Whenever a new game console prepares to launch it's customary and expected to be excited about the launch titles. Hurry, we have to preorder The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Perfect Dark Zero! When a beloved console nears the end of its life cycle, however, the final releases tend to pass without notice. What was the final Super NES game to be released? How did the Sony PlayStation retire? What was the last title to arrive at the Sega Saturn funeral? Fear not, for there is a list that keeps track of these sorts of things.
A console manufacturer starts hinting that they're working on a new system. There aren't any final specifications, release dates, or even potential names, just hints that something is coming. Game publishers who have good ideas in an early development stage hold-off until they know more. The selection for existing systems starts to grow thinner. The console manufacturer makes a grand announcement about their upcoming system, last call. The publishers work overtime to produce games for it. Projects already underway for existing systems get reassigned to the B, or even C, team. They're far enough along that scrapping or porting them wouldn't be worthwhile. Some are rushed out the door like the frenzy of last minute drinkers. Others sit in a stool, nursing their drink until the bitter end, closing time.
This article is a tribute to those games that were the final lonely patron of a once festive tavern on a Saturday night. While another three-way console war is reaching the height of its fury, let's reflect on the final days of systems past. Maybe we can even learn how these now hot consoles may spend their inevitable last days.
While looking at the list I was surprised at how many of these games I don't actually own. I was always quick to move up to the next model in the Nintendo family line, meaning that I was already playing Donkey Kong Country when Wario's Woods brought down the curtain on the Nintendo Entertainment System. I missed some solid classics by moving on so quickly. If only there were a way to play those old overlooked games after all these years. Alas, the chance may be lost forever.