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Genre Killer / Video Games

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  • The Great Video Game Crash of 1983 is called that for a reason: Caused chiefly by an overabundance of competitors in a fledgling market and competition from superior micro-computers,note  it killed the home console market in the United States for about two years. Perhaps more importantly, it effectively wiped out North American game/console development, to the point where it took over two decades to fully regain the ground that had been lost to Japanese competitors. There wasn't a successful game console from an American company between the Atari 2600, which died around 1983, and the Microsoft Xbox, released in November of 2001, eighteen years later. That's how badly it crashed.
    • When Nintendo debuted the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985, they redesigned the console to work more like a VHS player and bundled it with a light gun and battery-operated robot peripheral that only worked with two games, primarily to disguise the fact that it actually was a video game console. It worked, and the rest is history.
    • In the UK, meanwhile, it didn't even make as much of an impact as two years. Brits started using 8-bit microcomputers as the main way of playing home videogames in 1982, which would last until the late 80s/early 90s when consoles started taking off (with the Mega Drive and SNES). This may also be related to why Nintendo consoles tend not to sell especially well in the UK even if it's one of their more popular systems elsewhere such as the NES, Wii, or Nintendo Switch; there wasn't the same market vacuum for them to fill as there was in the United States.
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    • The crash killed off a flood of maze games that weren't Pac-Mannote  as they were found to be too derivative (running around collecting items while avoiding various monsters and hazards), and that technology improved to the point that one can make so much more. Today only the Pac-Man franchise is known to the general audience, and due to its immense popularity and being so well-done — it is impossible to create a maze game anymore without being part of, or inspired by the series.
  • The Anthropomorphic Mascot with Attitude platformers that sprang up in the wake of Sonic the Hedgehog started petering out after Bubsy and the Battletoads dipped their toes into the world of multimedia franchising and saw incredibly disastrous results. When Bubsy subsequently crashed into the Polygon Ceiling with the infamous Bubsy 3D, the resulting backlash more or less exterminated every radical mascot that was not the Trope Maker himselfnote . Thankfully, the general acclaim and quality of throwback platformers such as Freedom Planet and Spark the Electric Jester could hopefully spark the return of such "Sonic-lite" games. And by some miracle, even Bubsy’s been getting more games as of late.
  • FreeSpace 2 destroyed the space shooter genre born of Elite and popularized by Wing Commander. It was not the fault of the game itself, which most critics consider the height of the genre and for which fans are still putting out new content both graphical and gameplay,note  but rather, how poorly it performed commercially: its initial sales were so bad that the genre was assumed dead and further development was halted, which most attributed to Interplay's (lack of) marketing. Attempts were still made to revive the genre, such as 2000's Tachyon: The Fringe having Bruce Campbell for its main character and gameplay additions like lateral thrusters, which was also featured in 2001's Independence War 2, as well as games considered staples of the genre like Freelancer, the X-Series, or Oolite (in and of itself a Fan Remake of Elite), but for a long while the genre was never able to reach the levels of popularity it had seen while Elite or Wing Commander were still going strong.
    • Thankfully, the advent of Kickstarter and other crowdfunding websites has seemingly restarted the genre, with games like Chris Roberts' Star Citizen, Elite Dangerous, and other games like Strike Suit Zero leading the charge. No Man's Sky NEXT, launched in 2018 and being increasingly recognized as an actually good redemption from the terrible flop that was the initial release of No Man's Sky, could slowly but surely spell the return of the space shooter genre, even if space shooting is only half of the game's overall experience.
  • The unfortunate retail failure of Unreal Tournament III, backed up by many freeware first-person shooters, has led to the end of commercially released fast-paced deathmatch-centric shooters like the Unreal and Quake series, with team-based and/or "tactical" shooters like Call of Duty/Modern Warfare, the Battlefield series, and Left 4 Dead taking their place. Team Fortress 2 is one of the few "Quake-like" games released since, and while it is still being supported and heavily-played, it was actually first released in 2007; most everything else in its vein that has come out since UT3 has been free-to-play (TF2 three years after its initial release, Unreal Tournament 4, Quake Champions) or an update on a classic game (Quake Live). Not too surprisingly, publisher Midway Games, who had been marred with financial trouble for years and had hoped Unreal Tournament III would revitalize their fortunes, declared bankruptcy just a year-and-a-half later. The aforementioned UT4 could have restarted the genre, but then Epic Games made a little game called Fortnite and UT4 was left in the dust. Even when nostalgic throwbacks to classic shooters came into vogue in the mid- to late-2010s, whether new games with old gameplay like Wolfenstein: The New Order or the 2016 Doom, or games that emulate the old look on top of it like DUSK or Ion Fury, they hewed more towards the earlier period of singleplayer-focused shooters back when they were still called "Doom clones", like Duke Nukem 3D or the first Quake.
