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Genres and general 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.
- Just few years after the Trope Namer moment, the entire home video game industry was Deader Than Disco in the United States and Canada after The Great Video Game Crash of 1983. Particularly affected was Atari, who never really managed to reclaim the glory they once had during the 2600 days, now forgotten today. Overloaded with options and mediocre games, consumers were convinced that consoles were nothing more than a passing fad until Nintendo came along and revitalized the entire industry. Note that the Crash did not affect the market in Asia, and video arcades remained highly profitable.
The crash afflicted a part of the industry in Europe, largely thanks to the explosion in popularity of cheap home computers around 1981–82. Before it Germany was the leading figure in the video game industry thanks to the Interton VC 4000. After those computers took off, the console could not compete anymore with the British microcomputers that were released after it and as a result the German scene in the video game industry stood still until 1987, when companies such as Kingsoft, Ariolasoft and Rainbow Arts appeared. The UK would also become the leading figure of the European scene in the video game industry.
- The arcade business in the United States is pretty much completely dead now because of consoles. In the '80s and early '90s, console ports of arcade games were usually inferior to their arcade counterparts, but that gap closed with the Fifth Generation of consoles in the late '90s. The general opinion of gamers was, why pay $1 a game when you can just buy the full game for $50-60 (or later, on PSN or XBLA for $10-20) and be done with paying for it? To add insult to injury, once these games make it to consoles, they get bashed for having simple gameplay and not being long enough (typically 30–90 minutes). For a while, arcades tried to compete by using expensive hardware to offer unique video game experiences that couldn't be replicated on home consoles — some of Sega's more ambitious cabinets cost over $10,000 each, for example — but that only bought arcades another few years at most before the Wii killed even that avenue.
Nowadays, arcades are almost extinct outside of larger facilities like movie theaters, bowling alleys, amusement parks, boardwalks, and similar tourist attractions that have more than just games, and usually offer beat-up racing and light gun cabinets from the Turn of the Millennium and earlier (we're looking at you, Time Crisis II and Cruis'n Exotica), along with other games that could never really be done with home systems like Basketball, Skee Ball, and the occasional Press-your-luck kind of game. This is compounded by the fact that the only companies still releasing new arcade games are Konami, Namco Bandai, and Raw Thrills, with even arcade stalwart Midway having left the business to focus on consoles in their final years.
Arcades do, however, still enjoy a niche in the retro gaming scene, with video game collectors often opening arcades to share their collections with the world, offering up vintage arcade cabinets (which are becoming a rare novelty) for the paying masses while keeping a good number of TVs and modern consoles around for LAN parties. The result is surprisingly lucrative — not only does it attract random schmoes interested in the arcade games from their youth, it also gives the local fighting game crowd a place to congregate. Arcades might be far and few between, but if you can find a nice small one near you, odds are it'll be packed. Also, several "barcades" have opened up in some major US cities in recent years, with the most famous probably being the Dave & Buster's bar/restaurant chain. As the name implies, a barcade is a bar that also happens to have a collection of classic arcade machines. Customers typically pay a $5 or $10 charge at the door which allows them unlimited use of the games.
It should also be noted that this trend is not universal. In places where consoles and PC games are harder to find than arcade cabinets (such as the Isle of Wight), arcade gaming still is a huge thing. Japan's arcades especially continue to live on, as the small size of many homes means that home consoles and desktop PCs can be quite cumbersome. While the age of extreme violence in arcade games is over, the rise of game cards that save your profile in certain games (almost every arcade game worth its salt has a save system now) allowed many arcades to gain a new lease on life. And now Japan has the NESiCAxLive digital content delivery service, which allows arcades to download titles instead of having physical hardware shipped, but is limited to arcades in Japan. Rest in peace, arcade import scene.
- A similar trend is happening with laser tag arcades. Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, they were the hot new thing, a safer alternative to that paintball thing that kids found fascinating, but was too dangerous to try. Nowadays, the only place in the world that is really still doing it is the United States.
- The Beat 'em Up genre used to be a major part of the early game industry, and even managed to survive into the 3D era. Now, however, pure fighting games offer more content for skilled gamers, and Wide Open Sandbox games offer things to do other than punch people in the face. This left traditional brawlers without a niche to define themselves with, and more modern gamers began to see the genre as repetitive and derivative. Hardly any are made anymore, and the few that do (God Hand, MadWorld, No More Heroes, Asura's Wrath) are mostly cult hits at best.
- 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 Guest Grumps had him on their show, 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.
- This happened twice in five years with rhythm games. First, circa 2005, Japanese and Korean series like DJMAX and the Bemani games got driven out by Western guitar-based games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Then, in 2010, guitar-based rhythm games turned out to be a passing fad too, with sales for that year's Guitar Hero and Rock Band instalments plunging compared to previous entries (to say nothing of flops like Rock Revolution and Power Gig), enough so that the Guitar Hero series was killed off and Harmonix (developer of Rock Band) was sold for just $50.note Now, many of those plastic instruments are collecting dust in closets and GameStop storerooms. Many blame the overexposure that Guitar Hero and Rock Band received, with so many Mission Pack Sequels (Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the '80s, Green Day: Rock Band, etc.) being churned out that gamers got sick of it. Currently, Western dance-based rhythm games, like Dance Central (made by Harmonix) and Just Dance, are popular; time will tell if they go the same way as those that came before.
- DJ Hero getting cancelled was quite ironic, because it was released just as EDM/pop/rap music was becoming mainstream.
- After spending 2011-2014 in hibernation, Harmonix and Activision announced that they would reboot the Rock Band and Guitar Hero franchises, returning both series to their roots. Despite getting mixed reviews for their on-disc setlists, both Guitar Hero Live and Rock Band 4 have ratings in the 80's on Metacritic and pre-orders sold well.
- While you might see the occasional one coming from a Manic Shmup company such as CAVE, the Shoot 'em Up industry is getting far fewer entries than it did in the past, and some would say that the ones it does get are often lacking compared to their older counterparts. Most of the titles released now are either remakes of earlier titles or Bullet Hell shooters. It probably says something about the state of the genre when Touhou, one of the most popular Bullet Hell series in recent years, is more known for its characters, music, and memes rather than its actual gameplay.
- 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 (thanks to infamous bombs like Night Trap), 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 price for one console was 2500$ (Adjusted for inflation it is 4952$. It is pretty much impossible to find a PC that costs more money.) and only 2 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.
