usagi704’s GAME OF THE YEAR 2016 Awards

In my Game of the Year awards for last year, I made the prediction that 2016 would be an extraordinary year in gaming, but as with many other things in 2016 it turned out to be a whole lot less impressive by the second half of the year when so many of the games that made me make that prediction were delayed into 2017. Now 2017 is looking legendary, but the second half the coming year will have to have a strong showing like the first half is now destined to have. Having said that, 2016 certainly had a lot of great releases and many others that I played for the first time from prior years.

(List of games eligible for this year’s awards)


• Puppeteer (PS3)
• The Last Guardian (PS4)
• Street Fighter V (PS4)
• Doom (PS4)
• Gradius Galaxies (GBA)

RUNNER-UP: Puppeteer (PS3)

Doom’s incredible visuals are a pretty stark improvement over Doom 3, not only in technical excellence, but also in art direction. It’s quite the marvel that id was able to even achieve this on console and at 60 frames-per-second!


• The Last Guardian (PS4)
• The King of Fighters XIV (PS4)
• Street Fighter V (PS4)
• Gravity Rush –Remastered– (PS4)
• Chain Blaster (3DS)

RUNNER-UP: The Last Guardian (PS4)

While the visuals are certainly lacking, the music is anything but. I listened to the premium edition’s soundtrack non-stop for weeks after the game came out. A few stand-out tracks: Tiger & Dragon, Departure From South Town, Survivors Under The Sky, Saxophone Under The Moon, and Soy Sauce For Kodayofu.


• Greirat (Dark Souls III)
• Trico (The Last Guardian)
• Doom Slayer (Doom)
• Max Payne (Max Payne 3)
• Scree / Abdizur (Primal)

RUNNER-UP: Doom Slayer (Doom)

It’s hard for me to put into words just how affecting Trico is as a companion throughout the adventure, but suffice it to say he’ll likely be a character you’ll have a hard time saying goodbye to.


• Final Fight Tough (SNES)
• Street Fighter V (PS4)
• The Legend of Kage 2 (DS)
• Dark Souls III (PS4)
• Max Payne 3 (PS3)

RUNNER-UP: Max Payne 3 (PS3)

Final Fight started off with a bang in arcades in 1989 and quickly became one of the defacto beat-’em-up classics. Later Capcom decided to continue the series exclusively on the Super Nintendo with a very dull, lackluster sequel. Luckily Capcom continued onto a third game with Final Fight Tough (Final Fight 3). The addition of special moves and even super combos, brought in from the fighting game genre, added a good deal of variety to the solid gameplay foundation. Character variety was also bolstered by two new ones to supplement the returning Guy and Haggar. This game is everything Final Fight 2 should have been.


• Dead or Alive 5: Last Round (PS4)
• Chain Blaster (3DS)
• Doom (PS4)
• Project: Snowblind (PS2)
• The Legend of Kage 2 (DS)

RUNNER-UP: Chain Blaster (3DS)

I went into this game expecting a good game, but not as great as it ended up being. The graphics are very impressive for their time and the core shooting gameplay was much better than anticipated. What really put Project: Snowblind over the top for me was the huge variety of weapons and that pretty much all of them were useful and fun to use throughout the entire game.


• Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (PS3)
• Painkiller: Hell & Damnation (PS3)
• Hiryuu no Ken: Ougi no Sho (FC)
• G.G. Series: Score Attacker (DSi)
• The Legend of Kage 2 (DS)

RUNNER-UP: Painkiller: Hell & Damnation (PS3)

The Legend of Kage 2 is merely a decent game overall. Running through the stages is just as boring and lame as the game’s decades older predecessor. What this game has that makes it enjoyable at all are the boss battles. Figuring out how to dominate the bosses was a lot of fun for me so after I finished the game, I just kept playing the unlocked boss rush mode. Easily the best thing about this game.


