Console Life Cycles Don't End Just Because New Hardware Arrives
March 24, 2016

I was having a discussion about console cycles with someone on another site (why would I even go elsewhere?!), pointing out that the PS3 has had a very long cycle and it's a bit ridiculous to expect the PS4 to repeat that accomplishment. The fellow responded by dropping this gem on me:

And by life cycle, I'm referring to when PS3 came out to when PS4 came out. I don't give a crap about the 2-3 years of additional support after a new system is released.

I was horrified to find that real people feel that way. Think about all of the great games they might be missing. It got me to wondering what games people who hold a similar viewpoint might have missed over the years. I thought it would be fun to go back and point out some of them for a variety of the more popular systems.

For mostly arbitrary reasons and also to keep this post brief and leave me time to do other things in my life, I've decided to limit each list to a maximum of 25 titles. That's actually more painful than you might suppose in some cases, and can leave off a lot of great games that are among the best a system ever saw (as you'll soon find if you keep reading), but arbitrary rules MUST be followed. Enjoy!

NES

From September of 1991, when the SNES launched in North America, through December of 1994, the NES saw the release of more than 200 games.

Adventure Island III
Adventures of Lolo 3
Bubble Bobble Part 2
Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers 2
Darkwing Duck
Dragon Warrior III
Dragon Warrior IV
Duck Tales 2
Felix the Cat
Gemfire
Kirby's Adventure
Little Samson
MC Kids
Mega Man 4
Mega Man 5
Mega Man 6
Paperboy 2
R.C. Pro-Am II
Shatterhand
Snow Bros.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: The Manhatten Project
Tetris 2
VICE: Project Doom
Yoshi
Zoda's Revenge: Star Tropics 2

SNES

From September of 1996, when the Nintendo 64 arrived in North America, through January of 2000, the SNES saw the release of only 38 additional titles. But there were still some gems on that list. Keep in mind that earlier in 1996, there were a lot of other classic titles like Mega Man X3, Super Mario RPG, and Lufia II, which cost-conscious consumers had to pass on if they were saving for the new hardware.

Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie's Kong Double Trouble
Harvest Moon
Kirby Super Star
Kirby's Dream Land 3
Mega Man 7
Street Fighter Alpha 2

PlayStation

When it released in October of 2000, the PlayStation 2 signalled the end of the original PlayStation. But that initial Sony platform still managed to produce more than 350 additional titles. Not bad for a period of time that doesn't even count, right?

Arc the Lad Collection
Breath of Fire IV
Castlevania Chronicles
Cool Boarders 2001
Crash Bash
Digimon World 3
Driver 2
Dragon Quest VII
Final Fantasy IX
Harvest Moon: Back to Nature
Looney Tunes Racing
Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete
Mega Man Legends 2
Mega Man X5
Mega Man X6
Persona 2: Eternal Punishment
Point Blank 3
RPG Maker
Saiyuki: The Journey West
Strikers: 1945
Syphon Filter 3
Tales of Destiny 2
Tomb Raider Chronicles
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3
Torneko: The Last Hope

PlayStation 2

In November of 2006, the PlayStation 3 finally arrived. On the PlayStation 2 side of things, around 450 titles remained to be released (with the system seeing its last proper release that I know about as late as 2012). So yeah, you'd better believe there was some important stuff along the way...

Ar Tonelico: Melody of Elemia
Ar Tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica
Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm
Chulip
Dokapon Kingdom
God of War II
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
GrimGrimoire
Growlanser: Heritage of War
.hack//G.U. Vol. 2: Reminisce
.hack//G.U. Vol. 3: Redemption
Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier
Odin Sphere
Rogue Galaxy
Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
Shining Force EXA
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
SOCOM U.S. Navy Seals: Combined Assault
Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror
Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow
Tak and the Guardians of Gross
Wild Arms 5
Yakuza 2

PlayStation 3

And how about the PlayStation 3? Well, it is still receiving new games, some of them exclusive to the platform, many of them great. It probably has another year or two of life still ahead of it. But here are a few of the more interesting titles (in my obviously biased opinion) that have already arrived since the launch of the PlayStation 4 in November of 2013...

Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed
AquaPazza: AquaPlus Dream Match
Ar Nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star
Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky
Atelier Rorona Plus: The Alchemist of Arland
Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea
Castlevania: Lords of SHadow 2
Dark Souls II
Deception IV: Blood Ties
Drakengard 3
Fairy Fencer F
Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remaster
The Guided Fate Paradox
Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
Mugen Souls Z
Persona 4: Arena Ultimax
Strider
Tales of Symphonia Chronicles
Tales of Xillia 2
Tears to Tiara II: Heir of the Overlord
Ultra Street Fighter IV
Yakuza 5

I think that's enough for now. My point is that if you already own a console and its successor comes along, the arrival of that new hardware doesn't mean your current possessions are suddenly useless. There's a huge audience for continued game releases on the existing hardware, unless it has already been dying a slow death, and that means you'll see plenty more exciting projects (most especially localizations of some of the best of Japan's output) for a long time yet.

