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  • The Internet has been helping classic game consoles to get more recognition:
    • For years, the Nintendo Entertainment System was the oldest system that is still remotely greatly remembered. Consoles such as the Sega Master System and any game console that came before the NES were fading away into obscurity. However, as the Internet became more and more accessible, there was a lot more information on older games. Some may say that retro gaming is still relatively niche, but the Internet has definitely made learning about them a whole lot easier.
    • A large number of games and game systems that were never released outside Japan. Back in the 90's, only the truly nerdy or anyone who had been to Japan knew that systems such as the Playdia, the Wonderswan, the FM Towns Marty, or the PC-FX even existed.
    • The NES and Sega Master System are starting to get more popular in the UK. Earlier in their lifespan, they were dropped in favor of microcomputers (like the Commodore 64 and Sinclair ZX Spectrum) because many of them thought they had primitive graphics compared to microcomputers. As the Internet started to become more and more available, many people in the UK realised that the assumption that their microcomputers had better graphics was wrong and now the NES and Sega Master System are more popular.
    • The emulation community has been instrumental in resurrecting games and consoles that would have been popular had they not failed to gain an audience due to poor marketing, were squashed by competition, or otherwise failed to find their stride. People being one Google search away from playing any game on any older console has given a lot of these older works a fair shot at winning over a crowd and finding a fan base.
  • Basically any console that got its ass handed to it by PlayStation.
    • The Sega Saturn. It never really caught on (due to Executive Meddling and botched marketing in the U.S.), but word of mouth through the Internet captured the interest of hardcore gamers looking to indulge in its arcade perfect Shoot 'em Up and fighting game library (in some cases, like Twinkle Star Sprites and Street Fighter Alpha 3, the Saturn versions are considered superior to the Dreamcast versions). There were the exclusives like Panzer Dragoon Saga, Burning Rangers, and other notable titles that still can't be had on any other platform without emulation. As a result, it's seen as much less of a failure and more of a must-have for any hardcore gamer these days, especially those who like arcade games. The Japanese marketing campaign (which had a narrative arc featuring mascot Segata Sanshiro) was also discovered in North America years after the system died out, and was considered to be one of the most effective video game system campaigns of all time. When all the specs are put together, the Saturn may very well have been the greatest 2D graphics console of its time; alas, this was during a period when 3D graphics were being heavily pushed to the forefront — regardless as to how much better the Saturn performed in the prior category.
    • The Sega Dreamcast was launched with much fanfare in 1999 but was soon overpowered by the much more successful PlayStation 2 in all areas. Its games were slammed in reviews for not being up to par with what the PS2 was churning out, and Sega's inability to attract third party developers (most notably EA) severely hampered the system (not helping was the fact you could pirate its games by just burning them onto a blank CD, or that SEGA's attempt to mitigate this by producing the "GD-ROM", which could fit 1GB worth of files and data, only drove up SEGA's expenses). It "died" in less than a year and a half after its debut and was seen as a failure during the rest of the sixth console generation. Even worse is that, after Sonic games started to take a massive nosedive in quality, a lot of people accused it of being the console that killed Sonic, as the Adventure titles, of which they were exclusive titles on for a while, were beginning to get accused of beginning certain conventions in the Sonic franchise that seemingly "killed it." However, since then, opinions on the system have largely shifted to it being a great system that was ahead of its time. In particular, it is known for its string of arcade-perfect ports of shmups and Fighting Games, as well as its more solid and obscure titles, are often on many Top 10 lists. There exists a Homebrew community that still, to this day, makes and releases games for the system (be they from scratch or ports from the arcade). The Dreamcast also marked one of the best outputs from Sega itself in terms of quality first-party games in the form of new IPs. This console saw the rise of soon to be mainstays (even if only in cameos) like Jet Set Radio, Skies of Arcadia, Space Channel 5, ChuChu Rocket!, Shenmue, and a veritable slew of others. Although not necessarily failing now, Sega hasn't hit a string of home runs quite like that ever since then.
    • The Nintendo GameCube. It was in third place in the sixth generation (only a couple million units behind the original Xbox), with gamers deriding it as a "kiddie" console (granted, compared to the other consoles of its generation, it did look like a toy). It also suffered from few third-party exclusives, divisive first-party titles, and many best-selling T and M-rated titles such as Grand Theft Auto and Metal Gear releasing on the other consoles but not the GameCube. In fact, it cost a lot for Capcom, as the only way they recouped their losses was by porting some of their games, most famously most of the supposed-to-be-exclusive "Capcom 5" like Resident Evil 4, to PS2. However, several games have become Cult Classics, or have simply been revisited and given the accolades they deserve. It helps that the much more successful Wii was fully compatible with GameCube games until later in its life, making it easier for people to play games for the latter without actually having to buy one. With critics putting increased emphasis on the importance of quick loading times in the modern age, the GameCube's design towards faster loads (in the form of smaller disks and special RAM caches) is also becoming more appreciated.
    • The Wii U was one of Nintendo's biggest failures outside of the Virtual Boy, not helped by little marketing, a poorly thought out name that made it look like it was only a peripheral, and constant jokes about it not having any games (not helped by that massive drought for a year). That said, when it picked up hype, it picked up a lot of hype. When it got its first-party offerings, several people saw the system as a great companion or secondary console (heck, quite a few PC gamers consider it their favorite of its gen because it had the most value in exclusives) that a lot of old school gamers respected for being one of the last bastions of 60 FPS gameplay outside PC. To make a long story short, many consider it the modern-day Dreamcast in the best way possible (although the Wii U lasted longer than the Dreamcast).
  • PlayStation 3:
    • Sony's standard-bearer for the Seventh Generation suffered a disastrous launch where one of the most anticipated new consoles in gaming history became hated by the entire Internet. It was incredibly expensive, it was openly described as a 'Trojan Horse' for the Blu-ray format which few gamers were interested in at the time (and was blamed for the high price), it had very few quality games due to being notoriously difficult to design for (and several poor-quality games getting inflated reviews), it suffered from the downright bizarre antics of Ken Kutaragi, it had crazy ads, and it was overshadowed by the cheaper, better-selling, and innovative Wii and by the comparatively conventional yet more economical Xbox 360. People trying to defend it usually only made the problem worse.

      But around 2008, with the backlash having died down and a growing number of quality games like Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and LittleBigPlanet being available for the system, Sony pulled off a successful rebranding, with the new PlayStation Slim (countering the accusations of the original being oversized) having a much more subdued ad campaign ("It only does everything."). Furthermore, the Blu-ray format and the built-in hard drive, maligned in 2006 as pointless add-ons that did little but drive up the price, are now seen as having given the system legs in the long term, allowing it to play games that the competing Xbox 360 simply didn't have the storage space for (many multi-platform games needed multiple discs on the 360 and only one on the PS3). The fact that developers were still able to push the boundaries of what the PS3 was technically capable of all the way into 2013 was probably a major factor in why the Seventh Generation lasted eight years, something that would've been unthinkable beforehand — and when the Xbox One launched, it had a Blu-Ray drive and a 500 GB HDD just like the PlayStation 4.
    • In April 2011, the PS3's network infrastructure was compromised by hackers, who stole boatloads of personal information and forced Sony to shut down the entire network. Sony was widely ridiculed for its poor security encryption and for taking nearly a week to address the problem. The PlayStation Network was down for at least three weeks, drawing the ire of gamers and even politicians everywhere. However, after the fiasco was over, Sony was able to win the public's trust once again, with some free programs to make up for it and insurance that such an incident would never happen again.

    Final Fantasy 
  • For a long time, the most common review of Final Fantasy V in the West ran along the lines of "the characters are flat but the gameplay is great." V had a rocky introduction outside of Japan—it didn't come over with IV and VI, meaning it was only accessible through an emulated translation for the truly dedicated. When it was included with the Anthology release in the late 90's, it was a Translation Train Wreck, and its reputation of "flat characters in an Excuse Plot" stuck even after a 2006 GBA port redid the entire translation from the ground up. Although it's still not as popular as IV and VI, the writing itself is becoming more appreciated as memory of the PlayStation's travesty fades, the characters get more exposure through tie-in games (starting with Bartz in Dissidia), and fans newly-come to the series start with the good translation. Plus, many have grown to appreciate the game's more lighthearted and humorous tone, when compared to the far more serious IV and VI.
  • When it was first released, Final Fantasy VIII developed the dubious honor of being the most base-breaking entry in the series. Among other things, the preceeding Final Fantasy VII brought with it an enormous Newbie Boom (espcially among European players), and many players who got into the series through FFVII were confused and upset when the "sequel" took place in another universe with a completely different cast of characters and completely different gameplay mechanics—though even some long-time fans found the characters bland and uninteresting, the futuristic setting difficult to enjoy and Squall and Rinoa's love story ploddingly written and dull. However, Final Fantasy VII developing Hype Backlash and Wolverine Publicity, Final Fantasy XIII being even more divisive, and Squall being featured in more titles, have earned VIII more fans and defenders.
  • Final Fantasy X was the first game in the franchise to take a stab at using full voice acting. It wasn't too well received at first since most fans saw most of the characters having grossly exaggerated accents, bad pacing (this was due to the English voice actors trying to match the lip flaps on the character models, which were synced for Japanese voice acting), and the infamous laughing scene where Tidus and Yuna have the most over the top fake laugh to force themselves to smile. Over time, fans revisiting the game grew to like the flavor of each voice every character had and the laughing scene was viewed in a more positive, if still narmy, light once the context behind it was understood.
