Our Best Games For Every Year We’ve Been Alive

Our Best Games For Every Year We’ve Been Alive
Image: Kotaku Australia

Given that the next console generation has properly arrived and we’ve had a couple of pretty solid years leading up to it, it makes sense to revisit one of the community’s favourite chestnuts.

The thing I love about going through each year is how it reminds you just how much talent there was outside of the major releases. There’s years like 2007 which are just stupid packed in terms of impact, or years like 1999 when the internet started to properly coalesce into a viable utility developers could focus on.

And then you have other bonuses which aren’t tied to releases. 2006 was a great year for the Wii, but it was also the year you could grab The Sims 2, Battlefield 2 or Need for Speed: Most Wanted with two large pizzas and a garlic bread.

I’d still buy that deal today. All those games still slap, and if everyone’s jumping on BF2 again, that’s a great time.

But also going through each year reminds you of the memories you had, the environments you played those games in, the state of online at the time, and just things you might have missed. It’s a fun, wild ride, so let’s go down the journey.

Image: Machiavelli the Prince
  • 1987 – Operation Wolf 
  • 1988 – Double Dragon II 
  • 1989 – Prince of Persia
  • 1990 – Heaven & Earth
  • 1991 – Civilization
  • 1992 – Wolfenstein 3D
  • 1993 – Cannon Fodder
  • 1994 – One Must Fall: 2097
  • 1995 – Machiavelli the Prince / Merchant Prince
  • 1996 – Heroes of Might and Magic 2
  • 1997 – Grand Theft Auto
  • 1998 – StarCraft 
  • 1999 – Heroes of Might and Magic 3
  • 2000 – Quake 3: Arena
  • 2001 – Advance Wars
  • 2002 – Warcraft 3
  • 2003 – Counter-Strike 1.6
  • 2004 – Knights of the Old Republic
  • 2005 – Battlefield 2
  • 2006 – Wii Tennis
  • 2007 – Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
  • 2008 – Wipeout HD
  • 2009 – Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
  • 2010 – StarCraft 2
  • 2011 – Mass Effect 2
  • 2012 – Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  • 2013 – Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist
  • 2014 – Child of Light 
  • 2015 – The Witcher 3
  • 2016 – Destiny: Rise of Iron
  • 2017 – PUBG
  • 2018 – Azul 
  • 2019 – Disco Elysium
  • 2020 – Microsoft Flight Simulator

Lot of PC stuff with some handheld/early DS games in there, so you can get a pretty clear sense of what I grew up with. I’ve changed out a couple of titles from the last time I did this, primarily because I spent more time with them, or they were games that I just kept coming back to. One Must Fall 2097 was an obvious oversight; I didn’t play it the year it came out, but I played an absolute shit ton of it as soon as I discovered it. Same went for Battlefield 2, which was a blast at LANs with pizzas and a full squad.

Also, Blacklist is still incredible today and Ubi really needs to do something with that franchise. Anything. Please.

Of course, I couldn’t just do the list by myself. So I hit up Leah and Lavender and asked for their best games, and here’s what they provided.

Leah, Kotaku Australia Writer/Producer

Image: Remedy
  • 1995 – Tekken 2
  • 1996 – Super Mario 64
  • 1997 – Crash Bandicoot 2
  • 1998 – Spyro the Dragon
  • 1999 – Ape Escape
  • 2000 – The Sims
  • 2001 – Devil May Cry
  • 2002 – Digimon World 3
  • 2003 – The Sims Bustin’ Out (GBA)
  • 2004 – The Urbz: Sims in the City (DS)
  • 2005 – Animal Crossing: Wild World
  • 2006 – Bully
  • 2007 – Super Mario Galaxy
  • 2008 – Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
  • 2009 – Batman: Arkham Asylum
  • 2010 – Alan Wake
  • 2011 – Alice: Madness Returns
  • 2012 – Dishonored
  • 2013 – BioShock Infinite
  • 2014 – inFAMOUS: Second Son
  • 2015 – The Witcher III – Wild Hunt
  • 2016 – Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
  • 2017 – Night in the Woods
  • 2018 – Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • 2019 – Devil May Cry 5
  • 2020 – Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  • 2021 – The Darkside Detective 2: A Fumble in the Dark