It's always exciting to get new hardware, but a console's life cycle doesn't really end until publishers stop officially releasing games for it. Even then, you'll see something like happens with the PSP. I believe there are STILL games coming to that one. Admittedly, they're just a few JRPGs, but still...

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Feedback
jerec jerec - March 25, 2016 (01:41 AM)
I notice we're still getting quite a lot of games releasing for this gen and last gen, despite being over 2 years into the current generation. I've got a PS3 and a PS4 and I'll pick up the PS4 version of something if it's available, but I have bought a couple of PS3 games since owning a PS4.
honestgamer honestgamer - March 25, 2016 (03:27 AM)
I certainly buy the PS4 version of a game if it's going to hit both platforms, and I'll hold out for the PS4 edition if it is announced and will arrive slightly later than the PS3 one. There's not much point in picking up a PS3 version when the newer version will probably look and run better. But there are a variety of titles still hitting the PS3--especially some interesting JRPGs--that in all likelihood will never hit the PS4. It would be a shame to miss out on those. Yakuza 5 is hands down one of my favorite PS3 games of all time, and yet people who jumped forward to the PS4 and aren't prepared to pay any attention to the PS3 now will miss out on it. That's just foolish, if you ask me!
pickhut pickhut - March 25, 2016 (09:28 AM)
Funny you should do this blog entry now, because a day prior, I spotted an Amazon pre-order listing for The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II for the PS3, coming out later this year.
JoeTheDestroyer JoeTheDestroyer - March 25, 2016 (09:35 AM)
Man, I thought PS2 would never die. Even today, I'm still discovering and enjoying games for it I never knew existed, especially obscure RPGs.
JoeTheDestroyer JoeTheDestroyer - March 25, 2016 (09:37 AM)
I can't imagine writing off the NES when SNES came out and missing Mega Man 4, Little Samson, Vice: Project Doom and Dragon Warrior IV.
Genj Genj - March 26, 2016 (01:19 PM)
Some of the games on this list, such as Persona 3 and Yakuza 5, merely were localized after the next gen console came out. The weird thing about this gen is a substantial disparity between Japanese and Western adoption of the PS4. It just isn't anywhere near as popular in Japan so as a result you see a lot more Japanese PS3 games. Dragon Quest Heroes actually sold better on PS3 in Japan, whereas we didn't even get the PS3 version here. Some of them, like the new Digimon and Sword Art Online, are actually getting PS4 upscales specifically for Western audiences. Pretty weird. Final Fantasy XV may offset the discrepancy a bit.
honestgamer honestgamer - March 26, 2016 (03:50 PM)
Yeah, Genj. I do know that, but I didn't feel like it alters my argument that some guy who says "Well, I don't care about what happens on PS3 now that PS4 exists" is needlessly depriving himself of some great stuff. The PS4 launched several months later in Japan than it did here, and it is doing pretty okay. It's selling considerably better than the Wii U, for instance, and its numbers make it clear that Xbox One is dead in that region.
Never3ndr Never3ndr - March 27, 2016 (02:47 AM)
I just wanted to give an extra shout out / attention to a couple games I have some fond memories of:

Shatterhand (NES)
Persona 2: Eternal Punishment (PS1)
Saiyuki: Journey West (PS1)
LeVar_Ravel LeVar_Ravel - March 27, 2016 (03:53 AM)
A related note... Does anyone remember how Nintendo decided to redesign the 8-bit NES, and actively market it as late as 1994? In '93-94, you could still read Nintendo Power articles about an NES Final Fight, and watch commercials with some goofball urging newcomers to buy an NES for $50!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l11CL2JXt1A

Even back then, this marketing struck me as odd. Not that I'd given up on NES, but I figured new gamers wouldn't be wise to invest their cash in one! Unless they wanted to do all their shopping at Funcoland...
honestgamer honestgamer - March 27, 2016 (04:27 PM)
Yeah, I remember the redesign. The NES remained a terrific system to own well into the SNES life cycle. Stores still carried the games, and sometimes even at nice discounts (I remember seeing Wal-Mart selling The Legend of Zelda for $10 even by the time the PlayStation had launched), and you could always go rent stuff cheaply at local video stores. So $50 for the NES wasn't a bad deal. I just didn't jump on that myself because the family had an NES at home. I kind of wish I had, though.

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