About a month ago I wrote a piece on what games I thought were the worst launch titles. I figured in fairness I would write another piece about my favorite launch games, but seeing as I’m an aging gamer I decided to write about the retro side of it while another writer takes on the newer titles. Here are 5 retro launch titles that I think were great.
5) Tekken Tag Tournament
I personally never owned this game, but a buddy that I roomed with after college got the PlayStation 2 at launch with this title. Fighting games have never been my strong suit, even to this day I’m pretty bad at them, but man was this Tekken title fun. I remember sitting until the wee hours of the morn fighting my roommates over and over for master of the world. What kept me playing this fighting game was the fact that I could swap out characters while fighting, which gave me more than one life bar. Then when we would get tired of all the fisticuffs, we would Tekken Bowl, which I had a blast with. Thinking about this game now, I need to go find it at a used game store. I want to play some bowling. Unfortunately it will be alone since all my friends have moved on and grown up, but I’m sure it will put a smile on my face.
4) Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader
I bought a GameCube first in this console generation so that I could play the Resident Evil Remake; that was my system seller. Once I had conquered the mansion, I decided to set my sights to a galaxy far, far away. I grabbed this one day and couldn’t believe how amazing it looked. My last memories of Star Wars games were those on the Super Nintendo, which looked amazing but were insanely difficult. Rogue Squadron II wasn’t difficult to me in that sense, but it was the first game to give me motion sickness. While some may see that as a negative, I saw it as a positive, even if I had to pause the game now and then to play. At that time if the graphics and controls were so spot on that I was getting sick, they had accomplished something so amazing. I actually need to get back to this game and beat it; my weak stomach kept me from that, but I think I’ll man up and beat it for Han!
3) Halo: Combat Evolved
Microsoft took a huge chance creating their own console in the early 00’s because so much was against them. The PS2 and GameCube had an amazing amount of name recognition for them, while Xbox was seen as a giant eye sore next to your television. That didn’t stop Microsoft from bringing Bungie in and changing first-person shooters as we know them. Halo shook the industry by storm; the tight gunplay, the graphics, and the interesting story all came out of nowhere from a virtually unknown developer. Halo put the Xbox on the map, and kept what would have been a one generation game console out of an early grave.
2) Super Mario World
When I was little everyone who was everyone had a Super Nintendo. It was just THE system to have at the time. I can remember the day I got mine; for some reason it just sticks out in my memory, and I cherish that. Every Super Nintendo at launch was packed in with one game (something that rarely happens anymore) and that game was Super Mario World. I remember sitting on the floor in front of my tubed television and playing this amazing platformer for hours. At the age of twelve or thirteen I didn’t realize exactly how great a game this was, only as I got older and watched this game age so gracefully did I fully understand that I lived through video game history. Playing it at thirty-seven now, it feels like it hasn’t aged a day. The controls are super tight, the graphics and colors are still amazing and it is still so much fun to play.
1) Super Mario 64
I did not have this system when it first came out. In fact, it came out at the time I was almost done with video games. Comic books had taken a hold of my life like no other and wasn’t about to release its iron clad grasp. A “Jill Sandwich” eventually brought me back to gaming, but that is a story for another time. I bought my N64 before the huge retro game phase that is currently going on, and one of the first games that I tracked down was Super Mario 64. I remembered playing the 64 in my college years and holding that monstrosity of a controller brought back a bit of carpel tunnel, but man Mario’s first 3D foray was a sight to behold. I concede that the game did not age as well graphically as Mario World, but everything else is perfect. The music, the controls, the colors, and the platforming are all spot on and I enjoyed my first time with this game, albeit it was almost fifteen years late.
Did I miss anything retro gamers? Was there a game I somehow miss out on since I was in my infancy of gaming? Let me know in the comments.
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