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Forums - Gaming Discussion - 2006, Game of the Year


2006, Game of the Year

Gary's Mod 0 0%
Final Fantasy XII 5 6.25%
Guitar Hero II 2 2.50%
Okami 9 11.25%
New Super Mario Bros 2 2.50%
TES IV: Oblivion 9 11.25%
Gears of War 6 7.50%
Twilight Princess 25 31.25%
Wii Sports 13 16.25%
Other (please specify) 9 11.25%

The 2006 Game of the Year is The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
The runner up is Wii Sports.
The master thread for all of these contests can be found here.

Welcome to the latter part of the 2000’s, which may be the most interesting time in the history of gaming.  It was so interesting that someone could have created a website focusing on the video game sales during this time in gaming.  But what was it that made the late 2000’s so interesting?

The PS2 dominated the home console space so thoroughly that it seemed like Sony had a permanent monopoly on gaming.  Not only was the PS2 the best-selling system of all time, but it also forced Sega out of console gaming and into a role as third party publisher.  Nintendo, the former king of home consoles, was in third place with the GameCube relying mostly on their handheld systems to make a profit.  And with the solid launch of the PSP in 2004, it seemed like Nintendo couldn’t even rely on their handhelds anymore. 

Enter Satoru Iwata, Nintendo CEO and black-belt in business jiu-jitsu.  Instead of Nintendo launching powerful systems to compete directly, Iwata treated his competitor’s power as a disadvantage and used it against them.  That move to high definition, especially, increased costs and slowed development times.  So, Nintendo focused on new control methods for the Wii and DS and kept these systems as weaker than their competitors.  This meant that Nintendo could keep development costs down and continue to release new games at a good pace.  Even with major third-party developers supporting Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo turned everything around.  Somehow, they were competing with almost the entire game industry and winning.

Here is the tl;dr version of the above:

Playstation: “I am inevitable.”
Iwata: “And I am Iron Man.”


As for 2006 specifically, there is a lot going on.  The Wii had a crazy-strong launch and the DS was on fire.  The XBox 360 had really started to get going as well.  The PS3 had a pretty weak launch, but PS2 software and hardware was still selling like Generation 6 wasn’t ending.  So, without further ado, here is the list of games for 2006:


Gary’s Mod (PC)
There once was a man named Gary Newman, who made a mod for Valve’s Source game engine and for Half-Life 2.  Gary kept developing the mod more and more, but when he set up an online forum for it, he realized that his mod had become very popular.  The mod was turned into a full game, and the name “Gary’s Mod” stuck.  After getting Valve to publish the game, it started selling…and selling…and it just kept selling.  Gary’s Mod has currently sold over 20 million copies.


Final Fantasy XII (PS2)
Final Fantasy fans were chomping at the bit after waiting a full five years after the previous home console FF game.  FFXII was still turn-based, but it didn’t have a separate battle screen like previous entries in the series.  At the time, this game seemed like the swan song for the PS2, except that the PS2 kept on getting significant releases after 2006.  Final Fantasy XII scored a 92 on Metacritic and sold over 6 million copies on the PS2 alone.


Guitar Hero II (PS2)
Guitar-based rhythm games became a major phenomenon during the late 2000’s, and the spark that lit that fire is Guitar Hero II.  It sold over 3.4 million copies and scored a 92 on Metacritic making it the highest reviewed Guitar Hero game.  It would also be the last main entry in the Guitar Hero series developed by the innovator in this genre, Harmonix.


Okami (PS2)
Okami is often described as being “like Zelda where you play as a wolf”.  Ironically, it was released the same year as a Zelda game where you play as a wolf.  This critical darling scored a 93 on Metacritic.


New Super Mario Bros (DS)
Mario fans had to wait 15 years after the release Super Mario World to get this next 2D Mario entry.  New Super Mario Bros would sell over 30.8 million copies making it the best-selling game on Nintendo’s best-selling system and reminding everyone why Nintendo is the “House that Mario built”.


The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (XBox360/PC)
The Elder Scrolls continued to rapidly grow in popularity with this fourth entry.  Oblivion scored a 94 on Metacritic and sold over 9.5 million copies worldwide which was more than double the previous ES entry.


Gears of War (XBox 360)
First entry in what would be considered XBox’s #2 franchise after Halo.  Gears of War scored a 94 on Metacritic and sold over 5 million copies.