- Virtual Reality. In the early to mid-1990s, this was believed to be the future of video games. However, a combination of the high costs of VR headsets, the failure of Nintendo's Virtual Boy and the rise in popularity of multiplayer gaming (the social aspect of which was difficult to successfully integrate into a VR setting) significantly decreased mainstream interest in the idea. By about 1998, virtual reality was more-or-less forgotten in video games, and is used mainly for scientific purposes (such as medical research) and Totally Radical jokes about The '90s. Time will tell if the Oculus Rift system is able to revive VR; while it isn't out yet, it has received a lot of hype from its Kickstarter campaign and its modern technology, and has received endorsements from the likes of John D. Carmack (who is currently the company's Chief Technology Officer), Cliff Bleszinsky, and Gabe Newell.
- In certain parts of the world video game industries were huge only to erode right after.
- The entire Japanese video game industry has seen its once-sterling reputation in the West slowly erode over the past decade. From 1983 up until around 2003–04, Japanese companies like Nintendo, Sega, Squaresoft, and Capcom were the only real names in home console game development, garnering most of the big titles and affection from critics. However, the spread of PC gaming sensibilities into the console market (PC gaming having always been a Western domain), the rise of Western game developers that can produce AAA titles with the best of them, and the slouching Japanese economy mean that Japanese developers have lost their untouchable position. Worst case scenario, they're seen as hopelessly trying to play catch-up with Western developers by keeping their "quirkier" titles from Western shores and tailoring their other games more towards Western sensibilities. That said, though, Japanese fighting games and JRPG titles have seen a resurgence in recent years. Even Visual Novels have found a Western audience. This prevents the industry from at least going all the way.
- The video game industry in Western Europe was huge during the Commodore 64 era. Due to how accessible programming was at the time anyone with legit enterprising capabilities started becoming a video game company. It is already true that in the Amiga era many of those shut down but it was also around that time that many of those companies could still live on because of their care of quality that kept their sales high. By that point a few companies such as Virgin Interactive were also real names in the console market, only to crash during the PS1 era because they could not afford the engines. Nowadays the only Western European companies left are Ubisoft, Codemasters, Infogrames (now Atari), System 3 and Eutechnyx.
- 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.
- Space Combat oriented games: Once a staple of videogames, Star Raiders being the most commonly imitated version of the genre, itself being a Spiritual Successor to the mainframe text-based Star Trek game from the 1970s. Most science fiction oriented games, such as Mass Effect, are now heavily character-oriented (as opposed to spaceship oriented) and have a distinct story-mission format identical to games such as Call of Duty. Gratuitous Space Battles may be a rare remnant of this genre. The genre may be making a comeback, with Elite: Dangerous, No Man's Sky, and Star Citizen all being released recently or soon to be released. However, these games seem to focus more on trading and exploration rather than straight-up combat.
- Video game Box Art: The 1980s spawned many memorable box art covers for their game cartridges. They did not usually accurately depict the gameplay itself but were excellent at depicting the concept of the game. This was necessary due to the primitive graphics at the time. In comparison, today's game covers are generally laid out like a movie poster.
- By proxy, video game instruction manuals have mostly faded out in favor of in game tutorials and giving players the option to customize their control schemes. Manuals that exist today are barely five pages long (assuming you even bothered to go to a physical store instead of just getting an abstract internet download handled entirely by your console's OS), compared to manuals for games decades back that were filled with more detailed demonstration of the controls, info on items and power ups, and more. Developers seemed to have taken notice that most players don't bother reading the instructions and like to jump into the game right away while figuring out how to play on their own, which explains why most games today have in-game manuals and tutorial modes/levels and pop-up instructions on how the controls work. The comparison between the Nintendo DS and 3DS is glaring in that regard. And when you do get a manual at all, it's usually in black and white unless it's a first- or second-party title. Sadly, this seems to be on the game publisher's part, as it all too often looks like the manual was designed in color, then greyscaled. Back in the days of the Nintendo 64, almost all games came with full-color manuals. Today, having to read a manual just to understand the game's basic story seems inconceivable, by contrast to the All There in the Manual approach of the NES era.
- Until the fifth generation, games typically came in bulky cardboard boxes. Computer games, in particular, came in ridiculously huge boxes due to how many discs they needed and how large many of their instruction manuals were (see above). This started to change around mid-1996, when the PlayStation began using CD jewel cases for its games rather than the huge cardboard boxes it was using during its first year or so on the market. By about 2001 (when the cartridge-based Nintendo 64 had been more-or-less phased out), computer games were the only kinds of games that still came in cardboard boxes.note Even then, over the course of the decade, computer game boxes were gradually replaced with the far more efficient DVD casing of modern console games. Today, barring a few "collector's edition" games, cardboard boxes are very rare in video games.
- The internet has, for the most part, killed video game print magazines. The only mainstream magazine that remains is Game Informer, and a good chunk of its circulation comes from the fact that its parent company, GameStop, includes a subscription with every membership. The others either died a long time ago (GameFan, Game Players, Incite, etc.) or, in the case of GamePro, died within the last several years. Even the venerable Nintendo Power shut down at the end of 2012 after being in circulation for 24 years, being one of the longest circulating gaming magazines in the market. It is however worth noting that at the same time video game magazines about computer archeology and retro gaming are on the rise, proving that video game print magazines are not dead yet. The rise of the internet had also killed off strategy guides and gaming tips hotlines. With the ease of use of going online to find help for a game, there's little need to have a physical book telling you where to go or calling a private company for hints. Strategy guides have moved upmarket to survive, becoming special edition items that are often hardbound.
- 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.
- Futuristic racing games seem to have lost a lot of (pun not intended) steam over the late 2000's. Even the venerable, long-running Wipeout series has suffered and has led to the closure of SCE Studio Liverpool. Competing franchises, such as Extreme-G and even F-Zero, have been also been neglected since the Seventh Generation. This can no doubt be attributed to a saturation of such games during the late 1990s and the waning popularity of the fast paced electronica music that typically permeated them (except for F-Zero, which generally used guitar-driven rock and heavy metal). Captain Falcon, the main character of F-Zero, continues to be popular, but this is more due to his Memetic Mutation in Super Smash Bros. than anything else; many fans suspect that F-Zero itself has been integrated into the far more popular Mario Kart instead, as the series' eighth installment featured the F-Zero core elements of antigravity and hyper-fast speeds (in 200cc mode).
