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Genres and trends
Note: Simply being dormant for a certain amount of time does not make a genre or trend Deader Than Disco. For either to be this trope, there needs to be an ongoing backlash from both critics and fans, along with low sales for recent games and a significant decline in the amount of games released that are part of the respective genre or follow the respective trend.
- Back in the Leap to 3D era, especially on the Nintendo 64, a staple of the industry was the collectathon Platform Game, starting with Super Mario 64 and exemplified by Banjo-Kazooie and Spyro the Dragon. But by the next console generation, the genre was relegated to cheap tie-in titles and series that overstayed their welcome — even the acclaimed Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy moved away from this style of gameplay after its first installment, and Mario started to make steps to a more linear setup in Super Mario Galaxy and later fully embraced a formula reminiscent of the 2D games with 3D Land and 3D World. The reasons aren't certain, though some blame Donkey Kong 64 for breaking the spirits of gamers, with a massive and frankly unreasonable amount of collectibles (which seemed to have garnered few complaints back in the day). In fact, when the Game Grumps had him on their show as a guest, Grant Kirkhope said that one of the reasons for the jarring Genre Shift in Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts was because they thought nobody was interested in 3D platformers anymore. Sort of ironic, really, given the fanbase's reaction to the game in question as well as the fact that former Rare employees' (including Kirkhope) Banjo-Kazooie Spiritual Successor, Yooka-Laylee, took very little time to reach its funding goal on Kickstarter.
- FMV games were huge during the early '90s, and were once hailed as the future of gaming. But technology advanced and the genre got a reputation for shovelware, and by the end of the decade, developers and customers alike treated the genre as though it had been put on the sex offender registry.
- RDI Video Systems was a corporation that quickly went from rags to riches in the early-to-mid 80s thanks to them finding a huge market for laserdisc based arcade games, with games like Dragon's Lair. Don Bluth, in news footage extolling said game, said in effect "Hollywood is now getting into the interactive business, with writers and actors involved with gaming." With the huge success they had it was obvious that they would cement their legacy by trying to have a hand in the (then dead) console market and they created the RDI Halcyon game console, noted for being more advanced than even the most advanced high-end PC's of its time (having features such as voice-activation and fluid animation of Disney level quality, which PC gamers of the time could only dream of) and for being hand-made. The problem? The price for one console was a whopping $2500 ($4952 after inflation, roughly twice the price of a fully-loaded gaming PC) and only two games were made for it. It only sold 13 units, making it the lowest selling video game console of all time and RDI went bankrupt after this.
- Digitized Sprites (sprites made up of scanned images rather than bitmaps) enjoyed a day in the limelight from about 1992note to 1996 but are now happily forgotten, being only used in the odd handheld game, and even that is exceedingly rare now. Pre-rendered sprites (sprites made up of scanned images produced by external 3D rendering software), especially, are largely a thing of the past now. In retrospect, what was once lauded as the new cutting edge just looks cheap and ugly 90% of the time, especially with the current generation using consoles capable of far better graphics than could have been pre-rendered at the timenote . DVD storage limits also preclude high definition FMV to match the HD capabilities of today's consoles.
Using pre-rendered shadows and lighting information with regular 3D graphics, however, has averted this fate for a long time due to processing power limitations preventing large-scale levels from being fully dynamically lighted. However, recent releases (with Crysis being one of the first) are now computing all lighting dynamically, thus allowing for new lighting techniques and faster development workflows. While one might assume pre-rendered lighting will become Deader Than Disco soon, the advent of mobile platforms and increasing attention to low-end platforms are keeping it relevant.
- Interactive Fiction, also known as Text Adventures, as popularized by Zork and the rest of the Infocom line, Infocom being the standard by which all text adventures were measured. By the beginning of The '90s, more powerful computers meant better graphics, which meant the end of text oriented games. There is a sizable hobbyist community around interactive fiction, but a significant amount of them are more literary than adventure oriented, while the genre in general is heavily associated with Guide Dang It as a result of Combinatorial Explosions.
- The Rail Shooter and its close cousin, the Light Gun Game. A combination of the collapse of the arcade industry (where such games were hugely successful), the difficulty of replicating the gameplay on a controller, and the rise of complex first- and third-person shooters in the '00s has rendered such games obsolete, seen as a rigid, stifling relic, and the genres are now largely found in budget titles. When a game today does feature an on-rails or turret-based sequence, it will be criticized for taking control away from the player. A contributing factor is likely the conversion to flatscreen televisions. Cathode-ray televisions all display the same way, but current televisions have wildly different refresh rates, interlacing, and being LCD or plasma. One of the methods lightguns can use to determine placement is by whiting the screen and having the photo-receptive diode in the gun register how many milliseconds it takes for the interlacing to white where it is pointed. With old televisions, this would be a known constant and visible to the naked eye as a screen flash. Newer televisions are capable of various faster refresh rates and are generally less than six millisecondsnote .
