Top 5's

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by IMAGIRL, Nov 19, 2020.

  1. IMAGIRL

    IMAGIRL Forum Royalty

    A thread for you to post your recommendations. It can be about anything, books, movies, food, games etc...

    These may not necessarily be my top 5 anime, but they are the ones that came to mind when I thought over which to add to the list so at the very least they're memorable. In alphabetical order, here we go...

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    Great Teacher Onizuka
    (Abbreviated GTO by most)
    Type: TV
    Episodes: 43
    Status: Finished Airing
    Aired: Jun 30, 1999 to Sep 17, 2000
    Premiered: Summer 1999
    Broadcast: Wednesdays at 19:30 (JST)
    Producers: Aniplex, Fuji TV
    Licensors: Discotek Media, Tokyopop
    Studios: Studio Pierrot
    Source: Manga
    Genres: Slice of Life, Comedy, Drama, School, Shounen
    Duration: 25 min. per ep.
    Rating: R - 17+ (violence & profanity)

    Twenty-two-year-old Eikichi Onizuka—ex-biker gang leader, conqueror of Shonan, and virgin—has a dream: to become the greatest high school teacher in all of Japan. This isn't because of a passion for teaching, but because he wants a loving teenage wife when he's old and gray. Still, for a perverted, greedy, and lazy delinquent, there is more to Onizuka than meets the eye. So when he lands a job as the homeroom teacher of the Class 3-4 at the prestigious Holy Forest Academy—despite suplexing the Vice Principal—all of his talents are put to the test, as this class is particularly infamous.
    Due to their utter contempt for all teachers, the class' students use psychological warfare to mentally break any new homeroom teacher they get, forcing them to quit and leave school. However, Onizuka isn't your average teacher, and he's ready for any challenge in his way.
    Bullying, suicide, and sexual harassment are just a few of the issues his students face daily. By tackling the roots of their problems, Onizuka supports them with his unpredictable and unconventional methods—even if it means jumping off a building to save a suicidal child. Thanks to his eccentric charm and fun-loving nature, Class 3-4 slowly learns just how enjoyable school can be when you're the pupils of the Great Teacher Onizuka.


    This shows premise might come off as a bit disturbing but I promise it is a much better watch than the Synopsis might lead you to believe. I had a ton of fun watching this one and I recommend it to nearly anyone who asks me for an Anime to watch. It should be noted that GTO is technically the second in a series however the first show Shonan Junai Gumi! is not a mandatory watch to be able to enjoy GTO as GTO only loosely references the events of SJG! and there are few recurring characters. If you're dead set on watching SJG! then I'd recommend watching it after GTO as GTO is the better show and it would be a shame if you were to be put off watching GTO due to something you might have disliked in SJG! and thought GTO would be the same show. SJG! and GTO are very different shows with the same main character. Do what was recommended to me and watch SJG! after GTO and treat it as a flashback/prequel series that way if you're not interested you can still say you got to enjoy GTO.




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    Heroic Age

    Type: TV
    Episodes: 26
    Status: Finished Airing
    Aired: Apr 2, 2007 to Oct 1, 2007
    Premiered: Spring 2007
    Broadcast: Mondays at 01:30 (JST)
    Producers: Starchild Records
    Licensors: Funimation
    Studios: Xebec
    Source: Original
    Genres: Action, Mecha, Military, Sci-Fi, Space
    Duration: 23 min. per ep.
    Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or older

    Synopsis
    When the Golden Race invited other races to join them in the stars, three sentient races answered their call. The Goldens called them the Bronze, Silver and Heroic Tribes. Just before the Gold Tribe left to travel to another Universe, a fourth race appeared, traveling to the stars on their own accomplishments. The Golds named the human race the Iron Tribe. During the passing of time, humanity suffers at the hands of the more dominant races and is now facing extinction. Following a prophecy left by the Gold Tribe, Princess Deianeira sets out to search for the powerful being who might be able to save humankind. She meets a wild haired boy on an abandoned planet—a fateful encounter that will not only change the fortunes of Humanity, but also the fate of the universe.

    What can I say about this one, well, it is very much a Drama, the Romance is a minor sub-plot so don't be put off if that's not your thing. The musical score is also phenomenal. I cannot say much as I tend to over divulge, so instead I'll recommend you watch it. Unlike most anime you should watch the opening and ending (Intro/Outros) as both will occasionally change over the course of the show with the ending of most episodes actually continuing the episode a few minutes more. Though you should watch them anyway for the soundtrack, I cannot overstate just how much I enjoy it.