- Extreme Sports games appeared to be this after Tony Hawk Ride flopped in 2009. They appear to be picking up a second wind, with such games as 2012's SSX and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD garnering positive reviews and strong sales, but it's too soon to tell whether it will be a lasting trend.
- Video game consoles during the N64/PlayStation era had memory cards that allowed gamers to store save data and carry them over to another console so they can pick up where they left off. By the seventh generation (Wii/Playstation 3/Xbox 360), consoles dropped the branded memory cards in favor of universal memory format, namely SD cards and USB sticks. The consoles also support internal saving via hard drives, further eliminating the need for a specific memory card.
- For that matter, "Password Systems" (where, after reaching a certain "checkpoint", the game would give you a password to enter the next time you played, so that you could continue from that checkpoint) slowly died out during that same generation. Not only did memory cards (and later HDDs) become popular, but video games became far too complex for password systems to remain convenient. Passwords also faded away due to (back then) cartridge based games having cheaper batteries to save data on. Strangely, early PlayStation games also used a password feature, despite memory cards being available, but it was also likely that developers wanted to give players an alternate way to continue their progress if early adopters didn't get a memory card yet.
- High scores were a major part of video games and were widely known for being in arcade cabinet games. The NES and SNES had tons of games that used a scoring system. Some games rewarded players extra lives for reaching certain milestones in their score while other games used scores just for bragging rights. The concept of high scores was quickly dropped by the fifth generation (N64/Playstation) and very few games today still use a scoring system since most games now favor a ranking system instead.
- However, scores are still a pretty big factor in the Shoot em Up genre, with score chasers competing in online leaderboards.
- Lives and continues were also a common element in the early days of video games and most games were Nintendo Hard because of limited lives and limited chances in earning more. The concept of lives and continues is rarely practiced today due to developers favoring the use of checkpoints and due to Game Overs being a Classic Video Game Screw You. Even the concept of a Game Over has all but been forgotten; it's generally easier and more convenient for the player to suffer a small penalty for failure and simply reload his last save/checkpoint instead of going through a game over sequence.
- Related to the few examples above, PC gaming in Japan has been practically dead since the demise of MSX, Sharp X68000 and the PC-98, the major PC gaming platforms. The successor PCs' cumbersome size and the limited living space have almostly killed off PC gaming in Japan. Also, many major video game publishers refused to release their games on PCs since the 1990s, with only a few have reached the computers (Daytona USA and Virtual-ON anyone?). However, a few major video game developers nowadays have attempted to revive PC gaming scene in Japan, though this scene is still dying. (We're looking at you, Dragon Quest and Metal Gear.) The remaining PC games are mostly Visual Novels, which are still staples of Otaku culture and a source for anime adaptations. Even these are being ported to more popular consoles. The tradition of doujin games will also likely prevent PC games from sliding completely into irrelevance, as the lack of licensing fees and relatively easy development makes the PC the platform of choice for indie developers on both sides of the Pacific.
- Renting (and possibly borrowing) video games are slowly becoming a thing of the past due to developers making add-ons, DLC, or other bonuses that only an owner of the game can get while someone who is renting the game would be locked out of the extra content. Game demo downloads becoming console mainstays (until the seventh generation, they were mostly relegated to PC gaming) certainly doesn't help matters.
- Cheat codes have been largely phased out of mainstream game development, now mostly appearing in retro-styled games attempting to hearken back to the early days of gaming. This can probably be attributed to the rise in networked multiplayer gaming necessitating companies to level the playing field by discouraging cheating (and banning players who do it). Another factor could be achievement-based gaming (i.e. cheats being "earned" after performing certain feats in-game), along with DLC allowing players to purchase cheats and extra characters/stages, eliminating the feasibility of entering a convoluted button or password sequence.
The only games that may employ cheat codes today are single-player games on PC, where they are more likely to be called "console commands".
- With advancements in wireless technology, wired controllers on game consoles are slowly becoming a thing of the past as wireless controllers are quickly becoming the norm, thanks to reducing clutter and operating on rechargeable batteries.
- Contrary to popular belief, in-house video game soundtracks have not become this (except maybe in sports and racing video games). However, the MIDI format of video game music certainly has. The format began with the third generation of gaming consolesnote , eventually making its way onto personal computers with the advent of sound cards. In fact, until the rise of the CD-ROM format, it was the only way legitimate music could be composed for a video game, as cartridges and floppy disks did not have the storage capacity for off-disk music streaming. Later, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System became the first gaming console to use a wavetable sound system, meaning it used real-life instrument samples for its MIDI playback rather than discretely played electronic sounds. Not long after, personal computers followed suit with the advent of wavetable sound cards like the Soundblaster AWE32.
MIDI music began a gradual decline once the CD-ROM format took off. Because of the much larger storage capacity of CD's, game developers could simply stream pre-recorded music off the disk, which even in the days of wavetable synthesis, resulted in richer and more believable soundtracks. While MIDI remained popular well into the Fifth Generation of gaming consoles (particularly with role-playing games, where the larger amount of game data made fully orchestrated music too memory intensive and costly), it lost a significant amount of steam during the Sixth Generation. By the Seventh Generation of gaming consoles, the format was very rarely used (it had already been almost completely phased out of computer gaming by about 1997). Today, video games (except for freeware doujin games with very small file sizes) almost exclusively use pre-recorded music. And, chances are, most people don't even know whether their computer soundcards are capable of MIDI playback. Even Nintendo, who was probably the only mainstream game developer still using the format well into the seventh generation, has been slowly moving away from it.
- The Survival Horror genre. The early days of survival horror had elements like the player having limited supplies and monsters that were difficult to attack or get away from. Most games nowadays focus more on intense action that has zombies or other monsters you can easily mow down by the hundreds. Even Resident Evil, the franchise that catapulted the survival horror genre for video games, buckled to the popularity of intense action shooters and was met with a mixed reception. A number of indie games in The New Tens have tried to revive the genre, with varied results; while some games in the genre have won praise, many more have been criticized for poor production values, copying the gameplay and stylistic elements of the more popular games, and a focus on jump scares over tension so as to make them more marketable through Let's Plays (such games are sometimes derisively called "YouTube fodder").
