By Emily Barnes
At what point is a game considered “dead”? Is it when the Twitch viewership drops? Is it when Twitch streamers stop playing the game? Or is it when the patches and updates stop being released by the game’s creator? Many people will argue that a game never really dies until the game is removed from stores and the servers close down for good. We repeatedly see companies release sequel after sequel for popular games such as Call of Duty, and some games get a one off release, never to be seen again.
This article will dive into some gaming titles that may have once had their time in the spotlight, but for many reasons were completely dropped by developers/publishers. Many people will call games “dead”, but this list is going to cover and introduce you to games that you may have actually never heard of before. These ten games do not have to be forgotten and overlooked as they all can provide unique experiences and definitely deserve to be resurfaced and appreciated again. Keep reading if you’re looking for a game title that is different from all of the current popular games!
10. God Hand
God Hand is a game that was created for one of the most influential and innovative gaming consoles of all time, the Playstation 2. God Hand was released by Capcom in Japan and North America back in 2006 and was re-released in 2011 for the Playstation 3. God Hand is a single-player game that falls under the action and “beat ‘em up” gaming genres. You play as Gene, a martial arts expert who has been granted the power of God Hand. Combat takes place in 3D and the player can attack in all directions utilizing buttons for combination moves. The game is known for its combat system but has been criticized for its downfalls in graphics. I would love to see a new addition to the series that expands on the customizable combat loop present in the first game!
Singularity, released in 2010 by Activision, is the first game on this list to fall under the first-person shooter category that was available for Windows, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360. This game has a very interesting element called the Time Manipulation Device that allows the player to manipulate time. Utilizing the Time Manipulation Device and weapons available throughout the game allow you to combat and overcome Singularity, an event that has fractured time and threatens the in-game world. You can manipulate gravity, age your enemies, and even use time travel to fix broken or decayed items. The time travel aspect makes this game very unique and interesting. It’s a shame Activision brushed this IP under the rug, as it was received pretty well. I believe there is room for a new entry with a focus on a more refined time manipulation device and combat loop.
8. Too Human
Too Human is a third-person perspective game developed by Silicon Knights and published by Microsoft for the Xbox 360 in 2008. The game was originally planned for release in 1999 to the Playstation, then moved to the Nintendo Gamecube, and finally moving to release to the Xbox 360. Development complications caused the game to be delayed for almost an entire decade, falling into what people call “development hell”. Too Human allows the player to play as the lead character, a Norse god, Baldur in a science fiction world that is ruled by cyborg Norse gods who are worshipped. Character customization allows the player to pick from five classes, and throughout the game, you level up by slaying enemies and the single-player campaign includes a retelling of Norse mythology. There is also a multiplayer mode that allows two players to play together and complete quests. The art design is very different, with a combination of Norse mythology and futurism. The art design alone is a huge plus, however there were some drawbacks to the game. Combat was unsatisfying, the death sequence was way to long, and the game itself was too short. I would love to see a new entry that fixes the combat, while also keeping the art direction of the original. Futuristic Norse mythology visuals powered by next gen systems? Whew, count me in!
7. Crimson Skies
Crimson Skies is a unique member of this list as it was originally released as a board game in 1998, then as a PC game in 2000, and finally an Xbox game released in 2003. The game was created by Jordan Weisman and Dave Mccoy and is set in an alternate history of the 1930s where America as we know it has collapsed completely and has separated into several independent nations instead. Air travel has become very popular in this alternate universe, creating the very interesting concept of Air Pirates in the Crimson Skies. The gameplay mainly involves controlling aircraft including customization options and danger zones that provide challenging areas to fly through unscathed. The game was considerably popular even though it had several bugs affecting gameplay. I believe this franchise can make a comeback due to its unique setting, casual gameplay (as opposed to flight sims), and because there is a severe lack of flight games in the market right now.
6. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
Kingdoms of Amalur, released by Big Huge Games and 38 Studios in 2012, is an action role-playing game available for Microsoft Windows, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360. Kingdoms of Amalur provides a very immersive and customizable experience with five regions, three class trees with 22 abilities each, and four races for players to choose from. The game’s combat is based on the time players press buttons and can develop something called fate points through defeating enemies. Fate points allow the player to enter “Reckoning Mode” which makes the game go into slow motion and allows you to kill enemies much easier. This game actually just missed being in our top 10 games of the decade! It’s sad that such a rich world was squandered with just one game. A sequel that raises the bar, ever so slightly over the original, would be a force to reckon with. (I had to do it!)
