Saturday, July 1, 2017

Media and Gaming Recommendations List

Games

Onitama

An abstract strategy game. It has been described as "like chess, but better". You can learn more about it here.

Mage Wars Academy

I've talked about this in a previous post, but it bears repeating that this game is amazing and I highly recommend it to anyone who's itching for some card-based fantasy combat at an affordable price without luck of the draw. You can learn more about it here

Books

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Best to divide the book into three or six parts, since it's pretty long. I prefer to divide it into three parts. It's one of my favorite novels. I even wrote some inside cover fan blurbs for it:

Part I: Observation (chapters 1-37)

There is something different about Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres, and it's not just that he's a wizard. Raised by his doting aunt Petunia and her husband, an Oxford biochemistry professor named Michael, Harry learned the ways of science and rationality. So when Magic comes barreling in to upend Harry's tidy worldview, he does the only sensible thing: throws out his priors, rolls up his sleeves, and starts investigating. His investigation takes him to Hogwarts—the most prestigious magical school in the world, where a dark power is plotting in the shadows...

Part 2: Calculation (chapters 38-85)

Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres is back, and this time he's in way over his head. After an unusual confrontation with a dementor, the most terrible of all dark magical creatures, Professor Quirrinus Quirrel decides to recruit him for a dangerous and treasonous mission: to break an innocent convict out of the unbreakable fortress Azkaban, British Wizarding Prison.
Meanwhile, some of the children of powerful magical nobility are terrorizing their weaker classmates at Hogwarts, while the teachers do nothing to stop it for fear of legal reprisal.
Up against the medieval government and traditions of magical Britain itself, can the Boy Who Lived and his friends survive?

Part 3: Calibration (chapters 86-122)

Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres, the Boy Who Lived, is in grave danger. Someone of unknown intent is plotting against him and targeting his friends. Hogwarts is no longer safe. As the school-year draws to a close, two enemy noble houses will become allies, one of Harry's closest friends will die, the fate of the world will hang in the balance, and the true mastermind behind it all will finally reveal himself. Can the Boy Who Lived solve the mystery in time? Can you?

Strong Female Protagonist

"SFP follows the adventures of a young middle-class American with super-strength, invincibility and a crippling sense of social injustice." I love this webcomic. It is so EPIC. I usually don't like superhero stories, but this one is very good. I really loved the unmasking scene early on: "Am I the only one who's scared that people are looking to me for answers because I can lift a car over my head? This is crazy!" Classic.

Pokemon: the Origin of Species

"Enter the world of Pokémon from a rational perspective. Instead of starting his journey in ignorance, Red has spent his years studying the creatures so central to his world... and he doesn't quite agree with all the information in his books. No time for rookie mistakes here: he's on a quest to discover the true nature of Pokémon, and maybe even find out where they really come from." The world building in this is amazing. It even has an explanation about the ethics of Pokemon battles that actually makes sense, as well as an explanation for why Pokemon trainers leave their parents and go on their journeys at such an early age that makes sense (combination of culture and evolutionary pressures making humans mature faster).

Schooled in Magic series

This series is very good. It's a portal fantasy and a magical school story with a heck of a lot of very good world building. Also a decent number of intelligent characters and no one ever really holds the idiot ball. When smart characters do stupid things it happens naturally as a result of their own flaws or lack of necessary skills or knowledge, or because of mental illness such as that caused by practicing necromancy. The setting is pretty consistent and it's very interesting. It feels like a rather realistic take on what a medieval fantasy world with actual magic would be like. You don't need to start at the beginning of the series to understand what's going on, but it's better if you do because you get to see the main characters growing up.

Rationality: From AI to Zombies
A nonfiction text for learning rationality skills. It's quite fascinating and rather useful. Highly recommended.

Television Shows

Steven Universe: also highly recommended. I really liked the trial scene in one of the more recent episodes.

Shin Sekai Yori: this is really good, but I can't even say what the genre is without spoiling it...

Puela Magi Madoka Magica: very good. Deconstruction of the magical girl warrior genre that I really liked.

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