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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

GameFAQs Best Year in Gaming: Round 3 & Round 4

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Also known as the quarterfinals and the semifinals.

Less than six hours remain in the first match of Round 3 of GameFAQs's Best Year in Gaming contest, and I don't know what year to pick for the first match. I guess we'll get to that discussion after the page break.

It's been a rough Round 2, coming off an easy Round 1. Round 3? Treacherous. So my write-ups will be painstaking.

Based on the...schedule, Round 3, being four matches, will go from Tuesday to the end of Friday — one match a day this time. Round 4 (semi-finals) will take place Saturday and Sunday, with Round 5's FINALS taking place on Monday. In terms of publishing schedule, that means I must attach Round 4 to this article. That makes the gratuitous picture look like this:

GameFAQs Best Year in Gaming Round 3 4 Quarterfinals Semifinals KoopaTV banner
...And then I realised that I saved it without rewriting it to be “Rounds”, so that's why the article title is “Round 3 & Round 4”.

Now you're gonna get write-ups FROM THE HEART for most of these. GameFAQs now has eight pictures for each year for eight games, but in case that ain't enough, here's a Wiki with notable games from each year. Also, as of publishing, we don't know what's in Round 4. This article will be UPDATED when we do know, and Round 4 will get write-ups at that time!

Round 3 (Quarterfinals)

1995 vs. 2001

Back in Round 4 of the 2015 GameFAQs tournament “Best. Game. Ever.”, Chrono Trigger (1995) and Super Smash Bros. Melee (2001) fought hard. Here's what I said about those two, as my write-up for why I voted for Super Smash Bros. Melee:
“Of the sixteen games remaining, here are the top two that I would be most happy with if they won the whole contest. It's a shame they're going at each other now, though. Best of luck to whichever wins!”
My favourite years of the eight remaining are 1995, 2001, and 2003. While Chrono Trigger was going to beat Super Smash Bros. Melee two years ago, Super Smash Bros. Melee fans rallied across the Internet to defeat Chrono Trigger, making a comeback. This time, however, 2001 is pretty soundly beating 1995, at around 47.5% to 52.5% — likely because 2001 was a major year for fans of EVERY gaming console brand. So I'm really voting for 1995 to make it a little more even and respectable for 1995. Plus, Yoshi's Island and Donkey Kong Country 2 are the pinnacle of my favourite game genre, and Chrono Trigger (...but not EarthBound, sorry) is the pinnacle of my other favourite game genre.

2001 has more big-name games than even 1995, but not in the stuff I respect the most. Still, 2001 is going to be talked about more in the semi-finals, where I will vote for it. I'll vote for it in the finals, too, since it's not going to be likely that 2003 will beat 1998. (Which I get to if you scroll down.)

1997 vs. 1996

It's not that I like Super Mario 64 more than Final Fantasy VII, though... that's probably correct.

1996, more than the strength of its games, has the Nintendo 64 by its side. The launch of the Nintendo 64, and 3D-perspective gaming, is a BIG THING that you shouldn't miss by looking just at game releases. That's a huge year in gaming.

Otherwise, it's hard to get excited for either of these when I voted against both years with full confidence in Round 2. Whoops.

1991 vs. 1994

In Round 2, I said “1991 just isn't meaningful to me.” What I haven't specifically mentioned is that it's when Super Mario World came out, and that's the year I looked like some orange freak obsessed with cheese. It was a bad experience all around.

1994 features things like Final Fantasy VI (featuring Kefka), Mega Man X, and Super Metroid. It also had Hotel Mario which wasn't a disaster for me since I don't really... do much there, but I did make the front door disappear to Ludwig's Thump Castle Hotel. That's sort of an impressive accomplishment. Oh, and I somehow got the power to shoot lightning from my finger.

Hotel Mario Ludwig Von Koopa boss fight battle Thump Castle lightning electricity thunder sprite
Sure, my eyes are yellow and my snout is weird, but at least my hair is blue and not white.

