Games of the Year 1980-2016

goty-19080-2016-1This article is an opinion piece and should be treated as such. The views expressed within are mine, and mine alone.
Since finishing my article about Ryu all the way back in July, I’ve been hard at work on a new article, an art project of sorts that I thought would be perfect to share with my friends here at Source Gaming. One that I hope will raise some interesting discussion, and hopefully inspire more people to reciprocate. My Games of the Year from 1980 to 2016.

I can’t take credit for the idea, as my twitter friend @thekhaos is the originator of this. After I witnessed the Game of the Year doodles he posted to his twitter page, it really got me thinking. What resulted was an extremely enjoyable exercise, I actually learned a lot about the kinds of games I enjoyed above others. Most importantly I had great deal of fun revisiting these memories.

Please note that the opinions found in this article are mine alone, and that the choices made were of ‘favourites’, which can often differ from quality. It’s personal. I did not allocate ‘rules’, but did have some guidelines:
-From the year of my birth (1992) onwards, all games were chosen based on the releases they had in my own region (England).
-If multiple games were equally strong contenders for the spot of Game of the Year, but one of those games already had a game from its series in the list, then the unique IP got the nod. I did not limit it to one-per franchise though.
-Rereleases and remakes were generally not considered, though there is an exception (2015).

If you’d prefer to see all the pictures together, you can see them on my DeviantArt page. Please also be sure to check out my brother’s own Game of the Year sister project, done in the exact same style as mine.

A huge amount of time, love and effort went into this (well over 100 new sprites!), so I’d like to thank you in advance for allowing me to share these with you. For brevity’s sake, I have spoiler tagged the anecdotes beneath each game.


Pac-Man -Namco
Picture Depicts:
Pac-Man fleeing a Ghost
Genre: Maze

Spoiler


Donkey Kong – Nintendo

Picture Depicts: Mario (then known as Jumpman) jumping a barrel thrown by Donkey Kong. 100 Points!
Genre: 2D Platformer

Spoiler


Q*bert – Gottlieb
Picture Depicts: Q*bert and Coily
Genre:
Puzzle

Spoiler


Mario Bros. – Nintendo
Picture Depicts: Mario hitting the POW block!
Genre: 2D Platformer

Spoiler


Duck Hunt – Nintendo
Picture Depicts: The Duck Hunt Dog famously taunting the player for missing
Genre: Light Gun Shooter

Spoiler


Super Mario Bros. – Nintendo
Picture Depicts:
Mario in level 1-1, and the Goombas
Genre: 2D Platformer

Spoiler


Rampage – Bally Midway
Picture Depicts:
George the Giant Gorilla terrorising a civilian
Genre: Action

Spoiler


Double Dragon – Technōs Japan
Picture Depicts: Jimmy lee squaring off with Abobo
Genre: Beat-Em-Up

Spoiler


Altered Beast – SEGA
Picture Depicts: Werewolves on stage 1
Genre: Beat-Em-Up

Spoiler


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Konami
Picture Depicts:
Leonardo hacking and slashing some Foot-Bots
Genre:
Beat-Em-Up

Spoiler


Snake, Rattle ’n’ Roll – Rare Ltd.
Picture Depicts:
Rattle & Roll eating some Nibbley Pibbleys
Genre: Isometric 2D Platformer

Spoiler


Three Wonders – Capcom.
Picture Depicts: Lou & Siva, with Firestorm, Corkscrew and Chili taking on the level one boss in Midnight Wanderers, Balgoss
Genre:
Platformer, Shoot-‘Em-Up & Puzzle

Spoiler


X-Men – Konami
Picture Depicts:
Cyclops & Dazzler, against final boss Magneto
Genre: Beat-Em-Up

Spoiler


Zombies Ate My Neighbours – LucasArts
Picture Depicts:
Zeke & Julie in level 1: Zombie Panic!
Genre: Run & Gun

Spoiler


WWF RAW – LJN
Picture Depicts: Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels
Genre: Sports-Based Fighting

Spoiler


Ristar – SEGA
Picture Depicts:
Ristar, the shooting star
Genre: 2D Platformer

Spoiler


Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble – Rare Ltd.
Picture Depicts:
Kiddy Kong riding Ellie the Elephant, and Dixie Kong
Genre: 2D Platformer

