Thursday, January 23, 2014

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Built To Last by Jim Collins:
This was the latest reading for my work book club, and was not as good as last time's Good to Great. It felt like a 10-page pamphlet padded out to a full-sized book in search of a publisher. The anecdotes are less interesting and more repetitive, and most of the observations in the book aren't very actionable.

Final Grade: C-

Justified, Season Four:
This turned out to be my favourite season of the show. Although the long-term plot is obviously just a skeleton to hang the fun dialogue and characterization on, the characters remain complex and well-acted, and have grown organically over the series. I especially enjoyed Patton Oswald as "Constable Bob".

Final Grade: A-

Under the Microscope by Ripplegroove:
This is a fun mix of jazz fusion charts that reminds me of Chick Corea and Return to Forever.

Final Grade: B+

New Super Mario Brothers 2:
This might the laziest Mario game of all time. It's like there was a mandate that only the World or Galaxy series were allowed to do anything interesting or innovative anymore. The entire game is obligatory and expected, with ghost houses, a grass world followed by a desert world, and stupidly numbered levels on a pointless overland map. It's polished and fun enough, but you'll only have fun with it if this is exactly what you're expecting -- it's like the McDonald's in Paris of video games.

To instill some excitement, there is a meta game requiring you to collect one million coins to get a special prize. Since I was only at 3% of that after a complete run-through, I looked online to find that the epic prize was (hover for spoiler) that Mario turns gold on the demo screen when the game first starts up. I would have been pissed if I had actually tried to complete that challenge.

Final Grade: C-

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