World of Warcraft – Choosing Covenants for All the Wrong Reasons

I am the first to admit, I probably play World of Warcraft wrong. The gear grind doesn’t excite me, so I’m not constantly chasing more and more difficult experiences. I do enjoy the stories the game tells, but it’s not my primary motivation either.

For me, it’s the fiddly bits of WoW that really do it for me. Professions, pet battles, and achievements are the main things that keep me coming back over and over, and since the introduction of the WoW token and the ability to pay for game time with in game gold, I’ve learned to really appreciate time spent just farming.

With everything I’ve read about Shadowlands, this expansion feels like it was build for the folks who, like me, really enjoy the fiddly bits.

I will admit, I did glance at one of the many guides out there that advise players on how to choose a covenant based on combat abilities and soul binds (which I admit I still don’t *really* get), before deciding that there were far more important considerations for me. Clearly, I want to spread my alts out, to allow access to the greatest amount of silly cosmetic stuff, and with unique armor sets being one of the silly cosmetic things available, I wanted to make sure I took armor class and fashion into account.

Kyrian – The Iron-Willed

While leveling, there was a lot of green text about the cult-like ways of the Kyrian, but I still maintain that they’re just manifesting some serious Capricorn energy. Strong willed determination and discipline rule the day, but I’d be lying if I did say a big part of the allure is the adorable Owlkin stewards. My main pledged herself to the Kyrian, mostly because she’s going to look badass in their transmog set.

Because this is the covenant I’ve chosen on my main, it’s likely where I’ll be spending the most time, and I’m intrigued by Path of Ascenion (the minigame associated with this covenant). I love the aesthetic of the sanctum, and the pets and mounts are pretty compelling too.

Oh, and at least the shaman ability (Vesper Totem) seems pretty damn useful so far, but that’s incidental.

Necrolord – The Ferocious

There is zero doubt in my mind that both my Death Knight and my Demon Hunter would feel right at home hanging in Maldraxxus with the Necrolords. My mage I’m less sure about, but she ended up here more or less by default after figuring out who else belonged where.

This is probably the least appealing covenant to me, overall, but Jiggles, the jellycat is a fantastic looking pet model, and I want to see all the stories and unlock access to the maximum amount of cosmetic rewards I realistically can.

Night Fae – The Harmonious

So far, Ardenweald seems to have it all. Probably the best zone story of Shadowlands, some really beautiful mounts, and some excellent transmog option. I’m super excited to have a garden again via The Queen’s Conservatory, and it just felt thematically right for all three characters who I intend to pledge here.

Also, the Soulshape ability is fantastic, although I’m sort of dreading the time suck of trying to unlock them all. I’m fairly sure I’m going to feel the need to try to unlock them all regardless.

Venthyr – The Haughty

Full disclosure – I kind of hate the Revendreth zone, but there’s a lot that comes with this covenant that I do like. The Door of Shadows signature ability seems like it could be ridiculously useful, and I am intrigued by the Ember Court game.

However, I desperately want the transmog for my Void Elf Warlock, and even if everything else about the entire covenant was unappealing, I’d at least have her pledge solely for fashion.

Obviously, there’s no way I’ll be able to keep up with 12 characters spread across all four covenants long-term, and due to armor class restrictions, I won’t be able to get all the transmogs without creating additional characters. However, I know I do better with a plan than just trying to figure it out as I go along, so this is my Big Picture Covenant plan, in which I make the decision for every class without even really taking into account the class specific abilities for each covenant.

This is very much on-brand for me.

Game Over: Dead Rising 4

At the end of every month, I sit down and try to figure out what I’m likely to play over the next month, install a bunch of stuff, and write up my Nerd Girl Goals entry. Then, almost as soon as I hit post, I load up something completely random and play the hell out of it for a couple of days.

I decided that I needed something sort of brainless to keep me from refreshing election results every fifteen minutes, and fired up Dead Rising 4 with seriously low expectations. I then proceeded to play through the entire story in two days (granted, on the easiest difficulty). I dabbled briefly in the Frank Rising DLC, and then went back and started replaying for collectibles, which I almost never do.

I played for about 15 hours across three days, and let me tell you, I’m pretty sure my low expectations are precisely why I enjoyed it as much as I did. Many of the defining characteristics for the series were completely discarded for the fourth game – gone are time limits, escorting survivors, and finding workbenches in order to create combo weapons. Psychopath boss battles have been toned down into completely optional maniac fights. Frank West is back, but he too feels like a shadow of the guy we met back in Dead Rising, although I think I enjoyed the camera mechanics a little bit more in this one. The side characters and overarching story is probably weakest here as well.