• 3D Thunder Blade (3DS)
• Shinobi (3DS)
• Resistance 3 (PS3)
• Advance Guardian Heroes (GBA)
• Raiden IV: Overkill (PS3)

RUNNER-UP: Shinobi (3DS)

I was hoping with the good things I heard about the single player campaign for Resistance 3 that I would be in for a much better experience than the first two games. It was better, but still mostly very standard and bland. Resistance 2’s online co-op was the only truly standout moment in the series, but the servers were shut down years ago.


• Devil’s Third (WU)
• Shinobi (3DS)
• City Connection (FC)
• Advance Guardian Heroes (GBA)
• Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus (PSV)

RUNNER-UP: City Connection (FC)

The exact reasons for a game like this existing is why I think it’s the worst. I have no problem with fan service of this kind as long as there’s some substance and fun to be had among all the cheesecake. There’s nothing else here except a shallow, boring action game with zero level design.


• Puppeteer (PS3)
• Doom (PS4)
• Alienation (PS4)
• Max Payne 3 (PS3)
• The King of Fighters XIV (PS4)
• Gravity Rush –Remastered– (PS4)
• Dark Souls III (PS4)
• The Last Guardian (PS4)
• Project: Snowblind (PS2)
• Street Fighter V (PS4)

RUNNER-UP: The Last Guardian (PS4)

My runner-up and winner for Game of the Year couldn’t be more different in every way possible. I love both dearly, but ultimately Doom edged it out for having a robust, complete experience that is excellent technically and in gameplay too. The weapons all have multiple unlockable alternate fire modes that are satisfying to wield. The levels are large and complex like a ’90s shooter and have good reasons to explore them for finding hidden items, upgrades and even throwback Doom easter eggs. The firefights are a great antithesis of most modern shooters. There’s no taking cover, in fact, standing still will get you killed. Movement is paramount as well as quickly switch between weapons depending on the enemies and situation you find yourself in at any given moment. Doom is an example of taking a legendary series and rebooting it in a way that does it’s lineage proud without feeling like a tired rehash or something that feels too out-of-place. Rip and tear.


The Most Valuable Video Games in My Collection: PlayStation 2 Edition

This series of posts is where I look into my video game collection of over 1,000 games to find which ones are worth the most on each platform I collect for. I will only list games that are worth $40 or more on the secondary market.

This time the platform on hand is the Sony PlayStation 2, the greatest game system of all-time. All of the games in this list are complete in box.

ADK Tamashii
ADK was a prominent third-party developer on the NeoGeo in the 1990s. This title collects five of their NeoGeo games: Aggressors of Dark Kombat, Ninja Master’s, Ninja Combat, Ninja Commando, and Twinkle Star Sprites.

Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia
The value for this game is of the special edition version that included the art book.

One of only four shmups developed by CAVE for the PlayStation 2. This is one of my favorites.

北斗の拳 ~審判の双蒼星 拳豪列伝~
Hokuto no Ken: Shinban no Sou-Sousei Kengou Retsuden
One of the rare good games using the Fist of the North Star license. This one is an Arc System Works developed fighting game, creators of Guilty Gear and BlazBlue.

Another one of CAVE’s four games on PlayStation 2. This is easily the most rare and pricey of the bunch and this port is the only home release of Ibara to date.

The King of Fighters 02/03
While The King of Fighters 2002 and 2003 were released separately in Japan, when SNK brought ’em here a little later they did us a solid and put both discs in the same box. Fantastic ports of two great games in the legendary KOF series.

The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match – 闘劇 Ver.
The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match – Tougeki Ver.
Speaking of KOF 2002, there was a remake of the game with new characters, backgrounds, etc., made for arcade and PS2. A year or less later they released this slightly rebalanced version named for the now defunct Tougeki – Super Battle Opera tournament series that ran for nearly 10 years in Japan.

Marvel vs. Capcom 2
The very popular fourth installment to the Vs. Series developed by Capcom, this, the Xbox, and Dreamcast versions went for a good deal of money for some time. Surprisingly the value of the PS2 version has only dropped about $15 from its average after MvC2’s re-release on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Mega Man X8
Still the last game in the Mega Man X series to date. Maybe some day Capcom will actually want to make Mega Man games again, but right now they seem only interested in cameos and merchandise.