Lavender, Kotaku Australia Writer/Producer

Image: Spore
  • 1998 – Spyro The Dragon
  • 1999 – Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
  • 2000 – Mary-Kate and Ashley’s Magical Mystery Mall
  • 2001 – The Simpsons: Road Rage
  • 2002 – Kingdom Hearts
  • 2003 – The Simpsons: Hit & Run
  • 2004 – World of Warcraft
  • 2005 – The Sims 2 DS
  • 2006 – Wii Sports
  • 2007 – Mario Party DS
  • 2008 – Spore
  • 2009 – Farm Ville
  • 2010 – Call of Duty Black Ops
  • 2011 – Minecraft
  • 2012 – Animal Crossing: New Leaf
  • 2013 – GTA V
  • 2014 – Hearthstone
  • 2015 – Heroes of the Storm
  • 2016 – Stardew Valley
  • 2017 – Jurassic World Evolution
  • 2018 – Overcooked 2
  • 2019 – Kingdom Hearts III
  • 2020 – Animal Crossing New Horizons

So, it’s over to you. I skipped 2021 because we’re not done with the year yet, but you don’t have to. What’s your best game for every year you’ve been alive? Let us know in the comments!

Comments

  • Yay! I have so many years to get to choose from! SO MANY!
    Boooo, I have so many years to have to cull.
    My children. My beautiful, precious children. I can’t choose between them!

    BUT I WILL BECAUSE NOSTALGIA IS FUN. Days like this I miss the spoiler tag, though, for shrinking comments.

      • It was always either just plain ‘s’ or ‘spoiler’. (Or both, with one being the shortcut.)
        All I know is immediately after the site redesign I went to use it and failed.

        • Oh, well that’s interesting… ‘s’ is doing the behaviour that used to be ‘strike’.

    • Actually, I’m not going to because I can’t reasonably put down things like Drugwars which came out the same year as Duck Hunt, Ghostbusters, Spy vs Spy, and TETRIS.
      Or Battle Chess, which yes I AM AWARE that Super Mario Bros 3 (the greatest Mario game ever made) was released that year.

      What I AM going to do, however, is browse through all these lists and look at screenshots from the games.

  • I quickly ran through mine (all years based off a quick Google search, say they may be off):
    86 – Alex Kidd in Miracle World
    87 – California Games
    88 – Battle Chess
    89 – Prince of Persia
    90 – The Secret of Monkey Island
    91 – The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
    92 – Flashback
    93 – NBA Jam
    94 – Daytona USA
    95 – The Dig
    96 – Super Mario 64
    97 – Goldeneye 007
    98 – Banjo-Kazooie
    99 – Silent Hill
    00 – Perfect Dark
    01 – Metal Gear Sold 2: Sons of Liberty
    02 – Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
    03 – Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly
    04 – Cave Story
    05 – Timesplitters: Future Perfect
    06 – New Super Mario Bros.
    07 – The Orange Box
    08 – Persona 4 Golden
    09 – Uncharted 2
    10 – Limbo
    11 – Dance Central 2
    12 – Hotline Miami
    13 – Gone Home
    14 – The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
    15 – Her Story
    16 – Firewatch
    17 – Nier Automata
    18 – Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
    19 – Outer Wilds
    20 -Hades

    • Bro, all the class games that came out in 83 and you pick Battle Chess too? Fistbump.

      • It’s weird, my criteria was: If all games but those in my list were destroyed today, what would I want to be left with (I was actually expecting All-Stars to make it, but ultimately not)

        • I just did it and my technique was, ‘first game I loved I put it on the list. Next game I see in that year, I evaluate against the current winner. Repeat.’

    • There was such a great run of indies from 2010 to now, almost every year has an absolute classic and a lot of them had a bunch – Hotline Miami, Her Story, Gone Home, Firewatch, Outer Wilds, Hades – such great games from pretty small teams.

  • So many great years in the earlier days, very hard to chose between 2 or 3 titles sometimes, would probably be a completely different list in the earlier years if I did this even tomorrow. 2014 seems a bit of a mysterious gaming blackhole for me, only played Watch Dogs from that year from what I can see, they game I chose for it I played a few years later.