Although it sounds like there’s no actual reason to play, here’s what kept me glued to the keyboard. Play the game is fun. The weapons are still great, playing dress-up is still great, and watching zombies explode in a variety of ways is still pretty great. The humor is … okay, it’s weaker too, but it’s still an enjoyable experience.

I really believe that if the exact same game was released without the Dead Rising title attached, it would have been a solid 7/10. Nothing mind-blowing, not a “must play”, but a solid game that doesn’t overstay its welcome. As a sequel, I can understand why fans hated it – having played the previous titles, without a doubt it feels watered down.

Story Mode complete in just over 10 hours. I wouldn’t have minded a few more, to be honest.

What I was a little grumpy about was the story DLC: story-wise, should have been the final chapter of the main game, but gameplay-wise, was just freaking awful. The concept sounds far better than it plays – you play as a zombie, a pretty damn strong one, but after 10 hours of flashy weapons, scratching and punching people felt kind of … weak. And, as an added bonus, the timer mechanic comes back, and it felt – at least to me – tight. I wasn’t enjoying it, so I stopped playing and watched the ending on YouTube.

World of Warcraft – Preparing for the Pre-Patch

After what feels like waiting an eternity (or longer, it was probably longer) for the pre-Shadowlands patch, it’s now less than a week away. I have World of Warcraft installed on the new PC, complete with the addon folder I remembered to copy over. I am so ready for this.

I still have yet to pre-order Shadowlands, but I have no intention of spending more on it than the base edition, so I don’t have to think about what to do with a boost, because it doesn’t come with one. Besides which, I still have some manner of boost collecting dust, so I’m not really a huge fan of them in the first place.

I decided to pop onto my loading screen and try to make some sense of characters to prioritize my leveling. Please forgive the Inactive tag on most of my characters – I don’t plan on actually resubbing until patch day.

I only have three characters sitting at 120 – which might be the worst I’ve done with leveling in any expansion since Burning Crusade, when I first started playing and had exactly one max level character.

I have pretty much decided to be 100% done with Battle for Azeroth, which means other than cleaning out bags and banks, and possibly dabbling in the pre-expansion event, these ladies are done until after Shadowlands release.

After that is two pairs of characters, currently stuck in their respective expansions, who will be less than 10 levels from cap once the squish drops. I might work on the priest and paladin (two characters who I have had level capped every expansion between Pandaria and Battle for Azeroth), but I’m likely to let the Demon Hunter and Warrior continue to languish.

My warlock will plummet to level 21 post-squish, but she is probably the character who I will dedicate myself to leveling first. I don’t think I’ve had an end-game warlock since Cataclysm, and I’ve missed it (even though I don’t tend to spend much time with DPS only characters).

As evidenced by the fact that three out of four of my rolled but mostly unplayed characters are pure DPS classes. The hunter has the best chance of getting out of lowbie limbo – I have enjoyed playing hunters in the past, but it’s been a long time and a lot of changes, so I’m not going to commit too heavily.

That’s the full roster of characters (bank alt notwithstanding) I have on my main server, and honestly, I can’t even start to think about cross-faction or alternate server characters at this point.

Depending on how quick leveling goes, I would like to commit to having the warlock, paladin, and priest ready to start Shadowlands content. If it’s all super-fast, and I’m still having fun with it, hunter will be next, and then I can hem and haw over the merits of the remaining lowbies versus the almost theres. It will be weird to be playing just about everything except a shaman for a yet undetermined period of time, but since I have played very little in the last 18 months, playing at all is going to feel pretty weird to start out.

Nerd Girl Goals – October 2020

Community Game Along – #HorrorGameOct

This one is going to be easy. Well, easy-ish. I love the idea of horror games, but if I’m being honest, I’m a big old wimp when it comes to scary games, even though I can watch scary movies all day long and sleep like a baby.

Before checking the monthly theme, I had already chosen a handful of games all along the spooky spectrum to dabble in throughout October, but the game I’m going to specifically select is one I think I can get through – Alan Wake.

I picked up both Alan Wake games back in 2012 for $9.99, and never even seriously considered booting up either one. I think it’s well past time now. It’s got a fairly short completion time (under 20 hours), and I think it’s going to be more spooky than downright terrifying.

