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There is no gaming experience quite like opening the box of
a new gaming console or handheld. Looking down on a shiny piece of new gaming
equipment is enough to make anyone forget that the actual games you play
on it is what really matters. It's because of this that choosing the first games
to play on a new system is unusually important. Picking up a good set of games
on day one can cement your confidence in it. Likewise, bad choices can sully your first
experience with an expensive piece of new hardware.
The following is a summary of the first games I played on
each of my gaming systems. The games I played on day one and how they shaped my
initial and future experiences with each device.
Smash bros Melee, Godzilla: Destroy All Monster's Melee, Super Mario Sunshine
Technically the first Game Cube game I played was a Sonic
Adventures 2 demo at the electronics of a local shopping center, but I'm not
going to count that. Instead I will focus on when my brother and received our
own Game Cube for Christmas 2002. It was when our mom finally figured out how
to connect Nintendo's purple lunchbox to the TV, that we finally began our serious gaming
We had three games to play that day, and the
first we tried out was Super Smash Bros Melee. While it hadn't been on our list
to Santa, we would both end up logging countless hours into it. over the next several months. Melee ended
up being more than just a fun game to play.,however. It also did us a huge favor by
introducing us to all of Nintendo's best characters. Characters we had been almost
completely ignorant of beforehand. This in time led us to games such as Metroid
Prime, Star Fox Adventures, and the Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. All of
which we played, in no small part, because we recognized their protagonists
Godzilla Destroy all Monsters Melee! was purchased with my
Godzilla loving brother in mind, though it soon had both of us addicted to its
rampaging giant monster mayhem. We liked the game so much at the time; it became
our main motivation for begging our parents for a second controller so we could
play its multiplayer.
The last game we played that night was the one that first
fired up my interest in the Game Cube. Playing Super Mario Sunshine at a Target
kiosk was a mind-altering experience for someone whose only real experience
with gaming at the time was playing "Oregon Trail" on school computers. While
some have criticized Sunshine for its divergence from typical Mario
conventions, I loved it for what it was, without any knowledge of how different
it was from traditional Mario platformers.
Super Mario Sunshine was like gamer Kindergarten for me.
While it's an easy game for me today, back when I was a gaming new comer each level was a Herculean
challenge. Playing it taught me all the ins
and outs of gaming, from collecting items, to finding a boss's weakness, to
discerning the best path through a level. Beating it felt like an immense accomplishment
for my 5th grade self, and to this day, cleaning up tropical Isle
Delfino remains my most nostalgic gaming memories.
Nintendo Game Boy Advance SP
Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku, Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku 2
I was a huge Dragon Ball Z fan growing up and I remain one
to this day. My interests in it and video games were bound to collide, and this
came in the form of a game called The Legacy of Goku. Both it and the Game Boy
Advance to play it with were at the top of my birthday list in 2003. Since my
parents generally respected my gift wishes, I got exactly what I wanted (thankfully
I received the SP version of the GBA instead of its original clunky model).
Naturally, I also got the game I'd wanted a GBA for in the first place. As a surprise
gift, my parents also purchased The Legacy of Goku 2, which I hadn't even known existed.
Ironically, I ended up liking this second game much more
than the one I'd originally wanted. The first Legacy of Goku has some
questionable design choices, including useless melee attacks and superfluous
grinding. Its sequel on the other hand is a competent top-down beat 'em up
with a quick pace and lively graphics. A simple but fun game, even if you don't
know your King Kai from your Tien Shinhan.
Because I already knew Dragon Ball's story by heart, I saw
no harm in playing the two Legacy games back to back. They were good games to
introduce me to handheld gaming, though it didn't take long for them to be
overshadowed by the likes of Metroid: Zero Mission and Mario and Luigi: Super
Nintendo DS Lite
New Super Mario Bros, Metroid Prime Hunters
Nintendo's dual-screen handheld didn't have many compelling
games when it launched in 2004. Thankfully, when I finally got around to
getting one, it had both a sleek new redesign and a robust library of games.
When it came down to picking which of these great games I'd play first, I
choose the familiar faces of an Italian plumber, and an intergalactic bounty
New Super Mario Bros is traditional 2D Mario gameplay at its
best. Even now, over 6 years since its debut, it holds a firm grip on
popularity. There's even a "New" Super Mario Bros game on the most recent cover of Game
Informer. While series like Call of Duty get pasted for each installment being
more of the same, very few people complain about Mario keeping to its winning formula. Its
timeless gameplay certainly hooked me when I first played it on my DS Lite.
I went into Metroid Prime Hunters with an intense love for its
parent series. Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes had owned my Game
Cube's disk drive for some time and I fully expected Hunters to become my
favorite handheld title ever. Part of this hype was based off my amazement that a
full 3D game on a handheld was finally possible. However, the novelty of this
technical feat soon wore off. Hunters ended up lacking the engrossing
atmosphere, and perfect level design seen in the rest of the Prime series. Looking
back, I wish Nintendo had released a traditional 2D Metroid on the DS, rather than this
half-hearted 3D offering.
