The very fine folks over at GameFAQs are going to be entering Round 2 of their new Best Year in Gaming contest. Which year between 1985 and 2016 was the best, as decided by GameFAQs-browsing gamers (which could be anyone, including me)? Well, turns out it's not 1985 or 2016.
Round 1 got rid of a lot of riff-raff. With three exceptions (RIP 2004, 2010, and 2016), GameFAQs largely voted as I voted in Round 1. This makes this round full of more... difficult decisions on my part. It's still two matches a day.
|I bet you can guess for Round 3 we'll just replace the 2 with a 3.|
The underlined years are what I'm going to vote for. Reminder that there's a reminder of the notable games released each year here, and this is going by American release dates.
1995 vs. 1987
You have a bunch of franchise-starting NES games versus Chrono Trigger, Donkey Kong Country 2, and Yoshi's Island. Believe me, I respect these franchise-starters, but they just don't hold up. The late-SNES games are still some of the best games ever made. There is an impression that 1995 is JUST Chrono Trigger (which is fearsome on its own), but that is really underrating the other games that came out in 1995. It does have great depth, at least if you like RPGs and platformers. (But that's the SNES in general, wasn't it?)
2001 vs. 2008
In a way, this is Super Smash Bros. Melee versus Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Just on THAT basis, I gotta give it to 2001.
1997 vs. 2007
I just know this is where my opinion is going to diverge from what's popular. People associate 1997 with big megatons like Final Fantasy VII and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. 2007 has notable console releases like Super Mario Galaxy and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn (at least, it's notable to ME), but it really shines with its portable gaming line-up, including Pokémon Diamond, Pokémon Pearl, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All, and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations.
2007 just affected my gaming tastes and life a lot more than 1997's releases did. You look at this website and see how much I reference Ace Attorney stuff and Pokémon (Generation 4 is my favourite!) and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. I don't talk about the stuff from 1997. Maybe I should, but I'm not a big Rare mega-fan who talks on and on about Goldeneye 007, Diddy Kong Racing, and/or Blast Corps. Hell, even Rawk, who is a big Rare mega-fan, only talks on and on about Diddy Kong Racing, but I talk on and on about 2007 stuff even harder.
2000 vs. 1996
One of the curious things about me is that I don't tell people I'm a fan of Mario games. It's sort of... assumed, since hey, I star in some of them. (None that came out in 2000 or 1996, though.) But 1996 is the year of Super Mario 64 and Super Mario RPG, and I'm not actually... a fan of either of those. In fact, I hate Super Mario RPG. I hate that some people think it's better than Paper Mario. People bash Paper Mario: Color Splash for not having enough original characters (I just reviewed Paper Mario: Color Splash two days ago after all of this time, and I lodge no such complaint against it), but Super Mario RPG has so many original characters that just don't fit the world at all and are completely forgettable.
So, my favourite game from 1996 is Kirby Super Star. That's not enough to live through 2000.
1991 vs. 2002
I probably underrated 2002 in the the round 1 article. Kingdom Hearts and Metroid Prime are big deals. I totally overlooked Animal Crossing, too, which is my bad.
1991 just isn't meaningful to me, sorry.
1994 vs. 2011
2011 is sort of here on a fluke. Definitely taking 1994 over it. I don't think I need an explanation. 1994 is going to win this match on a landslide, and we can talk more about 1994 for the round 3 article.
1998 vs. 1992
1998 has the better The Legend of Zelda game!
2003 vs. 2005
Now THIS is tough. Both 2003 and 2005 are heroic years for Nintendo systems. 2003 has The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Kirby Air Ride, Mario Kart: Double-Dash!!, and F-Zero GX. ALSO, Fire Emblem, Pokémon Sapphire and Pokémon Ruby, Advance Wars 2, and more, like Golden Sun 2.
2005? The beloved Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is the big star here, but it's supported by mighty titles like Resident Evil 4, The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, Battalion Wars, Star Fox Assault, Animal Crossing: Wild World, Mario Superstar Baseball, and Pokémon Emerald.
Both of those are incomplete lists. Both years are very heavy-hitting. Both are immeasurable in impact on the industry, and more importantly, on myself.
But, I must vote. I'll pick 2003, but you can easily change my mind. It comes down to The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker being my absolute favourite The Legend of Zelda game, and Kirby Air Ride being my favourite Kirby game, two major claims to fame. Yet, Path of Radiance is my favourite Fire Emblem game and Mario Superstar Baseball is my favourite Mario spin-off game. Those are lesser claims to fame.
Yet what of Ace Attorney? ARGH. This vote sucks! Well, whichever wins, I'm going to vote for it over 1998 in Round 3!
If you'd like to remark on Ludwig's tastes, or try to lobby his vote, feel free to try to do so in the comments section. He'll be referring to this article throughout Round 2, which will begin Friday at 12 AM and end Monday at 11:59 PM, according to his calculations. That probably means he'll need to either make these analyses worthwhile, or bunch up the rounds. By the way, Friday is KoopaTV's fourth anniversary...
Click here for Round 3 voting information! Plus, Round 4 too!