Spoiler


Diddy Kong Racing – Rare Ltd.
Picture Depicts: Diddy Kong, Banjo, Conker, Bumper and Timber racing
Genre: Racing

Spoiler


Banjo-Kazooie – Rare Ltd.
Picture Depicts:
Banjo & Kazooie collecting a Jiggy in Mumbo’s Mountain
Genre: 3D Platformer

Spoiler


Pokemon Red/Blue – Game Freak
Picture Depicts
: Pokemon Trainer Red with his Charmander vs. Pokemon Trainer Blue with his Squirtle
Genre: RPG

Spoiler


Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes – Capcom
Picture Depicts:
Spider-Man vs. Felicia
Genre: Fighting

Spoiler


Conker’s Bad Fur Day – Rare Ltd.
Picture Depicts: Conker bouncing on the Sunflower’s big breasts
Genre:
3D Platformer

Spoiler


Luigi’s Mansion – Nintendo
Picture Depicts:
Luigi in Baby Chauncey’s bedroom
Genre: Action-Adventure

Spoiler


The Simpsons: Hit & Run – Radical Entertainment
Picture Depicts:
Homer Simpson’s reckless driving
Genre: Open World Action-Adventure

Spoiler


Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door – Intelligent Systems
Picture Depicts:
 Paper Mario and Yoshi vs. Rawk Hawk
Genre: RPG

Spoiler


Resident Evil 4 – Capcom
Picture Depicts:
Leon S. Kennedy and Ashley Graham travelling through Salazar’s castle
Genre: 3rd Person Shooter/Survival Horror

Spoiler


Dead Rising – Capcom
Picture Depicts:
Frank West fighting zombies with his big trademark baseball bat
Genre: Sandbox/Survival Horror

Spoiler


Super Mario Galaxy – Nintendo
Picture Depicts: Bee Mario in Beach Bowl Galaxy
Genre: 3D Platformer

Spoiler


Super Smash Bros. Brawl – Nintendo
Picture Depicts: Wolf, Sonic, Ivysaur and Olimar reaching for a Smash Ball
Genre: Fighting/Party

Spoiler


Ghostbusters: The Video Game – Terminal Reality
Picture Depicts:
The Ghosbusters! Ray, Winston, Egon and Venkman
Genre:
Third Person Shooter

Spoiler


Red Dead Redemption – Rockstar
Picture Depicts:
John Marsten defending his home ranch
Genre: Open-World/Third Person Shooter

Spoiler


Rayman Origins – Ubisoft
Picture Depicts: Rayman and Globox
Genre: 2D Platformer

Spoiler


Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion – Dreamrift
Picture Depicts:
Mickey, with his paintbrush and Oswald!
Genre:
2D Platformer

Spoiler


Disney Infinity – Avalanche Studios
Picture Depicts:
Sulley, Jack Sparrow (Crystal) & Mr. Incredible (Power Disc)
Genre:
Toys To Life

Spoiler


South Park: The Stick of Truth – Obsidian Entertainment
Picture Depicts: Douchebag (avatar) deciding between joining Cartman (KKK) or Kyle (Elves)
Genre: RPG

Spoiler


Xenoblade Chronicles – Monolithsoft
Picture Depicts:
Shulk, Reyn and Riki in Gaur Plains
Genre: RPG

Spoiler


Star Fox Zero – Nintendo/Platinum Games
Picture Depicts:
Fox McCloud in his Arwing
Genre:
On Rails Shooter

Spoiler

Note:
I already have a pretty good idea of what the 2017 Game of the Year will be!

Nintendo Network SB Icon Twitter icon xbox live icon

What are your favourite ‘Games Of The Year’?  Sound off in the comments and drop us a tweet on twitter @MLFoxwell, and @AllSourceGaming.

Latest posts by TheAnvil (see all)

Share this!

