Console Launch Reviews

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Console Launch Reviews

Postby feilong801 » December 20th, 2006, 12:03 am

Inspired by the post about Sony hitting its stride, I will attempt to grade the various launches that I remember.

Keep in mind that I'm not going to take the time to consult any information here other than my memory. Feel free to chime in if that causes some mistakes. Also, there are going to be a few consoles that I leave out because I didn't buy them at launch (or observe them).


My grades will be based on a combination of games available in first 6 months and positive/negative hype after launch.


SNES: B. Lots of hype and a long delay between the American and Japanese launches (I seem to remember Japan getting this first) made Nintendo fans froth at the mouth. I also remember a good number of solid titles early on, with Super Mario World being an outstanding pack in game.


N64: D. Probably the biggest launch dissapointment I can remember. A total lack of compelling content, and to make matters worse, games for other systems seemed superior at the time because of the ability to playback video and CD quality sound. Granted, I was totally amazed and happy for the first month or so... Mario64 was a revolutionary game. But after that, and observing all the cool games the PSX was getting, I bailed and went to Sony.


PS1 A. They crashed the party Vince Vaughn style with this system. The Critic is right, awesome launch titles like Tekken (remember, we were still deep in the throes of one on one fighter mania) made me drool and also made me very jealous. It wasn't long before I had a PS1, and I sold off the N64 (which I regret since I missed out on both Zeldas and Goldeneye).


Dreamcast C+ A great system. Awesome games that truly looked "next gen" for its day. Yet it seemed doomed, hence why I remember this as a C+ launch.


Xbox B- One word: Halo. It would have been a total disaster if not for this important launch title. They lost millions of dollars on this system, but with this huge franchise they gained the second biggest game franchise next to Mario. When this system came out, my response was, "Oh, cool, a gaming system for real adults!" Which, in my opinion, is a blessing and a curse that haunts Microsoft to this day.


Gamecube: C-. Sort of caught between the PS2 and Xbox hype. This was also released at perhaps the lowest point of Nintendo's industry influence. It seemed to almost totally cater to the kiddies, and as my college boy sensitivity in those days was to play only games where men held big machine guns, it didn't appeal to me at first. It's like Nintendo made the same mistake Microsoft did (limiting the system to one demographic) but with the other end of the spectrum. Yet the usual array of quality Nintendo releases had me purchasing the system, mainly the ridiculously awesome multiplayer game Smash Bros. Melee.


PS2. A. You have to give it to Sony. They built a great launch out of the formula of Trojan Horseing the DVD player and massive, massive hype. The games were a bit soft, but it didn't matter because you were getting such a great deal on a pretty crummy DVD player. In a way, the succes for Sony would haunt them later, as this forumla is not working so far for the PS3.


Xbox360: C. A perplexing system. What do you get when you have a system with:


A wide selection of quality games

The best online service of any gaming company to date, with spectacular content

Multiple heavy hitting developers/franchises commiting to the system (Halo 3, BioWare's Mass Effect)

First system to fully embrace HD?


You get a system that is STILL falling short of expectations of sales, according to reports that I'm seeing on the web. Perhaps, when the numbers for Christmas 06' are in, the 360 will get the love it deserves as a moderately priced powerhouse system.


PS3: Tentative Grade: C+ Incomplete grade obviously, but so far it is going down like the 360's debut: issues with availability being so extreme as to actually hurt, not help the system. I also wonder what the price point will do to it. $600 is getting to the point of no return: young folk making $7 bucks an hour are eliminated, as are married men who have some financial responsibilities. It is also clearly percieved at this point as the hardcore gamer's system, thus probably looking a bit dim for family use.


They are trying the PS2 model again, by smuggling in cool new tech and making it look like a deal, but I'm not sure it is working as well.


Nintendo Wii: Tentative grade: A. It would get an A+ if not for the strap break issue (which is bogus anyway). An incredible launch title (Zelda), a fantastic free pack in game (Wii Sports), and a surprisingly varied launch lineup (including several FPS games, a well recieved version of Madden Football, Trauma Center, and Rayman, among others) and of course the Virtual Console, this sytem also is getting mostly adoring press. A great victory for Nintendo (commence flaming now!).




Console Launch Reviews

Postby IronKnux » December 21st, 2006, 4:35 pm

How did the Dreamcast "seem doomed"? It had sports titles, arcade titles, fantastic shooters, not to mention the graphics blew the PS1 out of the water. AND Sega still had a relatively strong fanbase from the Genesis and Saturn days. Try not to use hindsight.

