Monthly Review: May 2019

April showers bring May flowers. I guess. Here in Ohio, it really hasn’t stopped raining all month. Normally I like the rain, but May showers just bring humidity. Which is one of the items on my ‘No Thank You’ list. Since this cursed month is almost over, it’s time for another Monthly Review!

Story Submissions:

New Submissions: 1

Stories Still Out in the Wild: 2

Acceptances: 0

Rejections: 1

As of this, no new Acceptances! I did get a story out the door at the end of last month that I’ve included in the stats for May. As is my custom, I’ll be over here refreshing my Inbox.

What else have I been doing?

Interview with Simon Strantzas!

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This month’s interview was with strange story specialist Simon Strantzas! I enjoyed this interview and I’d like to thank Simon again for joining me! Next month’s interview will be with horror author Georgina Bruce!

My Favorite Horror Films of the 1990s!

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As part of my ongoing series outlining my favorite horror films from each decade, this month’s entry was all about the 1990s! While this was kind of a weak decade overall, there was enough gems to fill about all nine years. If you want to see me do some more decades, click here!

‘The Eldritch Film Club’ was featured in Weird Mask Zine!

My Lovecraftian flash story was featured in Weird Mask Zine’s newest issue! I’m proud of my weird little story, and I’m glad it was able to find a home.


And that’s it for May! Do you think I missed any ’90’s horror classics?

My Favorite Horror Films of the 1990s

Welcome to the second Feature outlining the Decades of Horror. Each entry I’ll be picking my favorite film from each year, and then some runner-ups. The 1990s aren’t in the running for the all time greatest decades, but it certainly deserves a spot at the secondary table. Let’s talk with the year of…

1990:

Misery

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With Stephen King film adaptations all the rage right now, it’s easy to forget about some of the classics. Misery is one of my personal favorites. It’s a nail-biting thriller anchored by Kathy Bates’ unhinged performance. She’s just so wacka-do crazy. Poor Paul Sheldon. How are your legs?

1991:

The Silence of the Lambs

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Thank heavens for The Silence of the Lambs, because this year sucks. Not even any cheesy classics. Just trash from wall to wall. And thank heavens again for The Silence of the Lambs because this is one of the few movies that I see as perfect. Some of the best performances in modern cinema, coupled with a genius script and unstoppable direction from Jonathan Demme. Seriously, SO GOOD.

1992:

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

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Big bad Vlad… Gary Oldman does the character some serious justice here. Every frame of Francis Ford Coppola’s horror film is pure Gothic gold. Deep shadows and brilliant crimsons are splashed across every minute. While it does feel a little overlong, it was the best horror film that ’92 had to offer.

1993:

The Dark Half

or Cronos

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And now for the year I was born! A semi-grand year… Cronos very nearly stole the top spot (because it’s very good). But no! Stephen King’s The Dark Half was a childhood favorite of mine. A little pulpy, super violent and kind of gross. Timothy Hutton kills it as both the nebbish author and violent psychopath. Watch this one!

1994:

In the Mouth of Madness

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I love me some John Carpenter… So 1994 was an easy year for me. In the Mouth of Madness is a little cheesy, but it’s a blast of Lovecraftian (cold) air. Sam Neill is excellent, and we get some fantastic creatures along the way.

1995:

Se7en

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Trees worth of paper have been written up about David Fincher’s nihilist serial killer film Se7en. So I won’t waste too much of your time. This film is grim and brilliant, a stark, nasty little masterpiece.

1996:

Scream

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Scream helped make me the writer that I am today. When I was 10 or 11, I watched this movie endlessly. Kevin Williamson’s script and Wes Craven’s able direction helped create what I still view as the perfect slasher film. This earns a spot in my 10 Favorite Movie list. Easy.

1997:

Event Horizon

or Scream 2

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What is it with Sam Neill making cheesetastic horror movies that I love anyway? He makes them, and I watch them. Event Horizon is not a smart movie. It’s a mess from nearly top to bottom. But… this film does have it’s charms. It’s Hellraiser splatter. Haunting set and sound design. Visually, this film is grand.

