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Deader Than Disco: Videogames

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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 US 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 there were many European consoles on the market such as the interton VC 4000 and the V-Tech Creati Vision. After those computers took off, those consoles could not compete anymore with the British microcomputers that were released after it and many of the companies that made those left them in the dust. We bought it to help with your homework!
  • Arcade games. Up until the fifth generation of consoles, console ports of arcade games were inferior to their arcade counterparts. Nowadays, why pay $1 a game when you can just buy the game for consoles for $60 (or on PSN or XBLA for $10 or $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). In fact, the arcade business in the United States is pretty much completely dead now because of consoles. For a while, they 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. It didn't work. Now, pure arcades — places that aren't part of larger facilities like movie theaters, bowling alleys and amusement parks — are almost extinct outside of places like boardwalks note , 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.
    Japan's arcades live on, but the age of extreme violence in arcade games is over. However, thanks to game cards that save your profile in certain games (almost every arcade game worth its salt has a save system now), many of them got 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.
    Traditional arcades are making a minor comeback thanks to the retro gaming craze. Small arcades are often opened by videogame collectors who want to share their collection with the world, offering up vintage arcade cabinets (which, after all, are becoming an increasingly 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. 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.
  • A similar trend is happening with laser tag arcades. Back in the 80s and early 90s, 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 US.
  • 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. 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 collectables (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 partially due to the fact that they thought nobody was interested in 3D-platformers anymore. Sort of ironic really, given the fanbase's reaction.
    One exception is the Super Mario Galaxy games, which have been wildly successful despite (or because of?) sticking to the overall format and gameplay established by Super Mario 64.
  • This happened twice in five years with rhythm games. First, in the mid-'00s, 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 installments 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 $50note . 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.
  • 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.
  • The precursor to FMV in the 90s, Laser-Disc arcade games saw a brief explosion in the early-to-mid 80s, 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." The Video Game Crash, plus the high cost maintenance of laser players, saw the genre die out in a few years.
  • Virtual Reality. In the early to mid 90's, 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 Nineties. 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, Square Enix, 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, preventing the industry from at least going all the way.
    • The video game industry in Western Europe was huge during the Commodore64 era. Due to how accessible programming was at the time pretty much 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 that still could 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 that are still left are Ubisoft, Codemasters, Infogrames (now Atari), System 3 and Eutechnyx.
  • Pre-rendered graphics enjoyed a day in the limelight from about 1994 to 1996 but are now happily forgotten, being only used in the odd handheld game, and even that is exceedingly rare 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 time. 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.
  • 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 5+ pages long 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 1 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 (Game Fan, 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 Nineties, 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 last decade. Today, Wipeout appears to be the only franchise that's still going strong. Competing franchises, such as Extreme-G and even F-Zero, have been pretty much neglected this generation. This can no doubt be attributed to a saturation of such games during the late-90's 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).
    • Funnily enough, electronic music (through the popularity of Dubstep, which itself features slower tempos than usual) has made a comeback. Sadly, Wipeout has not, with Studio Liverpool being closed down and the franchise presumed dead, despite the recent resurgence in electronic music that hopefully would have given Wipeout a second change at relevancy.
  • 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 if it will be a lasting trend.
  • Video game consoles during the Nintendo 64/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 7th 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 5th 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 are 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 their last save/checkpoint instead of going through a game over sequence.
  • 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 games. This can probably be attributed to the rise in achievement-based gaming (ie. 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.
  • 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.
  • Many video games in the past two decades had the option to set how you wanted the audio to be set up (mono, stereo, and surround sound). Nowadays, only PC games still give gamers options over their sound output while most console games removed the feature and have their games automatically adjust the sound output based on how the player sets up their sound system.
  • 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 consoles, 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 pretty much 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.
  • Adventure games were massive hits back in the '80s and '90s due to their interactivity and clever writing, with games like Monkey Island and Day Of The Tentacle being huge hits. But after a stream of shovelware titles, over-reliance on insane puzzles, and other game genres getting good writing, they were relegated to small and indie releases, with most people calling them dead. However, they may be making a comeback, with The Walking Dead becoming a serious contender for Game Of The Year and the related Visual Novel genre producing much-loved titles like Ace Attorney and Katawa Shoujo. Also, Hidden Object Games are big on the casual side of the market, and the more elaborate ones arguably border on this.
  • The survival horror genre has, ironically, become deader than the zombies that are in the games. 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 mixed results.
    • 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 and some games have modes dedicated to killing zombies all day long, even though zombies are not part of the game's main appeal.
  • Turn based RPG games are barely alive in today's time compared to the 1990s where they were kings of the RPG genre. What was once considered fun and engaging to be in turn based battles is now seen as extremely clunky and slow. Certain franchises, like Pokémon, are an exception. 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 pretty much 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 cheating 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.
  • 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 seem to have gone this way in the The Eighth Generation of Console Video Games, being strongly associated with Wii shovelware and imprecise waggling. Even Nintendo's Wii U has demoted motion gaming to a secondary control scheme, while the PS Move and Kinect have both been totally ignored by PS 4 and Xbox One developers.
  • 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 nothing more than an Excuse Plot so that the player has something to keep themselves 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 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.
  • Grinding in most MMORPGs have been eased a lot 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.
    • 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 (ie. video games you could play on a Texas Instruments brand graphing calculator such as the TI-86) were very popular among high school and college students. Needless to say, the rise in cell phone gaming (first with flip phones and later with smart phones), abruptly put an end to this trend.
  • The flight simulator genre in the computer gaming industry is pretty much 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 due to 2 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 just can not have lots of success due to the fact that there are already special devices that are made specifically to look like the equipment of a plane in the most recent ones and the fact that you can not truly make the graphics of a plane, air, clouds or landings place more realistic than it already is.
  • 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 in the genre for it to properly kick off, and those franchises are still going strong, but 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.