Metal Slug Anthology
While I am not much of a fan of the Metal Slug series, I still have great respect for it regarding technical artistry involved with the presentation. This compilation includes Metal Slugs 1-6 and X.

The third of the four CAVE shmups made for PS2. This is the one I have lost the most money on in value since I purchased it as it’s worth about half of what I payed. Part of that drop has to be the recent-ish port to PC within the last year that actually came to the west.

Samurai Shodown Anthology
A fantastic collection of the entire mainline Samurai Shodown series minus Samurai Shodown V Special.

新・豪血寺一族 煩悩解放
Shin Gouketsuji Ichizoku: Bonnou Kaihou
This is mainly an upgrade to Matrimelee from the NeoGeo and includes a few new fighters and definitely my favorite of the Power Instinct series.

Shooting Love. ~Trizeal~
Extremely small Japanese shmup developer Triangle Service has been around a quite some time producing visually unimpressive, but totally replayable shoot-’em-ups. In their 14 years of existence they’ve only produced about a half-dozen new games, a few of which made it to PC in the last year here in the west, namely XIIZeal and ΔZeal.

Sol Divide & Dragon Blaze
A now very pricey compilation of two Psikyo developed shmups. I think most people want this mainly for Dragon Blaze because Sol Divide isn’t that good and it’s very cheaply available on the PSone in the U.S. for only a few dollars.

Steambot Chronicles
A quirky JRPG with a sandbox world kind of design made by Irem.

Yakuza 2
This version on disc is still the only way to play one of the best games in one of the best on-going series in the last decade for westerners.

翼神 GigaWing Generations
Yokushin: GigaWing Generations
Developed by Takumi, best known for the Giga Wing series and Mars Matrix. This game is effectively a combination of the two aforementioned games.

The Most Valuable Video Games in My Collection: PlayStation Edition

This series of posts is where I look into my video game collection of about 1,000 games to find which ones are worth the most on each platform I collect for. I will only list games that are worth $40 or more on the secondary market.

This time the platform on hand is the Sony PlayStation. All of the games in this list are complete in box.

Arc the Lad Collection
This elaborate collection of all four Arc the Lad games for PlayStation was released in 2002 in the U.S. by Working Designs because Sony was apparently against the idea of their own RPG series being brought over as they came out in Japan over the years of the PSone’s life. I expected it to be worth more in complete condition considering all the extras that could be easily lost.

Castlevania: Chronicles
A port of the Castlevania game for the Sharp X68000 computer to PlayStation that also includes a remake of the game as well. As old-school Castlevania goes, this is a pretty good game, but not particularly great. This can be had on PSN for PS3 and PSP for only $6.

Elemental Gearbolt
An interesting light gun game with RPG elements that was released in the U.S. by Working Designs.

Guilty Gear
The original game in the Guilty Gear series started as a PSone exclusive that didn’t even have any kind of arcade release. It can be had on PSN as long as you aren’t in North America.

Mega Man Legends & Mega Man Legends 2
$40 & $90 respectively
The 3D polygonal Mega Man spin-off series that has been appreciated much more after their time and almost got a third game on 3DS until it was cancelled. Both games are on PSN for $10 each.

Panzer Bandit
I’ve talked about this game pretty glowingly in the recent past. It’s a really great Guardian Heroes inspired beat-’em-up! Get it on PSN via your Japanese account.

Thunder Force V: Perfect System
This is my favorite of the classic Thunder Force series of shmups. The U.S. PSone version is now reaching Japanese Saturn version values while those Saturn versions are even higher.

The Most Valuable Video Games in My Collection: Saturn Edition

This series of posts is where I look into my video game collection of about 1,000 games to find which ones are worth the most on each platform I collect for. I will only list games that are worth $40 or more on the secondary market.