  • Final Fantasy XII has been developing this, again mostly due to XIII being even more divisive, but also due to Xenoblade, one of the most well-received JRPGs of all time, using very similar mechanics. The story itself was largely vindicated later, once it was clear that Vaan wasn't the protagonist and the story wasn't centered around him. It also helps that FFXII's storyline and plot has been likened to Game of Thrones, which hugely popularized the concepts of sweeping political intrigue and moral ambiguity in fantasy/sci-fi settings.
  • Final Fantasy XIII and its two sequels created a huge Broken Base in the fandom over its story and how it seemed like Lightning had become the face of the franchise, which got to the point of people calling her a Creator's Pet. However, Final Fantasy XV received a lot of flak for being a Troubled Production, such as using DLC episodes to complete the full story, cancelling planned DLC for Aranea, Lunafreya, and Noctis, and its director Hajime Tabata leaving the company before completing said DLC episodes. It also helps that since XIII is no longer the newest entry in the franchise, Lightning hasn't been advertised as much in spin-offs. All of this has made people see the XIII trilogy in a more positive light.
  • When Square Enix's second Final Fantasy MMORPG, Final Fantasy XIV, launched in 2010, it was considered to be a massive disaster among fans and critics. Complaints ranged from confusing and archaic gameplay mechanics, constant lag due to servers being hosted only in Japan, poorly optimized graphics that caused a lot of people being unable to play their game on their computers, and content that slowly trickled down as the developers patched things up as they happened, which meant players would constantly have very little to do. Back then, you would be hard pressed to find anyone defending the game. While the remade game a few years later was a massive success, a handful of fans from the pre-remake days pine for the old ideas and mechanics that had potential while also stating that 1.0 wasn't as bad as people had made it out to be.
  • Many gamers who purchased Final Fantasy Tactics when it was first released were disappointed with it (probably because it was so different from the popular Final Fantasy VII). However, over time, the FF:T fans convinced enough people to try it (or give it a second chance) that it gained a lot of popularity for it's tactical mechanics and storyline that dealt with a lot of mature themes (classism, religious corruption). It was notoriously difficult for most gamers to try it for a long, long time; its initial sales were so poor that it was discontinued soon after release, and thus, once people discovered it and it gained its reputation, used copies sold on eBay for upwards of $150 (USD) until it was re-issued as part of the "PlayStation Greatest Hits" line.
    • In fact, Penny Arcade did a comic about buying a copy of FFT five years after it was released.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance was, in 2003, very divisive among fans due to its Lighter and Softer atmosphere compared to the original Tactics. Marche and the rest of the characters were often seen as Unintentionally Unsympathetic, and fans debated on whether or not Marche was even a hero for his actions of wanting his friends and brother to face reality. However, when people played it with a much older perspective, they noticed that the game actually does have some mature themes within it, looking into the effects of divorce on children, the stages of grief, and learning that excessive escapism isn't good.

    The Legend of Zelda 
The Legend of Zelda series suffers from a perpetually Broken Base, making the application of this type of reaction problematic due to the lack of clear consensus at any given time. There is an interesting phenomenon known as the "Zelda Cycle": Whenever a new Zelda game is released on a home console, the fanbase almost universally hates it, while the previous game (which was hated just as much up until this point) is now suddenly praised as a masterpiece. In September 2013, series producer Eiji Aonuma and Nintendo president Satoru Iwata expressed their awareness of this phenomenon.

  • On the NES, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is a funny case. At the time it was released it was well liked - games were mostly expected to be Nintendo Hard at that point in time, and it was believed that Mission Pack Sequels wouldn't sell so nobody minded the divergent playstyle. However, it was followed by The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, which not only returned to the original playstyle, but is considered one of the greatest entries in the entire series. After that, followed by The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening and the Oracle series, it began coming down with a bad rap due to its divergent playstyle and perceived difficulty. Another decade later when retro gaming became popular, many gamers began to appreciate the game for its many innovative ideas. Additionally, with the new wellspring of appreciation for games based around providing a serious challenge such as I Wanna Be the Guy and Dark Souls, Zelda II's difficulty is seen by a certain kind of gamer as less of a crippling flaw than a point of merit. Shigeru Miyamoto has even said that he'd like to see the game remade one day.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask had the poor luck of being a follow-up to Ocarina of Time, one of the most critically beloved games of all time. Its reception was mostly lukewarm, with the chief complaints about the game being that it recycled graphics from its predecessor and its shortness, with a mere four dungeons, and for a long time it was mostly known as "the weird Zelda". A decade or so later, and the fanbase for Majora's Mask has grown considerably, with many people loving the bleak, sinister atmosphere, the creative (if somewhat difficult) dungeon design, and the massive amount of sidequests. note  GameFAQs even voted Majora's Mask the greatest game of The Noughties!
  • The Oracle duology originally had a very low profile among the series due to being released on the Game Boy soon after the series' acclaimed leap to 3D with both Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask. As time has gone by, both Oracle games have greatly increased in profile due to their creative selection of items, Ensemble Dark Horse villains, and surprisingly challenging dungeon and puzzle design. It's not uncommon to rank the Oracle duology alongside Link's Awakening and A Link to the Past as some of the best 2D games in the series nowadays.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was near-universally derided by fans before and shortly after release. While two dungeons having been cut from the second half of the game in order to get it on shelves in a timely manner and the sailing system, which many found tedious, certainly didn't help matters, most of the hatred was aimed towards the art style. Due to a tech demo for the GameCube setting expectations and fans disliking the "kiddy stigma" that Nintendo was getting, the reveal of cel-shaded look was seen as a betrayal. However, the game's stylized nature has aged well compared to the more realistically styled games of the time, as well as Twilight Princess, whose art style was a response to the criticism The Wind Waker received. Nowadays, the game is generally remembered as a niche favorite, a critical darling, and an overall flawed but more than worthy entry in the series. Aonuma himself has even said that this reaction is the reason why The Wind Waker specifically was chosen to get an HD remaster on the Wii U.
  • Zig-zagged with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. The general consensus at the time was to praise it as a return to the series' Ocarina-era heyday, to the point that it was the Trope Namer for 8.8 for how up in arms its fans became when a magazine dared to give it a less-than-perfect score. As time wore on, however, it became the target of a certain amount of Hype Backlash and became seen as a tired re-thread of OoT's plot structure and gameplay. These days, Twilight Princess is seen favorably, particularly with its HD remaster fixing some issues like the overdone Real Is Brown atmosphere, but is still as base-breaking as almost every other game in the series.
  • Phantom Hourglass was criticized for several aspects such as the Temple of the Ocean King, the touch controls and especially the way the overworld was structured. Eventually, this game, while not widely considered one of the best in the series, got a lot of retroactive praise for its creative items, puzzles, and characters.
  • Spirit Tracks is in a similar boat to Phantom Hourglass, but with some variations. It was praised for improving on and addressing complaints with Phantom Hourglass (like the repetitive, time-limited central dungeon), but was also criticized by some for elements like the train mechanics, implementation of the Spirit Flute, and for being similar to its predecessor. However, several factors have come to bring it into fans' good graces:
  • The Legend of Zelda CD-i Games were used as YouTube Poop material for years due to the laughably bad voice acting, the Uncanny Valley of the cut scenes, and the bad controls. As time passed, people have eased up on the games; while people still view the games as bad overall, they saw the potential the gameplay had and noted that having animated cutscenes and voice acting for a video game console released in the early 1990s was pretty impressive at the time. Some people also believe that the Zelda CD-i games could have been great if more time was spent on polishing up the games.
  • Even the original game has been subject to this. While it did get credit for starting the series, A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time got a lot more credit for shaping the conventions of the series, as they introduced the series' mythology and deeper stories to go with it, made item usage clearer, and gave proper direction for the player in what to do to proceed. For a long time, people who attempted to play the original game found it to be archaic and overly cryptic in comparison to its successors. note  However, the seventh generation brought with it an explosion in popularity for open world games. As such, many developers and journalists have gone back to praise the original game for, despite its faults, being one of the earliest examples of a console open world game and for letting the players discover things for themselves. When looking to reinvent the series' formula after Skyward Sword, Nintendo went on to use the original game as a framework, leading to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

    Sonic the Hedgehog 
  • Games in the Sonic the Hedgehog series have a tendency to gain a lot more respect about 8 to 10 years after they come out.
    • As much as it's widely pointed to by Genesis-era Sonic fans as the pinnacle of the hedgehog's career, it may surprise some that Sonic 3 & Knuckles wasn't quite on this pedestal at the time of its release—specifically, when the game was released as Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles. Compared to the runaway critical and commercial successes of the first two games, both titles only managed modest salesnote ; and each title were also accused of being too similar to past games and not innovative enough by reviewers, especially when compared to the preceding Sonic 2 (though both titles still received mostly positive reviews). Not helping matters was Sonic 3 being very bug-ridden due to the game's rushed production and having the notorious "Barrel of Doom" puzzle, while Sonic & Knuckles following its release would be promptly overshadowed by the release of the highly-anticipated dueling game Donkey Kong Country for the SNES. It would take years before reviewers and fans began to re-assess the two games as the singular Sonic 3 & Knuckles through Sonic & Knuckles's "digital lock-on technology" and then discovered how much of a incredible refinement of the Sonic formula the game was—better gameplay and graphics, varied playable characters, larger and more balanced level design, and a more compelling story and presentation, among other enhancements. Nowadays, the game is rarely referred to its initial two parts, complaints about the games' lack of freshness are hardly even remembered, and the game is usually considered an Even Better Sequel to Sonic 2 (although the general public tends to recognize the first two titles far more).
