They surveyed 2000 GAME customers to find out what they thought was the best year in gaming and the best console, and the results were 1996 and the Wii respectively. Here are their poll results:
Top Five Years for Gaming:
1. 1996 (14%): Tomb Raider and Crash Bandicoot on the PlayStation and Nintendo 64 launched. We were singing along to Baddiel and Skinner’s Three Lions and Brit Pop was at its height
2. 2002 (13%): Halo and Elder Scrolls III on the Xbox and Grand Theft Auto Vice City. BBC 6 Music arrived on our airwaves and Arsenal won the FA Cup
3. 1991 (12%): Street Fighter II and Super Mario World on SNES and Lemmings was out on the PC. It was the start of the Iraq war and the year Bryan Adams made history when (Everything I Do) I Do It For You entered its 15th successive week at number one
4. 1985 (11%): Super Mario Bros, Duck Hunt and Donkey Kong Jr on the NES and Ultima IV and Oregon Trail on the PC. It was the year Eastenders went on air and the mullet was considered the most desirable hairstyle for men and women alike
5. 1980 (10%): Pac-Man and Centipede in the arcade, Space Invaders on the Atari 2600 and Zork on the PC. It was the year John Lennon was shot dead and David Bowie was at number one with Ashes to Ashes
- Wii (15%)
- Xbox 360 (10%)
- PlayStation 3 (9%)
- PlayStation 2 (8%)
- Sega Mega Drive (7%)
- PlayStation 1 (6.5%)
- Super Nintendo (6%)
- Game Boy (5%)
- N64 (4.5%)
- Nintendo DS (4%)
So that’s their results. But now, before you criticise them and act like they’re a tad insane, you might want to keep this in mind…
GAME isn’t an American brand and their customers are not American video game buyers. They mainly operate in the UK with a couple of stores in other places in Europe and Australia. What else should people note about these regions?
There was no video game industry crash in any of them. So while in America the NES basically gained a monopoly due to all its competition being wiped off the face of the continent and hence has a lot more… nostalgic ‘appeal’ to older gamers, the UK NES launch was a lot tougher with various microcomputers (think the ZX Spectrum or Amstrad whatever for instance) competing in the same market. Same issue with the SNES (also ranked quite low on the list) due to the fact computers had a certain level of dominance over the UK market until sometime in the 90s.
P.S. If you want to see what video games then were like here, try watching some of the reviews on Ashens’ youtube channel. Or Screw Attack Europe.
So yes, best to keep that in mind. 1996 came top as the ‘best’ year for gaming in their poll due to how many current gamers started off with the Nintendo 64 or Playstation 1 instead of the NES or SNES, hence quite a lot of nostalgia towards the early 3D games. And as far as the console list goes, well…
1. Gaming truly has been getting more and more popular over time her, so consoles like the Wii, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 still bring a lot of fond memories. Besides, what do you expect? Most gamers here seem to be fans of the same triple A games like Call of Duty as certain ‘hardcore’ gamers in the US and don’t really care about much else.
2. The Wii was pretty much the first console Nintendo of Europe really marketed well in the region. That’s not to say they did completely terrible in marketing the older systems… oh forget it. The Gamecube still hasn’t quite shaken off its horrible reputation over here even about ten years later thanks to not being marketed too well and getting that unfortunate ‘kiddy’ reputation writ large. And as far as sparking ‘community spirit’? Nintendo of Europe didn’t really bother much until the Wii and DS (and later 3DS and Wii U). Events were generally rare and kept in only ‘popular’ areas like the centre of London, there was/still isn’t no equivalent to a Nintendo World Store and online community efforts were practically non existant.
So when you had the Wii being advertised everywhere and Nintendo of Europe actually communicating more with the fanbase, of course you’re going to see people consider it a great console.
So just keep that in mind when you inevitably complain about the ‘odd’ console rankings and choice for the ‘best year in gaming’, since the UK market and video game community is very different to the US or Japanese ones.
What do you think about GAME’s best console and best years in gaming results?