I’m going to start writing a little weekly thing summarizing the big stories I’ve read and enjoyed. Most of them will be about video games, but not all of them. I’ll likely evolve this over time. Think of it as a Daily Note to myself … as sad as that sounds.
What I read that I liked
Hua Hsu talks about the impact video games have had on popular music over in the New Yorker, by writing about the book Koji Kondo’s Super Mario Bros. Soundtrack. “There is,” Hsu writes, “an entire alternate history of modern music that revolves around figures like Kondo, Hip Tanaka, and Nobuo Uematsu, whose scores for the Final Fantasy series are now performed in concert halls.”
Paul Theroux returns to the town that inspired To Kill a Mockingbird to examine what’s changed and what hasn’t for Smithsonian Magazine. “Every year, a highly praised and lively dramatization of the novel is put on by the town’s Mockingbird Players, with dramatic courtroom action in the Old Courthouse. But Nannie Ruth smiled when she was asked whether she’d ever seen it. “You won’t find more than four or five black people in the audience,” a local man told me later. “They’ve lived it. They’ve been there. They don’t want to be taken there again. They want to deal with the real thing that’s going on now.”
The Murder in Exam Room 15 is a wonderful examination of the escalating battle between patients and healthcare written by Chris Sweeney for Boston Magazine. “For 20 more minutes, the two men continued to talk. No one outside the exam room heard a sound, until all at once two blasts from a .40-caliber pistol tore through the morning calm.”
Jack Smith IV (I can’t help but think he’s a robot now, better than the last three models) does a nice job of examining Disney’s odd little hybrid between video games and toys: The Playmation line for Mic.com. It’s a little PR-heavy, a little breathless, but it’s also packed with interesting insight into the way Disney thinks and designs.
A moment of self-aggrandizing introspection
Ex Machina really is a great sci-fi movie and you should see it if you haven’t. Here’s what I wrote about the movie and the people who made it.
I’m most actively reading Seveneves, Neal Stephenson’s latest, right now and it’s pretty good. I somehow accidentally purchased Bum Rap, a book I’ve never heard of by an author I never heard of, and will likely dig into that soon too because … providence?
I bought a clutch of old CDs from a library sale the other week and immediately imported them into my digital library. So right now I’m listening to a collection of 70s love songs (the best love songs) 80s rock and one-hit wonders and a mix of artists I’ve never heard of singing songs that are sometimes great, sometimes awful.
We’re hoping to go see Jurassic World this weekend and in preparation rewatched the first three. I think I may like the third more than the first, but maybe I’m crazy. Finally watched John Wick. It was fine, but not nearly as good as everyone lead me to believe it would be. Maybe I don’t like turtlenecks as much as the next person.
I’ve been tinkering a bit with Bierzerkers, Counter-Strike: GO and VainGlory.
Now that I own an Amazon Echo I’ve become obsessed with getting it to do things it wasn’t designed to do. My latest goal is to get it to boot-up my computer when I ask it to and to flash the lights in my son’s room when an alarm goes off. I guess that’s better than using it to send text messages to the slack room where everyone at Polygon works. There’s something wrong with me.
Let me know what you think, if you want more of something or less of something and I’ll keep it in mind for next week.