Asking Big Questions

Asking Big Questions #005: “What is your favorite game for every year you’ve been alive?”


“I sit beside the fire and think
Of all that I have seen
Of meadow flowers and butterflies
In summers that have been

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
In autumns that there were
With morning mist and silver sun
And wind upon my hair

I sit beside the fire and think
Of how the world will be
When winter comes without a spring
That I shall ever see

For still there are so many things
That I have never seen
In every wood in every spring
There is a different green

I sit beside the fire and think
Of people long ago
And people that will see a world
That I shall never know

But all the while I sit and think
Of times there were before
I listen for returning feet
And voices at the door”
―J.R.R. Tolkien



Turn back time with me, NPCs!

So this is very much last minute, impulsive, and spontaneous but I thought I’d turn it into an amiable community invitation. Our fifth Asking Big Questions post doesn’t aim for profundity so much as it’s just plain fun. Simply put, can you name your favorite game for every year you’ve been alive? So for example, I was born in 1985, so I had to name a favorite game from that year (easy enough), and then I named another favorite released in 1986 and ’87 and so on. Note, this is not a Game of the Year list.

What began as a Twitteresque aside turned into something that I actually found pretty introspective. See a lot of my childhood, a good chunk of it from about age 6 to age 16 (a third of my life) is a blur. During this time my parents got divorced and I hopped from school to school and house to house. I remember feeling aimless and one of the few constants in my life was my NES and later my SNES. I played Super Nintendo by gas lantern light off a generator in the woods. That same system crossed two oceans with me: the Pacific when I jumped from island to island in Hawaii as a kid and the Atlantic when I went overseas to the UK for college later in life. I still have that ancient, yellowed SNES and maybe someday it’ll cross a third ocean with me… I found a lot of favorite games during this era but specific memories of where I was and what I was doing during these years came back to me in thinking about the games I played during that time. I’d consider that pretty valuable, personally.

So anyhow, you can view my favorites from 1985 up to 2017 by clicking the image-link to Twitter below! If you’d like to participate, you can share your favorites for every year you’ve been alive in the comments below or you can even create a separate post if you like! Just be sure to link back to this one so we get to see your picks!

I went by original release dates (as in JP over NA), not the year I first played these games.

Have fun! Also don’t forget TWRM has an archive by year!

In your service,
-The Well-Red Mage


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74 replies »

  1. I will start my list from the earliest game I can remember playing on the original console it was released on:
    1989: Super Mario Land (Game Boy),
    1990: Commander Keen (PC),
    1991: Sonic the Hedgehog (Mega Drive),
    1992: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Mega Drive),
    1993: Syndicate (PC),
    1994: Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Mega Drive),
    1995: Donkey Kong Land (Game Boy),
    1996: Tomb Raider (Sega Saturn),
    1997: Saturn Bomberman (Sega Saturn),
    1998: Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64),
    1999: Pokémon Blue (Game Boy),
    2000: Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (Nintendo 64),
    2001: Metal Gear Solid 2 (PlayStation 2),
    2002: Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker (GameCube),
    2003: Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (GameCube),
    2004: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (PlayStation 2),
    2005: Star Wars: Battlefront II (PlayStation 2),
    2006: Tomb Raider: Legend (PlayStation 2),
    2007: Super Mario Galaxy (Wii),
    2008: Okami (Wii),
    2009: Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings (Wii),
    2010: Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii),
    2011: Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii).
    Unfortunately, my list ends early and I am not sure about the dates.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Only the Mega Drive. Actually, I have noticed that, for many of the lists, the favourite games during the nineties were usually cheerful Nintendo games, but the liked games during the noughties were gritty shooters and horror games. Then more cheerful games were chosen in the later years.