- Zombies in general have also fallen victim to the trope. Once seen as terrifying to encounter while you had limited abilities, zombies nowadays are nothing more than minor obstacles for your overpowered shotgun to take care of. Some games have modes dedicated to killing zombies all day long, even though zombies are not part of the game's main appeal. What was once a popular element extension is now usually lambasted for being overused. For an added dose of irony, a lot of games (and films by extension) that had zombies in them were supposed to represent the rabidness of consumerism; they consume products, never produce anything of worth, and always follow whatever trend's popular while buying into it like blind and staggering drones. The irony of zombie fiction becoming a pop culture craze (especially when it tries to pay token lip service to those older ideas) was not lost on some people who were familiar with its origins.
- Related to the above, survival games. Popularized by the likes of Minecraft, DayZ, and Don't Starve, survival games were seen as challenging and innovative when they first debuted on the scene, a modern-day resurrection of the roguelike. In time, however, saturation of the genre by a growing number of low-grade ripoffs diminished the reputation of survival games, causing them to be seen as filled with pointless Level Grinding that accomplishes little beyond dragging the game to a crawl.
- Turn-based combat is barely alive in today's RPGs compared to the 1990s where they were kings of the RPGs genre. When first released, turn-based combat was seen as acceptable since most RPGs are played for their story and graphics. However, this combat system is now seen as clunky and slow since newer games can offer both good story with intense real-time action. Handheld RPGs like Pokémon are the main exceptions since turn-based combat uses up less development resources and hardware requirements, making it more ideal for less powerful handheld console. For other games like Final Fantasy, they ditched the turn based mechanics for more action intensity.
- The Multiple Endings trope were once prevalent in video games and the idea of seeing more than one ending tempted players to play the game over again to see a different ending or two. Thanks to the internet, one can easily beat the game once and go on YouTube to see the rest without playing the game over again. With the exception of RPGs, multiple endings have been cut down in favor of having a more defined ending, including ones that set up a Sequel Hook so that the developers can start working on a sequel. The latter exception isn't going anywhere, though: Karma Meters and moral choices have become entrenched in the genre, and some form of Story Branching is practically necessary to reinforce the idea that the player's choices matter.
- Cheating devices (add-ons you plug into your console or handheld) that let you play games with cheats like infinite lives or invincibility were extremely common in the early days of gaming (and were also the source of a many Game-Breaking Bug when cheats were done wrong). Once gaming systems started to go online where developers could push out patches, cheating devices were dead due to said developers being able to disable 3rd party accessories that allowed players to cheat. However, the motion was also about stopping devices that would allow people to do things like run homebrew games/programs since many people use those to pirate games. Nintendo in particular adamantly battles devices on their present consoles because they're frequently used to cheat in online multiplayer modes, such as, notoriously, in Pokémon. Oddly, though, they've left homebrew on the Wii (and, especially surprisingly, Wii Mode on the Wii U) alone during the last few years of its life despite combating against it before, and it's gained a niche market as the only customizable console.
- 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. 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 any real quality games. The market became over-saturated with shovelware motion control games that tried to capitalize on its popularity. It didn't help that Microsoft and Sony made motion controls of their own, causing the shovelware to pour onto their consoles. 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.
- Local multiplayer has been shunted to the wayside thanks to the quick advancements of online gaming. While local multiplayer in a room with friends was the main appeal behind it, online gaming quickly showed just how flawed local play was; you need to have everyone in the same room in order to play with you, which meant that unless you were kids or teenagers with a lot of free time, you'd have a difficult time trying to sync everyone's personal schedules together to get a day of gaming going while everyone playing also needed their own controller, which can add up quite a bit since controllers are never cheap. Local play can also be quite taxing on the game since it has to render multiple screens at the same time for each player, which also means that certain things in the game have to be changed to make sure that the game itself doesn't choke (less polygons, omitting certain objects for rendering, etc). With online play, the only thing the developers have to worry about is internet connections and syncing. There are however still local multiplayer games, but they are rare and mainly exist because of a niche group who has friends and free time and still wants to play games together when the servers shut down.
- MMORPGs had several factors that dragged down their popularity:
- Grinding in most MMORPGs were once seen as not a bad thing since grinding could keep a player engaged for a very long time. Over time, people began to see grinding as a cynical way of keeping people subscribed to the game while the developers slowly work on future content. Grinds in the MMO genre were eased due to the shift of player demographics; players that once had the ability to spend a ton of time grinding and doing everything in quests are now older and don't have as much free time to spare. Likewise, young players in today's time have many other games competing for their attention, so a game that forces someone to grind for a long time to get any progression would be seen as a negative trait.
- Farming, like grinding, kept people playing the game longer due to ridiculously low drop rates some items had. Powerful gear or specific items needed to get something good would be gated behind low drop rates so that players couldn't get powerful too easily while also creating the carrot on the stick a person needed to keep playing so they could get what they wanted. Nowadays, putting items behind such a gate is seen as a bad thing due to how long it can take to get said items and showing nothing for your time wasted if you still haven't gotten it.
- Final Fantasy XIV is a big example of almost succumbing to the trope. When the game was first released (1.0 to 1.23), it had many elements that were designed to keep players running the treadmill grind in a way similar to Final Fantasy XI. While the long grinds wasn't the sole factor in the game's massive flop, long grinding was one of the reasons people looked at the game in a negative light. It wasn't until the development team was replaced with a new team that the game got redesigned from scratch and became A Realm Reborn (2.0) with the concept of aiming for a more general audience that don't wish to force themselves to dedicate weeks or months of progression just to advance.
- 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.
- For years, there was the simulation genre in video games. The number of simulators had grown to ridiculous lengths and eventually got blasted by gamers and critics alike for cluttering the video game market with filler containing low quality.
- A similar thing happened with business management (or "Tycoon") games. After Railroad Tycoon (created by none other than Sid Meier himself) became a smashing success in 1990, other "tycoon" games came out of the woodwork, with Rollercoaster Tycoon and (to a lesser extent) Zoo Tycoon becoming popular with both gamers and critics. Unfortunately, around the late-90's, Sturgeon's Law kicked in and a slew of subpar shovelware games began saturating the market. Before you know it, there were "tycoon" games devoted to just about every kind of business from airport management to even trailer park management. By the Turn of the Millennium, business management was seen as the go-to genre for shovelware developers to pump out cheaply made bargain bin junk, falling swiftly out of fashion as a result. Today, barring the occasional free-to-play flash game, the genre is mostly dead in the water.
- The flight simulator genre in the computer gaming industry is dead. A good proof of this would be the fact that Microsoft's Flight Simulator series, which was later in its life bundled as an extra with every computer that they sold, still got shut down by the company. This can likely be attributed to two major reasons.
