Let’s Talk About Our Favorite Launch Games

Yakuza: Like a Dragon Subtitles launch games

We’re in a pretty weird situation with the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. This is a new generation where, well, we don’t have many exclusive launch games. The launch lists, in general, are a little sparse. Though, 2020 is a year with extenuating circumstances. So as we prepare for a whole new generation’s launch games, let’s look back and talk about our favorite “first” games that showed up when other systems debuted.

chuchu rocket gba launch games

I’ve been around for a lot of system launches, but it took some time before I had one on launch day. Or, in the case of the Game Boy Advance, ahead of it. I ended up getting an imported unit before it showed up in the US and one of my first games was ChuChu Rocket!. It is an excellent port when it comes down to it. The levels work well on the smaller screen and, at the time, it was a perfect game to play while I waited for the official English launch three months later. — Jenni

ghost recon shadow wars launch games

I have a soft spot for underdogs, and nothing’s an underdog quite like the beleaguered Nintendo 3DS launch lineup. The system’s launch was rocky, for both price and first-party game quality reasons! But that doesn’t mean it was without a gem. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars is an excellent tactical game, made by the designer behind the original X-COM and smartly scaled for a handheld experience. It even looks nice in 3D, like a miniatures game with weather effects. It’s cheap. It’s out there. Go play it. — Graham

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild launch game

In my opinion… let me grab my armor and shield, launch games don’t usually hold up. Looking back at launch lists for consoles, more often than not I utter, “Good riddance.” There are some definite stand-outs that continue to receive universal praise (Super Mario World), but they’re the exception. In addition, I rarely buy consoles at launch. It’s not worth it to me. On a positive note, though, I did purchase a Nintendo Switch at midnight on launch day with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I stayed up all night with my new toy, pretended I wasn’t in my thirties… and I had a magical experience! I drank in the mysteries of that world, which wouldn’t have been possible just weeks later after fans would pick apart the game’s systems and we would find out the story was… a little light. It was such a video game experience that made me appreciate the craft of game making—something I haven’t felt since another launch game: Super Mario 64.“Up” was “forward”, we had to comprehend 3D space, and we were using joysticks again. Madness! I know I’ll eventually own one or both of the next-gen consoles, but right now, none of the launch games even pique my interest. — Oni Dino

Ridge Racer 7

I wish I could say Dynasty Warriors here, but I was a year late in purchasing my PlayStation 2. Dynasty Warriors 3 already replaced 2 in the lineup by then. So, I’m backing Ridge Racer 7, which accompanied my PlayStation 3 purchase. I always remember how much fun it was to turn the nitro boost on while listening to “Awakening.” That being said, I totally miss the series, and the only thing I can do nowadays is admire all the Ridge Racer-themed liveries in Gran Turismo Sport while low-key hoping for a new game that plays and sounds like my all-time favorite: Ridge Racer Type 4. — Kite

ssx ps2 launch game

This speech is my recital. I think it’s very vital… to tell you all about how much I loved the original SSX for the PlayStation 2. That game sat on my shelf for a week before I stood outside a Zellers in the Canadian cold hoping to nab a launch system. Elise was my girl. We rode those hills performing all the best tricks and climbed our way to the top of the leaderboards. Its controls were perfect for pulling off sick combo after sick combo. It’s a real shame EA Canada was never able to replicate that magic on the newer systems. There will never be another quite like it. — Annette

Luigi’s Mansion for the Nintendo GameCube immediately surprised me. For starters, it was the first console game to star Mario’s brother, assuming you don’t count Mario is Missing (and I don’t.) More importantly, it was just creepy enough to appeal to me, a 12-year-old who was easily disturbed by the horror genre. I still hold a deep appreciation for the game’s simple yet engaging vacuum-based mechanics but the real star of the show is the personality that oozes from every single enemy and every single room in the game. Luigi’s Mansion manages to strike the perfect balance between spooky and humorous, and actually managed to pack in a few fun narrative surprises along the way. – Benjamin

Launch Games (Tekken Tag Tournament)

My favorite launch game of all time would have to be Tekken Tag Tournament for the PlayStation 2. I obsessively played Tekken 3 during the previous generation and Tekken Tag Tournament felt like an upgrade in every way possible.  I played Street Fighter EX3 from the Japanese PS2 launch, which also had a similar tag system, but in the end, Tekken Tag Tournament was by far the superior 3D fighting game at the time. The game also had a freaking “Tekken Bowl” minigame. On a side note, I remember attending international school when the game came out and making friends with a bunch of Korean kids who were really good at Tekken. We didn’t understand each other, but we spoke the common tongue of Tekken, and Tekken Tag Tournament, in particular, was always a blast to play with everyone. – Sato

Super Mario World

I may not be Nintendo’s biggest fan these days, but there’s no denying that Super Mario World on the SNES is one of the greatest launch games of all time. Well, it was a launch game for me, at least, since my first SNES – a Christmas gift from a relative – had it in the packaging at the time. Having missed out on the NES until that point in 1991 Super Mario World was not only my first Mario game in many ways the first title I played in which I recognized video games as a distinct activity, rather than just something that my older sibling got me to do when she wanted someone to trash in Bomberman or Battle City. – Josh

Siliconera Staff
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