1998:

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer

or Blade or Urban Legend

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A good year! Finally! Though Blade and Urban Legend are better movies, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer holds a special place in my heart. Dumb, funny, but with a setting and premise that makes me smile. (And Ben-SON is the dumbest twist ever. Fight me).

1999:

The Sixth Sense

or House on Haunted Hill

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The end of the decade! And what a way to end it. The Sixth Sense is remembered for it’s twist. But I’m here to tell you that this film is SO much more. Number one: this film is terrifying. The Mother ghost, the girl beneath the blanket, the closet scene. And it’s emotional and sorrowful. Bruce Willis was rarely better than he was here. I love this movie through and through.


That’s the My Favorite Horror Films of the 1990’s! A weaker list overall, but there is a couple of true gems mixed in with the absolute cheese. What’s your favorite 1990s horror flick?

Want more Decades of Horror?

My Favorite Horror Movies of the 2010s 

Monthly Review: April 2019

Apparently, April was an unofficial Star Wars month for me.

I had two Star Wars specific pieces come out this month, but more on that later. We have other business first!

Story Submissions:

Submissions: 2

Stories Still Out in the Wild: 3

Acceptances: 1!

Rejections: 0

Acceptance! That means it’s time for a Nic Cage GIF!

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My story ‘The Eldritch Film Club’ has been picked up by Weird Mask Zine! Weird Mask Zine is doing a Lovecraftian issue, so I thought I would throw my hat in the ring. And luck has struck again! More information to come as I get it.

I submitted a slasher story for a ‘Axe Murderer’ anthology. It’s a little wild, but I have a good feeling about it.

What else have I been doing?

An interview with game journalist and writer Alex Kane!

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This was a very cool interview. Video games are one of my many passions, and my recent obsession has been focused on the creation of video games. The entire process is completely insane. I spoke to gaming journalist Alex Kane about some of his favorite games and his new book, Knights of the Old Republic. Speaking of which…

I reviewed Boss Fight Books’ Knights of the Old Republic!

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See my thoughts on the link above! I’ll say this: I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan ever, but I found this book fascinating. Bioware went through hell to get this RPG masterpiece made, and this book draws attention to it.


And that’s it for April! Next month I’ll be interviewing strange story author Simon Strantzas. I’ll also be talking about my Favorite Horror Movies Released in the 1990’s! It is… kind of slim pickings.

 

 

Book Review: ‘Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic’ by Alex Kane

Set an even longer time ago in a galaxy far, far away, BioWare’s 2003 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic wowed players with its compelling characters, lightsaber customization, complex morality choices, and one of the greatest plot twists in both video game and Star Wars history. But even for veteran studios like LucasArts and BioWare, the responsibility of making both a great game and a lasting contribution to the Star Wars canon was no easy task.

Featuring extensive new interviews with a host of KotOR’s producers, writers, designers, and actors, journalist Alex Kane weaves together an epic oral history of this classic game, from its roots in tabletop role-playing and comic books, to its continued influence on big-screen Star Wars films. Whether you align with the light or the dark side, you’re invited to dive into this in-depth journey through one of the most beloved Star Wars titles of all time.

Plot summary taken from Amazon.

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If you made a list of the best RPGs released before 2010, what would be on it? Post-apocalyptic masterwork Fallout 3 late in the decade. Space-opera shooter Mass Effect? Of course. But there is one more RPG that belongs high up on that list. And it just so happens to be made by Mass Effect developer Bioware.

2003’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (or KotOR) is a masterpiece. Praised by both Star Wars fanatics and the general public alike, it has lived on in the minds of gamers for nearly two decades. Alex Kane and publisher Boss Fight Books have taken a dive into the history and creation of this beloved game. Game development is a tricky business. Developers and studios are hammered by brutal crunch times, budget problems and expectations. Now include the protective gaze of Lucasfilm, and it gets even worse.

With a quote from Ben Kenobi to get the book started off right, Alex Kane puts us directly into the early days of KotOR’s development. From there we are pulled through the day to day, the E3 crunches and different colored light saber drama. If you enjoy the nitty gritty details of game development, this is the perfect book for you. Alex Kane presents the story of Old Republic’s creation in a sharp, clear manner. The new interviews shine light on some of the lesser known aspects of the game’s production.

