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 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 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.
2012 was a year of transition for Nintendo consoles, with the Wii on its last legs (but still cranking out some solid titles) and the release of the Wii U in late November. There were definitely some slow times before the Wii U, but here at the end of the year there is a lot to look back on and appreciate. Let’s get started!
Console VC GOTY
Nintendo often seems to all but have abandoned the virtual console on the Wii, just to let a key title pop up out of nowhere. However, without a virtual console ready on the Wii U at launch, and some large gaps on the Wii, this was not the best year for virtual console on the home consoles. But there were some gems, for sure, and here they are.
And the winner is…
Mega Man X2 (Super Nintendo) (109 points)
Runner-ups: Monster World IV (43 points) Metal Slug X (39 points)
Not quite: Strider (29 points) Prince Of Persia (15 points) Wonder Boy in Monster Land (14 points)
Mega Man still has power 20 years later, and X2, a somewhat darker (in my eyes) take on the X formula, was much loved here at Negative World, easily nabbing our console VC GOTY awards. Monster World IV, a never seen before in NA and personal Zero favorite, edges out Metal Slug X for second, while Strider misses the mark and Prince of Persia and Wonder Boy lag behind.
Console eShop Most Wanted
The new and improved eShop is one of the more exciting things about the Wii U to me, but of course a shop needs games to make it worthwhile. 2013 is providing games to be sure, and this is another list that I had to cut out a lot of good choices to get it down to just six.
And the winner is…
BIT.TRIP Presents Runner 2: Future Legend of
Rhythm Alien (Wii U eShop) (103 points)
Runner-ups: Retro City Rampage (63 points) The Cave (52 points)
Not quite: Mutant Mudds Deluxe (28 points) Pier Solar and the Great Architects HD (26 points) Cloudberry Kingdom (20 points)
We love us some BIT.TRIP here at Negative World, and the first direct sequel to a BIT.TRIP game (unless you count FLUX) is also our most wanted console eShop game without contest. The long awaited (is it really still coming?) Wii title Retro City Rampage takes second, and Double Fine’s The Cave sits just behind in a close third. Mutant Mudds, Pier Solar, and Cloudberry all put up a decent showing, but fell short in the end.
Console eShop GOTY
There wasn’t much to look at on WiiWare in 2012, but one key title did slip into our list, while the Wii U debuted with a bunch of quality digital downloads to help fill out the rest. For my dollar, the Wii U eShop launch was more exciting than the Wii U retail launch, but YMMV.
Little Inferno, the oddly poignant game about burning everything you can in a fireplace (and isolation, and commercialism, and the environment, and...), is our clear winner, although WiiWare’s La-Mulana and Trine 2 don’t fall far behind. Nano Assault Neo and Mighty Switch Force just miss a shot at winner’s circle, while poor, poor Chasing Aurora can’t quite ascend to the same heights.
Console Most Wanted
2013 will be the first full year for the Wii U, and we hope that it will be a great one. There are plenty of interesting looking titles coming in the near future, including one that was announced many, many years ago and we are still waiting on, so the hype levels are running high. Which one took our award?
Not quite: The Wonderful 101 (60 points) LEGO City: Undercover (56 points) Bayonetta 2 (44 points)
It wasn’t even close, with our winner more than doubling the points of our second place. We have been waiting years for Pikmin 3 and now that it is finally almost here, the anticipation is palpable. Rayman and Monster Hunter fill out our top spots, with The Wonderful 101 and LEGO City right behind. Even our last place finisher, Bayonetta 2, garnered a respectable amount of points.
Our decision to combine both the Wii and Wii U awards was a pretty easy one to make for most of the other categories, as there were rather slim pickings on the Wii in most categories. However, the Wii received a trio of big games in 2012, including 2 heavily anticipated Operation Rainfall games that finally hit the NA territory, so our console GOTY became a pretty interesting battle, with both the Wii and the Wii U having 3 games each in our list. Which console emerged victorious?
And the winner is…
Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii) (130 points)
Runner-ups: Nintendo Land (77 points) New Super Mario Bros. U (72 points)
Not quite: Rhythm Heaven Fever (54 points) The Last Story (49 points) ZombiU (31 points)
You have to hand it to the Wii this time, with Xenoblade Chronicles devastating the competition for an easy win, sending the Wii off on an excellent note. The vast scope, the epic storyline, and the many modernizations of antiquated RPG mechanics helped propel this game to our top spot. The Wii U was no slouch either though, with Nintendo’s two big launch titles, Nintendo Land and NSMB U, taking our second and third spots. Rhythm Heaven, The Last Story, and ZombiU all put up some solid numbers as well. From 2D platformers to mini-game collections to epic RPGs to zombie killing horror games, there was quite a variety of great titles to experience on Nintendo consoles in 2012!
