I didn’t feel like writing a whole big thing nobody would read. Everyone does these lists, and nobody reads any of them. Too much of the same analysis, the same games on the same lists, with the same features and mechanics praised ad nausea. I figured I would mix it up and do something more creative to express why I like the games I did this year. It was an interesting experiment, and I’m not sure I’ll ever write as much poetry again as I did in this one week.
10 through 2 was all jumbled up, those can go in any order, it was really a toss-up. Number 1 was the only definitive and easy thing going for me, my GOTY was super easy and I knew it would be the choice back in April. (Spoilers: it’s God of War.)
This is also the Hollow Knight memorial list because that game came out last year, yet everybody played it on their Switch this year. That game would be easily top two, but I couldn’t put a 2017 game on a 2018 list. Even though I have several remakes/remasters. I follow the rules that I make up. Hollow Knight is incredible, go play that on your console of choice, it’s on everything now.
Note: Many of the poems below are not totally original, they are often just classic poems with words switched in and out and around, heavily edited, or homages. I will put the original source so you can read those poems in the way they were intended. This is all a purely comedic exercise and not intended to be a work of serious criticism or legitimate poetry. This is all a goof. Enjoy, and go play Hollow Knight.
Runners up: Hollow Knight, Into the Breach, Donut County, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Holedown, Ashen, Gwent: Thronebreaker, Dragon Ball Fighters Z, Guacemelee 2
10. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
Here she lies, a pretty hot bod,
Cassandra, made of flesh and blood,
The guards, as soon as they fall fast asleep
As my little blades did seep
Give her upgrades, side quests, objectives, comparisons,
None of it different or better than Origins
Too long, too bloated, a full map,
But what a cool looking legendary shoulder strap
(“Upon a Child That Died” by Robert Herrick)
9. Katamari Reroll
I sprinted, I twisted,
I tried to run about everywhere
I spun, I was spun,
I rolled into anything I could find
I was attached, I felt included,
Hey! I just picked up so much stuff!
If the Katamari comes, shall we go out
To the back alleys and walk with it, swaying, swinging, strolling?
Hey! Look outside the window! A lonely rolling star!
Well now as we roll around
Oh! Its growing BIGGER
Milky way love, Katamari we love you
And as we stare at sweet, sweet moon
The two of us will burn for each other
(Various lyrics from the soundtrack)
8. Marvel’s Spider-Man
among the collectibles, and references, and QTEs,
and villains, and stealth sections, and crimes,
from the wrist
a spider, a hero
in my home, the streets
(“Ode to a Large Tuna in the Market” by Pablo Neruda)
7. Return of the Obra Dinn
I sing requiem
for the dead, caught in that
We have not built lasting
monuments of severe stone
facing the sea, the watery tomb,
so I call these songs
shrines of remembrance
where faithful descendants
may stand and watch the smoke
curl into the sky
in memory of those
devoured by the cold Atlantic.
In every blues I hear
riding the dank swamp
I see the bones
picked clean in the belly
of the implacable sea
Wait what the fuck is that
is that a fucking crab monster
holy shit this game
who what why how fucking what
jesus fucking christ this game went places
(“Requiem” by Kwame Dawes)
6. Dead Cells
punishment, crushing, savage
the pitter patter of swords and traps
the chitter chatter of blood and steel
poison and gore and viscera and madness
crisp, flashy, cool, smooth
it flows like water through a stream
death, recycles, over and over, and over
again and again, and again
the sweet release of relief
wholly awesome loot
wrapped in a blanket of grace
(“Dead Cells” by Jared Russo)
5. Super Smash Brothers Ultimate
Oodles of gold, tickets and spirit points
Ultimate smashing, music and references
Gathered he through all bloody means
Giving not a damn to humane feelings
Unlocking characters is but Sakurai’s patient strategy
Tamed is he by crippling ailments
So sad! Spends life like Peach’s thrown vegetable!
(“Nuggets” by Sathya Narayana)
4. Red Dead Redemption 2
“There once was a man from the west
whose game was not quite the best.
The immersion was swell,
the controls made me yell,
but the story truly made me digest.”
(“Red Dead Redemption 2” by Jared Russo)
3. Spyro: Reignited Trilogy
nostalgia, old wound
my love for the dragon soars
spyro’s back, fuckers
(“Spyro” by Jared Russo)
I wonder just how much of me
will die with it, whatever I have
inside of me, my heart, my head
I could have been, was. Her insides speak
through a hundred deaths, now, more
than she can bear, platforms around her,
jumping, dashing, then, What is this thing she serves?
This soundtrack owns, this metaphor tears at me
we are all depressed, this game is cathartic
(“Nani” by Alberto Alvaro Rios)
Game Of The Year: God of War
What flesh my axe have kissed, and where, and why,
Wonder, and what carnage has Kratos lain
Under my giant turtle till morning; I leave them all slain
Midgard is full of ghosts today, the quests are nigh
Upon the decapitated head and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered gods that not again
Will rage with Atreus at midnight with a cry.
Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what beasts have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot overstate what I love have come and gone,
I only know that wonder sang within me
And after around 30 hours, I could not believe what I had played could go on at this level for more.
The art of gaming is hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be seen and earned that their design isn’t hard to master.
Then combat foes and dive into lore, traveling farther, living faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. I wish it had gone on forever laster.
They lost their mother. And throughout it was
second-to-none, of three loved realms went.
Touched, by lovely ones. And, vaster,
some armor I owned, two warriors, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.
It was the game of the year.
(“What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why” by Edna St. Vincent Millay)
(“One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop)
Bottom 3 (Not in Poem Form, Because These Games Do Not Deserve Poems, Only Scorn):
3. Far Cry 5 sucks, it’s not worth playing and this series needs to stop for a while.
2. Shadow of the Tomb Raider is incredibly disappointing, I want a new Deus Ex game, damnit.
1. Fallout 76. They killed the franchise. Those bastards.