- When video games went onto CD and DVD formats, it wasn't surprising to see large games requiring multiple discs and the game prompting the player to swap discs when it was time to load assets and event flags on the next disc. With Blu-ray becoming the norm by having a ton of disc space to work with (thanks to the PlayStation 3 making it feasible), the idea of swapping discs during game time is almost unheard of by people who didn't grow up with the concept. Early PC games were also subjected to disc swapping until advancements in hard drive storage and internet download speeds improved to the point where you don't need to worry about swapping out discs.
- Motion controls were once held as the next revolution in gaming, much like the analog stick. When Nintendo unveiled the Wii it became an overnight craze due to how amazing motion controls seemed at the time. For that alone, it sold like nuclear hotcakes and quickly outpaced the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 as the best-selling console of the Seventh Generation, which led Microsoft and Sony to produce motion controls for their own consoles. Will Wright even famously stated that the Wii was the only true next-gen console for introducing a new way to play video games, rather than just improving graphics.
By The New Tens however, motion controls lost much of its luster. The general consensus was that they were largely a gimmick that failed to produce many real quality games. The market became over-saturated with shovelware motion control games that tried to capitalize on its popularity. By the Eighth Generation, motion controls became all but dead. Most developers completely avoid putting motion controls in their games, while games that functioned almost entirely on motion controls are almost completely dead (Just Dance seems to be the only survivor). Even Nintendo tried to market the Wii U by significantly downplaying the presence of its motion controls in favor of controller-based gaming. However, what really drove home the fact that motion controls are dead was when Microsoft released a Kinect-less SKU of the Xbox One and saw more than double their sales afterwards. While retirement homes worldwide will still use the Wii for some time to come, the idea that motion controls are the "next revolution in gaming" is completely laughable today.
- Certain plot elements in video games have either changed over the years or have been abolished entirely. In the early days of gaming, most plots were either Saving the World or Save the Princess, which served as nothing more than an Excuse Plot so that the player has something to keep himself busy. Nowadays, plots that rely on saving the world are much more complex and, depending on the story, may come with more complications than the characters first realized. Plots involving saving a princess (or any Damsel in Distress for that matter) are now typically used as a secondary plot that drives the main plot. The Super Mario Bros. series still plays the princess-saving trope completely straight due to the Grandfather Clause, though sometimes the games may change things up a bit to keep it interesting.
- Around the turn of the millennium, graphing calculator games (i.e., video games you could play on a Texas Instruments brand graphing calculator such as the TI-86) were very popular among high school and college students. Needless to say, the rise in cell phone gaming (first with flip phones and later with smart phones), abruptly put an end to this trend.
- The whole concept of The [Popular Video Game] Killer has become a mockery within the console gaming community. While one could argue the idea began with the release of Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Genesis, it didn't really become a trend until the Fifth Generation of console gaming when the Nintendo 64 was gearing up for launch. Super Mario 64 was the system's flagship game, and both Sega and Sony were prepping suitable Mario 64 Killers to crash the game's inevitable success. While both companies' games were successful in their own right, neither made a significant dent in Mario 64's fanfare and popularity. Nonetheless, this started an ongoing trend where any holiday blockbuster would have a corresponding "killer" from a rival company (for another fifth generation example, see Brave Fencer Musashi — Sony's supposed The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time killer). This trend really began to dwindle during the Seventh Generation, thanks to the rise in cross platform games and the historical failure of most "[Popular Video Game] Killers" to match the games they were trying to upstage. Today, the term is seen as a red flag when used, and almost no self respecting game company hypes their games as such anymore.
Likewise, console game companies in the 1990s and 2000s would take potshots at each other ("Genesis does what Nintendon't" for example) in a way similar to two politicians mudslinging each other to gain votes. Nowadays, game companies rarely insult each other and any jabs that are made are done in a light hearted manner. While some people in game studios still sling insults at their rivals/rival games, those that do are usually met with scorn by the gaming community for looking immature. This tactic is however still frequently employed by PC gaming companies who are much less willing to make console-releases of their games. Star Citizen, a game that has become infamous for its developer, who has stated multiple times that the game will prove to everyone that PC gaming is better than console gaming, is the most funded thing ever on Kickstarter.
- Excessively and pointlessly vulgar (and often overtly hateful) ROM hacks, once a semi-common sight throughout the late nineties to the mid-'00s, appear to have died out completely (or simply don't get the reactions they used to), perhaps due to their creators eventually maturing out of the mindset that would have found those hacks amusing, or simply the glut of romhacks, obscene and otherwise, lessening the punch of learning that 'there's a racist mario hack'.
- While 3D movies remain stubbornly widespread, few would argue that the simultaneous fad for console and PC gaming with 3D glasses ended up amounting to very little. Even on the Nintendo 3DS, the 3D mode is widely seen as just a useless gimmick that massively hurts battery life and frame rate. On the PC side at least, however, 3D did leave one lasting legacy in the introduction of 120Hz LCD monitors (60Hz having been the standard for the better part of a decade), which in turn resulted in 144Hz monitors and even variable refresh rate systems.
