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 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