This time the platform on hand is the Sega Saturn. All of the games in this list are complete in box.

I’m sure you all loved the overabundance of shmups in my PC Engine list. Well, get ready for much of this list to also include shmups a plenty. The first game here is a shmup that most people consider to be the first true bullet hell shump or danmaku. It was developed by people at Toaplan that soon after went off to create notable danmaku developer CAVE as well as a few others such as Raizing and Eighting. This is Batsugun’s only home conversion to date.

Blast Wind
If you’re looking for my highest value game, look no further. This is the money shot, but the game itself isn’t particularly good. It’s another shmup, but this time made by Technosoft who are best known for the Thunder Force series.

Capcom Generation 5
One of many Capcom arcade collections, most of which didn’t come to the west for Saturn and PlayStation. This one did see a release here as Street Fighter Collection 2 on PlayStation, but this Saturn version stayed in Japan. It’s a compilation of the first three Street Fighter II games.

This is the first game CAVE developed after forming from the demise of Toaplan. It’s a bit sloppy in the bullet patterns compared to its sequel. Speaking of which…

This is the game where CAVE perfected the art of the danmaku. The bullet patterns are an art of majesty and it’s the quintessential bullet hell shmup.

Galaxy Force II
One of the few Sega super scaler arcade games to get a fantastic Saturn port. No need to pick this one up unless you’re a crazy fan of ’em like me. This game is also available on the 3DS eShop.

Groove On Fight: Gouketsuji Ichizoku 3
This is the third game in what is known as the Power Instinct series in the west. The game is a fighting game with a real-time tag team system that has a roster completely different from the rest of the series and plays differently too.

実況おしゃべりパロディウス ~forever with me~
Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius: Forever With Me
This is a Saturn port of a Parodius game that was originally made for Super Famicom and is suitably upgraded for its arrival on more powerful hardware. Parodius Portable on PSP can also cover you on this one.

慶応遊撃隊 活劇編
Keio Yuugekitai Katsugekihen
Better known in the west as Keio Flying Squadron 2, this sequel to the Sega CD original was only released in Japan and Europe and switch genres to an action platformer instead of a shmup.

Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter
It’s a shame that the great Saturn ports of the Capcom developed Marvel fighting games stayed in Japan and that all we got at the time were some really shitty PlayStation versions. This and the X-Men one may only ever have these Saturn versions be the definitive home ports as that’s how it stands still today.

Out Run
The other Sega super scaler arcade port to Saturn to maintain a high value is probably the definitive one of the bunch. A classic driving game by any standard and the Saturn version is possibly the best one. Pick this up on the go for cheaper on 3DS eShop.

Radiant Silvergun
One of the most sought after shmups on Saturn. It’s not particularly hard to come by, but the demand is largely the factor for its high price. It can be had much cheaper on Xbox 360 as a download title.

Sexy Parodius
Another Parodius title shows up on this list and it is arguably the best one in the series. Also available as part of the Parodius Portable collection on PSP.

Silhouette Mirage
Cute and crazy action is the name of the game with this side-scrolling action game by Treasure. It came west exclusively on PlayStation, but was altered by Working Designs to be more difficult for some reason.

速攻生徒会 Sonic Council
Sokkou Seitokai: Sonic Council
It’s one of the many super obscure fighting games in my collection, but one that actually has some value.

A shmup that needs more fans. It’s not underrated, just unknown. Made by one of the off shoots of Toaplan, Raizing.

天地を喰らうII 赤壁の戦い
Tenchi o Kurau II: Sekiheki no Tatakai
Released as Warriors of Fate in arcades in the west, this is a Capcom beat-’em-up sequel to what was released as Dynasty Wars in arcades. It’s not a particularly good game so I don’t suggest it for the asking price these days.

Thunder Force Gold Pack 1 & Thunder Force Gold Pack 2
$45 and $80 respectively
These are two releases that port the Thunder Force games from the Genesis over to the Saturn. They’re straight ports with no frills so stick with the Genesis versions to save money. Pack 1 includes Thunder Force II and III, Pack 2 includes Thunder Force IV and Thunder Force AC.

