Top Mention: Shakedown: Hawaii | $80 | Wii U
With the PS5 and Xbox Series X out in the world, the generational console lines have shifted. PS4 and Xbox One are officially last-gen, which makes the PS3 and Xbox 360 positively ancient. With how far out we are from those consoles, they’re on the verge of becoming retro. In fact, for some players who grew up with them, they already are. I don’t just mention this for the purposes of dropping a “wanna feel old?” bombshell … okay, actually maybe that’s exactly what I’m doing here. But the realization made me wonder a random question: what are the last games you can buy on seventh generation consoles?
You may be surprised to learn that every console down to the Nintendo Wii was still getting new releases even in 2020. That means that gamers who couldn’t bear to pack up their beloved consoles of yesteryear actually could get some use out of them. They may not have been getting the best AAA games out there, but even major studios like Ubisoft were still consistently supporting old consoles for some of its franchises. There’s also a handful of indie game creators who were quietly dropping some modern retro games on them.
These “end of an era” games are a bit of a collector’s item for fans, so I did some digging to find what the last games released on these consoles were, and where you can buy them. Dust off your PS3 and get ready to feed it some games.
Shakedown: Hawaii is likely the last physical game that we’ll see on most old consoles, outside of niche gimmicks. The 16-bit action game lets players free roam around Hawaii doing all sorts of island crimes. But what’s most interesting about it is that it launched on the PS3, Wii U, and the Wii in Summer 2020. Bizarrely, the game did get a physical release, which included a very limited 3,000 copy run on the Wii, which makes it a coveted collector’s item. Head over to Amazon and you’ll find copies of the Wii U version going as high as $100. Of course, you could always buy it on more modern consoles for $20, but where’s the fun in that?
I can’t mention Shakedown: Hawaii without mentioning Retro City Rampage DX, which employed the same release strategy. You have to hand it to developer Vblank here. There is truly no point in releasing a Wii game in 2020 aside from a firm commitment to the bit. While both of these games could have easily fallen off the radar in a sea of retro throwbacks, the bizarre launch decision has essentially made them timeless. No matter what, these two will always be a weird trivia party fact or a strange footnote in some gaming history book. In a time with so many games that it’s hard to stand out among the crowd, well, that’s certainly one way to do it. And considering that I’m writing about them right now and telling you how to find a copy, I suppose the gamble paid off, right?
Ubisoft’s Just Dance series is frankly infamous for hanging around way longer than it has any right to. While third-party games tend to cross release for the first few years of a generation transition, Just Dance manages to stick around as long as it possibly can. New Just Dance games were hitting the Wii, Xbox 360, and PS3 deep into 2018, as the proverbial dance floor had been entirely cleared. It’s hard to blame Ubisoft for the tactic. The games are aimed at families, so many kids are none the wiser when it comes to what consoles they own. Parents can get away with keeping an old one around the house and hoping their kid never realizes there’s a new Xbox for years. You can expect Ubisoft to use the same strategy moving forward, with Just Dance 26 inevitably launching on the PS4 years from now.
Finally, this list isn’t complete without talking about sports games. Games like Madden and FIFA are the true cockroaches of video game culture. Not because they are gross pests, but because they are survivors that will outlive us all. People who just own consoles to play a sports game don’t necessarily need to spend $500 to play the next FIFA. They just want their annual releases, complete with the slight tweaks and roster refreshes that justify another purchase. FIFA fans got more mileage out of their PS3 and Xbox 360 than any other gamers, and I’ll stand by that claim 100%. Dust off your old 360 and grab a copy of FIFA 19 if you want to see what some video games looked like just three years ago.