If you love video games or Star Wars, this book is a fascinating read. Books like this give me a true appreciation for the entire process of video game creation. I think I’m going to have to find more Boss Fight Books to read.

 

 

Monthly Review (March 2019)

March ended up being a busy month for me. Granted, I found time to do things I love, just writing wasn’t one of them. I wasn’t a complete slouch though! I’m editing several stories and hope to have some more out in April.

Story Submissions:

Submissions: 0

Stories Still Out in the Wild: 2

Acceptances: 0

Rejections: 0

No new submissions this month. But fingers still crossed!

What else have I been doing?

New story publication!

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My story ‘The Matron in the Wood’ is featured in Pete Rawlik’s new anthology! My story is a delicious mythological blend of Lovecraft/Chambers/Clark Ashton Smith. It’s also set in my home state of Michigan! The link to buy is included above.

An interview with horror author (and birder!) Carrie Laben!

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Carrie Laben’s debut novel came out with Word Horde this month! I enjoyed my interview with Carrie, and kind of learned a lot about birds! Her book is near the top of my TBR pile.

April’s interview will be with game critic/author Alex Kane! We’ll be talking about his book outlining the history of the RPG classic Knights of the Old Republic.


That’s it for this month! Thank you for stopping by!

 

Curious Fictions: Two Free Stories

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Note: No original article this week. I’m off visiting with family. But have no fear! I have two free stories for everyone!

Curious Fictions is the new hotness for authors like myself. It’s a website that allows us to post free stories and cultivate a followership. The website is clean and very easy to navigate. I’ve joined Curious Fictions to encourage me to write and get stories out into the world. I plan on using the platform to give attention to stories that I love, but may not be right for most markets.

I’ve put up two stories, both of which can be found here.

My first story, ‘The Eldritch Film Club’, is a weird little story written in the 2nd person. I love this thing to death though, so please take a look.

The second is called ‘Manifesto: Abnormality at Z33.1’. This story came about after I spent a couple of days outlining a novella idea. I saw the skeleton of a fun little story and this is what came of it. If this novella ever sees the light of day, this will serve as a perfect little prequel.

Monthly Review (February 2019)

Cupid’s arrow has come and gone… It’s the end of February, and that means it’s time for another Monthly Review! It’s the shortest month of the year, so I won’t waste your time. Let’s get down to some (chocolate and roses) brass tax!

Story Submissions:

Submissions: 2

Stories Still Out in the Wild: 4

Acceptances: 0

Rejections: 0

Two more submissions to add to the list! One submission, and one new story. Fingers crossed as always.

What else have I been doing?

An interview with haunted radio jockey/author Matthew M Bartlett!

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Matthew M Bartlett is one of my favorite writers working in horror. The universe that he has created is unique and fascinating. While plenty of writers create creepy small towns, few populate them with such demented characters. I urge you to follow the links in the interview and buy some of his books! His first two collections are quick reads, but they are worth every minute.

Next month’s author interview will be with Carrie Laben, who has a book releasing from Word Horde next month.

My Favorite Horror Films of the 2010s

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Another Twitter trends strikes again! In this article I sum up my favorite horror film from each year (2010-2018). It’s a new feature I’ll be following up on periodically that I’m calling ‘Decades of Horror’. It’s got a good ring to it right? Maybe? I don’t know. I’m doing it anyway.

Two stories up at Curious Fictions!

I’ve been trying my best to follow the ‘write every day’ Golden Rule. I don’t hit most days, but that’s okay. And not everything I create is solid gold, ready to battle it out in slush piles. I’ve joined Curious Fictions to encourage me to write and get stories out into the world. I plan on using the platform to give attention to stories that I love, but may not be right for most markets. My first story, ‘The Eldritch Film Club’, is a weird little story written in the 2nd person. I love this thing to death though, so please take a look. I’ll also be posting a second one this week called,  ‘Manifesto: Abnormality at Z33.1’. This story came about after I spent a couple of days outlining a novella idea. I saw the skeleton of a fun little story and this is what came of it. If this novella ever sees the light of day, this will serve as a perfect little prequel.

