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The Last Games From Every Classic Console Of The Last 30 Years

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The Last Games From Every Classic Console Of The Last 30 Years

We all had that one console that made us, right? That got us into these video game things, that we couldn't wait to get home from school to play, that we unplugged and took with us on crappy, damp caravan holidays on the south coast. And we all had our favourite games on those consoles - be they Mario or Sonic, Spyro or Splinter Cell, Street Fighter or SimCity, a kick 'em up or a shoot 'em down.

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But just as every one of these beloved systems ultimately faded into history, superseded by the next generation of shiny graphics and stereo sound, fancy polygons and controllers with sticks(!), they also took one final game down with them. No matter the mascot, the manufacturer, the units sold or the playground wars battled, every console has that last game, that'll always have its place in history, no matter how awful it is.

And trust me, some of the games below are pretty terrible.

What follows are the final, officially licensed games for the main, most-loved consoles from the third generation (8-bit machines) through to the last one, encompassing the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii. Which is to say that we've not counted more recent, home-brew releases for them (as there are plenty of those around). What's surprising: despite our initial expectations, the vast majority of these games aren't annual sports titles.

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THIRD GENERATION

The Smurfs 2 / The Smurfs Travel the World (all screens courtesy of MobyGames.com)
The Smurfs 2 / The Smurfs Travel the World (all screens courtesy of MobyGames.com)

SEGA Master System:

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The Smurfs 2 / The Smurfs Travel the World - 1996 (Europe)

No exact date on this one, but the consensus - by which I mean, the words on a handful of websites I've found that talk about said game as being the last one for the Master System - seems to be that The Smurfs 2, aka The Smurfs Travel the World, was the final release for SEGA's 8-bit machine.

Developed by Virtual Studio and also released for other platforms - including the Mega Drive, Game Gear, Game Boy and Super Nintendo - this game's 1996 release saw it born into a gaming market already supporting the SEGA Saturn and Sony PlayStation, with the Nintendo 64 imminent. Add in other home computers, handheld consoles and questionable add-ons (looking at you, the 32X), and it's a wonder, indeed, that the Master System was receiving any support, nine years after its European release.

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The game sees the player control one of the Smurfs on a generic side-scrolling, platforming adventure across a handful of continents, searching for crystal shards to end pollution. There's some jumping - okay, lots of jumping - and the inevitable underwater level. Not a classic, this one, but not an outright disaster either if you really have to play it.

The Lion King
The Lion King

Nintendo Entertainment System:

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The Lion King - May 25 1995 (Europe)

Now I know some of you will have fond memories of this one - we actually covered the game's relatively recent re-release, alongside Disney's Aladdin. But I don't suppose many of you played The Lion King on the NES, right? From what I can make out, this was the final licensed game released for Nintendo's world-conquering console - sorry, Control Deck - and it came out after its 16-bit and handheld brethren, which released in the second half of 1994.

As it goes, the NES Lion King is pretty unique, adapting some of the levels from its fancier cousins and adding some all of its own. What this isn't, however, is any good. Honestly, whatever nostalgic love you have for the 16-bit game, this monstrosity will utterly destroy it. It's ugly, it sounds disgusting, and the whole thing can be wrapped up in under 20 minutes. You don't even get to fight Scar. Ridiculous.

Sentinel
Sentinel

Atari 7800:

Sentinel - 1991 (Europe)

I don't know much about this one - Atari wasn't really my thing in the '80s, though I appreciate a lot of people in the United States were more likely to have a 2600, 5200 or 7800 plugged into their television, instead of a Master System. Sentinel - which came out a year earlier for the Atari 2600 - was a light-gun game where the player had to blast away at alien invaders to protect the orb-like Sentinel of the title, which hovered at the top of the screen.

From the few reviews I can find of it online, Sentinel wasn't up to much, but it sure gave your trigger-finger a workout. In terms of the 2600 library, it's one of only two light-gun-compatible titles available for the classic Atari machine, the other being 1982's Shooting Arcade.

FOURTH GENERATION

Dead of the Brain (this being the first game)
Dead of the Brain (this being the first game)

PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16:

Dead of the Brain 1 & 2 - June 3 1999 (Japan)

For some of you, the PC Engine - also known as the TurboGrafx-16 in the US - was only ever an exotic mystery. This NEC-made machine, which claimed to be the first 16-bit console (but wasn't, not really), was a big hit in Japan where it outsold the NES/Famicom upon its launch in 1987. But its roll-out elsewhere was strictly limited. Units arrived in France, but if you were growing up in the UK, like me, the PC Engine remained an import-only extravagance that forever remained in listings only - I never played one at all until I was into my 30s.