Other horror / horror-adjacent games I have downloaded to poke around in next month include Call of Cthulhu, Darkwood, Little Nightmares, and A Plague Tale: Innocence. Obviously, I don’t expect that I’ll finish all of them, but the first three have been in the library for awhile, and the last one is on XBox Game Pass for PC, which I intend to keep through the month of October.

Subscription Gaming

I really expected the 9.0 patch for World of Warcraft to drop before the end of September, but as of yet, nothing has been confirmed. Still, I am planning to resume my subscription whenever it actually does show up, and will likely pick up Shadowlands as soon as I’m sure I actually want to play again (as opposed to just thinking I wanted to play again).

However, in the interim, I’ve picked up the latest ESO expansion, and re-downloaded the game, so it’s entirely possible I’ll end up doubling up on MMOs during October.

I’ve also decided to keep XBox Game Pass for another month to take advantage of the last gasp of the beta pricing. Drake Hollow is supposed to be available starting today, and since it’s designed for multiplayer, I probably won’t get far on my own, but it is definitely something I wanted to check out. Additionally, Ikenfell is slated to be available on October 8th, and looks like something I might enjoy.


Play to Satisfaction

For me, saying “Play to Satisfaction” gives me explicit permission to drop a game that’s not working for me, but also to grind away for nerd points if I’m really loving something. I’m trying to make it a policy for myself that I will always play to satisfaction – no more, no less.

I’m sure I’m already being overly ambitious this month, especially considering I spend a lot of the later half of October rewatching my favorite horror movies, so I’m going to keep the rest of this simple.

I’m going to keep dabbling in the games that I haven’t quite gotten my fill of yet in between the creepy stuff I have on deck. And since my friends are debating a couple of different multiplayer titles, I might find myself messing around with Among Us or Phasmophobia.

Promptapalooza #19 – Finishing What You Start

Blaugust Promptapalooza 2020 is this crazy year’s crazy twist on the August blogging challenge cooked up by Belghast over on Tales of the Aggronaut. Instead of writing every day, a whole bunch of us have committed to being “prompt-bearers”. Today’s prompt comes from Nogamara over at Battle Stance:

Do you “finish” games/hobbies/projects and move on or do you come back to the same things again and again?

Promptapalooza (August 18, 2020)

Finishing what I start is such a stumbling block for me that I once created a blog to try to get a handle on the issue. It lasted less than six months. I blamed the project’s failure on the fact that I returned to playing World of Warcraft, a game that is for all intents and purposes unfinishable. Really, I think it was just a meta reflection of the problem at hand.

Often the question is not whether or not I’m actually going to finish something, but why I’m not going to finish it. There are four major reasons why I might not finish something, and I’m going to touch on all of them in order from what I feel is – for me – most acceptable to most ridiculous.

New things are interesting, but sometimes, they’re only interesting for a very short period before they become tedious.

Although this does happen sometimes with video games, mostly, this is a problem I have with craft projects. I can usually power through making a scarf. I’ve even successfully finished a few baby blankets. But (I think) I’ve finally learned my lesson on full sized afghans – I’m sick of the pattern long before I’m finished, and now the goddamned thing is heavy and difficult to handle. If I get to about three quarters done before I realize I’m no longer enjoying something, the satisfaction of completion might be enough for me to push through, but even then, it’s not guaranteed.

I want to believe I am better at (insert hobby here) than I actually am.

While I logically understand that trying something that’s beyond your current skill set is how you learn something new, or improve at something, in practice, it’s often frustrating, and I usually like my leisure time to be more leisurely than that.

Something else came up, and now I’ve forgotten whatever I once knew about this. Guess I should start over. Then something else comes up. Repeat until the end of time.

I flat out refuse to even contemplate how many epic-length video games I have played the first few hours of more than three times. There’s been many, that I can tell you. It almost always is a combination of “story I have forgotten” and “mechanics I have forgotten”, but sometimes, it’s merely one or the other. I also tend to restart TV series for the same reason – I don’t remember all the details, and since I figure I liked it the first time, no reason not to start over. It happens less frequently with long books (thank god, I read fast), but the risk is there with just about any narrative with a serious time commitment.

I don’t want (thing) to be over, so I “save” the last little bit.

This is – by miles – the most irritating reason (to me) that I don’t finish something. Thankfully, it almost never stops me from finishing a game I’m enjoying, but it’s definitely prevented me from diving right into the next one of a series. But the last book or two in a series, or the last few episodes or even seasons of a television show? Yep, I do this, and it’s a huge struggle to then force myself to finish something I had – up until that point – been really really enjoying.

