Arcade Game of the Year – 1994

This was a big year for gaming for a variety of reasons. Firstly, there were more and more Neo Geo games entering the market. Second, there were a LOT of 3D games. And finally, this is our first year for virtual reality! The game didn’t place, but hey. This was a fairly tough year because there were a lot of good games, but not necessarily great ones. There are 141 games this year, so let’s get to it!

#5 – Puzzle Bobble

People might be pissed about this one, but hear me out. Puzzle Bobble (or Bust-A-Move) is a fun, timeless game that introduced the world to more casual puzzle gaming. It’s fun, simple, and very addictive, which is everything an arcade game should be. It also has good graphics, animation, sounds, music, and in general in a delight to play. You’ll play it for hours and not even realize until your wallet is empty.

#4 – King of Fighters ‘94

This is not the best KoF, but it’s on the list because it’s the first. 3 on 3 matches where you have to think about the order you want to position your people as the match goes on, forcing you to play as multiple people, not just one throughout the course of the game. There’s strategy, action, and all kinds of fun. This is an incredible series that first got its start right here.

#3 – Alien vs. Predator

One of the very few games to get the aliens formula right besides the Konami title Aliens. This is a fast, fun, frenzied brawler (and shooter) that has all kinds of fun elements. Pretty much everything that was learned by Capcom about brawlers up to this point has been put in here with the exception of leveling up (which isn’t absolutely necessary). It was actually hard to winnow this down because there were a number of impressive brawlers this year, but I think this was the best.

#2 – Tekken

Virtua Fighter was last year and Tekken is this year. Tekken was somewhat similar to VF, but the major differences are better detailed characters, a wider background of fighting styles complete with lots and lots of different variations and combos, and it’s Namco, which changes more than you’d imagine. It’s dated, but both this AND the original VF are games I’d still hit up in the arcade if I saw them anywhere.

#1 – Killer Instinct

Running on the “Nintendo Ultra 64” chipset (assuming that’s a thing), this game was the first of its kind. There are ridiculous combos, lots of character variety, fatalities, awesome settings, great music, and the graphics were absolutely amazing. Yeah, it looks dated now, but this was far better than the overly simplistic SNES port. This game was a quarter annihilator and it’s great to know that the series lives on still today.

Conclusion

This year didn’t prove too tough to make a top 5, though the placement was a little weird. All in all, 1994 was a great year and definitely deserves your attention if at least for the runner ups. Look at it this way, if you don’t like my top 5, you have 136 other titles to check out. Still, I’m confident that my top 5 are some of the best and strongly encourage you to check them out.

Runner Ups

I’d say that THIS was the year for neo geo, but I already started working on 1995 and I gotta tell ya…hoo boy. In any case, there are a lot of great runner ups this year…but where to start? Well, pretty much any Capcom game is a must and definitely check out the neo geo games, too. Those are definitely good starting points. And of course, don’t worry about the adult and mahjong games. They’re here only because they existed, not because they’re necessarily anything decent.

1000 Miglia – Great 1000 Miles Rally
Ace Driver
Aero Fighters 2
Aggressors of Dark Kombat
Alligator Hunt
Armored Warriors
Art of Fighting 2
Battle K-Road
Battletoads
Best Bout Boxing
Best of Best
Bishoujo Janshi Pretty Sailor 18-kin
Bishoujo Janshi Pretty Sailor 2
Blazing Tornado
Blocken
Blomby Car
Bloodstorm
Blood Warrior
Bonk’s Adventure
Bubble Symphony
Charlie Ninja
Chase Bombers
Cheese Chase
Cops
Cruisin’ USA
Cyber Commando
Darius Gaiden
Darkstalkers – The Night Warriors
Daytona USA
Denjin Makai
Desert Tank
Dharma Doujou
Digger Man
Dragon Ball Z V.R.V.S.
Dragon Master
Dream Soccer ‘94
Drift Out ’94 – The Hard Order
Driver’s Edge
Dyna Gear
Eco Fighters
Eight Forces
Elevator Action Returns
F-1 Super Battle
Fantasia
Fast Draw Showdown
Fight Fever
Fred Flintstone’s Memory Match
Gokujyou Parodius!
Golden Axe – The Duel
Golfing Greats 2
Gunbird
Gun Dealer ‘94
Gun Force 2
GunMaster
Gururin
Hard Dunk
Hard Times
Hebereke no Popoon
Idol Janshi Su-Chi-Pie 2
Imekura Mahjong
Janshin Densetsu – Quest of Jongmaster
J-League Soccer V-Shoot
Joe & Mac Returns
Jurassic Park
Kaiser Knuckle
Karnov’s Revenge
Kingdom Grand Prix
Kokontouzai Eto Monogatari – Neko Datte Eto no Nakama ni Naritakatta
Krazy Bowl
Last Bounty Hunter
Las Vegas Girl
Lethal Enforcers 2 – Gun Fighters
Locked ‘n Loaded
Lord of Gun
Mach Breakers – Numan Athletics 2
Magicball Fighting
Mahjong Erotica Golf
Mahjong The Mysterious Universe
Mahjong The Mysterious World
Mazinger Z
Mirage Youjuu Mahjongden
Naname de Magic!
NBA Jam – Tournament Edition
Nebulasray
Operation Ragnarok
Operation Wolf 3
Outfoxies
Panic Bomber
Pnickies
Point Blank
Point Blank 2
Power Instinct 2
Power Spikes 2
Primal Rage
Pro Mahjong Kiwame
Puyo Puyo Tsu
Puzzle & Action – Ichidant-R
Quiz Theater – 3tsu no Monogatari
Racin’ Force
Raiden DX
Rapid Hero
Real Puncher
Revolution X
Ridge Racer 2
Samurai Shodown 2
Scud Hammer
Sega Rally Championship
Shootout at Old Tucson
Slap Shot
Snow Bros. 2 – With New Elves
Soccer Superstars
Stack Columns
Steel Force
Stone Ball
Street Hoop
Super Model
Super Muscle Bomber – The International Blowout
Super Sidekicks 2 – The World Championship
Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo
Super Trio
Super Visual Soccer – Sega Cup
Super-X
Taito Power Goal
Thunder Hoop 2
T-MEK
Tokimeki Memorial Taisen Puzzle-Dama
Top Hunter – Roddy & Cathy
Twin Eagle 2 – The Rescue Mission
Virtua Cop
Virtua Fighter 2
Virtua Striker
Windjammers
Wing War
World Heroes 2 Jet
X-Men – Children of the Atom
Zone Hunter
Zunzunkyou No Yabou

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Filed under Arcade, GotY Series, Retro, Videogames

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