The RPS Advent Calendar, Dec 11th


This door really swings.

It’s West of Loathing!

Alec: Ah, I’m so glad this made it onto the calendar. Almost no other bugger on staff played it, to my knowledge, and maybe that’s because they’re all cruel and heartless fools, or maybe it’s because its simple stick figures and mugging to camera makes it seem too throwaway. Maybe it is. Maybe A Guaranteed Nice Time is just not enough in this age of constant shiny new or delectably experimental things.

But! Everyone should play West Of Loathing, because A Guaranteed Nice Time is also a very rare thing in this age of constant shiny new things all thumping their chests and selling us lootboxes and telling us ponderous, cutscene-heavy stories about how war is bad but now go shoot everyone. West Of Loathing, a halfway house between point and click adventure and low-maintenance RPG, is so warm-hearted that I want to hug it forever, even though one thing it never, ever is is even faintly mawkish. Its tone, its constant humour, its message is Have A Good Time. It is a game, and a very silly world of cowboys and magic, in which almost everyone is enjoying themselves. Even when they’re shooting each other.

The temptation to make trite observations about the dark world of 2017 is very strong here, so I shall sidestep that particular issue by saying: a game as straightforwardly joyful and funny and companionable as WoL is such a valuable thing right now. Hell, even the very medium of videogames is often a hideous battleground; WoL reminds me that games, at the end of it all, are about having a jolly good time. It is full of characters and throwaway gags and callbacks and silly walks and crazy items and tiny hidden features that are all, each and every one of them, designed to coax a smile from our weary faces. And: those simple stick figures and their silly walks have a thousand times more personality than even the most impeccably-rendered photoreal megabucks game character, I assure you.

I don’t think there’s even a single Christmas reference in West of Loathing, but nonetheless, it is by far the most Christmassy game on this list.

Adam: I played it, Alec! If crackers contained jokes even half as good as the worst gag in West of Loathing, they’d be very precious things indeed. It’s not just a game with occasional jokes, it’s a game constructed entirely using jokes as a raw material. The atoms that make up its very being are jokes.

What’s really striking is that I don’t remember anything cruel. Some comedy punches up, some comedy punches down. West of Loathing just tips its hat at everyone and invites them to a party.

Graham: I played it, too! Though admittedly only after you’d written this, Alec. I’m only a half hour in which means I’m only equipped to say that it is fun even in the first half hour, a claim so few games can make. I think I was wholly sold on it the moment it let me stick my hand elbow-deep into a spit bucket just to see what was inside.

Head back to the calendar to open the door to another of 2017’s best games.


  1. stele says:

    Swing doors up. OK doors, swing.

    • MiniMatt says:

      Gotta ask – that a Max Headroom reference?

      Not played WoL, but remember that line from an Art of Noise single because I’m old. So very old. And cold.

      edit: link to – art of noise, paranoimia

      • stele says:

        YES! Actually, it’s from Paranoimia by Art of Noise – featuring Max Headroom: link to

        • MiniMatt says:

          you linked to the same video I did.

          That means we’re friends now.

          • stele says:

            Oh sorry I was so excited someone got my reference I didn’t even notice your edit! I’ve spent the past half an hour reading this awesome history of Max: link to

          • MiniMatt says:

            That’s ok, i’ve fallen down a best of Art of Noise rabbit hole. We’re friends, you and I. Come the robot uprising you need only hum the Duane Eddy “Peter Gunn” riff to reach salvation.

          • MiniMatt says:

            edit, I’m too late for the edit because I’m too busy reading Stele’s link – everybody read Stele’s link!

            It’s a great link! Read it whilst listening to Art of Noise!

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            syllopsium says:

            Fun fact, the Art of Noise won ‘second best new black act’ in the US, because the music sounded MOBO, even though they couldn’t be much more white.

            If you haven’t checked out The Seduction of Claude Debussy you need to – it’s awesome.

          • stele says:

            Have that – really like it.

  2. Someoldguy says:

    Damn fine game, pardnuh

  3. Flavour Beans says:

    “I think I was wholly sold on it the moment it let me stick my hand elbow-deep into a spit bucket just to see what was inside.”

    Oh, Graham, you sweet summer child.

  4. Rack says:

    Not got this yet because “ohmylifetherearesomanygamesnowandIjustdon’thavethetimeforallofthempleasehelpme” but it looks right up my alley.

    • harmen says:

      You know that if a single random stranger from The Internet tells you that you really should play it, you’ll buy it anyway. Right?

  5. Carra says:

    Finally, a game I actually played!

    And I finished it so that means that it’s pretty good! Makes me wonder why they don’t make more western games.

  6. Doug Exeter says:

    Yes! A wonderful game. Only played about halfway through it before getting distracted but I enjoyed my time with it.

    Once you turn on “Crazy Walking” it’s just not possible to play the game without it thereafter.

  7. April March says:

    I’m very happy you included the game, and even happier that you included it on the 11th. That’s ridiculous, it’s not even funny.

  8. tasteful says:

    i normally am not inclined to play a comedy game cuz of replayability but i was absolutely glued to this. the jokes are constant and very good and i know that this is impossible to say but they felt compatible with a broad range of senses of humor which is durn tough to pull off

  9. onodera says:

    It’s the first game on the calendar I’ve played so far, and I agree it’s really good.

    There are criminally few games that are set in the Weird West, both funny and serios.

  10. Marclev says:

    In many ways West of Loathing feels more like a Fallout game than the new Fallout…