The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii/GameCube)
This swan song for the GameCube was also a major launch title for the Wii.  The Wii version also incorporated motion controls as an option.  Twilight Princess scored a 95/96 on Metacritic and sold over 8.9 million copies total making it the best-selling Zelda game up to that point.


Wii Sports (Wii)
When people think of the Wii, the first game that likely comes to mind is Wii Sports.  Nintendo of America President, Reggie Fils-Aimé, pushed for this game to be bundled with the Wii at launch in America with most other regions following suit.  The result is that the Wii and Wii Sports became a major gaming phenomenon putting the Wii in places that gaming consoles weren’t seen before like offices and retirement homes.  Nintendo is known to be the publisher with by far the most mega-sellers, but Wii Sports sold over 82.9 million copies making it their best-selling game of all time.


Other (please specify)
If you think another game 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 40% of the vote, then I will do a runoff vote including the most mentioned game(s) from the comments.


Voting for 2006 Game of the Year will end on Saturday, Nov 11 at 11:59 PM, EST.

Last edited by The_Liquid_Laser - on 12 November 2023

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Look at these other games from 2006.  Some of these games deserve to be in the poll!  Can you believe that Pokémon didn’t even make the poll?


Virtua Fighter 5 (Arcade)
Company of Heroes (PC)
Dwarf Fortress (PC)
Galactic Civilizations II (PC)
Bully (PS2)
Disgaea II (PS2)
Lego Star Wars II (PS2/GCN/XBox/GBA/DS/PSP/XBox 360/PC)
Marvel Ultimate Alliance (PS2/XBox/GBA/PSP/XBox 360/PS3/Wii/PC)
Persona 3 (PS2)
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (PS2/XBox/XBox 360/PC)
Mother 3 (GBA)
Daxter (PSP)
GTA: Vice City Stories (PSP)
Jeanne d’Arc (PSP)
LocoRoco (PSP)
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (PSP)
Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror (PSP)
Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin (DS)
Cooking Mama (DS)
Elite Beat Agents (DS)
Kirby: Squeak Squad (DS)
Metroid Prime Hunters (DS)
Pokémon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum (DS)
Call of Duty 3 (PS2/Xbox/XBox 360/PS3/Wii)
Dead Rising (XBox 360)
Saint’s Row (XBox 360)
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas (XBox 360/PC/Moblie)
Resistance: Fall of Man (PS3)
WarioWare: Smooth Moves (Wii)
Wii Play (Wii)

Also I have a question for anyone that knows.  When did VGChartz first go live?  Does anyone know the year?

Twilight Princess is the easy pick for me.

I do love Okami, but only think it became truly great once it got touch screen controls on the Switch. Also, honourable mention to Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin.

The_Liquid_Laser said:

Also I have a question for anyone that knows.  When did VGChartz first go live?  Does anyone know the year?

It would be 2006. The earliest forums users were created in August 2006. ioi's account (the website owner) was created in November 2006 so I'm not sure how much activity there was before November.

Last edited by TruckOSaurus - on 09 November 2023

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Oblivion completely owned me in 2006. No game close to the amount of time I put into Oblivion.

Other honorable mentions that I also enjoyed that year would've been Star Wars: Empire at War, Gears of War, and Twilight Princess. But nothing touched Oblivion for me.

TruckOSaurus said:
The_Liquid_Laser said:

Also I have a question for anyone that knows.  When did VGChartz first go live?  Does anyone know the year?

It would be 2006. The earliest forums users were created in August 2006. ioi's account (the website owner) was created in November 2006 so I'm not sure how much activity there was before November.


That means, this is definitely the year to give VGChartz a mention.  My impression was always that Generation 7 systems is what made the site popular.

Dead Rising. Pretty much the reason I got the 360. Turned out to be an excellent console with tons of great games though.

This is tough. There are a lot of great games from 2006 that are all in the same tier for me. It’s difficult to separate them.

I guess I’ll go with Oblivion. Not quite as good as my personal favorite Morrowind, but still an extraordinary open-world RPG.

Special shout-out to Elite Beat Agents, an awesome, hilarious, challenging rhythm game.

Twilight Princess. Best bosses, best dungeons, best main story (Majora's only wins on sidequests)... Easily my favourite 3D Zelda.