    • Shadow the Hedgehog seems to be entering this. While it's still not considered a great game per se today, some folks actually like it and it even has its own fans, compared to when it released. Back in 2005, both critics and people alike were lambasting it for the Darker and Edgier tone, the story, the gunplay and how it made Shadow look like a complete joke. Then Sonic '06 came out... It does help that, even though the gunplay is still considered a controversial idea for a Sonic game, it works quite well and the game doesn't suffer from the Gameplay Roulette trope, unlike both Adventure games and Heroes.
    • When Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) was first released, it was near-universally reviled as the worst in the franchise, if not the entire medium, due to being an Obvious Beta and having a more realistic art style, and a romantic subplot involving Sonic and Princess Elise. Nowadays, while calling it a good game is still a minority opinion and its reputation as one of the worst games of all time is not going anywhere, it's not nearly as hated as when it came out, with many noting that it had good ideas.
    • Sonic Lost World is one of the fastest (no pun intended) examples in the Sonic franchise. While Lost World still isn't the most beloved Sonic game around, reception towards the game significantly improved in just a year, thanks to a surprise patch that actually fixed things, a first for the series, and very well-received DLC based on Yoshi's Island and the Zelda series. People became a lot more receptive towards the game's design ideas and see some real potential in it for a sequel. The Broken Base remains, but in light of its ill-fated successors, things suddenly don't seem so bad in Lost World. The very lukewarm reception to 2017's Sonic Forces vindicated Lost World even further to some fans.
    • Sonic Unleashed was subjected to mixed to negative reception back in 2008, with the "Non-Sonic" portions of the game being a strong point of contention, the Werehog in particular catching a ton of heat. The game was considered a 2000's "Dark Age" Sonic title, and was even among the de-listed Sonic games by Sega. A decade later, it isn't uncommon to find a lot more defenders towards Unleashed in particular citing the game's creativity and production values that many took for granted, especially The Great Clement, who did the LP of this game's two versions. It's possible that Unleashed was re-listed because of this LP. Awesome graphics done by the Hedgehog Engine (that still look great even today, perhaps even better than some 2010's titles), the extremely varied but excellent soundtrack, and a plot that is generally considered very solid and well-written, with a ton of World Building with fun characters (like Professor Pickle) and legitimately interesting NPCs within the worlds with their own stories to tell. Sonic Unleashed's reception has improved tremendously that you'll nary see a bad word spoken about it today, Werehog or not, when in 2009, you would see hardly anyone defending the game.

    Super Mario Bros. 
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • In 2012, Shigeru Miyamoto shocked many by dubbing Super Mario Bros. 2 as his favorite Mario game, tied with the first Super Mario Bros. This surprise was because, while the game itself was popular during the first few years following its original release on the NES, bad word of mouth regarding its origins as a Dolled-Up Installment (especially during the Turn of the Millennium) battered its reputation considerably. General audience reaction has been kinder towards the game in the following years, partly because it is a game that breaks the formula in many ways and introduced numerous defining gameplay mechanics. In particular, modern-era games like Super Mario 3D World and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze were inspired by it, which has been noticed positively.
    • Super Mario World was always a high-selling game, but within its generation, the game wasn't yet considered an instant classic. On its release, it was criticized for being very little of an improvement from the previous Super Mario Bros. 3. It was also overlooked by many due to the then-recent debut of Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Genesis, which in its marketing heavily capitalized on the game's faster speed and more colorful graphics in comparison to Super Mario World, which made the game look much more pedestrian in its presentation to the general public. As the years went by, people began to see that its depth was then-unheard of for a platformer, as the game had many alternate routes, secret levels, and a bit of puzzle solving. The controls were also recognized as being much smoother than its NES predecessors, and the game was also recognized for introducing the popular Yoshi to the world. The game also became the focal point for an entire community of ROMhackers making custom levels and content for the game. Nowadays, Super Mario World is considered not only one of the greatest Mario games and one of the best platformers ever, but one of the greatest games of the 16-bit era.
    • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island was critically acclaimed upon release but largely overshadowed by the more hyped-up Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest. It's now considered to be one of the greatest games of the 16-bit era.
    • The Super Mario Land games were acclaimed and sold well in their day, but fell into Canon Discontinuity due to their non-contemporary settings and being overall weird games that also lacked the involvement of series mastermind Shigeru Miyamoto. In 2015, when Nintendo celebrated the 30th anniversary of Super Mario Bros., both Land games were included among the more iconic traditional games in the timeline. Fans have also become more appreciative of both games' creativity, atypical plotlines and settings (no Mushroom Kingdom, no Bowser, no Luigi or even Princess Peach; Land 2 doesn't even have a Save the Princess plot, and was also the game to introduce Wario), while still staying true (for the most part) to the traditional fun gameplay of the franchise. The Broken Base surrounding the modern New Super Mario Bros. titles contributes to this as well.
    • Yoshi's Story on the Nintendo 64, which was the sequel to Yoshi's Island, got a ton of criticism when released. Lots of people made fun of it or bashed it for being a 2D game when 3D was the big fad, derided it for being too easy and too kiddie, and of course, it wasn't Yoshi's Island, which people were already holding up as one of the best games of the entire Mario series. Nowadays, Yoshi's Story is more fondly remembered for its graphics, music, Self-Imposed Challenge potential, and the gamers who were actually in its target demographic when it came out, with many of them having happy memories of it.
    • When it originally released, many gamers disliked Super Mario Sunshine due to the voice-acted cutscenes and gameplay that was based more on the use of a water jetpack instead of traditional jumping. Years later, Mario fans have come to embrace the title. It's still not the most popular Mario title around, but its reception is much better, with some even going so far as to consider it a better game than Super Mario 64.
    • The original Paper Mario, while critically acclaimed, had the bad luck of being near the end of a console generation, with people anticipating the Nintendo GameCube, and for not being Super Mario RPG, of which fans were waiting for a sequel since the previous generation. Its popularity didn't take off until well into the GameCube era when used copies started popping up and people decided to try it with the lower price. It became a big enough success (audience-wise, though not sales until the Wii's Virtual Console) to be the first Mario RPG to get a sequel. Paper Mario also launched Nate Bihldorff from a freelance writer who barely got hired for anything to Nintendo's current primary localization writer, now well known enough that he was a host at Nintendo's booth at E3 2012. The Super Mario RPG fans have also since learned to accept it and put Paper Mario on equal standing with it.
    • Super Paper Mario caused a Broken Base due to using real-time battles (aside from one RPG battle during Chapter 7, and even then, the presentation of said battle is a departure from the prior games) and being quite a bit easier than the previous two games. The hate has mostly died down since, in part due to the following game in the series quickly becoming almost unanimously derided by fans instead. SPM is now viewed as being a very different but still enjoyable Mario RPG experience and has especially become appreciated for its darker story filled with meta jokes, commentary, and even gameplay mechanics. The Broken Base is definitely still there, though; few will argue against the game's solid story, but many fans still dislike the game for having several examples of That One Level and the gameplay, though unique, for being tedious and often very easy to break.
    • Luigi's Mansion, when first released, was criticized by fans for not being a platformer, and for being very, very short, and was overall seen as a weak title for that reason alone. While even fans of the game still criticize its short length, which is not without reason or merit, it is more universally praised nowadays for being a great game that took the Super Mario franchise in an unexpected direction compared even to other spin-offs at the time. The game eventually received a sequel on the Nintendo 3DS in 2013, a 3DS remake in 2018, and another sequel for the Nintendo Switch in 2019.
    • The GameCube Mario Parties (4-7) caught a ton of fire in their day for being very repetitive sequels that did little to spice or change up the formula. They have become to be more loved, however, when the series returned after a hiatus with 9, which drastically changed the formula from its frantic free-for-all style, which many fans actually did not like. Which each new Mario Party released that drifts away from the classic formula, the more and more the GameCube parties became vindicated, with some considering them now to be right up there with the Nintendo 64 titles. The release of Super Mario Party vindicated the games further, being heralded as a return to form for the series by going back to the classic formula.



    In general 
  • RPGs from the pre-PlayStation era went through this. The genre was vastly less popular than it is today probably because the price tag for said games ranged from $70-90. Now, titles like Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy VI, and Chrono Trigger, to name a few, enjoy recognition as some of the finest games ever created.
  • For the longest time, Howard Scott Warshaw was often blamed, singlehandedly, for nearly destroying an entire industry for his creation of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which is still widely considered to be the worst video game of all time. In the following years, however, many gamers have at least admitted that Warshaw was the victim of an impossible schedule of doing the game in six weeks, and have acknowledged Warshaw for the feats he did achieve. However, Warshaw still has yet to receive recognition for his work with any awards. In the documentary Atari: Game Over he admitted to having been "overflowing with hubris" thinking that six weeks was plenty of time, not realizing he'd bitten off more than he could chew. While some gamers have come to realize that the game itself was simply scapegoated by the media past and present, many of the panelists in the film go as far to make an argument that the game wasn't all that terrible, pointing out that Steven Spielberg played the game, loved it, and approved it before release. Even when the The Angry Video Game Nerd finally reviewed it in his movie, he said it wasn't that bad and he said the Raiders of the Lost Ark game for the Atari was more cryptic than E.T.