        Liked by 1 person

          • I, personally, remember these sort of games from the noughties because I had reached an age where I could play more violent games. I did think there were still some good Nintendo games released at the time, such as Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, Super Mario Sunshine and the Metroid Prime trilogy. I have also heard that there were some popular games released on the Nintendo DS. It seems strange that more people did not choose those games.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. 2001 – Super Smash Bros. Melee
    2002 – Sonic Adventure 2: Battle (Tony Hawks Pro Skater 4, Super Mario Sunshine and Timesplitters 2 real close though — what a year!)
    2003 – Gotcha Force (Simpsons: Hit & Run is damn fun too)
    2004 – Halo 2
    2005 – Mario Kart DS
    2006 – Pokémon Pearl
    2007 – Halo 3
    2008 – Super Smash Bros. Brawl
    2009 – Ratchet & Clank: a Crack in Time (my second favourite game of all time)
    2010 – Sonic Colours
    2011 – Rayman Origins (my favourite game of all time)
    2012 – Animal Crossing: New Leaf
    2013 – Rayman Legends
    2014 – Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (my third favourite game of all time)
    2015 – Rocket League
    2016 – Ratchet & Clank
    2017 – Sonic Mania

    There ya go.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was fun and hard narrowing down a couple of days ago! Here’s my list for those who didn’t see it on Twitter:

    1982-River Raid
    1983-Mario Bros.
    1985-Super Mario Bros.
    1986-The Legend of Zelda
    1987-Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!
    1988-Super Mario Bros. 3
    1989-Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse
    1990-Super Mario World
    1991-The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
    1992-Contra III: The Alien Wars
    1993-Mortal Kombat II
    1994-Super Metroid
    1995-Chrono Trigger
    1996-Super Mario 64
    1997-Star Fox 64
    1999-Pokemon Gold & Silver
    2000-The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
    2001-Dragon Warrior III (GBC)
    2002-Metroid Prime
    2003-Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
    2004-Metroid: Zero Mission
    2005-Shadow of the Colossus
    2006-Final Fantasy V Advance
    2007-Super Mario Galaxy
    2008-Mega Man 9
    2009-Plants vs. Zombies
    2011-Mortal Kombat
    2012-Mutant Mudds
    2013-The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
    2014-Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
    2015-Super Mario Maker
    2016-Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
    2017-Metroid: Samus Returns

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’re all younger than me. Get off my lawn.

    Like you, I’ve gone with the first release date of international releases (usually JP). Also I have cheated on a few years. And I will probably change my mind on any of these at a moment’s notice. But these were my immediate, gut responses when confronted with a list of games from each year!

    1981: Caverns of Mars
    1982: River Raid
    1983: M.U.L.E.
    1984: Boulder Dash
    1985: Mercenary
    1986: oh jeez, this one is difficult. Uhhh… uhhhhhh…. Out Run! No, Arkanoid! No, Zelda. Out Run. Definitely Out Run.
    1987: Phantasy Star
    1988: Super Mario Bros. 2
    1989: Tetris
    1990: Wing Commander
    1991: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
    1992: Ultima Underworld
    1993: Star Fox. Also Ridge Racer. And Doom. And Gabriel Knight. Screw you, 1993.
    1994: Wing Commander III
    1995: Yoshi’s Island
    1996: SimCopter
    1997: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Also Final Fantasy VII.
    1998: Every game ever, this was the best year ever in gaming. I have to pick one? FF Tactics.
    1999: Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete
    2000: The Sims
    2001: Silent Hill 2
    2002: Shantae
    2003: Silent Hill 3
    2004: City of Heroes
    2005: Timesplitters: Future Perfect
    2006: Final Fantasy XII
    2007: Ar Tonelico
    2008: Persona 3 FES
    2009: Ar Tonelico 2
    2010: Hyperdimension Neptunia
    2011: Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2, The Fruit of Grisaia
    2012: Katawa Shoujo, Senran Kagura Burst
    2013: Dungeon Travelers 2
    2014: Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart
    2015: Crazy amount of good stuff this year. Megadimension Neptunia V-II, Gal*Gun Double Peace, MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death, The Witcher 3
    2016: Persona 5
    2017: Nier Automata, Gravity Rush 2

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like this idea! May have to turn this into a longer post and link back..

