The Top 7... Launchiest launch franchises

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.


  • Cyberninja - February 27, 2012 3:25 p.m.

    great article, didnt know the birdman was that popular in game form
  • shawksta - February 27, 2012 3:38 p.m.

    Damn Ridge Racer and Tony Hawk's been all over the place. I personally dont care if a core Mario game isnt at launch, a rushed game is never a good idea unless it was planned ahead to be a launch title like SM64. Pikmin However, has been teased for a long time, im expecting it to be a launch title, but if not, thats still fine by me.
  • The_King_of_Nothing - February 27, 2012 3:46 p.m.

    I was surprised at this article. I had no idea about a couple of them. Interesting.
  • santaclouse37 - February 27, 2012 3:47 p.m.

    Fantastic article, it's this sort of exhaustively researched subject matter that I previously would have assumed I didn't even give a sh*t about that makes GR my favorite gaming site.
  • MsSmith - February 27, 2012 6:06 p.m.

    Henry, as someone who actually follows football, I think you'd be glad to know your opening line for the Madden entry was extremely cringe-worthy.
  • RedHarlow - February 27, 2012 6:13 p.m.

    I don't think its a coincidence that many of these series have reached stagnation.
  • D0CCON - February 27, 2012 6:18 p.m.

    A recent Gameinformer rated every console launch and listed some of the launchiest games so some of these were spoiled for me.
  • JMarsella09 - February 27, 2012 6:23 p.m.

    Still have my Gameboy Advance, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2. Good game.
  • thesteve2 - February 27, 2012 10:06 p.m.

    Interesting article. But please stop writing articles on the Vita. Look at your front page, it's ridiculous. Otherwise cool article.
  • Net_Bastard - February 28, 2012 12:49 a.m.

    Pretty much any multiplatform video game critic site does this to a console whenever it launches.
  • Hobogonigal - February 28, 2012 1 a.m.

    Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiidge raaaaaaaaaaaacer!
  • AuthorityFigure - February 28, 2012 1:42 a.m.

    Maybe this is why Sonic died - not available at launch enough.
  • ultimatepunchrod - February 28, 2012 6:05 a.m.

    Best top 7 I've read in a while. This article reminds me of why I got hooked on gamesradar in the first place. More like this please.
  • BarryNomad - February 28, 2012 9:36 a.m.

    Sonic has had four or five, meaning Dynasty Warriors should be bumped or at least share a spot with the blue hedgehog: Dreamcast: Sonic Adventure (US & Europe) Gamecube: SA2: Battle (Europe) PS3: Sonic '06 (Europe and Australia) Wii Virtual Console: Sonic the Hedgehog (US and Europe) N-Gage: Sonic N (US)
  • GR_HenryGilbert - February 28, 2012 10:45 a.m.

    Didn't mean to do Sonic wrong, but I had my reasons. I chose not to count Virtual Console's "launch", as those were simply plain emulations sent live with no frill. As for Euro and AU launches, (in most cases) if they took place more than a month after the US launch, I felt that was too late to count as a "real" launch game. The developers had a little extra time to figure out the system than the other devs that got their English-language games out as early as they could.
  • BarryNomad - February 28, 2012 10:52 a.m.

    Thanks for the reply and the explanation for your selections. B) Sonic still thinks you're way past cool.
  • rballa2 - February 28, 2012 7:49 p.m.

    Geez it's quiet around here.

Showing 1-17 of 17 comments

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