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    Mononoke Hime
    (Princess Mononoke)
    Type: Movie
    Episodes: 1
    Status: Finished Airing
    Aired: Jul 12, 1997
    Producers: Tokuma Shoten, Nippon Television Network
    Licensors: GKIDS
    Studios: Studio Ghibli
    Source: Original
    Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
    Duration: 2 hr. 15 min.
    Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or older

    Synopsis
    When an Emishi village is attacked by a fierce demon boar, the young prince Ashitaka puts his life at stake to defend his tribe. With its dying breath, the beast curses the prince's arm, granting him demonic powers while gradually siphoning his life away. Instructed by the village elders to travel westward for a cure, Ashitaka arrives at Tatara, the Iron Town, where he finds himself embroiled in a fierce conflict: Lady Eboshi of Tatara, promoting constant deforestation, stands against Princess San and the sacred spirits of the forest, who are furious at the destruction brought by the humans. As the opposing forces of nature and mankind begin to clash in a desperate struggle for survival, Ashitaka attempts to seek harmony between the two, all the while battling the latent demon inside of him. Princess Mononoke is a tale depicting the connection of technology and nature, while showing the path to harmony that could be achieved by mutual acceptance.

    I can say few things that haven't already been said about this movie, but it is genuinely one of the best anime movies of all time and I'd be surprised it wasn't on every top 50 anime list in some capacity. Created by the great Miyazaki Hayao and 'said to be his favorite movie to make as he wanted to make a point and get it to the audience that needed to see it the most' (Loose quote, cannot remember where I read it either). I highly recommend you watch Mononoke Hime as well as anything that came from the mind of Miyazaki Hayao.




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    Samurai Flamenco

    Type: TV
    Episodes: 22
    Status: Finished Airing
    Aired: Oct 11, 2013 to Mar 28, 2014
    Premiered: Fall 2013
    Broadcast: Fridays at 01:20 (JST)
    Producers: Aniplex, Dentsu, Movic, Fuji TV, Kyoraku Industrial Holdings, DeNA
    Licensors: Aniplex of America
    Studios: Manglobe
    Source: Original
    Genres: Action, Comedy, Parody, Super Power
    Duration: 23 min. per ep.
    Rating: R - 17+ (violence & profanity)

    Synopsis
    "A hero will never give up, never hide, never be defeated and never accept evil!"
    Firmly believing these words, Masayoshi Hazama has been obsessed with superhero shows since childhood. By day, he earns his living as a famous model, and by night, he becomes the gallant hero Samurai Flamenco. Armed with only his superhero costume, he seeks to bring justice to the city and faces anybody who tries to break the law—even rebellious juveniles and people who litter on the street.
    Masayoshi's heroic antics later catch the attention of the public, leading to the fateful discovery of his identity by policeman Hidenori Gotou. Although initially telling Masayoshi to leave the crime-busting activities to the police, Gotou ends up joining him in his antics. However, things soon escalate from preventing littering and petty thefts to bizarre adventures that involve even the fate of the world. Together with their newfound comrades, Masayoshi and Gotou embark on a battle with the world and themselves in order to find the true meaning of being a hero—with or without superpowers.

    This show is a wild, wild ride. It's equal parts Action, Comedy, Drama, and Parody, and I cannot even tell you why without giving plot points away. I recommend you watch it in 4-6 episodic chunks, and once again I cannot tell you why.




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    Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199

    Type: OVA
    Episodes: 26
    Status: Finished Airing
    Aired: May 25, 2012 to Oct 25, 2013
    Producers: Production I.G, Bandai Visual, OLM, Lantis, Shochiku, Bandai, Tohokushinsha Film Corporation, Bandai Namco Games, Voyager Entertainment
    Licensors: Funimation
    Studios: Xebec, AIC
    Source: Original
    Genres: Action, Military, Sci-Fi, Space, Drama
    Duration: 25 min. per ep.
    Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or older

