2. Ridge Racer (Seven appearances on global launches)
We’re sure you all remember this one right? It’s powered by Namco. It’s Ridge Racer! Riiidge Raaaacer! Heh, that never gets old.
Anyway, when we first laid our eyes on the original PSOne port, we were incredibly impressed with the seemingly arcade-perfect port of the first Ridge Racer title. How could we have known it would mark the start of 15 years of consistent launch titles from the publisher?
There was Ridge Racer V on the PS2, Ridge Racer/Ridge Racers on the PSP, RR6 on the 360, RR7 on the PS3, RR3D on 3DS, and although it missed the North American launch, Ridge Racer Vita appeared on the PS Vita everywhere else last week. Since racing games are a relatively simple, early graphical showcase for a new system, we’re not surprised RR continues to appear on every new system announced. It’s just too bad none have topped the impact the original had when we first plugged our PlayStations into a TV.
Chances it will appear in the next console launch: We’d be very shocked if RR skipped the Wii U’s launch. Namco has already announced Tekken for the system, so why not add Ridge Racer to the mix?
1. Tony Hawk (EIGHT total launch appearances)
When we first envisioned this list, we were certain that Ridge Racer was going to be number one. Thanks to a half dozen systems launching in the franchise’s heyday, though, Tony Hawk holds the title of launchiest series in all of gaming. After the franchise had established itself on other systems, the GameCube was the first to launch with Hawk, featuring the remarkable Pro Skater 3 out the gate, and the Xbox launched alongside the updated Pro Skater 2X. The GBA came out alongside an impressive port of Tony Hawk 2, establishing the series’ love for portable launches in addition to home versions.
Hawk made a whirlwind tour of nearly every system launch that followed: NGage, PSP, 360, PS3 and the Wii. Even though the series went dormant for a few years (the less said about Ride/Shred, the better), once upon a time, the series was ready to kickflip any system it could on day one. It missed the DS, 3DS, and Vita releases, yet it STILL ended up at number one on this list. For that alone, you’ve got to hand it to Tony (and also to Activision’s devotion to annualization).
Chances it will appear in the next console launch: The only Tony Hawk game planned for this year so far is Pro Skater HD, a downloadable recreation of stages from THPS1 and 2 for XBLA and PSN. If Nintendo has its online store in order for Wii U’s first day, it’s possible Activision could have Hawk ready in time to make his ninth console launch day.