Online video "documentaries" and comparisons are popular in the broadband accepted new millennium. Like most documentaries however, these videos tend to cherry pick facts and loosely adhere to their own arbitrary rules. Videos such as these tend to have only one consistent goal to garner website hits by any means necessary. In just such an attempt, Game Trailers (GT) posted a launch library comparison of most well known game console released in the United States.1 So GT's viewers could compare game console launches from the past to the up coming launch of the next generation Sony Playstation and Microsoft Xbox consoles, the narrator states "rather than limiting our list of games that hit day one with the hardware, we went with more generous launch windows. But in general, if you missed Christmas you missed launch." 2 The point of this article is to explore Game Trailer's launch lists and compare them with the game lists on Gamepilgrimage, which were compiled using various online databases and continue to be discussed at length in appropriate web forums.
Discrepancies with that general rule run throughout GT's launch comparison however. After covering a smattering of "Atari Age" (2nd Generation) Console launches, GT launched into the "post great fall" 8-bit (3rd Generation) consoles. The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) launch is listed by GT in 1985, when that is actually just a test market with nowhere near mass market numbers for hardware or software published.3 So Game Trailers cheated the NES of its full 1986 national launch. GT may have decided to place the NES 1986 launch at some earlier month and excluded Fall releases arbitrarily. Either way, the 1985 NES library alone fails to represent what the average consumer saw on store shelves, if they saw them at all. By the time most US consumers saw the NES there should have been up to thirty four games on the shelves by Christmas of 1986. Sega's Master System was also released nationally in the US by Christmas of 1986. However, GT excluded Marksman Shooting / Trap Shooting and The Ninja (maybe 1987) from the Master System list. With those games included the Master System launch selection was twenty three titles including double carts. The NES being launched nationally in 1985 is a common misconception especially in the journalist community, and having a couple of games off the Master System list is reasonable given the wide variety of release dates available.
Game Trailer's research becomes fuzzier, though, with the 16-bit (4th generation) consoles. Missing from the US Genesis launch list are Forgotten Worlds, Golden Axe, Herzog Zwei, Revenge of Shinobi, and World Championship Soccer, yet GT includes Phantasy Star II (March 1990) and Tetris (Japan only release, very rare). The US Genesis launch list was eighteen titles with the above titles corrected. The TurboGrafx-16 launch was badly represented in GameTrailer's video however. Bonk's Adventure (maybe 1990), Dragon Spirit, Fantasy Zone, Neutopia, Ordyne (maybe 1990), Pac-Land (maybe 1990), Sidearms, Takin' It to the Hoop (maybe 1990), and Victory Run (maybe 1991?) are excluded from the TG16's 1989 library. In addition GT fails to mention the Turbo CD launch in the same year with Fighting Street, Monster Layer and Y's Books I&II. The total 1989 library for the TurboGrafx-16 and Turbo CD by most accounts is twenty six titles, a good deal more competition for Sega's Genesis lineup than GT showed. Perhaps Game Trailers limited the Turbo library arbitrarily to a summer launch, but did not do the same with the Genesis. The Super Nintendo launch is, by GT's count, lacking Chess Master, D-Force, Hole in One Golf, Home Alone, Joe & Mac, Lagoon, Super Baseball Simulator 1.000, Super Castlevania IV, and True Golf Classics: Waialae. RPM Racing (1992) is oddly included however. Including the missing 1991 titles makes the Super Nintendo launch 30 titles, very comparable to the original NES' national launch numbers. Perhaps GameTrailer's researchers arbitrarily excluded games released after September 1991 while introducing factual errors by leaving some in.
Moving on to the 32-bit (5th generation) consoles, GT unevenly limits the Saturn's launch titles to its Summer 1995 pre-launch and compares that to most of the PS1's 1995 library. This kind of library comparison is typical of journalistic websites. The fifth and sixth generation (32-bit through 64-bit, or 3D consoles) will be covered elsewhere to keep this a comparison of 2D console launch games. As always, please use the Contact page to submit any revisions to the Gamepilgrimage game lists, or view the relevant topic in WAG forums.