    In the year 2199, Earth faces its greatest crisis. Due to unrelenting bombings by the alien race known as "Gamilas," the planet can no longer sustain its inhabitants. In exactly one year, humanity is set to become extinct.
    In desperation, the people of Earth establish the Earth Defense Force, their last defense against the power-hungry Gamilas Empire. However, humanity finds a glimmer of hope after receiving a message from the mysterious planet Iscandar, which offers them a device that would restore Earth to its former glory. With salvation in sight, the Earth Defense Force calls on the prolific Space Battleship Yamato and swiftly assembles a crew to make the 168,000 light-year trek to Iscandar and receive their aid.
    Among the crew are young officers Susumu Kodai and Daisuke Shima, along with several other newly promoted leaders, all under the command of the distinguished Captain Juuzou Okita. Forced to learn how to handle the ship's innovative technology while dealing with the onslaught of Gamilas fleets, the inexperienced cast of Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199 must summon every inch of their resolve to survive the many hardships aboard the Yamato and complete their mission: to save humanity before it's too late.

    USY2199 faithfully retells the original series story with updated animations and soundtrack. It and it's sequel series and movies are a must watch for any Space-Opera fan.




    - Honorable Mentions -

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    Bakemono no Ko
    (The Boy and the Beast)
    Type: Movie
    Episodes: 1
    Status: Finished Airing
    Aired: Jul 11, 2015
    Producers: Dentsu, Yomiuri Telecasting, Kadokawa Shoten, Toho, Nippon Television Network, Arquebuse
    Licensors: Funimation
    Studios: Studio Chizu
    Source: Original
    Genres: Adventure, Supernatural
    Duration: 1 hr. 59 min.
    Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or older

    Synopsis
    Two souls, living very different lives, wander alone and isolated in their respective worlds. For nine-year-old Ren, the last person who treated him with any form of kindness has been killed and he is shunned by what is left of his family. With no parents, no real family, and no place to go, Ren escapes into the confusing streets and alleyways of Shibuya. Through the twists and turns of the alleys, Ren stumbles into the intimidating Kumatetsu, who leads him to the beast realm of Shibuten.
    For Kumatetsu, the boy represents a chance for him to become a candidate to replace the Lord of the realm once he retires. While nearly unmatched in combat, Kumatetsu's chilly persona leaves him with no disciples to teach and no way to prove he is worthy of becoming the Lord's successor.
    While the two share different goals, they agree to help each other in order to reach them. Kumatetsu searches for recognition; Ren, now known as Kyuuta, searches for the home he never had. As the years pass by, it starts to become apparent that the two are helping each other in more ways than they had originally thought. Perhaps there has always been less of a difference between them, a boy and a beast, than either of the two ever realized.

    This one gave me some Spirited Away vibes, and if that's not a recommendation then I'm not sure what is.




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    Kotonoha no Niwa
    (The Garden of Words)
    Type: Movie
    Episodes: 1
    Status: Finished Airing
    Aired: May 31, 2013
    Producers: The Answer Studio, TOHO animation
    Licensors: Sentai Filmworks
    Studios: CoMix Wave Films
    Source: Original
    Genres: Slice of Life, Psychological, Drama, Romance
    Duration: 46 min.
    Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or older

    Synopsis
    On a rainy morning in Tokyo, Takao Akizuki, an aspiring shoemaker, decides to skip class to sketch designs in a beautiful garden. This is where he meets Yukari Yukino, a beautiful yet mysterious woman, for the very first time. Offering to make her new shoes, Takao continues to meet with Yukari throughout the rainy season, and without even realizing it, the two are able to alleviate the worries hidden in their hearts just by being with each other. However, their personal struggles have not disappeared completely, and as the end of the rainy season approaches, their relationship will be put to the test.

    Some of the most beautiful animation I've ever seen, a fantastic sound design, and conceived of by Shinkai Makoto there is very little for anyone to dislike.




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    Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki
    (Wolf Children)
    Type: Movie
    Episodes: 1
    Status: Finished Airing
    Aired: Jul 21, 2012
    Producers: Madhouse, VAP, Dentsu, Yomiuri Telecasting, Kadokawa Shoten, Toho, Hiroshima Television
    Licensors: Funimation
    Studios: Studio Chizu
    Source: Original
    Genres: Fantasy, Slice of Life
    Duration: 1 hr. 57 min.
    Rating: PG - Children

    Synopsis
    Hana, a hard-working college student, falls in love with a mysterious man who attends one of her classes though he is not an actual student. As it turns out, he is not truly human either. On a full moon night, he transforms, revealing that he is the last werewolf alive. Despite this, Hana's love remains strong, and the two ultimately decide to start a family.
    Hana gives birth to two healthy children—Ame, born during rainfall, and Yuki, born during snowfall—both possessing the ability to turn into wolves, a trait inherited from their father. All too soon, however, the sudden death of her lover devastates Hana's life, leaving her to raise a peculiar family completely on her own. The stress of raising her wild-natured children in a densely populated city, all while keeping their identity a secret, culminates in a decision to move to the countryside, where she hopes Ame and Yuki can live a life free from the judgments of society. Wolf Children is the heartwarming story about the challenges of being a single mother in an unforgiving modern world.