Half way through and this list is getting harder and harder to write… So many great IPs just gone, but this one really hits home. Socom, originally released in 2002 for the Playstation 2 by Sony Computer Entertainment, is a series of third-person tactical shooter game. This series was also released for the Playstation 3 and Playstation Portable (which is where the series started going downhill), proving just how popular it was during its original time frame. The game is centered around several the United States Navy Seals teams and completing missions from the help of organizations and teams from all over the globe. Ten games in total have been released from the Socom franchise, and the latest release was back in 2011. Anybody who had a PS2 back in the day played Socoms 1, 2, and 3, as the online portion was huge at the time. Very few games to me have come close to replicating the tactical gameplay of Socom. With a resurgence in slow-tactical games recently (Looking at you Rainbow Six: Siege) I believe a new Socom game, that uses Socom 2 as a launchpad, would be very successful.
Conker is a very different title compared to the ones we’ve discussed on this list so far. Conker is a cartoon platforming game series that was first released in 1999 and the latest release in 2005. The games were created for the following gaming consoles and platforms: Gameboy Color, Nintendo 64, Xbox, and Microsoft HoloLens. This game provides many different experiences, some that are more suited for adult players. Conker follows the character Conker the Squirrel, an alcohol loving squirrel who must overcome obstacles in order to get back home to his girlfriend. Conker was praised for its clever humor and appealing graphics and cartoons but fell short due to limited advertisement. A sequel to Conker’s Bad Fur day is something that I, and many fans, have long awaited. Also, no the Project Spark release called Conker’s Reunion does not count as a sequel! It was never finished and it was terrible. We need a proper sequel!
3. Freedom Fighters
Freedom Fighters is a third-person shooter game that was released in 2003 by EA Games for the Gamecube, Playstation 2, Microsoft Windows, and Xbox. This game is very interesting as it is set in an alternate reality where the Soviet Union has completely conquered New York City. The player plays as Christopher Stone, a plumber who has decided to become a resistance leader against the Soviet Union invaders. The gameplay involves navigating the streets of New York City and controlling your squad of teammates to fight against invaders and gain charisma points by completing tasks throughout the game. The more charisma points you have the more squad mates you can accumulate, the maximum being 12 members. There is also a multiplayer mode that revolves around securing bunkers and flags. A sequel with and open world NYC, gathering various different groups to join your Freedom Fighter army through the 5 boroughs is something I have dreamed about since 2003. Make it happen EA!
The second game to make this list is the F-Zeros series. This game is the only racing title to make this list. Published by Nintendo and first released in 1990, this game is well known for many positive aspects including challenging gameplay, characters, settings, and breaking records as an extremely fast racing game. The series has remained stagnant since the last release in 2004, but over those years ten games were released for the following platforms: Gameboy Advance, Arcade, iQue Player, Nintendo 64, 64DD, GameCube, Satellaview, and finally the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Players have to overcome obstacles on racetracks to beat their opponents to the finish line and speed boosts are often rewarded for each lap completed. While racing games might not be the biggest genre in gaming, they definitely have a devote following. So far, I have not seen anything like F-Zero in recent years and believe it could shake up the racing genre if done right. Nintendo please put Mario Kart 100 on the back burner and bring back F-Zero!
1. Jade Empire
Jade Empire is an action-based role-playing game that was developed by Bioware and published by Microsoft Game Studios in 2005 for the Xbox. Jade Empire is set in a world of Chinese Mythology, and the player plays as the surviving Spirit Monk whose endgame is to rescue their tutor Master Li and to defeat the Emperor named Sun Hai. You can impact the story through morally based dialogue decision making that alters the course of the story and gameplay. You will complete quests, defeat enemies, and follow the game’s narrative and storyline. I still have not forgiven Bioware for not releasing a sequel to this game. This game’s setting, characters, lore, and martial arts focused combat are all fantastically unique and should have been expanded on in sequels. If you have not played Jade Empire, I implore you to go download it right now!
In conclusion, I feel some developers/publishers have to take a look at some old IPs that have potential to be revitalized. I’m sure there are many varying opinions on the subject, but I feel every game on this list provided such a unique experience. If you have not played any games on this list, I hope this list gave you some new ideas for games to play, and remember to always come back to our website for helpful lists for all kinds of games!