Polygon’s best stories of 2021

And easily, completion of 2021 is upon us. It’s been another, will we state, fascinating year, and we hope we’ve had the ability to provide you some break from … *gestures at whatever* … in the large range of stories and videos we’ve sent into the world. From the inmost tricks of The Lord of the Rings to the magic of playing video games on an ancient tv (and whatever in between), we’ve got you covered. Thanks, as constantly, for joining us on this wild journey we call Polygon. We anticipate continuing to serve you in 2022!

The Year of the Ring

An orc from Lord of the Rings covered in hearts

Illustration: Petrana Radulovic/Polygon | Source images: New Line Movie Theater

In honor of the 20th anniversary of these sustaining cinematic classics’ launching, we’re checking out every element of Peter Jackson’s trilogy, from J.R.R. Tolkien’s source product to the very best scenes and minutes, along with the ongoing impact of The Fellowship of the Ring, The 2 Towers, and The Return of the King on modern-day popular culture. Check out the stories

Playing video games on my ancient television links me to today

by Jordan Starkweather

Illustration of vintage CRT game screens in various shapes and sizes and colors

Illustration: Jinhwa Jang for Polygon

CRTs might be huge, however they provide something a flat-panel television never ever will. Check out the story

Splits, pornography, and bakas: The legend of the Barnes & Noble manga area

by Ana Diaz

A young man standing browsing some manga in the manga section of Barnes and Noble

Picture: Ana Diaz/Polygon

What if we kissed in the manga area of Barnes & Noble? Check out the story

A guide to the very first 15 seconds of every video game

by Patrick Gill

When you boot up a computer game, you see a lot of logo designs and things you may not acknowledge. Invite to the interesting world of middleware! View the video

D&D’s Drizzt books were developed on racist tropes. R.A. Salvatore wishes to alter that

by Charlie Hall

timeless a Forgotten Realms: Drizzt book cover by RA Salvatore

Image: Harper Voyager

“If the drow are being portrayed as evil, that’s a trope that has to go away …” Check out the story

In the ’80s, she was a computer game leader. Today, nobody can discover her

by Patricia Hernandez

Illustration of a computer tragic woman on a green background looking at a question mark

Illustration: James Bareham/Polygon

The look for Restriction Tran. Check out the story

Netflix has an uncomfortable issue with its biracial characters

by Petrana Radulovic

georgia doing ginny’s hair in Ginny & Georgia

Image: Netflix

It keeps eliminating moms and dads of color from their coming-of-age stories. Check out the story

The origin of Noob Saibot

by Michael McWhertor

Noob Saibot from Mortal Kombat X

Image: NetherRealm Studios/Warner Bros. Interactive Home Entertainment

Mortal Kombat’s secret ninja was even a trick to the male he was called after. Check out the story

Image of the character Shrek made from hundreds of pictures of Shrek

Graphic: Alyssa Nassner/Polygon | Source images: DreamWorks

A collection of stories considering the troll himself, twenty years after his origin story. Check out the stories

My living-room has 3 Televisions and is the precursor of human advancement

by Ryan Gilliam

Abstract illustration inspired by digital screens in lime green, sage and grey colors

Illustration: Inkee Wang for Polygon

What’s the very best television to put in your living-room based upon size and wall accessibility? The response is not one television, however 3. Check out the story

A mini narrative history of Willy Wonka’s gross chocolate river scene

by Matt Patches

Augustus Gloop falls into the chocolate river in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Image: Warner Bros. Photos

“That scene probably wasn’t OSHA approved.” Check out the story

It took me 2 years and 300 hours to beat Sekiro

by James Bareham

a collage of different scenes from Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice video game

Illustration: James Bareham/Polygon | Source images: FromSoftware/Activision

I don’t consider myself a player. When I initially revealed to a couple of skilled player good friends that I was going to play Sekiro: Shadows Pass Away Two Times, the majority of them recommended I avoid it. I didn’t listen to them. Check out the story

An examination into the absence of kissing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

by Joshua Rivera

The Avengers are surrounded.....by kiss emoji

Picture structure: Joshua Rivera/Polygon

Do the superheroes understand there are lots of factors to kiss? We ought to inform them. Check out the story

Why Assassin’s Creed Unity can’t reconstruct the Notre-Dame Cathedral

by Simone de Rochefort

Our understanding of historic precision requires significant retooling. Check out the story

Street Fighter: The Motion picture: The video game: A narrative history

by Matt Leone

Our Street Fighter history series continues with a take a look at the time Capcom copied the copycats. Check out the story

Inside the Neopets black market

by Nicole Carpenter

a yellow grundo in front of a keyboard

Image: Neopets/JumpStart

‘Black market’ gamers desire you to understand they’re not boogeymen. Check out the story

MiSTer 101: A timeless video gaming gadget to rule them all

by Christopher Grant

Illustration of game controller, cables and a MiSTer FPGA console

Illustration: Justin Volz for Polygon

If you appreciate properly playing the video games from your youth, precisely how you remember them, look no more. Check out the story

Deathloop’s huge twist is unearned and underbaked

by Maddy Myers

art showing the hero of Deathloop running away from a time vortex

Image: Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks through YouTube

The primary characters of Deathloop, Julianna and Colt, invest the video game trading bullets and quips with each other. Their chemistry was my preferred part of the video game — till Deathloop’s huge twist and downer ending left me cold. Check out the story

The Sonic Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade crash: A narrative history

By Jack Yarwood

Sonic The Hedgehog - Thanksgiving Day Parade

Picture: Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Sega of America

The notorious minute, as informed by those who existed. Check out the story

Activision Blizzard employees go out, require CEO Bobby Kotick’s resignation

by Nicole Clark and Nicole Carpenter

Activision Blizzard employees stage a walkout in the response from company leadership to a lawsuit highlighting alleged harassment, inequality

Picture: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

Staff members objected at Activision Blizzard’s workplaces and online. Check out the story

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.