It’s hard to deny that 2016 has been a rough year for all of us. Whether it’s political turmoil, celebrity deaths, or sudden career changes, we’ve all had to cling to what we truly love to make it through the year.

So here are the boys I clung to for dear life while we sat on a rock hurtling around a flaming ball of gas. My precious, perfect boys who could not hurt me in ways the last 366 days have. My special boys. Boys.

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Karoosh – Far Cry Primal

I didn’t get to play Far Cry Primal until the very end of this year, which meant I went literally months since launch without being made aware of two of the wonderful men on this list. First up is Karoosh, the warrior for the Wenja tribe out on a mission to avenge his son’s murder.

With his grizzled manly-man caveman look, scarred eye and penchant for killing, it’d be easy to expect Karoosh to be an unmitigated gruff dickhead. The type who’d sit on Growlr complaining other people aren’t ‘masculine’ enough. But oh no, Karoosh is an absolute sweetheart.

Our first encounter with Karoosh sees him head-butt Takkar out of pure excitement, immediately accepting Takkar as his brother. He’s a happy guy, even if his kid was killed, and he’s entirely up for letting you join him on his quest. Once all is said and done and Karoosh’s son is at peace, he decided to remain in the Wenja encampment and provide protection to the others. He could’ve gone out in a blaze of glory, but our boy Karoosh isn’t that selfish.

I’d huddle up with him in mammoth-skin blankets during the cold, ice-agey nights.

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Roadhog – Overwatch

I’ve professed my unending love for Roadie before, calling him my “wonderful pork chop”. That love hasn’t dimmed at all in the months since, but has in fact grown stronger through our mutual love of cute things.

Since we last visited Roadhog he’s been an Olympic diver with excellent taste in speedos, his 100% canon relation with Junkrat was explored in the Halloween event, and now he’s showing his adoration for the humble reindeer during the festive season.

A boy who likes animals is a boy worth keeping, and it’s obvious Mako loves animals probably more than he does people. Sharks, pigs, reindeers, rats, all of them get the Rutledge lovin’. Just imagine it: me, Roadhog and Junkrat as old men, sat in our mansion sipping martinis. And then we hear the tiny pitter-patter of puppy paws scampering along the west wing, looking for another treat from Roadie.

He always spoils those dogs, but that’s why me and Junkrat love him.

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Dah – Far Cry Primal

Dah is the manly-man douche that Karoosh wishes he was. A commander of the cannibalistic Udam tribe, Dah is a poison-slinging behemoth of a man who would love to snap Takkar neck at first. He doesn’t sound like husband material at first, but over his interactions with Takkar it’s obvious there is more to him than it seems.

He willingly lives in the Wenja camp, even after almost being murdered by his fearful neighbours. He never seems to hold a grudge against the Wenja for this, going as far as to respect the Wenja’s boundaries (the Udam have killed a lot of them) while still willingly teaching them how to use poison. And so he sits in the back of his cave, all alone because he knows he scares the others too much.

He never had to go as far as he did, which shows Dah’s a nice guy underneath all the flesh-eating-ness.

As an added bonus he’s more economically-friendly than Karoosh; snuggling wouldn’t need mammoth skins, seeing as he’s a pretty dang hairy guy. Less mammoth skins mean less chances to be killed by said mammoths, which means there’s more time for snuggling instead.

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BT-7274 – Titanfall 2

I like a big boy, and you can’t get much bigger than a 20-foot tall military robot.

BT is a tough cookie to crack. He’s just ended a previous relationship and so may be cold at first, but with a bit of patience and teamwork, he’ll become a loving, considerate husband who would stop at nothing to make you happy.

Any relationship needs trust though, and marrying a gigantic mech is not exception. Trust you’ll always be there for one another, trust you’ll keep his batteries charged, trust that he’ll throw you at the enemy at just the right angle so you don’t shatter your vertebrae, it’s all about trust. Relationships are scary, but it helps if your partner can calculate the risks in less than a second.

Sex, while an important part of a relationship for many, isn’t the be-all and end all. We try to avoid outright discussing the frickle-frackle because there’s so much more these boys can offer. Despite that, it’s impossible to not note that BT is designed for you to enter him. He envelops you completely, holding you close in a warm, tight chest cavity.

If that’s not an analogy for dirty bonky times, I don’t know what is.

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Henry – Firewatch

You see Henry’s dick. Let’s get that out of the way because yes, you see Henry completely starkers, and while it is only a sketch, it’s… yeah. It’s nice. J’approve. Picking our collective jaws up off the floor, let’s mull over the cutie sadboy that is Firewatch’s Henry.

Henry is the huggable, wisecracking watchman tasked with looking out for fires in a national park. Secluded in his tower, with only a lady on the end of a radio for comfort, Henry’s a lonely guy prime for datin’.

The views from his tower are spectacular, and with a bit of planning a short hike into the woods can result in some magnificent scenery to take in. A secret world shared only by the two of us: the streams gently rippling down the mountains, birds chirping in the sun-soaked sky. The smell of pine and petrichor filling our nostrils as we just sit and absorb the lands around us. We’d have all the time in the world, with nobody else demanding our attention.

On top of that, Henry’s a funny guy. Throughout his journeys he’s constantly cracking jokes in that witty, sarcastic-but-not-dickish way that is just lovely. There’s a sadness under the surface, and while we being together may not make it go away, I’m sure sharing our problems with each other will make the world beyond the forest a bit more bearable.

Bearable because he’s bearish as fuck. It’s a gay joke. I made a joke about being gay there. Hope you enjoyed that. Bears.

And so here we are, at the precipice of another year. 2017 looms on the horizon, and with it a whole new assortment of men to swoon over and imagine better lives with.

Here’s to our special boys, wherever they may be.

Joe is LPVG’s resident hardware nerd. If it’s overpriced and has gaudy RGB lighting, he’s probably drooling over it. He loves platformers, MMOs, RPGs, hack ‘n slashers and FPS, with his favourite games being Mirror’s Edge, Left 4 Dead, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Oblivion and Dead Space. Don’t ask him about his unhealthily large Monsters Inc memorabilia collection. Seriously, just don’t ask…

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