and Glass
  • Umberto Eco – Foucault’s Pendulum

And 2010 might be even better.