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My BBC Big Read Book List

Have I read the “classics”?

You know I can’t say no to lists and statistics.

I originally started compiling this list almost 2 years ago as a blog entry, but since I just got tagged by Andrle on Facebook, I thought I’d finally finish and post it. I’m not sure on the provenance of the list, other than I know it’s from one year of the BBC Big Read project. I found one version of the list on their website, but that differs slightly from the list below (which oddly enough is the same ordered ranking as the version with which I was just tagged).

There are of course numerous quibbles to be had with the exact construction (and ordering) of the list, but it’s a reasonable metric for one’s familiarity with “the classics”. It also appears to avoid the common online book list voting problem where Ayn Rand ends up all over the top 10. This particular list is skewed towards 19th Century British classics, with a few books that were very trendy at the time it was compiled (for example, on a list from about two years ago I would have expected to see Eat, Pray, Love in the Top 100). There are also several books I’ve never heard of, although in some cases I’m familiar with the author.

I’ve read 30 of the entries (some of which are multiple books), started but never finished 3 books, and been exposed to another 13 in various other forms. Not too shabby for an engineer who took effectively one humanities course in college, and that in another language! If anything, it’s a demonstration of the quality of my high school’s required English program, that I was exposed to a number of books I otherwise wouldn’t have elected to read. That all said, I don’t read a lot of fiction these days, and when I do, it’s typically new fiction. That means there’s a good chance I’ll never tackle any of those that I’m missing, or never finished.

Full list below the cut.


Posted in Meme Tagged with: , ,

Top 200 Video Games of All Time According to Game Informer


Oh yeah, I have a blog! Lots has been going on in the intervening months (see my Twitter feed for short attention span details), but I figured a video game post during NaBloPoMo would be a good way to get back on the wagon, even if I’m not actually posting every day during November.

While visiting my Little Brother this weekend, I noticed a rather unusual magazine cover… a (very pixelated) monster from the original Doom. This turned out to be the latest issue of Game Informer, specifically Volume XIX, Number 12, Issue 200. In honor of this decimalist anniversary, they published their Top 200 Video Games of All Time list, which unsurprisingly is linkbait for any video game fan who likes to rant about what should and should not be included in such a list. I ran through my opinions quickly with my Little, mostly fixating on why so many recent games were already on the list, but decided a deeper analysis was in order.

Instead of complaining about the contents of the list, I thought I’d use it to track my personal video game history (much as my father has in the past used the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs of All Time to guide his music purchases). I’ve also done some histogram breakdowns of what’s on the list. I would say that my guideline for inclusion on any such list would involve adjectives like “innovative” and “influential”, and explicitly avoid conditions like “critically acclaimed”, “popular”, or “best-selling”. This in turn means that inclusion must be viewed through a somewhat temporally distant lens, for sufficient perspective on a particular cultural artifact’s import.

How many of these have you played? Do you strongly agree/disagree with any of the rankings?

The columns are Game Informer rank, game title, platform(s), and year of publication from the original article; I believe using this data for commentary is covered by Fair Use. I added platforms in a few places to account for the particular port of a game that I played. I have also added columns for myself, for Played, Owned, and Completed. The full table and further analysis is below the cut.


Posted in Video Games Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Nicolas Ward

Software engineer in Natural Language Processing research by day; gamer, reader, and aspiring UltraNurd by night. Husband to Andrle
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