Letting Go of Books is Hard

Definitely not my art, but it’s so true. Check out this tumblr by Airiz. Lots of amazing bookish drawings.

It’s getting closer to moving day, and my boyfriend and I have been doing our best to downsize. It’s been tough, though. We’ve both accumulated so many books, movies, and games over the last several years (Holy crap, have I really been in this college town since 2007?), and we’re pretty attached to a lot of them. The books are the hardest to let go, though.

Whether it’s a reference book or a fantasy novel, there’s just something about holding a physical copy and flipping through it that makes me pause when I hover over my “to donate” pile. A lot of my books bring back nice memories for me. I picked up my Circuits 1 textbook, and it just made me smile because I remember loving that class so much. Unfortunately, since we’re making a cross-country move into a tiny apartment and paying for it ourselves, we have to be choosy about what we pack into our shipping container. I have a couple of other good electronics books that amount to about half the volume of that circuits book, and they cover the most important bits and then some. So, the circuits textbook isn’t coming with me.

Then I look at my mismatched collection of Narnia books, all of them paperback, some still sporting tacky WalMart stickers. A couple of them are even raggedy garage sale copies. But I remember how as a kid, I would carefully save my allowance until I wanted a book or game, and I remember buying those Narnia books myself and devouring them. Still, when I move, I can get a better set to put next to my lovely hardbound Lord of the Rings novels (which are most definitely coming with me!). Hopefully, some other kid will read and enjoy my Narnia books at a local library.

I also have a garage sale collection of Sherlock Holmes stories that found its way into the donation pile. I did hesitate (it’s hardcover!), but if I’m honest, I’ll just use it as an excuse to pick up a nicer copy that actually contains all of Holmes’ adventures. I will, however, keep the dog-eared Sherlock Holmes paperback that has a lovely note from my uncle’s mother inside the front cover. That one was a gift.

It’s not always so difficult to pass on some books to other people, though. There are textbooks from classes I’d like to forget and a ton of less-than-awesome Shannara trades that I am more than happy to donate to someone else’s library. I have sorority sisters who would be able to save money by using some of my engineering textbooks, and some of my other friends have already taken a load of paperback novels off my hands.

Basically, it looks like I’m only keeping my favorites (sorry library, but you’re not getting Snow Crash, The Blue Sword, or a single Harry Potter book) and reference books I hope think I’ll use in the near future (I’ve got this book on Ruby, for example, that I’ve been meaning to sit down with but just haven’t found the time for…), and that’s okay. I had several classic novels that I kind of wanted to bring, but I realized that I probably wouldn’t read them again any time soon. As much as I love To Kill a Mocking Bird, Catch 22, and Jane Eyre, I read all of those before I graduated high school, and I haven’t opened them since. It’s time to let someone else experience them.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I won’t pick up a new copies when I’m finished moving. I’d probably even be excited to read them again. :)


Studio Ghibli Songs + Jazz = Awesomesauce Remixes

All That Jazz Album ArtI seem to be on roll lately with discovering new music (particularly good remixes of songs I already love), and when one of my roommates introduced me to a series of official jazz arrangements of songs from Studio Ghibli movies, I knew I had to get my hands on them. Seriously, these tracks are pure gold, and I can’t stop playing them. Give this version of “Kaze No Tani No Nausika” (from Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind) a listen.

Tell your ears I said you’re welcome. :)

Fortunately, you can get your hands on tons of jazzy Ghibli goodness for less than $10 an album on Amazon, as long as you’re cool with MP3s. I grabbed the first two, and they have been quite enjoyable, though I’m probably going to end up buying the live album eventually. Some of those tracks are even better than the normal recordings.

What are some of your favorite remixes of video game or anime music?

Every Day’s Great with 8-bit Persona 4 Music

Hi folks! It’s been a while. There’s been some craziness in my life in the last few months: in the beginning of the year, I managed to find an amazing job as an editor! I feel unbelievably lucky to be doing something I enjoy and getting paid for it. I’m trying to get myself moved to a new city for said job in the near future, too, so there’s been plenty to do in that regard. Between that and my G.A.M.E.S. blog writing, my personal blog wound up falling by the wayside. Anyhoo, I don’t like it when I neglect the blog for so long, and I had some breathing room today, so I thought I should pop in to say I’m still here. I want to post more often now that things are settling down, though when the move starts, all bets are off.

