Game of the Year! Every Year…

GOTY

So that Well Red Mage sure is a nice chap!  He and his team are constantly putting out substantial content both in written and audio form.  Maybe go check their stuff out!  Recently they posted a list of one game for every year they’d been alive.  I toyed with the idea of not doing this because it seemed like actual work.  Then I decided that I have no qualms with copying someone else’s idea and knuckled down to writing and looking at historical releases!  So here is the definitive list of games from 1983 to 2018.  None of them are wrong.

1983 – Mario Bros.

Not many games came out this year that I would have played, having limited motor control mand all.  But looking at the release lists for the year, I have played the arcade version of Mario Bros. in a couple of places over the years.  It does not hold up well by today’s standards.

1984 – Marble Madness

Marble Madness
Oh god, the panic sweat’s setting in already!

I still love this game.  And also hate it.  I think I only ever finished it once because it’s so damn hard at times.  But it’s so easy to start another game and go again, slightly improving.  It’s a marble themed rogue-like.  Again, I didn’t play it at the time.  I was 1.

1985 – Space Harrier

I had to pick this out as it’s the only game I think I’ve played from the year, and even then it was only via Shenmue.

1986 – The Legend of Zelda

I know it’s the Japanese release, but I’m still counting it!  I still have the cartridge for this, although I didn’t get it until I was 8.  That overworld theme still gives me shivers.  There’s no faulting it as it still holds up well.

1987 – Operation Wolf

Getting a bit trickier here as I struggled to decide between this and Maniac Mansion.  It came down to which game would I want to play right now, and you can’t beat a light gun game.

1988 – Super Mario Bros. 2

No you shut up!  I like this regardless of whether or not it’s a reskin of another game.  It’s quirky, and introduced some now iconic characters to the Mario universe.  Plus that Birdo…

1989 – Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles (1989)

Yes, the UK version.  I’m just so British.  I know it’s flawed and it’s insanely hard at various points, but I played this game so much.  Donatello is my personal half-shell hero.  Raphael sucks.

1990 – Super Mario Bros. 3

I think this was the year I got my first console in the form of a NES.  The fact that Mario 3 is often regarded as one of the greatest games ever made makes it a sure bet for 1990.  It still plays brilliantly too.

1991 – Mega Man 4

Yes it’s the Japanese release but I’m still bcounting it because I can.  This was my first Mega Man game, so it has to be my favourite (it’s the law).  The robot masters were silly but I always enjoyed going back to play it again.  The music from Toad Man’s (seriously…Toad Man?) stage was quite memorable.

1992 – Dune II

Pretty much the first modern RTS.  Near on every RTS since owes something to Dune 2.  Base building, move & attack, resource management, it was a complete package.  With 3 factions to play as, there was a fair bit to do (each one had unique units) over the course of the campaigns.  Ordos forever!

1993 – X-Wing

X-Wing 1993
Space combat games seem to be out of fashion, but I’d love to see a return to this sort of Star Wars game.

My sister got this for Christmas for our first proper PC.  I don’t think she played it nearly half as much as I did.  And thus my love affair with space sims was born.  Consider that this is the year that Doom, Day of the Tentacle, Syndicate, Aladdin, Sam & Max, and Mega Man X came out and you’ve got a recipe for one of history’s most influential gaming years.

1994 – UFO: Enemy Unknown

I started by writing about how much I love Sonic 3.  But this.  This was one of my favourite games for a long, long time.  Hard as all hell, with a massive campaign, that you could lose over and over again before figuring out how to win (on the easiest setting obviously).  I have this on Steam and like to dip back into the classic from time to time.

1995 – Command & Conquer

It was tough to choose between this and Warcraft 2.  I played the demo for this over and over again before eventually getting the full game.  A lot of people preferred the Red Alert series, but I was always hooked on the near future military aspect.  All hail NOD!

1996 – Civilisation 2

Literally nothing else needed to exist once I started on this.  I think my sister and I competed for who got to use the computer so we could play this on it.

1997 – Quake 2

Q3
Q2DM3 still has a special place in my heart.

Christ what a year for games.  There was a lot to love here, but I spent so much time playing Quake 2 both online and off.  The maps, the mods, the weapons.  I know it was a fair bit slower than a lot of other online shooters, but I enjoyed this one the most, and the most often.

1998 – Half-Life

How can you select just one game from one of the most significant years in gaming?  With great difficulty.  It was between Half-Life and Metal Gear Solid in the end, and it came down to the fact that I played the PC version of MGS which didn’t work quite as well as the console version (swapping ports when playing on a keyboard was a pain).  Half-life was quite a revelation for me in terms of first person shooters at the time.  The story it told without telling you anything was something I hadn’t seem before and I played this repeatedly to find out more.  What a game.