9 comments

  1. First: that sprite art… IMPRESSIVE to say the least.

    One of the first games I ever owned (as a 3/4 year old kid) (and besides SMB/DuckHunt) was “TNMT 2: The arcade game” for the NES, and, my god, what a wonderful game. And my surprise were gigantic when I saw that arcade machine for the first time in a trip to the beach, I still remember teaming up with my dad and 2 uncles to play and beat it in front of a small crowd of people…

    Diddy Kong racing was my first N64 game, and it’s a jewel, way better than Mario Kart 64 because of the adventure mode that increased the difficulty of the game with every world, I took me at least 6 years to complete it, but those were great years.

    Then Banjo Kazooie, no words needed, beautiful game.

    The mornings waiting for the SSBB Dojo where my first interaction with hype, it was crazy, as me and my friends send each other SMS to talk about the game before it launched… also, if someone doesn’t like Brawl, it’s all right, not everybody understand the significance of the first fight between Mario and Sonic.

    great list of fantastic best sellers and unappreciated gems!

  2. Quite an interesting project. I’d probably have a hard time making a list like this, as I’d have to take a good look at my game collection. Off the top of my head, I can say that Xenoblade Chronicles X was my favorite game of 2015, but that’s about it.

    “Made by Team Sonic, Ristar is in my opinion a far better gameplay experience than any Sonic game.”

    Dude. Them’s fightin’ words! I like Ristar a lot, but I will never say that it’s superior to the entire Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. That’s an extremely bold and presumptuous claim. You not giving any reasons as to why you think this gives me the impression that you either haven’t played a good Sonic game or are on the anti-Sonic bandwagon. I’d love it if you’d share your reasoning behind Ristar being far better than any Sonic game.

    1. It wasn’t my intention to disparage Sonic games with that line. I was actually strictly speaking in terms of the way the game is played. Sonic somewhat sacrifices precision for speed, and sometimes it isn’t to its benefit. Ristar was more precise, and handled better than Sonic games from the same time.

      1. Thanks for the clarification. Ristar definitely uses its slow pace in order to have the player be precise, which would obviously not work well in a Sonic game. The only Sonic game I can think of that demands precision platforming is Sonic 1, which contributed to the game’s higher difficulty when coupled with loose, momentum-based (albeit not quite as fast as later games) control.

  3. That’s awesome Hit & Run snuck onto your list. I always thought people would discredit me as a “gamer” if they knew it would make my top ten games.

    Dead Rising is also on my top ten list. It’s kind of funny; I’ve never even felt the slightest inclination to try any of those games but the original… maybe I just know.

    (You have Diddy Kong Racing in the spoiler for DKC3 btw)

    1. Hit and Run was one of those games that defined my childhood. I really enjoyed Road Rage too, and despite scathing reviews; Simpsons Wrestling.

      If you like the first Dead Rising, I’d definitely recommend trying out Dead Rising 2 (as well as the Case West/Case Zero DLC games), they are worthy sequels to the first I’d say. It’s not until Dead Rising 3 that they shift the tone away from what really defined it.

      1. Lol I played Wrestling too, but at the time I didn’t know it was a bad game. It’s been so long I don’t even know what I would make of it today, but PS1 was magic in a bottle.

        I even played the more critically-panned Skateboarding and managed to get some enjoyment out of it (I mean, we had to get something else when we bought a PS2 just for Kingdom Hearts) and had quite the bout with Virtual Bart when I was really young, but Hit & Run is really the lone pillar of great Simpsons games, while Road Rage and ’07’s The Simpsons Game were stellar.

        1. Heh, I was so disappointed when I couldn’t get my hands on Simpsons Skateboarding (PS2 exclusive).

          Bart vs. The Space Mutants on the NES was a pretty good game, albeit very difficult. I’d say that the Konami Simpsons Arcade game is also extremely excellent!

  4. Dang, that’s a lot of impressive spritework there!

    There’s a lot of games here I love (Red Dead Redemption, Simpsons: Hit and Run), a lot I haven’t played (Banjo-Kazooie, Diddy Kong Racing), and only a few I haven’t heard of (Snake, Rattle, n’ Roll, Three Wonders). This list must’ve taken a long time to put together, and it does say quite a bit about your varied taste as a gamer. I don’t think I could put together a list like this if I tried.

    Also, I didn’t know we were both born in the same year, so that’s something.

Leave a comment below!