I admire people who (at least generally speaking) finish what they start, but it just isn’t me.

Long Live the Queen! Turns 281 – 290

The Project Explained

Long Live the Queen is a collaborative Civilization VI base game play through and blogging project conceived of by Naithin at Time to Loot. We have 8 players, and each player is responsible for taking 10 turns and writing about our progress. I drew fifth in the randomly generated line-up.

The Story So Far…

If you need to know how we got to where we are, just pop on over to Time to Loot, where Naithan has kept track of all of our shenanigans in a really nifty list of links.

Turns 281-290

The good news is that England is at peace, and we’re in good shape overall. Our empire has grown past my ability to fit it all into a single screenshot.

The bad news? We are VERY unpopular. If the opportunity arises to get ourselves some goodwill without any significant downside, I might take it. Just in case.

Right off the bat, Eridu requires me to decide on its next production, and I elect to go for a Commercial Hub because there is no such thing as being too rich or too beautiful, so more gold seems like a good plan.

Roosevelt approaches me asking to get some of our mercury – a luxury good – in exchange for some gold every turn. It’s not a trade I feel like we need to make, but we have tons of mercury. The money is nice, and we can spare the resource, and maybe America will hate us just a little less. Maybe.

Our troops make short work of the barbarian encampment to the south east, which I think we were just clearing out to be on the safe side (and to get some experience for our nearby troops). I promote our field cannon with Volley, and send our musketman to do some exploring of this thus-far unrevealed corner of the map.

Cleo pops in, also looking for a luxury resource we have in abundance (truffles), but she offers both a little bit of cash AND coffee, which we don’t seem to have. Deal done, lady. Let’s keep that friendship going.

We complete our research of Civil Engineering, which opens up another military policy slot. I fill that with Wars of Religion, since we have a lot of non-religious units this could benefit. I also start researching Scorched Earth, because our military strength is one of our biggest assets.

Now that both Teddy & Cleo have gotten something they wanted from us, the ridiculous demand twins try their luck. Pedro insists we need to pay him money every turn because … he wants it? I’m unimpressed with him and quickly refuse.

The next refusal comes with a little more thought – the offer isn’t great off the bat, and I also really hate sending military resources off to a country that hates us. So sorry, Gil, I’m going to have to pass on your not-so-generous-actually offer.

American founds San Francisco, down in that south eastern corner where we’d recently taken care of the barbarians. I don’t mind – pretty sure we had no real plans to settle there – but I was miffed when he got uppity about our troops being too close. They were there before your city, bub. I pull our musketman, field cannon, knight, and siege tower back towards Bradford.

We finish up Electricity, and I start us on Rocketry, with an eye towards a potential scientific victory. We get a boost to our research on Scorched Earth, and I get a few more productions online. Ur gets a granary, Sheffield gets a builder, and Birmingham gets a bank. I send a couple envoys towards Yerevan, with an eye towards maxing out our bonus with them, even though faith doesn’t seem to be too high on our priority list at the moment.

I wrap up my reign with one final grand gesture. I purchase a tile near Bristol and start work on The Colossus. Do we need it? Probably not. But I needed to do something on brand during my turns, and while it’s not a boat, it’s definitely boat-adjacent. The extra gold per turn and trade route aren’t too shabby either.

Since I actually remembered to screenshot it this time, here’s a peek into my process of documenting what happens on a per turn basis in case I can’t immediately get it all written up. As you may notice, I take a little liberty with exactly the order of things sometimes when it makes for better flow.

I have passed the torch (and the save file) on to UnwiseOwl to take us through to turn 300!

Release Radar – Three Intriguing Indies Coming Soon

At this point, I have a lot of games on my wishlist that don’t even have release dates yet, which leads to me checking frequently to see if any of them have gotten release dates. Normally, this is an exercise in futility and disappointment, but not so right now. Three games that are potential day one pick-ups for me are all coming out before the end of August!

Ruinarch is releasing into Early Access on August 25.

I discovered Ruinarch during the most recent Steam Game Festival, and was instantly enamored by it. As someone who would have gladly played the demo over and over, Early Access on this one isn’t a deal breaker for me – the game is already fun to play. The demo is available again as part of the Tiny Teams Festival, so if you missed it last time, or want to see the improvements made over the past month or so, you can check that out for the next couple of days.

Best Friend Forever is releasing on August 27.