- The Sega CD. Though this add-on for the Sega Genesis has been the butt of game-related inside jokes for the past two decades, it was actually seen as very innovative and a legitimate threat to Nintendo in the Console Wars upon release. While it certainly wasn't the first time console gamers had the option of playing with a CD-based peripheral, it was arguably the first time the then-emerging CD-ROM format gained significant mainstream recognition in the console scene. Electronic Gaming Monthly, in particular, praised the add-on to the heavens, awarding it "Best New Peripheral Of 1992." And, while Nintendo fans were busy playing through The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Super Mario Kart, Sega fans were boasting, "OMG! We have Night Trap!!! Which has REAL ACTORS and is profane as hell!!!"
Unfortunately, once the awe over the CD-ROM format died down and it came time to actually play the Sega CD, gamers found a weak game library that made very poor use of the CD format. Many of its games were little more than cheaply made FMV games (see the corresponding entry above for further details), while those that weren't were usually just Genesis games with CD soundtracks and FMV cutscenes. What's more, being an add-on for the Genesis, the Sega CD fell victim to its parent system's technological shortcomings: load times were maddening, and the add-on's use of the Genesis's measly 64 color palette meant that the much touted FMV clips were blurry, grainy messes that couldn't even be displayed in full screen. Combined with the add-on's notoriously high price point (it cost almost as much as two Genesis systems) and the immediate release of technologically superior CD-based systems like the Panasonic 3DO, the Sega CD was soon relegated to the video game dustbin, being officially discontinued less than four years after release and now being seen as a prime example of why add-ons often crash and burn.
- Yaoi Genre eroge used to be big at the early 2000s at the Eroge scene, with many developers (including Alice Soft) having a division dedicated to make these. Today, Yaoi games is a dying genre, seen as the video game equivalent of soap operas by many, with Nitro+Chiral (itself a division of Nitro+) as the one who still makes these games. However with the advent of doujinshi games, thos genre is slowly coming back. Sadly, commercial/big-budget yaoi games haven't made a significant comeback, despite the popularity of Nitro+Chiral games. Ironically, one of the biggest commercial/big-budget yaoi Eroge games today, Coming Out On Top, has only been released in New Zealand . Its very likely that the genre will become more thriving there than it ever will be in Japan ever.
- Yuri Genre eroge was this trope too, as when this genre was first explored, pure yuri titles were overshadowed by high-quality Bishoujo Games. This genre became this trope until the popularity of Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke wo series. It's slowly coming back and as of today, it became a quite profitable genre (although not as profitable as bishoujo games)
- Back in the 80s, handhelds that only played one game, like the Game & Watch series, were fairly popular. However, the fact that many were low quality, as well as the increase in popularity of more powerful and versatile Handhelds, like The Game Boy, basically killed off the genre. Game & Watch has had increased popularity since Mr. Game And Watch became a Character in Super Smash Bros. Melee, but most other one-game handhelds have died.
- Silent protagonists were generally accepted in the early days of video games since having voice acting in a game wasn't possible yet and players enjoyed immersing themselves as the protagonist. As characters grew more developed, voice acting began to define characters, although some games used a mixture of silent protagonists with everyone else being voiced. Once playable characters having a voice became the norm, gamers and critics alike grew tired of the silent playable character shtick since it makes character interaction extremely awkward due to either the player character getting strung along without having any say in the matter or the other characters act like they know what the hero said or thought. Nintendo games still use the mute hero gimmick with Voice Grunting to this day and they usually get a free pass due to the Grandfather Clause, and some big name games like the 2016 Doom use a silent protagonist, but it's unlikely to become the norm.
- Fixed camera angles for 3D games. Back when it was the norm, people didn't mind fixed cameras because of how dynamic the game had looked with them (One example: Resident Evil was popular for using it to enhance the scares). As controls improved over time, fixed camera angles were quickly blasted by players and critics alike for inducing Camera Screw and making controls awkward to use. This holds especially true for games that have a free range camera and then a section in the game suddenly switches to fixed perspective.
- Unlicensed video games for consoles. Back in the NES/SNES eras (and before that, when platform control by the manufacturer was very limited), various companies like Wisdom Tree and the like released various unlicensed and sometimes pirated games for the different systems. Stuff like Action 52 got "published" this way as well. But since a few generations ago, these types of games seem to have become extinct, likely for the following reasons: The expertise and effort needed to make a console game has gone up significantly, so it's less feasible for either a small company/group or a one-man band to try and compete any more. Firmware updates mean that circumventing the lockout mechanisms for game systems is much more difficult, and so both unlicensed ripoffs like Action 52 and outright illegal pirate games (like all those sticking Mario or other famous characters in unrelated titles) can be blocked after their release date.
