The lights are on
Everyone gets excited about a new console launch, even if most of the immediately-available titles don’t particularly strike their fancy. While each new console comes with a bunch of ho-hum titles and games that look like previous-gen tech with a new coat of paint, there have been some launch titles that knocked it out of the park. Some even managed to carry the console on their backs for the first few months. Here are our picks for the ten best launch titles of all time.
10. SSX (PS2)We all know that the PlayStation 2 ended up being one of the most successful consoles of all time, but its first heavy hitters (Metal Gear Solid 2, Gran Turismo 3, Twisted Metal Black) weren’t available until 2001. Back in October of 2000, its launch lineup was filled with forgettable games like Kessen, Evergrace, and Fantavision. Tekken Tag and Timesplitters were both worth picking up, but the real star on day one was snowboarding newcomer SSX. Its exciting tricks, superb visuals, and rock-solid gameplay did an awesome job of tiding us over until PS2’s lineup fleshed itself out the next year.
9. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii)In 2010, many gamers look down on the Wii for its mountain of shovelware and motion-based gimmickry. However, every gamer has a soft spot for Zelda, and Twilight Princess was exactly what the more hardcore crowd needed at the Wii’s launch. It may not have sold us on the Wii’s hardware (replacing a button with a swipe didn’t really draw us into the experience any more), but it was an extremely solid Zelda title. Its level of quality made us forget about the system’s faults for a while.
8. Call of Duty 2 (Xbox 360)Xbox established itself as a shooter-friendly brand ever since it launched with Halo. Considering Halo 3 wasn’t ready for launch, Microsoft needed another big name to satisfy all of the FPS fans. Thankfully, Infinity Ward stepped up in a big way with Call of Duty 2. It may have had a glitchy beginning in regards to online play, but things smoothed out and it became one of the most-played games on the system. Not only did it kick off the 360’s long history with FPS titles, but it also started a string of console Call of Duty titles that dominated sales charts throughout the entire generation.
7. Tetris (Game Boy)Game Boy blew the doors off portable gaming and became one of the most-purchased systems of all time. It did so thanks to its understanding of what “portable gaming” should be - games that were complex enough to warrant many return visits, but still conducive to “pick up and play” gameplay. Tetris nailed the concept right away, and was the perfect cart to keep tucked into your portable’s game slot on a near-permanent basis. You could play it for an extended multiple-hour session, or a quick game on a bus ride. It’s still played regularly over 20 years later, a testament to its superior quality.
6. Super Mario Bros. (NES)It may not have aged as gracefully as the rest of the core Mario games, but this first foray into the Mushroom Kingdom is iconic for a reason. We still see fire flowers, invincibility stars, Koopa Troopas, 1ups, and Bowser today, and they all made their debut in this NES classic. It’s one of those rare games that seemingly everyone has memories of, from the nerdiest guy at high school to the captain of the cheerleading squad. Your gamer status doesn’t even matter with this one...you almost certainly played (and loved) this one as a kid.
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Super Mario 64 is my favorite game of all time, it truly deserves the top spot.
Great list. I remember how jaw droppingly awesome Super Mario 64 was the first time I saw it, and how much I begged and begged my parents to buy the system for me just based on that game. The system gets a bad rap but it still holds a place in my heart.
Add Dreamcast to that, too. I was blown away and adopted early...too bad the follow up titles were lackluster for the most part.
Good feature, and I agree with the list. Can't really think of anything I'd change.
Man, soul caliber looks sweet for ten year old game. I see why gamespot gave a 10 [back when that meant something].
I'd replace SSX(ps2) with Sonic(Genesis).
Other that that, great list.
I still pull out Super Mario 64 about once a year, and get all 120 stars. Can't help myself. Great list overall too.
Fusion Frenzy should be on there for one of the worst launch games of all time.
I was just playing 64. Super Mario 64 was the 2nd game I played and it was great (but I couldn't get to the 2nd bowser fight cause I was a little kid)
I recieved an Xbox and Halo CE for Christmas that year, and didn't bother playing another game for the duration of my vacation. That was one hell of a Christmas vacation.
And the Super Mario franchise is timeless. Mario 1 and 3 were all the religion we needed on sunday mornings.
I wasn't expecting Soul Caliber, but seeing it on here is great. I would have to agree on it being possibly one of the best fighters of all time. I played that *** game over and over. Its weird to say that because its a fighting game game. Looking at that screenshot of it shows how well it stands up against other games as far as graphics, its quite superb for its time.
Super Mario 64 best N64 game ever
halo and mario games FTW!!! dont see modern warfare titles on this list good job GI!!
Super mario world was awesome!!! Got me into gaming in the first place....
I still have fond memories of running around in a 3D castle, jumping in paintings and chasing bunnies (anybody that played Mario 64 knows what I'm talking about).
I wish I could still play n64 mario. Best game ever.
Sweet, ah the memories,(Saying to oneself;"I'm not going to cry. I'm not going to cry.) :)
Oh god. NFL Fever. I never ever played football games. But I tried NFL fever once at a kiosk. On three separate plays, all within one quarter, 3 different Linemen intercepted the ball at the line of scrimmage.
Don't think I've played a football game since....