I usually do not do Game of the Year lists and have not for some time, and for good reason — it is impossible for any one person to play all of the great games released in a year, and I am no exception. More games release now than ever before, so it is impossible for even a team of people to keep up with all of the games releasing, much less any one individual, no matter how much they follow this industry!
However, partially because I played more recent games this past year than I had in quite some time and partially just because I wanted to, I decided to try to make a ‘my favorite games’ list this year. It is in several parts:
Table of Contents
- My Favorite Games of 2019
- The Best Classic Re-releases/Enhanced Ports of 2019
- Special Awards
- My Favorite Older Games I Bought in 2019
- Pre-Current Gen Games (ie no 3DS/Vita/X1/modern PC/NS)
- Modern Consoles, games from before 2019
- Worst Classic Games I Bought in 2019
- My Favorite Games of the Decade of the 2010s
- My Favorite Games of Each Year of the 2010s
- Overall Top 10 of the Decade
My Favorite Games of 2019
Key: NS: Nintendo Switch; X1: Xbox One; 3DS: Nintendo 3DS; PS4: Sony PlayStation 4. Key: (DD Only) means that the game has no physical release on this platform.
The Best Games Newly Released in 2019
1. Super Mario Maker 2 (NS)
2. Etrian Odyssey Nexus (3DS)
3. They Are Billions (PC) (DD Only) (final release was 2019)
4. Ding Dong XL (NS) (DD Only)
5. Fire Emblem: Three Houses (NS)
6. Samurai Shodown (2019) (X1; also on PS4)
7. Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair (X1; also on PS4, NS, PC)
8. Shalnor Legends: Sacred Lands (NS; also on PC) (DD Only)
9. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (NS; also on PS4, X1, PC)
10. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (X1; also on PC, PS4)
Honorable Mentions: Dragon: Marked for Death (NS), Anthem (NS), Dead or Alive 6 (X1), Golf Peaks (NS) (DD Only), Puyo Puyo Champions (NS) (DD Only), Daemon X Machina (NS)
The Best Classic Re-releases/Enhanced Ports of 2019
1. Collection of Mana (NS) – (one game first US release in ’19)
2. Gunlord X (NS) (DD Only) – (first licensed release in ’19)
3. Sega Ages: Virtua Racing (NS) (DD Only) – (heavily enhanced classic port)
4. Commander Keen in Keen Dreams (NS) (DD Only) – (first console release in ’19)
5. Arcade Archives Moon Cresta (NS) (DD Only) – (first official console release in ’19)
Honorable Mentions: Croixleur Sigma (NS) (DD Only) first US release in ’19), Johnny Turbo’s Arcade: Joe & Mac Returns (NS) (DD Only) (first official console release in ’19)
Best Graphics: Anthem – Sure, this game has its problems, but it looks absolutely incredible! It’s not as terrible to play as people say, either.
Best Music: Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair – The Donkey Kong Country composers return, and are still incredible.
Most Addictive: They Are Billions, Mario Maker 2 (tie) – Both of these are games I have played versions of for years, and will surely continue to play for years to come.
Most Fun to Watch Others Play Online: Mario Maker 2 – I’ll probably never be as good at this game as streamers are, but maybe that is part of why I so enjoy watching them play the game…
Game of the Year: Super Mario Maker 2 – This was an easy one, it’s been my likely Game of the Year since its release and nothing since has changed my mind on that.
My Favorite Older Games I Bought in 2019
Key: SAT: Saturn; NES: Nintendo Entertainment System; JAG: Atari Jaguar; TCD: TurboGrafx =-16 CD (aka PC Engine CD); TG16: TurboGrafx-16 (aka PC Engine); 5200: Atari 5200; INTV: Mattel Intellivision; CVIS: Colecovision; GBA: Game Boy Advance; DS: Nintendo DS; DSi – Nintendo DSi (Digital Download games for eShop for the 3DS, now); GEN: Sega Genesis; N64: Nintendo 64; PSV: PlayStation Vita; CD-i: Phillips CD-i.
