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Top Ten video games of 2018

by Alvin Park

2018 was a strange year for me and for everyone. I lost friends. I lost faith in men and the writing community. I published a few stories, won the Smokelong prize, which has led to various other award nominations. I moved in on my own. The year was maybe filled with more solitude than I want to admit to myself, and games were a lot of how I kept my head afloat.


10. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

I used to be strong. I could knock them away so easily, push them across whole stages. I could cancel and dash dance and short hop. I don’t have the same muscles, the same speed of thought. Things are different. But maybe I can be strong again.

9. Civilization VI

I wanted to provide for my people, to feed them, give them the peace they deserve. I attracted great artists, writers, sculptors to my country. Japan kept waging war on me. There’s nothing I could do or say to tell Hojo Tokimune that it doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t have to kill my people. We can work together. We all have families. We’re all trying our best.

8. God of War

I used to think of my father as scary, intimidating, rigid in his Korean traditions. But then I begin to understand his insecurities, I see the way that his body fails him. His shoulder aches, and he coughs because he has scars on his lungs that won’t ever go away. Maybe punishment for the smoke, for the open palms brought down, for never knowing how to open his lips to the word proud.

7. Into the Breach

Team, our goal is to eliminate the Vex. This isn’t for glory. This is to save towns, villages, families. If we fail, one of us will be sent back to another timeline to redo mistakes. If we win, we will all be sent back to different timelines to redo our successes. We’ll still retain our knowledge, our experience, every kiss, over and over again.

6. Florence

We speak in shapes. I used to think it’d take another person to make me better. I still think about your smell, something like cinnamon, dried orange peels, maple syrup. I still think about how I could have kissed you one last time. I can hear your music if I try. I don’t regret any of it.

5. Yakuza Kiwami

Majima shows up everywhere in Kiryu’s life. Around alleyways, under manhole covers, breakdancing in the club. Fight me, he says every single time, and every single time, Kiryu does. Love languages: kicks and fists, grappling flesh, pelvic dances.

4. Red Dead Redemption 2

I find a woman burying her husband. She’s new to the wilderness, escaped here from Chicago to find a new way of life, something simple. She’s starving, so I find a rabbit for her, teach her to skin it. I tell her, This should feed you for a week. Later, I return and see her shooting bottles. I teach her how to aim, how to breathe. She shoots a bottle, excited. She invites me in for supper, stew made from the rabbit earlier. I get ill and pass out and awake, alone in her bed. She left a note for me on the nightstand, saying she’s out hunting. She says she left money on her nightstand for me, a thank you. I leave without checking. She’s already done so much.

3. The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

The three crones, Ladies of the Wood. The nearby village worships them, sacrifices ears for them. Sends children to be used by them. The villagers carve statues of them. The three crones hunger in the candlelight. They say, You’ll never find who you’re looking for. You’ll never be more than you are.

2. Spider-Man

He leaps off a building, and MJ calls and asks if he remember when they were young, when they traveled out of the city for pizza. It turned out to be bad pizza, but it didn’t matter. She asks, Remember when things used to be less complicated? He leaps, lets himself fall and fall, knowing he’ll catch himself eventually.

1. Monster Hunter: World

My armor isn’t tough enough. My weapon isn’t strong enough. How do I kill something so much larger? Huge wings, talons as big as my legs, fire that turns rocks into sheets of glass. How do I know that this is something I can do? Part of me thinks I always had it in me. Part of me thinks I don’t have a choice. I have to try to be better. I have to try, even when I know I won’t win. Not against everything.

Alvin is a fiction editor here at LF | BT and more than deserving of the attention he received this year. But how do we really feel? Well, to quote LeBron James, “you ain’t gotta worry about making shots or missing shots. Aight? Good job. I’m proud of you.”

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