GameCentral readers discuss the most memorable console launches of yesteryear, from the Dreamcast to the Switch.
The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Trantor, who asked what previous console launch do you remember most fondly? Was it purely because of the console and the games or did the hype and marketing surrounding it help to make it feel even more exciting?
Many people picked whatever was the most prominent in their childhood, with a lot of mentions of the PlayStation 1 in particular, but also less successful consoles such as the Dreamcast, N64, and original Xbox.
You always remember your first
I think it was the PlayStation 1 for me. I had never actually owned a console up until that point, only having an Amiga and whatever I played round my mates. But the hype for Sony’s first console was off the chart and it was absolutely all we could talk about for school for months.
I remember seeing things like Battle Arena Toshinden and not only being convinced that the graphics were completely photorealistic but that they could never be bettered. I don’t actually remember what was a launch game and what wasn’t now but WipEout was the other big one that sticks in my mind because of the arcade style graphics and the amazing soundtrack. In a way the real, licensed music was almost a bigger jump than anything else, because that was certainly not something that could ever have been done before.
That early excitement has probably made me a bit of a Sony fanboy over the years, although not to the ruling out of everything else. I am definitely interested in getting a PlayStation 5 this year, if I can afford it, but for me at least there’s not nearly enough information yet.
I think the most memorable for me is probably the original Xbox launch, which may seem an odd choice to some as it’s not a console with a very long list of classics. Apart from the general excitement of a new company entering the industry I was very much drawn to Halo and that was really the one and only reason to buy the console. Of course, it was pretty much the only reason for its entire life, along with its sequels.
But playing that game in split-screen co-op… I don’t know how long me and my mates clocked up but it seemed like months of time. Happy times too. I imagine most people replying to this Hot Topic will be talking about whatever was biggest when they were a kid and while the Xbox was when I had just started at uni it was still the same effect.
I was in a new environment, with new friends, but everything came together and it seemed like the console was at the heart of it. I almost resented when it went online and local multiplayer started to become less of a thing.
The Dreamcast was a good one. In fact the whole Dreamcast lifespan, short as it was, was good. Being Sega’s last console it felt like a real break from the older era of gaming to the new and while ultimately Sega’s way of doing things was proven a failure I still preferred it.
Looking back at it now it almost feels like an elongated farewell tour, starting with Sonic Adventure then the arcade perfect conversions like Crazy Taxi, and the genuinely groundbreaking Phantasy Star Online.
I’m not sure I’d ever really want to play any of these games today but thinking back to them brings nothing but fond memories. Jet Set Radio, Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, Power Stone… So unique and rarely available on any other format. Just a shame Shenmue 3 had to ruin all the nostalgia by proving it was never actually that great in the first place.
E-mail your comments to: [email protected]
My favourite launch was the Xbox 360. I’m not sure if that’s going to be a common one or not but there was a real vibe and excitement to it, I felt, even though launch games like Perfect Dark Zero were pretty terrible.
For me the Xbox 360 is still the only time Microsoft has got everything right and it was the console that me and all my mates owned and played that whole generation. Although looking back to it Microsoft already started losing the plot with Kinect at the halfway point.
At the moment I wouldn’t rule out the Xbox Series X but Sony has been so consistent, with only really one bad console, that I would be tempted to stick with them even without knowing much about the PlayStation 5. Although there’s no rush. Launches are fun but I have no need to get anything at day one if I don’t think the games or hardware reliability is there.
There are three consoles I have bought on release day, those are the Wii, the PlayStation 4, and the 3DS. Both the Wii and PlayStation 4 had decent launches, with OK games and a lot of hype and I was happy with both, but of the two the Wii was the most impressive. It felt like the dawn of a new, more interactive era with lots of interesting possibilities. By contrast the PlayStation 4 was essentially just a shinier PlayStation 3, but to be fair that is exactly what I was expecting. The 3DS felt like a total rip-off though, the memory of which I had repressed until I was just about to press the send button on this email.
Despite not getting the console on launch day the biggest console launch for me was actually the N64. This was mainly because it was the first console I was aware of before it launched but also because it was the introduction of 3D, which really was the dawn of a new era. two of my friends got them on day one and it was even more awesome than I imagined, truly magical. I ended up getting one for my birthday a few months later, just days before a massive price drop.
I am unlikely to buy a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X on launch day as I do not want to pre-order from an online store following a very bad experience with Amazon.co.uk and I am not sure GAME will survive that long. I will most likely buy one of them (probably the PlayStation 5) as soon as shops have physical stock for sale following launch. This is however dependent on their being at least one game I want to play on it, ideally two.
I honestly can’t remember whether I had the PlayStation 1 at launch, but I definitely had it in the first year, let’s say. What I do remember is the general excitement around it at that time, which I had never seen before for a new console, especially not from non-gamers.
Mind you, at that time I hadn’t seen many consoles at all but I could definitely tell that something had changed about how games were perceived at that time. Suddenly they were on the TV a lot more and my older brother and his friends were interested in them. Say what you want about Sony but they really did change the way video games are perceived.
Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here
Breath of fresh air
My favourite console launch has to be the Nintendo Switch. I’ve only ever bought Nintendo consoles at launch so it had been a while, but it was like Xmas had come early: a new console and a new Zelda game!
My wife and one-year-old son were both abroad visiting family, I had gone with them but had to come back due to work only allowing me a short time off.
I was alone at home, without my wife and little boy and I was becoming depressed. I had pre-ordered a Switch from GAME with a deposit and Zelda: Breath Of The Wild from Amazon and the day had finally arrived.
I was due to finish work at 12pm and then go and collect my Switch, my boss, who was also a Zelda fan, let me go an hour early! I raced off to the GAME store and then raced off home.
I unpacked it, got it all set up on the 50 inch and then with perfect timing Zelda: Breath Of The Wild arrived in the post!
Needless to say, it didn’t disappoint, it was epic, it was the only Switch game I had but it was also the only game I needed. I was also impressed with the Switch itself, the switch from TV to portable was quick and seamless, I loved how quick it was to boot up and get into the game.
For me, the Switch has changed gaming, being able to play the games it has without a TV is priceless, especially with having a severely autistic child.
Finally, the Switch and Zelda made the few weeks without my wife and son a little bit easier.
E-mail your comments to: [email protected]
The small print
New Inbox updates appear twice daily, every weekday morning and afternoon. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.
You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word 4Player viewer features at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.
You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.
Source: Read Full Article