By: Chris Hodges, editor-in-chief
Last week, I put forth the question to you all as to which “Game of the Year” winners of the last 20 years were least deserving of that honor. It could’ve either been a choice you disagreed with at the time, or one you more have a problem with in retrospect. Either way, five games clearly stood out from the pack with significantly more votes than the rest. There were also a handful of games that nobody voted against out of the hundreds of people that voted (and each person was allowed to choose up to three), and those will also be given a special mention following the list of the least-deserving. We can unofficially consider those some of the Chi-Scroller community’s best-loved games of the last two decades.
The Top Five Least-Deserving Game of the Year Winners
—The Sims (2000)
Despite being among the best-selling PC games of all time and having the popularity to spawn dozens of sequels and expansion packs, it seems that a lot of you nonetheless felt that The Sims wasn’t quite “game of the year material.” It could be because of how much more refined the series got over the years, making the original seem a lot less worthy of such a strong title in retrospect. Or it could be that The Sims came out in a great year of releases like Deus Ex, Final Fantasy IX, Tony Hawk 2, Majora’s Mask, Skies of Arcadia, Diablo II, Chrono Cross, Perfect Dark, and Shenmue, among others. If one were to make the argument that GotY winners should be as timeless as possible, a few off the games on that short list definitely hold up far better today than the original Sims game.
—Doom 3 (2004)
Before anyone goes claiming an anti-PC bias in the poll results, it needs to be pointed out that 2004 was also the year of Half-Life 2. Even that game’s biggest detractors would be hard-pressed to make a legitimate case for it being inferior to Doom 3. 2004 was also a year of incredibly strong entries in the FPS genre besides those two games, also seeing the release of Halo 2, Far Cry, The Chronicles of Riddick, and Unreal Tournament 2004, making it tough for Doom 3 to even just claim the undisputed FPS crown for 2004. Outside of that genre, a few little games called GTA: San Andreas, Metroid: Zero Mission, World of Warcraft and MGS3: Snake Eater were challenging even Half-Life 2 for GotY honors. All told, Doom 3 is hard to even justify putting in the top five for 2004.
—Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009)
Yeah yeah, everyone loves to hate Call of Duty now so of course people were going to pile onto any game in the series that showed up on the list, right? Not necessarily, as both the original Call of Duty and the first Modern Warfare were nominees and got less votes combined than MW2 did. So you guys and gals still have a lot of respect for the earlier games in the series and haven’t let your feelings about its latter-day missteps affect your feelings about its better days. Either that, or you just couldn’t abide the inference that MW2 is a better game than Uncharted 2, Arkham Asylum, Assassin’s Creed II, Left 4 Dead 2, Borderlands, and/or Street Fighter IV. It’s worth nothing that MW2 was the last game in the series to get widespread GotY mentions, so critics definitely caught up to the consensus of Chi-Scroller readers that the franchise was long past its peak.
—Dragon Age: Inquisition / Destiny (2014)
Chalk it up to 2014 not being a particularly strong year for game releases overall that four decently-reviewed but not quite “critically acclaimed” games would get so many GotY nods. Most of you were okay with Dark Souls 2 and Shadow of Mordor being counted among the best of 2014, but for whatever reason, you had an issue with Inquisition‘s and Destiny‘s inclusion. Dark Souls 2 had the least votes of the foursome by far, which isn’t surprising given that people who love Dark Souls really love Dark Souls. I only mention that and Mordor to point out the lackluster nature of 2014’s video game lineup, and reiterate that those two games didn’t get nearly enough votes to be eligible for this top five. Destiny, on the other hand, was the “winner” of the poll by a long shot, the only game that got more than 10% of the total vote (the next-closest game got only 6%). Very few people who voted in this poll left an accompanying comment, so it’s tough to know exactly why so many of you had such a problem with Destiny. But to cherry pick a remark from one of the people who did explain his reason for picking it: “It was basically just Online Shooter #4,859 with some very weak MMO trappings tacked on.”
And now, for the games that didn’t get any votes, otherwise known as…
The BEST Game of the Year Winners
- Metal Gear Solid
- Half-Life 2
- Super Mario Galaxy
- Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
- Red Dead Redemption
- Super Mario Galaxy 2
- Portal 2
What’s that? Cracking your knuckles to prepare your diatribe about the Nintendo bias in the results? I don’t see any Zelda or Metroid games on this list, do you? The Mario Galaxy games are just that good–deal with it.