Posted by: seanmalstrom | February 5, 2017

Which Console Had The Best Launch Line-up of All Time?

Mirror, mirror, on the wall,

Tell us, which console had the best launch line-up of them all?

And the mirror responds:

“Master Malstrom, you already know the answer.”

The question is does the READER know the answer?

But how do we qualify what is a ‘good’ launch line-up? Should we determine it by its sales impact? By the quality of the games if we rate them today? Probably so by both those measurements combined.

Lately, the Internet has gone on retard rodeo answering that question with answers like ‘The Gamecube!’ The Gamecube had the worst launch line up of any Nintendo console sans the DS and 3DS. The Gamecube didn’t even have a Mario game at launch. People picked up a Gamecube, got Rogue Squadron 2, and some were fortunate to discover the masterpiece that is Monkeyball. There is a reason why the Gamecube sold the way it did.

When you look at consoles like the PlayStation, would you want to play that AAA shovelware today? Yikes!

One rule we have here is that we must defeat tunnel vision. For many people, console gaming began the day they were old enough to hold a controller. We must look at ALL GENERATIONS, not just the few you were there for.

Generation One console: PONG. It plays… PONG. Fuck yeah! PONG! But that is all it plays. OK, we can leave Generation One out since there is no other line-up to that than launch line up.

Atari 2600 (launched 1977)

Air-Sea Battle
Basic Math
Blackjack
Combat
Indy 500
Star Ship
Street Racer
Surround
Video Olympics

Fuck yeah! Basic Math! Still more interesting than AAA shovelware gaming.

Actually, Combat is really fun. The rest, not so much. But remember, this was 1977. This was before Space Invaders, before Pac-Man, before Donkey Kong. Give the console some credit.

Take a look at the Atari 7800:

Asteroids
Centipede
Desert Falcon
Dig Dug
Food Fight
Galaga
Joust
Ms. Pac-Man
Pole Position II
Robotron: 2084
Xevious

Now THIS is what I call a AAA line-up! Wow! The games here are SO GOOD. They are nearly all classics. All of them are high quality to play today. But the problem here is that while these are great games, these are great games of the present or past, not of the future.

I think Gameboy had a really solid launch line-up:

Alleyway
Baseball
Super Mario Land
Tennis
Tetris

Above: Still more fun than AAA gaming.

Tetris on Gameboy is like the best game ever made. Even best multiplayer too! Super Mario Land is awesome. Alleyway was cool. Even Baseball and Tennis were fun.

I think the Gameboy launch line-up shits all over the AAA shovelware games we see today that corrupt gaming libraries.

I have a soft spot for the SNES launch line-up:

F-Zero
Gradius III
Pilotwings
SimCity
Super Mario World

These are all really cool games even today. They all offer a wide variety of gameplay. Super Mario World is classic tier, hands down. F-Zero is ball bustingly hard and shows off mode 7. Gradius III is actually really cool, very replayable, and I did purchase Gradius 3 when it came out. Difficulty was toned down from the absurdly hard arcae version. The two weaker games are Pilotwings and SimCity. Pilotwings is just Mode 7 candy for the most part. Very cool game for its time. Today, it isn’t as hot. SimCity doesn’t make much sense if you had a PC.

Can you imagine going back in time and re-living the console such as SNES? Man, if we knew then what we knew today. I think everyone would be buying multiple copies of Earthbound to sell decades later for $200 a pop.

NES had an interesting US launch line-up. It curiously never gets mentioned:

10-Yard Fight
Baseball
Clu Clu Land
Donkey Kong Jr. Math
Duck Hunt
Excitebike
Golf
Gyromite
Hogan’s Alley
Ice Climber
Kung-Fu
Mach Rider
Pinball
Stack-Up
Super Mario Bros.
Tennis
Wild Gunman
Wrecking Crew

If we take out games like donkey kong jr. math (come on!) and the light gun games (three of them!) and the ROB games, we get a better picture:

10-Yard Fight
Baseball
Clu Clu Land
Excitebike
Golf
Ice Climber
Kung-Fu
Mach Rider
Pinball
Super Mario Bros.
Tennis
Wrecking Crew

