Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Continue? 10...9...8...

With the WiiU, Xbox One and Playstation 4 now all out and active in the gaming community, the eighth generation of gaming consoles is well and truly underway. But that's not quite the end of the seventh. Not everybody gets a new console at launch, and games for the old generation don't quite completely dry up at the outset of the new. There's a certain amount of lag while the old console winds down; sometimes the lag can be quite lengthy. But at some point, eventually, inevitably, the new games do dry up and the console's game library is what it is (homebrew, hacking and emulators excepted).

These games, regardless of their quality, are never given any attention. It's easy to see why. Most of the time, the game is also available on a newer console, and those versions are the ones that get covered. Often the games are licensed properties, more recently it's sports titles, that hang around well after everybody else has abandoned the territory. Even if it's an original, the console is effectively dead anyway; who's paying attention anymore? In other cases, it may just be the random title that happened to be the last release before the company itself stopped making consoles.

Which leads to today's random trivia question: what, in fact, turned out to be the very last game commercially released for some of these deceased consoles?

Amazingly, Wikipedia actually has a page devoted to this question, and a guy from Chicago named Hughes Johnson has made a hobby of rounding up the others, though he sometimes isn't sure himself. I was getting all ready to settle in for a day of research that would slowly drive me up the wall until I finally declared that I'd had enough, but then Wikipedia and Hughes turned out to already have the work done, for handhelds as well. So, hey, there you go. Wikipedia has the more major consoles and handhelds; Hughes mops up the more obscure devices.

And as it happens, the question has seemingly been answered for the Playstation 2 a month or two ago, depending on whether you're talking worldwide release or just in North America. If you want to go by North American release, Pro Evolution Soccer 14 is the final PS2 game (released September 24); if you're going by worldwide release, the answer is FIFA 14 (released October 3 in South America). This, of course, assumes some other game does not come out in the future sometime, and Hughes isn't willing to concede the end of the PS2's lifespan. He also has the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP on death watch, but isn't ready to make a call.

For our purposes, we'll go with North America as our benchmark. There are still one or two where Wikipedia or Hughes haven't already done the work as properly as I'd like; those are separately linked. So... as best we can manage, here's what we've got.

Atari 2600: Secret Quest (1989)
Atari 5200: Gremlins (1986)
Atari 7200: Midnight Mutants (1990)
Atari Lynx: Super Asteroids & Missile Command (1995)
Atari Jaguar: Fight For Life (1996)

Bally Astrocade: Cosmic Raiders (1983)

Fairchild Channel F: Alien Invasion (1979)

Mattel Intellivision: either Stadium Mud Buggies or Spiker! Super Pro Volleyball (1989)

Microsoft Xbox: Madden 09 (August 12, 2008)

NEC Turbografx-16:  Bomberman '93 (1993)
NEX Turbografx-16 CD: Bonk 3 (December 1994)

Nintendo Entertainment System: Wario's Woods (December 10, 1994)
Super Nintendo: Frogger (1998)
Nintendo 64: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 (August 20, 2002)
Nintendo Gamecube: Madden NFL 08 (August 14, 2007)
Virtual Boy: 3D Tetris (March 2, 1996)
Game Boy: Depends. If you want the last game that wasn't for the next-gen Game Boy Color, it's Pokemon Yellow (October 18, 1999). But there were Game Boy Color games still compatible with the original Game Boy. The last of those games was Dragon Warrior Monsters 2: Cobi's Journey & Sara's Adventure (September 15, 2001).
Game Boy Color: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (November 15, 2002)
Game Boy Advance: Samurai Deeper Kyo (February 12, 2008)

Nokia N-Gage: Most places have it as Civilization (March 2, 2006); Hughes disagrees and opts for Warhammer 40,000: Glory In Death (March 2006)

Panasonic 3DO: Casper (May 1996)

Phillips Oddysey 2: Power Lords (1993)
Phillips CD-I: Solar Crusade (1999)

Sega Master System: Sonic the Hedgehog (October 25, 1991)
Sega Genesis: Frogger (1998)
Sega CD: The subject of some debate. Candidates include Lunar: Eternal Blue (September 15, 1995 and Surgical Strike (Hughes says December 1995, but IGN has it as November 6, 1993).
Sega 32X: Spiderman: Web of Fire (1996)
Sega Saturn: Magic Knight Rayearth (November 30, 1998)
Sega Dreamcast: NHL 2K2 (February 14, 2002)
Sega Game Gear: The Lost World: Jurassic Park (November 17, 1997)

SNK Neo Geo: Samurai Showdown V Special (April 22, 2004)

Sony Playstation 1: FIFA Soccer 2005 (October 12, 2004)
Sony Playstation 2: Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 (September 24, 2013)

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