EZ Racer's Blog

Posted on Dec 13th 2020 at 08:00:00 AM by (EZ Racer)
Posted under Top 20, snes, nes, ps1, mario, zelda, metroid, sega, nintendo, tg16, saturn, atari, gameboy, gba

As 2020 comes to a close, it's been an interesting and trying year for a lot of us. For me personally, I relocated in July and started a new job in August, and while the change afforded me the space to have a proper game room, since the new job started I rarely get to use it.

On top of that, COVID has turned the world upside down, and for most of us, our gaming hobby can be a welcome reprieve from all the stress the world finds itself in at the moment. When I started the top 20 lists at the beginning of the year, I couldn't have imagined all that would happen. January seems more like several years ago than several months ago. As the year inches closer to its end, I thought it would be fun to look back at some of my own thoughts from compiling the lists.

In putting together the lists, I always wanted it to be more about everyone else's thoughts on the games and systems above my own. But I also thought it would be fun to share some thoughts about what I found surprising (and in other cases, expected) results as we head toward the new year.

Before I get into it, thanks to all who participated. And a big thanks to singlebanana and bickman2k for giving me the go ahead to do this when I approached them about it near the end of last year. Look for more lists in 2021, as there are still plenty of systems that we haven't even scratched the surface of.

I hope that some of those who participated in the lists, or have just followed the lists, will comment with a few of their thoughts as well that may not have been included in the actual lists.


For how little unique writing is involved, as most of the writing is copied comments from others, it took longer to put these together than I originally expected them to.

The N64 list comes to mind, as I had gotten behind that month, and realized I had one night to put the whole list together before it was due to publish. So I went on a binge, and at some point around 4 a.m. I finished, eyes almost not able to see straight. And unsurprisingly, it showed, as there are a few typos in that one, and (embarassingly) a duplicate comment that was pointed out to me.


I obviously have a different taste than most here when it comes to PS1, as out of the top 6 games on my list, only one received a vote from anyone else.

I get it that Tetris is the unofficial king of all puzzle games, but I was really surprised that I was the only one with Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo on my list.


Was really excited that for the NES list, both Ninja Gaiden II and III outpaced the original.

I love the Ninja Gaiden series, but for the most part, the one I always hear people remember, many times from a nostalgic factor, is NGI. I think most would agree that after playing the sequels in depth, the flaws in the original really start to show. I still expected that NGI would make the list easily, and the two sequels wouldn't. As it turned out, NGI didn't come close, NGIII barely missed, and NGII placed fairly high.


singlebanana and I have several similar taste in retro Nintendo.

I never let on, but at least on the early lists of the year, it was funny how much my list would complement singlebanana's. For NES, all of his top 5 were in my top 6, and neither of us are overly high on Super Mario Bros. 3. For Super NES, we shared a #1, had our #2 and #5 flip flopped, both had an epic RPG at #3.


I really need to get Gargoyle's Quest

When we did the Game Boy list, admittedly I omitted this classic from my own list, as I haven't had the opportunity to play it. To be sure, I've heard nothing but positives about it, but I couldn't put it on my own list due to not having played it. Then the Gameboy list starts getting compiled and I find myself as the only one who didn't have it on their list. Needless to say it's much higher on the wishlist now.

But that's not the only one that has risen up the wishlist-


Shining Force II


Vandal Hearts



Don't take the gamer card, but these were three others that while I knew of them and knew of their quality, I've only had limited exposure. It really perked my interest in them after seeing the way the lists came together. I'm hoping that others who have looked at the lists might find some titles that seem more interesting to them as well.


Timing may have affected the SNES list.

I really have wondered what would've changed if the SNES list was made in August instead of February. By then, we would have been coming off of two community playthroughs in Earthbound and UN Squadron. I know if I was to make the list now, I would put a lot of thought into whether to knock something else off the list and put UN Squadron in its place, and I'm sure others would feel that way about Earthbound as well.


There were a few games that I knew I'd be the only one voting for

And I'm sure that was the case for many other participants as well. We all have games that we know have more value to us than the masses, as well as games that are niche or obscure enough that they don't get much attention. It would've really surprised me to see games like F1 ROC II, Super Monaco GP II, and N.Gen Racing appear on other's lists...


Super Bomberman 2

...But then there was this shocker. I would love to hear comments from others as to which of their games surprisingly only got one vote. This was one I was sure would get some love, and yet...


