Retro Game of the Year Awards 2020

Retro Game of the Year Awards 2020

Nostalgic fun for the win

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for GOTY Awards on 🏆

There's nothing quite like reliving gaming memories and playing modern old-school games so here are 2020's best retro-infused titles.

Super Mario 3D All-Stars Classic Console Compilation of the Year

Super Mario 3D All-Stars contains Mario's 3 mainline debut 3D titles: Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy. Being able to play all of these fantastic platformers in one convenient package is incredible and the fact that you can enjoy them on-the-go is even better. They perform brilliantly, you can freely listen to their soundtracks, and each title is chock full of replay value within many memorable and diverse stages. Needless to say, if you're a Mario fan then this is one must-have compilation.

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Super Mario 3D All-Stars screenshot
Mario's back and wetter than ever

Bayonetta / Vanquish Remaster Bundle Modern Console Compilation of the Year

On a more contemporary note, Bayonetta / Vanquish Remaster Bundle includes a couple of top-notch Sega games that were developed by the action game veterans at PlatinumGames. Whether you prefer hacking and slashing as Bayonetta or taking part in the thrilling gunfights within Vanquish; these are 2 of the most intense and rewarding games ever to grace consoles. On top of that, both games look phenomenal with their upgraded visuals so if you still haven't played these modern classics, you need this action-packed duo.

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Bayonetta / Vanquish Remaster Bundle screenshot
Perhaps she should play Bayonetta

Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade Arcade Compilation of the Year

As a shoot 'em up fan since the early '90s, Darius has always stood out as one of my favourite franchises and this collection of 3 arcade releases is pure shmup bliss. Not only is each game authentic to its original version and plays fantastically, there are tons of additions here that make playing them feel fresh and exciting again such as additional modes, plenty of variations, and nifty HUD options.

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Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade screenshot
Time to shoot through another zone

Touhou Spell Bubble Puzzle Game of the Year

As a fan of both Touhou and Bust-A-Move, I was super-excited to play Spell Bubble and it actually exceeded my expectations. Generally speaking, it masterfully combines classic Bust-A-Move gameplay with rhythm elements and it features the wonderful cast of characters from the Touhou universe. Throw in a hilarious story, a jaw-dropping soundtrack, and frantically challenging competitive puzzle battles and you're left with a real gem that's excellent fun whether you play by yourself or with a friend.

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Touhou Spell Bubble screenshot
Yes, Touhou Spell Bubble is as fun as it is cute

Rigid Force Redux Shoot 'em Up of the Year

There have been a huge selection of award-worthy shmups this year but the one that stood out to me as a true masterpiece is Rigid Force Redux. Being a long-time fan of R-Type, I was amazed at how the developers managed to craft a similar yet distinct game world that sets a perfect tone of alien hostility and mystery as you propel yourself through its handful of expertly-crafted stages. Its gameplay is tight, the scoring mechanics make for quite a satisfying challenge, and it has eye-popping visuals. What more could you want?

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Rigid Force Redux screenshot
Let's heat up this desert

Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions Arcade Sports Game of the Year

I've played a few great arcade sports games this year yet Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions thoroughly impressed me with its steeply challenging gameplay, inspiring cast of characters, and gripping story that ranges from lighthearted fun to desperate situations. With oodles of content to master and flashy graphics, it'll be tough to top this arcade-style soccer game.

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Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions screenshot
The ball is indeed Tsubasa's friend

Mr. Driller Drill Land Arcade-Style Game of the Year

As a fan of Mr. Driller ever since it released for PS1, I couldn't believe how much fun was packed into Mr. Driller Drill Land. Starting as a GameCube game exclusive to Japan, this Switch release is bursting with drilling action that you can enjoy via a selection of modes that play with the core gameplay in exciting and challenging ways. It's cute arcade fun at its best and it has a wonderful soundtrack, too.

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Mr. Driller Drill Land screenshot
Is this how they tore down the Berlin wall?

Final Fantasy VII Remake Remake of the Year

I'm an old-school gamer and back in '97, I bought a PS1 just for Final Fantasy VII. I never thought that one day, I'd play through its Midgar portion with amazing graphics, full voice acting, and completely different action-oriented gameplay. Surprisingly, it all works together brilliantly and the additional story elements are actually quite mind-blowing. Like many fans, I can't wait for a sequel!

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Final Fantasy VII Remake screenshot
Andrea looks more excited for this award than Cloud

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 Retro Revival of the Year

Bringing back retro franchises must be a challenge but when the original games have held up as well as Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2, you really can't go wrong. While enjoying its iconic music to its hard-to-master gameplay, showing off your tricks as you slowly memorize each elaborate stage and uncover their hard-to-find secrets makes for one engaging fun-filled formula that has stood the test of time.

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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 screenshot
Tony hasn't had good balance ever since he got that inner-ear infection

Arkagis Revolution Physical Retro Game of the Year

Game developers are still making physical games for retro consoles and having played a few this year, I must say that Arkagis Revolution absolutely blew me away. It takes advantage of the Sega Genesis hardware in truly clever ways as it features full voice acting, the option to use many different controllers, and its sound and animations are top-notch. Oh, and its gameplay which features a combination of exploration and shooting is a treat. If you still own a Sega Genesis then definitely try to get your hands on this modern gem.

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Arkagis Revolution screenshot
Shooting and Sega Genesis go together like Sonic and Tails

TurboGrafx-16 Mini Retro Console of the Year

Whether you know it as the TurboGrafx-16 or PC Engine, this console features some of the best 16-bit games that unfortunately flew under many gamers' radars. Well, you can now enjoy a huge collection of them via quite possibly the greatest mini console ever released; the TurboGrafx-16 Mini. From classics like Bomberman and Castlevania to obscurities like Chew Man Fu and Cho Aniki, there's so much retro fun to be had on this system that it's absurd. It may be hard to get but it's one must-have mini console.

Bear and Penguin Play Chew Man Fu (Episode 1) Award image →
TurboGrafx-16 Mini screenshot
This may be the only console I ever really need
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Final Fantasy VI Trivia

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