If you like the sound of these two stories and may want to see more, I encourage you to follow my Curious Fictions profile and maybe throw a few bucks my way.

One more thing before we go: I’ll be sending out a new newsletter tomorrow! Please subscribe to get original content and more goodness.

That’s it for now! I’ll see everyone next month!

 

My Favorite Horror Films of the 2010s

I fell in love with a  Film Twitter trend back in November. As you’ve seen in the past, I have a certain affinity for these kind of trends.

This particular trend was focused on ‘your favorite films of the 2010s’. I made my list. It took me like 15 minutes, and I had loads of fun. What are your favorite horror films of the 2010s? Think of this piece as a sequel to my tweet. Favorite Films of the 2010s: Electric Boogaloo.

2010:

Insidious

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This movie made James Wan and Blumhouse the household names that they are today. Insidious is still a fantastic horror film, crammed full of brilliant jump scares and some truly chilling settings. The mystery of The Further is still intact. The sequels (each worse than the last) hadn’t sullied it quite yet.

2011:

You’re Next

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or The Cabin in the Woods or Grave Encounters

What a fantastic year! I had to really mull my pick here over. The Cabin in the Woods is meta-brilliance. Grave Encounters is the best found-footage film ever, and it’s not even close. But You’re Next is the 2011 release I find myself re-watching the most. The violence, the music and the premise make a dark comedy sundae with a sprinkle of  some well-executed fight sequences on top. This film was a pleasant surprise in 2011, and it still remains a treasure.

2012:

Sinister

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Hello again, Blumhouse! Welcome back! And… wait… Is that Ethan Hawke there behind you!? If you’re here on my blog reading this article, chances are you like horror. And that means you know exactly what happens to characters that just have to solve mysteries in this genre. Bad things. Bad things involving a vengeful demon, evil children, and some of the most jaw-dropping fictional snuff films this side of the Mississippi. These grainy pieces are the vertebrae that forms the backbone of this film.

2013:

Oculus

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Or The Conjuring or Evil Dead

Last year, we all loved Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House. If you loved that show, you’ll love Mike Flanagan’s film Oculus. The seamless transitions between memories and the present day conjure a nightmare logic that is unmatched. Great performances, great ghost design, and my favorite scene involving a lightbulb of all time.

2014:

The Babadook

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I saw this in an Alamo Drafthouse when I lived in New Mexico. Not only was it one of the nicest theaters I’ve ever been in, but this is one of the greatest horror movies I’d ever seen. Full stop. The horrors of motherhood is a horror film staple, and rarely is it as gripping and harrowing as it is in The Babadook.

2015:

The Invitation

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The worst dinner party ever? That’s a fact. Here’s another fact: this movie is a masterpiece. Well shot, well acted, with just enough visual flair and suspense to last you for it’s entire run time. The Invitation is worth it for the ending alone. Karyn Kasuma struck a cord with this film. And that’s what good horror does. It uses our fears and, more importantly, our expectations to unnerve us. The thing is, we know something is wrong with this dinner party. But it’s all about the journey.

2016:

The Void

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Practical effects with a killer Lovecraftian edge. This is an indie horror darling. While it’s not perfect (the performances are a little shaky), it is certainly a rip-roaring tentacled good time. It feels like a John Carpenter film that time-traveled to the great year of 2016.

2017:

Happy Death Day

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Fun fact: I don’t like horror comedies (save for a select few). The tonal balance usually doesn’t work for me. But Blumhouse has done it again! Happy Death Day is an utter delight. It introduces a fun new slasher villain and treats us to another stellar entry in the Groundhog Day genre.

2018:

Hereditary

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Some horror movies are fun. Hereditary is not that. But it is powerful. My mouth hung open for a majority of this thing’s run time. Toni Collette’s performance is hard to watch, but in a very good way. I think Hereditary will go down as a landmark in this genre in the years to come.

That’s the 2010s! I would like to potentially do some other decades. I think the 1980s would serve as a real challenge. I’m not sure if I could kill my horror darlings so easily…

 

Monthly Review (January 2019)

Hello everyone and welcome to 2019! This was a pretty busy month for me. Lots of juggling of various projects and plans. Before I get into them, I wanted to briefly talk shop.

