Cary’s Best Video Games of the Past Decade Awards Show Special!

kobuniconWhen I was writing my “Cary’s Best Video Games of 2009 Awards Show” blog, it donned on me that not only is this a new year, it’s also a new decade, too! And I also realized that for the past decade, every year I’ve written some kind of ‘Best Game of the Year” article in some form or fashion. And I still have them on record! So I thought it would be fun to make a special blog and look back and see which games won my Game of the Year Award for each year of the past decade!


Now, keep in mind that this is my list only, and no other outside opinions are present. This means my list may be a little unfair because of my tastes in games. And plus, I’m only one person so I can’t play ALL the consoles and games. And those of you who know me, you know that I sometimes pick an unexpected gem for my Game of the Year. So keep these things in mind when sifting through my list.

2000: The Misadventures of Tron Bonne (PSOne)

The year 2000 was full of hopes, dreams, and aspirations for me. Hopes, dreams, and aspirations that would eventually get crushed later on, but hey, at the time I was blissfully ignorant of the future. All I knew was that I had just graduated college the year before, in December of 1999. I was high on the hog writing game reviews for a major metropolitan newspaper, and was trying to get a full-time job there. PR professionals and game companies knew me by name and I danced with Ulala at E3 (sorta). Plus, a handful of upstart Web sites (none of which are around anymore) were asking ME to write reviews for them! One site was going to be called and have game reviews geared toward families and children. Sound familiar?

Anyway, there were a lot of good games in 2000, many of which were just as deserving of my Game of the Year award. Stuff like Majora’s Mask and Banjo-Tooie on the N64, for instance. But I chose a little-known PSOne game called The Misadventures of Tron Bonne because I enjoyed it just as much as those other titles, and I wanted to give it a little more recognition.

So who is Tron Bonne? Well, back in the PSOne days, Capcom made a spinoff Mega Man series called Mega Man Legends, and it was a 3-D shooter starring a new Mega Man in a water-logged far flung future. The game had little in common with the original Mega Man, but it was still fun. It was a 3-D third-person shooter with elements of Tomb Raider and Doom thrown in. There were also lots of RPG elements with equippable items and towns with scads of characters to visit. Many of these characters were very likable, including the villains. Mega Man Volnut’s constant adversaries were a family of comical pirates: Teisel, his little sister Tron, and their army of adorable LEGO men-like Servebots. Tron Bonne and her Servebots were so popular that they got their own game!

Tron Bonne’s own game was a bit of an odd bird. It had action and shooting stages, but also some exploration and block pushing puzzle solving challenges. You also had to keep track of all 40 Servebots, so there were some simulation aspects as well. Very unique and funny game. As a comical villain, you have to guide Tron and her Servebots on missions to steal things, but Tron usually gets her comeuppance in the end. Very “Team Rocket” like.

One reason why Tron is such a great character is that she’s not a ‘fanservice’ girl like so many other Capcom females are (Cammy, you may be my favorite Street Fighter, but you’re the worst culprit of this). But Tron is just a girl at that ‘awkward age’ and is fully clothed and not ridiculously proportioned. If it weren’t for her being a villain, she could almost be a role-model for young girls because she’s a smart leader.

Hopefully, with this year’s released of Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom and Mega Man Volnut being a playable character, it’ll garner more interest in the Mega Man Legends series. While most fans would like a sequel to Mega Man Legends 2 (so would I, Mega Man’s been stuck on the moon for nearly 15 years now), but what I’d REALLY like is a sequel to The Misadventures of Tron Bonne.

2001: Super Smash Bros. Melee (GameCube)

This was the year that the GameCube was released. I really enjoyed the GameCube, I liked it even more than the Wii, actually. The GameCube was the first console I had to wait in line on launch day for. I didn’t have to wait in line for my NES, SNES, PlayStation, or even N64. But starting with the GameCube, I did. On launch day I went to Wal-Mart’s layaway department and waited in line for an hour. So even back then, console launches were not as ridiculous as they are now.