- The Sprite/Polygon Mix technique was seen as revolutionary in the 1990s since it allowed for highly detailed environments to be rendered without the processing power of a full 3D environment. Games like Final Fantasy and Resident Evil were known for having realistic backgrounds and gave the illusion of 3D. Over time, people began to see the Sprite/Polygon Mix in video games as a cheap gimmick whose visuals are heavily outdated and fully rendered 3D areas just look better now that games have the power to render them in high detail.
- Modern military shooters were huge after the breakthrough smash of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and ruled over most of The Seventh Generation of Console Video Games. largely because they were a place where most people would socially interact with each other. But just before the eighth generation hit, they started to suffer a decline because the market that used to play those games has moved away from it with the releases of smartphones and tablets (which allow for more social interaction). The massive oversaturation, unrelated games being saddled with their mechanics to try and Follow the Leader, heaps of Unfortunate Implications, and the release of more thoughtful and deconstructive shooters like Bioshock Infinite and Spec Ops: The Line, as well as the successes of recent old school-style shooters such as Wolfenstein: The New Order and Shadow Warrior (2013), also killed hopes that another audience would be attracted by them. The death of the Medal of Honor franchise with the failure of Warfighter, which helped codify most of the tropes that served as staples of the genre, was also a large loss. Even the two titans of the genre, Call of Duty and Battlefield, have begun to move away from the formula. It still exists but most would only be cult hits by modern standards.
- While the Survival Sandbox genre is still going strong, one of its offshoots, the open-world zombie survival game, has become this. Pioneered by DayZ and State of Decay, the genre took off in the early '10s as a reinvention of the Survival Horror genre, one that finally allowed people to play what many had long considered a dream game: survival in a full-blown Zombie Apocalypse in a way that past games like Resident Evil never truly realized. Inevitably, shovelware developers started cashing in on the trend; a common joke about the copycats was that all they did was slap buzzwords like "zombies", "survival", and "crafting" on the description and call it a day. Survival games with online functionality gained reputations for playerbases filled with trolls, many games in Steam Early Access wound up as unfinished vaporware, and even DayZ began to lose its luster in the community due to a growing number of unpatched bugs. Nowadays, new games in the genre are seen as the domain of hacks trying to get rich quick.
Specific games and series
- In the late '90s, Duke Nukem was quite possibly the coolest video game hero (or rather, Anti-Hero) in existence. Duke Nukem 3D was seen as a landmark shooter, not just for its at-the-time awe-inspiring sense of freedom, but for the wisecracking, steroid-pumped babe-magnet that was Duke himself. Anticipation for his follow-up game, Duke Nukem Forever, was through the roof.
Unfortunately, Duke's time in the spotlight would not last long. Duke Nukem Forever had a notoriously long and chaotic development history (detailed here), with the final game not being released until 2011, more than 14 years after it was announced — and when it was finally released, it was a dud, not just for its clunky gameplay and half-baked ideas, but also for falling victim to changing social mores. What was once seen as possibly the most awesome and badass protagonist in all of gaming was now seen as a racist, sexist, juvenile pervert. Gearbox (the company that finally finished and released the game) vehemently defended the game, saying that players simply didn't get its humor, but the general consensus was that the game's "humor" fell horribly flat, especially in the wake of games like the Grand Theft Auto series that managed to deliver similar edgy, boundary-breaking humor with more intelligence and maturity. While there has been talk of a possible franchise reboot, it's more likely that Duke Nukem Forever will (ironically enough) be the last game where he'll be seen.
- Acclaim was once a major third party. Now they are remembered mostly for two things, bad licensed games, and LJN.
- Originally, Driver and its sequel were seen as a revolution in gaming in that they were (together with Body Harvest and Ocarina of Time) some of the first games to let you openly explore a 3D environment, pre-dating the Grand Theft Auto series in this regard. Nowadays, the Driver series has a cult following at best due to the third game onwards following in the footsteps of the GTA series, with mixed results. Though in 2011 Driver: San Francisco was release to better acclaim then the previous few titles. So while the series may not be going away just yet, nowadays Driver is no longer seen as the groundbreaking title that it was early on, with the Saints Row series (or later, Watch_Dogs) taking up the mantel of being GTA's rival.
- Clayfighter was one of the more popular street fighting games of the fourth generation, ironically just as much with parents as with children, for being a more cartoonish, less gory take on the traditional street fighting games of that era. Unfortunately, the series lost a number of fans with Clayfighter 2: Judgment Clay for the game's darker tone and omission of a number of fan-favorite fighters like Blue Suede Goo. When the anticipated N64 sequel Clayfighter 63⅓ was finally released after a rather troubled development history, it was an unfinished mess with choppy animation, utterly broken gameplay, and the same dark tone people complained about with C2 (plus, all the fighters dropped in C2 remained MIA, and many fighters introduced in C2 joined them). The game was so broken, in fact, that six months later a rental-only update that addressed some (but certainly not all) of the game's problems was released. Meanwhile, a PlayStation version titled Clayfighter X-treme was almost finished but cancelled at the last minute. Even the once-popular original is now seen as not much better in hindsight, and despite a rumored WiiWare sequel that never materialized, the series is unlikely to ever make a comeback.
