2009 Retrospective: The Year in Review

I can’t believe that it’s already the two year anniversary of the first post made on this blog. In celebration of this day, and also as a look back at the previous year, I have put together a tidy little post to mark the occasion.

2009 was another great year for classic / retro gaming in general. Late in the year we saw the announcement of the follow-up to the excellent classic NES styled Mega Man sequel Mega Man 9, which will be not-so-creatively (in it’s genius) titled Mega Man 10. There was a big feature on it in the last issue of Nintendo Power and we can expect to be playing it sometime in 2010. I f you played Mega Man 9, then you know that the game was brutally hard and almost completely unforgiving. With that in mind, Capcom decided to cop-out and give you a choice of difficulty levels, a feature that made it’s lone original series appearance in the best Mega Man game ever, Mega Man 2.

2009 also saw the release of some retro sequel updates. On the heels of Capcom impressive remake of Bionic Commando renamed with the subtitle “rearmed”, they released a brand new “next gen” game, called simply titled “Bionic Commando” in May. Although it had mixed but mostly positive reviews, the game really tanked and handed Capcom their first real flop of the current gen.

Around this neck of the woods, the daily readership for Video Games Are Rad continued to climb, with the later half of the year being especially strong. I try to update the site as much as possible, but sometimes posts can be few and far between… but what can you do? Work, family, friends, plus all these damn video games- it’s a wonder I sleep at all.

And I do love me my video games. I post a lot of my finds right here on Video Games Are Rad, but not all of them. Sometimes some finds, even of the epic variety can slip through the cracks. That not withstanding, I thought I would determine what my most epic find of the year was and share it with you all again. I had a tough time deciding, so I thought that I would include a couple runners up, as there are a couple finds that I just can’t justify not giving a repeat mention:

Find of the Year

Phinds! – July 22nd – Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II Plus for $3.95

Not my favorite find on the year, but definitely the best investment. Woefully underpriced at $3.95, it’s of of note that I also purchased the non-plus version of Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II and Episode III at the same used electronics store also for $3.95. They seem to have some vendetta against the Gamecube Phantasy Star games or something…

Runners Up…

Finds: Mega Man V (Game Boy) – February 23rdI couldn’t not mention this one, as I paid only $9.95 for it when it routinely goes for $60 – $80 loose on Ebay. Not to mention the fact that it is hands down the best of the Game Boy Mega Man games and I would say even better than a couple of the later NES original series titles.

Finds! – April 7th – What else can I say? Final Fantasy 2 and 3 for Super Nintendo, both mint, both CIB, both for $60. Incredible.

The Best Game I Played this Year
Policenauts (PS1, Konami)

I was going to title this section as the best retro game I played all year, but then I realized that it was the best game I played period in the last year. Policenauts was Hideo Kojima’s follow-up to his seminal point-and-click masterpiece Snatcher, and it incorperated fully animated and voice anime cut scenes into a more refined point-and-click game, this time with a true curser that allowed you to completely interact with the backgrounds and characters, unlike Snatcher where all the investigation was text based.

Kojima really broke new ground with just how rich and compelling of an experience point-and-click adventure games were capable of delivering. It is also interesting to see a master video game storyteller beginning to develop the lavish and extravagant type of video game experience that he would later perfect in his Metal Gear Solid trilogy for the PS2.

Unfortunately, the game was never released outside of Japan, and was next to impossible for non-Japanese speaking video game fans to play due to the text heavy nature of the game. Thankfully, the team over at Policenauts.net literally spent years translating the game and finally released their long awaited English-language patch for the PS1 version. After the patch was released I went out and purchased a modded PS1 for the specific purpose of playing Policenauts, and I was not disappointed. This game is hands down, a definite must play if you consider yourself a fan of video games.

Retronet

Around the internet, the retro gaming community has grown stronger than ever. I am especially excited to see that the Angry Video Game Nerd has seemingly taken pause from the grandiose and AfterEffects bogged cheese-ball fests he was pumping out and has gotten back to what made me and many others fall in love with him back in the days when he was on youtube; simple videos about bad games.

Retrowaretv.com is just as strong as ever, with the addition of some UK based shows, including Guru Larry and Jam Enslaver, which provide even more diversity to their already fertile list of exclusive shows. Special mention has got to made to Ben and Video Game Take Out for continuing to produce the best handheld reviews on the web. Also, the RetrowareTV Policenauts retrospective has been spectacular thus far, and I really looking forward to more entries in the main series from John and Lance. The Happy Video Game Nerd did not put out as many videos as we all would have liked, but his retrospective of the classic Disney games, as well as every video he makes, is always worth multiple viewings. Let’s hope he cranks out the videos in 2o10. Retroware also released their second season on DVD this year, you can read my review here.

Famicom Dojo released their season 1 DVD and have been teasing the impending second season for months now, which is amazing news for Famicom dorks like myself. You need to check this show out.

As far as podcasts go, there are only two that I listen to religiously. Ben and Derek’s Totally Random Show, which is a RetrowareTV exclusive, and Retronauts. Helmed by Jeremy Parish from 1up, Retronauts is a fantastic podcasts where passionate gamers discuss beloved game passionately. I find myself looking forward to each new download, and constantly have them on full balst at work when I am working after hours.

Speaking of Jeremy Parish, you should also head over to GameSpite.net. Updated almost daily with some of the richest and best written retro video game reviews you can find. The best part about the site is that the posts are collected annually into book form that you can order through Blurb.com and the GameSpite.net website. Highly recommended.

One last site I want to mention is something I just came across a couple days ago. GameSugar.net is a great site full of reviews and editorial that covers all video games. I have been having some conversations with Jamie Love the site founder, and it’s not all that often that you run into video game Journalists with as much depth and insight into the world of actually playing video games.

That about does it for 2009 for me, although I might have one more post before the bells toll midnight on January 31st, as I picked up something unbelievably cool just this afternoon. Stay tuned and have a happy new year!

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