Saturday, 27 December 2014

Games of the Year - 2012

Remarkably (for my standards), I've now posted reviews of over 400 games here at Red Parsley, covering many systems and genres, popular and obscure titles alike. I've still barely even scratched the surface of most of these of course, and my 'to do' list contains well over 400 more titles, but I've still played a lot of good and bad games over these (almost) five years. Here is a list of the finest examples from my third year of blogging. I need to play some of these again...

10. Yars' Revenge by Atari (1981) - Atari VCS

I missed the heyday of the VCS so I didn't get around to playing this highly-regarded title for it until many years after its release but first impressions of it were still great even after all this time. It's as simple as you would expect from the VCS but the challenge is just right and it's very addictive! (full review here)

9. Zupapa by Face (2001) - Neo Geo

A bit of an obscure one, this, even for the Neo Geo's standards! It was one of the last 'proper' releases for SNK's powerhouse and was surprisingly not a fighting game of shmup! It's actually a platform game - a real rarity on this system - and it's a pretty darn good one too. Typically weird but great fun. (full review here)

8. Pac-Man by Namco (1980) - Arcade

Well, what can I say about this one? It's unquestionably one of the most famous games of all-time and features one of the most famous characters as well. I first played it in a local arcade and I've since played in it a million places in a million incarnations, and it's still never failed to entertain. (mini review here)

7. Blaster Master by Sunsoft (1988) - NES

Until fairly recently, all I knew of this one was an advert I kept seeing in magazines of the day. It turned out to be quite different to what I was expecting though, and quite a bit better too. The mixture of side-scrolling Metroidvania action and overhead viewed shooty/puzzley sections works a treat. (full review here)

6. Gauntlet by Atari (1985) - Arcade

A true landmark title for the arcades, this one, and one whose name still commands the utmost respect from us retro-gamers despite the numerous sub-standard sequels/reboots that have been belched forth in the years since. I guess that's because we remember how frickin' awesome it was and still is! (full review here)

5. Psycho Fox by Vic Tokai (1989) - Master System

This may be a rather less well-known game than many on these lists, perhaps owing to its exclusive MS release, but it's one I've always had enormous affection for. The audio/visuals are among the MS's loveliest and it's a pretty darn large game which presents quite the challenge. Easily the MS's best platformer. (full review here)

4. Burnout by Criterion Games (2001) - GameCube

Despite its technical splendour I wasn't too impressed with this landmark racing game the first time I played it. After some practise, though, I soon discovered it to be one of the slickest, fastest, most exciting driving games I'd ever played. A truly fantastic game bettered only by its immediate sequel. (full review here)

3. Wizorb by Tribute Games (2011) - PC

The world of indie games has become a wonderful place for gamers like me to find new retro-flavoured treats and Wizorb was the first one I discovered. Bizarrely, it's a bit of an RPG-ish take on the bat 'n' ball game which might sound a bit silly but it works superbly. Probably the best game I've played of its type. (full review here)

2. Space Station Silicon Valley by DMA Design (1998) - Nintendo 64

Whenever the subject of unappreciated gems comes up I think of this game which, in my experience, many gamers haven't even heard of never mind played. A big part of its appeal is its sense of humour, from its menagerie of strange robotic animals to its funky jazz-tinged soundtrack. A brilliant and truly unique game. (full review here)

1. Robotron 2084 by Williams (1982) - Arcade

I'm not sure this was one of the most popular of the early arcade classics at the time but it's definitely proven to be the most enduring. Everything about it typifies what many consider the 'glory days' of the amusement arcade and its unrelenting shooting action shows no sign of ageing yet... (mini review here)

Best of 2013 coming soon!


  1. OK, this is the best post of the bunch so far--in my humble opinion, of course. Such a compilation of great games! I was all about Zupapa when I first discovered it a number of years ago, by the way. Oh, and I remember desperately wanting a Master System back in the day just so I could play Psycho Fox. Sadly, I never got one :(

  2. Yep, this was a great year for reviewing! I'd implore you to still get an MS, by the way - Psycho Fox has lost none of its playability and remains one of my favourite platformers. At the very least play it via emulation - it deserves it ;)