    Honestly, I just straight up enjoyed this movie. A shameless extra recommendation like others in this 'Honorable Mentions' section.
    Updated Nov 10, 2020

    Hasan Minhaj
    Jack Whitehall
    Jimmy Carr
    James Acaster
    Jim Jefferies
    Jo Koy
    John Mulaney
    Kevin Hart
    Marc Maron
    Mike Birbiglia
    Ron White
    Ronny Chieng
    Russell Howard
    Russell Peters
    Tom Segura
    Trevor Noah
    Vir Das
    Updated Nov 27, 2020

    Alright, this is going to be an exceptionally short list as I've only two meals that I make often enough to recommend.

    Breakfast Bowl ~25 Minutes, Serves 1-2 People.

    Large Fry Pan
    Small Fry Pan
    Spatula x2
    Fork
    Knife
    Bowl

    2 Eggs (For Sunny Side up Eggs)
    1-2 Large Russet Potatoes (For Hashbrowns)
    ~4 Slices of Microwaveable Bacon (I'll explain why)
    1x Your choice of Drink, Apple Juice is preferred by me, but it's your meal...

    So de-skin, and shred your Potatoes, do not wash them after you want them more fluffy and less crispy. Lightly butter a warm fry pan and toss the Potatoes on, whilst those cook, get your eggs out.

    After you think your about halfway done cooking your Hashbrowns, get a smaller fry pan warm, put in some olive oil, crack open both your eggs, and cook them to Sunny Side up, You want the eggs runny, try not over brown it, you want the eggwhites fluffy, be sure not to break the yoke pouch. When done cooking take off the fry pan and put on some paper towels to remove the excess oil, pat lightly, and do not rub so as to leave the yokes intact.

    When your Hashbrowns are done, put them into a nicely sized bowel and place the Sunny Side Up eggs on top and then dice both the Hasbrowns and SSU-Eggs so to break the yolks and mix the eggwhites and yolk with the Hashbrowns. Both should still be rather hot so let the bowl sit for a minute and get out your Microwaveable Bacon and cook it. When done add them to the bowl, dice a bit more with your Knife and Fork then enjoy.

    Whilst Microwaveable Bacon might not be the best flavor to some, fresh or microwave doesn't matter to me, what matters is convenience and not having to fight with cooking fresh bacon whilst doing the eggs, and hasbrowns and timing everything is well worth settling for Microwaveable Bacon. Not to mention that there is less cleanup.




    Tuna Casserole ~ 45 Minutes Total, Serves 4 People Large Potions, or 1 Person for roughly 6 meals over 2-3 days. Save in fridge for 2 days. 3 at the most as it gets a little dry around the 3rd day. Calories, you don't want to know. Its a comfort food, eat it and be happy.

    Large Pot to Boil
    Large Mixing Bowl
    Large Strainer
    Large Baking Casserole Pot with a Lid.
    Spatula (Cleaning it repeatedly throughout)
    Can Opener


    5 5oz ~140g Chunk Light Tuna in Water
    3x 10.5oz ~300g Cans of Cream of Mushroom (NOT cream of mushroom soup)
    1x 24 oz ~700g bag of Large Elbow Noodles. (Only ~80% of noodles are to be used)
    Salt, Black Pepper, Garlic Salt, Onion Powder

    Optional:
    Cheese (Your choice of melty cheese)
    Vegetables (Fresh or Canned does not matter)
    Alternative Spices


    Preheat Oven to ~400

    Get a pan for the noodles, fill it with water and put it on the stove to start boiling.
    Open, Rinse, and Drain the Tuna Cans, put the contents of all 5 tuna cans into the mixing bowl. Take a large fork or something and break up the tuna chunks into smaller pieces.

    Open and empty the 3 cans of Cream of Mushroom into the Large Mixing Bowl.