I’ll be carrying what I did in 2018 with my blog into this year! Three posts a month, sometimes more. The first one will be on the first Wednesday, and it will be an Author Interview! The second post (the second Wednesday of the month) will be a feature article of some sort. The final Wednesday of the month will be my Monthly Review, where I will do a wrap-up the month and make any further writing announcements! Okay. Enough of that. Let’s dive into submission numbers!

Story Submissions:

Submissions: 1

Stories Still Out in the Wild: 2

Acceptances: 1

Rejections: 3

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And…. acceptance. Like most story acceptances, I can’t share too many details. I will say this though: the story will be available next month!

What else have I been doing?

Writing reviews and features for High Fever Books!

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High Fever Books is a website created by horror author Michael Patrick Hicks, and I’ll be joined by an entire team of talented reviewers and writers! We’ll be doing features and writing reviews of the best books that horror fiction has to offer!

My first piece on the website is below! I made a master list of my Most Anticipated Reads for 2019, and this article is over-flowing with incredible reads. This includes reads from S.P. Miskowski through Georgina Bruce.

Speaking of S.P. Miskowski, I also did a review of her newest novelThe Worst Is Yet to Come! I loved it, and if you want to know more, you should pre-order the book and then read my review .

Meanwhile at logannobleauthor.com…

An interview with Trevor Henderson!

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My first Author Interview of the year is with horror artist Trevor Henderson! His found footage art is simply incredible. I’ve been blown away by the quality and depth of his work since I discovered him on Twitter. In this interview, Trevor and I talk about how he got started, and some of the challenges of being an artist!

Next month I’ll be interviewing author Matthew M. Bartlett, who is swiftly becoming one of my favorite authors.

2019, the Year of the Fungi Monsters

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I wrote up a piece talking about some of my goals for 2019. I talk about books, writing and other fun stuff. It’s always nice to take survey of my goals, whether they’re big or small.

My Video Games of 2018: Shooting Aliens and Collecting Strawberries

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It can’t be the start of a new year unless I talk in depth about the year previous! This article is about exactly what you’d think it would be about: video games! I count down my five favorite of the year, and talk about some other games that I think deserve your attention.

My creative energy is up, and I hope you guys are enjoying your first month free from the evils of 2018!

My Video Games of 2018: Shooting Aliens and Collecting Strawberries

If you want to learn about a person, look through their video game library. What type of games do they enjoy? How many hours have they poured into sports games? What system do they prefer? Gaming has never been taken as seriously as film or literature, but I think the medium deserves its day in court. The stories and mechanics of games are some of the best ways to enjoy a multitude of worlds in a very active way. I, like more writers, love stories of all kinds. And the five (plus) games that are included on this list are some of the best stories you can enjoy with a controller in hand.


5. Destiny 2: Forsaken

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This is the only MMO I’ve ever loved. It’s not a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination. But it has its charms. This game universe is space opera at its best. It’s all about gun-toting space wizards at war with a Lovecraftian darkness. You go on quests, you battle four or five different alien races, each with a unique design and history. This soundtrack is epic and soaring, and each planet has its own suite of brilliant music. When you’re not questing alone, you’re doing it with friends. Many of the toughest environments in the game require a group to even get through. And when you get bored with killing aliens, you can always drop into the competitive Crucible mode and battle against other players.

I’ve put more hours into this game than any other in 2018. It’s endless loot and shoot gameplay is addicting, if a bit disrespectful of your time. But it’s Destiny 2: Forsaken’s flavor that keeps bringing me back.

Destiny 2: Forsaken isn’t a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination. I have periods where I don’t play anything else. And then I have periods where I want to blow this game out into space (See my article from October: Tim Burton Spook Music: An Ode to Destiny 2’s Halloween Event).


4. Celeste

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On the surface, this is the kind of throwback platformer that are a dime a dozen in any game system e-store. I heard the merits of this game screamed over every video game podcast and website for months after Celeste’s initial release. And then it happened again when this dropped on the Switch. So, after I found myself bored and sleepy on a Saturday morning, I snatched this up from the Holiday PS4 sale.

