Dec 022012

The Wii U is out and I have to say it has exceeded all my expectations, which should have been nearly impossible with the amount of excitement I experienced while waiting to wrap my arms around it on November 18th. While this isn’t actually a review of the system, it is a bit of interesting information that I discovered this week. The Wii U appears to have a better lineup of launch games than any console. This is clearly my opinion, but one based on research and nostalgia. I won’t start too far back, I figured Fifth Generation and on would suffice for this demonstration.

Starting with the misunderstood Sega Saturn, our lineup on May 11th 1995:
• Virtua Fighter
• Panzer Dragoon
• Clockwork Knight
• Daytona USA

Out of these four games the only game I would have gotten immediately would have been the imaginative Panzer Dragoon, a fantastic on-rails shooter that really needs a reboot.

September 9th 1995 gave way for the Sony Playstation which launched with:
• Air Combat
• Battle Arena Toshinden
• ESPN Extreme Games
• Kileak – The DNA Imperative
• NBA Jam Tournament Edition
• Power Serve 3D Tennis
• Rayman
• Ridge Racer
• Street Fighter: The Movie
• The Raiden Project
• Total Eclipse Turbo

As you can see, there were many more options, but was there anything that really enticed me back then? I really don’t think I was excited about the Playstation with these titles. Battle Arena Toshinden looked neat, but it definitely didn’t sell me on the system.

Finally on September 29th 1996 Nintendo came back swinging with the N64. With the only launch titles being Pilotwings 64 and Mario 64, the choice was easy. Mario 64 was certainly a system seller. I remember being so delighted to see Mario PUNCH THINGS! Percentage wise Nintendo can literally say that half their N64 launch titles were must buys. Still, the fact remains is they only released with two of them.

The Sixth Generation is certainly an interesting one that starts off with a bang. On September 9th 1999 the Sega Dreamcast launches. The system launched:
• Sonic Adventure
• Aerowings
• AirForce Delta
• Blue Stinger
• Expendable
• Flag to Flag
• The House of the Dead 2
• Hydro Thunder
• Monaco Grand Prix
• Mortal Kombat Gold
• NFL 2K
• NFL Blitz 2000
• Pen Pen TriIcelon
• Power Stone
• Ready 2 Rumble Boxing
• Soulcalibur
• TNN Motorsports Hardcore Heat
• Tokyo Xtreme Racer
• TrickStyle

That’s a lot to choose from, but I wasn’t excited about many of them. Of course, I HAD to have Sonic Adventure, that was a given. Power Stone looked pretty awesome, so I had to have that. SoulCalibur could also be seen as a must buy. So there were at least three decent launch title choices.

On October 26th 2000, Sony repeated greatness with the Playstation 2. No doubt, this was one amazing console, but how did it fair on launch?
• Armored Core 2
• DOA2: Hardcore
• Dynasty Warriors 2
• ESPN International Track & Field
• ESPN Winter X Games Snowboarding
• Eternal Ring
• Evergrace
• FantaVision
• Gungriffon Blaze
• Kessen
• Madden NFL 2001
• Midnight Club: Street Racing
• NHL 2001
• Orphen: Scion of Sorcery
• Q-Ball: Billiards Master
• Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2
• Ridge Racer V
• Silent Scope
• Smuggler’s Run
• Street Fighter EX3
• Summoner
• Surfing H3O
• Swing Away Golf
• Tekken Tag Tournament
• TimeSplitters
• Unreal Tournament
• Wild Wild Racing
• X-Squad
Wow! I look at that list and I think about each game and what I was into back then. Honestly I can’t come up with many choices that would have enticed me. Dynasty Warriors 2 could have been on my list for sure. Incredible, I am drawing a blank as I stare at them. At the time I wanted Kessen, but I remember hours into the game I turned it off forever. Thinking back, that’s kind of depressing. Interesting.

Nintendo wasn’t going to go quietly and on September 14th 2001 the GameCube was released with this lineup:
• All-Star Baseball 2002
• Batman: Vengeance
• Crazy Taxi
• Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2
• Disney’s Tarzan Untamed
• Luigi’s Mansion
• Madden NFL 2002
• NHL Hitz 20-02
• SSX Tricky
• Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader
• Super Monkey Ball
• Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3
• Wave Race: Blue Storm
A modest list of choices, but a couple of gems can be found. Luigi’s Mansion is definitely one because hey, who doesn’t want to fight ghosts as Luigi? Then the biggest no brainer was purchasing Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader. That game was so freaking amazing. It was the number one reason I bought a Gamecube.