    • It could also be said for true tactical shooters in the vein of the older Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon games, the ones with planning and stealth as major elements where the slightest muckup led to the death of your squad, due to the line being blurred between the aforementioned team-based shooters and the "true" tactical ones taking on more actionized elements. Attempts to bring the genre back have had limited success at best, with only an actual Rainbow Six game in the vein of its predecessors, Siege, being particularly well-received (and even then it plays more like Counter-Strike as a Hero Shooter); other attempts marketed as being in the spirit of those games, like Takedown: Red Sabre, have met with near-universal negative reactions, mostly due to bad gameplay and little polish. ARMA is an exception, with its third game seeing more than six years of support, although the playerbase is comparatively niche and its focus is on realism so extreme, even compared to other tactical shooters, that its engine has been used as a training simulator for actual armies.
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    • The only high-profile exception is the Halo franchise which, while taking a few elements from Call of Duty, remains faithful to its roots. And even then, it's not completely immune when putting its online statistics next to those of its immediate predecessors.
  • The insane amount of Capcom Sequel Stagnation for the Guitar Hero franchise did this to the Rhythm Game genre in North America and Europe. Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock and Rock Band 3, released in late 2010, sold less than 1.5 million units combined, and the competition (Power Gig, et al.) outright bombed. While these are respectable figures given that both games come with expensive peripherals, compare this to Guitar Hero III (15 million units sold) and the original Rock Band (6 million), both released in 2007, and you can start to see how oversaturation of the market (a possible reason why Harmonix decided to focus more on DLC for the existing games rather than putting out a new title once a year, unlike Activision) has destroyed the genre's profitability. Following the commercial disappointments of the latest installments, MTV sold Rock Band developer Harmonix for 50 dollars and Activision briefly pulled the plug on the Guitar Hero series, and other developers, having bled money from their endeavors, have gotten out of the market. Due to its different audience and "real guitar" street cred, Rocksmith is the last man standing. It took five years after their "final" release (or two, considering that Rock Band DLC had still gone on until 2013) for the two main competitors to come back to the market for the eighth generation, via Rock Band 4 & Guitar Hero Live, the latter of which completely overhauled its guitar controller and outright abandoned the bass guitar & drums. Lukewarm sales, however, suggest that even for the creative strides these games took to distance themselves from their predecessors, it's still for nothing. Activision disliked how the new Hero game did on the market to the point that they sold the studio that developed the game to Ubisoft, the publisher of the aforementioned Rocksmith. Talk about ironic.
    • Dance-based Rhythm Games still hold popularity however. The Just Dance series may have been instrumental in killing off the once mighty Guitar Hero and Rock Band games. They were a less-expensive alternative, since they didn't require extra peripherals to play (unless you count the non-Nintendo versions which require a motion control sensor or a companion smartphone app, but it's still cheaper). Also, its casual appeal due to its use of both modern and classic pop songs, not just strictly rock, was part of the why it largely supplanted Guitar Hero and Rock Band as the go-to game for parties. (Not entirely unlike pop supplanting rock music outside the gaming sphere.)
  • The 4X Real-Time Strategy subgenre was killed off when Empire Earth screwed up with its third installment and Age of Empires went bust with Ensemble closing down. Note that Ensemble going bust was Executive Meddling by Microsoft, who shut them down after they cranked out nothing but successful games.
    • Sins of a Solar Empire revived the genre a bit, but it's one of the few notable releases and it came out in 2008.
  • The execrable World War II FPS Hour of Victory (2007) killed off WWII shooters for a while, with the only noticeably successful ones since Call of Duty: World at War (2008) coming out nearly a full decade afterward, like Day of Infamy, Hell Let Loose, and the free-to-play Heroes & Generals. However, it should be noted that the market had been absolutely saturated with WWII shooters for about a decade by then and the major franchises had shifted to a modern setting (World at War was itself the final WWII-based Call of Duty game at the time, made mostly as a fall-back because Activision was convinced the modern-day jump wouldn't stick, and ending up only really noticed because of the Zombies mode that would become iconic to the franchise). Also, most of the damage was focused on games that follow the historical battles of the war; Alternate History-type games with plots that haven't been seen (or, for that matter, read about in your history class) a million times before, like Sniper Elite and Wolfenstein, have still been going strong, the former helping itself by jumping on the zombies bandwagon while the latter has pushed itself beyond the historical war.
