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Monday, January 11, 2021

KoopaTV's GOTY 2020 Awards!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Game of THAT Year 2020... and other categories.

You have been trying to influence KoopaTV's staff all weekend since we published our Game of THAT Year 2020 nominations, plus other categories. And we have been debating them all weekend... and today, right up until this was published. You can imagine how much work that forces on me, since I have to write things for every category, but the categories aren't decided until late...

Anyway, 2020 really sucked, for a variety of reasons. One of them is that a lot of the videogames that we played during the year were released in other years. 2020 was a backlog-clearing year. That has big implications for how we approached the Game of THAT Year 2020 award.

Fortunately, most of the awards aren't going to videogames, but are going to ourselves—stand-out KoopaTV articles. While game developers slowed down in 2020, we kept going at the same pace as always, so there's a lot of content!

Videogame-related Awards for 2020

Best New Character

You might consider 2020—a year with lots of remakes and remasters—to be light on brand-new characters. And you'd be right. But don't let that stop you from appreciating Wilbur, the plane operator for Dodo Airlines from Animal Crossing: New Horizons. I mean, we like avians. And we like airplanes. BIG improvement over the yucky train service from other Animal Crossing games.

Wilbur also communicates in multiple very interesting speech patterns, as opposed to his desk receptionist brother, Orville. That makes him always interesting to get a soundbite from.

Animal Crossing New Horizons Wilbur dialogue November Oscar Whisker bellbottom jazz stovetop pocketbook
Between the NATO Phonetic Alphabet and the bellbottoms and stovetops, Wilbur is mysterious, useful, and... a good flight rep!
(Screengrabs from Trophygamers)

Best OST

Congratulations to Paper Mario: The Origami King for its award-winning original soundtrack! There's a ton of music in it (see length of embedded entire soundtrack below, which will obviously get more and more spoiler-y as you proceed), and it's wonderful and excellent, tackling many genres you may not expect from a game of its franchise.

Special shout-outs to The Origami King having the best battle themes in the series, not only having different themes based on your location in the game (more frequent changes than one theme-per-chapter), but the boss themes are also fantastic. But if you asked me my favourite song in the game, it would be an area theme, Shogun Studios. It's more of a “bop” than even Driftveil City from Pokémon Black/Pokémon White, and according to the following video's comments section, it's apparently optional to hear this song altogether. Obviously, I stuck around Shogun Studios after the story said it's time to move onto other places, and I'm glad:

I can and already did listen to this song on loop for an entire day. Maybe you want to do that as you read the rest of our awards:

Game of THAT Year 2020

It was a fierce battle, but after some agreements and compromises, the KoopaTV staff decided on giving Game of THAT Year 2020 to... Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition! Reasons for why the original Xenoblade Chronicles is a modern classic can be found here, but the Definitive Edition improves on it further with brilliant visuals (including relaxing mountaintops, if you couldn't find enough comfort among the relaxing pages of KoopaTV this year) and better usability (cleaner user interface, improved sidequest tracking) compared to the base game. Plus, it was a nominee for best OST, which means that its remixed soundtracks are also amazing, like the first game's. In addition, the Definitive Edition added the Xenoblade Chronicles: Future Connected epilogue, which also has its own set of music, and revolves around Melia and cute Nopons.

KoopaTV-related awards for 2020

Best KoopaTV Guest Article Contributor/Best Guest Commentary or Best Guest Art Article

Surprising absolutely no one, Momo's cute Wooloo drawing won KoopaTV's Best Guest contribution article, making Momo KoopaTV's best Guest article contributor for 2020! Congratulations! Everyone reading this should click that hyperlink, look at the adorable Wooloo (to the sounds of Paper Mario: The Origami King from above?), and then we can continue on to the rest of the awards.

Best KoopaTV Review

I wrote FOUR reviews in 2020, the most we've seen on the site in any given year since 2016. Reviews are very uncommon because they take a lot of effort to produce. You're basically deconstructing a whole game (...well, not everything reviewed was a whole game, but...), which is packed with a bunch of overlapping systems. You really gotta think critically.

The Best KoopaTV Review of 2020 is Game Review: Calculation Castle: Greco's Ghostly Challenges. Maybe I put the most amount of effort into that review because it's the only free game code(s) that KoopaTV has gotten from a game publisher in our history. With that said, I was as critical of Calculation Castle: Greco's Ghostly Challenge "Division" as I saw necessary. Even if you don't care about edutainment games for small children, it's the best review published on KoopaTV in 2020, going over all of the aspects of the game and how they work (or don't work) together.

Best KoopaTV Reaction Log

Kamek and I brought you all the best KoopaTV Reaction Log of 2020: the Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary Direct! You can amuse yourself as we go through the 16-minute Direct, recalling (and sometimes misremembering) the many years of (personal) experience we have with the Super Mario franchise. Plus, there's some delicious interactions, like Kamek thinking there's no way that the Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection could be more than $40. ...And his reaction that it's exploitative when I tell him it's $60. (But then he went and bought it ANYWAY.)

