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Forums - Gaming Discussion - 1986, Game of the Year


1986, Game of the Year

Arkanoid 1 1.69%
Bubble Bobble 5 8.47%
Outrun 2 3.39%
Rampage 1 1.69%
Might and Magic 2 3.39%
Castlevania 4 6.78%
Dragon Quest 7 11.86%
The Legend of Zelda 29 49.15%
Metroid 5 8.47%
Other (please specify) 3 5.08%

The 1986 game of the year is The Legend of Zelda.
The runner up is Dragon Quest.
The master thread for all of these contests can be found here.

What do you believe to be the "Game of the Year" for 1986 and why?  Also, vote on "Game of the Year" for 1986. 


Arkanoid (Arcade)
This upgraded version of Breakout ended up being a big hit in the arcades.  Developed by Taito.


Bubble Bobble (Arcade)
Taito gets another hit in the same year with Bubble Bobble.  Bubble Bobble was also ported very aggressively onto many consoles and home computers.


Outrun (Arcade)
Sega created a gigantic arcade hit with Outrun.  Outrun sold over 30,000 cabinets making it the type of arcade hit not seen since the early 80’s, and there would not be another arcade hit of this caliber again until the rise of fighting games.  Outrun was also ported to home computers and consoles like the Master System, Genesis/Megadrive and PC Engine.


Rampage (Arcade)
Bally Midway developed this hit arcade game where you get to be a giant monster that destroys cities.  This game was eventually ported to both the NES and Master System and many home computers.  It also eventually inspired a movie starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Might and Magic Book One: Secret of the Inner Sanctum (Apple II)
Jon Van Canegham developed this RPG over the course of three years.  He couldn’t find a publisher, so he self-published as the company New World Computing handling the distribution from his own apartment.  The game was so successful that it eventually got ported to many other platforms including the NES and PC Engine.  The Might and Magic series proved to very popular, selling over 4 million copies total and also causing the spinoff series Heroes of Might and Magic.

Castlevania (NES)
In 1986, the Famicom would release a peripheral that was extremely popular in Japan, the Famicom Disk System (FDS).  This encouraged Japanese developers to make NES games that were unlike those that come before.  Konami’s big 1986 entry from the FDS was Castlevania, about a castle in Transylvania.  The main character, Simon Belmont, was also one of the main characters in the “Captain N” TV Show.

Captain N Intro:

Dragon Quest (NES)
Yuji Horii designs the father of all JRPGs, called “Dragon Warrior” in North America.  Artist, Akira Toriyama, had already created the manga, Dragon Ball, when he was hired for Dragon Quest.  Dragon Quest went on to sell over 2 million copies on the NES and made Yuji Horii a household name in Japan, at least the equivalent of Shigeru Miyamoto.


The Legend of Zelda (NES)
The big launch title for the FDS was The Legend of Zelda.  Designed by Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka with Koji Kondo as composer, the same team that developed Super Mario Bros, largely at the same time.  The Legend of Zelda was especially popular in North America, being the first NES game to sell over 1 million copies there.  Since there was no FDS in North America, a special cartridge with a battery inside was developed instead, which allowed the saving of progress.  The Legend of Zelda went on to sell over 6.5 million copies worldwide. It was also the first entry of gaming’s possibly most treasured series with more than 1 entry commonly voted for as the greatest game of all time.

TV Show Intro:


Metroid (NES)
Gunpei Yokoi developed this sci-fi game when making their FDS entry.  The title comes from combining the words “metro” and “android”.  Obvious inspiration comes from Ridley Scott’s movie Alien.  Metroid was considered the third biggest character-based IP in the NES era after Mario and Zelda.  Metroid went on to sell over 2.7 million copies on the NES.  It’s main villain, Mother Brain, was also the main villain for the TV Show “Captain N”.


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 Monday, Sept 18 at 11:59 EST.


Last edited by The_Liquid_Laser - on 19 September 2023

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Here are some other notable games from 1986:

Gauntlet 2 (Arcade)
King's Quest 3 (Home Computers)
World Games (Home Computers)
The Sentinal (Home Computers)
Kid Icarus (NES)
Alex Kidd in Miracle World (SMS)

Konami went Super Saiyan here. Castlevania/VampireKiller, Salamander, Knightmare, The Goonies, Yie Ar Kung Fu 2, and last but not least Penguin Adventure which I give my vote to. Penguin is my favorite game of that generation, criminally overlooked/under-recognized. It's also up there with the best sequels of all time (Antarctic Adventure felt more like a lifeless prototype).

I played a ton of games from that generation across home computers and rarely arcades/consoles, but Konami just dominated me! :D

I refuse to vote for 1986 😄
I really can't decide, I should vote for all: Castlevania, Legend of Zelda, Outrun, Bubble Bobble, Metroid.
All of them are games of the year!

Last edited by JimmyFantasy - on 16 September 2023

Very Tough choice. I'm giving it to Might & Magic as it had already all the hallmarks of the later games in the series, just missing some polish.

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Zelda seems pretty obvious, although Castlevania is an awesome game...

I didn't really enjoy The Legend of Zelda or Castlevania much when I was young, because I found them to be a bit too much on the difficult side.

So for me it's between Metroid and Bubble Bobble.

Last edited by Hiku - on 16 September 2023

Uhoh, didn't realize this year launched so many iconic series: Castlevania, Zelda, Might&Magic, Dragon Quest, Metroid. This makes even big games like Arkanoid and Bubble Bobble seem less, as they didn't lead to a sustained IP (although Arkanoid has millions of clones).

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I think this might be the first year where I've played more than one game.

Zelda will probably win for how iconic it is even though it is in my honest opinion a fairly bad game (the keyword being opinion, I suppose). I respect it for starting one of my favorite series, but on it's own I just didn't find it enjoyable. Gave up on it the first time but eventually forced my way through it later on.

My vote goes to Metroid as I mostly enjoyed that other than the final boss.

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Castlevania for me. Still a really fun game to play. Shout-out to Rampage. Always loved that series.