    Add a pinch of Salt, Black Pepper, and about a Tea Spoon of Garlic Salt and Onion Powder. Mix thoroughly. (If you don't wish for it you can add in other spices instead of Garlic Salt and Onion Powder here if you wish to adapt the recipe to your local tastes)

    By the time your done with all this your water should be boiling. Add about 80% of the noodles to the pan, and save the rest for future cooking endeavors.

    Once the noodles are cooked to your liking, pour the pan into the strainer. Then shake the strainer until you see no water drip from it.

    Pour the contents of the strainer into the mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Fair warning, the smell may be a bit pungent as the contents of the mixing bowel warm up. (At this point you can add in other option items if you wish to adapt the recipe, my grandmothers called for a can of green beans, drained and added in as well, but, I'm more of a broccoli man myself, and I can't be ****ed to steam some when I make this most of the time, so I usually go without.)

    Once your done mixing, add the contents of the mixing bowl to your Casserole Pot (At this point - if you want to - you can put some cheese on top, I usually don't.) Put the lid on, and let it bake for 15 minutes. Use the 15 minutes to clean up the kitchenware and get ready for a meal.

    You can find any number of different ways to cook Tuna Casserole online if your feeling like trying it out. Find one that fits to your liking or use mine.
    Updated Nov 11, 2020



    I'll edit this post sometime in the future with more stuff so feel free to add your own. I suggest using spoiler tags for any excessively long lists help alleviate scrolling fatigue as if this thread takes off like I hope, there may be quite a bit of scrolling to be had.


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    Pirates of the Caribbean Meme - The code is more what you'd call guidelines, than actual rules. Just incase the gif disappears.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2020 at 10:19 AM
    SPiEkY likes this.
  2. SPiEkY

    SPiEkY King of Jesters

    Love a good list thread.

    I'll be updating the list(s) with better explanations as I re-listen/watch and organize my thoughts.

    Number 5:

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    blink - Buddha (Blink 182)
    Year: 1994
    Genre: Punk Rock / Pop Punk
    Running Time - 35:44

    Tracklist:
    1. Carousel
    2. T.V.
    3. Strings
    4. Fentoozler
    5. Time
    6. Romeo & Rebecca
    7. 21 Days
    8. Sometimes
    9. Degenerate
    10. Point of View
    11. My Pet Sally
    12. Reebok Commercial
    13. Toast & Bananas
    14. The Family Next Door
    15. Transvestite



    More "punk" than many (most) of their official releases, reeking of high school and poor decisions, this demo is one of my absolute favorites. (elaboration placeholder)


    Number 4:

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    gorillaz - G Sides
    Year: 2002
    Genre: Electronic / Pop
    Running Time - 48:43

    Tracklist: (Brazil Limited Edition)
    1. 19 2000 (Soulchild Remix)
    2. Latin Simone (English Version)
    3. 19 2000 (The Wiseguys House of Wisdom remix)
    4. The Sounder (featuring Phi Life Cypher)
    5. Faust
    6. Clint Eastwood (Phi Life Cypher version)
    7. Ghost Train
    8. Hip Albatross
    9. 12d3
    10. Dracula
    11. Rock the House (radio edit) (featuring Del the Funky Homosapien)
    12. Left Hand Suzuki Method

    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLve62Ps5JYFOq7M_Vm76B48m88L-sUYuM

    Also included were Music Videos for Clint Eastwood, Rock the House, and 19 2000.

    This release is a collection of demos and b-sides from the first, self-titled Gorillaz album, and includes some of the earliest recordings done by the group. (elaboration placeholder)


    Number 3:

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    Morbid - December Moon
    Year: 1987
    Genre: Black Metal
    Running Time - 17:38

    Tracklist:
    1. My Dark Subconscious
    2. Winds of Funeral
    3. From the Dark
    4. Discusting Selma



    Featuring Per "Dead" Ohlin (of Mayhem fame), and Lars-Gören "Drutten" Petrov (of Entombed fame), this short demo is one of the only recordings that Ohlin is known to have performed in (alongside some live recordings and rehearsals). Not as raw as many black metal demos tend to be, this release is surprisingly listenable to non- 'TRVE KVLT' listeners.


    Number 2:

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    Golgotha - Wet Dreams of the Insane (Acid Bath / Dax Riggs)
    Year: 1991
    Genre: Sludge Metal / Heavy Metal
    Running Time - 47:27

    Tracklist:
    1. Apartment 13
    2. Apocalyptic Sunshine
    3. Reactor Number 4
    4. Cradled in the Arms of Death
    5. Finger Paintings of the Insane
    6. Love Eats Its Own
    7. Blood of God
    8. Generation of the Zombie
    9. Generation of the Zombie II (Dax's Poem)
    10. Nothingness
    11. The Mortician's Flame
    12. What Color is Death?



