Ninja Refinery’s Best of 2021

I’ll keep this relatively short, because all the work is done in the listing, reasoning and plotting-out of the best games and coffees that have been enjoyed over at HQ.

The best of 2021 is more about the best things that have been enjoyed throughout the year, not the best releases of the year, as per usual “Game of the Year” lists. I can’t play every game, I don’t want to be chasing the latest releases, and well……the best stuff I’ve played this year isn’t necessarily from this year.

Two categories. “Best Game” and “Best Coffee” nominees are listed, and one runner up is determined as a close 2nd to the eventual winner. Most importantly, though, 2021 has been great for the site. Great games, great coffee and some real nice, gradual wins along the way. I’ll not dwell on that, there’s a blog up already!

Here we go, best game & best coffee of 2021.

Best Game of 2021

I think I’ve managed to commit way way more time than I initially expected to this year, and I’ve used it pretty wisely if you ask me.

The biggest chunks of time went to the following:

Add that to a short list of “Quick looks” (a new format I’ve been trying out) with games like:

I’ll cut to the chase on this one. I’ve had some really strong contenders. The biggest of them being Ghost of Tsushima, Skyward Sword, Monster Hunter: Rise and Death Stranding. I’ve spent countless hours in all of them and loved them all for a whole host of reasons.

I’ve come to the conclusion that whilst Death Stranding had the most significant impact on me, and was a full-on experience. It narrowly misses out to Monster Hunter: Rise.

I love the Monster Hunter series, and it’s just been wild to be able to play it whenever I want, wherever I want on the Nintendo Switch. Looking at stats, it’s my most played game of the year and with the post-game High-Rank stuff, there’s always so much to do.

Honourable mention to Cyberpunk 2077 that totally blew my expectations out of the water, and to Skyward Sword for being a belter of a Zelda game. But all the fin and experiences aside, Monster Hunter: Rise tops everything for enjoyment all in all.

2021 Game of the Year: Monster Hunter: Rise

2021 Winner!

Best coffee of 2021

This is a much harder category to choose, especially when my coffee reviews have been meagre this year. 2021 has been a year of coffee for me and I’ve been honing-in my espresso making, managing my grind, and exploring a whole spectrum of way to make the perfect brew.

To make the perfect brew, you need good beans. Good beans well roasted and well shipped and packaged.

I’m still short of a few reviews that haven’t been finished off, and I’ll be honest I’m disappointed with my coffee-based output. There was plenty going on, though. My 2021 coffee dedication has been as intense as the games above. Hours of tasting, grinding, adjusting and tweaking.

Days of drinking and researching bean origins, wash processes and roasters. 2021 may have seen minimal coffee output here, but I promise it’s not just fallen to the wayside (ask my wife about the coffee grounds everywhere…..)

All this is to say that I’ve had some terrible coffees this year (the Amazon Happy Belly beans are not good!), but I’ve had a lot of excellent ones, too.

The most notable are:

The Focusd coffee was a total revelation to me for a lot of reasons. I don’t generally go for a light roast, I expected a “Gaming coffee” company to be a gimmick, and it just blew me away. I’ve not seen much activity from Crackd as of late, which is a concern, but I hope they keep doing what they do!

Shop House Coffee are incredibly locally to me, which I love, and their Sweet Sumatra was a joy. Incredibly versatile in terms of brew method, and just a consistent, wonderful cup of coffee.

To me, the answer is pretty obvious, for the sake of working on this niche of coffee and gaming, alone. I think Crackd have the edge. Doing something different, doing it well and defying expectations. They hit my favourite coffee of 2021!

2021 Coffee of the Year: Crackd Coffee – Focusd

2021 coffee winner

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