In case you're wondering, Kamek still hasn't talked to me about how unread emails are a necessary evil, possibly because my prompts to get him to open up about that are themselves unopened.

Best KoopaTV Artistic Corner Contribution

Our staff had two paths we could've taken for our 2020 Best KoopaTV Artistic Corner Contribution winner: Creepy art, or cuddly art. We chose the cuddly approach, so the winner of the award goes to Ludwig Von Koopa's Holiday at the Moomoo Milk Bar! Let me tell you, it was a very nice holiday. I haven't gone back and used the bottle or plate for anything (but I look at the Miltank sign all of the time), but I still consider it worth the money. 500 Poké.

If we get more articles like this, maybe people will start to think KoopaTV is a wholesome website. ...And then we give them the red pill:

Best KoopaTV Enlightenment Movement Article

The real purpose of KoopaTV, or why Koopa Kingdom has been investing resources and people into the project, is to convince the universe that we're great, and those Mario Bros. are evil. In an ideal scenario, convincing people of THE TRUTH shouldn't be so hard, but since folks are so ingrained in their false way of thinking, we got to constantly make the effort.

The winner of the 2020 Best KoopaTV Enlightenment Movement Article award goes to... Super Mario's LEGO Debut: Teaching Kids to Murder! (LEGO) Super Mario's evil is fully encapsulated in that article, between killing innocents for cash and convincing kids that he's their best friend... and then they should go kill things too. And kids respond to that sort of messaging, especially when Nintendo executives, as quoted in that article, keep reinforcing ideas like Mario is “a real friend to children[.]”

If you think Mario is a moral guy, read through that article, and comment what you think. Your mind will change.

Best KoopaTV Fitness Log

The KoopaTV Fitness Logs are some of the most underrated materials published on KoopaTV. Except by search engines. They love those, because many people are still looking up Ring Fit Adventure content, and KoopaTV has the most detailed accounts of Ring Fit Adventure in existence. Because it's all in text, they're a lot easier to go through than a Let's Play, but they have the same (or vastly superior) irreverence you may expect from an Internet personality going through a piece of media.

That said, it's hard to identify one Fitness Log as being the best one, so maybe I should stop having this be a category, but the most popular one (according to Google Analytics) is Ring Fit Adventure Fitness Log Week 15: Here's A Quiz!. Probably because people wanted answers to the in-game quiz questions, but I think I coupled the information aspect with brilliant fitness commentary that really makes it an entertaining and sympathetic read.

...And if you're like me, you'll appreciate the tangential references to other people (not in Ring Fit Adventure) throughout the log, as well as my deconstruction of Quizton civilisation.

By the way, I'm going to revive the Fitness Log series in 2021. Stay tuned for that (and for everything else on the site).

Best KoopaTV General Article

I thought the staff would've all voted with me on what I voted for, but I got overruled and they overwhelmingly supported What is "gaslighting"? See: Jelly-Filled Doughnuts vs. Riceballs as the Best KoopaTV General-category article of 2020. That's fine in its own right, of course! Gaslighting is an extremely relevant topic, and this article has already helped a number of people understand the tenuous topic.

...I also think a lot of people feel nostalgic for the example I used, and they're seeing it in a new (and gassy) light.

Best KoopaTV Gaming Commentary Article

KoopaTV is often far more prescient than other websites out there, and before the big explosion of Animal Crossing: New Horizons (and it had to be, because this article was published the day before it came out), Ludwig published 2020's Best KoopaTV Gaming Commentary Article: Owning and Playing Games (like Animal Crossing) as a Social Status Symbol. While the article's central premise can be extrapolated past just Animal Crossing, it was (and still is) extremely relevant to the new Animal Crossing game. I've had so many people (women) ask me to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons with them since it came out, only for me to rebuff their ask, and even link them to my article as my response. ...I wasn't very popular with them, but I also dodged a lot of bullets. (Including one of the other nominees for Best KoopaTV Gaming Commentary that was also about Animal Crossing: New Horizons...)

As for the article itself, I totally did not expect it to turn out the way it did by the end. It was a plot twist even for me. I just wanted to turn the GameCube version on that night just to get screenshots, and boom, Cube is pissed off at me for a reason that is still unclear. That just justifies why I wouldn't play it, and it was not planned for in my head. But great KoopaTV articles can adapt very well to shifting circumstances, and this article did so.

Best KoopaTV Article Series

Not only can great articles adapt to big changes, but so can whole series of articles dedicated to a specific topic. And the winner of the Best KoopaTV Article Series of 2020 goes to... LEGO Super Mario!

LEGO Super Mario face close-up eyes zoom
There's lots of material here.
Just look into his eyes.

