Now I have spent a decent amount of time looking over the hardware of the Nintendo Switch and enough time in the amazing world of Zelda Breath Of the Wild to know that this system will be forever remembered for this game. It got me thinking to other systems I have bought and the game that I chose to attach to it when I bought it. They are not all launch titles but for me they were.
The NES and TMNT
From previous writings, everyone knows how much I loved my first system, my beloved NES. Received when I was around eight and I have it to thank for my short-sightedness and enduring love of games. While I can go on about the multitude of excellent games for the system, the one I attached to it for my launch was the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game. A strange choice but it was on all the TV advertisements at the time and it may have been the first non-standard bundle in existence. Please correct me if I am wrong. This game was rock hard and set the tone for many games of the time. Play the one level that was easy to complete to death and every now and again due to some incredible luck get a bit further. I managed to get to the section where you drove the Turtle Van. Check me out. This game certainly was a great introduction to gaming for me and remains a cherished memory.
The Game Gear – Mortal Kombat
Here we go, the best handheld until the PS Vita and Switch came along. You can hit me with Gameboy all you like and I will come to that, but the Game Gear produced console quality graphics, in colour, with the expected terrible battery life. This thing could eat 6 AA batteries in a couple of hours, meaning you were forever tied to a dodgy sounding third-party charger. I was probably more fire hazard than child when I was playing this, yet play it I did for hours. Mortal Kombat played like a dream, brilliant graphics and the unlockable blood and fatalities. Sub-Zero ripped many a spine on that tiny screen.
Amiga 500 and Cannon Fodder
Before the PC master race, there was the Commodore Amiga. Floppy 3.5 disks, copied games and an introduction to the world of strategy. Games like Syndicate, Populous and Flashback were genuinely adult games and with a revamp could easily survive today. The game I attached to the console was Cannon Fodder. A simple case of leading your squad around using mouse clicks. Left to fire right to move. It was the Dawn Of War of the day, punctuated by a horrifically sarcastic anti-war message. Poppies and symbolism were everywhere as the difficulty ramped up the deaths of your men began to mean something. The veterans in your unit were replaced by fresh meat and the hill became populated with white crosses. A remake is definitely needed.
Super Nintendo – ISS Deluxe
With the SNES, Local multiplayer took off. I was late to the party but enjoyed Street Fighter 2 as much as the next guy. However, the game that dominated play on the SNES was ISS Deluxe, one of the precursors to PES ( link) This delivered a style and play of football that mirrored what you could actually do on a pitch. The graphics were on point but the gameplay meant that this game and this system with other classics like Mario Kart and of course Street Fighter became a hotbed of local multiplayer action.
Gameboy Advance and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
This was Nintendo’s best handheld before the switch. It retained the simple beauty of the Gameboy and added colour and horsepower. There was no better example than Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2. Taking the genre making Playstation game and turning it into an isometric game was a stroke of genius. Unfortunately for whatever reason it never became the norm, but it was the making of the forgotten Nintendo handheld.
Nintendo 64 and Shadows Of The Empire
Probably my favourite system. The N64 was not as cool as the Playstation and it didn’t have Metal Gear Solid or Final Fantasy 7. Apart from that, it was the best system for those who owned it. Games released at such a slow rate that you were forced to try many different genres and types or you deep-dived into what you already had. Classics like Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, Jet Force Gemini, Lylat Wars, Mario Kart, Turok, Mario 64, ISS 64 and Blast Corps will live long in the memory of anyone who owned the system. The game I attached to the system was strange. I picked Shadows Of The Empire. A strange halfway house of a Star Wars game, that had a novel tie-in or was based on an excellent novel of the same name. this game finally showed a beautifully rendered battle of Hoth and great space battles. One level, in particular, stands out tom me even now. A long level where you spent most of the time going around on your jetpack and killing the sparse amount of storm troopers. 45 minutes or so in you faced off against Boba Fett. The journey was long and stressful thanks to the poor save system, but the boss fight was legendary. This is what the N64 could do.
Playstation 2 and GTA 3
The PS2 picked up where the N64 left off. It had possibly the largest catalogue of games in existence. Matching up with the time in my life where I had most disposable income, first-year university, this allowed me to pick and choose games from all genres. My heart will always remain with Vice City but GTA 3 was the launching point for the system. It remains a pioneer in open world gaming. It destroyed the memory of the top down GTA games and despite getting average reviews turned into the sales behemoth we all know and love now.
XBOX and KOTOR
There isn’t much to be said about KOTOR that hasn’t been said. It was the reason I got a XBOX in the first place. Not Halo, not Project Gotham although they were soon purchased. KOTOR is not only one of the greatest RPG’s in history it carries one of the best Star Wars stories with it. If you can pick it up on IOS and play through without spoilers. The choice of ending really has you feeling like a character in the film and will always live in the memory.
So there you have it a brief history of the games I bought with my systems at launch. Will Zelda remain in the memory like these games have?