  • In a meta-example, Satoru Iwata probably wins an award for the quickest turnaround. People's reaction to Nintendo's showing at E3 2015 was... less than positive, and for years people had been calling for his replacement and declaring every setback as Nintendo's death knell, particularly since the Wii was released and became popular among casual players, but not "hardcore" gamers. After his sudden death two months later, the tone concerning Iwata and Nintendo did a total 180, as people learnt or realized how much Iwata had given the industry and that there were a many beloved games that simply would not exist (or would, but in an inferior state) if it weren't either for his programming genius or managerial oversight. An article like this, written 6 days after his death, would never have been written beforehand.
  • Video game genres are not immune:
    • JRPGs were this during The Turn of the Millennium and the earliest part of The New '10s. People like Jim Sterling mocked fun of Square Enix for expressing surprise that Bravely Default was released to positive praise and a profitable sales figure — except they forgot that in the past half decade, JRPGs were relentlessly mocked by fans and gaming press alike as being too similar to one another and sales figures declined, and only a few high rollers made consistent profits outside of Japan, while the only consistent way to get profit in the west was to be on handheld systems, where they could be produced more cheaply. Even games that did relase on consoles like Lost Odyssey and even the Tales Series at best became a Cult Classic and at worst flew under the radar entirely. Now? Very few JRPGs suffer from No Export for You, thanks to games like Ni no Kuni, Bravely Default, and most notably Dark Souls showing there is a market, and that the market will stay.
    • 3D platformers, sometimes jokingly (and previously derivatively) known as "Collect-a-thons" were very big in The '90s and around the Turn of the Millennium. However, not too long into the new millennium, people tired of them and they used to be routinely bashed by video game magazines. Gamers themselves were less interested in buying them — and they were left to rot on store shelves, very few games that could be called 3D platformers sold consistently well, not making them seen as worth the money by publishers. However, once Yooka-Laylee experienced a successful Kickstarter and games like Super Mario Odyssey and A Hat in Time released, faith in the genre saw an upturn—though whether or not a true Genre Relaunch will come of this has yet to be determined.
    • 2D platformers as well — for a while, they were seen as too similar to one another, and even Nintendo didn't do much with their flagship Super Mario titles. Only games like Odin Sphere released to a good reception. But around the mid 2000s, New Super Mario Bros. launched to a positive reception and good sales, while indie gaming studios also jumped in and picked up the slack. (Due to their pretty low budget and thus, less sales needed to reach profit level.) They are a mainstay of gaming once again, especially in the indie circle.

  • While Alien: Isolation received moderately positive reviews on its initial release, it was still polarizing and outright trashed by some of the bigger review sites in the industry due to its Nintendo Hard difficulty, slow pace, and padded length. The game has gotten a much better reception as the years have gone by thanks to its brilliant AI for the titular creature, production value, and stellar level design, along with its outstanding and faithful representation of its source franchise. It's slow pace and high difficulty have also gotten more praise in connection with the above. Even several sites that initially trashed the game on release have praised it as one of the best and scariest survival horror games ever made.
  • When Asura's Wrath was initially released in early 2012, the game didn't sell well, and while the Japanese gaming press nearly unanimously praised the game, the critical response across the rest of the world was mixed at best. In spite of controversy concerning the DLC final part of the game, the game has gone on to become one of the most underrated games of the year, and has cult following to the point that it's considered to be one of the best games Capcom has ever made or published since the disbandment of Clover Studios, which is saying a lot.
  • Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts was exactly the kind of crazy, technically inventive game that Rare's fans had clamored for. However, the angry backlash against its change of style and low sales led to Microsoft cancelling sequels to Conker and Killer Instinct to restructuring Rare to focus solely on creating mini-game compilations for Kinect. Today the game is gaining a following for its excellent creation tools and standing apart in an era of grey-brown FPS games; and is now regarded as the last "traditional" Rare game from the company prior to its restructuring at the end of the decade. It's generally regarded that if the game did not try to sell itself on the Banjo-Kazooie branding, the game would have been far better received and perhaps Rare's traditional development wouldn't have been shut down. Noticeably more and more fans are eager to defend the game today and the initial backlash the game got is considered less and less justified.
  • Batman: Arkham Origins is a downplayed example. After its release, opinions on the game were...varied to say the least. The majority considered it So Okay, It's Average while there was one vocal minority who thought it was a great game and another vocal minority saying it was horrible due it being developed by Warner Bros. Games Montreal instead of Rocksteady Studios, full of glitches on some portsnote , being nearly identical to its predecessor, for being a prequel instead of a sequel, and containing some small but noticeable continuity errors, leading many fans to say it wasn't canon to the previous titles and the weakest game in the series. Many felt that its only redeeming qualities were that it had better and more realistic boss battles and a well-written narrative. Once Arkham City's true sequel, Batman: Arkham Knight, was released two years later, many fans were either disappointed or dissatisfied with the game due to a combination of the insane hype it generated, overuse of the Batmobile, an oddly written story, a broken PC port, overpriced and underdeveloped DLC, inferior boss battles, and dumbed-down challenges. While it still has its of detractors, Origins is generally looked at more favorably now than it was when it launched, with some considering it to be better than Arkham Knight in comparison.
  • Battlefield 4 suffered a disastrous launch, its Obvious Beta status upon release rendering parts of the game (particularly online multiplayer, the game's main selling point) so unplayable that Electronic Arts faced multiple class-action lawsuits. Then DICE's Los Angeles team got around to patching the game up, and those who stuck around realized that there was actually a phenomenal multiplayer shooter buried in there beneath all of the bugs. Combine that with a long train of robust (and free) DLC support, partly as an apology to fans for the broken state of the game initially, and Battlefield 4 has managed to retain and even expand its player base years after launch, such that it managed to successfully compete with its own successors in the Battlefield franchise, Battlefield Hardline and Battlefield 1 — a nearly unheard-of feat in the modern online multiplayer world. Nowadays, it's considered to be one of the best modern military shooters ever made, and one of the best games in the series. This video by Tyler J. of Cleanprincegaming goes into more detail.
  • Beyond Good & Evil released quietly and was usually seen as a "hidden gem" that a lot of gamers found in the bargain bins of their local game store. Ubisoft started to tease it, but a lot of people gave it a second look and it has since become a Cult Classic.
  • While BioShock was a critical and commercial success (see below), System Shock 2 proved to be a very very Tough Act to Follow. For everyone who saw it as an enjoyable (if not marred by fetch-quests) experience, there was at least one or two who saw it as a dumbed-down and inferior Spiritual Successor to the Sacred Cow. By the time BioShock Infinite came out, some of the same people started to view the game on its own outside of System Shock 2's shadow.
  • BioShock 2 was heavily criticized by both critics and fans on its release as a dumbed-down Mission-Pack Sequel to one of the most critically-acclaimed games ever made that was too short and had an inferior story. In the years since, however, it's gained a surprisingly devoted cult fanbase who praise the faster-paced gameplay for being much more fun and strategic than the first game. The story has also garnered a second look after the massive backlash against the BioShock Infinite story, and while it's not usually considered as good as the first game, players have found the genuinely heartfelt relationship between Subject Delta/Eleanor and the backstory behind Dr. Sofia Lamb as an interesting and well-written complement to the first game's Objectivist utopia (the incredibly tear-jerking Good ending probably helps). The multiplayer mode is also remembered as being quirky and fun, if a little derivative. Nowadays it's not uncommon to find people who consider it as good as the original game if not the best game in the trilogy.
    • The game has also become more popular thanks to the Minerva's Den DLC, which is often considered better than the base game to the point that it vindicates BioShock 2 by itself, even by people who aren't fans of the game.
  • The Blinx series was heavily disliked by both gamers and critics back when it was first released due to the slippery controls (which were mostly fixed in the second game), the first game being too hard, and the second one being too easy. Nowadays however, the games are looked back more fondly upon by gamers, and are somewhat of a Cult Classic.
  • While Call of Duty: World at War was a massive commercial success out of the gate, its reception at the time was more mixed. Professional reviews, though positive, were universally inferior to the previous year's Modern Warfare, with critic bemoaning the return to the then throughously-saturated setting of World War II and the lack of massive changes to the formula, with some outlets dismissing the game as a WWII expansion pack of Modern Warfare rather than a true sequel. Newbies brought on by the mega-success of Modern Wafare generally didn't care for the WWII setting either, and old-school fans dismissed the game out of hand as it was developed by Treyarch (whose previous title was the mediocre Call of Duty 3) rather than series creator Infinity Ward. As time went on, however, the game saw a reevaluation (something helped by the backlash against the shift to a futuristic theme the series took), with many praising World at War for its campaign design, its uncompromising depiction of the atrocities of war, and it introducing the popular Zombies mode that would become a fixture of the series. Nowadays the game ranks high in popularity poll with many citing it as the best game in the series, something unheard of at release.
  • Castlevania:
    • While it did get very positive reviews, the 2D PlayStation game Castlevania: Symphony of the Night came out with initially low sales solely because it was 2D when other series moved to 3D. It was heavily overshadowed at the time of its release by massively hyped games such as GoldenEye (1997) and Final Fantasy VII, which cost it many "game of the year" awards for 1997. It would later be placed above both of those games on many "greatest of all time" lists in the years after its release.
