Hey, did anyone else realize that two new consoles are about to launch? Who knew!?

In honor of the launch of the XBox One and PS4, I’ve compiled a list of the 8 Best Console Launch Games. This isn’t a list based entirely on which games are the best, but is more about how important the games were to their consoles and the era they were released in, as well as the legacy the games have developed.

This was the hardest list I’ve compiled because of the different factors I was taking into account. I’m sure I have some questionable entries here and three of the top 4 could easily have been rearranged (though #1 was a lock). One anomaly I noticed was the lack of entries for the most popular systems (and none for a Sony system), but based solely on launch titles, nothing seemed to jump out at me, which I believe is a sign that their best games came out after the system launch, which isn’t unusual. Also, only one system scored two entries, which I questioned, but ultimately felt was warranted.

I’ve taken all regions into consideration, but believe that virtually all of my picks were launch titles for all regions. Also, these were true launch games, none of that “launch window” nonsense.

Altered Beast8. Altered Beast (Sega Genesis)
Porting an Arcade title to their new 16-bit console was a great move by Sega with the launch of the Genesis. It gave them a proven title to sell and allowed them to showcase the graphical difference between this system and the NES, as it would be a while before Nintendo would counter with their own 16-bit system. I still hear people gaming today that refer to this port as one of their favorite games on the Sega Genesis. That alone shows how impactful this game was.

Red Steel7. Red Steel (Nintendo Wii)
Ultimately, this game has not stood the test of time and never lived up to what most of us hoped it would be, but for the launch of the Wii, it was both an example of how the new Wii Remote pointer and motion control functions would work and a “hardcore” title for Nintendo to market, as the stigma of Nintendo making “kiddy” games was pretty popular. For all of its faults, Red Steel did give gamers an entirely new experience at the launch of the Wii, which is exactly what Nintendo was after.

Perfect Dark Zero6. Perfect Dark Zero (Xbox 360)
Microsoft were coming off a fairly successful Xbox system and were launching their next system a year ahead of competitors. This title allowed them to showcase the power of the 360 and utilize their newest in-house studio: Rare. Purchased from Nintendo (essentially), Rare was put to work on a sequel to a much loved Nintendo 64 classic. Much like Red Steel, this game did not meet expectations (due to being rushed, I’ve read, among other things), but hype counts for something, and Perfect Dark Zero had the hype and helped drive buyers to the stores upon the launch of the Xbox 360.

Sonic Adventure5. Sonic Adventure (Sega Dreamcast)
Poor Sonic. He hasn’t had a good few years, and while the downfall started here, the promise of Sonic in a 3D environment generated massive excitement. It also helped that the Dreamcast delivered graphics unlike anything seen on the current systems (N64, PS) over a year before it’s competition would launch. While this would be Sega’s last console, for a while, it seemed like the Dreamcast would be a major seller, and quite a bit of that success can be attributed to Sonic’s first 3D outing.

Wii Sports4. Wii Sports (Nintendo Wii)
If Red Steel showed how a traditional game could work with new controls, Wii Sports is the game that showed off the versatility of what the Wii Remote could do. On the surface, it may appear to be little more than a tech demo, but Wii Sports was a brilliant pack-in by Nintendo. It allowed them to immediately show the consumer how much differently the Wii operated and controlled compared to previous systems and allowed them to completely differentiate the Wii from the Xbox 360 and the PS3, which is something they needed to do in order to give consumers a reason to choose them instead of, or in addition to another console.

Halo3. Halo: Combat Evolved (Xbox)
You’re the new kid in town. You’re taking on two established giants in Nintendo and Sony. How do you set yourself apart? Easy. You launch one of the most popular FPS games ever created. Halo allowed Microsoft to show everyone they were serious with their new console, the Xbox, and gave them immediate credibility in console game development. Full disclosure: I don’t actually like Halo, but to demean this game or what it meant for the launch of the Xbox would simply be foolish and dishonest.

Mario 642. Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64)
Super Mario 64 wasn’t the first game to do a 3-D world, but it was the game that set the standard. This game makes the list at #2 not necessarily because of what it did for the Nintendo 64, but more for what it did to move games from side-scrolling to 3-D movement. Super Mario 64 truly showed how controls could work in such an environment as well as making great strides with how to operate a camera in this setting. Remembering how little they had to draw from, it is quite amazing how well Nintendo developed this game and how playable it remains today.

Super Mario Brothers1. Super Mario Brothers/Duck Hunt (NES)
Has any game ever had more riding on its shoulders than this game? When this launched with the NES (along with the NES Zapper and Duck Hunt), the video game market had crashed only a few short years before. Consumers were very wary of buying into a new system so soon, much less one from a company that to that point had only developed a few Game & Watch handhelds. It can never be overstated how important this game was in giving the consumers trust in the gaming industry once again. In addition to accomplishing that, this game, much like Super Mario 64, set a standard for gaming. Once again, with very little to draw on, Nintendo managed to design a game that, despite it’s limitations, is still playable and enjoyable today, nearly 30 years later.

  1. Kaven says:

    yeah,No.1 is an easy pick.its role in the history of gaming was key.Mario 64 on the other hand,is one of my most nostalgic games ever

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