    1986 – Alex Kidd in Miracle World
    1987 – Alex Kidd: High-Tech World
    1988 – Super Mario Bros. 2
    1989 – The Revenge of Shinobi
    1990 – Super Mario Bros. 3
    1991 – The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
    1992 – Desert Strike
    1993 – Return to Zork
    1994 – Beavis and Butthead (Genesis)
    1995 – Dark Forces
    1996 – Super Mario 64
    1997 – Blood
    1998 – Half-Life
    1999 – Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
    2000 – Deus Ex
    2001 – Max Payne
    2002 – GTA: Vice City
    2003 – Need for Speed: Underground
    2004 – Fable
    2005 – Battlefield 2
    2006 – Gears of War
    2007 – Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
    2008 – Dead Space
    2009 – Assassin’s Creed 2
    2010 – Red Dead Redemption
    2011 – Uncharted 3
    2012 – Dishonored
    2013 – GTA V
    2014 – Rogue Legacy
    2015 – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
    2016 – Uncharted 4
    2017 – Horizon Zero Dawn
    2018 – Red Red Redemption 2
    2019 – Control
    2020 – Ghosts of Tsushima

  • I love Lavenders Year 2000, one of the most stacked years for games in history.

    Q3 Arena – Absolute Classic
    The Sims – Absolute Classic
    Mary-Kate and Ashley’s Magical Mystery Mall – I haven’t played it but I guess it has to be a classic.

  • This was a lot harder to put together than I thought it would be. Lost of great games didn’t make the cut:

    1980 – Pac-Man
    1981 – Donkey Kong
    1982 – Q*Bert
    1983 – Mario Bros.
    1984 – Karateka
    1985 – Super Mario Bros.
    1986 – Metroid
    1987 – MIDI Maze
    1988 – Super Mario Bros. 3
    1989 – Shadow of the Beast
    1990 – Super Mario World
    1991 – Commander Keen in Goodbye, Galaxy!
    1992 – Mortal Kombat
    1993 – Mortal Kombat II
    1994 – Super Metroid
    1995 – Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest
    1996 – Quake
    1997 – Final Fantasy VII
    1998 – Starcraft: Brood War
    1999 – Unreal Tournament
    2000 – Jet Set Radio
    2001 – Super S,ash Bros. Melee
    2002 – Metroid Prime
    2003 – SoulCalibur II
    2004 – Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War
    2005 – F.E.A.R.
    2006 – The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
    2007 – Super Mario Galaxy
    2008 – Dead Space
    2009 – Batman: Arkham Asylum
    2010 – Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty
    2011 – L.A. Noire
    2012 – Darksiders II
    2013 – Super Mario 3D World
    2014 – Mario Kart 8
    2015 – The Witcher III
    2016 – The Last Guardian
    2017 – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
    2018 – Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
    2019 – Mortal Kombat 11
    2020 – Final Fantasy VII Remake
    2021 – TBA, Haven’t played any games from 2021 yet

    • 1984 was definitely a tough year, and I was tempted to give the slot to Karateka. But it was the era of Infocom’s great hits.