- When the first Turok game released on the Nintendo 64, it was lauded for its then-lush graphics and solid first-person shooting gameplay. Unfortunately, when GoldenEye (1997) was released and wowed everybody with its perfectly intuitive control scheme, stellar objective-based single player campaign, and amazing multiplayer mode, the flaws of the original Turok (namely its bizarre C-button dominated control scheme, confusing "collectathon" gameplay, and lack of multiplayer) became much less forgivable. While Turok 2: Seeds Of Evil was highly regarded upon release (though probably more for its at-the-time eye popping graphics than gameplay), Turok 3: Shadow Of Oblivion was largely ignored, thanks in no small part to the fact that it was released a mere three months after Perfect Dark. The fourth main game, Turok Evolution received mixed reviews and underperformed in sales. After the underwhelming commercial performance of the 2008 Turok reboot, it's not too likely the series will return.
- When it was first released on the Nintendo Entertainment System, Deadly Towers was hailed as a revolutionary title for its varied exploration for its time; as it was one of the first RPGs on NES. Decades later, between the game's cheap nature, confusing design, and the fact that better RPGs were available not long after, it now shows up regularly on lists of the worst NES games ever.
- Battle Arena Toshinden was considered a Killer App at the time of its release due to it being one of the earliest 3D fighting games (and the first weapons-based 3D fighter) and was showered with rave reviews. The sequels were less well received (in fact, Battle Arena Toshinden URA for the Sega Saturn was the first game to earn a 0.5 Fun Factor in Gamepro Magazine), and the series itself was overshadowed by the likes of other 3D fighting games such as Tekken and Virtua Fighter. Critics and fans who decided to revisit the original were far less kind to it, claiming the game aged poorly. Tomy and DreamFactory tried to reboot the franchise on the Wii, but it was largely ignored. Today, you're more likely to find fans of Saber Marionette J (which it shares a character designer with) than this.
- While forgotten today, Tiger Electronics was a major force in handheld gaming in the '80s and '90s. They released small handheld LCD games that were really cheap and could all be bought separately. Their peak was in the early '90s, during which time they licensed almost every movie and TV show that was popular at the time, and even released handheld versions of games from other companies (they made LCD versions of Sonic 2 and Mortal Kombat, for example). They also released Giga Pets, probably the most successful of the many, many competitors of Tamagotchi. However, in 1998 they were bought out by Hasbro, and they largely abandoned making handheld games after their Furby toy became a runaway hit, causing them to focus more on electronic toys for Hasbro in an attempt to make lightning strike twice. Most of these toys, like the HitClips music player, the VideoNow video player, and the NetJet video game console, failed to catch on. Today, the Tiger Electronics brand is largely dead outside of Furby and its spinoffs, and the games that they made are now considered laughably primitive, especially once the Game Boy brought an NES-level gaming experience to handhelds. The review of them by a certain someone only cemented it.
- The DJMAX Technika series used to be very popular in arcades, surpassing the popularity of other rhythm games wherever Technika machines existed. Unfortunately, in 2012, DJMAX Technika 3 updates abruptly ceased, causing the series to plunge in popularity, which was not helped by the developer Pentavision folding and being absorbed into Neowiz. At the end of 2013, the servers for Technika 3's online functionality were removed, preventing anyone from ever accessing their data (e.g. unlocks) ever again. Today, the "proper" response to someone mentioning Technika or even just the DJMAX franchise in general is a snarky comment denying all existence of the series.
- The Hello Engine in Mario Fan Gaming has come into this. Back in its day, this was a game engine that worked like a level editor for full Mario fan games, with it having numerous built in resources based on games like Super Mario Bros. 1, 2, 3 and World. However, it's fallen into decline for a few notable reasons: Way, way too many people made awful games with it (due to treating a game engine as a level editor for Mario games) that the engine's reputation sank in about three or four years. The fact Hello himself (the creator of said engine) had a reputation for making tons of Mission Pack Sequels with said engine without changing a whole lot didn't help either. The engine was plagued with bugs in all forms, with some notable ones including glitched sliding mechanics (in earlier versions), getting stuck in objects and losing all momentum when entering new rooms. No one making the terrible games ever usually bothered to fix any of this, so the experience was usually a miserable one when coupled with extremely difficult or poor level design. Mario Fan Games Galaxy started just rejecting anything made with said engine (that didn't make massive changes to it) to avoid the flood of crap, meaning that many people moved to different engines or stuff in order to not worry about being accepted. As a result, the engine went from 'hottest thing ever' to 'complete joke' in a short time, with the only major games using it being either Fusion Fangaming projects (Mushroom Kingdom Fusion and Super Mario Fusion Revival) or joke games (many of which edited the engine significantly).