    Very raw demo featuring an early version of what would become Acid Bath, this demo has a less-refined sound than many of the others on the list, but more than makes up for it with content. Dax's demented poetry is seen for the first time, backed by rather aggressive instrumentation. Addressing topics that were still rather fresh in the public's mind (see: Chernobyl - Reactor Number 4), this demo was filled to the brim with youthful anger and lust for life.


    Number 1:

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    Dax Riggs - Blood or Love Demo
    Year: 2007
    Genre: Blues Rock / Swamp Rock
    Running Time - 40:07

    Tracklist:

    1. Radiation Blues
    2. Wall of Death
    3. Dream or Be Dead
    4. Demon Tied to a Chair in My Brain
    5. Scarlett of Heaven Nor Hell
    6. Death is Bright (Dethbryte)
    7. Night is the Notion
    8. Ghost Movement
    9. Living is Suicide
    10. Terrors of Nightlife
    11. Under Black Umbrella
    12. Forgot I Was Alive
    13. Truth in the Dark
    14. Spinning Song
    15. Spinning Song (ver 2)
    16. Flowers (Ghost Movement)

    (Not available on streaming services, may upload to Youtube myself so I can link it here)

    Demo version of 'We Sing of Only Blood or Love', this release has a different tracklist, as well as wildly different recordings of the songs that appear on the official release. (elaboration placeholder)
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2020
    IMAGIRL likes this.
  3. Ohmin

    Ohmin Forum Royalty

    Looks at Imagirl's post listing 8 different anime and some food... "Top 5" you say? Heh.

    Anyway...

    Let's get some books rolling in no particular order:
    "Lucifer's Hammer" (not to be confused with the "Lucifer's Biscuit Hammer" manga, which is also good but for very different reasons)

    "Lucifer's Hammer" is about the end of the world as we know it, written by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. There are a couple of things interesting about it. The main thing for me is that it details the before, during and after of the disaster, while most disaster stories tend to only do one or two of these things (compare: disaster films for example like Deep Impact, Armageddon, Mad Max, etc.) In a way it's almost a self-contained trilogy. It's a fairly brutal look at people; and in a strange way makes for an interesting period piece, having been published in 1977 and therefore having all the tech, social issues, etc. of that time period to contend with. If "disaster" or "post-apocolyptic" literature is something you're interested in, definitely give it a read.


    "The Space Trilogy" by CS Lewis

    Okay, not a signle book so I'm cheating a bit here but it's a good trilogy. For the most part, you could really read any of them individually as well, though if possible I'd recommend the first before the second to provide context, it's not necessary though. CS Lewis is best known for his Narnia Chronicles and his apologetics works like the Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity (that last one I haven't read though), but the Space Trilogy, ("Out of the Silent Planet", "Perelandra", and "That Hideous Strength") shouldn't be overlooked, it provides an interesting and unique look at Science Fiction from within a Christian perspective, and is just an enjoyable read regardless.


    "The Worthing Saga" by Orson Scott Card

    Card is best known for the Ender's series of books, but they aren't his only nor truly his first forays into Science Fiction. The Worthing Saga is the first story he really started working on (according to his forward for the book) though it took a long time to get it published in magazines, let alone later as a book of those collected stories. And indeed that's primarily what the book is, a collection of stories strung together by a literary device. What it examines is the rise and decline of advanced civilizations, not through disasters, but through societal decay, and from multiple angles. What happens when you can "sleep" in suspended animation for hundreds or thousands of years? What happens when only the wealthy and accomplished can be "rationed" such long sleep? How does one build a world? And what is the value of consequence itself? These things and others get examined through different stories, and it's generally fascinating.


    "King of Shadows" by Susan Cooper

    Cooper is one of my favorite authors, as her "Dark is Rising" series was one of the first that I'd ever read and really enjoyed, way back when I was in grade school, it's what got me interested in reading and writing. "King of Shadows" is not relaed to the "Dark is Rising" but is no worse for it. It follows a young actor (part of a troupe of young actors, talking teenagers here) as he gets transported to the past, and begins to work directly with Shakespear, including doing the first performance of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." While that obviously has a number of fantastic elements the focus is still on the characters themselves, and on the richly detailed view of the time period Shakespear had his plays perfomed in.



