Before we get started, I want to clarify to anyone who has stumbled upon our GOTY awards that we are a Nintendo-focused site, and our awards reflect that. This doesn’t mean that we don’t love and play games on other platforms, but for the sake of our GOTY awards, we stick to games that appear on Nintendo platforms only.
This year we have divided our awards into two categories, Nintendo handhelds and Nintendo consoles, each of which have 5 awards; virtual console GOTY, eShop Most Wanted, eShop GOTY, Most Wanted, and GOTY. For the sake of these awards we define eShop as anything that appears in North America as a digital download only (IE cannot be bought at a store as a retail product), while our regular awards apply to anything that can be bought in North America as a retail product. In the future this distinguishment will probably disappear as the lines between retail and digital become more and more blurred, but for now, it works.
It’d be tough to call 2013 the best year for Nintendo consoles, as the Wii U definitely struggled both in sales numbers and game releases. However, that isn’t to say that there weren’t some great games to experience from both Nintendo and 3rd parties, especially when you take the eShop exclusives into account. It’s difficult to predict the future of the Wii U, but one thing is sure for Nintendo fans, there will be many exclusives worth owning the system for.
Console VC GOTY
A lot of the virtual console releases on the Wii U have been games that already released on the Wii virtual console, which is nice and all, but not exactly exciting. There was, however, a certain huge release of a game that has not been available since the days of the Super Nintendo. We can only hope that more unique VC games are on the way.
And the winner is…
Earthbound (Super Nintendo) (111 points)
Runner-ups: Super Metroid (74 points) Super Mario World (43 points)
Not quite: Mega Man 2 (22 points) Super Castlevania IV (11 points) Kirby’s Adventure (2 points)
Before the VC release in 2013, Earthbound was a very difficult game to acquire legally at a price that wouldn’t require you to sell a liver. Suffice to say, we had been waiting for Nintendo to rerelease Earthbound for a long time now, and it hit us where it counted, both for longtime fans and newcomers to the series such as myself. Super Metroid and Super Mario World just couldn’t quite compete, while Mega Man 2 and Super Castlevania IV fall a bit behind, and Kirby’s Adventure is almost completely ignored.
Console eShop Most Wanted
It’s my humble opinion that some of the best games on the Wii U have been found on the eShop, and with some big hitters in the 2014 lineup that trend looks like it may just continue. This is one of those lists that I had to cut a lot to make work, and I think we ended up with some pretty interesting choices.
Not quite: Pier Solar and the Great Architects HD (13 points) Child of Light (12 points) Teslagrad (6 points)
The top three for our console eShop most wanted look pretty darn similar to our top three for handheld eShop most wanted, although Mighty No. 9 had a bigger fight on its hands from Shovel Knight on the console side, taking the win by only 10 points. The console Shantae sequel takes an easy third, while Pier Solar HD, Child of Light, and Teslagrad barely make an impact.
Console eShop GOTY
The Wii U eShop has been one of my go to places for great games, and 2013 provided a fair amount of options to choose from, including a remake of a classic NES game, a sequel to a much loved WiiWare game,and a certain announced the day of release mid-December game from Nintendo themselves.
And the winner is…
BIT.TRIP Presents… Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien (Wii U eShop) (61 points)
Runner-ups: NES Remix (45 points) DuckTales Remastered (43 points)
Not quite: Wii Sports Club (29 points) Toki Tori 2+ (24 points) Zen Pinball 2 (10 points)
The original BIT.TRIP RUNNER won our WiiWare GOTY on the year of its release, so it is only fitting that its much expanded upon direct sequel also takes the prize. Latecomer NES Remix barely edges out DuckTales Remastered for second place, with Wii Sports Club, Toki Tori 2+ and Zen Pinball 2 falling a bit further back.
Console Most Wanted
The Wii U might have had a bit of a rough year in 2013, but there are still plenty of awesome looking games lined up for the future. Sure, most of them are either being developed or published by Nintendo themselves, but what else is new? We have some tasty looking treats on the way!
And the winner is…
Super Smash Bros. (Wii U) (97 points)
Runner-ups: X (91 points) Mario Kart 8 (66 points)
Not quite: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (40 points) Bayonetta 2 (24 points) Yarn Yoshi (8 points)
Much like its handheld sibling, Super Smash Bros. on the Wii U takes our most wanted console spot, although the Xenoblade sequel “X” is only 6 points behind, with Mario Kart 8 taking the bronze medal without much trouble. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Bayonetta 2 also put up some solid numbers, but Yarn Yoshi hasn’t quite gained much momentum yet.
Depending on your perspective, this was either a great year or a slow year for Wii U retail releases. Regardless of your perspective, there were definitely a fair amount of games worth checking out that gamers could ignore at their own peril. Including a certain pretty substantial game you may have heard of game that was both announced and released in 2013.
And the winner is…
Super Mario 3D World (Wii U) (146 points)
Runner-ups: Pikmin 3 (57 points) The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD (25 points)
Not quite: LEGO City: Undercover (22 points) Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (20 points) New Super Luigi U (17 points)
In a move that I’m sure will shock the populace, Negative World has chosen Super Mario 3D World as our console game of the year with almost 3 times the votes as the first runner-up. Working off of the basic formula established in Super Mario 3D Land on the 3DS but kicking everything up a few notches (as well as adding multiplayer), Super Mario 3D Land has become the first true killer app on the Wii U. Also, the cat suit is awesome. The much anticipated Pikmin 3 puts up some solid numbers in 2nd place, however, with the Wind Waker HD port edging out Lego City, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate and New Super Luigi U to take third.