Best Friend Forever is a game I’ve had my eye on for quite a while – I think I first mentioned it here during LudoNarraCon, but playing the demo catapulted this title from “Looks cool.” to “I must have this now”. Well, it’s just about here, and although I’m still not super excited about dating sims in general, I really want to play with and train all the dogs.

Do Animals Dream? is releasing on August 31.

Although I’m completely sold on the previous two titles, I am more cautiously optimistic about Do Animals Dream? It looks like a pretty chill game to play through, and the store page description puts me in mind of A Short Hike, which I’ve seen people rave about. For me, my interest in this title is going to be probably be tied to both length and price point – I’d find it far more appealing as a compact, sub-$10 title than I would as something more ambitious, especially since as far as I can tell it’s a freshman effort from Black Vein Productions.

Are there any games – indie or otherwise – dropping over the next couple of weeks that you’re super excited for? Drop me a comment and let me know.

In Review – July 2020

It’s only a little dramatic to say that this month nearly killed this blog. It wasn’t even the month that I posted the least often (I only made four posts during last December), but it was the month I felt the worst about the lack of posts. There was a nearly overwhelming feeling of having completely run out of things to talk about, and it was magnified by the fact that I also had a less-than-stellar month on a personal level.

Weirdly, this was also a month where almost all of my other hobbies took a back seat to gamestuff, but actually sitting down to write something was crazy hard.

July, for me, was a month of binge-gaming, and the gaming hangovers that often follow.

The first half of the month, I was deep into No Man’s Sky. It was occasionally wonderful, and sometimes frustrating, but after about 40 hours, that started to flip around. It started to feel as if I had seen a whole bunch of cool stuff, sure, but that’s about how long before it started to feel kind of same-y. By itself, that’s not a huge deal, but it was also when I hit what felt like a pretty major progress slow-down.

It wasn’t a brick wall, but kind of a winding path into tedium. I discovered I didn’t much care for ship combat, although I did enough to get the free freighter. I didn’t much care for land combat either, and the majority of the missions I was seeing were of the “kill sentinels” variety. I spent hours poking around trying to get Vy’keen daggers for a quest at my base, and never spotted a single one. I spent an entire evening hunting crashed ships, and only found distress signals from strangers needing my help. After a couple frustrating play sessions, I lost interest in logging in.

The latest update seemed to be highly focused on combat, and just wasn’t enticing enough for my play style. Even if I don’t go back, I am satisfied with the time I spent with it.

A little over a week later, I spent a really intense four days with Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony. Oddly enough, it took getting spoiled on a pretty major plot point in the first chapter to get me to push through the first three hours of the game. I’m not sure if it was actually the slowest open of the three main games, but I am sure it was the weakest of the three overall.

To be clear, I still really liked it – I mean, I kind of had to in order to put in 26 hours over four days.

Unfortunately, Danganronpa is a visual novel, not an RPG, so it didn’t qualify for #JRPGJuly and the Community Game Along. With so much of my gaming time over the month invested into only two titles, I didn’t make a whole lot of progress on any actual JRPGs, although I managed to poke at a handful.

Most of my in-between gaming this month was spent with Bloons TD6, which is actually kind of perfect for when you’ve only got a few minutes to poke at something. In 15-30 minute intervals, I managed to spend almost 8 hours watching monkeys pop balloons.

On a whim (and a very deep discount), I decided to try out Treasure Hunter Simulator, despite mixed reviews. It’s pretty much as mediocre as I was expecting, so I can’t say I was disappointed, but I wasn’t exactly jazzed either. At full price, I probably would have requested a refund, but for less than $4, I don’t mind having it around when I need something brainless to poke at.

I’ve also been continuing to poke a SMITE on and off – mostly in training mode for now, meaning I don’t have to deal with people who get frustrated because my current skill is not up to the standard of my current level.

I am not usually a person who is too affected by celebrity deaths, but I did find myself rather obsessively rewatching the early seasons of Glee in the wake of Naya Rivera’s death by accidental drowning. While the show is incredibly problematic in a lot of ways, it is also Super Effective at manipulating the emotions of the audience, in spite of frequently falling short of making you actually care about its characters.

I never finished fully watching the series the first time through, and it’s now been almost two weeks since I’ve felt the pull to watch more, so it seems unlikely I’ll finish it this time either. That said, there’s something that just feels right about looking at the arc of the first three seasons as something complete – from introduction to the major characters to their graduation. The show carried on for three more seasons after that, but – at least for me – it never recaptured the intensity of its early seasons.