- Flight Simulators require lots of buttons because there are lots of buttons needed to control a plane, too. The fact that nowadays many people who play on PC have gaming controllers in their hands just shows that the people who play PC games will likely be annoyed by the fact that there are way more buttons to use than those that ever could be programmed into a controller.
- Over the years, competition drove flight simulators to be more accurate, realistic and detailed. This has led to the most recent flight simulators being so perfect that any other potential flight simulators that could ever hit the market cannot be successful because that there are already special devices that are made specifically to look like the equipment of a plane in the most recent ones and you cannot truly make the graphics of a plane, air, clouds or landings place more realistic than it already is.
- Hard though it may be to believe, hunting simulations were actually a trend in the late-90's. It all started in early 1998, when the WizardWorks-published Deer Hunter became an unexpected bestseller. Afterwards, a slew of other hunting sims such as Cabela's Big Game Hunter by Head Games (yes, the same Head Games that later brought us the notoriously awful Extreme PaintBrawl) started coming out of the woodwork. They were predictably hated by critics and hardcore gamers but were massive hits with casual gamers (particularly outdoorsmen), thanks in no small part to their simple pick-up-and-play gameplay and incredibly low price tags.
Naturally, hunting simulations died once the audience that was originally drawn to them moved on to other things. Many people bought Deer Hunter as a novelty but quickly tired of it. And, since hunting sims had little appeal within the hardcore gaming community, they essentially had nowhere to go once their core audience grew bored with them. Today, barring the occasional smartphone or free-to-play Flash game (as well as some arcade cabinets at various sporting goods stores), hunting simulations are virtually non-existent. And it's pretty safe to say that most of the gaming community would like to forget that they were ever a thing to begin with.
- Some people proceeded to create parodies of these simulators, notably Surgeon Simulator 2013 and Goat Simulator, to mock the genre. The success of the simulator parodies became so huge that everyone decided to join in on the "joke" and flooded the market with nonsense simulator games like Grass Simulator, Black Screen Simulator, or even Bathroom Simulator. The jokes these parody games presented themselves as became the punchline itself, as these games started taking off around the same time that Valve started to loosen their grip on what could and couldn't get onto Steam, particularly via Steam Greenlight, and consequently Sturgeon's Law went into overdrive, as it became increasingly clear that the vast majority of these parodies had minimal effort put into them, resulting in most of them failing to contain (or at least misunderstanding the often subtle humour of the early successes and having gameplay that was either an Obvious Beta, a ripoff of Surgeon/Goat simulator, or otherwise belonged to a genre that had nothing to do with simulators. Since then, people who use Steam are now sick of crappy low quality joke games, seeing them as a Dead Horse Trope at best, and at worst, cynical cash-in rip offs that use the guise of 'being satire' as an excuse for bad experiences.
- Eastern RPGs are often accused of being Deader Than Disco by critics and gaming industry executives, which is becoming something of a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. There are too many grand old Cash Cow Franchises (particularly, Pokémon and Final Fantasy) in the genre for it to properly kick off, but even their sales have started to slow down, and new entries in the genre have slowed to a trickle, operate under vastly reduced budgets (or are developed as indie games), and are at best cult classics and at worst outright flops.
- 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, 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. It is the Reality Tv of games, in that you find many people criticizing it more than actually liking it.
- 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.
- Graphical adventure games were hugely popular from the '80s through the mid-90s, but as happened to text adventures, technological changes made them obsolete. The advent of 3D cards and other game genres getting good writing were the beginning of the end for companies like Sierra and LucasArts. LucasArts distanced itself from the genre early on, focusing on Star Wars games, while Sierra effectively collapsed, trading hands from Vivendi to Activision. While the games do have cult followings, they're mostly mocked for their glacial pacing and convoluted puzzles. Even though they're staples of GOG.com and indie developers are still making them, adventure games seem unlikely to return to their former glory. Indie adventure game developers, like their interactive fiction hobbyist counterparts, focus more on the story than the puzzles. Even then, they still have a vocal hatedom from gamers and game journalists (Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw has gone on record as loathing adventure games more than once) for their often tedious gameplay, seeing their fans as stuck in the Nostalgia Filter.
- 3D Fighting Games have seen themselves lose much preference with the Fighter Community. With Street Fighter IV winning back the crowd with fans and critics alike for traditional fighting games, more fighting games would then follow their lead. Not helping matters is that the Soul Seriesnote , once considered the standard of 3D fighters, suffered this very fate.
- Arcade-styled sports games are dead in the water now. While they were very popular in the 80's, they really struck gold in 1993 with the release of NBA Jam. In addition to being arguably the first example of a basketball video game done right, the game was famous for its fast-paced gameplay, over-the-top dunks and downright hilarious announcer. After NBA Jam, sports games emphasizing over-the-top gameplay over realism exploded, with NFL Blitz, Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey, and Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball becoming hugely popular.
Unfortunately, around the turn of the millennium, arcade-styled sports games slowly faded from the limelight. The two most important reasons for this were the decline of the arcade industry (see above) and an increased emphasis on realism in video games. Thanks to the many strides made with computing technology and game development, it was now possible to accurately represent the rules of football, baseball, basketball, etc. without compromising fun. It didn't help that, around this same time, franchises like NFL Blitz and especially NBA Jam took a major nosedive in quality due to some nasty Executive Meddling. Throughout the aughts, simulation games like Madden NFL and NBA 2K became the dominant forces in sports video games. And simpler, arcade-like sports games were slowly phased out. While NBA Jam and NFL Blitz did see successful revivals during The New Tens (in the form of downloadable games), there has been no sign of a full-fledged revival for fast paced arcade-styled sports games.
- 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.
- Indie gaming was once considered to be the next big thing due to their smaller development teams that were free from Executive Meddling. Games like Minecraft and Cave Story became massive hits, and it was predicted that indie developers would soon supplant the big triple-A companies. Unfortunately, it seems that Valve's Greenlight programnote opened the way for a slew of poorly designed and badly coded indie games. Sturgeon's Law kicked in as countless no-name developers with more ideas and/or ego than talent dragged the reputation of indie gaming down to the level of shovelware. Unless a particular game obtains critical praise, most people will avoid the "indie" section of Steam, the Xbox Live Arcade, or the Play Station Network on sight.