    • There's also Castlevania II: Simon's Quest. When the game first came out on the NES, it was rejected by the fans, because it got rid of the by-level gameplay of the original Castlevania. What they didn't realize until years later, was the innovative gameplay ideas the sequel had — such as side-scrolling gameplay exploration, multiple endings, password system, etc. It wouldn't be until over a decade later that Konami would bring the gameplay back with Symphony.
    • Castlevania: Circle of the Moon was underrated upon its release for an odd reason: It was a Game Boy Advance game with dark graphics and was released early in the system's life, when the only system capable of playing it had no backlighting. Aside from those who modded their system, it wasn't until the release of the GBA SP (as well as the Game Boy Player and the Nintendo DS) that many players could truly begin to appreciate it for what it was.
    • Castlevania 64 and Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness got this in reverse: They were launched with ratings of 4.5 out of 5, but nowadays they are looked down on with scorn due to the Polygon Ceiling and the dreaded Camera Screw. It doesn't help that LoD has the main game of 64, without the storyline.
    • Castlevania: Curse of Darkness, on the other hand, plays this straight; at launch its reviews were mixed but today it is now regarded as the best 3D Castlevania game and even one of the best Castlevania games period with many fans fawning over its unique Innocent Devil system and polished combat. The story is also considered top-notch, with its main characters Hector and Isaac proving popular enough to be included in Castlevania (2017), an adaption of Castlevania III: Dracula's Cursea game they never even appeared in (though to be fair, it is implied they were working for Dracula during that game's events).
    • Castlevania Legends came out just after Symphony of the Night and was a medium transfer to the Game Boy. Most people, even the ones who still do not like it, admit it is worth more than what people considered it to be back in 1997 and that it shouldn't have been Ret Gone'd because a) at least the story was fine and b) the idea of Alucard being Trevor Belmont's father, heavily implied by Sonia's relationship with Alucard and the game's Golden Ending, would make the Belmonts' strength and power to sense Dracula make more sense.
  • A few examples from the Command & Conquer series.
    • To this day, Command & Conquer: Generals is still played by people worldwide, partly because of its gameplay, which differs a lot from other Command & Conquer titles. Said gameplay and the connections to The War on Terror originally got the game a lot of strong negative criticism. The fact that it now has many popular Game Mods helped a lot. In addition, the plot, initially seen as a hacky attempt to cash in on post-9/11 militarism, got a much more favorable look in The New '10s because of how frighteningly accurate its prediction of warfare a decade later would be. It is plain unsettling how similar the GLA is to the Islamic State, down to predicting devastating terror attacks in Western Europe and how large swathes of the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia would fall to them.
    • Command & Conquer: Renegade was initially frowned upon for the massive Genre Shift from Real-Time Strategy to First-Person Shooter, a somewhat weak campaign with bad A.I. and more than a few glitches, and an imbalanced multiplayer that generally devolved into tug-of-war with tanks. Nowadays it's often looked upon with nostalgia as one of the best games in the series; that it has a number of popular game mods emulating other games in the series helps the same as with Generals above.
    • Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight was so harshly criticized it created two further examples in the series. Command And Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars had a fairly decent reception at release, but it was nonetheless criticized by not being on the same level as Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun; nowadays it's fondly remembered because it's not on the same level as Tiberian Twilight. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 was harshly criticized for its cartoonish graphics style and turning all the Camp from the series Up to Eleven; to this day, while it's still not seen very favourably, it's appreciated in that it at still retains the basic Command and Conquer gameplay, unlike Tiberian Twilight.
  • Technology Marches On causes this in general with PC games. Oftentimes, a game will be released but will have extremely high system requirements only achievable through current top-of-the-line equipment. As years pass on, the technology once considered expensive and power-hungry becomes the norm in low-end machines, and soon enough the game that was once complained about for being too resource heavy becomes looked back on as a fantastic game. Crysis is a good example.
  • Downplayed example with Dark Souls II. It was received very well both critically and commercially, but it suffered among Souls fans and became a Contested Sequel due to the gameplay and story changes it made from the first one and not being made by the creator of the first game. However, when Dark Souls III released and was criticized as little more than a rehash of the first game with a Bloodborne skin over it, people began to warm up to the second game more and more, appreciating that it tried to expand and do something different from the original, even if the result wasn't perfect. It helps that the Scholar of the First Sin Updated Re-release fixed and/or mitigated most of the issues that fans had with the original.
    • It's also gained more positive reception over time thanks to its fun PVP systems, which are often considered to be superior to both Dark Souls and Dark Souls III (the former due to being undercooked PVP-wise and filled with blatent Game Breakers, the latter due to some... controversial changes to certain mechanics like poise and magic-based builds). While not perfect, many fans even today will point to Dark Souls II as having the best PVP in the trilogy.
  • An in-universe example appears in the Dawn of War series. In Dark Crusade, Governor-General Lukas Alexander was widely regarded as a traitor for his decision to oppose the Blood Ravens' landing on Kronus. However, by the time Dawn Of War II: Retribution rolled around and it became known just how widespread Chaos had sunk its claws into the upper echelons of the Blood Ravens, his actions were seen in a much better light.
  • Despite positive reviews in magazines, Demon's Crest didn't sell very well, and even generated negative sales at one point. It was unclear why, though some speculate it was either the demonic overtones offending parents or the short length. It didn't help that playing it like a linear platformer meant missing out on over half the content as well as the other endings. Nowadays, it's universally regarded as one of the Super Nintendo's finest games.
  • The Devil May Cry series provides a strange example. During the build-up to the reboot, the original series was raked over coals by journalists and Ninja Theory themselves while putting the then to be released DmC: Devil May Cry on a pedestal, decrying criticism of the reboot as fans of the original series being upset over Dante's hair colour, among other things. note  Despite this mentality that the original series was outdated and needed replacing, the reboot failed to sell anywhere near as much as the previous game with Devil May Cry name, taking over five years to sell 2 million copies. And when Updated Re-releases of both games were distributed in 2015, DMC4: Special Edition handily outsold DmC: Definitive Edition. If that wasn't enough, Devil May Cry 5 managed to match DMC4's numbers in a couple of weeks. Ironically, the scathing attack on the original series helped the games escape obscurity and be held to the same regard as the likes of Resident Evil. The fact that, in the period up to 5's release, many journalists still praised DmC while thrashing the original series and rehashing debunked theories on why the DMC fandom at large rejected the reboot only helped add to its vindication.
  • Doom 64, a Nintendo 64 update to the Doom series, had the unfortunate luck of being released when first person shooters were moving away from the classic "shoot everything that moves while flipping the occasional switch" style of gameplay in favor of the more sophisticated play mechanics seen in games like Turok and the soon-to-be-released GoldenEye. On top of this was the change of name from The Absolution, leading people to believe it was another straight-up port of the original at a time where sub-par ports of the game were reaching the level of an epidemic. Thus, the game was written off as "derivative" and "behind the times" by most (a matter not helped by the fact that you still couldn't jump, crouch, or look up and down). Fortunately, thanks in no small part to a 2002-released Doom 2 total conversion mod called Doom 64: Absolution (which was later superseded by Doom 64 Ex), the game has gained a second wind and is now seen as one of the best games in the whole franchise (including user-made WADs).
  • Dragon Age II, while still not as beloved as its predecessor, has received something of an evaluation in the years since its sequel was released. Originally widely derided for its less epic and more linear story, slight reduction of RPG-elements and strongly reduced character costumization; in recent years, more and more people have started to appreciate its more character-driven story for breaking the usual mold of BioWare's saving-the-world-from-ancient-threat-plots and its focus on Hawke and his family.
  • EarthBound suffered from a poorly timed American release, a simplistic cartoony art style which contrasted sharply with the more detailed and serious fare of some of its RPG contemporaries, a then-seemingly different approach to its storytelling and humor, and a marketing strategy that was downright idiotic (the slogan for the game was "This game stinks"). By 1999, mounds of unsold copies of the game could be found in Walmart bargain bins all across the US for $15. Then Super Smash Bros. featured protagonist Ness as a hidden character, prompting people to actually go back and give it a chance, whereupon it was widely (re)discovered to be a fantastic game. From that point foward, it became a Sacred Cow, one of the standout titles of the SNES era, and it's rare to find even boxless used copies on eBay for less than $100. When the game was finally re-released on the Wii U Virtual Console, it quickly topped the Wii U's digital sale charts and formed a vibrant Miiverse community, leading Nintendo to finally release the first game in the series worldwide. People are still clamoring for an official English release of its sequel MOTHER 3, and the heavily EarthBound-inspired indie game Undertale is often regarded as one of the best games of 2015.
  • When Square Enix (Squaresoft at the time) announced they were making a side-scrolling shooter, fans didn't take them seriously. Back then, Square Enix had a track record of making awesome RPGs but mediocre games in other genres. When Einhänder came out, majority of gamers didn't play it at first. However, years later, word of mouth spread about how really good the game was and soon a cult following happened. Today, Einhänder is considered one of the greatest side-scrolling shooters ever made. It's since had some references or cameos in more recent games such as World of Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, and Kingdom Hearts III.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Almost every game has a They Changed It, Now It Sucks! vibe from some part of its fanbase. Morrowind had its fair share of criticism from Daggerfall players, Oblivion from Morrowind players, and so forth. However, after the game is no longer the "current" game of the series, those players eventually turn into fans.