They might have been able to auto-tune the voices, but the facial expressions of the actors are usually even more potent than their singing.

Overall, even though I felt like I did a whole bunch of nothing this month when I started this post, I put a lot of time into nerdy pursuits. Given the numbers I know for certain, I’d estimate about 90 hours were spent gaming, and another 40 hours were spent on my Glee re-watch.

That said, going goal-light this month also often left me wasting time trying to figure out what how I wanted to spend my leisure time. Should August’s goals be more rigid? I guess we’ll figure that out tomorrow.

Ten Thousand Coins Demo

If you ask me, there aren’t enough games that revolve almost exclusively around buying low and selling high, and it’s super-rare that you see one that’s as story driven as Ten Thousand Coins. I was intrigued right from the start – there’s a lot going on with this tale of a young Foxeen woman, learning the merchant trade while hiding her true identity from a world that’s actively hunting her kind.

You spend the tutorial chapter traveling back and forth between two settlements, picking up axes in the first, and bartering them to the lumberjacks in the second. It’s a simple enough concept when only two settlements are available, and they both happen to have what the other one needs. You learn right away that unless you are in desperate need of coin, it’s always more profitable to barter than to buy and sell, due to the tax system on coin transactions.

If that’s all Ten Thousand Coins had to offer, even with a robust world design and story, it’d probably wear thin pretty quickly. However, travel time comes with its own challenges and choices to be made. There is a hunger mechanic, so foraging for food while traveling quickly becomes a necessity if you’re going to run a profitable business – eating the stock has an opportunity cost. Also, the woods aren’t safe – you will encounter hazards, creatures and bandits in the woods, more so at night.

Combat is turn based, but plays out like a mini-game. Attacking requires you to click at the right time, and blocking incoming attacks is done via mousing over the area where they’re intended to land. Neither is particularly difficult, but it’s miles away from traditional stat-based RNG combat (as well as the real-time action combat) you may be expecting.

So far, the game plays far more like a strategy game than an RPG, and if I weren’t so interested in economic-based game play, I’d likely be disappointed. Sure, there’s a quest log, and you can do things like upgrade your wagon and hire on crew, but it lacks that core feeling of becoming more powerful through progression. Sure, you get stronger, but in the sense of moving quicker or being able to hold more goods at any given time.

I expect it’s the kind of thing that’s going to start out comfortably easy, but really test your trading mettle as the game progresses, and that’s the kind of difficulty ramp up I am here for.

For a game not slated to release until the end of the year, it feels pretty polished up already. Movement in towns is a bit persnickety, but that was the only time I didn’t feel like I was playing a finished product.

I really enjoyed the hour I spent with Ten Thousand Coins, and after playing, I went to the website and signed up for beta testing. It’s another one for the wish list – refreshingly different and a delight to play.

5 Fandom Friday- Favorite Book to Movie Adaptations

Thanks go to Heather of Nerdy by Nature for the fantastic topic idea!

For the most part, I am a “read the book before I see the movie” person. That is, of course, if I know it’s an adaptation. And for four out of five of these, I absolutely read the book first, but my number one book-to-movie was from my childhood, and I didn’t realize it was based on a book until many years after I fell in love with the movie.

5. Mystic River by Dennis Lehane

Not only was this a great adaptation of a really excellent book, the casting was spot on. Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, Tim Robbins, Marsha Gay Harden and Laura Linney – all of them playing their parts to perfection. I was so psyched up for this movie when it came out, I went to the theater by myself to see it.

4. One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey

This one isn’t an easy watch by any means, but it is as powerful as the source material. The characters really draw you in, and the cruelty of mental health care in the not so distant past becomes impossible to ignore.

3. The Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King

For me, Stephen King adaptations are more miss than hit – it’s hard to distill several hundred pages into less than two hours. The Shawshank Redemption manages to avoid a lot of those issues both because of the brevity of the source material and the length of the movie. In fact, the movie version manages to make the story even more powerful with some new plot points, and it’s done well enough that you may not even realize what parts were just added for the film.

(and if you don’t already know what I’m talking about, I’m not going to be the one who reveals that little secret.)

2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

This is a book I sought out deliberately once I knew a movie was being made of it, and I thought that at least the first book-to-movie translation was pretty damn excellent.

  1. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

When I was young, I rented this movie over and over, but it wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I read the book for the first time. It’s beautiful, terrifying and heartbreaking all at once, and I still watch it regularly. If I had to guess, this would be my most-watched movie of all time, and it holds up.