PS. And even once more I'd like to take this moment to thank the members of the Negative World for an excellent 2012! You guys and girls are the best and you know it. And if you're reading this and not a member yet, get yourself signed up, ok? You can sign up right now for free in less than a minute. Go for it!
If wonder how much action Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate will get here in a group format. I know that the want-to is there, but Pikmin 3 has just a..more powerful, general-public gamer force, and too much to overcome. Does that make sense?
Yeah, there are certain things you give up when you let "everyone" vote, for instance niche games are always going to fight an uphill battle because not as many people have played them. Then again stuff like Ghost Trick and such have won awards here in the past.
Also Pikmin 3 is brand new and we have been waiting for it for years, while Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is essentially a port of an old game. It might be a super duper, tons of new content port, but it doesn't have that brand new freshness associated with it.
I was a bit surprised that Monster Hunter 4 didn't do better in the handheld awards though...
I wonder if Monster Hunter will ever gain the broad appeal that-- nah, no it won't. I'm ok with that, so long as we have a bunch of dudes here who still like to go out and skin some Rhenopoli. What is it, March? Late April? I can't remember.
--And I didn't check the handheld awards, *giggle*
How quickly do you think Xenoblade CAN be beaten? I know people say that "so and so is an X hour game," but a lot of that includes necessary grindage and finding everything, etc. I'm already way up there, and I figured my bottom line would be something like 300 hours. That is too long.
I hope to see ZombiU get more and more love in the coming months/years. I really had a lot of fun with NSMBU, really good game, but ZombiU is the best reason to own the Wii U right now. Actually, come to think of it, both ZombiU and Mario were a pleasant surprise for a launch I wasn't super high on back around E3. Both games far exceeded the expectations I had going in.
Also, good to see a lot of excitement for Rayman. Origins was the best 2011 game that I played in 2012.
@Mr_Mustache My brother finished Xenoblade in 60 hours or so. But he skipped pretty much all of the side quests. He said he only really needed to grind near the end, and even then I think a part of it was that he didn't realize what he was supposed to be doing. I'm exploring a bit more than him and doing some side quests (when I get an interesting looking one and not yet another "collect X of Y" one) so I'm thinking a good 80+ hours for me. I doubt anything close to 300 though. I'm sure it can take 300 if you want to do everything, but to that I say heck no sir.
It took me around 75 hours plus the 35 I stupidly erased out of a sheer act of of stupidity. The game does require a good bit of grinding since you really don't have a chance against bosses if you are even 3 or 4 levels lower and even 1 level lower is pushing it. But if you do sidequests and get gems to help it can make things a bit easier to get through.
I'm going to crack into Xenoblade as my next title. Wii U doesn't make that God awful noise when loading data that my Wii did so now it would be CLICK CLICK CLICK every second while playing the game. Good thing the save transfers over.
I'm thinking after Xenoblade I'll pick up ZombieU. I figured it might be one of those titles that gets tunnel visioned into a set idea by reviewers. If you aren't [insert other game here], then you suck.
Did you guys get the original BIT.TRIP games on WiiWare or were they new to you? I think it is a pretty amazing series. It is tough to imagine getting them all at once though. I like that I got them spaced out and got to focus on each one when it released.
@TheOldManFromZelda But the sixth one is just the first one but better. I mean, I think I'd still give it to the first one for being first if I had to rank them, but it's tough to imagine anyone liking the first one and disliking the sixth.
All of them are good in different ways though. CORE is probably the only one that never clicked with me.
I don't think enough people around here have played La Mulana if Little Inferno is getting the nod over it. Don't get me wrong-LI was my number 2 pick, surprisingly, but La Mulana is a Metroidvania masterpiece.
@Deerock69 I've played both, and I picked Little Inferno. La-Mulana is great but it's like 8,000 times way too obtuse. I have no idea how anyone can "finish" that game without a guide, and even with one it gets confusing.
I didn't do much voting since I haven't played many games released this year. I know I did Xenoblade and Rhythm Haven Fever, but that's probably about it. I'm not particularly anticipating any games, though I might have voted for Pikmin 3 as Most Wanted since it does look good.