  • 1995 – Yoshi’s Island
    1996 – Only really played Super Mario 64 extensively, but I kind of hate that game (sorry, but 3D platforming was a mistake), I’ll say Quake for the influence I know it had on so many other games I do like even if I haven’t played it. I will get around to it one day.
    1997 – Worms 2. Definitely not an amazing game, but I have fond memories of playing it with friends
    1998 – Half-Life. Such a good year with LoZ: OoT and Metal Gear Solid both putting up strong competition.
    1999 – Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
    2000 – Deus Ex
    2001 – Halo: Combat Evolved
    2002 – Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 (Kinda cheating with a port, but I loved that port)
    2003 – Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
    2004 – Metal Gear Solid 3
    2005 – Psychonauts
    2006 – Half-Life 2: Episode 1
    2007 – Oh shit. I always thought 1998 was the best year for my tastes, but 2007 has the Orange Box. Can I count the entirety of the Orange Box’s new material? Also Mass Effect. Damn. What a year. If I have to Pick one it’ll be Half-Life 2: Episode 2 but it feels especially wrong to ignore TF2 with 2500+ hours in it. Portal was fantastic too.
    2008 – Mirror’s Edge
    2009 – Halo 3: ODST
    2010 – Super Meat Boy
    2011 – Super torn between Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Portal 2, I’ll go with Human Revolution though
    2012 – Another great year, I’ll go with FTL, but Telltale’s The Walking Dead, Mass Effect 3 and Hotline Miami are very close to taking it.
    2013 – Gunpoint
    2014 – Alien Isolation
    2015 – Life is Strange
    2016 – Firewatch
    2017 – Legend of Zelda: BotW
    2018 – Hollow Knight (Switch release, when I first played it. Also an excuse to have both Hollow Knight and The Legend of Zelda: BotW) Honourable mention to The Red Strings Club which would be my pick if I had to replace BotW with Hollow Knight.
    2019 – Fire Emblem: Three Houses
    2020 – Half-Life: Alyx
    2021 – Nothing yet, but if I had to make a bet at the end of the year I’d guess it’ll be Psychonauts 2.

        • Hahaha, I feel like I’ve let them down 🙁

          Coming up second best next to Outer Wilds is no insult though, that might be my favourite experience playing a game I’ve ever had

  • Going through the lists of games coming out each year, forget all of Alex’s other articles, the mid 80s are the BEST years of gaming. XD So hard choosing just one game for each year.

    1978 – Space Invaders
    1979 – Superman
    1980 – Zork 1
    1981 – Castle Wolfenstein
    1982 – Transylvania
    1983 – Moria
    1984 – Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
    1985 – Ultima IV
    1986 – Portal

    ….

    ARGH! I give up! I’ll spend the whole weekend going through 43 years! ><

      • The complete and updated list! I was using wikipedia for when games came out, so theres a couple of japanese titles that might be against odd years. Of all the years, 2018 was the hardest since I only poked at a couple of games from that year, and finished the one. Was tempted to include something besides RE2R since its a remake, and new titles should get a look… but it was just that good.

        1978 – Space Invaders
        1979 – Superman
        1980 – Zork 1
        1981 – Castle Wolfenstein
        1982 – Transylvania
        1983 – Moria
        1984 – Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
        1985 – Ultima IV
        1986 – Portal
        1987 – California Games
        1988 – Ultima 5 – Warriors of Destiny
        1989 – Quest for Glory – So you want to be a hero?
        1990 – Wing Commander
        1991 – Another World
        1992 – Ultima VII – The Black Gate
        1993 – Doom
        1994 – Doom 2
        1995 – Suikoden
        1996 – Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain
        1997 – Final Fantasy VII
        1998 – Baldur’s Gate
        1999 – Planescape Torment
        2000 – Marvel vs Capcom 2
        2001 – Fatal Frame / Project Zero
        2002 – WarCraft 3 – Reign of Chaos
        2003 – Fatal Frame 2 – Crimson Butterfly
        2004 – Fate/Stay Night
        2005 – SMT: Digital Devil Saga
        2006 – Persona 3
        2007 – Mass Effect
        2008 – Corpse Party
        2009 – Steins;Gate
        2010 – Danganronpa
        2011 – Arkham City
        2012 – Yakuza 5
        2013 – The Last of Us
        2014 – Shadowrun: Dragonfall
        2015 – Life is Strange
        2016 – VA-11 Hall-A
        2017 – Resident Evil 7
        2018 – Vampyr
        2019 – Resident Evil 2 Remake
        2020 – Cyberpunk 2077
        2021 – Resident Evil Village?

        PS. Regarding backlogs, I’ve got a few game series marathons that I’m working through. On Yakuza 3 atm but I keep getting distracted by Phantasy Star games.