That can, and will, change soon, as the PC Engine Mini (and its regional variations) releases later this year in the UK. It's a cracking little thing (check out our preview of it, here), packed with a load of games that players of the '80s and '90s could mostly only read about, and never experience for themselves. It stands to be one of the best mini-consoles on the market - but Dead of the Brain 1 & 2 will not feature, amongst its 57 built-in games.

Which isn't the end of the world - but at the same time, this (CD format) collection of two Dead of the Brain games isn't half bad. These are horror-themed graphic adventure games, kind of digital comics, featuring monsters (zombies) and murders (plenty), and lashings of gore. Early on in the first game, you have to shoot your cat - I mean, what's not to like? The downside? They're only in Japanese. Though that's not stopped Hideo Kojima's best game, Snatcher, from showing up on the PC Engine Mini.

Frogger on the Genesis
Frogger on the Genesis

SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis:

Frogger - 1998 (NA)

Fun fact: the first game I remember ever playing was Konami's classic Frogger. Or, rather, a shameless clone of it, called Hopper, on the ZX Spectrum back in the early 1980s. Said game looked the part, back then. But this? On the Mega Drive (well, the Genesis), in 1998? Goodness, no.

Frogger on the Mega... Sorry, on the Genesis, is exactly what you're expecting: a pretty much perfect conversion of the 1981 arcade game. It's no looker by 16-bit standards, but at the same time, it's probably precisely what fans of the original would have wanted. Which is more than can be said for the SNES version of the game. Speaking of which...

Frogger on the SNES
Frogger on the SNES

Super Nintendo:

Frogger - August 1998 (NA)

The Super Nintendo version of Frogger is, like the Genesis release, the final officially licensed game for the system. But it's not the same game, as the screenshot above makes clear. I've no idea why Konami decided to give this version an aesthetic overhaul, but it doesn't actually work in its favour, making everything look messy. It plays just the same, though: avoid the traffic, cross the river, duck into a cave, done.

Honestly, I'm as surprised as you are that the final game(s) for these 16-bit heavyweights aren't a FIFA, or some other kind of annual sports franchise. Although, we're not going to get through this list without seeing a few of those.

FIFTH GENERATION

Worms
Worms

Atari Jaguar:

Worms - May 15 1998 (NA)

It's Worms. You know Worms. And it's Worms that's the Jaguar's swansong, five years after Atari's much-hyped 64-bit console had launched, but approximately four years after most people stopped caring about the thing.

In its time on shelves, the Atari Jaguar amassed a paltry 50 official licensed games, discounting the measly 13 that were released for its too-little-too-late CD-ROM add-on. So well done Team17 for ensuring that Worms was one of them, really. Naturally Worms on the Jaguar plays extremely well, but it's a world away from the kind of next-gen experiences the console seemed to promise, but only ever failed to deliver. You've got to think that this is one Mini Console we're never seeing.

That said, while the Jaguar is technically Atari's final home console, they've something new up their sleeves. The Linux-based Atari VCS, aka the Ataribox, is supposedly still coming out in 2020 - but we'll believe it when we see it.

Schnappi - 3 Fun Games and Moorhuhn X
Schnappi - 3 Fun Games and Moorhuhn X

PlayStation:

Moorhuhn X - July 20 2005 (Europe)

Schnappi - 3 Fun Games - 2005 (Europe)

Two picks here, because despite really staring hard at the internet for a full three minutes, maybe less, I'm still not certain which of these two games is actually the final, properly released title for Sony's juggernaut debut console. What I do know is that they're both German. So, there's that.

But what are these games, you ask? Moorhuhn X (screenshot above from the PC version) is a kind of light-gun shooter without the light-gun, as you move your crosshairs around, blasting chickens. At least, that's what I think it is, from the videos. Schnappi is a collection of three mini-games, based on a little crocodile character called - you guessed it - Schnappi. He catches bugs, he dances, and wiggles around in eggshells. I'm sure someone, somewhere, thought it was awesome.

