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Top 10 Launch Lineups

 

There's just something magical about opening up a new system for the first time.  The joy I get from plugging in a brand new game console and experiencing something new is almost unmatched, but as we all know, a new console is nothing without the games to play on it.  Having a great selection of games to choose from at launch, in addition to the all-important pack-in game, can go a long way towards building a positive image for a new system.  Here are the top 10 launch lineups that did just that.


gameboy10. Nintendo Game Boy:

Alleyway, Baseball, Super Mario Land, Tetris

The Game Boy gets credit for making gaming portable, and lands on the launch list strictly through the strength of its pack-in title, Tetris.  It was the perfect game at the perfect time.  There is a reason it is so popular; it is easy to learn, fun to play and nearly impossible to master.  Look at where mobile gaming is now, and it's hard to imagine it being where it would be without Tetris first blazing the trail.  Can you imagine how people got by on public transportation before the Game Boy?  They must have had to read or something. *shudder*

 

 

playstation9. Sony Playstation:
Battle Arena Toshiden, ESPN Extreme Games, Kileak: The DNA Imperative, NBA Jam Tournament Edition, Raiden Project, Rayman, Ridge Racer, Street Fighter: The Movie

The original PlayStation came out with a strong showing of heavy hitters like Rayman, Ridge Racer and NBA Jam Tournament Edition, underrated gems like Battle Arena Toshinden and the regrettable Street Fighter: The Movie.  Heck, even Kileak was a passable shooter when you didn't know any better.  We still had a lot of lessons to learn in 1994, and let's face it, we were all still waiting for Final Fantasy VII anyway.

 

 

n648. Nintendo 64:
Pilot Wings, Super Mario 64

Another console launch that was basically a one-trick pony, the N64 proved (yet again) that as long as that pony is Mario, things will probably be okay.  The N64 marked the dawn of a new era: 3D gaming.  No longer would we be doomed to move only left and right, we could circle strafe now.  Of course, there were some worries about how effectively, and how quickly, developers would be able to adapt to this whole new dimension.  Since Nintendo is basically the smart kid at the front of the class that everybody hates, they aced this particular exam on their first try.  They delivered one of the single best launch titles of all time, and did it while working under all new parameters.  Well played, Nintendo.  Well played.

 

 

ps27. Playstation 2:
Armored Core 2, DOA 2: Hardcore, Dynasty Warriors 2, ESPN Track & Field, ESPN Winter X Games Snowboarding, Eternal Ring, Evergrace, Fantavision, GunGriffon Blaze, Kessen, Madden NFL 2001, Orphen: Scion of Sorcery, Q-Ball Billards Master, Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2, Ridge Racer V, Silent Scope, Smuggler's Run, SSX, Street Fighter EX 3, Summoner, Swing Away Golf, Tekken Tag Tournament, TimeSplitters, Unreal Tournament, Wild Wild Racing, X-Squad

The PS2 may not have hit a homerun with any of its offerings, but it offered up a whole bunch of singles and doubles.  Dynasty Warriors 2, Ridge Racer, Street Fighter EX 3 and Ready 2 Rumble Boxing brought a bit of name recognition to the table, and titles like Madden 2001, Tekken Tag Tournament, SSX and Armored Core 2 were decent offerings in their respective genres.  Sometimes Quantity can have a leg up on its oh-so-perfect bigger brother Quality...jerk.

 

x3606. Xbox 360: 
Amped 3, Call of Duty 2, Condemned: Criminal Orgins, FIFA 06, Gun, Kameo: Elements of Power, Madden NFL 2006, NBA 2K6, NBAL Live 06, Need For Speed, Most Wanted, NHL 2K6, Perfect Dark Zero, Pater Jackson's King Kong, Project Gotham Racing 3, Quake 4, Ridge Racer 6, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06, Tony Hawk's American Wasteland

The Xbox 360 rarely gets much credit for its lineup, but it had a fairly good selection of games that did a good job introducing us to next-gen.  Call of Duty 2 was probably the best of them, but titles like Gun, Condemned, Project Gotham Racing, Quake 4 and even Kameo offered solid experiences on your new console.  Unfortunatly, they couldn't get sports right out of the gate, but at least Tiger Woods 06 played well.  Oh, and no launch would be complete without Ridge Racer.  How do they keep doing that?