A challenger approaches on November 15th 2001, as Microsoft launches the Xbox with these games:
• Halo: Combat Evolved
• Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee
• Dead or Alive 3
• Project Gotham Racing
• NFL Fever 2002
• AirForce Delta Storm
• Mad Dash Racing
• Cel Damage
• Arctic Thunder
• Fuzion Frenzy
• Jet Set Radio Future (Japan launch)
• Double S.T.E.A.L. (Japan launch)
• Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2#Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2XTony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2X
• 4×4 EVO 2
• Shrek
Top of the list is really all that matters. Halo was a system seller for sure.

The Seventh Generation starts off on November 22nd 2005 with the release of one the most popular consoles, the Xbox 360. It launched with the following titles:
• Amped 3
• Call of Duty 2
• Condemned: Criminal Origins
• FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World Cup
• Kameo: Elements of Power
• Madden NFL 06
• NBA 2K6
• NBA Live 06
• Need for Speed: Most Wanted
• NHL 2K6
• Perfect Dark Zero
• Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie
• Project Gotham Racing 3
• Quake 4
• Ridge Racer 6
• Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06
• Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland
Here’s a fun fact, my roommate at the time and I were discussing whether or not to go halfsies on one. The biggest drawback each time we talked about it was the lack of games we were interested in. Looking at that list, nothing captures my imagination.

November 17th, 2006, the launch of the Sony Playstation 3 gave way to these titles:
• Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII
• Call of Duty 3
• Genji: Days of the Blade
• Madden NFL 07
• Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
• Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire
• NBA 2K7
• NHL 2K7
• Resistance: Fall of Man
• Ridge Racer 7
• Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07
• Tony Hawk’s Project 8
• Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom
Another underwhelming list, except for maybe Resistance: Fall of Man. That was a pretty great game. That list is just as unimpressive as the Xbox 360’s.

Nintendo let us play with our Wii on November 19th 2006, and had these games as launch titles:

• 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)
This selection seemed a little more promising, and comparatively it was. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was for sure a must buy. I was also pretty pumped to get Red Steel which was a small display of what the Wii could do.

I find it interesting that in the seventh generation, the three consoles had unimpressive launch titles as a whole. Perhaps they were going for “Look what our system can do!” Perhaps these are tastes of things to come.

Bringing us back to the present, on November 18th 2012, Nintendo made history with the Wii U.
• Assassin’s Creed III
• Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition
• Ben 10: Omniverse
• Call of Duty: Black Ops II
• Chasing Aurora
• Darksiders II
• Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
• ESPN Sports Connection
• FIFA Soccer 13
• Funky Barn
• Game Party Champions
• Just Dance 4
• Little Inferno
• Madden NFL 13
• Mass Effect 3: Special Edition
• Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition
• Nano Assault Neo
• NBA 2K13
• New Super Mario Bros. U
• Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge
• Nintendo Land
• Rabbids Land
• Scribblenauts Unlimited
• Sing Party
• Skylanders: Giants
• Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
• Tank! Tank! Tank!
• Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition
• Transformers: Prime – The Game
• Trine 2: Director’s Cut
• Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper
• Wipeout 3
• Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013
• ZombiU
That’s a big list, but is it any good? Currently I have five of these titles. Nintendo Land came with the system, but you had to buy the deluxe version so I think it still counts partially. The other ones include New Super Mario Bros U, Scribblenauts unlimited, and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. These are all fantastic games. So much so that when I want to play my Wii U its difficult for me to decide what to play. The other thing is, I don’t have a whole lot of money so there are still launch titles I absolutely need like ZombiU, TANK! TANK! TANK!, Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition, and Assassin’s Creed III. That’s four more titles. All together that’s NINE Launch titles that I consider must haves. That is more than half of the other systems’ launch titles all together. Granted, this is just about launch titles. What really matters is how they hold up in the long run and that’s still a way off, but at this point, from this perspective, the Wii U is kicking some serious butt.

You’ve seen the games launched on each system over the years, which games did you buy at launch and how did you feel about them? Let us know in the comments below.

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