I am 4/5 of the way through Middlemarch. I cannot say the characters in it have fared very well so far, but hopefully a happy ending is in store for all hiding within this last bastion of text.
More importantly, I have striven and striven at this indefatigable video game music list. Today marks the first day I have listened to every video game song in my itunes library at least once, and at least provisionally sorted it into one category or another. It also marks the first day I'm no longer beleaguered by repeat entries or remixes. Everything has been cleaned up. I now have a 20 star video game music list, 700 strong, a 10 star, 700 strong, a 5 star, 700 strong, a 3 star, 700 strong, a 2 star, 700 strong, and a remaining residue of 1 star Tales songs, which couldn't qualify for any of the diverse lists above it, 319 songs strong.
I am confident in the 20 star and 10 star lists being more or less correct, and the same is true of the 2 star list which I just finished listening to and editing. The reason why I cannot declare the project complete is due to my doubts concerning the 3 star list vs. the 5 star list. The 3 star list includes songs from a wide variety of games, even ones as commendable as Final Fantasy 7, FF 6, Chrono Trigger, and Final Fantasy Tactics. The 5 star list, in comparison, consists chiefly of Tales music. (565/700). I do not presume to declare that any FF 7 song should have the ascendancy over any Tales song, but it feels unlikely that this is the perfect balance between the twain.
Still, this is a good time to pause and reflect on the tremendous strides I've made so far. Within these 3,819 songs, I have zero duplicates. Each song stands on its own, an independent melody, ready to take my mind on a totally different journey from the song before or after.
I have listened through the soundtracks of an amazing number of franchises, from Chrono to Xeno to Ogre Battle, from FF Tactics to FF 1-15, FF 10-2, FF 13-2, Crystal Chronicles, Type-0 and beyond. Xenosaga 1-3, all accounted for. Every Tales game, all accounted for. I've listened to every song at least once, and many over 100 times. There are zero uncategorized songs left floating about in my itunes library, everything has been properly placed in one category or another.
Grouping by quality instead of by franchise allows for more diversity and thus stimulation in each playlist. Instead of listening to the same composer composing many similar songs over and over again, it is likely that each new song comes from an equally impressive, but completely new angle from a completely different game or franchise. This keeps everything fresh and invigorating, even when listened to time after time.
It is very easy to throw all the songs from the same game or composer into a single list. It is very difficult to group things by merit, from a wide variety of music all with their own unique flavors and modes of thought. But the reward at the end is worth it.
The joy of finding so many lost gems of songs that I hadn't listened to for years is enough to justify this project all on its own. But I think the dividends haven't truly begun to sink in yet. It will take years of additional listening before I've fully exploited the benefits of this new system these past few months have been busy erecting. I'll be collecting royalties on my hard work for the foreseeable future. May 12th was my last day 'working' on this project. From here on it's sitting back and enjoying it.