The Most Valuable Video Games in My Collection: Super Nintendo / Super Famicom Edition

This series of posts is where I look into my video game collection of about 1,000 games to find which ones are worth the most on each platform I collect for. I will only list games that are worth $40 or more on the secondary market.

This time the platform on hand is the Super Nintendo/Super Famicom. All of the games in this list are cart only unless specified otherwise.

Akumajou Dracula XX
This is the Japanese version of Castlevania: Dracula X. It’s usually derided for being a poor port of Dracula X: Rondo of Blood from the PC Engine, but in reality is more of a substantially altered game that is still pretty good and stands on its own. This can be picked up on the Wii U Virtual Console.

A pretty innovative Konami shmup that still is quite the looker with all of the graphical effects and perspectives it uses makes it worth a look. Both Wii and Wii U Virtual Consoles have this ready to go if you’re interested.

Contra III: The Alien Wars
One of the most iconic series of old-school gaming this classic entry has risen substantially in price despite being a very common game because demand in recent years for Super Nintendo collecting has shot through the roof. Luckily you can snag this game via either Wii or Wii U Virtual Console.

Demon’s Crest
The third and final entry in the Ghouls and Ghosts spin-off series and is also a somewhat difficult find and very pricey to boot. Pick it up on Wii U Virtual Console so your wallet isn’t hurt.

ドレミファンタジー ミロンのドキドキ大冒険
DoReMi Fantasy: Milon no DokiDoki Daibouken
A sequel of the NES game, Milon’s Secret Castle, this is a much better and more enjoyable platformer than the original that didn’t see release outside Japan. With that said, it was finally released in North America on the original Wii Virtual Console so check it out there.

Final Fight Tough
This is the same game as what is known as Final Fight 3 in North America and it is a great game that a lot of people skipped out on when beat-’em-ups were going out of favor in the mid-90s. Both the Wii and Wii U Virtual Consoles have you covered for one of the best of the genre.

A brutally difficult, but really cool action platformer that saw virtually no print run in the U.S. thus making the pretty common Japanese version here jump in price because of how much more demand there is for the game as a whole.

Known as Skyblazer in the west, this is probably Sony’s best quality game they published for the Super Nintendo. Definitely an overlooked gem.

The Ninja Warriors Again
The sequel to the arcade original The Ninja Warriors, this is another overlooked beat-’em-up classic with great music.

Rockman & Forte
$75 (complete in box)
One of the last games released for the 16-bit Nintendo system that stayed in Japan until 2003 when it came west via a port to the Game Boy Advance as Mega Man & Bass.

Sonic Blast Man II
An even more ignored sequel to an already largely ignored original that isn’t too bad of a beat-’em-up, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend either one. The first game is pretty common and cheap, but this sequel is much less common and the demand is enough to push the price higher than it deserves.

Super Aleste
Known as Space Megaforce in the U.S., this is one of the great shmups developed by Compile and is worth the hunt for.

Super Castlevania IV
Just like Contra III, Super Castlevania IV is a super common game that has shot up in value because of the massive uptake in interest for Super Nintendo collecting, but at least you can pick it up on Wii or Wii U Virtual Console.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time
One of the best beat-’em-ups of all-time is common on the system, but is now hugely valuable.

The Most Valuable Video Games in My Collection: PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16 Edition

This series of posts is where I look into my video game collection of about 1,000 games to find which ones are worth the most on each platform I collect for. I will only list games that are worth $40 or more on the secondary market.

This time the platform on hand is the PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 I mostly collect the PC Engine side of things because there’s a much larger selection of games in Japan for this system and they’re usually more affordable. All of the games in this list are complete in box.

