Arcade Game of the Year – 2002

This year sucked. Oh sure, there’s a Metal Slug and a number of decent bullet hell titles, but it’s mostly music/rhythm stuff and not a whole lot of ingenuity. Where there IS ingenuity, it’s either pervy or just plain bizarre for the sake of being bizarre. I know some people are going to be annoyed I didn’t include a very specific title in my top 5, but I was never a huge fan of them, so whatever. There are only 58 games this year.

#5 – Time Crisis 3

To be honest, my favorite Time Crisis is the second, but the primary reason this is being nominated is it’s the first to allow for multiple weapons that are useful for different scenarios. The Time Crisis series is a fairly solid one overall, but there are clearly better rail shooters out there. All things considered, however, this is still a very strong entry this year and damn fun to play.

#4 – Rage of the Dragons

The Neo Geo version of Double Dragon was one of the best things that ever happened to the franchise and this is the follow up that you never heard of. Featuring…well, Billy and Jimmy…and a bunch of characters they totally made up…this is an excellent fighter just dripping with style. Definitely worth your time and attention.

#3 – DoDonPachi Dai-Ou-Jou

You’ll notice that I don’t nominate a lot of bullet hell shooters. This is because while I enjoy classic style shooters, I’m not a huge fan of bullet hell shooters. That and a lot of them start to look like more of the same. That said, this series is one that definitely deserves your attention and this is a strong entry within it. The likelihood of you finding this outside emulation is very low, but should that actually happen, dump your wallet into it.

#2 – Guilty Gear XX – The Midnight Carnival

With a few rare exceptions, almost any entry in the Guilty Gear series deserves your attention and this is no exception. The best way I can think to describe the entire series is imagine the first time you came across a Samurai Shodown cabinet. Alright, now infuse it with 500% more anime and steampunk and you have the Guilty Gear series. Amazing.

#1 – House of the Dead 3

Another year, another win for House of the Dead. What makes this one especially fun is instead of using a pistol, you get a shotgun. And yes, you actually have to cock the shotgun to reload, which takes a moment, so you have to reload strategically. Furthermore, you can’t fire as fast, so you have to make each shot count. This is an interesting tactic that makes an already hairy situation that much tougher and definitely adds to the fun factor overall.


It’s also sadly come to my attention that these lists may not be entirely accurate. Despite my best efforts to ensure the copyright screens have the correct dates on them, as the years go on that becomes harder and harder to do, especially with more obscure titles or titles that simply can’t be emulated properly. I’m taking measures to ensure accuracy, but that results in me missing or delaying titles.

Runner Ups

This is the worst year so far, but looking forward to 2003, it doesn’t get much better. Yeah, there are a lot of music/rhythm games, so if that’s your thing, then okay…but otherwise this illuminates one of the many reasons arcades died out. I wish I had better news than that and I certainly don’t mean to be such a downer, but it’s depressing.

7 Ordi
Air Strike
AT V Track – Quads on Amazon
Azumanga Daioh Puzzle Bobble
BeatMania 7th Mix
BeatMania 2DX 7th Style
BeatMania 2DX 8th Style
BeatMania 3 Append 7th Mix
BeatMania 3 Append Core Mix
BeatMania 3 The Final
Big Buck Hunter 2 – Sportsman’s Paradise
Dance Dance Revolution Extreme
DDRMAX2 – Dance Dance Revolution 7th Mix
Demon Front
DrumMania 6th Mix
DrumMania 7th Mix
Golden Tee 2K
Golden Tee Fore!
Golden Tee Fore! 2003
G-Stream G2020
Guitar Freaks 7th Mix
Guitar Freaks 8th Mix
Initial D – Arcade Stage
Initial D – Arcade Stage Ver. 2
Ketsui – Kizuna Jigoku Tachi
King of Fighters 2002
King of Route 66
Lupin the Third The Typing
Mahjong G-Taste
Martial Beat 2
Maze of Kings
Metal Slug 4
Musapey’s Choco Marker
Panikuru Panekuru
Pop’n Music 8
Pop’n Music 9
Pump It Up! – The 2nd Premiere
Pump It Up – O.B.G.
Pump It Up – The Rebirth
Soul Calibur 2
Soul Surfer
Star Trigon
Taiko no Tatsujin 3
Taiko no Tatsujin 4
Technic Beat
Uchu Daisakusen Chocovader – Contactee
Virtua Athlete
Virtua Striker 2002
Wing Shooting Championship
XII Stag

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Filed under Arcade, GotY Series, Videogames

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