  • I’ll bite and display how damn old I am:

    1979 – Asteroids
    1980 – Adventure
    1981 – Galaga
    1982 – Joust
    1983 – Pole Position 2
    1984 – King’s Quest
    1985 – Super Mario Bros
    1986 – Legend of Zelda
    1987 – Metal Gear / Thexder
    1988 – The Last Ninja
    1989 – Hero’s Quest (Quest for Glory) / The Dark Heart of Uukrul
    1990 – Super Mario World
    1991 – Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past / Street Fighter 2
    1992 – Wolfenstein 3D
    1993 – Doom
    1994 – Final Fantasy VI
    1995 – Chrono Trigger / Warcraft 2
    1996 – Quake / Command & Conquer
    1997 – Castlevania: Symphony of the Night / Final Fantasy VII
    1998 – Metal Gear Solid / Zelda: Ocarina of Time / Tekken 3
    1999 – Planescape: Torment
    2000 – Deus Ex / Final Fantasy IX
    2001 – Metal Gear Solid 2
    2002 – Warcraft 3
    2003 – Prince of Persia: Sands of Time
    2004 – Half-Life 2
    2005 – Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence
    2006 – Okami
    2007 – Portal
    2008 – Grand Theft Auto 4
    2009 – Uncharted 2
    2010 – Xenoblade Chronicles
    2011 – Dark Souls
    2012 – Borderlands 2
    2013 – The Last of Us
    2014 – Bayonetta 2
    2015 – Bloodborne / Metal Gear Solid V
    2016 – Overwatch
    2017 – Persona 5
    2018 – Hellblade: Setsuna’s Sacrifice
    2019 – Civilisation VI: The Gathering Storm
    2020 – Persona 5 Royal
    2021 – Bravely Default 2* Only thing I’ve played released this year and it was kind of disappointing.

  • Here goes…
    02 – Morrowind
    03 – WarioWare
    04 – Alien Hominid
    05 – Sonic Rush
    06 – Persona 3
    07 – Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
    08 – Monster Hunter Freedom Unite
    09 – Batman: Arkham Asylum
    10 – Fable 2
    11 – The Gunstringer (yes, really)
    12 – Persona 4 Golden
    13 – Rayman Legends
    14 – Shin Megami Tensei IV
    15 – Undertale
    16 – Doom 2016
    17 – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
    18 – Kingdom Come: Deliverance
    19 – Outward
    20 – Moon

  • starcraft 2 made one of the lists but theres 0 coverage of it or even brood war ever in the e sports section

  • 1982. Jungle Hunt
    1983. Mario Bros.
    1984. Karateka
    1985. Super Mario Bros.
    1986. Metroid
    1987. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
    1988. Super Mario Bros. 3
    1989. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
    1990. Super Mario World
    1991. Street Fighter II: The World Warrior
    1992. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
    1993. Doom
    1994. Little Big Adventure
    1995. Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness
    1996. Super Mario 64
    1997. Age of Empires
    1998. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
    1999. Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Restoration of Erathia
    2000. Diablo II
    2001. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
    2002. Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
    2003. Rise of Nations
    2004. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
    2005. Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones
    2006. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
    2007. Super Mario Galaxy
    2008. Fable II
    2009. Assassin’s Creed II
    2010. Super Mario Galaxy 2
    2011. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
    2012. Yakuza 5
    2013. Super Mario 3D World
    2014. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
    2015. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
    2016. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney − Spirit of Justice
    2017. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
    2018. Celeste
    2019. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
    2020. Ori and the Will of the Wisps
    2021. Bowser’s Fury

  • I did it!