- J2E's Fan Translation of Final Fantasy IV was once highly regarded, praised for a lack of Bowdlerization and not having the initial localization's lowered difficulty. However, as people got wiser, a translated version of the original script became easier to get, and, perhaps more to the point, Legends of Localization ripped it apart, its flaws have become obvious. The script has been criticized for questionable translations, ill-fitting pop culture references, a general sense of unprofessionalism, stealing lines from the original SNES localization, and many supposedly Bowdlerized lines actually being made up by J2E, it came to be widely mocked and considered to be everything wrong with Fan Translations. In addition, Final Fantasy IV: Namingway Edition seeks to restore the original version from the US version, precisely because of the Fan Translation being so poor. (For what it's worth, the aforementioned Legends of Localization still considers it better than the PlayStation 1 script.)
- In 2009 and 2010 Starry Sky was one of the biggest and most beloved otome game franchises. Now it's a dead horse, despite Honeybee still releasing ports of the games on several platforms.
- Bubsy was originally hyped as the next Sonic the Hedgehog. Electronic Gaming Monthly even gave him an award for being the most hyped character of 1993. When the first game came out, it received mostly favorable reviews. However, a combination of a failed cartoon and sequels that got less and less positive reaction per installment (ranging from the painfully mediocre Bubsy 2 to the trainwreck that was Bubsy 3D) have put this bobcat to sleep. History hasn't been kind to the original game either. Many who have revisited the first installment view it as everything wrong with mascot-based platformers, citing problems such as slippery controls and Bubsy himself being annoying. Not helping was an ill-concieved cartoon pilot, and Sonic himself has lost his untouchable status.
- Bug! for the Sega Saturn is in a very similar boat. In 1995, the game was highly acclaimed and seen as being the system's big Killer App. Of course, it probably helped that there wasn't much else available for the Saturn at the time, and neither the Nintendo 64 nor PlayStation had launched yet. But the game also had the (rather important) distinction of being probably the first platformer to allow movement in all four directions. It garnered 9's and 10's across the board, with even Steven Spielberg proclaiming (to paraphrase) that it would be to the Saturn what Sonic was to the Genesis. Unfortunately, once competing games like Jumping Flash! and especially Super Mario 64 were released, a backlash set in, and Bug! was quickly cast aside by reviewers and gamers. Many retrospectively criticized the game for its confusing level design, lack of true 3D freedom (you could only move on one axis at a time) and annoying main character. The sequel Bug Too! came and went, with critics giving it lukewarm reviews and gamers largely ignoring it. The series has been forgotten ever since, only ever being brought up as a prime example of everything that was wrong with the Video Game 3D Leap in its early stages.
- Heboris: Unoffical Expansion was initally the go-to open-source PC clone of Tetris. However, the code was a mess, and as a result, attempts to modify it were left futile. It's been superseded by NullpoMino, which is far easier to modify. Generally speaking, if any Tetris guide recommends Heboris, it's outdated.
- The James Bond license across the board has become this. After GoldenEye (1997) became a smashing success, Bond was one of the hottest licenses in all of gaming. When Electronic Arts snagged the James Bond license later that year, there was much pressure put on the company to top Rare's masterpiece with their first Bond game, based on Tomorrow Never Dies.
Unfortunately, EA's dabblings with the James Bond license would prove to be a very mixed bag. Tomorrow Never Dies (despite being, according to its developers, closely modeled after Goldeneye) was widely panned for its short length, subpar graphics, and generally shoddy gameplay. While The World Is Not Enough was much better received (and even seen by some as a worthy successor to Goldeneye), the game had the unfortunate luck of being released at the end of the Nintendo 64's lifespan. So it (perhaps undeservingly) came and went with little recognition. During the following generation, EA released several more Bond games. While each game was good (or at least playable) in its own right, none managed to approach the critical nor commercial success of Goldeneye. A little later, Activision scooped up the Bond license and released several games, including a modernized remake of Goldeneye. While the remake was well received and had decent sales overall, Activision's other Bond games were both critical and commercial disappointments. After 2012's 007 Legends flopped, developer Eurocom was forced to shut down. The James Bond license has been dormant ever since — now seen as a dreaded video game license that was, more than anything else, killed by the ridiculously high standards the original Goldeneye set for it. It doesn't help that Goldeneye hasn't aged all that well.
- The Legend Of Zelda C Di Games for the Philips CD-i were received positively at the time of their releases. Almost a decade later, with the Internet being in more people's houses, some fans decided to give the CD-i games a chance. The reception was quickly turned from positive to overwhelmingly negative, citing the cumbersome controls, infamous cut scene animation and other factors. The failure of the CD-i games may have been why there was a long drought for Zelda games until Ocarina of Time, which was released to unanimously positive reception.
