Analyzing the launch lineups of the Nintendo home consoles

To indicate off the capabilities of a brand new console, lure gamers in with must-play exclusives, and construct an early participant base, the launch lineup of a console is essential. A mix of system-defining exclusives, high quality third-party assist, and probably new IP can guarantee gamers that the time to purchase the brand new console is now. For Nintendo, having all three of those components current in a console launch lineup hasn’t at all times been potential. But, time and time once more, Nintendo has proven that the standard of its launch video games has typically been well worth the worth of admission. Right here’s what we consider Nintendo’s dwelling console launch choices.

Nintendo Leisure System (NES)

Customers wanted a stable cause to purchase into Nintendo’s first dwelling console. Fortunately, Nintendo had precisely the suitable bargaining chip for potential consumers with Tremendous Mario Bros. for the nationwide United States launch. (At present, nobody can say with certainty if Tremendous Mario Bros. was a launch title through the New York Metropolis take a look at launch.) There has maybe by no means been a greater solution to introduce individuals to console gaming. The timeless two-button platforming gameplay was easy to know but contained sufficient nuance and depth to its stage design to maintain gamers entertained, even to at the present time. Different Mario-themed video games like Wrecking Crew crammed up a decent variety of launch video games for the system.

Nintendo console launch lineup NES SNES Nintendo 64 GameCube Wii U Switch launch games

As the primary attraction, Tremendous Mario Bros. did greater than sufficient to persuade those who the NES was value getting, however it was removed from the one sport out there on launch. The basic Dunk Hunt and Gyromite had been included with the console (together with R.O.B, which is one other story), whereas fondly remembered titles like Excitebike and Ice Climber supplied completely totally different genres for people who had been curious. Sports activities titles corresponding to Tennis, Golf, and Baseball supplied additional selection (with various high quality) and at the very least supplied different experiences for gamers that had already had their fill of Super Mario Bros. A diversified and prolonged checklist of launch video games was essential to have for Nintendo’s first console overcoming the stigma of Atari’s failure, however in all probability Tremendous Mario Bros. was the sport that sealed the deal for many early adopters.

Tremendous Nintendo Leisure System (SNES)

Whereas to not as extreme a level as could be the case with the Nintendo 64 launch lineup, SNES had a small choice of video games out there at its launch. Nonetheless, SNES was bundled with a basic sport within the type of Tremendous Mario World. Many will debate over their private favourite 2D Mario video games, however it’s exhausting to argue that Tremendous Mario World isn’t amongst the most effective video games of the Tremendous Mario sequence. As a launch sport and new unique title, Nintendo couldn’t have carried out extra to entice each NES homeowners and new followers alike due to its evolution of the Tremendous Mario system and glossy 16-bit graphics.

Nintendo console launch lineup NES SNES Nintendo 64 GameCube Wii U Switch launch games Super Mario World

The opposite choices, F-Zero, PilotwingsGradius III, and SimCity, supplied some nice selection and robust first-party choices from Nintendo too. F-Zero specifically paved the way in which for high-speed racing video games that had been considerably totally different from different Nintendo racing franchises, and it and Pilotwings actually emphasised SNES’s new Mode 7 know-how. With Tremendous Mario World engaging NES followers and new IP like F-Zero to enchantment to a wider viewers with (not fairly) 3D graphics, SNES offered a 1-2 punch with its launch lineup.

Nintendo 64

It’s not typically that one of many best video games of a console is obtainable from the get-go, however when Nintendo 64 launched in September 1996 in North America, that was precisely what occurred. Real 3D video games weren’t new to gaming at this level, however the launch of Tremendous Mario 64 shook the trade with its genre-defining gameplay and made Nintendo 64 a must-own system for sequence followers from the start. Navigating the Italian plumber by means of a 3D area with a transferring digital camera was a gaming expertise not like another at the moment.

Nintendo console launch lineup NES SNES Nintendo 64 GameCube Wii U Switch launch games Super Mario 64

Granted, the North American launch of Nintendo 64 in any other case solely noticed the well-received Pilotwings 64, however the European launch added numerous titles Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire and (three days later) Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. Regardless of being a brief checklist of video games, many of those at the moment are thought of classics, with the ambition of Shadows of the Empire being obvious and Turok nonetheless being ported to new consoles. The launch lineup of the N64 was a uncommon case the place the breadth and number of content material was lacking, however the high quality of some (and even only one) must-play video games made it one of the crucial memorable console launches Nintendo has ever had.


