Arcade Game of the Year – 1991

There are 88 games this year, so yeah, slightly more than last year, but about the same as far as quality goes. There were more neo geo titles this year which made selection that much harder. Still I’m pretty confident in my top 5, though not necessarily in the placement. Realistically, though, I feel that only the number one spot is what really matters regarding placement. That said, let’s begin.

#5 – Caveman Ninja

I like to call this a sort of Ghosts n Goblins light. See, there are several different types of power ups and they can be charged. In many ways, it almost feels like GnG, but with a prehistoric theme. In general, it’s fairly straightforward and damn fun to play with another person. This one feels obligatory because there really wasn’t anything like it then or since. Even the sequel really didn’t match up to the original to be honest.

#4 – Sunset Riders

Seriously, this is the year of Konami. Not only did they take 2 spots this year, but with 2 of their best in my opinion. Oh, what could be better than TMNT? Don’t you worry, that’s on also on this list. Sunset Riders is a fun shoot-em-up with a western theme and up to 4 co-op. There isn’t really a whole lot else to say above and beyond that, but it’s damn fun and definitely worth your attention. I was surprised they never bothered with a sequel.

#3 – Alpha Mission 2

I played this game all the time at the local pizza place. There are a ridiculous amount of awesome effects, kickass music and visuals overall, and a bunch of power ups. The way the game handles its power up system is interesting, too. You can use whatever special power up you have in your inventory when you’d like, all of which are particularly interesting and have to either be purchased between missions or built during.

In general this was a fun, but tough challenge that really showed off the power and excellence of the neo geo console. And of course, they only get better from here.

#2 – Simpsons

Yet despite that, The Simpsons arcade game is one of my favorite brawlers of all time. Lots of throwable weapons, plenty of references to the show (though not necessarily good ones), and lots of arcade brawling goodness. If you haven’t played this, you’ve truly missed out. Playing this and TMNT back to back 4P co-op? Damn, that’s my childhood right there. Seriously.

#1 – Street Fighter 2 – The World Warrior

When Final Fight was replaced at my local arcade by this, I was PISSED. Then I gave it a try. I was still mad, but SF2 opened the doors for so many incredible sequels, ports, and inspired derivatives (and rip-offs but yeah). This game was brilliantly executed and, at the time, had more buttons than we knew what to do with. One of the first and still one of the greatest.


It actually wasn’t that hard to select a top 5 this year. That’s not because everything else sucked, though. Rather, it’s because these 5 especially shined above the rest. I know some people will say that I should’ve highlighted more tech such as Time Traveler’s “holographic effects,” but at the end of the day if these 5 games were lined up back to back, I could conceivably be there all day.

Runner Ups

So far the 90s has been a year of great runner ups and I don’t expect that to seriously go downhill at any point. Sure, there are crappy games in the runner ups, but not nearly as many as there were during the 80s so far. And no, that doesn’t necessarily mean the 90s were better either. Ultimately, we’ll do a broad comparison when it’s all over. Until then, enjoy the runner ups!

64th Street – A Detective Story
Acrobat Mission
Agress – Missile Daisenryaku
Ah Eikou no Koshien
Arabian Fight
Avenging Spirit
Baka-tonosama Mahjong Manyūki
Bells & Whistles
Berlin Wall
Big Karnak
Bio-Ship Paladin
Black Heart
Blade Master
Block Block
Blue’s Journey
Brute Force
Burning Fight
Captain America and the Avengers
Captain Commando
China Town
Clutch Hitter
Cosmo Gang the Video
Crude Buster
Danny Sullivan’s Indy Heat
D.D. Crew
Death Brade
Double Axle
Dragon’s Lair 2 – Time Warp
Drift Out
Earth Defense Force
Eight Man
Escape Kids
Fatal Fury – King of Fighters
Gallop – Armed Police Unit
Ghost Pilots
Gulf Storm
Gun Force – Battle Fire Engulfed Terror Island
Hard Head 2
King of the Monsters
Knights of the Round
Legend of Success Joe
Lethal Thunder
Mahjong Vegas
Metal Black
Mutation Nation
Ninja Clowns
Off the Wall
Pipi & Bibis
Power Spikes
Quiz Daisōsa Sen – The Last Count Down
Road Riot 4WD
Robo Army
RoboCop 2
Rohga Armor Force
Spider-Man – The Video Game
Steel Gunner 2
Strato Fighter
Strike Gunner S.T.G
Super Baseball 2020
Super Space Invaders ‘91
T2 – The Arcade Game
Tank Force
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Turtles in Time
Thrash Rally
Thunder Cross 2
Thunder Zone
Time Traveler

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Filed under Arcade, GotY Series, Retro, Videogames

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