When a new console releases, there is a certain buzz to it like no other-the only feeling that could relate to it I guess is the feeling of getting a new toy, car or something you hold close to you. The PS4 has launched this week in America and with the promise of great games. How have games for consoles in the past fared at launch? Which games have stood out? Lets take a look at console launches from the most recent to the ill-fated Sega Dreamcast…
Wii U 2012: No real essential games as such. The game that had the most promise was Rayman: Legends which was delayed, removed to be exclusive. The console suffered badly at launch relying on ports of current games to enhance the appeal of the console. This failed to materialise in sales and many retailers have stopped stocking the console. However, with the release of Zelda: Wind Walker HD recently, things could turn.
PS Vita 2012: The problem with the Vita for many is not its games nor what it can do. It is the price and the fact that most phones are equally capable of gaming. Yet, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, WipEout 2048 and Super Stardust Delta were excellent exclusives. After a difficult 2012, 2013 has seen the Vita improve and reach the standards set by its excellent launch line-up.
3DS 2011: Another console that had a bad launch. It had the wrong price and wrong games at first. The handheld relied on many ports or lazy launch games such as Ridge Racer 3D. Arguably, Street Fighter 4 was the best game available but it was still a rough launch compared to the PS Vita a year later. A heavy price cut followed and now has gone on to be much more successful despite making losses on each console.
PS3 2006/2007: The PS3 had a good lineup that was probably the only highlight of their first year on the market. Resistance and Motorstorm were the standout titles. Both are still excellent games yet in the months that followed were disappointing releases. Uncharted: Drakes’ Fortune released in late 2007 and the console has gone on ever since.
Wii 2006: The Wii introduced motion-tech to the world and with it the bonanza that is Wii Sports, an excellent game representative of the Wii as a whole. Fun, family-friendly, dust collector and everyone has one summed up the Wii. The console sold over 100 million units in 7 years-far more than its direct competitors the PS3 and 360.
Xbox 360 2005: A decent launch that had many multiplatform games without any real exclusives. The thing about this launch was it was the only next-gen console on the market so its games could be considered as the best versions. Nonetheless, Project Gotham Racing 3 was the best title at launch. The 360 changed much of how console gaming works and has brought the best out of shooting games in particular.
PSP 2004/2005: The PSP was a very good handheld console that was hacked to the depths of hell. That partially explains why sales of the console were strong but games not so much. There was Ridge Racer, Twisted Metal: Head On, Pursuit Force and WipEout: Pure all excellent games. Despite its excellent potential and great games, the console was largely second best to the DS. Yet, the PSP was a success before being succeeded by the Vita some 7 years later.
DS 2004/2005: Not the strongest of launches but the new dual screen and touch screen innovations was certainly appealing. Super Mario 64 DS was a superb game for its launch. The DS enjoyed much success for the next 6 years selling nearly 145 million units. Its first-party titles were excellent but multiplatform games-not so much.
Xbox 2001: The original Xbox was a nicely conceived console that had potential and did a lot right. Yet, in the face of the PS2 failed miserably. However, Halo: Combat Evolved will always stand as one of the best launch games ever and kick-started the big franchise it is today. The console lasted a meagre 4 years on the market before being succeeded by the 360.
Gameboy Advance: The GBA was a good handheld console that as you would expect brought the best out of games directly made for the platform. Super Mario: Advance was a great game to kick-start the console into life but its best game was Castlevania: Circle Of The Moon-a brilliant game and one of the best Castlevania games to date. The GBA lasted only 3 years before it was replaced yet sold 82 million in 7 years on the market.
Gamecube 2001: The Gamecube had a decent launch with Luigi’s Mansion being the best game available. Despite some excellent games in its coming years, the console fared just as well as the Xbox. The PS2 was utterly dominant in the early 00’s and the Gamecube was replaced 5 years later.
Playstation 2 2000: Arguably the best console ever made, the PS2 sold over 150 million units to the world and had its last game sold this year-a run of 12 years on the market. Its launch was strong too and boasting some real gems. Tekken: Tag Tournament , SSX and the brilliant Timesplitters were the best games at launch.
Sega Dreamcast 1999: The Dreamcast for its time was a phenomenal console and probably the best console ever made. Its innovations paved the way for things such as the PSN, Xbox Live and the Wii U gamepad. Such was the success of the PS2 that the Dreamcast was quickly crushed. Its launch was decent with Sonic Adventure being the standout title at launch.The console was abandoned 2 years later as Sega went through financial trouble.
The console was worth owning for one game in particular and that was the fantastic Shenmue, widely regarded as one of the best games ever made. It was also the most expensive video-game ever made for a while costing nearly $50 million. Despite the innovations, the Dreamcast crucially had no DVD compatibility. Also, when the PS2 was announced most switched their attention to that. Sega pulled the plug 2 years later in America and 3 years in Europe.
I hope you have enjoyed the list and I hope you have had a sense of nostalgia in remembering these consoles being launched. What do you think of the launch games of these consoles? What were your favourites? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook and Twitter @jugaccino.