- Games being released in their alpha or beta stages for the public to try out became popular due to how Minecraft had done it, but the concept of early access fell just as quickly. The purpose behind releasing a game before it's finished is to let the public find bugs or other oddities so that the developers can fix them since they don't always find everything. In return, the consumer would pay less for an unfinished game and retain full access to said game once it was completed. However, greedy and uninspired developers quickly abused the concept by pushing out their games quickly and then take forever to fix the bugs or never bother to fix them at all, putting the game in limbo while the consumer is left angry that their money was basically stolen. Critics also trashed alpha/beta games for pushing the bug testing and quality control onto the consumer so that the developers themselves wouldn't have to bother doing the testing themselves.
- So-called "art games" designed to focus more on story than gameplay. Popularized by titles like Dear Esther, The Path, and Gone Home, such games have always had their detractors, but they were once decently popular and praised by professional critics for eschewing standard video game conventions, and they were frequently used as proof in arguments that video games could be an art form. However, starting in 2014 the genre's popularity dried up, as lesser examples created a stereotype of art games as pretentious, heavy-handed, incomprehensible, having no real challenge or gameplay, and being the video game equivalent of Oscar Bait; many began to derisively refer to such games as "walking simulators" that were ashamed of being video games. What cemented the genre's demise was the complete and utter failure of Sunset despite massive hype, which took down its developer Tale of Tales, a pioneer of art games.
- 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 schlockfests (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.
- 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 real-time strategy genre really took off in during the mid-to-late 1990s with the success of Warcraft, Command & Conquer, and Starcraft. RTS quickly became one of the best-selling PC game genres (the reliance on using a mouse and keyboard meant that it never really took off on consoles), with seemingly every game company putting out their own product to capitalize on it. There were even RTS titles based on Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings. However, the genre started dying out around the mid-2000s due to the deaths of beloved franchises and competition from Multiplayer Online Battle Arena games like Defense Of The Ancients All Stars and League of Legends. Originally simple RTS mods with only playable hero units, MOBA games proved to be more accessible since the player only has to control a single hero unit and not have to worry about either tediously micromanaging multiple units or slogging through resource gathering. In addition, the MOBA games are better suited for levelling systems micropayment-based monetization without breaking gameplay balance. Furthermore, many beloved RTS companies and franchises are currently defunct; the Warcraft RTS series was abandoned in favor of the more lucrative MMO spin-off World of Warcraft while the Command & Conquer series died off with Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight flopping badly and attempts to restart the genre resulted in cancelled projects. These days, the only major RTS entry is Starcraft II which still survives largely thanks to its massive popularity in both eSports and Korean gaming.
- The Random Encounter mechanic in many old RPG games were used simply due to consoles at the time not having enough processing power to actually have battles taking place in real time. Players didn't mind it at the time and it was also an incentive for players to explore different areas to see different types of random encounters. Nowadays, the random battles are widely hated for constantly disrupting the pacing of the games and how said random battles always seem to happen when the player needs to get to the next destination or safe zone. RPGs began to drift away from random battles and jumping into real time battles to keep the player engaged.
- 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.
- A good example of this being apparent was when Final Fantasy IX, a game released in 2000, was re-released on Steam and smartphones in 2016 with updated character models, but the pre-rendered backgrounds kept same in their fuzzy low resolution glory. Many reviewers commented that the (otherwise well-received) remaster showcased just how dated the technique looks over time.
- The Arena Shooter. The genre first appeared in Doom and was nearly synonymous with first-person shooters during the infancy of the genre, showing up in future titles like Quake and Unreal Tournament, which were incredibly popular. However, a shift in gaming from the hardcore PC audience to the more casual console audience meant that not as many people were willing to put forth the time and effort to acquire the high level of skill that arena shooters demand, with first-person shooters like Halo and Call of Duty, especially the industry-changing Modern Warfare series, dominating FPS multiplayer. There are still a few arena shooters around, and some more in development, but they remain a niche genre, and will likely never regain their former fame. One of the clearest signs that arena shooters were dead was with the public beta of Doom (2016) multiplayer, which many older fans noticed seemed to take inspiration from the aforementioned Halo and Call of Duty series, instead of being a true return to roots.
- As with movies that rely on CGI effects, this is often the fate of games that rely mostly on cutting-edge graphics over gameplay as evolving technology makes them look outdated.
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, misogynistic, 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.
- Back then, Duke was more of an ironic character, with his blatantly over-the-top stereotypical macho persona. Not a dismissive satire, but rather an Affectionate Parody. In that vein, Duke Nukem 3D was close to Leisure Suit Larry or Beavis And Butthead. The problem was, the creators of Duke Nukem Forever played it completely straight, thus flanderizing the character to something flat and rather uncomfortable. Of course, back in The '90s there was also no shortage of fans who thought Duke was unironically an awesome role model.
- Matt Patt of Game Theory noted how Duke's downfall paralleled the obsolescence of 80s action heroes. Duke himself borrowed many of the macho muscle-bound personas from characters played by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. However, these 80s icons were gradually replaced by newer actors and characters while the old guard struggle to both modernize and remain faithful. Likewise, the portrayal of Duke Nukem in DNF struggled with balancing modern and old-school FPS elements, clumsily shoehorning styles and mechanics of modern shooters like puzzle elements and two-weapon slots while still relying on dated humor and gender dynamics. This in turn only led to further rejection with old-school fans decrying the new gameplay elements and younger gamers dismissing the series as alienating and off-putting.
- At one point, the Soul series was seen as one of the best and most respectable fighters on the market, with the second game seen as one of the greatest games of all time and a Killer App for the Sega Dreamcast. The series went on to produce three more sequels; while IV was intended to be last game in the series, fans petitioned for Soulcalibur V to be made and Tekken boss Katsuhiro Harada put in a good word for his friend Daishi Odashima to allow him to develop it.
When V was finally released, however, it met with significant backlash from its fans. Often-cited complaints include the decision to do a 17-year Time Skip that only three returning characters actually aged from (namely Mitsurugi, Hilde, and Siegfried), replacing fan-favorite, stalwart characters such as Taki, Sophitia, and Xianghua with poorly explained anime rip-offs, and a story that revolved around Patroklos Alexander. Patroklos was widely reviled by gamers, viewed as one of the biggest Designated Heroes in gaming. The entire story revolved around him finding his sister Pyrrha, who actually came across as being braver and more heroic than him, the "hero" of V. He slaughtered innocents, acted hair-pullingly stupid, disrespected his friends, was a complete Jerkass (despite being a "Holy Warrior"), had a fascination with his mother and sister that carried strong undertones of incest, and did nothing to earn his status as the "hero". The game itself was bare-bones outside the online mode, with only CAS providing any real content. Despite all of this, people were still willing to defend its story, and its lack of content, saying that the tournament-made gameplay was what really matters. In the end, it only sold about 1.3 million after lowering the price after a year, compared to the 3 million SCIV made in less than a year.