While I wish Lego City: Undercover had nabbed some more love, I agree with pretty much all of it. I think Pier Solar and the Great Architects HD will become more popular once people know what the hell it is. I don't suspect there's much knowledge around it, but it looks pretty good.
Was The Wonderful 101 an option in any of these? I honestly can't remember. Not that I think it would have won anything...it's my understanding that not many people played it. (and those that did were lukewarm on it)
@GameDadGrant Everything that was an option is listed! The Wonderful 101 was on my big list but it had to be pared down to 6 entries so it was cut due to what you mention... not many people have played it. A shame, but since we do our GOTY on a popular vote it wouldn't make too much sense to include a game that would almost be guaranteed to get no votes.
I don't remember whether I voted for Smash Bros. or X for most wanted. I think Smash Bros., but it's weird, I was thinking last night about how I've maybe played enough Smash Bros. for one lifetime. Which is of course total BS, I'm totally gonna play the Wii U one for hundreds of hours. It does look kinda Brawley though. I have yet to be blown away by it. X, on the other hand... like we've said a million times before, if it can fix Xenoblade's problems, best RPG ever.
I have to wonder if NES Remix would have fared better if it hadn't launched in the last week of the year. Runner2 totally deserves its win though.
I suspect a remake of an old game is always going to have a drag on its votes (unless it's Ocarina of Time because people can't stop finding new ways to give accolades to that old game). I'd consider Wind Waker my second favorite game of all time and I still voted for LEGO City in that category.
Good picks all-around, I'd say, although I'm a little sad for TW101. Hardly any of us played it, and it may very well be one of the best Wii U games of 2013. I say when this game gets its inevitable price drop, we should all go pick it up and try it out together.
Pikmin 3 was actually my favorite Wii U game of the year, but SM3DW delivered a lot of good times still.
Go EarthBound! Even though Super Metroid is technically my favorite game of all (and it came this year at a fantastic price), EarthBound finally hitting the VC was something worth voting for. That and Nintendo's treatment of it was awesome, with the trailer and the digital version of the guide and all. Getting games that already hit the VC years ago--even at 30 cents--just can't compare in excitement. Plus, my wife finally got to play it and LOVED it, which melts my crusty heart.
You're anticipating a Mega Man-inspired indie game more than a direct Mega Man successor made by the Mega Man team?? No disrespect to Shovel Knight, it looks very good, but between a fan's homage to a series and a direct follow-up of that series, I'd pick the official one anytime!
@TriforceBun Shovel Knight just looks more stylistically interesting to me so far, not to mention the music is amazing and everything. Plus it looks like it is drawing on a lot more than just Mega Man.
I could totally see The Wonderful 101 being a great Christmas-list option for 2014. The girlfriend always says she never can buy me any games because I always get whatever I want first. I'm intrigued by TW101 but not sold on it. That'd be a nice venue to do it, especially if it's half price or something somewhere.
Thw W101's price was dropped to $29.99 at Gamestop before Xmas, I have no idea when they actually dropped the price. I had a $25 gift card plus I got 10% off the price. I ended up getting the game for around $4.75, including tax. I have not had a chance to play it yet.
I just checked Gamestop's website and the game is still listed at $29.99. I would say anyone who really wants to try out the game should buy it now. It will probably be a hard title to find by the end of 2014. I would assume that the retail version is no longer being manufactured due to low sells.So far the game has sold around 140,000 units.
Also, looks like ubisoft hurt themselves over by waiting to release the Wii U version of Rayman Legends back in Feb. 2013. Globally across all platforms the game sold about 830,000 units. The PS3 sold the most with 290,000, the Wii U was a close second with 270,000 units sold. The 360 was third with 230,000 sold and the Vita in a distant fourth place with 40,000 sold. Of course 830,000 units is not horrible, but we are talking about being spread across four platforms. The amount of development time/cost was probably much higher compared to if the game was only released on one console. The game looks really fun and Im sure if the game had released in Feb 2013, the word of mouth plus the high review scores would have meant more sales for the PS3/Xbox360.
While I have no proof, I feel the Wii U's sales numbers would have been much higher had the game released in Feb. Esp. since there was ver little to choose from at that time, plus I know many people stated, like myself, would not buy the game if it was delayed.
Again, no surprises here. Earthbound finally hitting the VC was a highlight, most definitely. SM3DW and Pikmin 3 were stellar games. Smash Bros for Wii U is going to be the best game ever made. I can feel it in my bones!
I was surprised as well. Now, I have no idea if the price drop is across all retail stores or just at Gamestop. I know many hate Gamestop, ect, and I know the reasons. Myself, I like the store and get along with the management and those that work at my two local GS's. Plus the same people, except for a few different employees have been at these stores for the past 5-10 years.
I just thought I would let everyone know that the game has already dropped in price. I just have a feeling that the W101 will be a hard title to find as time passes on.