Bit of trivia, for you: the release of Schnappi's game coincided, roughly, with the theme tune from his cartoon series reaching number one on the German pop chart. The track peaked at 32 in the UK and, nope, I've never heard it, and I'm not about to start now.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3

Nintendo 64:

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 - August 20 2002 (NA)

The third game in Activision's Tony Hawk series of skate 'em ups came out in late 2001 for PlayStation 2, GameCube, PlayStation and Game Boy Color to a pretty decent reception. Indeed, the PS2 version is the highest-rated game of all time for the console, according to Metacritic (albeit tied with Grand Theft Auto III). The next year saw versions come out for the Xbox, the Game Boy Advance, PC and - in North America only - the Nintendo 64. And while the N64 version isn't quite up to the same standard as the PS2 game, it's still pretty good. Enough said, I reckon.

Final Fight Revenge
Final Fight Revenge

SEGA Saturn:

Final Fight Revenge - March 30 2000 (Japan)

Final Fight Revenge is, I think, the last hurrah of SEGA's first step towards console defeat. The Saturn could only muster around 10 million sales worldwide, and while the exact number it shifted is up for debate, there's no denying it was properly pounded by the PlayStation, which racked up a cool 102 million. Ouch.

Onto this game, then, and Revenge debuted in Japanese arcades in 1999 before being ported to Saturn - perhaps an odd move given the Dreamcast was very much a thing by then, especially in its homeland. Unlike the traditional, side-scrolling Final Fight games that earned Capcom such a fine reputation in the late '80s and early '90s, this is a one-on-one affair in the Street Fighter mould, albeit set in a 3D space. And it's... Yeah. Sorry, Final Fight fans. This one's a stinker.

SIXTH GENERATION

Pro Evolution Soccer 2014
Pro Evolution Soccer 2014

PlayStation 2:

Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 - November 8 2013 (Europe)

A football game! Shoot the soccer ball and score. One-zero to the team - hooray! And so on. You know about Pro Evolution Soccer, I'm sure. For a while there it was a real FIFA-beater. Not so much, anymore. Shout out to the Pierluigi Collina stans - Pro Evo 3 sure was a moment, huh.

Karous cover art
Karous cover art

SEGA Dreamcast:

Karous - March 8 2007 (Japan)

The poor, poor Dreamcast. Beloved by countless players, but bought by nowhere nearly enough of them to keep SEGA in the console-making business. (We do want a Mini of this one, though, please, SEGA, if you're reading this, thanks.)

Karous is a so-so shooter on a console that has an abundance of good and great ones, like Ikaruga, Giga Wing 2, Bangai-O and Rez. It began as an arcade game in 2006 before making the move to Dreamcast - just the six years after the console had been discontinued. The game was later released for both the Nintendo Wii and the 3DS.

Madden NFL 09
Madden NFL 09

Xbox:

Madden NFL 09 - August 12 2008 (NA)

You don't need me to explain this one, right?

Madden NFL 08
Madden NFL 08

Nintendo GameCube:

Madden NFL 08 - August 14 2007 (NA)

As above, but like, a year earlier.

SEVENTH GENERATION

Just Dance 2020 for the Wii
Just Dance 2020 for the Wii

Nintendo Wii:

Just Dance 2020 - November 5 2019 (WW)

This is the most recent final game on our list, and truth be told, I'm not certain it is the final game that'll land on the Wii. A little voice at the back of my head is saying, "but what about Just Dance 2021?" And I can't ignore it. The Wii might have been retired by Nintendo in 2017 (2017? Wow...), but there are millions of these machines out there, and people do love them, don't they.

Just Dance 2019 for the Xbox 360
Just Dance 2019 for the Xbox 360

Xbox 360:

Just Dance 2019 - October 25 2018 (Europe)

Another Just Dance? Another Just Dance. This one was the farewell release for the Xbox 360, my own personal favourite of the seventh-gen consoles. Unlike the Wii game(s), to play this one you need an extra peripheral, the Kinect. So naturally, sales figures for the 360 Just Dance(s) have been rather lower than the Wii ones, and that's probably why the last-gen Xbox didn't get 2020's version.

FIFA 19: Legacy Edition for the PlayStation 3
FIFA 19: Legacy Edition for the PlayStation 3

PlayStation 3:

FIFA 19: Legacy Edition - September 28 2018 (WW)

Finally, a FIFA. We made it. Thank goodness for that.

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Did we miss your classic console of choice? Drop us a line on our socials and we'll be happy to look that up for you. Probably. Let us know on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Featured Image Credit: Konami/Team17/Activision/Ubisoft

Topics: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, Retro Games

Mike Diver
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