The Burning Question: What is the most excited you’ve ever been for a game or console launch?

Hey, we’re all human. We can’t help it when we get a little over excited (it’s called hype, but I hate that word) for something we’ve been waiting and anticipating for a long time. At some point, we’ve all had sleepless nights in our excitement of waiting for that special game or console. I’ve experienced it many times in my life, especially with the launch of the Nintendo Switch last year, but there are two moments I’ll never forget.

Today it’s common to live by the release date of a game. Back in the 80s and early 90s you barely had a clue what game launched when or when it would arrive at your local store. You’d head there and you would pick up a game you had no idea existed. However, the PS1 era was where I slowly but surely made myself more familiar with release dates. I had just bought and played the Director’s Cut of Resident Evil that came with the Resident Evil 2 demo. I think I played the Resident Evil 2 demo well over 50 times. I absolutely fell in love with it and recall having dreams about the game back then. My anticipation for its release was unequalled at the time and thankfully I bought my games from a dedicated video game store (Golden Child Video Games) in Durban, where I had friends who worked behind the counter. Their instructions were simple – phone me when the game arrives. The day had come and I picked it up in early February of 1998 (a few months before its PAL release, as I had an NTSC PS1). My friends all visited and off we went to visit Raccoon City. It was glorious and of course, it lived up to all my expectations and then some.

But, there is no bigger day in my life than the day PS2 launched.

I remember that era so clearly. Dreamcast? Pfft! PS2 was going to steamroll it, and it’s got DVD! That’s half the reason I was so excited. Up to that point I did not own a DVD player and was still using a clumsy VHS machine (I always think of earbuds when I think of VHS recorders. Anyway, moving on). Also, I had seen the future of Tekken Tag Tournament and Ridge Racer V. On CNN they ran a broadcast of a delayed PS2 launch, showing after midnight back home and it was just getting too much for me. The PS2 was going to be when the next generation starts and there was no doubt – I was going to own it on launch day.

Then the one day I got word from someone that the PS2 had arrived at Makro (this is in Pietermaritzburg). After work, I jumped in my car, picked up my wife (then girlfriend) and rushed to Makro. There it was in all its glory. I remember the console physically being a bit smaller than I had dreamed up, but there it was – my future. The cost? R4,500. Now, back then it was super expensive… especially when you consider that that number, at the time, ate up more than half my salary. Efforts had to be doubled because that PS2 had to be in my house.

I lived in a tiny 1-bedroom simplex back in 2001, but my neighbour who is a good friend to this day worked for his dad in their pawnshop. Therefore my work PC had to be sold (a little Pentium). He sold it to some poor lady for R4,500, which was just enough to fund my PS2 console. He brought the cash home and I recall tossing and turning in my bed all night. I just wanted daybreak to arrive and the long ass day of work to vanish so I could rush off to Makro. After what felt like forever I finally got there and picked up that beautiful blue box of heaven. Along with it, I bought The Last Boy Scout on DVD and that’s that. I had to do with a demo for a month as I had depleted all my funds. On the way home I was in the passenger seat opening up the box and looking at what else was inside. The excitement was at an all new high and I simply could not wait. That was just too much to ask my brain filled with euphoria at that stage. That SSX demo got played to death until I bought my first game, Dead or Alive 2, a month later. In my friend circle, I was the first guy to own the PS2 and recall the nights I would have people visit us just to see what the PS2 looked like and what it could do. The PS2 wasn’t just a games console, it was the entertainment hub that friends and I would enjoy for years to come.

I don’t think I ever had a time in my life since that era that I was quite as excited for something new in this industry as that particular era. What moment do you think back to? What game or console had you quite literally having sleepless nights with excitement leading up to launch?

Married to a gamer and she kicks my ass at most shooters. If the game is enjoyable I'll play it, no matter the format.
  • MonsterCheddar

    I only got my Xbox One a year after it launched and my PS4 this past December. Not really in a financial position to get excited.
    More a case of I will get excited when I can afford it. 😀

    • Valshen

      Nothing wrong with that. Possibly a more healthy mindset that letting FOMO dip you into debt or selling shit to get things that will still be there later.

      • MonsterCheddar

        Indeed.

  • Spathi

    Buying my first gaming PC had me incredibly excited, more than I’ve ever been before as I’ve waited long and saved more than a year to buy it. Buying my PS3 was also very exciting and I couldn’t wait to switch it on and start playing Little Big Planet.

    Diablo 3, Mortal Kombat 3 (on PC), Mario Bros 2 on NES, Baldur’s Gate, Need for Speed (original), Command and Conquer (original) all had me struggling to sleep the night before getting the game or had me wishing the time by during the school day. Gran Turismo 5 had me going home early to play the game! Still remember buying Red Alert at the Randburg Waterfront (way back when, and it was the original!) and couldn’t wait to get back home to play it. Was not dissapointed!

