My Bests of 2018

I didn't blog through the vast majority of 2018, but I was still reading, playing video games, and generally devouring media.

I don't know if I can do a traditional "TOP 10 X OF 2018," partly because I'm only one person with quite a backlog of stuff to enjoy, so I didn't watch or play 10 newly released things this year. Also, how do you pick one thing as THE BEST?

So here is a non-exhaustive list of highly specific "bests" for the year of 2018.

Best YA Book I Wish I Had Written: Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

I read quite a few YA fantasy this year, and this was my absolute favorite. Dark, lush, and morally complex, Ash Princess is the story of Theodosia, a princess whose kingdom was invaded and family murdered in front of her when she was six years old. Since then, she's lived as a prisoner in her own palace. But when she learns of a brewing rebellion, she

I loved this book so freaking much. It's what I would love to write myself. Check it out!

Best Nostalgia Trip: Pokemon Let's Go Eevee

This game was the thing that tipped things over the edge and got me to finally buy a Switch, and it was so worth it. Honestly, I think this is what all Pokemon games should be from now on. You go through the original world of Pokemon Yellow (basically, Red and Blue but with character designs from the anime) with your Eevee (or Pikachu, if you want that edition, I guess) by your side. You can dress you and your buddy Pokemon in matching outfits. You can get Eevee bows and sunglasses and cool hats. You can select another Pokemon on your team to run around the world with you, whether that's galloping along on the back of Arcanine, flying around with Charizard, or just having Psyduck adorably waddle along behind you. Instead of having random long grass encounters, you can see the Pokemon you can catch wandering around, so you can swerve around that 500th Zubat and go for that Clefairy instead. There's still battling, but the focus is more on the adventure and the Pokedex-filling, and the most effective way of levelling up is actually going out and catching 'mons instead of fighting 'em.

God, this game made me SO HAPPY. Game of the Year, tbh.

Best Narrative Game: Assassin's Creed Odyssey

No, I haven't played Red Dead Redemption 2 yet. Nope, I don't have a PS4, so I haven't played God of War. So they're not in contention here. But they'd have to be pretty darn amazing to beat Assassin's Creed: Odyssey. The game has the most gorgeous open world I've ever seen. I find myself playing around in photo mode all the time, just because it's SO PRETTY. This game has made me gasp at the vistas. Kassandra is a fantastic protagonist, and although I'm only about 3/4s of the way through the game, I'm loving her story.

Also, my horse is a unicorn. 10 out of 10.

Best Game to Watch on Youtube: Red Dead Redemption 2  /  Mario Party

I haven't played Red Dead Redemption 2, but it really provides on the Let's Play front. Over Christmas, I've been watching Playstation Access's RDR2 series, and that game just really delivers for comedy chaos. It even comes approved by my Nanna, who came into the room while I was watching one episode and got really invested in the whole thing. Thanks, Nanna!

The other winner is Super Mario Party. My favorite Youtube channel(s), OutsideXbox and OutsideXtra, did a couple of streams of this game, and they nearly killed me from laughing. The drama. The betrayal. The sheer carnage. A+++.

Best Chill-Out Show: Hyori's B&B

Hop onto Netflix and come join Hyori, her husband, their five dogs and three cats on beautiful Jeju Island, as they welcome strangers from all over Korea into their peaceful home. Learn about all different kinds of people, see them relax and interact together, and learn about Hyori's comforting and inspiring life philosophy, as she teaches her visitors yoga and muses on her own life and career.

Seriously, this is just the most relaxing, lovely show I've ever seen. It's like a cosy blanket and a dose of sunshine. Highly recommended!

Best Catch-Up Binge Show: Riverdale

I started watching Riverdale when I was feeling a bit low, and just wanted to hide on the sofa under a pile of blankets for a bit. I finished the first season in about three days. It's so fun and so addictive. Contemporary suburban Gothic, full of murder, intrigue, and soapy teen drama. Perfect binge watching.

Best Lifestyle Youtube Channel: Rowena Tsai

Rowena makes videos about self care and generally getting on top of your life and your feelings and transforming them for the better. The video that immediately comes to mind is "How to Write Your Life Together", but she has all sorts of good stuff if you just check out her channel.

Best Video Essays: Lindsay Ellis

I was introduced to Lindsay Ellis this year through her three-part video series on The Hobbit -- what went wrong with it, why it went so wrong, the behind the scenes drama, and why they couldn't recapture the magic of The Lord of the Rings. I keep a very curated Youtube subscription list these days, but she's on my must-watch list. Some of her other videos that I highly recommend from this past year include her re-examination of Twilight, her consideration of the Ideology of the First Order, and her look at the history of Hollywood movie musicals.

Best Badass Bitch/Role Model: Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande always seemed like quite a sweet person, but I never thought much about her until last summer, when she at the centre of a terrorist attack in my local area. Over the past year and a half, I have been amazed by her strength, compassion and self-advocacy. She's so young, and she's been through so much, and her poise and generally badassery are amazing to see. She's an absolute inspiration.

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