Where's that Pokemon?

It's obvious that several of the participants in these lists, myself included, have nostalgia based more on the pre-Pokemon years. Only 4 in the series or its spinoffs got votes: Blue, Yellow, FireRed, and Snap. Of those, only Blue and Snap made their prospective lists.


The tops of the lists were mostly games you'd expect to be there, especially for the Nintendo systems

NES- Mario 3 then Zelda, SNES- Zelda then Mario World then Super Metroid, N64- Mario 64 then Zelda OoT, Game Boy- Zelda Link's Awakening then Metroid II then Mario Land 2. Sensing a theme yet?


I absolutely loved being able to put together a Saturn list and a TG16 list

I know these systems aren't as well known, quite frankly I'm in the same boat as most, but I personally gained a wealth of information from putting these lists together.


Didn't expect a game to runaway with the top spot on the Atari list.

And yet that's exactly what happened, with Pitfall! easily outpacing all the others. To be sure, I wasn't surprised it finished high, but how far ahead of everything else that it ended up being.


There are some must-own games that were identified along the way

Over the course of the year, a few games absolutely dominated their platforms, the best example being Zelda: Link's Awakening which averaged more than 37 pts per vote, and keep in mind a 1st place vote was 40 pts. Others that rated extremely high- Zelda: Link to the Past and Metroid Zero Mission.


I found a few new favorites along the way

I can't speak for anyone but myself, but before preparing my lists, I would go on a binge session, trying to experience as many games as I could, both to refresh myself with games I had already played, and to try some new ones that had been on my backlog. I was kind of a late comer to the Castlevania series, and while I admire the quality of the early Castlevania games, they never grabbed hold of me the way other similar series did. Then I tried Castlevania Bloodlines while prepping for the Genesis list, and was blown away. Here was the Castlevania experience I had been longing for. And yes, I'm aware that most Castlevania fans don't put Bloodlines near the top. My bigger point is, without the top 20 lists, who knows when I would've gotten around to playing it, and finding a new favorite.


Wempster and Disposed Hero are awesome!

I realize that everyone probably already knew that, but it's been a treat watching the lists turn into video form. Still as true now as when it was said last summer.


With 2021 nearly here, there are some consoles that need some love

The plan right now is to kick off 2021 with consoles such as the PS2, the XBox, and the Gamecube, as well as a few ideas around more personal and story driven lists.

But before that...


Watch for a post soon about submitting a list of your top 20 (plus?) games of all time.

I'd love to start 2021 off with a submissions forum for the best games all time from the PS1/Saturn/N64 generation and earlier, including obscure systems and potentially PC titles. So start thinking about how you would order it if you have to choose between the top games on your lists, and what may have changed over the course of 2020.

Closing thought

I have thoroughly enjoyed putting these together over the course of this year, and I hope it's been just as fun for members to participate in and read about. I would love to see some comments and reflections on what everyone else thought some of their own personal most interesting moments were from seeing how the lists turned out.

Thanks again to everyone who has participated and helped make these lists possible, and hope to see even more in 2021.

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Great write up!  I know there are games that I probably would have put on my list but I never played them such as the few you mentioned.  Did I miss the thread for a December top 20?  I didn't see one.
Thank so much for doing this throughout the year, it was a lot of fun to put together a list, see everyone else's lists and comments, and see the combined totals. Definitely some great surprises.

And yeah Wempster and Disposed Hero do rock!
#17 - oh course, I have impeccable taste!

#14 - YOU MUST GET THIS GAME!.... and listen to our podcast on it

#9 - so happy to see so little Pokémon

True #1 - You my friend. Incredible work and we have all thoroughly enjoyed participating and seeing the results.

I'll second getting Vandal Hearts - I really enjoyed that when I played through it for the Community Playthrough. This was a fun read, and I've enjoyed participating in making the lists. These kinds of things are always difficult for me, so it was a good exercise to help me better narrow down my own thoughts on how I would rank games, and I felt like it was time for me to finally do some rankings, so your Top 20 lists were definitely well timed in that regard. Looking forward to more lists in 2021!
Aww thanks for the shout out EZ Racer!  I've loved making the videos and participating in the ones I could.  I have such a limited scope of non nintendo based games I've played that these lists have shown me where I need to branch out more.  Looking forward to the lists next year and making more videos for them!

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