However, after several years passed and Daishi Odashima quit the team, who was subsequently replaced by Masaki Hoshino, few are still defending V anymore. The tournament players abandoned the game after a year, taking away its target audience. Patroklos, while he was a Base Breaker initially, has since turned into a full-blown Scrappy, quite possibly the biggest one in the series and one of the biggest in fighting games in general. On the Facebook Popularity Poll held by Namco / Project Soul, he placed at measly #37 out of 45 characters with only 32 votes (out of over 8000 cast). Namco themselves said they were "impressed" by it. Today, V is viewed as the game that derailed the series from being an A-list fighter to barely staying relevant.
However, Hoshino hasn't done the series in any favors yet either. In less than a year, he made three spin-offs that were blatant cash grabs, which were further hurt the franchise's already battered image.
The first is Soulcalibur II: HD Online, with HD graphics that barely look any different from the original, an online mode that is laggy and hardly functional, Japanese voices that were removed for no explicable reason (forcing everyone to listen to the awful, poorly aged English voice acting), characters moves that flat-out broke the game, and no Wii U version which meant no Link, alienating a portion of the SCII's original player base.
The second is Soulcalibur: Lost Swords, a PlayStation 3 exclusive Free-to-Play game with always-online DRM preventing the game from being played offline, despite being a single-player only fighting game, with long and frequent load-times and numerous Microtransactions shoved in your face to keep playing a game that's shallow and repetitive, every character's moveset being stripped-down to the bare bones for a shallow experience, and the complete removal of ring-outs. While characters that were removed from V such as Sophitia and Taki return, it comes off as more of way to entice people to play the poorly made game. Not helping its reputation was the sheer amount of fanservice costumes that verge on softcore pornography, hurting its already damaged reputation by adding the stigma of being a shallow Panty Fighter. Service of the game was terminated in November 2015, to much applause.
Last but not least is Soulcalibur: Unbreakable Soul, a Free-to-Play mobile game in the vein of Tekken Card Tournament. The game is even more shallow than Lost Swords, where you press touch-screen "cards" to do random moves on the screen while fighting in random arenas. The programming is so basic that it could have been done by an amateur group of college students. Most people who played the game couldn't even make it past the the first boss, and the game was so poorly made and filled with Microtransactions that most gamers didn't feel like it was worth playing any further. Service for the game was terminated in December, merely eight months after release, and nobody even noticed.
After these three spin-offs in the place of the much desired Soulcalibur VI, some people are already starting to declare the death of Soulcalibur. Only time will tell if a Soulcalibur VI is ever released, and if it will redeem the series in gamers' eyes. Now, whenever Soulcalibur is brought up, it's often used as an example of how a series can fall from greatness.
- When it was first released, State Of Emergency was hailed as a good, if not great, sister game to Grand Theft Auto (both were published by Rockstar Games). Like GTA, it managed to spark up a similar amount of controversy due to its graphic violence, depictions of mass murder, and a story revolving around rioting and a revolution against a big-business oligarchy in a manner reminiscent of the 1999 Seattle WTO protests. Nowadays, it's more or less forgotten and takes up a lot of space in bargain bins, due to its clunky controls, the release of better sandbox games, the violence today being considered cartoonish compared to more realistic games made since, and a forgettable sequel released years too late that wasn't from either the original developer or publisher.
- 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 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, still no Blue Suede Goo!). 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. The series, including the once-popular original, is now seen as Snark Bait by those old enough to remember it, and despite a rumored WiiWare sequel that never materialized, it's 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.
- Myst and any other non-violent exploration and puzzle-oriented Adventure Game where the pacing is glacial and gray matter is more important than reflexes and trigger fingers. Myst was popular when it first debuted in 1993 due to its appeal to those who wanted a more relaxing, atmospheric game that not only had a simple interface, but also didn't rely on repetitive RPG-style combat to advance. As 3D gaming evolved, however, the game's slow pace and confusing puzzles became a major turnoff. In fact, around 1999-2000, Myst was frequently mocked by gaming publications and gamers alike. Today, with open-world RPGs like Skyrim striking a much more appealing balance of fast-paced combat and calm, peaceful exploration, the Myst style of adventure gaming is unlikely to make a comeback anytime soon.
- Super Mario World ROM hacking seems to be going this way at the moment. SMW Central has lost much of its activity over the last few years, the Japanese communities have slowed right down, big games in progress like Brutal Mario seem to be reaching the status of Dead Fic, and the activity on the various collaborations on both the central and raocow's forum seem to have almost slowed to a complete halt. No one quite knows why this has happened, but some possible answers are...
- Minecraft and Garry's Mod offering a more intuitive and more "legal" (or at least, less legally grey) means of showing creativity, meaning that the younger and more dedicated fans have moved to something else. Ditto for hacks for more modern games like New Super Mario Bros. Wii and possibly Super Mario Bros X (although this itself has lost a lot of popularity over the years too).
- Popular Let's Play authors like ProtonJon and Azure Blade 49 don't showcase ROM hacks by playing them, so less people find out about the hobby nowadays.
- The original, more active/skilled authors have moved on from such hobbies after leaving school/college and getting into real life stuff, leaving mostly the (lesser amount) of newbies and the extremely dedicated long-term hobbyists as the only ones left.
- The internet being flooded with badly designed ROM hacks didn't help matters. It was easy to find hacks that were nothing but shameless attempts to be more difficult than Kaizo Mario by increasing the cheapness and Fake Difficulty to eleven. Most people eventually got tired of the badly made ROM hacks that did nothing but spike the difficulty instead of adding something new.
- Within the community, there are also a few things which have become this:
- Super Mario World redrawn graphics. Originally, these were seen as a really nice art style to use as a replacement for the default one, a way to make ROM hacks look more unique. Then they got overused to death and get nothing but groans from the community.
- Many old hacks, like the ones Azure Blade 49 and ProtonJon played. Nice enough at the time, but stuff like Super Bobido World is now seen as a rather dated joke.
