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My Retro GOTY Awards 2019


As June draws to a close I am putting an end to that one blog I have been wanting to publish since December 2019. A month ago I wrote the corresponding awards for 2018 and that felt amazing. To write the games I played during a year and categorizing and ultimately ranking them under certain criteria is interesting. So, the only awards left unwritten had been the 2019 edition that is, until now.

2019 sure was a year where I was forcer to play primarily on handhelds as in my country the blackouts took us by surprise in March. Playing primarily on handhelds helped me to finally play those 3DS/DS and retro virtual console games on my backlog, plus I bought a PSP amidst all the darkness to keep me entertained the more and that only added to more experiences to be held on the go, at work and so on. Needless to say, my GOTY was a handheld game.

On to the Awards

Best Narrative

Runner up: Persona Q2

Surely the biggest surprise I had with this game last year wasn't actually playing it but all of the content it had in store for someone who doesn't like puzzle games much. The narrative can be kinda confusing but that's was makes it worth checking out as it is perfectly blended with the gameplay and the game's time mechanic. If the clever puzzles didn't do it for me, the narrative sure did. That ending had me watery-eyed.

Congratulations to the other nominees:

  1. Thomas Was Alone
  2. Link's Awakening
  3. Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep
  4. Mega Man Legends 2

Best Character


Hikari | Megami Tensei Wiki | Fandom

Runner Up: Aerith - Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII

As a spin-off, I didn't have high hopes for the characters of Persona Q2 but I was wrong. Not only the interactions are something else that hooked me in since the opening scene but the only two major character additions proved to be par with the series complexity of characters. The other one had her role expanded at the end of the game whereas once Hikari open ups herself around the game's half, she shines innocence and will to that once dull and barren character. Plus, she doesn't seem forced at all.

Congratulations to the other characters:

  1. Baby Metroid - Samus Returns
  2. Monkey - Enslaved Odyssey to the West
  3. Chris - Thomas was Alone
  4. Nein - Psychonauts
  5. Albus -Castlevania Order of Ecclesia
  6. Lynne - Ghost Trick

Best Antagonist

Xehanort - Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep

Maestro Xehanort | Kingdom Hearts Wiki | Fandom

Runner Up: Barlowe - Castlevania Order of Ecclesia

I remember unlocking that secret ending in Kingdom Hearts 2 when Xehanort first appeared and then watching the secret ending from KH 2 final mix on the internet to watch him in action. As a fan of Xemnas, I expected only greatness from the origin of evil in the series, and this antagonist provided just that. The recreation of the events from the secret ending movie on the PSP was spectacular and that boss fight against him sure was hard and extremely rewarding.

Congratulations to the other Antagonists:

  1. Ridley - Metroid Samus Returns
  2. Death - Castlevania Portrait of Ruin
  3. Yomiel - Ghost Trick
  4. Vanitas - Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
  5. Genesis - Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII

Best Soundtrack

Runner Up: Thomas Was Alone

Seriously, we need more spin-off games like this one. The soundtrack is huge and diverse with mixes from all of the entries to set up the pace while playing. However, the game's original tracks also hold up by themselves wonderfully. I remember playing most of this game's soundtracks while applying tests... Good times.

Congratulations to the other games:

  1. Metroid Samus Returns
  2. Need For Speed Underground 2
  3. Castlevania Portrait of Ruin
  4. The Legend of Zelda
  5. Link's Awakening
  6. Ghost Trick
  7. Tekken 5 Dark Resurrection
  8. Radiant Historia Perfect Chronology
  9. Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep
  10. Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII
  11. Mega Man Legends 2
  12. Mega Man Powered Up
  13. Yu Gi Oh Forbidden Memories

Best Protagonist


Thomas Was Alone, el popular juego indie de puzzles llega a ...

Runner Up: Aqua - Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep

Funny and cheesy fact: I played this game as it remembered me of a crush of mine who is my current player two demo and because I always wanted to play this one. A game which was just that, another game quickly turned to be one packed with things I only but love, and among them is the game's protagonist Thomas. Maybe is the narration that gives him such a natural personality, I don't know, I just know that not playing with him near the game's ending felt a little off. Darn, he is present in the game and only for being the titular character.

Congratulations to the other characters:

  1. Samus
  2. Raz
  3. Jonathan
  4. Charlotte
  5. Shanoa
  6. Sissel
  7. Stocke
  8. Mega Man
  9. Koudelka

Biggest Surprise

Runner Up: Koudelka

As a Zelda fan since I played Ocarina of Time and many other titles of the series, I was bound to play this one at some point. I literally had no clue this game was so complex, rewarding, and just darn enjoyable to play on the 3DS. Granted, I had to look for guides and maps on the internet at some points of my playthrough but the sense of discovery looks and feels incredible in this one.

