Nintendo's Handheld Systems: Which Portable Had The Best Launch Games?
In March, Nintendo found out the hard way what happens when it launches a new system without a big name first party franchise. 3DS had decent games, but a lack of Mario was partially to blame for the machine's lukewarm reception.
That said, a poor collection of launch games probably won't kill a new handheld, but it can ruin its momentum.
With this in mind, here's a question: Which of Nintendo's portable systems had the greatest launch games?
Will nothing top the original Tetris for Game Boy, or did Nintendo outdo itself with the Game Boy Advance, which appeared to have something for everyone?
Check out the list of games for each system, then vote to let us know which handheld reigns supreme.
Game Boy (1989)
Launch Games: Tetris, Super Mario Land, Alleyway, Baseball, Tennis.
Our Take: Without question Nintendo's smallest lineup, but Tetris was huge, so it didn't matter. If you purchased a Game Boy without this classic puzzler, well, you had no business playing video games to begin with.
Super Mario Land was fun, if a little short, and Alleyway was a distant third place. The other two games were woefully average, even 22 years ago.
Game Boy Color (1998)
Launch Games: Tetris DX, Game & Watch Gallery 2, Centipede, Pocket Bomberman.
Our Take: Tetris DX offered a fun take on the winning formula, but it didn't scream must have. Little to get excited about.
Game Boy Advance (2001)
Launch Games: Super Mario Advance, F-Zero: Maximum Velocity, Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, Fire Pro Wrestling, ChuChu Rocket!, Super Dodge Ball Advance, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, Rayman Advance, Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure, Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2, Namco Museum, Iridion 3D, Konami Krazy Racers, GT Advance Championship Racing, Earthworm Jim, Army Men Advance, Pinobee: Wings of Adventure.
Our Take: Arguably the best launch lineup of any handheld and console system. It was almost impossible to go into a store and not pick up at least three to six titles. Super Mario Advance and F-Zero were obvious, but we also enjoyed Tony Hawk and GT Advance, both of which pushed the system's 3D capabilities.
Nintendo DS (2004)
Launch Games: Super Mario 64 DS, Asphalt Urban GT, The Urbz: Sims in the City, Feel the Magic: XY/XX, Spider-Man 2, Madden NFL 2005.
Our Take: Instead of building on the glorious GBA lineup, Nintendo regressed with DS. It was like the big N said, "Whoa, that 2001 launch was amazing. Let's never do that again."
No wonder DS was so poorly received. Not only did it look ugly, but Super Mario 64 DS was also the only game worth looking at. Feel the Magic was too strange to have mainstream appeal.
Nintendo 3DS (2011)
Launch Games: Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, Ridge Racer 3D, Steel Diver, Pilotwings Resort, Nintendogs + Cats, Rayman 3D, Super Monkey Ball 3D, The Sims 3, Madden NFL Football, Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars, Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D, Bust-a-Move Universe, Asphalt 3D, Pro Evolution Soccer 3DS, Samurai Warriors: Chronicles, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars, AR Games (bundled with hardware), Face Raiders (bundled with hardware).
Our Take: Street Fighter was excellent and a wonderful showpiece for the system, but it was basically a port of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation game. We enjoyed Pilotwings, but it didn't justify spending $249.99 for the system.
Beyond that, the good games were few and far between. Ridge Racer 3D rocked, while everything from Ubisoft save Shadow Wars came up short. Not a horrific launch, but we needed more star power, namely Mario or Zelda.