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The hale and healthy RPS Advent Calendar 2021

Let this year's Bestest Best countdown begin

Ah, gentle friends! That time has come again, and we must celebrate the birth of many sweet video games across this (once again) extremely cursed year. We were lucky enough to feast upon so many pixely entertainments this year; such glorious toys to keep us occupied while other things went totally down the toilet. Yes, let's raise a glass together for The RPS Advent Calendar 2021!

This is what's happening: every day from December 1st until December 24th we reveal one PC game from 2021 that we think is the cat's big fluffy pyjamas. Every game gets a whole post to itself wherein one or more of the RPS writers will explain why it's so good. This year, that includes some of our most regular freelancers as well. Isn't that lovely? Found family, and all that. The games are revealed in no particular order, apart from the game revealed on Christmas Eve, the 24th. That game is our Goatest of the year, our GOTY, the bestest of bestest bests 2021.

This year, we have engaged Nate Crowley to do another Christmas calendar picture for us, which has quite a threatening aura. Here you can see Horace The Endless Bear (praise him) nestled in a pile of Christmas presents. He is supervising the Alabastar Titan, a feature of the EWS Podcast, as Tites constructs more presents on a mighty anvil. Behind them both you can see both a festive Christmas tree and, err, a festive haunted Christmas train. It's possible this is all taking place in a decommissioned nuclear bunker, Death Stranding-style. Who can say?

You can access each day's post by clicking on the right door below as it opens, which will be at 1pm each day, around about lunchtime. If, for some reason, the image links don't work (for example, you're browsing on mobile) scroll below for a normal set of text links. Enjoy!

The rules for our calendar voting are thus:
Any game released in 2021 is eligible for inclusion, which also includes games that have released into early access, or got a full release this year after an early access period. We are fickle, so might also consider games that have big 2021 energy, like indie games that got a huge surge of interest this year or games that got big juicy DLCs. We will also consider December games that have not yet released at the time of voting, which is why Cyberpunk squeaked in last year.

Each member of the RPS team gets 10 points to vote with, and can put as many in a game as they like, including giving one game the full 10 points. There is a tremendous amount of tactical point reshuffling until the final moments of voting. Then there is some discussion amongst editors in the case of ties, and also Katharine has the power to move some stuff around for sensible reasons, just because none of us can really stop her.

We do the calendar almost every year, including in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. In 2014 we did the RPS Bestest Bests which were the exact same only it wasn't based around a calendar. This was clearly inferior, and so the calendar returned in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 and 2020. That makes this the fifteenth RPS advent calendar, if you count the oddities in 2008 and 2014.

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