Melee came out at the tail end of 2001, and it ended up being one of the GameCube’s best games ever. The first Super Smash Bros. game on the N64 was fine, but Melee VASTLY improved upon it in every way. It was definitely one of the most last minute Game of the Years I’ve ever done!

2002: Animal Crossing (GameCube)

This year was a pretty rough year for me. Late in 2001, they let me go from the newspaper job, so I spent nearly two full years not reviewing games! Considering I had been doing that since 1996, it was a big adjustment for me! And all the Web sites I was supposed to be writing for? They all went out of business because of the dot com bubble bursting. And it’s really hard to find a full-time job when you’re legally blind and can’t drive a car. Not only that, but I was having some personal and family issues at this time. Nothing really THAT bad or anything, but it certainly put me at a pretty low time in my life. Again, nothing really awful, but enough that I’m not going to share it with everyone on the Internet. I guess if you REALLY want to know you can PM me or e-mail me and I might tell you.

Anyway, that year around my birthday was particularly tough. A couple of days before my birthday I got a GameCube game I had been really looking forward to: Animal Crossing. It’s a little sad to say, but one of the best birthday presents I got in that rough year was from one of my virtual neighbors in Animal Crossing. Prince the Frog, on a rainy day, waited by my door until I came outside my house and he gave me the NES version of Donkey Kong for my birthday! Again, yeah I know, pretty pathetic.

Life simulation games like The Sims had already been around, but Animal Crossing just interested me more. I’m not sure if it was the cute animals or laid-back gameplay, but I think it had more to do with the fact you could get a handful of NES games to play in your house in the original GameCube version! While I’ve enjoyed the DS and Wii sequels, I still like the first one the most. I think it’s one of Nintendo’s best ‘new’ franchises, and I’ve heard wonderful stories on how AC encouraged kids to garden, write real letters to family, and even clean their room! I liked GameCube Animal Crossing so much that I’ve put it on my ‘top 5 favorite games of all time’ list, right on up there with Pac-Man, SNES Super Mario Kart, FF6, and the PSOne Namco Museums!

2003: WarioWare: Mega Microgame$ (GBA)

Things started to look up in 2003. I got a new job working at a local church doing things I enjoy doing, and this was the year I started writing game reviews for! A handheld game won the award this year, and it’s one of Nintendo’s most creative and wacky franchises: WarioWare. Sure, the formula’s been a bit overused by Nintendo and others, but the first game was definitely an innovative success. Stringing together a bunch of short mini-game challenges for you to figure out how to do proved to be a fun and crazy game! And it introduced a bunch of fun new Nintendo characters, too. My favorites are 9-Volt, Mona, and Kat & Ana. Who are yours?

2004: Katamari Damacy (PS2)

And speaking of innovative games that have been overused lately, 2004’s Game of the Year for me was a Namco game right up my alley! While it’s true that Namco has ran the series into the ground, the first Katamari game was a super creative and quirky breath of fresh air. And it, along with WarioWare, probably encouraged other companies to bring over other wacky games from Japan. And the Katamari music was top notch. Another special thing about my Game of the Year for 2004 was that the head guy at GamerDad also picked it as his Game of the Year. And that made me feel pretty good because usually, NOBODY agrees with my Game of the Year choices!

2005: Psychonauts (PS2)

This game came out early in 2005, but it was just as impressive as the holiday releases. I felt Psychonauts was like a point and click adventure cleverly disguised as a 3-D platformer. The levels and stages were creative, the story was well-written and humorous, and the characters were so stylish. Everything you’d expect from Tim Schafer and his team. I haven’t played Tim Schafer’s newest game, Brutal Legend, and I probably won’t because I’m not big into heavy metal themes (plus I just don’t have time to mess with it). But if Brutal Legend is half the game Psychonauts was, I’m sure it’s still great.