Congratulations to the other game:

  1. Thomas Was Alone
  2. Castlevania Portrait of Ruin
  3. Castlevania Order of Ecclesia
  4. Link's Awakening
  5. Ghost Trick
  6. Persona Q2
  7. Radiant Historia Perfect Chronology
  8. Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep
  9. Rayman Raving Rabbids
  10. Mega Man Legends 2

Best Ending

Runner Up: Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep

Once again, I had to give it to Persona Q2. The way its narrative is driven could have been better here and there but the game's ending sure paid off to all the cast. That final battle, that cameo, those goodbyes to Persona 3 and Persona 4. I am forever grateful this one got released for the 3DS with the Switch on the market, dubbed or not.

Best Graphics

Runner Up: Tekken Dark Resurrection

I know now why some considered this to be the third entry by then. Birth By Sleep has these production values of a home console title and one can clearly see that from beginning to end. Framerate drops happen occasionally but the experience isn't diminished at all. Portable house power at its best.

Congratulations to the other nominees:

  1. Metroid Samus Returns
  2. Thomas Was Alone
  3. Psychonauts
  4. Portrait of Ruin
  5. Order of Ecclesia
  6. The Legend of Zelda
  7. Link's Awakening
  8. Ghost Trick
  9. Persona Q2
  10. FF7 Crisis Core
  11. Rayman Raving Rabbids
  12. Mega Man Legends 2

Best Multiplayer

Best Console

Nintendo 2DS | Empresa | Nintendo

Best Moment

Keyblade War - Birth By Sleep

Congratulations to the other nominees:

  1. Samus & Baby Metroid Vs Ridley - Samus Returns
  2. Meeting a new friend - Thomas Was Alone
  3. Memes - Thomas Was Alone
  4. Earning a Badge - Psychonauts
  5. Final Confrontation - Psychonauts
  6. Jonathan & Charlotte Vs Death & Dracula - Castlevania Portrait of Ruin
  7. Shanoa Vs Barlowe - Castlevania Order of Ecclesia
  8. Enter, Castlevania - Castlevania Order of Ecclesia
  9. At the beach - Link's Awakening
  10. Chapter 16 - Ghost Trick
  11. Hikari's Cuts - Persona Q2
  12. Boss Intro - Mega Man Powered Up
  13. Elysium - Mega Man Legends 2
  14. Koudelka Vs Elaine - Koudelka
  15. Sitting on the throne - Yu Gi Oh Forbidden Memories

Best Gameplay

Runner Up: Half Life

For ages, I had been wanting to play this one on the 3DS. Come the blackouts for me to find something to when there was no power during the first days of darkness. This game is a beast and so different in terms of premise or feeling compared to other Zelda titles but above all, the gameplay does wonders with just 8 buttons to its disposal.

Congratulations to the other nominees:

  1. Metroid Samus Returns
  2. Thomas Was Alone
  3. Castlevania Portrait of Ruin
  4. Castlevania Order of Ecclesia
  5. The Legend of Zelda
  6. Ghost Trick
  7. Persona Q2
  8. Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
  9. Mega Man Legends 2
  10. Koudelka

Best Theme

The Last Desperate Struggle

Runner Up: An Empty Tome - Castlevania Order of Ecclesia

This one is heard during the final moments of the game where all of the pieces are coming together and the climax is a its best. Totally sets the pace and gave me that sense of danger and desperation not to mess everything up and having to retry.

Biggest Innovation

Playing with everyone

Runner Up: Unison - Persona Q2

I know other games have done in the past but the majority of them offer such an option as if you want to do it and one can easily stop using certain characters if one does not like them at all. In Thomas Was Alone, however, all of them play their part and you play with all of them to beat the game. Nothing forced, it all falls into place.

Best Boss Fights

Runner Up: Persona Q2

Ever since the release of Kingdom Hearts 2 back in 2006 most boss fights in the series have been wonderful, and Birth By Sleep even raises that bar a little bit. Be it playing using brute force, tactics, or magic the game has something for everyone in the boss fights department.

Congratulations to the other nominees:

  1. Metroid Samus Returns
  2. Psychonauts
  3. Castlevania Portrait of Ruin
  4. Castlevania Order of Ecclesia
  5. Link's Awakening
  6. Radiant Historia Perfect Chronology
  7. Mega Man Legends 2

Best Sequel/Prequel

Runner Up: Persona Q2

I may be one of the few people to dislike the sorrow duology of Castlevania. Luckily, Portrait of Ruin came to rescue the series for me. That return to medieval/gothic roots and vast improvements to the gameplay really stood out putting my memories of the 2 previous entries to the graveyard.

Best Series


Runner Up: The Legend of Zelda

Best Final Boss

Runner Up: Persona Q2

Best Intro

Runner Up: Radiant Historia Perfect Chronology

Best Song

Cinematic Tale - Persona Q2

Runner Up: Someday - The World End With You

Best Controller

Nintendo DS

Best Screenshot

Persona Q2 - P3 heroes holding hands

Runner Up: Birth By Sleep: 3 guardians

Best Game


A lot of people had been recommending me this game for ages, and they were right, Banjo is a landmark in platformers. Final Score: 4 out of 5.