But Celeste is not just another recycled platformer. It’s precise and brutally tough, and happens to have a beautiful core. Celeste is the mountain. You play Madeline, who is climbing that mountain. You meet a variety of goofy characters, and get to watch Madeline grow as your skills grow. Celeste has a lot to say about depression and self-worth. It comes at those issues in a mature way that we don’t often see in games like this. This game is beyond sweet and worth the challenge.


3. Red Dead Redemption 2

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This had to be my most anticipated game of the year. And, as I’m sure you already know, Rockstar delivered. Red Dead Redemption 2 is a slow, momentous beast of a game. You fill the shoes of gruff everyman Arthur Morgan. You run with his gang and commit crimes. Things go good, things go bad and then they go even worse. The Dutch Van Der Linde gang is filled with characters that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. When you’re not riding through beautiful natural vistas or shooting everything, you’re hanging out in camp, drinking and listening to tales of the glory days.

This is not a happy game. But this is a story that everyone should experience. It’s beautiful and savage, and filled with more minutia in the moment to moment gameplay than you could ever want. But if you take a breath and get on RDR2’s wave length, you’ll feel like a cowboy.


2. Marvel’s Spider-Man

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HOLY CRAP I’M SPIDER-MAN AND I’M SWINGI–WAIT–DID YOU SEE THAT!?

That stream of Caps above is an approximate approximation of what was happening in my brain while I was playing this game. Marvel’s Spider-Man is a perfect Spider-Man game. The swinging is fast and the combat is simple to learn and a joy to master. Insomniac has crafted a New York City that is a joy to explore. Avengers Tower! The Sanctum Sanctorum!

But that’s not all. The story explores Peter Parker/Spider-Man’s relationships and his place in this world. Old rogue’s gallery villains are recreated in unique and brilliant ways. It can’t be ignored just how clean and fluid this entire game feels. The collectibles and side missions are fun to experience and collect. And the end couple of missions of this thing are *sighs* wonderful.


1. God Of War

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God of War is nearly perfect. Let’s break it down. A character piece for Kratos and his son. A combat system that is both visceral and beautiful. A world steeped in history and magic. Adventure on a scale rarely recreated in this generation of games. Probably the best looking PS4 exclusive!

But it’s not just that. Both Red Dead Redemption 2 and Spider-Man had those same qualities. But God Of War stands apart. This is a video game story of loss and of growing love. Kratos is a man with a horrible past. He has known loss both in his past and very much in his present. And to watch this wild demigod grow as a person and as a father felt momentous in every conceivable way. Come for the Leviathan axe and stay for the character growth.


Bonus Round….

Can I talk about some runner-ups? Kind of. I played a few other games that aren’t quite Top 5 material, but deserve your attention in some other way. The only other game that belonged this high up was Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. It’s another rip-roaring adventure game where you get to jump off stuff and have awesome sword fights. And, if you play as Kassandra, it’s kind of like you’re playing as Wonder Woman. Which is cool.

The other game I wanted to talk about is Call of Cthulhu. This game is…not anything that I wanted it to be. It’s essentially a walking simulator with some very diet-light environmental puzzles. But being able to spend some slow time in a quaint little Lovecraftian world is kind of fun. If you can snag this game up for cheap (or maybe a rental?) I think you should do it. Especially if you’re a Lovecraft horror nut.

This was the year I discovered the joys of the PS4 Platinum trophy system. I’m by no means a trophy hunter, but I enjoy the added value of hunting them down. Earning the Platinum likely means you’ve seen most of what the game has to offer. I earned five Platinum trophies this year: The Order: 1886,  God of War, Assassin’s Creed Origins, Marvel’s Spider-Man and Fallout 4. My Fallout 4 platinum was the most well-earned. I love the Fallout franchise, though Fallout 76 may be the worst game I played all year. Scratch that, the worst game I’ve played in the last five.


That is my version of the gaming year that was 2018. This year was abnormally strong, but it wasn’t without its disapointments. This was the year that made me glad to own a PS4. This was the year where I was inspired and strengthened by the games that I played.