    "A Spell for Chameleon" by Piers Anthony

    The first (and for me only) foray into the magical land of Xanth, A Spell for Chameleon follows the journey of a man (who is not "Chameleon") who needs to find his "magic" or face exile into the wastes beyond the barrier were no magic dwells... and that will easily kill you (both the wastes and the barrier itself). Incidentally, while I've not read any other material or books on the subject, I always had the strange impression that Xanth was actually just Florida (islands included) in some wierd sort of post-apocalyptic US where magic suddenly started to exist. But I digress. The journey is primarily a fun one, that draws on many different tropes of fantasy and mythology, but mostly it just has fun characters. While the dangers are serious, it is primarily a comedy in my view. Or a dramedy if you prefer. The energy of the story and characters is just enjoyable in a fun way, with a relatively silly premise typical, I am told, of the entire Xanth series.

    EDIT:Here's a list of specific songs that I'm not ashamed to admit got me to cry (in no particular order, nor all for the same reason): "Guidelines edition." (couldn't think of a full 5 right away.)
    1. "O Blessed Child" by Brothers Bright:

    The lyrics are both uplifting and depressing at the same time, and covers a subject for which I've always had very strong feelings.


    2. "Bob Lenon" by "Endou Kenji" (various artists):

    I'm mentioned this song a number of times, and with good reason. This particular version is an emotional performance to begin with, but you will probably need to read the manga "20th Century Boys" and it's sorta-sequal "21st Century Boys" to really get it. Fortunately, it's an excellent, if rather weird, series, so it's worth reading regardless.


    3. "Amazing Grace" by (Various Artists):

    For by grace have I been saved. Even someone like me.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2020
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  4. JazzMan1221

    JazzMan1221 Better-Known Member

    1. Outer Wilds
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    Outer Wilds is a 2019 action-adventure game that features the player character exploring a solar system stuck in a 22-minute time loop, which ends as the sun goes supernova. The player continually repeats this cycle by gaining knowledge, which is retained, that can help them on later loops. Thus, the player is encouraged to learn by following secrets of an extinct alien race known as the Nomai, who previously visited the solar system thousands of years ago.

    This will be a common theme for many of my favorites here, but I love games that are just as much about providing an experience than they are about gameplay. Games where the journey is more important than the destination, games where you can immerse yourself into the world; games where you can learn, explore, and partake in experiences that the real world just can't offer. The mysteries, the details, the control (or lack thereof) all come together to make a masterpiece that feels like it was made specially for me. Outer Wilds feels more "alive" than any game I've ever played. The hyper-realistic physics engine, the completeness of the story, the constant movement of.......everything. It definitely earned its game-of-the-year title, and it's one of the few games where I feel like I absolutely got my money's worth.

    2. Journey
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    In Journey, the player controls a robed figure in a vast desert, traveling towards a mountain in the distance. Other players on the same journey can be discovered, and two players can meet and assist each other, but they cannot communicate via speech or text and cannot see each other's names. The only form of communication between the two is a musical chime, which transforms dull pieces of cloth found throughout the levels into vibrant red, affecting the game world and allowing the player to progress through the levels. The developers sought to evoke in the player a sense of smallness and wonder and to forge an emotional connection between them and the anonymous players they meet along the way.

    Similar to Outer Wilds, Journey evokes an almost mystical sense of tranquillity and wonder that is unmatched by any other game. It is as the title describes: a journey, where you are free to make of it what you will. For the anime fans here, playing Journey brings the same ambiance as watching Mushishi, or Kino no Tabi. There is so much you could do, so much you could explore, but you don't have time for everything so you're forced to take things in stride and appreciate the small moments of pensive self-reflection the game encourages. Oftentimes people are quick to call games like these "boring" because nothing really happens, there's no clear goal in mind, there's not enough action, etc. But they often forget that the vast majority of our lives are exactly that, and that moments of true elation, unbridled passion, and adrenaline-infused excitement are few and far between. Some may say that’s what makes them valuable; but I would argue there’s just as much value in taking the time to appreciate the in-between moments when we’re at ease and comfortable in our surroundings and our company. At the end of it all, it’s those moments that we’ll end up missing the most. Playing Journey (and Outer Wilds) perfectly encapsulates this philosophy and is one of the reasons I love these types of games so much.