1999 – X-Wing: Alliance

There was a full on campaign that ended with you flying through the Death Star at the end of Return of the Jedi.  There was a multiplayer suite with tons of customisation (that I was also pretty good at by all accounts).  There was an incredibly solid space combat system in place that was as complicated as you needed it to be.  Whilst everyone was still talking about how great Rogue Squadron was, I was playing the real Star Wars ship combat experience.

2000 – Crazy Taxi

Ya Ya Ya Ya Ya!  There are tons of games I could pick this year (overlooking Skies of Arcadia hurts me deeply), but I don’t think I played any nearly as much as Crazy Taxi.  I credit my lowest GCSE exam result to this game arriving in the post the day before my Physics exam.

2001 – Baldur’s Gate 2

My favourite game of all time.  Enough said.

2002 – Gitaroo Man

Gitaroo Man logo
I miss you U1…

The best rhythm game ever.  Enough said. In fact, no!  That isn’t enough!  This game was utterly insane!  A pet that turns out to be a robot dog that gives you a guitar that turns you into a musical superhero that fights J-Pop UFOs with the power of rock?!  HOW IS THIS NOT THE BEST GAME OF ALL TIME?!  Plus the soundtrack was incredible and varied.  I even imported the music CD so I could keep it forever.  This needs to make a come back some day.  And yes, I picked this over Wind Waker.

2003 – Warcraft III: Thr Frozen Throne

An expansion pack?  Yes!  One of the best, in fact.  You take the fantastically well made Warcraft 3, along with its campaign, then add more campaign, more multiplayer, more awesome.  I flat out sucked at the multplayer, but there were so many mods that it meant there was always something I could access.

2004 – Half-Life 2

Obsiously.

2005 – Trauma Center

I’ve played very few games from 2005 it would seem, so I picked one that stood out to me.  This was a really cool concept for a game that made great use of the DS touch screen.

2006 – Guitar Hero 2

Yep, I sure do love those rhythm games.  So much so that I’d throw money at plastic toys to play them.  They’re still fun to play to this day.  It was hard to pick this over Gears of War to be honest though.

2007 – World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade

Yes, it’s another expansion.  Yes, it was brilliant.  Leaving Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms to venture into another dimension was great.  I missed the initial launch of WoW, so seeing everyone crowding around the Dark Portal to venture into a new world at midnight was like launch day for me.  The new lands were varied and had plenty of pig arse collection quests, along with some great new instances.

2008 – Dead Space

Before EA managed started milking yet another franchise, they allowed one of their teams to create somthing that could be considered a risk.  A story driven, sci-fi survival horror game that managed to be scary.  The birth and death of this franchise happened over the course of only a few years, but this is where it started, and it was one hell of a start.

2009 – Batman: Arkham Asylum

The begining of the Arkham series is still, in my opinion, the best.  Open world, but only in the same way a Metroid-vania game is, it locked off areas until you had the kit you needed, and each area of the asylum had puzzles and confrontations based on that equipment.  It also used the strike and counter combat system so well that it became known as the Arkham combat system for years to come.

2010 – Alan Wake

507604-alan-wake-xbox-360-screenshot-after-taking-the-last-enemy
I think it was Energizer batteries that kept turning up in this game.  They wouldn’t power your torch for more than 5 minutes though…

I loved this.  I still love this.  I own it 3 times.  The atmosphere is just fantastic, and that scene through the lumber mill still creeps me out.  Yes, the story is convoluted and Alan himself is bland, but there’s something about it that comes together for me as a great package.  Now if only there was a proper sequel.

2011 – Dark Souls

Mmmmm.  Yes, give me more Dark Souls.  A Switch remaster?  I’ll take that.

2012 – XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Perfection.  Then the Enemy Within expansion came out and perfection was perfected.

2013 – Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Some genuinely significant releases this year.  And I didn’t play most of them.  But I did play the one with the stupidest name.  And by god was it worth every second.  Platinum Games put together  a tough-as-nail a Metal Gear hack n’ slash game featuring a cyborg ninja, a super powered congressman, constant metal music, and NANOMACHINES, SON!  This is the best game.

2014 – Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls

Diablo III
Another mass of enemies to murder in the face.  Another day at the office.

The Ultimate Evil version of Diablo 3 launched this year, and I still play it now because it’s great.  More content constantly gets released so it’s forever fresh!

2015 – Bloodborne

Souls plus!  Basically extra fast Dark Souls in a gothic European environment is pretty much everything I could ask for.  The design of everything in this game is right up my street, with Lovecraftian monsters, brutal looking weapons, and twisted environments all wrapped up with a bizarre story (that, be honest, you had to look up).  I’d love a sequel to this.

2016 – DOOM

It was a hard choice between this and Inside when I did my game of the year for 2016.  I went for this because it’s the one I’m most ready to go back to at any time.  It’s insanely good.  Fast, brutal, and a throwback to games where movement was more important than hiding behind a wall until the bullet wounds got better.  Great music, great weapons, and surprisingly good characterisation for a silent protagonist (every interaction he has with another character boilsdown to himgiving absolutely zero shits).  One of history’s greatest reboots.

