I’ve played a lot of video games in my day, and while I remember because they were super weird, I remember others because they were just that good. And a game that good can be a serious game changer for a new console. Let’s dig deeper into some of the key launch games from over the years…
Super Mario 64, Nintendo 64
The N64 only had two launch titles, and while Pilotwings 64 really was a fun game, Super Mario 64 was a life-changing experience for a lot of young people of that era. It was so fun, and looked so good, and just had so much depth, and so many secrets. While the Nintendo 64 never had a ton of them, it was games like Super Mario 64 that made sure it would be remembered so fondly.
Wii Sports, Wii
It’s not like Wii Sports was some incredible game; it didn’t exactly have a load of depth. So many non-gamers bought the Wii, though, that it seems hard not to include Wii Sports on this list, considering it was the first and last game that they played. It was fun as hell with a big group of people, too.
SSX, Playstation 2
Considering how many units the Playstation 2 ended up selling, SSX might actually be the least-purchased game on this list. And that’s a real bummer, because it was incredibly good. In fact, it was so good that EA Sports paid no heed to its poor sales and made several SSX sequels.
F-Zero, Super Nintendo
F-Zero was not only the genesis of pretty much every futuristic racing game to come after it, but it was also an incredible showcase of the newly-released SNES’ Mode 7 capabilities, which simulated 3D like no console before it.
Project Gotham Racing, Xbox
I don’t like racing games that aren’t either F-Zero-style future racers that provide me with no sorts of missiles to help make up for my piss-poor driving abilities. Needless to say, I hate Project Gotham Racing, because it is incredibly complicated and thorough in all of its details. That said, those are the reasons it’s one hell of a racing game.
Panzer Dragoon, Saturn
The Sega Saturn was home to a number of classics that just didn’t sell as well as they deserved (will we ever get a Shining Force 3 re-release in North America?!) But Panzer Dragoon may be above all the Saturn’s forgotten gems — that game set a new standard for graphics and sound right out of the gate for the 32-bit era of consoles. The fast- paced, intense on-rails shooter also remains fun as hell.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Nintendo Switch
You may have noticed that there’s a lot of Nintendo games on here: sorry folks, but that’s their gift. They may not get a ton of third party support, but Nintendo creates these kinds of generational games that everybody goes crazy over. When was the last time a new console was sold strictly on the strength of a single game, the way the Switch has? The N64? It’s bonkers, how much buzz Breath of the Wild generated, and as every review has said, it is absolutely deserved. Nice work, Nintendo.
I can’t stop thinking about the hundreds of dollars that these games lead me to spend! What’s your favorite console launch title? Let us know on Twitter @Smosh!