    Side note, did you google for lists of games released each year? Cause I can’t remember off the top of my head which year most games came out!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m going with North American release dates..
    1989- Mega Man 2 (NES)
    1990- Super Mario Bros 3 (NES)
    1991- Super Mario World (SNES)
    1992- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)
    1993- Kirby’s Adventure (NES)
    1994- Super Metroid (SNES)
    1995- Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest (SNES)
    1996- Diablo (PC)
    1997- Mega Man X4 (PS)
    1998- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)
    1999- Super Smash Bros (N64)
    2000- Diablo II (PC)
    2001- Super Smash Bros Melee (GCN)
    2002- Metroid Prime (GCN)
    2003- Viewtiful Joe (GCN)
    2004- Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (GCN)
    2005- Resident Evil 4 (GCN)
    2006- Kingdom Hearts II (PS2)
    2007- Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)
    2008- Super Smash Bros Brawl (Wii)
    2009- Metroid Prime Trilogy (Wii)
    2010- Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)
    2011- The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)
    2012- Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (3DS)
    2013- Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
    2014- Super Smash Bros For Wii U
    2015- Yoshi’s Wooly World (Wii U)
    2016- Interestingly, I have not played a game made in this year.
    2017- Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue (PS4) ((Only game I have played in this year))
    2018- I don’t own any game that has come out this year so far.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I plan on doing this later in the year. I started some research and it gets really iffy on release documentation say late 70s and early 80s. It’s going to be fun project when I get around to it though.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I like the idea of doing this, but a problem arises when you start revisiting more games from a given year. Now, I would consider Planescape: Torment the best game of 1999, yet I wouldn’t play it until 2010 (plus, I wouldn’t have appreciated it as a kid, anyway). Though I have some sure footing when it comes to grading the games I review, I tend not to declare a Game of the Year because it’s a title that’s subject to change to an even greater extent than where I would place a game on my scale.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah it’s fun! You can avoid that problem simply by thinking of this as “favorite” games, not “best” games. “Best” and “favorite” tend to get mixed up when we talk about games but this isn’t a GOTY question at all. It’s just a favorites question, which is much easier to answer. My favorites aren’t always my GOTYs and many years I haven’t played enough games to make that claim for a game.

      Like I mentioned, I went by year of release, not year I played the game so even though I didn’t play Pokemon Red the year it came out in Japan, it was still my favorite game for that year by release date. Same thing for titles I played retrospectively. Obviously, nobody plays any games in their first year of life but nevertheless my favorite pick from 1985 was SMB. I likewise never played Legend of Zelda when I was two haha! 🙂


      • Yeah, although for me, those two concepts usually go hand in hand. Planescape: Torment is both my favorite game from that year as well as the game I feel is the best 1999 (or the nineties in general) had to offer. I can appreciate that others can separate the two ideas, but I personally don’t.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Interesting! So the question that popped into my head is you feel you’ve played enough games from each year you’ve been alive in order to make the indication for a GOTY each year? On the note of best/favorite, I’m thinking of Last of Us as an example not of a “best” game from its year but one that I was impressed with in terms of its presentation, though my gripes with it prevent it from being my favorite. I recall you had mechanical complaints with that game, iirc.


          • I think the thing is that I tend to review games as a cohesive whole. In the case of The Last of Us specifically, the reason I gave it a 3/10 was because as amazingly good as the presentation was, the gameplay was, at best, average and the cast was roundly unlikable. In other words, it’s what happens when one adheres to a style-over-substance philosophy only to not have a particularly good style. Therefore, even on the merits of being a grand technical achievement (which is dubious to begin with), I wouldn’t declare it Game of the Year or my favorite game from 2013 (that would be Fire Emblem: Awakening).

            Liked by 1 person

              • Furthermore, now that I’ve seen Citizen Kane (and actually liked it, to my surprise), I can adamantly say that calling The Last of Us “gaming’s Citizen Kane moment” is an exceptionally poor analogy. I’m convinced whoever wrote that never saw the movie and only based that off of the opinion shared by many people rather than basing it off of their own subjective experiences.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Perhaps what I mean by that is I thought it would be like approaching a pioneering game in that I would appreciate its place in history more than actually experiencing it. As it stands, I genuinely enjoyed it, and I can say the reason it still has a following is because it has aged really well.

                  Film critics have a good batting average compared to video game critics, so I tend not to take their consensuses with a grain of salt – at least not nearly to the same extent. Sure, there have been instances wherein they heavily promoted something wildly mediocre or were asleep at the switch when a masterpiece arose, but they tend to be more reliable than video game critics.

                  Liked by 1 person

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