    1982 – E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (GAG! Should be Hack.)
    1983 – Dragon’s Lair (loved it as a kid, today I’d have picked Archon.)
    1984 – Drugwars (Such a simple loop but still holds up today.)
    1985 – Carmen Sandiego (RIP Super Mario Bros, Ultima 4)
    1986 – Arcticfox (Now there’s a game in need of a remaster!)
    1987 – Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (I bought a GUIDE for this game!)
    1988 – Battle Chess (RIP BattleTech, Mario 2&3, etc, etc)
    1989 – Castle of the Winds (Oh man I hope Populous 2 gets a chance later)
    1990 – Tetris (Microsoft Solitaire/Minesweeper tho… A year for iconics!)
    1991 – Monkey Island 2 (The 1st one should’ve probably taken 1990.)
    1992 – Super Mario Kart (despite me telling myself I wouldn’t favor Ninty.)
    1993 – Zelda 4: Link’s Awakening (holy crap, this year!!)
    1994 – Doom 2 (And Doom narrowly missed last year, Jesus.)
    1995 – Command & Conquer (best in the series, IMO.)
    1996 – Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries (best in the series, IMO.)
    1997 – Curse of Monkey Island (best in the series, IMO.)
    1998 – Thief: The Dark Project (best in the series, IMO.)
    1999 – Heroes of Might and Magic 3 (best in the series, IMO.)
    2000 – Deus Ex (why the same year as Diablo 2? WHYEEE?)
    2001 – Oni (Yeah, Oni. I AM AWARE WHAT ELSE CAME OUT. FIGHT ME.)
    2002 – Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind (literal game-changer.)
    2003 – Knights of the Old Republic (RPG on the xbox, no less!)
    2004 – Half-Life 2 (and the birth of Steam to authenticate it. Wow.)
    2005 – Civilization 4 (finally, a Civ game makes it!)
    2006 – Hitman: Blood Money (RIP Battlefield 2142, you did so well.)
    2007 – Halo 3 (Bonus points for the ‘Believe’ ad campaign.)
    2008 – WoW: Wrath of the Lich King (best in the series, IMO.)
    2009 – Dragon Age: Origins (A welcome tone-shift for the genre.)
    2010 – Mass Effect 2 (Been trying to avoid mainstream faves but c’mon!)
    2011 – Skyrim (But… but Dark Souls… nooooo)
    2012 – Dishonored (Closest thing to Thief 4 we could get.)
    2013 – Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag (I was determined not to pick GTA5.)
    2014 – Grand Theft Auto 5 (…So I picked the PS4 version.)
    2015 – Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt (God, MGSV. Any other year…)
    2016 – Final Fantasy 15 (Bro’d trip food-photography adventure forever!)
    2017 – Horizon Zero Dawn (the old world’s logs still haunt me.)
    2018 – God of War (What a YEAR, though! RDR2 Spiderman MHW etc…)
    2019 – Disco Elysium (I hadn’t felt like this since Planescape Torment.)
    2020 – Ghost of Tsushima (very close to being the perfect game.)

    2021 – ??? TBA? Cyberpunk 2077? (PS5) Ghostwire Tokyo? S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2? Scarlet Nexus? SMT V? System Shock? Horizon Forbidden West? Halo Infinite? Deathloop? Dying Light 2? Praey for the Gods? Total Warhammer 3? Stray? Psychonauts 2? WH40K Darktide? Boyfriend Dungeon? Little Devil Inside? Time will tell!

  • I’ve mainly been a console gamer but even though I’ve played a lot of games, it wouldn’t be nearly as many as others. Another thing is that games don’t really affect me as much as they do for others. It’s not as if I play a game and then reflect on how it changed my life. It’s different with music, where with a song I can think that it’s magnificent, sublime or catchy. It’s uncommon that I have that experience with games (although I did get the feels with that final fight between Snake and Boss in MGS3, which was artfully introduced). If the rest of the game was at that level of experience, I’d consider it art.

    Another thing I notice with lists like these is how people note that a particular year was incredibly good for games. It’s usually for PC games, which I haven’t played. Since I don’t find to find games that I REALLY like, to play two from a year which I do, would be unique. That one year would be 2013. Two damned good games and a coin toss result for the win to either game would be fair. My pick for best game that year would be Bioshock Infinite (I do rate the first two games in that series though, so they would probably be inclusions for those years in this list).

    Here’s some more:

    2012 – Mass Effect 3
    2013 – Bioshock infinite; The last of us

    I have played quite a few of the games that get listed in topics like this but usually they do not move me. Or I find them more annoying than I find them entertaining.

    I do have a big backlog of game that I got cheaply and they’re old too. It’s quite possible that I could extend this list and add some PC games that are considered great or…PC games that aren’t considered great (by others). In that case, it’s my opinion that counts for me.

    • I can’t say for sure that I completed the above games in the year that they were released. Being tight with me, I usually wait for games to be heavily discounted.