It took me 10 games in the series to finally play the one that started it all. Even in its first release, the legend of Zelda can take on big adventures, well-thought challenges, and lots of exploration. Final Score: 4 out of 5.


For years I had been playing this game and failed over and over until 2019. It sure was a surprise to see how much it improved upon the original and feels like a classic mega man title. Final Score: 4 out of 5.


After the anime like of Dawn of Sorrow, Portrait of Ruin takes Castlevania back to its gothic roots that double the fun. Final Score: 5 out of 5.


This is the second time I played a game for its name, and just like before, it was a blast to play. I can easily say I beat it on one day, and every moment of it I cherish deep in my heart. Final Score: 4.5 out of 5.


For years this game had been in my backlog and I could have played it on PS3 but I waited until getting a PSP. It was absolutely worth the wait. A portable game that looks and feels like a console one. Final Score: 4 out of 5.

But first, a recap of every game I played in 2019:

  1. Metroid Samus Returns
  2. Resident Evil Code Veronica X HD
  3. Enslaved Odyssey to the West
  4. Resident Evil Zero HD
  5. Thomas Was Alone
  6. Severed
  7. Need for Speed Underground
  8. Resident Evil Remake HD
  9. Psychonauts
  10. Castlevania Portrait of Ruin
  11. Castlevania Order of Ecclesia
  12. The Legend of Zelda
  13. Rayman Fiesta Run
  14. Link's Awakening
  15. Ghost Trick
  16. Zelda Four Swords
  17. The World Ends with You
  18. Bastion
  19. Chrono Trigger
  20. Persona Q2
  21. Mario Party The Top 100
  22. Radiant Historia Perfect Chronology
  23. Tekken Dark Resurrection
  24. Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep
  25. Thomas Was Alone Benjamin's Flight
  26. Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII
  27. Rayman Raving Rabbids
  28. Mega Man Powered Up
  29. Mega Man Legends 2
  30. Def Jam The Takeover
  31. Half Life
  32. Yu Gi Oh Forbidden Memories
  33. Koudelka
  34. Banjo Kazooie
  35. SteamWorld Quest
  36. Persona 2 Innocent Sin
  37. Just Dance 2020


Oblivious of what this game could offer, I jumped right in and was hooked right away. Ghost Trick goes to show us how our actions affect everyone and everything around us. Such a message almost earned this game my GOTY, and that's just incredible. Final Score: 5 out of 5.


Just like Persona 4 in 2009 and Persona 5 in 2017, Persona Q2 won its GOTY for performing near perfectly in every are and for delivering a strong message, An spin-off of AAA proportions, the perfect send-off for the Nintendo 3DS, and a persona game since Persona 2 where Philemon returns, albeit in its butterfly form. Final Score: 4.5 out of 5.

Thanks for Reading.

- As expected, video games made this possible.

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About Exberone of us since 7:47 PM on 04.07.2020

I guess these would be considered as my stats, so here I go:

I'm Exber, not related to my name by any means. I'm from Venezuela and I'm an English Teacher.

I have been playing video games since I was 4 years old. Goldeneye 007 for the Nintendo 64 is my first gaming memory.

Console gamer for the love of everything retro. I play on PS1, PS2, PS3, PSP, PS Vita, Nintendo 64, GameCube, Wii, 3DS, DS, GBA, Xbox 360, and Wii U.

Resident Evil and Persona share the spot as my favorite gaming series. Following this, here are my favorite games per year along with the runner ups:

2006: The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time

2007: Resident Evil 2

2008: Persona 4
Runner Up: Resident Evil 4

2010: Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater
Runner Up: Final Fantasy XII

2011: Radiant Historia
Runner Up: Okami

2012: Klonoa Door to Phantomile
Runner Up: Tomb Raider Anniversary

2013: Fatal Frame 3 The Tormented
Runner Up: Silent Hill 4

2014: Onimusha Dawn of Dreams
Runner Up: Resident Evil Zero

2015: The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword
Runner Up: Final Fantasy IV

2016: Final Fantasy IX
Runner Up: A Link Between Worlds

2017: Persona 5
Runner Up: Brothers A Tale of Two Sons

2018: Skies of Arcadia Legends
Runner Up: Zelda Spirit Tracks

2019: Persona Q2 New Cinema Labyrinth
Runner Up: Ghost Trick

2020: Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker
Runner Up: Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy

2021: Pandora's Tower
Runner Up: Xenoblade Chronicles

2022: Super Paper Mario
Runner Up: Child of Light

I try to learn the most I can with every video game, thus my Retro GOTY winners won a place in me. Best examples are Persona 4 (2008) and Final Fantasy IX (2016).

GameSpot and GameInformer were the sites that granted me the opportunity to blog prior to coming here. Good times.

I'm currently 29 years old. Come May 10th and I'll level up.

Favorite color: green.

Favorite number: 4.

Favorite video game genre: Survival Horror. RPGs come second.

Favorite movie: 13 going on 30.

Favorite TV Show: Mr. Robot

Favorite game of all time: Persona 4.