Wii Sports, Super Smash Bros Brawl
I didn't plan my purchase of the Nintendo Wii ahead of time.
I just happened to be at a store one day when it was on sale. At the time, I
only had enough money to afford one game to buy along with it. Super Smash Bros
Brawl was an easy pick, largely due to my fond memories of Melee. Along with
Brawl, I also knew I could look forward to playing the Wii's pack-in title Wii
Everyone who bought a Wii ended up playing Wii Sports, so
naturally it attained some level of popularity at the time. For the most part,
it was a decent introduction to the console's motion controls, but nothing
about it was especially memorable. I never would have given it 10 seconds if it
hadn't been included with the Wii. I also made sure to stay far away from its
spiritual successor, Wii Play.
In many ways Brawl seems bigger and better than Melee. It
has a massive single player quest, more characters, more stages, and more
collectibles. There were also plenty of nostalgic setpieces from the Game Cube
era I'd grown up. Things such as the Delfino Plaza stage from Super Mario
Sunshine and Toon Link from The Wind Waker. Despite all this, I was never able
to get into Brawl as much as Melee. There was simply no way it could impact me
as much as its predecessor, though I still enjoyed ever second I spent playing
The first time I played the Wii was nothing compared to what
my Game Cube inauguration had felt like. Part of the reason for this is that
neither Brawl nor Wii Sports engaged me in what separate the Wii from the Cube,
its motion controls. This initial lack of excitement soon came to define my relationship
with the Wii. Though I own plenty of great Wii games (such Metroid Prime 3:
Corruption, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and the less known Fragile
Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon), their numbers pale in comparison to my massive
stack of Game Cube games.
Microsoft Xbox 360
Assassins Creed, Call of Duty 3
The Xbox 360 was my first non-Nintendo system, and my first
introduction to the HD gaming. I wanted my first game on it to be memorable
because of these two distinctions.
Thankfully, I pretty much already knew what game that would
be. I'd had my eyes on Assassins Creed ever since it debuted on the cover of Game
Informer's June 2006 issue. Everything about it, from its historic setting to
its hidden blade wielding protagonist had me sold in a heartbeat.
I was clearly not the only one impressed with the first
Assassins Creed, which went on to sell millions of copies worldwide. Ubisoft
used its success of to launch one of the most successful video game franchises
of this generation. Assassins Creed's many sequels and spin-offs have since
improved upon the original game's formula in almost every conceivable way. Still,
stalking Templars through the streets of Damascus, Jerusalem, and Acre will
always remain nostalgic moments in the series for me.
Call of Duty 3 was more of an afterthought purchase compared
to Assassins Creed. It was in the bargain bin and I didn't want to have only
one game to play on my new system. Plus, I was pretty familiar with the series,
having played Call of Duty: Finest Hour, and Call of Duty: Big Red One on Game
Cube. So I felt I had a pretty good idea of what I could expect from it. Unfortunately,
despite its shiny graphics and high production levels, CoD3 didn't
leave a lasting impression on me. It's actually the last Call of Duty game I
ever owned. Judging by how stagnant the series has become recently, I probably
got off at the right stop.
I've gotten a lot of quality gaming out of my Xbox 360, but
at the same time I don't really feel overly attached to the system itself. The
main reason for this is that I'm simply not interested in any of its exclusives
games. Nintendo's first party games are always what made me fall in love with
their consoles. In this regard, I can't help feel that I made a mistake picking
the Xbox 360 over the PS3, which has several exclusives games that I'd love to
play: (Ni No Kuni, The Last Guardian, Tales of Grace F, Jak and Daxter
Collection, Sly Cooper, and more).
Ocarina of Time 3D
As a long time Nintendo fan nothing was going to stop me
from eventually owning a 3DS. With that said my original plan had been to wait for
its inevitable redesign before investing in one. Those plans were cast aside
when a 3DS turned up for me underneath the family Christmas tree. There still
weren't many stellar titles in the system's library at the time, so when
picking my first 3DS game I went with a familiar classic.
I'd originally played Ocarina of Time on my Game Cube, via
the Legend of Zelda Collector's Edition, and it was already one of my favorite
games. Replaying it with updated graphics seemed like as good a reason as any
to pick it over the likes of PilotWings: Resort, and yet another version of
Street Fighter 4. Of course, I was more than happy when one hundred percent new 3DS games that I wanted (Kid
Icarus: Uprising and Resident Evil Revelations) finally came out.
So what were your first games on each of your
consoles/handhelds? Post them in the comments below!
Email the author Parker Lemke, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.