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 World FTW!!!! Seeing that pic just makes me want to go back and plug my snes just to play it again.
Very cool article Dan. I have to agree with you on just about everything. As hard as I've tried, nothing else I could think of could usurp the list you already have.
I like Twilight Princess for the GC (Gamecube) better personally.
Also oh really Wii Sports is for the Wii? hehe.
I was expecting Halo at top spot, which I would have supported, but Super Mario 64 is definitely an epic choice.
9.9.99 I got the Dreamcast at launch.. miss that system. Nice list btw.
Twilit princess is an awesome game!!!
You really cannot list titles that come bundled with the console as a viable option. It's not like you have a choice to not buy it.
Why the Halo 3 screen shot for Halo: CE? Still, good feature.
Where is RESISTANCE?! No "Top Ten Launch Titles" list should be complete w/out it.
yep knew thet all time best super mario for nes had to be up there but just like everyone elese were is halo!!!!
I remember going NUTS when I saw Super Mario 64 for the first time.
Super Mario 64 is my favorite game ever! It definitely deserves it's #1 spot.
I still have my 64 in working condition. Controllers won't work right anymore, but the games are still great even compared to current gen stuff.
i think you underestimate tetris a bit. i understand the list but really, how iconic is the gameboy and would it have got there without tetris sucking up hours,days, weeks of people's lives? everyone had it, basically one of the few games people ever seemed to link up with back then. and like you said, still popular today.
it is illegal to throw a king out of the ring. he's just mad he got his @S^ whooped. hahahaha who said he could make up the rules anyway.
i thought Resistance Fall of Man was an outstanding launch title for the ps3... better then soul caliber
hopefully kid Icarus: uprising will be on that list.
I was too young to be into gaming when Super Mario 64 was new, but it still looks like an awesome game. I really want to play it. I agree that it deserves the #1 spot.
Mario games are definitely #1! And I see that Twilight Princess is in the top 10. Nice!!!
Due credit should have been given to Resistance: FoM. Whereas the XBox's (likely) savior was Halo, the PS3's was definitely Resistance. Most badass launch title of the PS3 ever.