Top 100 Non-Fiction Book: #89 – The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Tom Wolfe (1968)

The Hippie Ethos.

An intimate exploration of the 60s counter-culture with some of my favorite Authors to boot. 

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The Greatest Book’s Ranking: #51/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586

I haven’t been shy about expressing my distaste for the hippie artistic cannon. Thanksgiving is where I expect a little substance is needed to enjoy it, not entire movies. Midnight Cowboy and Easy Rider are prototypical examples: the storyline’s a mess; the themes are simply for the sake of preaching to the choir; there is no evolution of purpose. It’s as if everyone was sky high during the production.

Well, most likely they were.

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test explores the beginning of the psychedelic counter culture, and it centers on an unlikely person: Ken Kesey, author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I say unlikely because I had no idea. Unbeknownst to me, Kesey used his LSD trips as inspiration to write the perspective of the book from the Chief instead of the main protagonist. Larry McMurtry, who writes westerns for God’s sake, is even present as a tertiary character. Who knew!

Reading about Hippies is way more interesting than their artistic expression. While the book sometimes goes too far in trying to imitate the subject matter (“let’s make the narration FEEL like an acid trip” gets tedious), it was a riveting, in-the-trenches insight into a world I understand so much better now. Well, as much as I can understand it.

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Top 100 SNES Reviews: #91 – Sunset Riders (1993)

Arcade Vigilante Justice.

Steve, Billy, Bob and Cormano — your western PD. 
Sunset Riders Title Screen
Sydlexia’s Ranking: #91/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586

What a gem.

Few games ever become quotable (Star Fox 64 being the big exception). The game’s first boss Simon Greedwell says in a deep gurgling voice “Bury Me With My Money.” Not only is this the kind of financial planning the ancient Egyptians would endorse, it’s instantly quotable. From then on, I knew this was the game for me.

The subsequent scenes do not disappoint. There is burlesque dancing, a Micheal Jackson impersonation, and a shirtless muscular boss with a pro-BDSM slant.

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The Top 100 SNES Review: #20 – Mortal Kombat II (1993)

The Game My Mom Wouldn’t Let Me Play.

I don’t feel like I missed out on much though.
Mortal Kombat Title Screen
Sydlexia’s Ranking: #20/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586

First, I don’t really care for arcade-style fighting games . Mortal Kombat already had its work cut out to prove to me that it was worth while. On top of that, I never played the game as a child. My mom wasn’t a fan of the gore or the fatalities, so there was no potential nostalgia to buoy me. With Mortal Kombat 11 being such a hit, it was time to fire up the classic and give it a go.

After a few dithering rounds, my friend looked at me and said “Do you remember when this was it? Like, since this was the only entertainment you had, you had to keep coming back?” This nostalgic quip really defines this game. We looked up a couple combos, gave people a few acid baths, and then decided to rewatch all the SNL Celebrity Jeopardy parodies instead.

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Top 100 Movie Review: #15 – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)

What Happened to Star Wars?

Watching the first makes you realize all the faults of the recent iterations. 

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American Film Institute’s Ranking: #15/100
Academy Awards: Nominated for ten winning seven.
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586

If you had ask me half a year ago which top 100 list I would finish first, it was going to be movies by a long shot. It makes sense: a movie is only about a two hour commitment while games and books expect much more. It’s still leading the pack, but I’ve really slowed down reviewing only 2 movies in three months. Here it goes!

Everything seems wholesome while watching because it is. Overt political messaging is absent in the narrative. The story is high Hollywood fare with plots, twists, and tension There isn’t CGI to bloat the aesthetics.  Then you layer on top the unique universe of Star Wars fully rounded out with the classic motifs of good vs. evil and you end up with a  purely enjoyable experience.

We’ve done an injustice to ourselves by changing our buying habits. The way we purchase entertainment has reduced the chances people are willing to take. Music is a great example: no one buys albums or songs anymore. You have to hit safe homeruns while reducing diversity and risk. The most popular movies for years now have been reboots, reruns, and rehashes. Look no further than the last five Star War films.

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Top 100 Novel Review: Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace (1996)

The Jokes On Us.

People proudly wear a masochistic badge of honor when they successfully complete this book. Unfortunately, I will not be eligible. 

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Click here for TIME Magazine’s list. 
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586

I have some bad news for all of you: one day, your body will begin to fail and you will reflect on how you spent your time. All the day-to-day trifling matters that soaked up our energy will be revisited with regret as this new found perspective will rightfully quarantine them as meaningless distractions. The things that made our spirits soar, people we knew, things we felt, the experience of life, will come gushing forth in a bittersweet nostalgia.

This book was destined to be a trifling matter, and I refuse to spend anymore time with this meaningless distraction. If reading is permissible in an infinite afterlife, Infinite Jest still doesn’t make the list.

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Top 100 SNES Games: #72 – NBA Jam (1993)

I Bet Kevin Durant Can’t Dunk From Half Court.

But I can! Where’s my $164 million over four years?
NBA Jam Title Screen
Sydlexia’s Ranking: #72/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

There must be some abstract equation that correlates creativity with limitation. One would think that boundless space would lead to unfeathered creativity, but I think that’s incorrect: only when we are restricted do we see our true imagination unfold.

You couldn’t actually simulate a basketball game in the 90s — the technology wasn’t powerful enough. So instead, they made a game that looked kind of like basketball by having a court, a ball, and rim. Then they layered on top impossible, acrobatic dunks that were as ridiculous as they were infectious. The end product is unlike the very thing it tries to imitate, but it is more fun and accessible than something realistic — and this game is anything but realistic.

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Top 100 SNES Review: #42- Kirby Super Star (1996)

I Hated It…UNTIL I LOVED IT!

Kirby almost pulled a fast one one me, trying to make me think this game sucked. 

Kirby Super Star Title Screen
Sydlexia’s Ranking: #42/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586

For my fellow friends who have a SNES Classic, none of them understand this game. When you first log in, you are greeted by an office bulletin board with various posters hanging up. Each poster represents one of the “eight” games advertised on the cover. Some of them are extremely short mini-games that are worth maybe 60 seconds of investigation while others are more traditional Kirby but still insanely brief.

Thus, it’s possible to pop into Kirby’s universe, bounce around for a little bit, and then exit unsatisfied having frittered away your Saturday afternoon. I was feeling the same way as all my buddies until everything changed: The Revenge of Meta Knight, a goofy, plot-centric mission to destroy an airship leads to good, wholesome fun. After that, I imbibed everything this game had to offer, just like Kirby → → → <(“<)

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