- Both the Newbie's Custom Boss and the Ultimate N00b Boss. They were made to let non-programmers make unique bosses for hacks, but were so limited in terms of features and set up that the result was a flood of near-identical opponents in hacks for the next few years. It got to the point the maker of the latter asked for it to be deleted from the site to avoid more overuse.
- Many other boss sprites. You've got the default ones, which are now seen as terrible to use outside of a vanilla hack. You've got the really old ones, like SMB 1 Bowser, Mouser, Birdo, etc., who appear so often no one finds them fun to fight any more. The Thwomp Boss, who became so ridiculously common that some people stop playing the game the minute they see it. And Magikoopa bosses, who after the likes of Randorland 3 and raocow's LP, have become seen as almost the epitome in bad/boring boss design.
- Nintendo's Super Mario Maker is the company's answer to ROM hacks, which allows players to create levels in the style of Super Mario Bros. and New Super Mario Bros. U and share their creation with others. While Nintendo's game doesn't have the same amount of features as the fan-made ROM hacks, it'll still have more appeal and better ease of use than what a typical ROM hack level editor program would have.
- Digital distribution systems like the Nintendo eShop, PlayStation Network, Xbox LIVE Arcade, App Store, and Google Play Store exist, so many of the low-budget works which would otherwise get published illegitimately are now available legally online. Even the examples of outright plagiarism tend to end up as cheap mobile apps instead.
- 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 an LCD version of Sonic 2, 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.
- Black & White was released to unanimous critical acclaim in 2001, earning 9's and 10's across the board and being immediately declared one of the greatest games of all time by many publications. However, it suffered severe Critical Dissonance, with many complaining about its slow pace, unforgiving gameplay, and numerous game breaking bugs. (Plus, good luck getting the game to run on anything more recent than Windows ME.) The backlash was, in fact, so great that many critics later reconsidered their initial assessments of the game. It was #1 on Gamespy's "25 Most Overrated Games Of All Time" list, and is now seen as little more than a footnote in video game history. Part of the reaction was also Hype Backlash to Peter Molyneux, who had (as he often does) promised a lot more for the game than it actually ended up being.
- Peter Molyneux himself has taken a massive hit in popularity in since the early 2000s. In the 90s, he has garnered a strong following for his contributions to God and strategy genres with Populous and Dungeon Keeper. During that time, he was applauded for creating and popularizing new genres while elevating western computer games to True Art status. However, starting with the aforementioned Black & White and Fable games, he lost much goodwill and developed a reputation overpromising yet underdelivering on his games. Although Black & White received positive reviews at launch after an exhausting development period, see the above for how that turned out. His next major project Fable I further damaged his reputation as much advertised features like the ability to raise families and grow trees were absent from the final game. Although Fable II was considered a legitimately great game and a substantial improvement, Fable III was considered a letdown with many finding the ability to play as a monarch to be unsatisfactory. During his work on the Fable games, Peter developed a habit of hyping up his upcoming games, expressing Creator Backlash over the lackluster reception, and repeating the process again with future games in a pattern that Jim Sterling coined the "Molyneux Cycle"◊. Even when working independently with total creative freedom and free of Executive Meddling, Molyneux continued to disappoint with his project Godus lacking promised features like a linux port and art books despite having reached 117% of its funding goal; when questioned about the discrepancy, Molyneux blamed crowdfunding sites for causing him to get too passionate. While his older entries are still held in high regard and his newer games have found a decent following, Molyneux's name has became a punchline for developers who promise too much yet fail to deliver.
- 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 commment denying all existence of the series.
- The Hello Engine in Mario Fan Gaming has come into this recently. 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).
- As mentioned above, the games of Square Enix have been hit hard by this. Once considered the juggernaut of the Roleplaying Game Genre, Square has perhaps been hit the hardest by the growing trend of favoring WRPGs over their JRPG counterparts. After Hironobu Sakaguchi was forced to resign from Square after the failure of his pet project, The Spirits Within, his successor made it his first initiative to push spinoffs of their most popular games in order to make more money for Square. This resulted in the fandom turning sour on the company. Not helping matters is that their Final Fantasy games following X all suffered massive broken bases. These days, Square is treated as a walking punchline and ironically it's the spin-offs that are keeping them afloat.
- Part of the problem is again in the spin-off department. Feasibly speaking (except possibly IV), there can be more stories told about the world or its settings and characters that could have worked in theory. However, in application, the only two spin-offs that made something worthwhile (and even then are still debatable) were Crisis Core (the Prequel to FFVII) and Final Fantasy X-2 (A world and citizenry trying to find purpose after 1000 years of cyclical death). The stories told in other failed spinoffs were really weak or in the case of Dirge of Cerberus, unbelievably bad. These weak stories angered a lot of critics and players and caused backlash.
- Further exaggerating these problems is that Square Enix has a very inefficient and expensive game development process even by AAA standards. The company has a habit of revamping game engines for sequels, turning spin-offs into main sequels, and constantly changing distribution patterns mid-way though development process. Much of this can be seen in the tumultuous development of Final Fantasy XV. The game, slated for release in 2016, was originally announced in 2006 as a spin-off titled Final Fantasy Versus XIII. However, the development didn't actually start until 2009 and, after a costly engine change, was retooled into a numbered sequel. The protracted and messy production of Final Fantasy games has only served to tarnish the brand's reputation and paint the image of an indecisive and visionless company that manages to stay alive largely because the aforementioned spinoffs may as well be a license to print money and will always be there to hold off the possibility of financial ruination caused by their many, many bad decisions as a company.
- 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.)
- The Chaos Engine was one of the most popular Amiga games ever, but its success faded after a while. Showed by its sequel, which came out after the Amiga was discontinued. Recently there has been an attempt to revive the franchise but the game that came out of that was a re-hash of the very first game of the franchise.
- 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 CD-i 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.
- In the 90s independent British developer Team17 was a critical darling: every game of theirs was met with acclaim and good sales, and many were amazed by the diversity of their output, from shmups (Project-X) to platformers (Superfrog), from beat-'em-ups (Body Blows) to racing games (ATR: All Terrain Racing). Then Worms came. It was a huge success and so Team17 started working on sequels and spin-offs. Nowadays their other titles, which seemed ground-breaking at the time, are being mostly forgotten, and the company is remembered mostly for churning out an endless list of Worms games.
- 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.