1998 vs. 2003

1998 is the presumptive winner of the contest, and here I am, planning to vote against it. This gets to be the last time I get to talk about 2003 for this article series, so I'm going to make it count.

I have long been of the view that the Nintendo GameCube is Nintendo's best console ever. Best games, best hardware of its time, and the best controller to this day. 2003 was the best year of the GameCube, a system of experimentation with Nintendo's best franchises. The Game Boy Advance was great, too. Every 1998 franchise had something superior that came out in 2003, or... around that. (Hey, timing can't be THAT perfect.)

For ME, 2003 was THE Best Year in Gaming, since it also marked the creation and opening of Nintendo's NSider Forums, which I joined pretty much immediately. That really... cemented everything in terms of gaming for me. ...Well, and I guess in other terms, too. Very life-changing year for me. Since I'm voting based on myself, I'm going to vote for 2003.

There's also the fact that 1998 is associated with Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue, and I regularly go on tirades against them on KoopaTV. It's also associated with a certain game that The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is much better than, and it's been unofficial KoopaTV policy that I don't actually ever talk about THAT game. Why? ...‘cause it's interesting that way, but I have no special fondness for it and a lot of fondness for The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.

2003 brings a trio of tremendously amazing racing games that are at the pinnacle of the three different kinds of racer segmentation I identified in this article. (Seriously, the graph at the bottom there is underrated and one of the best gratuitous graphs on KoopaTV. BROUGHT TO YOU BY 2003.)

Since measuring years by my appearances in games is valid, I would like to mention once again that Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga got my appearance correctly, and for the last time ever before I got permanently re-designed.

Round 4 (Semifinals)

2001 vs. 1997

As I promised, I'm supporting 2001 over 1997. 1997 is supported primarily by PlayStation games with Nintendo 64 back-up. 2001 is supported by PlayStation 2, GameCube, Nintendo 64, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, and the Xbox.

Of course, by that logic, I should've been voting for many of the later years, so of course I support 2001's all-star cast of games, such as Super Smash Bros. Melee, Paper Mario, the two The Legend of Zelda Oracle games, Pokémon Stadium 2 (which, before Generation 4 came out, I said was my favourite Pokémon game), Mario Party 3, Advance Wars, and stuff like Final Fantasy X and Halo.

1994 vs. 1998

Obviously 1998 is going to go out and win this (and then the next final round, too, but that'll get its own article). I'm still supporting 1994 over it. Now, I swear I don't HATE 1998. I just don't think of its accomplishments as highly as I do other people. Obviously, 1998 has more notable releases in its year, but 1994 has more notable releases that hold up to this very day that I would go out and want to play.

Make sure to come back here for the Round 4 write-ups! Stay tuned for the fifth and final round of the GameFAQs Best Year in Gaming, happening on Monday! (Unless Ludwig sucks at day-counting. Unlikely, but he keeps thinking May is March, if month-counting is any indication.) Feel free to try to lobby Ludwig's vote, and you can also vote for yourself every day on (Just... keep tuned to KoopaTV when you leave this site's warm embrace.)

The final match is 2001 vs. 1998.


  1. 2001 also finally gave us a Famicom Wars Series game in the West, Advance Wars.

    1. Check out the new 2001 vs. 1997 write-up in semifinals!

    2. If it was always there then I must have been too tired from baby duties to have noticed it.

    3. When I said "new" I meant "as of when I made this comment."

      1997 vs. 1996 in the quarterfinals is today and 1997 has no chance of losing it (dat 68.6 to 31.4% lead) so I went ahead and wrote 2001 vs. 1997 semifinals this morning.

  2. Okay, when it comes to the Gamecube I'll give you best controller, but best GAMES? The N64 library was far more robust in my own opinion. Ever since then, it's been handfuls of good games among massive piles of, if not bad games then pointless ones, and it's gotten worse with each new console. The Switch might be able to reverse the trend though.