 

snes5. Super Nintendo: 
Super Mario World, F-Zero, Pilotwings

Remember that whole quantity over quality thing I foolishly said earlier.  I was just being nice to the PS2; everybody knows that one great title is better than a bunch of mediocre ones.  When that title is Super Mario World, well, that's a whole lot of quality to work with.  Who cares how good F-Zero or Pilotwings is, we were too busy trying to figure out if 96 really is all you can do.  It just doesn't seem right.  Of course the SNES would go on to have one of the best libraries ever, but they certainly started things off with a bang.

 

 

xbox4. Microsoft Xbox: 
4X4 Evo 2, AirForce Dela Storm, Arctic Thunder, Cel Damage, Dead or Alive 3, Fuzion Frenzy, Halo: Combat Evolved, Mad Dash Racing, NFL Fever 2002, Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee, Project Gotham Racing, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2

I'm sure launching a brand new console into the already crowded space wasn't a decision Microsoft made lightly, but it had to help knowing that Halo: Combat Evolved was going to be there to help you out.  Redefining console FPS, it was a dangerously fun time gathering three other players, or better yet seven other players, and going at it in deathmatches.  Not since Goldeneye had split-screen been so fun. Add in questionably fun games like Fuzion Frenzy, Oddworld, and the ever-popular THPS 2, and Xbox owners weren't exactly left in the cold on launch day.

 

gba3. Game Boy Advance : 
Amy Men Advance, Castlevania Circle of the Moon, ChuChu Rocket!, Earthworm Jim, F-Zero: Maxinum Velocity, FirePro Wrestling, Gt Advance Championship Racing, Iridion 3D, Konami Krazy Racers, Namco Phobee: Wings of Adventure, Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure, Rayman Advance, Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2, Super Dodge Ball Advance, Super Mario Advance, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2

You have to admire the sheer breadth of the GBA's launch lineup.  Ready 2 Rumble and THPS 2 again?!  Seriously?  Entries in the Mario and Castlevania franchises helped bring some cachet into the mix, and its hard to be angry whenever you also have Rayman, Earthworm Jim, Army Men and whatever the heck Super Dodge Ball Advance is. Every console should have a dodgeball game by law.

 

wii2. Nintendo Wii :
Avatar: The Last Airbender, Call of Duty 3, Cars, Dragon Ball Z: Budoki 2, ExciteTruck, The Grim Adventures of Bill & Mandy, GT Pro Series, Happy Feet, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Madden NFL 2007, Marval Ultimate Alliance, Monster 4x4 World Circut, Rampage: Total Destruction, Rayman Raving Rabbids, Red Steel, SpongeBob Squarepants: The Creature From The Krusty Krab, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Biltz, Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam, Trauma Center: Second Opinion, Wii Sports

Look, there's a reason the Wii sold like crack-laced hot cakes when it was released.  Wii Sports is one of the most successful launch titles of all time, and it was back by a great mix of software for both showing off the new motion controls and providing a more familiar experience.  Rayman: Raving Rabbids, Rampage, Super Monkey Ball, Trauma Center and Marvel Ultimate Alliance were quality-ish titles to play, but it was the incredible Twilight Princess that people really wanted to play...and not on a GameCube.

 

dreamcast1. Sega Dreamcast:
Aero Wings, Air Force Delta, Blue Stinger, Expendable, Flag to Flag, House of the Dead 2, Hydro Thunder, Manaco Grand Prix 2, Mortal Kombat Gold, NFL 2k, NFL Blitz 2000, Pen Pen Tricelon, Power Stone, Ready 2 Rumble Boxing, Sonic Adventure, Soul Calibur, Tokyo Extreme Racer, Trickstyle, TNN Motorsports Hardcore Heat

Sega's final foray into the console business probably didn't end how they would have liked, but what a beginning it had.  Sports fans had NFL BLitz, NFL 2K and (natch) Ready 2 Rumble to keep them busy.  Horror and shooter fans had the fantastic House of the Dead and Blue Stinger to keep them up at night, and fighting aficionados had the sublime Soul Calibur and Power Stone to settle any and all grudge matches.  Throw in what some have called the best Sonic Game ever, some credible racing games and Hydro Thunder because why not, and you have a launch for the ages.

These are our picks for the best launch lineups of all time.  Do any of you have fond memories of greedily tearing open boxes to find some of these titles?  Would you change the order around, or did we maybe leave something off that should be on here?  Drop a line!

{Leviathyn}

 

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