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The Best Launch Games From Every Nintendo Console

The Best Launch Games From Every Nintendo Console

Today is the official launch day for the Nintendo Switch. Big N has struggled mightily after the abject failure of the Wii U. But if the Switch lives up to its billing, all the past missteps will quickly be forgotten. But before we jump into our newest console, we figured it’d be fun to take a look back at the best launch titles from every Nintendo console.

And to make this list at least a little bit of a challenge, I will be excluding Mario games (or the equivalent) from consideration. Those are going to be the obvious choice for every system, so there is no point in picking them. I will mention what the Mario game was, but this list is really going to be about the other options gamers had when the system debuted. And for clarities sake, I’ll only be including games that were available on the day the system debuted.

The Best Launch Games From Every Nintendo Console

 

Nintendo Entertainment System

Nintendo Entertainment System

Excitebike
Super Mario Brothers was a game that spawned a generation of loyal nintendo fanatics. It was a free pack-in game and utterly fantastic. For other game options, we actually had a decent amount of choices at launch. However I have to give the nod to Excitebike. Not only did the game feature two play modes: Solo and VS AI riders (sort of), it also let players create their own courses. I had tons of fun playing this title and actually recently got back into it with the Nintendo Classic.

 

SNES

Super Nintendo

Pilotwings
While Super Mario World was the system seller, the SNES still launched with five titles in total. It was actually really hard for me to choose between F-Zero or Pilotwings. However I had to give the slight nod to Pilotwings for the sheer variety of game play. Players could fly a plane, skydive, hang glide, and even fly a rocket pack. I spent a lot of time earning my wings with this title.

 

N64

 

Nintendo 64

Pilotwings 64
Super Mario 64 was a fantastic 3d Mario game that was even re-released for the Nintendo DS years ago. However, Nintendo launched the N64 with only two titles: Super Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64. So apparently Pilotwings 64 wins by default. Not that it was a bad game, but it was the only non-Mario option gamers had at launch.

 

Nintendo GameCube

Nintendo GameCube

Super Monkey Ball
Here is where Nintendo really began its slide. The GameCube went up against not only the Sega Dreamcast, but the Xbox and the Playstation 2 (which ended up being the juggernaut of the generation). Nintendo decided to dedicate this launch to Mario’s often forgotten brother, Luigi in the form of Luigi’s Mansion. For a non-Mario launch title, I’d have to give the nod to Super Monkey Ball. I remember playing this game at a friends house and it’s what really convinced my to buy this system. Monkey Jump was surprisingly addictive and made for a great party game.

 

Nintendo Wii

Nintendo Wii

Wii Sports
The Wii surprised just about everyone with its unique control scheme, which was often mocked in the days leading up to its launch. However, once people got their hands on this system, it flew off the shelves. This is thanks in no small part to the Wii’s stellar pack-in title Wii Sports. This game perfectly showed off the capabilities of the system and brought in legions of non-gamers to Nintendo. From young to old, everyone was clamoring to do some Wii Bowling or Tennis.
Wii Sports even overshadowed the big launch title Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

 

Wii U

Wii U

Nintendo Land
Sometimes things just don’t work out. The Wii U is wildly considered the biggest console failure in Nintendo’s history. And that’s not even taking into account the momentum they could have harnessed from the Wii’s popularity. But the Wii U’s downfall is a story for another day. The best launch title was obviously New Super Mario Brothers U. It was the first Mario game to be released on launch day since the N64 and helped sell the system.

However finding a non-Mario alternative is a bit rougher. The majority of the Wii U’s launch titles were either shovelware (Sing Party) or ports of older games from other systems (Mass Effect 3, Batman: Arkham City). Which makes the best launch title probably Nintendo Land. A pack-in game that helped show off the capabilities of the system. While Nintendo Land really wasn’t great, it did have its moments. The ghost hunt game was actually pretty enjoyable.



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