悪魔城ドラキュラX 血の輪廻
Akumajou Dracula X: Chi no Rondo
This is the Japanese version of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood. It’s sought after mainly for being one of the best Castlevania games ever released and the fact that it was never released outside of Japan until 2007 on PSP as part of the game’s 3D polygonal remake. It’s also available on the original Wii’s Virtual Console.

Gate of Thunder 4-in-1
This is the only TurboGrafx-16 release I own because I picked it up for $25 which is a great price for the four games included on the CD: Gate of Thunder, Bonk’s Adventure, Bonk’s Revenge, and Bomberman. All of these are great games which makes this disc a great value. It was originally released as a pack-in with the TurboDuo combined version of the system that has HuCard and CD support in one unit.

Cho Aniki
A long running series of largely bad games with homoerotic overtones that are usually shoot-’em-ups. This is the very first of those games and I found it to be much less weird that all the games that came after and also decently enjoyable in spite of the craziness. The soundtrack is also very strange, but pretty good.

Devil Crash
Known in the west as Devil’s Crush, this is the second game in the Crush pinball series, the first of which was Alien Crush. It’s a fantastic demonic themed pinball game with a great soundtrack and is available on Wii Virtual Console.

Down Load and Down Load 2
both are $40
A shoot-’em-up series I haven’t played yet that was developed by Alfa System. They’re probably best known for the Castle Shikigami series and most recently developed Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines for PlayStation Vita in 2014.

Also known as Blazing Lazers, this is yet another great shoot-’em-up on a system with a lot of them. This is one of many great ones developed by Compile.

Saigo no Nindou
Action platforming magnificence developed by Irem. Arguably better than the arcade version.

Seirei Senshi Spriggan
Shoot-’em-up by Compile, but not as good as a lot of their other output.

Soldier Blade
The third game in the Soldier series of shoot-’em-ups on the PC Engine by Hudson Soft.

An excellent port of the horror themed side-scrolling action game by Namco.

Summer Carnival ’92: Alzadick and Summer Carnival ’93: Nexzr Special
$55 and $90 respectively
Two caravan style tournament shoot-’em-ups by Naxat Soft that were inspired heavily by Hudson’s own Soldier series.

Super Star Soldier
Speaking of Hudson’s Soldier series, here’s the first one to hit the PC Engine.

Violent Soldier
No, this is not a Hudson Soldier series game, but rather another Alfa System developed shoot-’em-up that has more in common with R-Type. It was called Sinistron in the U.S.

Winds of Thunder
Known as Lords of Thunder in the U.S., this is easily one of my top ten favorite shoot-’em-ups ever. Get it on Wii Virtual Console or Sega CD too!

The Most Valuable Video Games in My Collection: NES / Famicom Edition

This is going to be a new series of posts over time where I look into my video game collection of nearly 1,000 games to find which ones are worth the most on each platform I collect for. I will only list games that are worth $40 or more on the secondary market.

First platform up is the NES/Famicom. I mostly collect the Famicom side of things and play my NES carts on an A/V Famicom through a converter. All of the games in this list are cart only.

Akumajou Densetsu
This is the Japanese version of Castlevania III. It’s sought after mainly for the added sound chip this version has that no NES cart game has and for the better balanced difficulty. The chip gives the already great music an even better sound.

Another popular Konami game, but this one has added background animation and cutscenes not present in the NES version.

Crisis Force
An 8-bit Nintendo exclusive to Japan, this is a Konami shump with fantastic visuals and gameplay.

A parody shmup of Compile’s own Zanac and one of my top favorite shmups of the 8-bit era. Compile knew how to make ’em back in the day!

Kick Master
A Japanese developed (KID) and published (Taito) platform/action game that ended up being exclusive to the NES in North America. I picked this up for $15.

Power Blade
Based on a Famicom game called Power Blazer, but completely redesigned to not suck, this was only released in North America and Europe and is a great action/platformer!

Tokkyuu Shirei Solbrain
Another great action/platformer that was originally based on a tokusatsu series and later was ported to the NES as Shatterhand with some redesigned sprites, but is still the same awesome game.