  • Call of Duty can itself also be linked to the death of WWII shooters and the shift to modern/near-future settings, due to the extreme popularity of the Modern Warfare sub-series - nearly every shooter released since Call of Duty 4 (2007) has been, in effect, a Call of Duty 4 clone. The Modern Warfare style modern-military shooter craze eventually died down after 2012, and games started moving towards 'near future'/sci-fi territory with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Titanfall. Arguably, the combination of the failures of Homefront and Medal of Honor Warfighter, rising sentiment against the US military's involvement in the Middle East, deconstruction games such as Spec Ops: The Line, and a backlash from gamers towards obviously-derivative modern day shooters, has led to this shift in subject. After the near-future movement of games gained some serious backlash with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, the entry after that returned to World War II. Which, to put it lightly, didn't really change that much in the long run.
  • The Point-and-Click genre in its inventory management form was practically killed off by the success of Myst, and was only revived decades later via digital distribution as well as the serial format. The failure of the critically praised Grim Fandango in 1998 was seen as the final nail on the coffin for the genre, even though Escape from Monkey Island was released two years later – albeit with considerably less acclaim than prior Monkey Island games.
  • The Interactive Movie genre, which emerged in the 80s and saw a ton of notable releases in the 90s, died out due largely to the advancing technology of consoles like the PlayStation and the CD format becoming nigh-universal outside of the Nintendo 64. Much of what made those early games notable was that little could match them graphically, but when you could fit lavish prerendered or pre-filmed cutscenes into a game and still have the space for more substantive game design, they quickly became rather obsolete. It certainly didn't help that, unless you were Dragon's Lair or Tex Murphy, the common judgment of interactive movies was that the "movie" part was So Bad, It's Good at best. Interactive Fiction has seen a rise since then, but the classical "watching a live-action sequence while you occasionally press buttons" format is extremely rare outside of indie titles. An attempt to revive the genre with Enix's game Love Story for the then-brand new PlayStation 2 flopped hard and the genre stayed buried ever since.
  • Resident Evil 4, while highly successful and acclaimed both in its time and now, has been blamed for killing, or at least hastening the demise of, the Survival Horror genre in the '00s. This is largely due to its status as the Franchise Original Sin for the Resident Evil series, introducing many shooter-esque gameplay elements that would take over later games in the series, which other survival horror series would copy until, by The New '10s, most "horror" games were basically action shooters with creepy-crawlies and gothic atmospheres. However, the seventh and eighth games, as well as P.T. (albeit its full game being canned) and several indie productions (notably Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Outlast) have formed a movement of harkening back to the genre's roots.
  • As mentioned in the trope description, Street Fighter II codified so many tropes that most people don't even realize how utterly it killed off any Fighting Game, especially 2D ones, that didn't largely adhere to them.note  Game mechanics we take for granted nowadays such as being able to attack before completing a walk cycle, having all of your basic moves available from the outset, lack of stage obstacles or crowd interference, or even just being able to jump high into the air, weren't always standard features of fighting games. Today, it's considered noteworthy if a fighting game breaks just two or three of the rules that SFII placed down, such as Bloodstorm, Divekick, and ARMS. It's worth noting that the only fighting games that have been able to match or surpass Street Fighter in the sales department and mainstream attention nowadays are Mortal Kombat, which is more notable for copious amounts of violence; Tekken, which uses a 3D plane instead of a 2D plane; and Super Smash Bros., a Massive Multiplayer Crossover Platform Fighter with no playable original characters. Games by developers like Arc System Works and SNK still remain popular, but rarely ever to the extent of those four juggernaut franchises.
  • Traditional base-building Real-Time Strategy games were killed by a pair of independent factors:
    • The more immediate hit was the release of Relic's Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II and Company of Heroes, which popularized RTS games with less focus on strategy, base-building, and long-term resource management and more on micro-management and unit survival (typically referred to as a "Real Time Tactics" game). This directly led to EA meddling in the development of Command & Conquer. Namely, they first mandated the creation of a Gaiden Game aimed at Asian markets and internet cafes in particular, in the RTT mold, then partway through said game's development, decided to make it the Grand Finale for the first and most iconic universe of Command & Conquer, one of the progenitors of the classic base-building RTS, rebranding the game Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight, despite it being a Real Time Tactics game instead of a Real Time Strategy game. When this inevitably flopped, EA pulled the rug out from under the entire franchise's feet, claiming there was a "lack of interest in RTS games" (despite that what they released was not one), thus removing one of the two main series from the competition. Meanwhile, Blizzard had left their own followup RTS after the well-received Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos sit on the backburner for over a decade, instead chasing its own much more successful MMO spinoff, with the only acknowledgement of the RTS series in fifteen years being an HD remake of Warcraft III that, to put it lightly, wasn't well-received either. With effectively no big-name triple-A titles and publicity, the entire genre sunk into relative obscurity, shrinking its market.