    3. The Talos Principle
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    The Talos Principle is a narrative-based puzzle game played from a first or third-person perspective. The player takes the role of a robot with a seemingly human consciousness as they explore a number of environments that include over 120 puzzles which require the player to collect tetromino-shaped "sigils" by navigating enclosed areas and overcoming obstacles within them. In addition to these puzzle elements, the player can explore the open environments to find computer terminals that include additional narrative elements mingled with philosophical principles of transhumanism, existentialism, and ontology.

    The Talos Principle combines the best elements of the puzzle genre with a nuanced exploration of transhumanist philosophy and the nature of reality. If you've ever played The Witness or Goragoa, The Talos Principle is like that but less abstract and with a more well-defined central narrative. The puzzles themselves are decently challenging, and the gameplay is reminiscent of the Portal series but with a less futuristic setting. The game can be played at your own pace though, and there's no real rush against time like in other puzzles games, so you can leave it for a few hours to mull it over and come back later once you have an idea or two. The computer terminals add an incredible amount of depth to the story, raising (and potentially answering) questions not only about the game itself but about our own world and what a potential singularity event would do to it. Because of its nature as a puzzle game it has slightly less replayability, but the graphics are amazing and the terminals alone hold a wealth of information, enough that I could definitely see myself playing it a few more times just for them alone.

    4. Black Desert Online
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    Black Desert Online is a sandbox-oriented fantasy MMORPG with a combat system requiring manual aiming and free movement similar to those found in third-person shooters. The game offers housing, fishing, farming, and trading, as well as large player versus player siege events, and castle battles. It is well regarded for its advanced and in-depth character customization.

    I'm probably in the minority of gamers who missed out on the initial MMO boom of the 2000s. I never played WoW, I never got into Runescape, or Final Fantasy, or Archeage, or any of the other mainstream games from that era. So by the time I started playing BDO in 2016 the hype around the genre had largely died down. It's not because I didn't know these games existed, or because I didn't see the appeal, but younger me simply had different tastes in games back in those days and MMOs didn't catch my attention like they might now. I wasn't particularly drawn to the story, but the massive amount of variance in its character creation and the sandbox nature of the gameplay, along with stunning graphics and multi-faceted combat got me hooked. I've always had an unusually high tolerance for grinding, and though I have less time for it now than I did, it's still a game I can always come back to after a month or two and it's like I've never left. The open world aspect offers a huge amount of cyclical entertainment patterns that my semi-autistic brain loves to work through.

    5. Poxnora
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    No explanation needed.

    Is this cheating? If so..........I'm doing it anyway, and you can't stop me. I first came across Poxnora in 2008 when I was browsing through Armorgames.com, bored as usual. There were a bunch of random adds for other games at the edges of the screen, most of them MMOs, with bright and flashy characters moving across the ad. A lot of them had taglines like "Join today, and fulfill your destiny!" or "Become a part of the fastest growing online community ever!". I then noticed a smaller square, with an unanimated image of what I now know to be Draksar Lord's head near the bottom of the screen. The caption simply read "Poxnora", written in the old Octopi logo style. This ad was unlike the others; it was simpler and less visually interesting, but this is precisely what enticed me into clicking it in the first place. Those who know me will describe me as something of an eccentric, with strange ideas and an even stranger approach to Pox. The add for Poxnora stood out for me precisely because of its stark contrast to the other adds. After browsing the website, noting the immense complexity of the game, the strategic depth, and the huge variety of runes to combine and play with, I was hooked. The complexity is by far what has kept me around this long. Our online world is overly saturated with games where delaying gratification is unheard of. Games that are graphics-heavy, but strategically barren. Games that take less than an hour to learn all you need to know, and even less time to actually play. Poxnora is completely different; the basics may be easy to acquire, but to truly master the game takes an amount of effort so great that most people never bother trying. I consider myself a veteran of the game, yet every day I am still learning new combos and strategies to better my play. Back when you could customize your champion stats and abilities, I would spend hours doing the math on stat efficiency, or creating thought experiments to determine the best choice of upgrades. This is what really kept me attached to Poxnora: the extreme level of detail one would have to know in order to get better at the game. There was a real sense of accomplishment that came with winning a game back in those days. Poxnora was a game I could lose myself in for an entire lazy Sunday afternoon, and it has been a huge part of my life for over a decade now. There's no way I could make a list of my favorite games and not include it.
     
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