Whereas there wasn’t essentially a single killer app amongst GameCube’s launch library, there was a commendable number of solid-to-great video games that made the console value testing. From thrilling new first-party IP like Luigi’s Mansion to third-party assist within the type of video games like Burnout and Tony Hawk’s Professional Skater 3, there have been loads of genres and new concepts on show that would enchantment to totally different sorts of potential Nintendo followers.

Nintendo console launch lineup NES SNES Nintendo 64 GameCube Wii U Switch launch games

Ports of video games like Loopy Taxi had been enjoyable additions to have alongside new and returning sequence as seen with Tremendous Monkey Ball and Wave Race: Blue Storm respectively. There was even a shocking unique Star Wars title with Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Chief, setting a template for future area fight video games within the sequence and possibly in different sequence as nicely. The shortage of a brand new Tremendous Mario title, coupled with followers being (unfairly) dissatisfied with Luigi’s Mansion, may need damage the gross sales of the GameCube in comparison with different Nintendo programs, however few can deny there wasn’t one thing for everybody with GameCube’s third-party assist at launch.


The launch of a system is a time the place builders wish to showcase the console’s model new options, typically resulting in what some think about to be gimmicky video games that implement these new concepts. Critics might argue that was the case with the Wii, however the affect of Wii Sports activities can’t be understated. As the primary console to implement movement controls as its core management choice, the Wii wanted to promote individuals on the concept as quick as potential, and having Wii Sports activities as a pack-in title with each console was the easiest way to just do that. It created a zeitgeist across the Wii, seemingly contributing to the Wii’s super launch window gross sales and subsequently inflicting the console to be offered out for months on finish afterward.

Except for Wii Sports activities, the launch of the Wii concerned one other 20 video games, together with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Marvel: Final Alliance. It’s uncommon for the launch lineup of a console to have each high quality and amount, however the Wii nearly pulled it off. Wii Sports activities was an ideal introduction to motion-controlled gaming for each avid gamers and a brand new viewers alike, whereas Twilight Princess was the darker-toned religious successor to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time that the Zelda viewers had been ready for. Rounding this checklist out with different titles like Tremendous Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz and Trauma Middle: Second Opinion resulted in a stable launch lineup that lined the gamut of gaming tastes.

Wii U

The discharge of the Wii U noticed a smattering of third-party assist out of the gate. Third-party exclusives like Zombi U supplied some recent and mature concepts for the Nintendo crowd, whereas a choice of acceptable-to-solid ports corresponding to Batman: Arkham Metropolis Armored Version and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge helped to offer gamers with extra content material. But, though the Wii U had an honest variety of launch titles, many of those had been video games that individuals had already performed elsewhere or had been ports that had been lower than commonplace.

New Super Mario Bros. U

Very similar to with the most effective of Nintendo’s dwelling console launch lineups, the Wii U needed to depend on its exclusives to do the heavy lifting. New Tremendous Mario Bros. U and Nintendo Land had been Nintendo’s core choices for people who had taken the day one plunge. Similar to how Wii Sports activities demonstrated the probabilities of the Wii {hardware}, Nintendo Land tried to do the identical for the Wii U as a pack-in. Nonetheless, lightning didn’t strike twice, and regardless of some enjoyable makes use of of the GamePad, Nintendo Land didn’t turn into a killer app. New Tremendous Mario Bros. U fared higher due to its nice crucial reception, however it arguably suffered from an absence of innovation relative to most earlier Mario video games. This, together with an arguably underwhelming checklist of third-party ports and poor advertising and marketing, left Wii U in a tough spot from the start.

Nintendo Change

Relating to launch lineups, there’s typically an argument to be made for the standard versus the variety of out there video games on the primary day. With the Nintendo Change’s launch in March 2017, there have been solely a choose quantity of video games releasing alongside it and third-party assist was understandably slim because of the woes of the Wii U. Video games like 1-2 Change and Tremendous Bomberman R had been acquired nicely sufficient, whereas Quick RMX supplied a enjoyable racing sport for F-Zero followers and Snipperclips supplied a refreshing new tackle cooperative puzzle-solving. Individually, these video games weren’t a compelling cause to select up a Change, however The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was the elephant within the room that couldn’t be ignored.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Not since Nintendo 64 has a Nintendo console launched with a must-own first-party sport of this caliber. As the primary Zelda sport to launch with a Nintendo system since Twilight Princess on the Wii, Breath of the Wild was an explosive debut for anybody all for shopping for a Change. The crucial reception and gross sales figures have since spoken for themselves, and it’s an ideal instance of how a single killer app can save the day, no matter what different video games can be found.

What are a few of your favourite Nintendo launch lineups?

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