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Forums - Gaming Discussion - 1989, Game of the Year


1989, Game of the Year

Golden Axe 3 5.77%
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 8 15.38%
Prince of Persia 4 7.69%
SimCity 14 26.92%
Ducktales 7 13.46%
Castlevania III 4 7.69%
Bonk's Adventure 0 0%
Phantasy Star II 4 7.69%
Super Mario Land 2 3.85%
Other (please specify) 6 11.54%

The 1989 game of the year is SimCity.
The runner up is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
The master thread for all of these contests can be found here.

What do you believe to be the "Game of the Year" for 1989 and why?  Also, vote on "Game of the Year" for 1989. 

Golden Axe  (Arcade/Genesis)
Golden Axe was released as a hit arcade game near the beginning of 1989 and before the end of the year it was ported to the Genesis/Mega Drive.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Arcade/NES)
Two different TMNT games were released in 1989, one in the arcade and one on the NES.  Both were wildly successful.  The arcade game was a 4-player beat em up that became Konami’s best selling arcade game ever.  By the end of 1990, TMNT has sold over 25,000 cabinets in the US and Europe alone and they still couldn’t keep up with demand.  On the NES, TMNT was a single player platformer where you could switch between the 4 different turtles.  The NES version sold over 4 million copies.

Prince of Persia (Apple II)
First entry in the long running Prince of Persia series.  This first game was initially a commercial failure in the US, but after releasing in Japan and Europe sales picked up.  Prince of Persia went on to sell over 2 million copies by 1993.

Sim City (Home Computers)
Developer Wil Wright designed this open-ended, sandbox simulation game about building and managing a city.  Sim City went on to inspire a long line of games beginning with the word “Sim”.  It was also commercially successful selling well over 300,000 copies on computers and another 2 million on the SNES.

Ducktales (NES)
Capcom does a fantastic job turning this Disney IP into an NES game.  Ducktales went on to sell over 1.6 million copies on the NES and over 1.4 million copies on the Gameboy.

Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse (NES)
Castlevania kicks it up a notch in this third installment.  Here you can choose to play one of 4 characters at a time: Trevor Belmont, Sypha Belnades, Grant Danasty, or Alucard, the son of Dracula.  The Netflix series “Castlevania” was inspired by this game.

TV Intro:

Bonk’s Adventure (PC Engine/TG16)
First game in the Bonk series which was the main platformer series for the PC Engine/Turbografix-16.  This game was also ported to the NES and Gameboy.

Phantasy Star II (Genesis/Megadrive)
Sega’s main RPG series enters the 16-bit era on the Genesis/Megadrive.  The storyline was much more intricate than what was available on 8-bit systems, and the 6-megabit cartridge was the largest cartridge that had ever been on a console at the time.

Super Mario Land
The Gameboy gets released in 1989 and consequently gets a Mario game.  Super Mario Land would go on to sell over 18 million copies.

Other (please specify)
If you think another games deserves to be "Game of the Year" other than one of the 9 I listed above, then please vote “Other” and say your game in the comments.  If the "Other" category takes at least 2nd place and no other game gets at least 50% of the vote, then I will do a runoff vote including the most mentioned game(s) from the comments.

The winner of this vote will be decided Sunday, Sept 24 at 11:59 EST.




Last edited by The_Liquid_Laser - on 25 September 2023

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Here are some other notable games from 1989:

Final Fight (Arcade)
Super Monaco GP (Arcade)
Strider (Arcade)
Populous (Home Computers)
Curse of the Azure Bonds (Home Computers)
River City Ransom (NES)
Tecmo Bowl (NES)
Wonder Boy III (SMS)
Neutopia (PC Engine/TG16)

Was a tough choice, but I went with Prince of Persia. The animation technique (The programmer filmed his brother jumping and running and used this to create the animation trough going through the film frame by frame) was pretty much the first time in gaming that movements of a game character really felt natural. Plus, it's simply a great game, if a bit short - though that's by design, as you only have one hour to save the princess.

Speaking of which, Ars Technica made a great video about how Prince of Persia came to be and what challenges it had to master:

Last edited by Bofferbrauer2 - on 22 September 2023

Didn't play many games from this year. Loved TMNT, enjoyed Golden Axe (a friend of mine was obsessed about this series), admired Prince of Persia's animations watching a friend play it on his PC.

But I vote Gradius 3 because I'm Gradius's bitch. Actually, scratch that, I'm voting for TMNT.

Time for Phantasy Star to claim another W ;)

But really, I can't wait to start hitting the 90s!

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Other: Mother/Earthbound Beginnings.

To be fair it is a rough and pretty barebones game compared to the two sequels, but the final boss/ending is honestly exceptional, so much so that they kinda just reused it for Earthbound, but I actually prefer the way it was executed in Beginnings. It had a more eerie and epic feel to it. Beginnings is also where the most iconic "Earthbound" song comes from (it's not actually in Earthbound I'm pretty sure):

Also I've barely played any games from this year so it also kinda just wins by default, but it is probably in my top 3 for the 80s

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First off: I am severely disappointed that Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure doesn't even get a mention, this is a great game and important on the development of graphical adventures. This great playable intro alone is something else.

But this year again has multiple important games. I don't know if Populous is the first in the god game genre, but it certainly popularized it. SimCity may be well the first simulation sandbox game. Prince of Persia showed new animation techniques. This is very hard. I like Indiana Jones, but I also consider SimCity or Populous. Ah. let's go with Indiana Jones, alone because you forgot it! So I choose other :)

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Impossible choice again.

Between Prince of Persia, Sim City, Populous, Golden Axe and Xenon 2.

Prince of Persia blew my mind with the fluidity of the protagonist, it was magical to play and every death so gruesomely well animated. Prince of Persia peaked with The Sands of Time all though I really love the 2008 version as well. You can say it inspired Tomraider with it's brutal death sequences.

Sim City was a new genre for me and I spend countless hours creating cities and perfecting them. It got me into a long line of Sim City games as well as spinoff like SimEarth, SimAnt, SimFarm, SimCopter and I guess The Sims. Too bad online killed the franchise.

Populous is an amazing God game. I actually didn't play it until after I played Populous the beginning (another revolutionary game 1998) and the original was still just as mind blowing.

Golden Axe ran pretty well on DOS and was our go to 2 player game. We hardly ever made it to the end since we always turned on each other at some point.

Xenon 2 I played a lot. And it still ran on the old 8086 PC. It ran at half speed on that though which made it twice as long and a lot easier. I would play that while my dad was working on the 486. Trying different combinations of upgrades to get to the end.

I have to give the nod to Sim City as it definitely influenced my interest in maps, road planning and career choice into GPS navigation and street mapping. Plus I'm still interested in urban planning and recently made this poster to better understand what direction my County is going in to 2051.

Sim city in real life (County has to grow from 30K to 59K population over the next 30 years)

I feel like whatever I choose from this year I'm doing injustice to other games.
I loved Populous
I loved Quest for Glory
I loved Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
I loved Rick Dangerous
I loved Golden Axe
I loved It came from the Desert
I loved Prince of Persia
I loved Millennium 2.2
...and so many more

But I cannot vote for anything other than SimCity - that game was just something very different.

SimCity and Golden Axe are amazing, but I feel bad for not voting for Castlevania 1 over Zelda. So Castlevania 3 gets my vote here. It is on the same level as the original, both fantastic games.