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Console Launch Reviews

Postby feilong801 » December 21st, 2006, 4:38 pm

The Dreamcast seemed doomed because most people I knew did not take the system seriously because of the Saturn, 32x, and Sega CD failures. It was doomed on reputation, not actual performance. That isn't hindsight, but the reality of the situation at the time. Atari could muster forth an awesome console somehow and I doubt it could overcome the loss of reputation of a gaming industry leader.



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Console Launch Reviews

Postby chrisbid1 » December 21st, 2006, 6:51 pm


the launch was terrible. super mario world was the only great game available when it came out. it would be months before street fighter ii, and zelda made their way to the SNES to even begin to compete with the genesis and sonic


Console Launch Reviews

Postby RememberShaqFu? » December 22nd, 2006, 11:15 am

I'm sorry, but the DC launch was actually one of the better launches, if not the best launch of a system in recent memory....let me see, you had:


Soul Caliber(amazing game)


Sonic Adventure(for it's time, this game was pretty impressive)


Crazy Taxi(I loved this game!)


Mortal Kombat: Gold(Not too shabby, actually)


Blue Stinger(pure crap, actually)


Resident Evil: CV(not a launch title, but I believe it was in the launch window)


-A few others that escape me-


.....Sega had all the right ingredients to a successful system but they were about several systems down the tubes by that point(see, it hurts to abandon a system...abandon the system, and the fans of that system eventually abandon you). Also, by that point, Sony's grasp on the industry was as strong as Nintendo's was in the late 80's so, really, Sega was just a small player by that point.


One other thing I'd like to point out. I remember owning a ps1 the Xmas after it came out in 95. Actually, Tekken wasn't released until '96, if I recall. I do know it wasn't a launch title, but Toshinden was which made people freak at the time because they had never seen a console title that looked so much like an actual arcade game in their living room(3D arcade game, Neo-philes!). I completely geeked out on Ridge Racer, then Discworld, Warhawk, RE, Medal of Honor, FFVII, Castlevania:SotN....that's one thing I can give Sony. In my opinion, they had THE system back in the late 90's. I'm sorry I disagree with Shawn and others on Sony's position now but, to me, they'll never beat the variety and magnitude of games they had in the mid-to-late 90's. I mean, I went through a five year period of being completely Sony and Sega, turning my back on Nintendo because, frankly, the 64 was a piece of crap....anybody who disagrees with that statement, think about this: the 64 launched with two lousy titles, and only one of them was really good!!! Ah ha, that's how Shawn and I can become buddies....we should have a 64/ps1 discussion instead of a ps3/Wii discussion....we may actually agree on almost everything!!

Edward M

Console Launch Reviews

Postby Edward M » January 10th, 2007, 10:04 pm

I can't believe that you gave the launch for the dreamcast a C+.  It is the greatest launch of all time.  Games like NFL2k, Sonic Adventure, Hydro Thunder, House of the Dead 2, Soul Calibur, and Power Stone were unbeatable.  Also, I got my system on day one with no lines so they obviously shipped enough.   You can bad mouth Sega for many mistakes they made, but the launch of the Dreamcast was perfect in every way.  And the launch of the PS2 the next year has nothing to do with how Sega nailed the dreamcast launch.

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Console Launch Reviews

Postby Leo1 » January 10th, 2007, 10:26 pm

I agree

It seemed that most were very impressed by the Dreamcast launch and it set sales records at launch. That's why the death of the Dreamcast fairly quickly after the first year came as such a shock to many people since it got off to an excellent start. The only fault I can think of was defective runs of some titles like Hydro Thunder at launch. But Sony's reputation and the promise of the PS2 was enough to seal Sega's fate.

The Super Nintendo as well had some great software around launch, Sim City, Pilotwings, and F-Zero come to mind as well as Super Mario World. Classics that many gamers love to this day and started two new franchises for Nintendo (And brought a third to a home console for the first time).

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Console Launch Reviews

Postby bluemonkey1 » January 11th, 2007, 4:20 pm

Best launch ever: XBox 360 (By the way how is 10million disappointing? <-- I call it dead on target)


Runner Up: Dreamcast


Both were full of a wide variety of great looking, fun, diverse games.

Funkmaster V

Console Launch Reviews

Postby Funkmaster V » January 11th, 2007, 7:09 pm

No No No. I remember the Dreamcast launch very well. There were so many bugs with its games and systems that it scared off alot of people and most waited for the PS2.

You have to remember that the people who like this site love the Dreamcast, the Saturn, the 2600 etc in 2007... We don't care what people think, and we would all agree that now the DC was awesome. MOST people did not think that, especially in the beginning. Sega didn't close up shop for because of a whim. It had a terrible launch and the system never recovered.


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Console Launch Reviews

Postby bluemonkey1 » January 11th, 2007, 7:18 pm

The failure had nothing to do with the launch of the console which actually sold a hell of a lot and broke all the records.

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