    I’ve become a bit jaded and I’m struggling to think of a recent game that had me extremely excited. Maybe Escape from Tarkov…

    I’m still extremely hyped about Star Citizen and have decided not to play during the Alpha. I’m definitely going to take a day of from work to play once it releases, if I’m not retired by then 😛

    • When was it that you bought your first gaming PC?

      • Spathi

        My own gaming PC, only at university (about 2004). First family “gaming system” was a fricken ZX Spectrum (still have it) when I was about 7 years old (1990). Family got a 486-DX4 with 8mb Ram and a 500mb Hdd in 1995, which was when I first started gaming seriously on the PC. Was just as excited to get home from school to start playing Prince of Persia!

        I’m fairly platform agnostic though, don’t exclusively game on PC but it will always be my favorite platform.

        • The first time you buy your own gaming system (no matter the format) is one of the best days ever. Awesome story 🙂

        • the zx spectrum had some neat games on it.

          but pc master race all the way [in the modern era, anyway.] 😛

          [prince of persia was pretty fun.]

  • Samashan Pillay

    Lost my shit when I saw Monster Hunter world on the E3 stream. I pre-ordered soon as it was available!

  • Final Fantasy X.

    I was reading any piece of info I could get on this. And to put this into perspective. This was before I had internet because I was living in the sticks. I had one computer IT class a week and I would use that to read up on as much as I could without getting into “to much” trouble.

    I even noticed that the Mens Health had an article on it close to launch. It’s the only Mens Health mag I have ever owned and I was still ridiculed because everyone thought I bought it for those “sex tips” in the mag.

    Growing up in a small farm town as a gamer back in the day was rough xD

    • Valshen

      I had a friend of my Mom’s bring FFX back from her trip to London for me, because I was worried it would take months to get to SA. It arrived on the day I got back from hospital in Durban.

      • I had to wait for our yearly family trip to Ballito, so I could go to a musica and buy it.

    • Hell yes, I remember this time well. Was working as a web developer in PMB and I had “the best” flatscreen CRT monitor with that classic ‘Tidus standing in water’ wallpaper. I was so damn excited for that game, and it lived up to it all.

      • I think every FF fan had that Tidus wallpaper or the one where Yuna is guiding the spirits in Kilika village.

        And yes. This game just lived up to everything I was hoping it would be.

    • Global_Saffer

      “Growing up in a small farm town as a gamer back in the day was rough”

      Snap.

  • Valshen

    So one year I travelled up to Jhb for the midnight launch of a WoW expansion. (Was still living in Newcastle).

    Event was terrible, they took too long to give us the game and then went home to a slooow ass install of WOTLK before trying to get on the zep to Northrend and everything bugged out for me at 3am. Went to bed hoping for a less laggy server and learnt to wait a bit.

    • Thank the maker for pre-loads

    • As someone who lived in Vryheid (your neighbors) I can only imagine how long that day must have been xD

    • that first week or so of that launch was…

      …not good.

      i still have a directory, somewhere, of screenshots where i’m standing in howling fjord at the horde camp, but i can’t see the floor because the textures never loaded in and the world geometry was screwed.

  • Mass Effect 2. I have not been nearly as excited for any other game when they announced it.

    Close second is The Burning Crusade.

    • Actually my Vive and Beyond Good and Evil2 are more recent examples.

    • Remind me of my wife. Think it’s the first game she pre-ordered back in the day. Did not see her all weekend.

      • Hell it was the first game I pirated in years because the shipment to south africa was 4 days late.

  • Wesley

    For me, i think Diablo 3 took the cake.
    I am not saying it was the best launch, but that hype was real for me. The time gap from Diablo 2 was just waaay too long.

    • Error 37!!!

      • Wesley

        Yup… First and last midnight launch for me XD

  • DemonGamer

    Never a console , cause I always knew I’d get it years after release. I am excited when I get it though. But the last few games I was excited for was gta 5 and Battlefield 3 .

    Gta was weird cause I was disappointed in gta4 and wasn’t looking forward to 5. But at the time I was studying and a friend of mine infected me. In the end I had a countdown timer on my pc .

    Battlefield 3 will always be my first midnight release game. At the time I was heavy into online play with bad company and such , and then 3 got announced and in my books 3 will still be the best battlefield.

    And recently I’m on the edge waiting for Ace Combat . If you check my browser history it’s just ace combat and sagamer . AC5 was the first game I cried while playing so the new one has some high expectations it has to live up to.

    • I’m actually a little keen on Ace Combat 5 too. Hoping it lives up to expectations as flight sims/arcade games are rare these days. Especially on console.