- The first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles NES game was well-regarded at the time of its release, winning Nintendo Power's Game of the Year Award for 1989, and selling four million copies. However, time hasn't been kind to the game at all. Players who decided to give the game another go years after its release cited the Nintendo Hard difficulty, the many liberties the game took with the Turtles license, and unbalanced player characters are reasons for the game's many flaws that were bound to be inescapable. Nowadays; the more well-regarded TMNT games of the 8-bit and 16-bit era are the NES port of the arcade game; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles The Manhattan Project; and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time; and the original game is a frequent target of mockery among internet critics.
- FarmVille was once one of the most popular browser games out there, with tens of millions of users and references on even TV shows. It seemingly displaced The Sims as "the game regular people play," and it was even considered a competitor to World of Warcraft. However, its userbase declined heavily around 2011, and it isn't nearly as ubiquitous as it once was, with many of its former fans having moved on to Candy Crush Saga or Clash of Clans. To the people who still care, it's mostly emblematic of shallow, free-to-play-pay-to-win browser games, as well as developer Zynga's plagiarist tendencies (the game is a near-copy of fellow Facebook farming sim FarmTown).
- The Getaway was a Sleeper Hit in the UK of 2002, sold more than one million copies there (the creators even made a special limited edition celebrating the 1 million copies they sold of the game) and presented huge competition to the Grand Theft Auto series there. The creators already had behind the scenes problems after its publication, with its CEO leaving the company to found a company in Australia that would publish the successful L.A. Noire 9 years later, but the company still continued regardless. Then The Getaway: Black Monday was released in 2004, but it was a major flop because it was basically the same game as the original with a new plot and even worse controls. There was a sequel shown to it on E3 2005 but it never saw a release. Nowadays, even the original is nowadays only seen as So Okay, It's Average, with most praising its massive scope (the game features the most accurate maquette of 2002 London that you will ever find) and great storytelling, but reviled for its horrible control and level design, which sacrifices fun for attention to detail. Most people will say that you should play L.A. Noire instead, as it has all the positives that The Getaway has and much less of its drawbacks.
- Zool was at its debut considered to be the Amiga rival to Sonic the Hedgehog and was for many Europeans the reason not to buy a Sega Genesis (even though it started as something unrelated to it to begin with and became multi-platform after a few months). In a sense you could say that it was the #2 Mascot with Attitude and one that could eclipse Sonic in popularity at any given moment. It actually would still have that position were it not for the fact that Commodore was on a decline. Its sequel, Zool 2, was touted as a launch title for the ill-fated Amiga CD 32 and Atari Jaguar and never released on any other console. It also went to the Amiga (one year after its discontinuation) and on PC (where it never really had success). Its general unpopularity is the reason why Gremlin Interactive quietly put an end to the series. Even in retrospect many amiga owners say that the first game was So Okay, It's Average and overhyped beyond belief, although the sequel is still kept in high-regard. Many there prefer to remember them as the creator of fantastic racing games such as the Lotus and Super Cars series. Nowadays the most popular Mascot with Attitude that everyone remembers that is not called Sonic is the above mentioned Bubsy The Bobcat. Its probably not even the most well-known example of a Mascot with Attitude not called Sonic done right, even if Sonic isn't sacred cow status anymore (Spot from the game Cool Spot is a much better contender for this, although Lilac from Freedom Planet is on its way to eclipse him in popularity).
- When the Ouya console was announced in 2012, many speculated that the independently developed console would become the next revolution in gaming. The console, advertised as a more accessible indie alternative to other consoles – offering lower hardware prices and an open-sourced operating system for development compared to its rivals the Wii U, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. In its 2012 crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, it reached 904% of its funding goal for a total of $8,596,475, making it the 5th highest earning project in Kickstarter history. The initial promise and support made the console seemed poised to become a breakout hit in the eight generation of video consoles.
However, when the console was publicly released for retail in 2013, it failed to live up to expectations. Initial reviews were lukewarm with many dismayed that the released version had lingering hardware issues from the pre-release versions like stuck controller buttons and inconsistent internet connection. Despite its open-sourced operating systems, most Android game developers chose to work on smartphones, which have more general audience appeal. Even after numerous tweaks and a $10 million investment from e-commerce giant Alibaba, the console still proved to be unprofitable. A "Free the Games Fund" scheme to woo developers failed after suspicions that the money pledges were altered by Ouya employees for additional attention. Eventually, the company developing the Ouya was sold-off to Razer Inc., who discontinued the console in 2015, killing off any immediate hopes of an independent rival to the "big 3" consoles of Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony.