      That would actually make for an interesting but different kind of list:

      What is the best game you played in a particular year? It doesn’t have to have been released in that year though.

      E.g. maybe I might decide to play my first Elder Scrolls game in a few years time. Skyrim is heavily discounted and it ends up being my game of the year for 2025.

      Or, in 2077, Cyberpunk 2077 ends up being my game of the year (it’s amazing how the world of the game is exactly like the real world).

  • Any list that includes 1996 with Mario 64 can get fucked. I am not particularly a fan of Nintendo, but after playing M64 in the video store I went out bought an N64 with an entire weeks pay.

    • M64 was a game changer. I still remember that feeling of awe playing it in a store. One of those rare gaming moments that has been hard to replicate since.

    • Mario 64 was revolutionary for the time, but in a year when games like Quake, Duke Nukem 3D, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, Diablo, Command & Conquer: Red Alert, Crash Bandicoot, Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall and more were released, you can totally understand why some people wouldn’t have it on their list.

  • The first 10 or so years are pretty slim pickens for me….
    85. Super Mario Bros.
    86. Metroid
    87. Double Dragon.
    88 SMB3
    89. Golden Axe
    90. Super Mario World
    91. Street Fighter 2
    92. Sonic 2
    93. Doom
    94. Sonic 3
    95. Yoshis Island
    96. Mario Kart 64
    97. Goldeneye
    98.WCW/NWO Recenge
    99. THPS
    2000. THPS2
    01.Halo
    02. Red Faction 2 (for some reason i just love this game despite its huge flaws)
    03.Double Dash
    04 Halo 2
    05. Mario Kart DS
    06. New Super Mario Bros
    07. Bioshock
    08. Fallout 3
    09. Halo 3:ODST
    10. Mass effect 2
    11. Skyrim
    12. Far Cy 3
    13. The Last of Us
    14. Far cry 4
    15. Fallout 4 (i havent played witcher 3 yet, im sure its better than fallout 4, alas, cant put it on the list yet, this will become more noticeable with the games as my backlog started to grow and grow around this year)
    16. Doom
    17. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
    18. Spiderman
    19. Rage 2? If its not Rage 2 its fucking Sword/Shield….Goddamn.
    20. Bioshock Collection for the nintendo switch? (can you tell yet that im behind)
    21. I have played ZERO 2021 games in 2021.

    • The funniest (though that is 100% not the right word for it) some of my favourite franchises in Dragon Age, Infamous, Uncharted, Super Smash Bros & Pokemon havent appeared in a single year, Mass effect only appears ONCE because for me its slightly better than Red Dead as i make this list because im excited to play them all over again, if Red Dead was getting a remaster right now, Mass Effect games would have missed out entirely as well.
      But every year from 2007 to 2014 had many MANY different ones as possibilities.
      Then in 2015, i started playing less and less games and have so many games on the backlog.

      • I definitely had those feels when compiling my list. I really wanted to add some titles into the list, but they just got pipped by what I felt was the best game of that year. Each time.

        • I know right, there were a few that i didnt even mention in that post, like the fable games. but there were always something better that year.

    • Red Faction isn’t a weird pick at all! The early Red Faction games were woefully overlooked games. Their gimmick was the destructible environments, but I think a lot of what I loved about them was that they had some really satisfying basic shooting mechanics. They made clicking the heads felt good, and the story wasn’t bad for its time either.

      • I really enjoyed the first three red faction games SO much, the voice cast and the 2nds plot was a bit ahead of its time, and the multiplayer on red faction 2, was sooooo good as it had some really decent (for the time and tbh, some modern games need this) Bot ai, So it wasnt just 1v1 so it made the game so replayable with all of its different match types and weapons, when NONE of my friends and myself had (FT) jobs in our first year out of highschool, so all of 2003 was Red Faction 2, THPS 3 & Smash Bros Melee.
        Like you had morrowind in that year, honestly its the best story in ANY elders scroll game, but i just cant replay that game with its combat and menu system now, i tried when i got a new OG xbox due to covid last year but i ended up playing red faction 2 again and was still loving it. (i would honestly love morrowind with more modern combat, which will never probably happen)

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