There are 107 games this year, but what makes this year especially tough is there are SO many great titles. It was incredibly hard to winnow this down to a top 5. Hell, it would’ve been hard even doing a top 20! This was a great year in gaming and since this was the first year I ever played games to begin with, well, it’s that much more awesome for me.
#5 – 1943 – The Battle of Midway
Don’t write this off as being just more 1942. There are a bunch of power ups, an actual soundtrack, lots of enemy variety and good placement, lots of new effects, and just in general is a far better shooter than 1942. This game showcases just how far Capcom had come along since 1942. And trust me, they only get better. Back in the day, Capcom was a company of arcade giants.
#4 – After Burner
And again, don’t write this off as being just more Space Harrier. Sure, at first glance, it’s very similar. However, the very first time you do a barrel roll and the screen rolls with you…oh yeah, that’s the shit. This game had you not only firing and dodging, but also locking onto targets and trying to shake missiles from hitting you as well. After Burner offers plenty of fast, frenzied action for the action fanatic in all of us.
#3 – Double Dragon
Only one year later Double Dragon comes along. So once again, do NOT write this off as being just more Renegade. There are various combos, lots of enemy variety, and even weapons that you can use. Never mind that there’s a fairly extensive soundtrack as well. Double Dragon is a game that is often ported, sequeled, and remade, but make no mistake, the original still holds up.
#2 – Contra
It’s hard to believe that it was really that long ago when Contra was released. Contra is on every shooter fanatic’s must have list. Good variety and placement of enemies, lots of nasty boss fights, tough level design overall, lots of power ups (though we all just go for the spread shot), and a kick ass soundtrack overall. Keep the explosions and mayhem coming…it’s time for Contra.
#1 – Shinobi
This is literally the only game this year I could fathom recommending over Contra. Remember what I said about Ghosts n Goblins and Dark Souls? Well, this would be like an oldschool Ninja Gaiden. You can take one hit. ONE. HIT. And that’s it. Enemies are tough and frequent, the placement of enemies is diabolical, and there are very few power ups…plus, they don’t do much for you anyway.
Don’t even get me started on the boss fights either…they’re ridiculous. Bottom line, the game is TOUGH…but totally worth it.
Shinobi is no pushover, but that doesn’t mean you should skip any of the other games in the top list. These are arcade must haves…or at least must plays. Hell, if you HAVE all of these titles, you’d best be inviting me over! 1987 was an incredible year for gaming and the arcades only tell part of the story. There were a ridiculous amount of great games available on the consoles as well, but that’s another GotY for another time.
This was a TOUGH year to select a top 5. I actually had 25 games as my top picks! There are very few games I wouldn’t recommend out of these runner ups. I would argue that this is easily the best year I’ve had the pleasure of writing about so far. I’d even recommend checking out some of the Japan only titles as some of them were within the 25 I speak of.
After Burner 2
Arkanoid – Revenge of Doh
Bijokko Yume Monogatari
Blades of Steel
Dr. Toppel’s Adventure
Hit ‘n Miss
Ninja Kid 2
Rack ‘em Up
Spy Hunter 2
Super Baseball Double Play – Home Run Derby
Super Dodge Ball
Super Duper Casino
Super Real Darwin
Toko no Senshi – Chrono Soldier
Up Your Alley
Wonder Boy – Monster Land