You know you read the post title in Nanako’s voice.

Of course, you didn’t click through to read about why I’ve been gone. You wanted to hear that music I mentioned in the title, right? I’ve been playing the heck out of Persona 4 Golden every chance I can get, and I’m loving it so much. One major reason I like it is that I get to hear lots of Shoji Meguro’s awesome music.

When I fall in love with a game’s soundtrack, I tend to poke around YouTube to see if I can stream it. As I was looking for P4 music, I discovered that someone uploaded 8-bit remixes of several tracks from the game. Some of them, like this version of “Reach Out to the Truth” are pretty darned good. If you liked the 8-bit version of “I’ll Face Myself” that plays during the Void Quest boss fight (I don’t know for sure, but that version of the song might only be in P4G.), you’ll love this.

You can find the whole playlist here. I have no idea whether these are official mixes or not, but I’d love to track down the actual album if it exists. If it’s not an official remix album, I’d still like to find the original artist who did this arrangement, so either way, if you can shed any light on this, do leave a comment. :)

P.S. No spoilery comments on anything past the Secret Laboratory dungeon! I never played the original P4 on the PS2, so I’m going through this game for the first time.

These Guys Made Mario Kart Real

I always get warm fuzzies when people do awesomely geeky things with hardware. Some brilliant people from Waterloo labs put an RFID tag inside a Koopa shell plushie, put a tag reader on a go-kart, and then rigged up the kart to react to the shell–thus creating Mario Kart in real life. This is, of course, a gross simplification of their system. If you want to learn more, check out their page on the project. Meanwhile, here’s a video showing the karts in action. They even had item boxes, and someone ran a traffic light like Lakitu. 😀

(Waterloo Labs via Hack A Day)

Best of the Backlog: 2012 Edition

In case you didn’t know, I have this constant, massive backlog of games that I need to play at pretty much all times. It’s a bit sad, but I’m making up for lots of lost time, so I often wind up putting off newer games so I can get through things from years past.

I did finish several new titles in 2012, but I also managed to clear out a significant chunk of my backlog. Here are some of the best games I played last year that I really should have gotten around to much sooner. Feel free to express your disbelief at how woefully behind I was.

Persona 3 Portable
P3PI love JRPGs, but somehow, I didn’t get around to playing a Persona game until last year. Now that I’ve beaten Persona 3 Portable, I could seriously kick myself for not doing it sooner. I loved this one so much that I started a New Game+ the same night I finished it. P3P is definitely one of my favorite games ever at this point. I must like being sad or something.

If you have a PSP, it’s totally worth it to get P3P and play as the female main character. You can have social links with every party member, so you learn more about them. Also, Elizabeth’s brother, Theo, is awesome.

The World Ends With You
TheWorldEndsWithYouI figured I would like TWEWY when I started it, but I had no idea that I would fall so completely in love with it. This game has a great story, awesome character designs, a rockin’ soundtrack, and a fun, fast-paced battle system. Sure, fighting enemies on two screens and balancing your DS to use the stylus can take some getting used to, but it’s totally worth the hand cramps.

Psst. Squeenix! Can you stop it with the money-grubbing iOS games and just make a 3DS sequel to this? It’ll be like printing money, I promise.

9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors
999999 was the first visual novel other than Hakuoki that I’d ever played, and now I’m hooked on the genre. It’s not a pure visual novel, but that’s fine: 999 has fun puzzles, and I love a good brain teaser. See my in-depth thoughts on the game here.

A word to anyone thinking of picking up the sequel, Virtue’s Last Reward: play 999 first, or some seriously awesome plot twists will go right over your head.

Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland
roronaI suppose this wasn’t my first Atelier game; if you want to get technical, I did play Mana Khemia. I just never finished that one. Once I started Atelier Rorona, I got sucked into the story and couldn’t put it down. My only complaint is that I didn’t really like how much of an idiot Rorona could be sometimes. However, she and the rest of the characters were endearing, the alchemy system was entertaining, and there was a good variety of places to explore. Now I just have to play Totori and Meruru before Ayesha comes out in March…(Heh. Not happening. Maybe I can shoot for before the end of the year.)

Hmm. Looking at my list, I guess I really do play a lot of Japanese games. In any case, if you’re behind like me and haven’t played these yet, I’d highly recommend all of them.

What sorts of games are in your backlog? How easy is it for you to check things off of your list of games to play someday?