2006: Okami (PS2)

I think 2006 just might be my favorite year of the past decade—gaming-wise, that is. Programmers had mastered last generation’s consoles, so we were getting the best of the best games for them. And the Wii was released this year, too! And then there was Okami. Clover’s last game for Capcom was a masterpiece. And in my opinion, it outdid its biggest similar game: Zelda. I got a lot of flak for it back then, and I’ll probably get a lot of flak for it now, but I felt Okami was a better Zelda-like game than that year’s Twilight Princess. It was a lot of fun, to be sure, but the Wii Zelda game just looked plain ugly in comparison. Usually I don’t complain about bad graphics, but the smudgy visuals in Twilight Princess caused me to die a few times, and that’s never good when bad graphics affect the gameplay. But Okami’s Japanese painting styled graphics were fantastic, the ‘drawing on the screen’ gameplay gimmick was brilliant, the music was great, it was a very LONG quest, and it was just plain flat out fun! Even though it’s not made by Clover, I can’t wait for the DS sequel. In it, you get to be an Okami puppy dog! How could you NOT like that? Unless you just don’t like puppies, in which case I’d have to say you’re not human!

2007: Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)

The year 2007 was kind of a rough year for me. I had just started a new job late the year prior, and learning the ropes that first year there was kind of stressful. Plus I was getting paid less to do twice as much work as the church job I had before. Luckily, things have gotten better at my job since then. This was also the year that my mom broke her foot and we had a bunch of home repairs done at the same time. Because I was so emotionally drained that year, I kind of feel like my Game of the Year choice was a bit of a cop-out. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Super Mario Galaxy and it’s definitely deserving of the award, but it just didn’t feel like me. Had I played it that year, I probably would’ve chosen Portal as my Game of the Year for 2007. But I didn’t play Portal until later in 2008, because I didn’t want to pay full price for only one game on The Orange Box. But yeah, Portal would’ve won if I had played it that year.

2008: Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)

I kind of feel like the three Super Smash Bros. games are like the first three Mega Man titles. The first game in the series of each was a good idea, but a little bare-boned. But the second game in each series improved on every aspect tenfold. And while the third game in each series was more of the same, they both refined the improvements that made the second game so great. Brawl had more characters and stages, great classic game references, and awesome music (and tons of it). I wish they would release a Brawl soundtrack! Despite having awful online play, Brawl proved to be a popular game around my household, so that’s why I gave it the award two years ago. My favorite characters to play as are Kirby and Princess Zelda. Who are yours?

2009: Klonoa (Wii)

And now we come full circle. Just as the beginning of the decade was full of great games, and yet I picked an oddball like Tron Bonne, this past year was similar. There were many good games that deserved my Game of the Year award: Retro Game Challenge, Dissidia: Final Fantasy, Zelda: Spirit Tracks, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and many more. But I chose Klonoa because I enjoyed it just as much as those other titles, and I felt it deserved some special recognition. If you want to read more about my Game of the Year awards, check out my last blog. And that concludes my picks for Game of the Year for the past decade. What were YOUR favorite games from last decade? Let me know in the comments section!

And that’s all for now. Next time on my blog, I MIGHT list some of the new games I’m looking forward to in 2010 (if I can think of enough). So until next time, later! –Cary

No Responses to “Cary’s Best Video Games of the Past Decade Awards Show Special!”

  1. Klonoa Wii remake happy.

  2. Brawl sucks! Not really, but Samus was my go-to character in Melee, and she doesn’t feel right in Brawl, sorta slow and clumsy. Pit, Meta-Knight, and Marth are cool too, but Samus will always be my favorite!

  3. SonicA: I’m glad you liked Klonoa, too!

    Copter: Yeah, Kirby played better in Melee, but both games are still lots of fun! –Cary

  4. This is the strangest “best game list” I have ever seen. Not that that’s a bad thing… I totally agree with the Okami choice, an amazing game that did NOT get the recognition it deserved neither the first or second time around (I own it for Wii AND the PS2). When Warioware GBA came out I was working at a job on the nightshift that let us play video games when nothing was active… (security monitoring), EVERYONE got into playing that game and competing with each other over my GBA. It actually inspired one co-worker to buy his own GBA so he could play other games at work too. It is not particularly that awesome of a title, but it has a quirky, infinite replay value that few others can touch.

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