Level End by Brian Oliu

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The Collagist

"When you arrive, the music changes. In Level End, Brian Oliu treats you as a player rather than a reader, providing a video game walkthrough made of lyric essays, guiding you through the toughest boss battles. In this world though, the pixelated enemies you face are uncannily familiar: angry family members, lost loves, yourself on a night after too much wine. Oliu’s game-inspired pieces are labyrinthine and beautiful–you’ll want to get lost on the way to the nearest save point–and they serve as a constant reminder that what you find at the end might not be at all what you expected."
--Sam Martone

“Among the recent wave of young writers with a literary interest in video games, Brian Oliu is both the least literal and the most successful in representing their strange, surreal logics. His lyric essays read the way video games felt before they understood themselves: mysterious, lonely, sad, funny, weird, existing in their own desire as much as (or more than) their bodies. They read the way it feels to remember something incorrectly.”
-Mike Meginnis, Editor of Uncanny Valley


"Boss Battle: The One With The Long Neck," elimae
"Boss Battle: My Brother Who Controls The Weather," RealPoetik
"Boss Battle: A Woman Made of Feathers," Housefire

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