2017 – Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey logo

Another hard one here.  It was either this or Nier Automata and Iagain went with the one I’m most ready to play again.  Mario Odyssey is basically distilled joy.  There were few moments in which I wasn’t grinning whilst playing this, right up to the final boss encounter in the main story.  And then there’s so much content to explore after that.  A genuinely wonderful game.

2018 – Darkest Dungeon

Yes it’s a re-release.  But it’s on Switch so I’m damn well counting it.  That and the fact that I’ve only played a couple of releases from this year.  Darkest Dungeon is brilliant.  It’s tough but fair, with an art style and theme that really works for me.  The theme works really well, as the idea of Eldrich horrors driving heroes to madness makes a great deal of sense.  I still haven’t finished it after many hours and deaths of powerful heroes.  But I will persevere!

And that’s it.  Many, many years of existence summed up in a number of entertainment products.  That may sound a little sad, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  What about your games?  What would you assign to each year of your life so far?  Are there some years that are tougher than others?  Tell me I’m wrong to include C&C over Warcraft 2!

Oh hi!  I see you made it to the end of the post.  Well done you for surviving through all that nonsense! I hate to ask, but there’s a charity event going on in the UK in a few weeks called Gameblast that raises money for the charity Special Effect.  Maybe you’d like to donate to them.  I’d be absolutely humbled if you were to do so, and I bet you’d feel great about yourself too!  Thanks for taking a look.

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34 thoughts on “Game of the Year! Every Year…”

  1. Gah! You reminded me I’m working on this, too! I just did my biweekly update and completely forgot I was working on this, because I don’t have an open draft, only stuff in my notes. 1997 was indeed a year for great games 😉 I was worried about the years from 1980-1985 (I’m still the reigning old head of the blogger crew yaassss!), but I was able to find some decent titles. Once the mid-eighties came around, it was a breeze, and the 90s are the freaking golden age of gaming. Even the 00’s (which I need to work on next) should be a breeze. I’m more worried about missing potential picks then finding things now.

    I JUST finished Mario Odyssey yesterday! I’m so happy I now know what’s going to happen with those weird metal blocks scattered across the kingdoms. I’m still in the Mushroom Kingdom trying to collect enough moons to move on, and I just started watching an LP of the game. I missed so many moons…there are a ton in the Cascade Kingdom and the Sand Kingdom that I either never found or didn’t have the skills to obtain. I’m excited for what 2018 will bring!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that’s the point with Mario: once you’ve finished the story you head back to grab as much as you want to. It’s rare enough for me to do that once I’ve finished a game so it kind of speaks volumes to the quality of the game!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I couldn’t agree more. That game has more than paid for itself. I was telling a coworker about it today, because he hasn’t gotten it yet. It’s so forgiving like if you’re not so great at the 3D platforming *ahem* you just lose 10 coins and aren’t knocked back a million miles. I wonder if Nintendo would ever consider a DLC for it. I mean I don’t think they NEED one at the moment, but it would be interesting if they had one that added some more worlds. I’d pay for that since it would be literally additional content and you’re not being forced to pay to play the main story line.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Please Nintendo throw more free shit! I hope they add more worlds. I’d even be willing to pay for more worlds. While I don’t think it was that horrible, one of the major complaints was the game wasn’t long enough. For how much was in each kingdom, I didn’t agree, but I wouldn’t complain if there was more to explore.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I felt the length was just right. There were a good number of worlds that had plenty to explore. Some of them were a bit on the small side and had potential that wasn’t explored (Ruined Kingdom anyone?). Who knows what they’ll do with it though.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. The Ruined Kingdom was so freaking out of place in a Mario game. Like…it actually creeped me out a lot and was the only kingdom to do that. The Let’s Player I’m watching says it reminds him of Dark Souls. Where the hell did Bowser even find an actual dragon?? If you go back up there after you’ve defeated him, the eyes follow you. #nope

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yes! That’s exactly what I said when I got to it. It’s out of place but that just makes it more interesting. After beating the dragon, why couldn’t we go down into the tower to find something inside?

        Liked by 1 person

      6. It really does. It’s probably one of the darkest things I’ve seen in a Mario game, though I still think Thousand Year Door owns the prize on that with what the final boss does. I’m surprised there’s not more hubbub on the internet about that o.O

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Really cool list! I should definitely do a post like this at some point. It’s really cool to see how many solid titles there are for each year. I’d say that it especially gets hard nowadays with each year typically having such a solid amount. Would you say that Wikipedia is a good source for looking up each year for games or did you have to do a lot of research?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I was just more worried about potentially missing a game, but Wikipedia’s list will likely have all of the big ones anyway. Like you said, no big deal if I miss one I suppose. I’ll definitely start working on it!

        Liked by 1 person

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