    • The other hit took longer for its effects to be noticeable, but did more permanent damage - and, ironically, it was the release of one of the most preeminent games in the genre, the aforementioned Warcraft III, which came with a robust map editor that lead to the invention of the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. While early MOBA-like concepts appeared in the StarCraft custom map, "Aeon of Strife," Warcraft's addition of RPG Elements like hero XP and items codified the fledgling genre. Defense of the Ancients became so popular that it spawned an entire new genre emphasizing micromanaging and tactics. As a result, the traditional RTS largely evaporated; in The New '10s, with the end of both of the traditional RTS genre's progenitors (Command & Conquer only seeing one failed attempt at a new game after the aforementioned C&C4, Warcraft having long since shifted focus to the more popular and lucrative World of Warcraft) and the rise of League of Legends and Dota 2 (which was the most popular game on Steam for close to five years), outside of the three parts of StarCraft II the only traditional RTS releases of note have been HD remakes of the genre's progenitors and the very rare retraux game in their style.
  • The day that Rise of the Robots was released is often cited as the moment when British gaming journalism died out. It was difficult before due to the massive oversaturation of video game magazines, which meant that they were all about hyping up the public for whatever game that would hit the store shelves, even if it was pretty bad, so that they could get review copies before anyone else. When a game that was outright horrible, led by the major gaming studio Time Warner Interactive, hit the store shelves, all British magazines that could make a review the day it came out were giving it high scores (Computer and Video Games rated it even as high as 92%) to be able to review the game before any other magazine across the country could get their hands on it, resulting in the game selling massive amounts of copies due to critics being unable to say anything even remotely negative about the game as that would mean that they would receive their review copies at a later date (Amiga Power, who gave the game a 5%, only got the game days after its release, and didn't get a review out until two months later in the January '95 issue). After most readers realized that most magazines they were reading were saying that they should buy horrible products, you can expect that most readers stopped caring about what they had to say, resulting in the demise of many of them.
  • Pokémon, for various reasons, has dominated the Mon genre so strongly it has made it very difficult for any other works in the genre to achieve mainstream popularity or sometimes even get made at all. Some, such as Digimon, are even assumed to be copying Pokémon by the mere name due to the public's lack of awareness that it's a genre that existed before Pokémon, not something pioneered by it.
    • Averted with Yo-Kai Watch, which has quickly become a massive competitor to the Pokémon games, both of them leading weekly sales charts for months after they come out and has created a comparably large multimedia and merchandising empire — in Japan. Outside of Japan, however, this is closer to a straight example where, while managing to avoid accusations and the resulting stigma of being a Pokémon ripoff, Yo-Kai Watch has failed to gain any popularity above a Cult Classic, especially in North America.
    • The only other gaming aversion would be the Shin Megami Tensei series and most of its spinoffs, which predated Pokémon and is considered the first successful franchise to use Mons, even if it looks like a deconstruction compared to Pokémon. Outside of Pokémon, Yo-kai Watch, and Shin Megami Tensei, video game Mons series are few and far between and not known by most.
  • The arcade racing genre suffered a decline in popularity and variety during the seventh generation of consoles, thanks to the commercial failures of Blur and Split/Second (2010) (both of which lead to the dissolution of their studios) as the industry shifted towards realism and how many licenses they could get, which led to the dominance of Forza and Gran Turismo as the go-to racing games backed heavily by real life racing teams using the aforementioned games as training simulations. In the eighth generation, only the fan favorite Mario Kart, the free-to-play Asphalt series, and the long-running Need for Speed series remain active.
  • In addition to its effects on any continuance of its RTS predecessors, World of Warcraft destroyed the modern market for MMORPGs. The success and long-lasting nature of the game meant that almost every MMO that came out after directly aimed to be a "WoW Killer" — many trying to copy it outright, at that, and not making enough attempt to differentiate itself from WoW (there's only so many times you can do a fantasy setting with a war between humans and orcs before it becomes stale) - and, not understanding the kind of commitment needed to match a game that's lasted that long (MMOs thrive on community and volume of content, both of which favor the older and more entrenched game) and generated that much money, ended up destroying itself in the process. Very few MMOs, especially subscription-based ones, have managed to last in this era, with many either closing down only a few years later, or existing in dumbed-down and/or free-to-play states to attract a small audience and make some of their losses back. The only big subscription-based game to truly last as a rival to World of Warcraft is Final Fantasy XIV, which itself had a host of problems at the beginning due to an attempt to compete with WoW causing its release to be rushed, and has only stayed as strong as it has due to a combination of its name-brand recognition letting it last long enough to begin extensive work on fixing its problems, rather than immediately cutting its losses and running.
  • Disco Elysium gives us an In-Universe example. Encyclopedia, the Exposition Fairy skill, will mention in an off-hand comment that Disco in hindsight died as music genre in the year of '38, and what was considered the death-knell was when the single "Et Puis Du Sang" failed to crack the International Top 20. The fact that 38' was the same year where a major scandal surrounding Disco superstar, Guillaume le Million, and his accidental death from Erotic Asphyxiation rocked the music industry probably also played a role.