- When Leisure Suit Larry, it was praised for its creativity and interactivity, as well as the sexual nature of the game. The first four sequels were also fairly well received. However the newer games(which weren't developed by Sierra) weren't too well received. The first new game, Magna Cum Laude focused on Larry's nephew Larry Lovage. It was poorly received, thanks to having poor gameplay and being more in-your-face with its sexuality. The next game, Box Office Bust, lived up to its name, being reviled for being an Obvious Beta. The only new content in the series is currently a remake of the first game.
- Before its release, Playstation All Stars Battle Royale was seen as a viable contender for Nintendo's crossover fighting series Super Smash Bros., even though some dismissed it for seemingly being a Follow the Leader attempt by Sony to ape the series. Upon release, the game itself even won a handful of awards and some critical acclaim from several gaming publications for its more in-depth mechanics compared to SSB. Three years later, the game seems to have been largely forgotten, and only brought up occasionally to mock it in the wake of the 3DS/Wii U Smash title, which has garnered considerably more praise. And unlike other crossover fighting games such as Dissidia: Final Fantasy and Marvel vs. Capcom, the game hasn't even achieved cult status within the fanbase of the games it means to celebrate.
Arguably the main reasons it failed to make a dent in the gaming community was due to its Follow the Leader nature. Despite it doing many things different from Smash, the overall presentation still kept people dismissing it as a clone. While many other crossover games celebrate the franchises they are representing in unique ways (Smash Bros. uses a 2D platformer-esque system, Dissdia keeps the RPG roots present, and MVC goes for a comic-book aesthetic), All-Stars failed to do much to differentiate itself from the pack, aside from giving some of the fighters moves and abilities that are activated in the same manner as in their home games. Furthermore many of the characters chosen seemed to have been picked for marketing purposes rather than their history, making it feel rather dated. It especially didn't help matters that several third-party companies prevented Sony from using more popular Playstation characters like Crash Bandicoot, Solid Snake, or Classic!Dante. And in its attempt to combine casual party-game mechanics with deeper ones seen in more serious fighting games, others felt the game failed to master either style. As a result, while there are talks for a sequel at the present, the prospects of Sony having its own contender to Smash Bros. via this game is slim at best. It doesn't help that Smash already secured a guest spot for Solid Snake in Brawl, and PS1 JRPG icon Cloud Strife's similar guest spot in Wii U/3DS (in spite of Snake's removal) is often seen as the final nail in the coffin for PlayStation All-Stars if anything.
- When Stunt Race FX was released for the Super Nintendo in 1994, the game was met with mostly high reviews. Critics praised the variety of modes and tracks, the (then-impressive) visuals, and the cute cartoon style. Nowadays, it's regarded as a game that has aged horribly. The biggest complaint in more recent reviews is the sluggish framerate, which is enough to ruin the experience. It didn't help that shortly after the game's release, more advanced racing games such as the Playstation port of Ridge Racer and the Saturn port of Daytona USA were released.
- Several in-universe examples occur in the Grand Theft Auto series.
- Over the course of the series, Lazlow goes from being one of the hottest DJs and radio hosts in America to a washed-up joke who's best known for payola scandals and personal indiscretions, is shilling for the "ZiT!" cellphone app to pay the bills, and gets ridiculed on the street by passerby. Throughout the series, we get to catch up on him at all the points in his career, from his rise (VCS, Vice City) to the peak of his popularity (San Andreas, GTA III) to after his fall (GTA IV). He has received a second wind by GTA V in the form of hosting a TV talent show, but his jerkass demeanor is cranked Up to Eleven.
- In Vice City, set in 1986, Love Fist is shown to be one of the biggest bands in the world, with two of their songs playing on the rock station and with them going on a world tour that's been banned in several countries. However, in San Andreas, set six years later, they appear to have been largely forgotten, with the DJ on the classic rock station asking "whatever happened to Love Fist?" Love Fist was a parody of the stereotypes of Hair Metal and the musicians that performed it, so it makes sense that, by 1992, the band would be washed up like many other hair metal acts were at the time.
- In GTA IV, set in 2008, the website MyRoomOnline.net is a parody of Myspace, its users, and the culture that surrounded it. By GTA V, set five years later, MyRoom is a shell of its former self referred to as "the ghost town of the internet", having been driven into irrelevancy by the Facebook parody Lifeinvader and forced to sell its domain name, reflecting how Myspace went out of style in the late '00s and early '10s.
- Punch-Out!! has an in-universe example in the Wii game, featuring Disco Kid. Doc lampshades this, occasionally saying that disco's dead.
- The Sims 3 contains items that, while necessary in previous installments, are rendered obsolete due to improvements in the Sims' capabilities. The newspaper was once an important part of job hunting, but has been reduced to an annoyance as Sims are now able to apply directly at their desired business. Books were one of the only avenues for improving certain skill-sets, but are now only useful to bookworms due to the varied methods of learning (including first-hand experience). Land-line phones are redundant with smartphones. Even televisions aren't as practical a time waster as more constructive hobbies. Despite ultimately being caused by revised game mechanics, many of these instances can be seen in the Real Life section of this trope.