    • The Elder Scrolls: Arena missed its Christmas 1993 release date and was eventually released in March 1994, which was at the time one of the worst times of year to release a game. Distributors were concerned about its Contemptible Cover, leading to an initial distribution of less than 10,000 copies. Combine this with the initially poor reviews and the fact that the original, unpatched version of the game was nearly unfinishable due to game breaking bugs, and you've got a disaster of a release. However, the (patched) game's eventually gained a good reputation mainly through word of mouth, and sales continued through the months. Before long, it had gained a cult following. 18 years later and four sequels later, The Elder Scrolls series is one of the most popular WRPG series of all time.
  • Fallout: New Vegas initially received mixed reviews, thanks to Bethesda rushing the game to release in an unfinished state. Reviews criticized the game for its numerous bugs and for using the same engine as Fallout 3. To this day, New Vegas is now heavily praised for its open-ended choices, its Grey and Gray Morality, and its excellent writing. Many RPG fans consider it one of the best modern role-playing game of the last ten years.
  • Far Cry 2 is a rather unique case. It sold well enough on its own and was given positive reviews, but the large amount of Scrappy Mechanic and it was overshadowed by the massive success of Far Cry 3 which was often called "Far Cry 2 with all the problems fixed" by critics and gamers alike. However, as the Far Cry games have become more formulaic and repeated since then with 4 and Primal and 5, the second game has gained a rather passionate cult fanbase thanks to its incredibly grim atmosphere and its Darkest Africa setting, along with its minimalistic story. The fact that it saw release on GOG with the infamous retail DRM removed, and the availability of this mod, which removes most annoying things about the game, helps a lot.
  • Fire Emblem is another example of a series vindicated through appearing in Super Smash Bros.
    • Prior to 2001, it had never seen anything resembling an international release (save for the short-lived OVA), and so was obscure, if not completely unheard of, outside of Japan. Then came Super Smash Bros. Melee, which featured Marth and Roy as hidden characters. The two characters clearly sparked an interest in American players, and is widely attributed as the reason why from the seventh game onward, Fire Emblem started seeing international releases... except New Mystery of the Emblem, anyway (though the first game in the series was Remade for the Export, meaning that Marth is no longer a Japan-only character).
    • The Tellius games, Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn sold so badly on their initial release they forced the franchise to move to handhelds for over 12 years, and revamping the entire series from the ground-up was even considered. After Ike's appearance in the Super Smash Bros. series and the newer FE games attracting a Broken Base, interest in the Tellius games skyrocketed, causing them to sell for extremely high prices on eBay. Today both games are regarded as some of the best entries in the series, and Radiant Dawn gets a lot less flak for its story than it used to.
    • The Jeigan archetype got this. Initially, fans would dismiss characters like Jagen and Marcus as "EXP thieves" and would never use them. When metagame tier lists started placing more importance on overall contribution to the team and availability rather than growth rates, the archetype rose in different tier lists for each game whereas Magikarp Power characters took a hit. The contribution of the Crutch Character to Hard Mode playthroughs and Ranked runs proved to be invaluable and now they're often seen as the best characters in the games.
    • Sheeda (or Caeda) from the remake of the first game is a major example of this trope in Fire Emblem fanbase. Sheeda used to be considered as a high tier character by reclassing as a mage, and the top of the tier list is dominated by the Magikarp Power Wolf and Sedgar. Then many realized the effectiveness of Forging combined with her Win Spear, and how effective she is when combined with the Warp Staff. Nowadays, Sheeda is widely considered the best character in the game alongside Rena.
    • The Sacred Stones had a mixed reception upon release, being the first game since Gaiden to allow level grinding, which meant it was praised from one camp for being more accessible to casual players and players who were new to the series, but derided from the other for being too easy and ruining the series' Nintendo Hard appeal. After the release of Awakening, which added even more casual-friendly features, the hardcore camp started to warm up to Sacred Stones out of a combination of it being harder without relying on Fake Difficulty and general nostalgia.
    • Fire Emblem Gaiden itself has a significantly warmer reception now than it did at release. Many fans at the time disliked the many changes it had from the first game, most of which did not reappear in the series for a long time. However, with Sacred Stones, Awakening, and Fates including aspects such as easier level grinding (all three), split routes (Sacred Stones and Fates), and Unbreakable Weapons (Fates), Gaiden feels much less out of place now than it did then. Its popularity was also helped significantly by its remake, Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, which is widely regarded as a Polished Port with vastly improved characters and writing.
    • Shadow Dragon, when released in 2009, was hit HARD with "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny. The game was basically a Polished Port, with most of the polishes being done with the mechanics rather than bringing things like Character Development or the story up to par with the standard set by the previous four games released in the west. On top of that, the character of Marth suffered a lot of Hype Backlash due to how many members of the Smash Bros. fandom basically created their own personality independent of what he actually had, so when his personality was "discovered" to be that of a standard 1990s game hero, he was seen as a Vanilla Protagonist and boring. However, as time went on, people started to become more forgiving of the game. It's still seen as somewhat of a weak point in the series, but people are at least more forgiving.
  • FreeSpace 2 was at the time of its release the very definition of an Acclaimed Flop to the point where it (more or less) killed the space sim genre. 15 years later, it's frequently seen on "Best Space Combat Sims" lists, with many people considering it to be (at least for now) the pinnacle of the genre in terms of graphics, gameplay and story and has one of the most devoted fan bases and modding communities in all of gaming, with its greatly (fan-)updated engine "FreeSpace Open" being the engine of choice for anyone who wants to make a fan made space sim.
  • Late-life PS2 Beat 'em Up God Hand was met with poor sales and mixed reviews at the time of its release, but in the ensuing years, has developed a vocal and passionate online fanbase on account of its deep and challenging combat system, Crazy Awesome moves and general unrestrained wackiness.
  • The Guardian Legend for the NES. Although it did get nominated for a few awards in Nintendo Power, most other professional reviews of the game at the time of its release were negative, with Electronic Gaming Monthly in particular calling it "only average at best", and the highest rating it ever got was almost an 8 out of 10. Fast forward to the 21st century and you find it on a lot of lists of best NES games, with IGN calling it "one of the most influential games in the history of the gaming industry" in 2009 and Gamasutra calling it "one of the best games ever released." Most of the credit for this rests with the game's complicated, 32-character long Password Saves which were a huge downside at the time, but not so much anymore since most NES gaming these days is done with computer-based emulator programs, where save states remove the need to worry about those obnoxious passwords.
  • Upon release, Halo 4 was often derided on a technical level, with focus being especially given to its multiplayer. The shift to a more casual style of play, along with quick cancellation of the clumsily handled Spartan Ops made it one of the least popular games in the Halo series. As time went on however, many people began to recognise its campaign as among the best in the series thanks to its surprising amount of emotional depth given to previously stoic characters, as well as the fun and varied missions themselves. Especially after Halo 5: Guardians suffered over its campaign, many began to look far more fondly over its predecessor.
  • Herzog Zwei was released to bad reviews from professional video game critics, with Electronic Gaming Monthly giving it some of the lowest scores they've ever given to a Sega Genesis game while calling it a "flawed shooter game." Half a decade or so later, and those same video game critics would be including the game in their Top 100 best games of all time lists and considering it an important part of video game history, being one of the first, if not the first, modern Real-Time Strategy games ever created, directly influencing Genre Popularizer Dune II.
  • The Hyperdimension Neptunia series was always popular in Japan, but struggled to find an audience in the west due to being unabashed, Fanservice-y (in more than one sense of the word) otaku bait. The first game took a critical pounding (the presence of several gameplay mechanics that bogged down the game certainly didn't help), with Eurogamer going so far as to call it a "a sexist, senseless, and ultimately stupid cultural curio." By the time Victory was released, the series finally got over its issues with wonky gameplay, and once the Updated Re-release of the first game made it onto Steam it quickly reached Overwhelmingly Positive ratings and got far more favorable coverage, and though the original version was derided as a janky mess in comparison, people eventually warmed back up to it due to major differences between the two releases.
  • I, Robot was considered too complicated for players when it came out in 1983 accompanied with hardware problems of arcade cabinets. However, retrospective reviews are very positive, praising its graphics and overall presentation with innovative gameplay.
  • Kid Icarus. Back in its day, it got a lukewarm reception and was considered a poor man's Metroid. Nowadays, Kid Icarus is regarded as a Cult Classic due to its surprising difficulty and vibrant cast. The inclusion of Pit in Super Smash Bros. Brawl sparked a new interest in the franchise which led to Kid Icarus: Uprising being made. 21 years after the last game Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters (which wasn't released in Japan until the 3DS Virtual Console).
  • killer7. Sales were very poor, advertising was nonexistent, and critical opinion was quite mixed. But over the years, due to positive word-of-mouth from the very few that had played it, and Suda51's further works becoming more well-known, the game has experienced a huge surge in popularity, and now it's one of the most sought-after games on the GameCube. This would culminate in the game receiving a remastered version for Steam in 2018.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • When Kingdom Hearts II first came out, a lot of players (and reviewers) complained that the combat was too button-mashy and that you could just spam X (and occasionally Triangle) to win most fights, which made the gameplay monotonous and too easy. After years (and years) of analysis, however, it turns out the combat system is actually pretty complex under-the-hood, and high-level play has much more to do with moves and counter-moves against the enemy's A.I. Final Mix made this much more apparent with the additions of the Cavern of Remembrance (which lets you fight Organization XIII again) and Critical Mode (especially Lv1 Critical), all of which do a great job of encouraging smarter play and experimentation with the game's numerous combat options, as mindless button mashing will simply get you killed. KHIIFM would eventually become the gold standard of the series' gameplay to many fans.