  • Raidz19

    Back in the day of the PS2, no internet or knowledge given by E3…when all you had was the Musica pamflet that came in the post to inform you of the upcoming games!
    I specifically remember seeing that one of the Tomb Raiders was coming out, freaked out about the release date being soon and went to the store the same day it came out.
    I actually bought a lot of PS2 games on launch day back then. FOMO started young haha.

    • Was probably Angel of Darkness? I kinda miss being in the dark at times. Going to a shop with no clue what is on offer and then you sit there with 5 games you want, but can only walk away with one.

  • eVolVee

    Let me see. First was getting a PS2 in anticipation for GT. When I eventually got my 360 I attended all midnight launches for the Gears and Halo games.

    PS4 I got on launch day as a gift, but only had BF3 on it then. Got the Xbox One just for Gears of War 4 and Warframe.

    • Jason

      BOOOOOOO……..warframe lol

  • Timóteo Da Silva

    Hmm I think – PlayStation and Fifa World Cup 98? Does the make sense dates-wise? It wasn’t t the launch of the PS, but I think it was Fifa 98 World Cup that was the excitement which finally lead to the purchase of the PS console in our family. Just remember being super exited to play the game and the console

    • FIFA World Cup ‘98, to me, is still the best FIFA game I’ve played. Recently played it and graphically its aged poorly, but still super fun. Way more arcadey than I recall.

      • LazyDemoni

        I also played that game to death. I love the opening video with that Blur song.

      • Timóteo Da Silva

        I remember the music too… “You’ll be singing when you’re winning”

  • Stevorkz

    Resident evil 4/5. Devil may cry 3/4, metal gear solid 2/3/4/5, Diablo 3. Most probably are more but I have work to do 😛

    • I remember Resi 4 being a big day in my life as the GameCube version took years to meterialise. Of course it ended up being worth the wait.

      • Stevorkz

        I really wish i had the honor of playing the gamecube version. Funny you should mention the wait though, Resi4 can actually be the longest wait that I have ever had for any game to be honest as I clearly remember the first time I heard/read about it was a VERY old issue of Playstation magazine. As fate would have it and if i remember correctly, the one that showcased RE3 with Jill on the cover. There was a small list of upcoming games that are being released soon, in development or busy being planned for development all with release dates. Right at the bottom it said “Resident Evil 4”, then next to it instead of a release date like the others it said “out whenever”. So I guess you could say I started waiting that day. Fun memory 🙂

  • Jason

    Final Fantasy x … the only game that I have ever been excited for .. I still remember my parents getting it for my Birthday … best present ever 😛

  • Wallman

    Not an anticipated public launch, but a personal “release date”. My parents gave me the Origins Pak for Christmas (I think it was in 1997), which contained System Shock, Wing Commander 3 and Bioforge. The problem was summer holiday at the beach with no PC in sight for a few weeks. I was torn between that gift and the epic summer holiday at the beach. At night I scanned the box and its contents over and over and imagined what each game would be like (no Youtube or let’s plays to get a preview, can you imagine!). The wait was worth it and I had to be torn from the PC when we got home and I started playing.

    • those are all great games, though.

      if those were your /first/ games then you absolutely had a master class in games right there. [with maybe the exception of bioforge, which had a neat idea, but the execution was incredibly iffy.]

      • Wallman

        First *proper* PC games, yes and I couldn’t have asked for better. Absolutely agree about Bioforge. The combat especially was a pain. I still powered through though, it just took me a loooong time to get to the end.

        • yeah, that combat system wasn’t very good.

          but the ideas in it and the world around it were pretty interesting.

  • the gaming landscape was COMPLETELY different when this happened:

    i’d played and beat most of the sierra games that had come out by 1987 or so, and had devoured king’s quest 3. a lot of people didn’t like the idea of it [it wasn’t king graham as the protagonist – and he’d been the mainstay of the first two games] – instead, it was some guy who was trapped in a wizard’s house doing chores for the wizard on pain of death. [of course, the wizard kills these people he kidnaps when they DO turn 18, anyway.]

    the game took a bunch of twists and turns, but concluded with a cliffhanger. and i waited for a year and a half for that cliffhanger to get resolved. in the year and a half, the gaming press started talking about king’s quest 4, and it looked AMAZING for the time [and for sierra games in general.] and i just wanted it really badly.

    so badly, in fact, that i started sort of messing around with my own design for the game based on screenshots for it. [i don’t have the design i did anymore, or the computer-drawn art i made, but it was a blast.]

    that’s probably the most invested i’ve been in a launch.

    [and when it got released, eventually, most of it was awesome, bar the game’s “in-game” 24 hour timer. you had to complete it in a set amount of in-game time or you’d just fail.]

    • more recently [and on a lesser scale] – i couldn’t wait for dream daddy to come out. it just seemed like a blast. right now, i’m patiently waiting to see what happens with biomutant.

  • Leon Govender

    god of war 3…nuff said

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