This post has not been edited by the GamesBeat staff. Opinions by GamesBeat community writers do not necessarily reflect those of the staff.
With the Wii U out on the market and Sony’s recent reveal of the PlayStation 4, there is no doubt that the next generation of consoles is already here. Along with that is all the talk about technology and specs that will (hopefully) open up new avenues of interactivity and gameplay. Early adopters pick up a console with the promise of fantastic games down the line, but most consumers have to be convinced to purchase a new system. With many gamers satisfied with their current consoles, the major players are going to have to convince them to break away from their outdated boxes.
Since all three systems (the Wii, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3) have a robust library of games, the only way these companies are going to attract new customers is with fresh offerings — not just the latest Call of Duty or the best-looking game in existence, but ones that present completely new experiences that people cannot get anywhere else.
It is uncertain what each of the new systems’ must-have games will be, but the titles below are what made me buy each of the current-generation consoles. Today, I look back on the three games that sold me on the Wii, Xbox 360, and PS3, in the order that I bought them.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
I will admit that I was one of those people who cried when I saw the reveal of Twilight Princess (LoZ:TP) at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2004, weeping in happiness in front of a 20-inch television screen as Link strode across the Hyrulean landscape in what appeared to be the darkest Zelda game to date. It was slated to came out on both the Wii and GameCube, and while I owned the latter, I was blown away by the thought of playing a Zelda title with motion controls — swinging my arm like a sword to cut down enemies and shooting arrows just by pointing at the screen. Even the fishing minigame looked to fun with the Wiimote as a rod. There were also rumors that the Wii version would be the superior version not only control-wise but also graphically. (It’s true. The Twilight Realm in the Wii version looks significantly better.) I grew up a fan of Nintendo, so I knew I would get the Wii one day. Twilight Princess convinced me that I had to have it day one.
It’s the reason why I was outside Costco at 5:00 in the morning, waiting with my friends and other fans, playing Mario Kart DS, and chatting about what games we were all going to play first. My friends and I ended up playing Wii Sports and Excite Truck together the first couple days — so caught up in the excitement of beating each other up in boxing or crashing into each other’s cars. I was also scared to play LoZ:TP. What if, after the excruciating wait and all the hype, it was bad? I did not think I could bear having my spirits crushed.
When I popped in the disc on the third day, my worries were unfounded. Playing LoZ:TP with the Wiimote, swinging it around, and becoming engrossed with the characters and the dark tone of the story is still one of my favorite memories as a gamer. It showed me just what the Wii was capable of — an experience I couldn’t get on any other console. It is debatable whether or not the Wii was successful in that regard, but it still is a console I had immense fun with. LoZ:TP ranks as one of my favorite Zelda games of all time as well as one of the best launch titles I have ever played.
I was not sold on the Xbox 360 at first. In middle school, I was a part of a small club of podcasters for a while. We had a segment dedicated to video game discussion, and one day, the topic was about the recently released Xbox 360 and whether it was worth buying or not. I clearly remember saying, “Yeah, it’s good if you want to pay a lot of money to play the same games you can on the Xbox with shinier graphics.” At the time, it was a good observation. Most of the games that launched with it were just prettier versions of the same games you could get on current consoles, and the rest were not very good. Even when The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion came out, I could play it on my PC, so what use was a 360 to me?
My mind was changed a year after the 360’s launch with the release of Dead Rising. I have been a zombie fan since the day my father sat me down with him to watch Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, so when I played Dead Rising at my friend’s house, I was floored. It was exactly how I imagined a video game based off that movie would be like. You could fight hordes of zombies with anything you could find (everything was a weapon), explore an enormous mall, save survivors (or kill them), be a hero (or not), snap photos (sacrificing survivors was perfect for those achievements), and unravel a conspiracy.
I don’t remember how I convinced my parents to buy me a 360 — it must have had something to do with how good my grades were — but under the Christmas tree in 2007 was a box with a copy of Dead Rising in it. It still remains one of my favorite games to this day. Dead Rising 2: Off the Record for the PC is a go-to-game for me when I am feeling down, but if Microsoft were to rerelease the original for the PC, I would snatch it up again in a heartbeat.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
I never owned a PlayStation 2, but I had played through the entire Metal Gear Solid series with a friend. Despite not owning the three main games, I adored the franchise. There were so many rumors that MGS4 would eventually come out on the Xbox 360 because of the slow sales of the PS3, but my heart sank when Konami squashed the possibility of that ever happening. If I wanted to play MGS4, I was going to have to buy a PS3 or else I would never get to experience the end of Solid Snake’s story.
Thankfully, I was working a job when Sony announced that it was discontinuing the 80GB model of the console. It was the one I wanted because it had backward compatibility for the PS2, something that the future models were not going to have. I did not have nearly enough to pay the $600 price tag of the MGS4 bundle at Fry’s, so I convinced my mom to pay for half because it was a Blu-ray player we could all enjoy.
We rarely used it for Blu-rays because they were so expensive, though. What it was used for was games. I was finally able to experience all the PS2 games I missed out on, like Kingdom Hearts, Shadow of the Colossus, and the Devil May Cry series. For a while, I had more PS2 games than PS3 games, but it all started with MGS4.
Arguments aside about the length of the cutscenes, the game is a technical marvel and, in my opinion, flawless. The gameplay was perfectly balanced between sneaking and gun fights, and you could play any way you wanted. The story tied up everything wonderfully. The presentation was beyond stellar, from the set pieces to the cutscenes and the boss battles. Very few games have satisfied my needs like MGS4 has, which is why I am afraid to play it again in fear of ruining all the amazing moments I had with it. But I know I have to again one day.
Was it worth it, and what’s next?
For one or two games, buying a whole system is never worth it. You always have to look at the complete package and think about what you are investing in. However, there will always be that one game that makes you need the console, and that will open up the door to a plethora of experiences you could not get anywhere else.
I have not regretted owning all three consoles. The Wii has provided me with excellent titles and unique games that took advantage of the hardware, like MadWorld and No More Heroes. The Xbox 360 introduced me to the world of online gaming with the Halo series. Although I no longer pay for Xbox Live, I have to thank Halo for showing me how much fun it is to play with friends and strangers online. I don’t use the PlayStation 3 for online play but rather its amazing single-player titles like Heavy Rain, Uncharted, and HD collections of games I missed in the last generation — not to mention the backward compatibility that I am grateful for every day.
I bought a Wii U on launch day and have already gotten a taste of what the future holds with ZombiU, which was what sold me on the console largely because of the GamePad. I have also had a load of fun with Ninja Gaiden: Razor’s Edge, which proves that traditional titles work wonderfully on the system. I am not fully sold on the PlayStation 4, nor do I think I will fall in love with the next Xbox at first sight. It will take a good game to do that — one that shows me that yes, the next generation of gaming is here. I look forward to it.
What have been some games that have made you want to buy a console and why? Leave comments, criticisms, and concerns down below. Thank you for reading.