Top 10 Launch Titles

Having at least one key launch title can often be pivotal for a system’s success. That one game can introduce new technical capabilities or innovations and may even be an early system seller in some cases. The ten games listed here did those things best, showcasing what each new system could do while also being great games in their own right.

10) Resistance: Fall of Man (PlayStation 3)

Resistance: Fall of Man

Insomniac, the development studio behind the Ratchet & Clank series, has always been a faithful partner for Sony. So having them make one of the launch titles for the PlayStation 3 was a wise move. The surprise was the actual game, a serious first-person shooter dealing with an alien invasion. Resistance: Fall of Man may have been a departure for Insomniac, but that didn’t stop it from showing off the technical capabilities of the PlayStation 3. Best of all was that from a gameplay standpoint Resistance was a very solid FPS, making it the must-have PS3 game at the time of the system’s launch.  

9) Rayman (PlayStation)


The PlayStation had an impressive library of games, but there weren’t a great many available at launch. Luckily Rayman was a very bright spot for the system. Its sequel is usually regarded as one of the greatest platformers of all time for its impressive transition to 3D, but the original could hold its own. The imaginative character and level designs were exceptional and the core gameplay mechanics were very well done. It may not have been the flashiest of games, but it did 2D platforming well and made the PlayStation a system worth paying attention to.  

8) The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii)

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Other than Mario, The Legend of Zelda is Nintendo’s biggest franchise, so it was a very big deal for Twilight Princess to be available at the Wii’s launch. Some were skeptical about motion controls being introduced, but they didn’t get in the way of the game. Instead they added an interesting dynamic to the tried-and-true formula of 3D Zelda games. Since then, the Wii has had a shaky history in terms of game releases, but at the time The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess made the Wii a system worth owning.  

7) Tetris (Game Boy)


Tetris and various incarnations of the popular puzzle game can be found on practically any platform, but its inclusion as part of the launch lineup for the Game Boy was like a match made in heaven. Certain games lend themselves well to portable gaming, and Tetris is perhaps the most compatible with that gaming modality. It is the perfect combination of pick-up-and-play accessibility and addictive gameplay. Tetris ended up being key in the Game Boy’s success, which then led to a new generation of portable gaming. 

6) Wii Sports (Wii)

Wii Sports

The Wii’s big selling point was motion controls. Included with each system was Wii Sports, a compilation of sports minigames. The aim was to showcase those new motion controls, and Wii Sports did that wonderfully. But behind such a cool idea was a very fun party game. In many ways it’s the game that sparked the motion control revolution, for better or worse. Now here we are in 2010 and both Sony and Microsoft have released their own motion control devices: the PlayStation Move and the Kinect, respectively.  

5) SoulCalibur (Dreamcast)


The fate of the Dreamcast was a sad one, but it was a very impressive system during its short lifespan. There were also a few really good titles released at launch, but the obvious highlight was SoulCalibur. To this day it’s regarded as one of the greatest fighting games of all time, and for good reason. It focused on weapon-based fighting with tight gameplay, an impressive cast of characters, and fantastic visuals (let’s not forget the Dreamcast came out before the PS2, Xbox, and Gamecube). It was also a fighting game that managed to appeal to gamers who usually weren’t interested in the genre, making it a resounding success for the Dreamcast. 

4) Super Mario World (SNES)

Super Mario World

Mario’s first foray into the 16-bit gaming world wasn’t the most innovative game, but it didn’t need to be. The gameplay found in previous entries in the series still worked at the time, so instead minor tweaks were made in Super Mario World. The biggest was the introduction of Yoshi, a cute green dinosaur that Mario could ride. Yoshi could also eat enemies, adding an entirely new mechanic to the series. The NES had already been incredibly popular, so yet another great Mario game meant the SNES would be able to continue Nintendo’s success.

3) Halo: Combat Evolved (Xbox)

Halo: Combat Evolved

Halo: Combat Evolved was the system seller for Microsoft when the Xbox first launched in 2001. In fact, it took a long while for the Xbox to get some quality titles in its library, but that didn’t matter, because Halo took the world by storm. Up to that point the FPS genre was dominated by the PC, but Halo showed that it could be done right on a console. Also popular was its multiplayer component, despite being released before the advent of Xbox Live. Instead, local multiplayer was the focus, and we all know what happened once Halo 2 introduced online multiplayer. All of this made Halo the definitive game of that generation, and to this day its influence is still felt.  

2) Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64)

Super Mario 64

Mario had a long history of amazing 2D platformers, so when Super Mario 64 made the transition to 3D it was something of a revelation. Never before had such an open-ended 3D world been created. Adding a new dimension to Mario’s world opened up the gameplay possibilities immensely, and the precise controls and wonderful camera system made traversing the various environments a blast. In short, Super Mario 64 revolutionized 3D gaming and made the Nintendo 64 one of the most important systems in gaming history.

1) Super Mario Bros. (NES)

Super Mario Bros.

Yes, this makes three Mario games in the top five. But surely you can’t be surprised by this pick for #1. There’s a reason why Super Mario Bros. has long been considered one of the greatest, if not the greatest, game of all time. It was challenging but never frustrating and featured innovative gameplay mechanics and perfect controls. Anyone who had an NES has fond memories of playing it, and because the NES was so popular it meant Nintendo could establish themselves as a dominant force in the videogame industry. To this day they are probably the most recognizable videogame company, and it is in large part thanks to Super Mario Bros. being a launch title for the NES. 


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Author: Anthony LaBella View all posts by
My first experience playing a video game blew me away. The fact that Super Metroid was that game certainly helped. So I like to think Samus put me on the path to video games. Well, I guess my parents buying the SNES had a little something to do with it. Ever since then my passion for video games has grown. When I found that I could put words together into a coherent sentence, videogame journalism was a natural interest. Now I spend a large majority of my time either playing video games or writing about them, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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