Last year was tough, but overall I had a good 2018. I got a new job, started taking better care of myself, and played way too many great games/saw too many awesome movies (and watched a couple really incredible shows too). Below are the shows, movies, and games that affected me the most in 2018.
Best Show: My Hero Academia
It took me a while, but I finally checked out My Hero Academia this past year and OHBOY. There are few shows that can make you pumped, cry, laugh, then cry again in a single episode, but My Hero Academia accomplishes this consistently. Season three in particular was jam-packed with amazing spectacle and heartfelt moments, including Deku protecting Kota from Muscular, All-Might’s fight against All for One, and Izuku’s mom refusing to let him return to U.A. (holy shit this got me). Izuku Midoriya’s journey to become the world’s greatest hero is compelling, sincerely uplifting, and like Deku, I was smiling the whole time.
Runner-Up: The Haunting of Hill House
Spooky and devastating, The Haunting of Hill House was a stand out in the overwhelming nexus of crap that is Netflix. The Bent-Neck Lady, dapper slender man, and the weird guy they hired to play the present-day dad (why couldn’t they put makeup on the younger one?), were all effective monsters, but the real terror stemmed from the fantastic character-focused early episodes, with “Touch” being the highlight.
Best Movie: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Is there anything I can say about Into the Spider-Verse that hasn’t already been said? Mind-blowing visuals and animation, immensely likable and well-realized characters, and yep, it really is the best Spider-Man movie. It’s one of few films where substance meets style, and where just watching it shows you exactly why it’s spectacular.
Runner-Up: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
Sometimes I worry that my love for this movie, or the really weird article I wrote about it, is embarrassing. But then I think about the “Super Trouper” scene and realize it absolutely is not. Here We Go Again is the biggest surprise of the year, and when I look back at 2018, this movie will always be a warm and bright reminder that everything is going to be ok.
Honorable Mentions: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Avengers: Infinity War, Bad Times at the El Royale
Every so often you play a game that feels like it was made for you. This doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, the game captures your thoughts and remains there long after you’ve completed it. For me, that game is Celeste.
Attempting to climb Mt. Celeste, a young woman named Madeline is confronted by her personal demon, and the two must form an understanding to complete Madeline’s journey. The game expertly blends precision platforming, one of my favorite game genres, with themes of wellbeing and self-doubt. It is the realization of these themes through gameplay and narrative that make Celeste an experience that has stuck with me for months, and one I am so thankful for.
Runner-Up: God of War
Prior to last year I’ve played six God of War games, and I’ve hated Kratos in all of them. After playing the most recent entry in the series, it’s hard not to love that big, beefy, bearded-bald dad. God of War is a masterpiece in every sense of the word; intelligently reinventing Kratos as a caring father who is finally coming to terms with his past, and understanding that it does not define you.
Honorable Mentions: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Florence, Beat Saber
There you have it. Let us know what your favorites of last year are, and cheers to 2019.