Last week, we ask our readers to pick the best Disney games or representation of Disney characters within games. Rather than having you vote on specific games, we decided to lump them together into groups, which you will see below in the results. That said, considering what finished first, it seems as though there is in fact a clear-cut single favorite Disney game amongst our readers.
#1 – The Virgin Interactive 16-bit Disney games, 40%
Let’s be honest: This was basically a vote for Virgin’s Aladdin game for Genesis. Sure, they also made The Lion King and The Jungle Book, both of which are decent, but I really doubt that too many of the people who voted for this group have an especially deep fondness for those two games. Clearly, people went with this choice with Virgin’s brilliant Aladdin game in mind. This also puts to bed, at least as far as readership is concerned, whether or not the SNES or Genesis version of Aladdin is the superior one, especially when you see how many less votes the entire 8- and 16-bit Capcom Disney lineup got than basically this one single game. Which makes me happy, as that would make our readership absolutely correct in that assessment. Sorry not sorry, misguided SNES Aladdin supporters.
#2 – Capcom’s 8- and 16-bit Disney games, 22%
Given just how many beloved games this category encapsulates, I was definitely surprised at how many less votes it received than Virgin. Duck Tales, Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers, Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse, the aforementioned SNES Aladdin, and several others are all included in what was definitely the most sweeping category on our list. I actually contemplated splitting them up between the two bit sizes, figuring it was going to be an unbeatable category taken as one. Maybe some of the lesser games soured people’s overall feelings on the group, or maybe our readership skews just younger enough that more of you came of age in the 16-bit era than the 8-bit one, where Capcom’s Disney games were slightly weaker. Whatever the reason, Capcom clearly does not have a total stranglehold on retro gamers’ fondness for Disney games, and in fact it is just about equal to their love for…
#3 – Sega’s 8- and 16-bit Disney games, 21%
This finish came down to the wire, with Sega finishing only slightly behind Capcom. And as the bulk of Sega’s Disney output was on the Genesis/Mega Drive (with mostly Game Gear and Master System ports of those games comprising those platforms’ Disney libraries), my theory that our readers are either more familiar with or just largely prefer 16-bit games to 8-bit ones seems to be further strengthened. My guess is that Capcom only gained the slight edge that it did in this contest because of the sheer volume of Disney games it released vs. Sega. With Capcom seeming to prefer working with Nintendo, at least in terms of their Disney games, Sega took matters into their own hands and developed the fantastic Illusion series in-house, as well as Quackshot and Fantasia. That, combined with everyone’s all-time favorite Disney game (see above) calling the Genesis its exclusive home meant that the Genesis was the system to own in the 16-bit era if you wanted quality Disney titles.
#4 – The Kingdom Hearts series, 13%
There was some controversy in our inclusion of Kingdom Hearts as an option, as people claimed it wasn’t a true, full-on Disney game. But given how strongly it finished, I’d say plenty of our readers felt it deserved mention amongst the “real” Disney games. And really, given how often early licensed platforms had a propensity for being full of enemies and stages that had loose connections to the source material, if at all, the number of Disney worlds and characters you interact with in a Kingdom Hearts game arguably makes them more true Disney games than many supposedly true Disney games. Prior to the Disney Infinity series, Kingdom Hearts was home to some of the most faithfully recreated depictions of Disney worlds and their inhabitants than any game to date. Maybe more so than Infinity given that series’ preference for a more cutesy, unified look whereas KH went for strict accuracy to the movies and absolutely nailed it across the board. They even brought back many of the same voice actors, or damn convincing sound-alikes (Dan Castelleneta does an uncanny take on Robin Williams’ Genie performance). Kingdom Hearts 2 was even daring enough to have the game’s “Steamboat Willie” tribute level actually be in black and white, which earns it a lot of respect in my book.
#5 – TIE – The Epic Mickey series / The Disney Infinity series, 3% each
On a functional level, the Epic Mickey games have their issues, especially the sequel. But as flat-out love letters to Disney, especially the theme parks, it’s hard to beat Epic Mickey. Warren Spector is clearly one of the biggest Mickey Mouse fanboys alive, and his love for the mouse permeates every inch of that game. And the first game, at least, is indeed an enjoyable platform game and is more than worth playing if you have even the slightest interest in Mickey Mouse and/or are an avid visitor to Disney’s theme parks (especially Disneyland).
The Disney Infinity series is the video game equivalent of how most of us played with toys as a kid, mixing characters and worlds and having them all interact in one big explosion of overlapping universe fun. It definitely skews a little towards youngsters with its real-life toy-collecting conceit, but there is obviously nothing wrong with a Disney game being made for the younger set. However, something tells me that the more Infinity starts to branch out to Disney’s outlying properties like Marvel and Star Wars, the harder adults will find it to resist joining their kids in the mayhem – or just playing it on their own.
And the rest…
We got a sole write in vote this time: Disney Extreme Skate Adventure by Activision. I can’t say I’m familiar with this game so I can’t speak to its quality, but it obviously held a special place for the voter to write it in over all of the other Disney classics to choose from. We also had one category get zero votes, which was our apparently ill-advised “Disney music/rhythm games” category that included various Disney versions of Dance Dance Revolution, Pop’n Music, and Just Dance as well as the recent Kinect release Fantasia: Music Evolved.