Hey Ian, Watcha Into Lately?

It’s been forever since I did one of these, and I thought it might be fun.  A quick tour around the games, TV/film, books, and music I’ve been digging on lately.

TV/Film

Hunter x Hunter

Peter and I have been watching a ton of Hunter x Hunter. It’s a great anime, and is interesting because the main character, Gon, is a very shonen-anime protagonist in a world that does *not* support his optimism. It’s a nice twist on the genre, and so many of the characters are well-developed it’s fun to watch even if sometimes the plotting on a per-episode basis can be a little stiff. It’s also pretty good at keeping the season arcs and opposition varied.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks

I’m including this just because it’s completely bonkers and has Angela Lansbury being a child-hating literal witch in it. It’s great, the overall plot makes no sense, and there’s an almost completely out-of-place animated sequence in the middle. Oh, and a set that we were pretty sure is from Mary Poppins shows up in the middle. Highly recommended, if only to see it once and embrace the madness.

Books

The Stars are Legion

I’m just about 75% done with this book and am digging it so hard. It’s a great piece of science fiction, and its focus on organic technology makes it feel fresh in the world of space opera. The main character having amnesia is used in a way that makes it interesting and is more than just a cheap exposition-enabling trick like it can be in some stories. I’ve also found this to be a much faster read than The Mirror Empire, even if I had to pick up my own copy after my library loan ran out. There’s less to keep track of, and the book is tighter and more fun to read for it. (And this is coming from someone who loved The Mirror Empire.) I’m looking forward to seeing how this ends and already terrified for the open plot threads that are going to be left for the next books in the trilogy–wait–*does some research–oh god it’s a standalone! This is good and unexpected and now I’m wondering how the hell this is all going to wrap up in time. Should be fun to find out. 🙂

Music

Lofi Hip Hop Chill Study Beats Radio

I recently saw a tweet linking to a lo-fi (as in chill) hip-hop live stream (including jazzy hip-hop), and it’s great. It’s 24 hours and very good background music for when you need to get some work done or just chill out. I also legit enjoy that I have no control over the playlist, as that’s one less thing I’m tempted to constantly fiddle with.

Games

I haven’t been getting in a lot of gaming lately, but when I have I’ve been playing two blasts from the past. Hoping to get back into some meatier stuff soon, though.

Gex

Gex is my new nomination for “game to include in a 90s time capsule.” It’s a mascot platformer that thinks its funnier than it is, is running with pre-rendered once-3D-animated sprites, a points system that feels out of place, and has a password checkpoint system instead of proper saves. Despite all that, it’s been a lot of fun to play it again, if only to remember exactly how far the genre has come, and for the nostalgia trip of playing I game I used to own on CD for a very, very old PC. Not to say the gameplay is bad, it’s just pretty basic and I’m not sure it’ll be varied enough for me to play it all the way through. However, playing as a gecko has a ton of charm, mechanics be damned.

Starcraft

StarCraft was recently patched, with the patch notes reading “StarCraft and StarCraft: Brood War are now free.” This was a very pleasant surprise, so I picked up the download for my laptop that doesn’t have any sort of access to a disk drive. (Otherwise, I suppose I could have just used my old CDs which are floating around.) I’ve only replayed the first couple levels so far, but the music is a nostalgia trip in and of its own and the graphics have aged pretty well. I’m still bad at RTSes (reaction time, what reaction time?), and watching your mineral economy get up and running is dull, but it’s still enjoyable to order foul-mouthed marines around and watch them get eaten by the local alien menace. Plus, I’m a sucker for Starcraft’s lore, so I’m excited to be re-entering the story. Maybe I’ll finally be able to beat the last Terran mission this time! (I was not good at RTSes when I last played this as a 12 year old.)

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And that’s it for this edition of what I’m into. What are you all playing, listening to, watching, and/or reading lately?

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