    Specific games and series 
  • Jet Set Radio. Upon release, the game was almost unanimously acclaimed by critics, mostly for its then-revolutionary cel-shaded graphics style. The game's 2012 re-release, however, met with mostly unfavorable reviews despite being fundamentally the same as the Dreamcast original. Once the awe over the game's graphics died down, reviewers noticed the game's many glaring faults: A fussy camera, hideously repetitive and unforgiving gameplay, and awkward play control. The game doubles as an example of Seinfeld Is Unfunny, as many later games employed a similar cell-shaded art style — most notably, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, widely credited as the game which perfected this style of graphics. Today, Jet Set Radio is remembered almost entirely for its unique sense of style and great soundtrack, and little else.
  • 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 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 focused only on Patroklos and Pyrrha Alexandra (Sophitia's kids), who many view as designated heroes with heavy amounts of Incest Subtext. The game itself had little content to offer outside of basic fights and character customization, and the character balance was often an issue, with characters like Xiba, Natsu, and Nightmare being extremely overpowered while characters like Z.W.E.I. being extremely underpowered. The main people who liked the game are the online crowd, but even they are dwindling now that Major League Gaming (the main demographic they were trying to appeal to) has dropped the game. To date, V has only sold about half as many copies as IV, and that was only after the poor sales forced Namco to drop the price down to a quarter of full price new. Suffice to say, the fate of this series is all but uncertain.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 favorite fighters like Blue Suede Goo. When the anticipated Nintendo 64 sequel Clayfighter 63 1/3 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, 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's been in Development Hell for more than three years now, it's unlikely to ever make a comeback.
  • The Turok series. When the first game released on the Nintendo 64, it was lauded for its then-lush graphics and solid first-person shooting gameplay. Unfortunately, when Golden Eye 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 just about 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 The Elder Scrolls V: 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.
  • Despite the success of Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10, the Mega Man series as a whole has effectively fallen victim to this trope in recent years. The attempted reboot of Mega Man X didn't sell well enough to last, while the ZX and Starforce series have both been long over. The long awaited Mega Man Legends 3 was canceled, and all fans were treated to for the 25th anniversary of the Blue Bomber was an officially endorsed version of a fan game, Mega Man x Street Fighter. Mega Man seems to be relegated to cameos in Capcom's crossover fighting games, and Nintendo's Super Smash Bros 4. Those who accuse Capcom of trying to "kill" Mega Man usually don't know about how poorly the most recent games have sold.
    • Cemented by Keiji Inafune's departure from Capcom, who has been very vocal about the deteriorating state of the Japanese video game industry, and particularly publishers' attitudes towards developers. Mega Man's legacy, however, will live on through Inafune's new Kickstarter IP, Mighty No.9.
  • 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 collabs 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 about 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 Mario Maker is basically 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.
  • 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 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.
    • 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 '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 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.
  • 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 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 basically 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 fell 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 pretty much sank in about three or four eyars. The fact Hello himself (the creator of said engine) had a reputation for making tons of MissionPackSequels 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 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 WRP Gs 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 spinoffs that are keeping them afloat.
  • The Chaos Engine was one of the most popular Amiga games ever. Its success however 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 2009/10 Starry☆Sky was one of the biggest and most beloved otome game franchises. Now it's pretty much a deadhorse, despite Honeybee still releasing ports of the games on several platforms.

    Fictional examples 
  • 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 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.
  • During Ragna's gag reel in BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, Ragna was killed by being crushed by Tager (who died when his reactor went supercritical), only to find themselves on a vessel with Rachel, who presumably was caught in the explosion. The ship is helmed by Nu-13, who was lost after the events of BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger.
    Ragna: Wait... Nu?! I thought you were dead!
    Nu-13: Yep, as dead as disco. That's why Nu is a ghost, too!

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