    Also, this only applies to the non handheld consoles. There's been a good selection of quality games for each handheld generation at LEAST since the GBA and probably even before that--the only reason I can't comment for sure on the GBC and GB is my own memory.

    1. Well, if you count the presence of shovelware as negative points against a console, then you might not remember how much crap was on the Nintendo 64, too.

      I find it hard to think of one example, outside of Super Mario 64 > Super Mario Sunshine (and Pokémon Stadium being... much better than Pokémon Colosseum), where the Nintendo 64 version was better than the GameCube sequel, and I've been making those comparisons for well over a decade. Plus, the GameCube had franchises that didn't even exist on the Nintendo 64, notably Metroid and Fire Emblem.

      Believe me, the Switch is gonna get shovelware too. It's the easiest Nintendo platform to port to yet!

    2. I'm less concerned about how much shovelware there is and more about how much of a console's library ISN'T shovelware or otherwise bad or mediocre. Though I do admit the nostalgia lens might be playing a factor in my opinion vis a vis N64 versus Gamecube.

    3. I'll stick my snout into this biz to give my five coins worth about the N64's library of good games. Here's my own personal list of games that I not only owned, but suggested to other players who owned a N64 too! These definitely aren't listed in my favorite to least favorite or anything like that, but these are the ones that set a golden era for Nintendo in the 90's and early 2000's!
      Both Zelda games, duh- Super Mario 64, Shadows of the Empire, Donkey Country 64, Goldeneye 007, Adventure Beetle Racing, Super Smash Brothers, Super Mario Kart 64, Perfect Dark, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Jet Force Gemini, Shadowman 64, Yoshi's Island, Clay Fighter 63 and 1/3, Pilotwings 64, F-Zero X, and maybe just maybe Megaman 64 (Legends as otherwise known).

      The Gamecube though? Oh man, I could write at least 16 pages worth of good games on that system! Prime 1 and 2 were a good alternative to Halo's single player... uh, I guess you'd call it a game... I suppose... well anyways, Metroid Prime was a succulent seasoned prime cut of meat compared to the beef jerky that was other shooters on all the other systems at the time. Am I biased? YES. I am biased towards games that are still good enough for me to pick up and play over ten years later. So here's a few of those games that were on the Godcube- er Game cube!
      Smash Melee, Duh, Mario Kart Double Dash, Wind Waker, Metroid Prime 1 and 2, Eternal Darkness, Geist, Mario Sunshine, Mario Golf toadstool tour, Luigi's Mansion, Animal Crossing, The Resident Evil remake, F-Zero GX, Donkey Konga (I actually loved that game), RAMPAGE- one of the best iterations of the game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles battle nexus, and I could go on and on and on, but my fingers are getting tired.
      Also, it's just about time for dinner.
      I lean towards Gamecube too, I still have one ready to go~!

    4. I'd like to note that, in terms of nostalgia, I should, by the properties of nostalgia, be more nostalgic for the Nintendo 64. It was first vs. the GameCube, after all.

      Buuut I'm not.

      Kootie kinda covered it there, but I'd like to object to the namedrop of Yoshi's Island. It was Story, and... there's a massive difference between the two!

    5. Oh yeah story, sorry. I also sometimes call it the game with the artstyle that Little big planet ripped off, but that's just so hard to type out! :D
      Btw, did you ever get to play Rush 2 on the N64? It was a racing game kind of ahead of it's time, you should check it out!
      I still like the cutesy look and sounds of Yoshi's Story- and it always makes me crave fruit after playing it.


      ...Well, I like the PRO at the end.

      As for Rush 2, no. The only racing games I ever played on N64 were MK64 and Mickey's Speedway USA, and Star Wars Episode 1: Racer.

  3. Knowing that the users of GameFaqs are the ones being polled, it's unfortunately very unlikely that 2003 will be the victor over 1998. It would take a miracle for it to happen.

    1. GameFAQs has very unique tastes compared to other Internet sites, but I think 1998 would win basically anywhere with more than 1,000 people voting.


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