    • Kingdom Hearts coded was near-universally considered the worst entry in the series for its "fluff" plot that did little to advance the overarching story, a number of unexpected changes to gameplay added, reusing many environments from the first game, and for being another weirdly titled handheld game. However, many fans have begun taking a more critical eye to the franchise and have pointed out Re:coded's strengths, such as a much more balanced Command Deck pool that isn't dominated by a handful of commands like some other games, a unique leveling system that allows for much more customization, the gameplay changes actually being fun and unique twists that break up the basic formula nicely, and having a plot that (while not incredibly important in the grand scheme of things) delves into some actually very dark and heavy subjects with some real depth and maturity. So while many still consider it the weakest and most unnecessary addition to the series, many others have started defending it as an underrated gem that deserves more respect.
  • The western releases of the King's Field series garnered mediocre sales and a decent, but not great critical reception in great part due to their unimpressive graphics and high difficulty level. The release of Demon's Souls and Dark Souls by the same developer (with the director of both games citing King's Field as a key inspiration) has led to a notable resurgence of interest in the series.
  • Kirby:
    • Kirby's Dream Land 3 was one due to coming after the Tough Act to Follow Kirby Super Star, and undoing many of the new mechanics from that game, such as multi-attack abilities, minigames, and a more elaborate Boss Rush. Instead, the slow-paced gameplay and Animal Friends from Kirby's Dream Land 2 made a comeback. This was because the games were made by different development teams (for one thing, Dream Land 2, Dream Land 3, and The Crystal Shards were directed by Shinichi Shimomura instead of series creator Masahiro Sakurai). It also was overshadowed by the release of the Nintendo 64, and the "coloring book" art style. Now, it's seen as much of a classic as that game, especially due to it improving the Kirby series' Minimalist Cast with Gooey and the Animal Friends, and being surprisingly Darker and Edgier to most games in the series.
    • Super Star itself suffered, at least in the West, due to the proximity of its release to the launch of the Nintendo 64 (less than a month, in America's case). Today, its status as one of, if not THE best, Kirby games is firm.
    • Similarly, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards was disliked by many of the same reasons. Now, it's enjoyed for giving Kirby an Implied Love Interest, and, once again, being Surprise Creepy. However, the Kirby series switched back to Super Star-style after that due to the initial poor reception of these two games. Many fans are eager to see another game like them.
    • Kirby Air Ride met a lukewarm reception due to being sandwiched between F-Zero GX and Mario Kart: Double Dash!! Nowadays, it is considered a Cult Classic and one of the highlights of the GameCube library, particularly for the City Trial mode. In fact, the Smash Run mode in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS was directly stated by Sakurai to be a Spiritual Successor to said mode. It was also the game to introduce Sakurai's signature achievement grid system, enhancing its replay value.
  • When Knack came out as a launch title for the PlayStation 4, it was quickly dismissed by gaming critics as a boring, bare-bones action-adventure game with a gimmicky character meant to show off the system's particle effects. However, the game slowly grew a cult following over the years, to the point that many demanded Knack as a free PlayStation Plus game. Part of this is because, as fans have discovered, playing the game on Hard Mode takes away the boredom and makes the gameplay a lot more intense and exciting, to the point that fans started calling it "Knack Souls." As a result, Knack 2 was announced at the 2016 PlayStation Experience event.
  • Despite favorable sales and reviews, Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords was infamously divisive among fans for being a gigantic Deconstructor Fleet, which challenged just about every part of Star Wars and even role-playing games as a genre. It didn't help that it was incredibly rushed in order to meet a holiday release date, with numerous bugs and about a third of the game being cut out in order to meet the release. Years later, fans would come to love the game for its unique perspective and narrative which questioned the perceived nature of the Force, and the ever fighting Jedi and Sith. Its reputation was further helped by The Sith Lords Restoration Mod, which restored basically all of the game's missing content. The game has since been picked up by Steam with full mod support, which includes the restored content mod, bringing it to the attention of many new players more than a decade after its initial launch.

  • Marathon was a moderately popular Mac FPS by a fledgling game studio known as Bungie. However, because it was (almost entirely) a Mac-exclusive series its player base was limited by the install base of the platform, and it got flack for looking like a "Doom clone" on the surface despite several innovations to the formula. It has earned many more fans because of Halo referencing it so much. Many Halo fans become Bungie fans, and many Bungie fans try out their older games. The fact that it has since been ported to other OSes has also helped.
  • When Marvel vs. Capcom 3 first came out in 2011, there was no shortage of gamers tearing the game to shreds over a lack of content, bizarre roster choices (no Mega Man, really?), and what many felt was taking advantage of the playerbase with Ultimate being released the same year. As time went by, when Disney revoked their license only to later collaborate with Capcom to create Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, the reception became far more positive. That's mainly because Infinite is far, far more hated than 3 ever was, which seemed to magnify the issues note  while creating new ones note . Now, 3 is much more praised by fans than it's ever been, who hold it as an example of how good the series was before Disney got involved. The roster in particular is held in high regard — not only are there plenty of characters to choose from, but it actually feels like it draws from the comics, as opposed making everything a plug for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The fact that it had a good mixture of characters from different teams instead of more than half of the Marvel roster being mutants and the more than half the Capcom roster being Street Fighter characters like its predecessor helped as well.
  • Mega Man:
  • Metal Gear:
    • Metal Gear Solid 2 is an interesting case. It was originally critically acclaimed by critics and became a 7-million seller, but fans despised it for not having Snake as a main protagonist and having a plot that is very difficult to understand. Because of this fan consensus, the game had a negative backlash for a while after, often popping up on "Most Overrated Games" lists. However as time marched on, the game started doing better after people got over the former alleged fault. The understanding of the themes and structure of the story gives the game a warmer reception than when it was first released, and the rise of more Post Modern games like Spec Ops: The Line and The Stanley Parable made people look back at the game as being ahead of its time. It also helps that the game's Replacement Scrappy Raiden Took a Level in Badass and became more prominent in the franchise which make his role in this game more acceptable. Nowadays most of the hatred and criticisms are aimed at the overabundance of codec-based cutscenes (even characters talking face-to-face use codec, Hand Waved as "to prevent eavesdropping") for simply being unappealing and the obnoxious Romantic Plot Tumor surrounding Rose.
    • A milder case can be found with some of the other games in the series: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots was pretty well-received among most fans and especially critics, but many hardcore fans felt that it retroactively ruined some of MGS2's ambiguity and some of MGS3's characters, all while being chock-full of fanservice aimed mostly at MGS1 fans. The heavy reliance on cutscenes (even for the series' standards) was also heavily debated. However, the game gained a lot more appreciation after its complete antithesis, Metal Gear Solid V, was released. Nowadays, many fans remember Guns of the Patriots — along with other previously divisive games like Sons of Liberty and Peace Walker — more fondly because "at least they had a final boss and an ending."
  • Metroid:
    • When Metroid Fusion released in 2002, most Metroid fans weren't too kind to it due to the game placing more emphasis on the story and being Nintendo Hard with the difficulty. It also didn't help that Metroid Prime was released at the same time and its story was only seen if players went out of their way for it. As time passed, more fans began to warm up to Fusion for giving Samus characterization and having the story not break the flow of the game. When Metroid: Other M was heavily criticized for its story the handling of Samus's character, Fusion was warmed up to even further. Since then, people have warmed up to the game even more, earning much acclaim for its atmosphere of overwhelming dread, and its increased linearity is seen not as a flaw, but as a tradeoff.
    • Metroid Prime: Federation Force was completely and utterly bashed even before being released, its announcement trailer receiving numerous angry comments and several dislikes. When it was released some of the anger faded with many finding out the game was actually quite fun and So Okay, It's Average at worst, but most still hated it greatly. With the announcement of Metroid Prime 4 and release of Metroid: Samus Returns, however, fans became much more receptive to the game and its ideas, with many nowadays commenting the game was a just a victim of bad timing and that fans were much too harsh on it from the start.
  • Monster Hunter Generations was seen as a downgrade from 4 Ultimate in the west because Generations did not have a "G Rank". Combined with less of a story mode (by series standards, that is), it felt like the game had less content. Some purists hated the addition of Hunting Styles that was the main draw of Generations and felt it was derailing the gameplay. However, since Monster Hunter: World released with not even half of the large monsters present in Generations and 4 Ultimate (combined with new content releasing at a glacial pace), some of the games' critics have started to appreciate Generations for the sheer variety of content, including the much-vaunted Prowler mode which lets you play as a Palico. It helps that its Updated Re-release, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, added back many of the much-missed features from previous games, making it the biggest Monster Hunter game (aside from maybe Monster Hunter Frontier) in terms of content.
  • Moonbase Commander suffered from being too far behind its time, and had little to no marketing when it first came out, leading to Humongous Entertainment's bankruptcy. However, once interest in Humongous' older games grew, many fans decided to give Moonbase Commander a second chance, and it's now been seen as a well-designed and simplistic strategy game. It's not the most popular game out there, but the fanbase is certainly much bigger than it was initially.