Pre-Current Gen Games (ie no 3DS/Vita/X1/modern PC/NS)
1. Tempest 2000 (JAG)
2. Jeff Minter Classics (JAG) (modern homebrew title)
3. Saturn Bomberman (SAT)
3. Mega Man 3 (NES)
5. Thunder Force III (GEN)
6. Seirei Senki Spriggan (TCD)
7. Monster Tale (DS)
8. SteamWorld Tower Defense (DSiWare on 3DS eShop)
9. Tempest (5200) (modern homebrew title)
10. Snafu (INTV)
11. Nova Blast (CVIS)
Honorable Mentions: Super Monkey Ball Jr. (GBA), Pepper II (CVIS), Iron Soldier (JAG), Space Fury (CVIS), Sonic & Sega Allstars Racing (DS), Zoop (JAG), Strikers 1945 (SAT)
BurgerTime (INTV), Hover Strike: Unconquered Lands (JCD), Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon (CD-i), Link: The Faces of Evil (CD-i), Super Space Invaders (GG), TI Invaders (TI99), Stunt Racer 64 (N64), Gateway to Apshai (CVIS), Demon Attack (INTV), Atlantis (INTV), Marchen Maze (TG16), Donald Duck: The Lucky Dime Caper (SMS), Accelerator (CD-i), Loco-Motion (INTV), Lady Bug (CVIS), Dick Tracy (GEN), I-War (JAG), Moon (DS), Sengoku Blade (SAT), Moto Roader MC (TCD)
Modern Consoles, games from before 2019
- 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (3DS) (DD Only)
- SEGA AGES Sonic the Hedgehog (NS) (DD Only)
- 3D Streets of Rage 2 (3DS) (DD Only)
- Super Mario Advance 4 – Super Mario Bros. 3 (GBA – Wii U VC) (DD Only)
- 3D Space Harrier (3DS) (DD Only)
- 3D Streets of Rage (3DS) (DD Only)
- Rune Factory 4 (3DS)
- Summon Night 6 (PSV)
- ACA NeoGeo: Aero Fighters 2 (NS) (DD Only)
- Monster Hunter Stories (3DS)
Honorable Mentions: 3D After Burner II (3DS)(DD Only), The Legend of Legacy (3DS), The Alliance Alive (3DS)
Also Noteworthy: Obduction (PC) (DD Only), Kamiko (NS) (DD Only), Johnny Turbo’s Arcade: Gate of Doom (NS) (DD Only), Stranger of Sword City (PSV), Johnny Turbo’s Arcade: Wizard Fire (NS) (DD Only), Johnny Turbo’s Arcade: Joe & Mac Returns (NS)(DD Only), Hive Jump (Wii U), Johnny Turbo’s Arcade: Super Burger Time (NS) (DD Only)
Worst Classic Games I Bought in 2019
- Video Speedway (CD-i) – While far from the worst game ever, this game is very boring and bizarrely difficult.
- Wizard Defenders (DSiWare on 3DS eShop) – This tries to be good but fails miserably. It gets unplayably hard quickly.
- Airlock (2600) – Lives down to its reputation, sadly.
- Hanna-Barbera Cartoon Carnival (CD-i) – Bad minigames.
- Medal of Honor: Underground (GBA) – The GBA is not a good platform for 3D_!
- Towers: Lord Baniff’s Deceit (GBC) – It is unforgivable to not have an ingame map in a game like this, released when it did, on a handheld.
My Favorite Games of the Decade of the 2010s
Note: American release dates are used here, as always in this article. Additionally, I usually do not count re-releases of old games for this list and won’t be listing classic-console re-releases here, such as Sega’s 3D Classics line and such. However, I ignore this rule for a few titles I really like.