Too many avid gamers do not like sports games. But these sports games were so much better than the Atari versions. There were a generation ahead! But let us take out the sports games:

Clu Clu Land
Excitebike
Ice Climber
Kung-Fu
Mach Rider
Pinball
Super Mario Bros.
Wrecking Crew

Even here we have a solid list. Super Mario Brothers is God Tier level game that no one can deny. The rest of these games are actually really fun (ok, not Clu Clu Land. Even Ice Brothers gets dry). I really like Wrecking Crew. Excitebike is awesome. Pinball is simple but really fun! Kung-Fu and Mach-Rider are cool.

Why people don’t talk more about the NES launch line-up, I will never understand. Guys, it launched with Super Mario Brothers!!!! That is the biggest first party launch game ever made.

I’d say the console that had the WORST launch line-up of the serious consoles (not Phillips CDi) was the Turbografx 16. Yeah, it had Alien Crush and Dungeon Explorer. It had Legendary Axe which is extremely overrated. It had R-type. But Turbografx 16’s best launch games being a pinball game and port of an arcade shmup never showed off the hardware. The rest of the launch games sucked ass. Keith Courage in Alpha Zones? NO! It is no wonder Turbografx 16 got completely destroyed by the Sega Genesis which launched at the same time.

The game console that has the BEST LAUNCH LINE-UP OF ALL TIME is…

The Wii.

Avatar: The Last Airbender
Call of Duty 3
Cars
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2
Excite Truck
The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy
GT Pro Series
Happy Feet
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Madden NFL 07
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
Monster 4×4: World Circuit
Need for Speed: Carbon
Rampage: Total Destruction
Rayman Raving Rabbids
Red Steel
SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature from the Krusty Krab
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz
Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam
Trauma Center: Second Opinion
Wii Sports (bundled with the Wii console)

Now there is garbage in this list. Yet, there is a Call of Duty here (which DID sell well). Wii Sports is God Tier on the level of the original Super Mario Brothers. It just was! Zelda: Twilight Princess was there. Excite Truck was there. Trauma Center, if you liked it, was there.

“That is not a bad launch line-up, Master Malstrom,” says the reader. “But how can you say it is the best.”

Because that is not the ENTIRE launch line-up of the Wii. Oh no. We must include the Virtual Console.

Altered Beast
Donkey Kong
F-Zero
Mario Bros.
Pinball
SimCity
Soccer
Solomon’s Key
Sonic the Hedgehog
Super Mario 64
The Legend of Zelda
Wario’s Woods

The original Mario Brothers? F-Zero? Sonic? The first Zelda? Mario 64? This is GREAT STUFF.

The Wii’s Virtual Console launch-line up is better than the majority of most console’s launch line-ups.

When I look back at the Wii, I really remember Wii Sports when other people were around and Twilight Princess at night when everyone had left. And most of all, I remember the Virtual Console. To me, the Virtual Console was the killer app of the Wii.

We know the Wii’s launch line-up was successful for the Wii was sold out in the US for three years.

I suspect the Virtual Console had a huge role in that. To those who disagree, look at how the NES Mini is STILL sold out today.

The Wii wasn’t just about Wii Sports, Wii Fit, and Nintendo first party juggernauts like 2d Mario and Mario Kart. The Wii had the killer apps of almost every past console on it. This is extremely compelling software.

Remember Malstrom’s Stool. The best console library has three legs like a stool. One leg is for new games (Wii Sports), second leg is for sequels (Twilight Princess) and the third leg is for classic games ported to the system (Virtual Console). All three together create a juggernaut console.

With the NES, everyone forgets that so many of the NES games were classic games of prior generations. Donkey Kong was not new in 1986. It was a port of an old arcade game. All the computer ports to the NES like Manic Mansion or Shadowgate were of older games on the PC. Pac-Man and Galaga ports were essential to the NES success and, to this day, Nintendo makes sure they are with the NES Classic Mini or on the Wii Virtual Console.

The question is, will Nintendo realize they need those old games on the Switch? What is Nintendo’s plan for the Virtual Console on the Switch?

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