This started with the LEGO Super Mario announcement in April, which I saw as a plot to teach kids that murder for money is okay. Then, they want you to spend some of that money on the LEGO equivalent of pay-to-win costume packs. Incredibly, before any product was released, LEGO and Nintendo expanded the scope of the collaboration with TEN expansion sets, including the previously (before KoopaTV explained it) unknown Boomer Bill.

A few weeks before any LEGO Super Mario products came out, Nintendo announced a for-adults LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System replica. It's quite a bit more expensive than a functioning NES costs, and I didn't find it worth buying. Skip ahead to after all of these things released, and there is a second major new set to the LEGO Super Mario series, mostly to ensure we'll keep talking about it in 2021. Frighteningly, this features my brother, Larry Koopa, getting attacked by Mario and his new human friends.

There's just a lot of evidence provided throughout this article series that demonstrates that Mario's marketing image is exactly how we've been saying it is for years. Scary, murderous, and merciless.

LEGO Super Mario sleep animation red eyelids tired
This isn't even Koopa manipulation.
It's from an official Nintendo video!

Best KoopaTV Article

All of the article winners are now competing to be crowned the Best KoopaTV Article of 2020. And the winner?

Give a round of applause for Super Mario's LEGO Debut: Teaching Kids to Murder! Along with the multiple things I've already written about this article, it also has some pretty good jokes in it. Like the stepping on LEGO one. Truth and levity!

These awards will conclude with the best and worst comments of the year, this year with some additional commentary from me:

Best KoopaTV Comment

“As a writer, I'm baffled that you think setting a story in a real-world city is a shortcut to avoid worldbuilding. I tend to use fictional settings because developing my own worldbuilding is easier than doing all the necessary research to accurately portray a real, existing location.

Also, I doubt they do it for "Japanophiles" considering the games we were talking about were games made by Japanese developers for a Japanese audience first and foremost. (Games by western developers set in Tokyo might play into that more, but that's the same argument people use to criticize western developers making games with anime-style graphics.)

This is like saying if I wrote a horror story set in Pittsburgh, that would be a shortcut just to be cool, but if I wrote a horror story set in a nearly identical city called Rittzsburgh, that would be fine.” — Samantha Lienhard

Apparently, the staff wanted to vote for the comment that has a reader be baffled at one of my opinions. Maybe they're trying to tell me something. Anyway, it's still a very nice comment (with truth and levity), even if it's saying I'm wrong and unfounded.

Worst KoopaTV Comment

“I wonder if I can win the shop card cause I just really want rent for switch” — Hadi ansary

One minute before commenting this, Hadi also wrote, “I m starting to like this website since its fair by using points[.]” Then he wrote a bizarre (and laugh-out-loud funny) comment about wanting rent for his Switch? He never commented again, so if he was starting to like KoopaTV, he never finished liking KoopaTV. And it's unknown if he ever managed to pay his rent or not. (Or maybe he's trying to receive rent from other people. ...Paid via an eShop card?)

While Hadi failed to win an eShop card code (and I wouldn't know how to even give him one if he wanted it, since I have no way of contacting him), he did win the Worst KoopaTV Comment of 2020!

Winners Reference List of 2020

Best New Character
Wilbur from Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Best OST
Paper Mario: The Origami King
Game of THAT Year
Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition
Best KoopaTV Guest Article Contributor/Best Guest Commentary or Best Guest Art Article
Enjoy This Cute Wooloo Drawing by Momo with art drawn by Momo
Best KoopaTV Review
Game Review: Calculation Castle: Greco's Ghostly Challenges
Best KoopaTV Reaction Log
KoopaTV's Live Reactions to the Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary Direct!
Best KoopaTV Artistic Corner Contribution
Ludwig Von Koopa's Holiday at the Moomoo Milk Bar
Best KoopaTV Enlightenment Movement Article
Super Mario's LEGO Debut: Teaching Kids to Murder
Best KoopaTV Fitness Log
Ring Fit Adventure Fitness Log Week 15: Here's A Quiz!
Best KoopaTV General Article
What is "gaslighting"? See: Jelly-Filled Doughnuts vs. Riceballs
Best KoopaTV Gaming Commentary Article
Owning and Playing Games (like Animal Crossing) as a Social Status Symbol
Best KoopaTV Article Series
LEGO Super Mario
Best KoopaTV Article
Super Mario's LEGO Debut: Teaching Kids to Murder

This article represents the best of gaming and KoopaTV (the best gaming story) in 2020. If you want to share KoopaTV to people and let them know what it's about in a hall of fame setting, this article ought to be a great way to do that. Let KoopaTV know in the comments section if you disagree with the choices. (Some of you clearly will.)

Here were the awards from GOTY 2019. They also looked down upon the year overall.
Here are GOTY 2021's nominations.


  1. pretty cool. im still nowhere to be found/

    1. ...Well, if you weren't nominated, you won't be awarded...

  2. I'm happy that Origami King won best soundtrack because it deserves it, and sad that I can't like Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition for trying because even in spite of that, it deserves the win here too.


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