My Favorite Games of Each Year of the 2010s:
1. Picross 3D (Nintendo DS)
2. Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)
3. Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City (Nintendo DS)
Honorable Mentions: Hydro Thunder Hurricane (Xbox 360), Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty (PC), Metroid Prime Trilogy (Wii) (mentioned here for the addition of motion controls), 3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3), Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)
1. Kirby’s Return to Dream Land (Wii)
2. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)
3. Professor Layton and the Last Spectre (Nintendo DS)
Honorable Mention: Driver San Francisco (PC) (also on Xbox 360, PS3), Monster Tale (DS)
1. Growlanser IV: Wayfarer of Time (PSP)
2. Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii)
3. Gunlord (Dreamcast)
Honorable Mentions: Super Hexagon (PC), Hotline Miami (PC)
1. Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
2. Fire Emblem Awakening (Nintendo 3DS)
3. The King of Fighters XIII (PC) (also on PS3 and Xbox 360 previously)
Honorable Mention: Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan (Nintendo 3DS)
1. Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions (Xbox 360) (also have for PC and Xbox One; also on PS3 and PS4)
2. Terrian Saga: KR-17 (PC)
3. TxK (Playstation Vita)
Honorable Mention: Under Defeat HD (XBox 360) (also on PS3; up-port of an older, Japan-only Dreamcast game)
1. Super Mario Maker (Wii U)
2. Splatoon (Wii U)
3. Pillars of Eternity (PC)
Honorable Mentions: The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match (PC) (previously released on other platforms), Rocket League (PC) (also on PS4, Xbox One, Switch)
1. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (Wii U) (if you count an HD remaster)
2. Overwatch (PC) (also on PS4, Xbox One, Switch) (GOTY if you don’t count the above)
3. Picross 3D: Round 2 (Nintendo 3DS)
Honorable Mention: Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS (Nintendo 3DS)
1. Starcraft Remastered (PC) (yes, it’s a remake. I’m listing it anyway. The new graphics are great!)
2. Yooka-Laylee (PC) (also on PS4, Xbox One, Switch)
3. Super Mario Odyssey (Switch)
Honorable Mentions: Splatoon 2 (Switch), Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana (Playstation Vita) (later ported to PS4, PC, Switch)
1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Switch)
2. Tempest 4000 (Xbox One) (also on PC, PS4)
3. WarioWare Gold (Nintendo 3DS)
Honorable Mentions: Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption (PC), Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (Xbox One; also on PS4, PC)
1. Super Mario Maker 2 (Switch)
2. Etrian Odyssey Nexus (Nintendo 3DS)
3. They are Billions (PC)
Honorable Mentions: Collection of Mana (Switch) [particularly for the first US release of Mana 3, previously Japan-only], Fire Emblem: Three Houses (Switch), Ding Dong XL (Switch)
Overall Top 10 of the Decade
- Super Mario Maker (Wii U) (2015) – This game redefines platformers in a truly special way.
- Starcraft Remastered (PC) (2017) – The best game ever, redone with better visuals.
- Picross 3D (Nintendo DS) (2010) – A puzzle game classic still to be topped.
- Splatoon (Wii U) (2015) – Easily one of the best shooters ever made!
- Super Mario Maker 2 (Switch) (2019) – Mostly better than the original, this game only suffers for the worse creation of the Switch’s capacitive touchscreen versus the Wii U’s reactive one.
- Super Mario 3D World (Wii U) (2013) – A highly under-rated game, I hope it gets a Switch port soon!
- Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions (Xbox 360) (also have for PC and Xbox One; also on PS3 and PS4) (2014) – This game was ignored by most, but I was totally addicted and played it regularly for a year.
- Kirby’s Return to Dream Land (Wii) (2010) – Kirby returned with a vengeance!
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (Wii U) (if you count an HD remaster) (2016) – The HD version of one of Nintendo’s best games ever is probably the definitive version.
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii) (2011) – This game was slightly disappointing for a major Zelda game, but that still ranks it as exceptional.
Honorable Mention: Yooka-Laylee (PC) (also on PS4, Xbox One, Switch) (2017) – Everybody is wrong about this game, Yooka-Laylee is amazing and one of the best games of the decade! I have played more of this game than Mario Odyssey and don’t regret that.
So, for me 2012, 2016, and 2018 were the weaker years of the decade for games, while 2010, 2015, and 2019 stand out for the greatness of their libraries. 2017 is was a fantastic year as well. Overall though, 2015 has to win because Mario Maker and Splatoon are two of my favorite games ever. Quantity matters, and 2019 has that, but quality matters even more. (They Are Billions, by the way, does not make the top 10 because the random luck of level generation and unfair nature of defeats make it incredibly frustrating, and not always for fair reasons. Maybe it should be on the list despite that, it’s close.)