  • The NBA 2K series, which became one of their first third-party titles and became so massively popular it defeated EA Sports! That series is now owned by Take-Two Interactive, which bought Sega's Visual Concepts studio and turned it into 2K Games.
  • When NieR first came out, the game was left to rot on store shelves by non-interested gamers and was largely forgotten, and ended up (temporarily) killing Cavia Studios. Nowadays it is well known as an amazing game and is considered to be Taro Yoko's best game. It's also well-regarded for its incredible soundtrack and for the story being very ahead of its time. For just one example, Joystiq initially slapped the game with a zero, only for them to later acknowledge it as one of the best games of the last decade. A sequel, NieR: Automata, by the original team was announced out of nowhere at E3 2015 and release in 2017 thanks to this trope — and promptly became a critical and commercial hit thanks to the reputation of the original.
    • The original Drakengard as well, to a lesser extent. It didn't sell hugely well and was only given average-to-good reviews on it original 2003 release. However, it has gained more recognition over the years thanks to its sheer bleakness and what-the-fuck storyline. This trope was eventually why Taro Yoko decided to release Drakengard 3 for the original game's 10th anniversary.
  • No Man's Sky was an over-hyped game that upon release, was critically panned for its false advertising. Two years passed and Hello Games managed to turn it all around. No Man's Sky got massive updates that added in a ton of content, and with the NEXT update that included the missing online multiplayer, it got people to review the game again with praise.
  • When it was released, Orion: Dino Beatdown was considered one of the worst games ever made, in the words of its own developers no less, due to incredible amounts of bugs and other issues, and was overall regarded as a ripoff. Three years and countless free updates later, the rebrand ORION: Prelude is one of the most highly rated games on Steam, with the number of positive reviews outnumbering the negatives by roughly 4 to 1. It helps that, as stated, most of the updates that improved everything were free.
  • Planescape: Torment may be the most dramatic example of this trope in the history of video games. Though given overwhelmingly positive reviews on release, it sold terribly as it was basically impossible to market and it came out at the tail end of the Infinity Engine RPG craze. Today it's revered as a Sacred Cow of Role-Playing Games and held as one of the most well-written video game stories ever created. Its popularity has come to the point that when the developers showed off two different Kickstarter spiritual successors, both were fully funded within hours. The modernized port of the game (which can run on modern computers) is also still consistently the highest-selling title on Good Old Games.
  • Pokémon:
    • For years Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire (along with Emerald) were seen as the Dork Age of the franchise, as it, by some counts, took out as many features as it added and had the misfortune of being a soft reboot for the series that followed the massively popular Pokémon Gold and Silver. It was constantly bashed both by longtime fans and fans who came back into the franchise with Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. As the series continued on, however, the games steadily amassed more and more praise, even garnering a hardcore fanbase, while Diamond and Pearl began to be seen as the lowest point of the franchise by about half the fandom (as with all things Pokémon, the Gen IV games are the very definition of a Contested Sequel, though Platinum was better-received overall and may have singlehandedly vindicated the Sinnoh installments). When the remakes for 3DS were announced, reception was almost universally positive.
    • From the same generation, Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness. Both games received mixed reception from both critics and fans on release, mostly for not being like the handheld games. But as complains of It's the Same, Now It Sucks! became more prevalent within the series, the two games are now considered refreshingly different, especially the Shadow Pokémon mechanics. Older Pokémon fans also appreciate their increased difficulty compared to the handheld games, with smarter movesets on A.I. trainers and tough boss fights, along with understanding the games' Darker and Edgier aspects that flew over their heads as kids.
    • Pokémon Snap: Released for the Nintendo 64, Pokémon Snap saw limited popularity at its release for two reasons: it was short, and it wasn't like Pokémon Red and Blue. Fast forward about ten years later and suddenly people now want for a Pokémon Snap 2 to be licensed, especially since several hundred new Pokémon have come out since then. The lack of a sequel on the Wii U, with its large tablet controller and camera, is seen as a huge misstep by fans.
    • Pokemon Blackand White suffered a strong backlash from a sizable portion of fans, who criticized some of the new Pokemon's designs and the fact that no Pokemon from previous generations were available until you had completed the game. For years, they were considered the worst games in the series, and even suggesting that they weren't horrible was a good way to get ripped apart. Fast forward to some years later, and they are nowadays seen as some of the best, with fans praising the large amount of new Pokemon (many of whom have become fan favorites), the unique storyline, and the fact that it doesn't pander to the established Gen 1 fanbase.
    • As far as specific Pokémon introduced during this generation go, Zoroark was met with a tepid reception from the fanbase when it debuted in the franchise, with many fans condemning it as an overhyped Creator's Pet meant to capitalize on the success of Lucario from the previous Gen. Being promoted as the face of a then-very contentious generation likely didn't help at all. However, Zoroark and its pre-evolution Zorua are now among the Gen's most popular Pokémon due to their design and concept and Zoroark is regularly requested for greater spotlight in spin-offs such as Pokkén Tournament and Super Smash Bros..
  • When it was first released, Psychonauts didn't get a lot of notice, had horrible promotion, and consequently its sales were no great shakes. It's now near-universally recognized as one of the greats (getting the Colbert Bump from Yahtzee probably didn't hurt), with a sequel set for release in 2019.
  • The original Quake. While the game was almost unanimously praised for its then-amazing polygonal graphics upon releasenote , a lot of reviewers complained about its gameplay being redundant and too similar to Dooms 1 and 2. For the next year or so, Quake was the poster child for a game getting a massive amount of pre-release hype but failing to live up to it. This started to change when QuakeWorld was launched in late-1996. QuakeWorld was revolutionary in that, thanks to John Carmack's programming wizardry, players with dial-up modems could play the game's deathmatch mode online without worrying too much about lag or server problems. A month later, GLQuake was released, making Quake one of the first games to use hardware accelerated graphics. Throughout 1997, numerous multiplayer mods were released, including CTF and the now-seminal Team Fortress. Today, thanks to its excellent post-release support, Quake is regarded as one of the most innovative and influential first-person shooters ever made, which is particularly ironic when you realize that the main complaint critics had when the game was released was its lack of innovation. It helps that it's the only classic FPS with a Lovecraftian motif on the market.
  • Ratchet: Deadlocked launched to split the fanbase in half, thanks to its darker tone, lighter application of the story, limited selection of weapons, a mission-based structure and maps that were pulling double duty for the Multiplayer, with more emphasis on vehicles and *very* few platforming sequences. Basically the antithesis of what Ratchet & Clank was doing at the time. With several years of reflection many fans have come around to see that despite all of these, it still has the great gunplay the series is known for, and the expansive mod customization system is unlike anything the series has tried before or since. It also helps that two other titles would come out that would be even more contested due to their experimentation.
  • Richard Burns Rally, while already praised at the time for its realism, had a mixed critical reception upon its release and was a commercial flop. Both its developer and publisher were bought out just a few years later, making the game Abandonware just few years after release. Despite this, the game was kept alive by an extremely dedicated cult following through Game Mods and the Abandonware status allowed new players to easily join the community. Thanks to this, the game has manged to garner more popularity and widespread critical acclaim, being often considered the best rally simulation available until DiRT Rally was able to challenge it for the title.
  • RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 was the first in the series to use fully 3D graphics, and on top of the usual teething problems any established franchise has when trying to break through the Polygon Ceiling, it had some serious performance issues, struggling to work on anything but the latest and greatest hardware. Fans of the previous two games, which were noted for being extremely low-footprint and running happily on just about any PC in existence, were a bit annoyed about this. But a few years down the line, when games that once needed top-of-the-line hardware can now be played on any old beige box from Walmart or PC World, it underwent something of a critical reappraisal and is now seen as flawed but still pretty decent. The scathing reception of RollerCoaster Tycoon World in 2016, between its Obvious Beta glitches and shallow gameplay, has only made RCT3 look that much better in hindsight.
  • Romancing SaGa 2, at least outside of Japan. Even amongst the emulation community, the dedicated fan translation patch was in Development Hell for years due to technical issues note  and its somewhat unintuitive and not-fully explained mechanics made it seem somewhat unapproachable. In 2017, the game's remake was released worldwide on virtually every platform except the 3DS — and thus people have been able to appreciate the games' uniqueness (for the time being) since Wide Open Sandbox games are much more popular now.
  • When Shantae originally came out, most people thought it was yet another shovelware game for the Game Boy Color as it had a wide release with little promotion, a gimmicky-looking and unorthodox protagonist (a cute Purple-Haired Genie Girl in an E-Rated game?), came at the end of the system's lifespan (the Game Boy Advance released almost a week later), and was from a developer no one had heard of (WayForward, which ironically ONLY made licensed games prior to this). The few people who DID buy it were pleasantly surprised to find an incredibly solid Metroidvania game, and WayForward Technologies soon became well-respected indie developer that's also a shining example of No Problem with Licensed Games. Original copies of this game now sell for hundreds of dollars and Shantae went on to blossom into a cult title, eventually getting a sequel in Risky's Revenge eight years later and other games since. The Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console rerelease even explicitly notes how the original release was overlooked despite the positive reception among those who did play it, and how the Virtual Console release will finally give a wide range of players the chance to play it.
  • Silent Hill 2 is a rather interesting case of this. When the game first came out, it was quite popular and given very positive reviews, but it was often compared and contrasted to the first game. Fast forward to the present where "artsy" games like Spec Ops: The Line, The Stanley Parable, and Shadow of the Colossus have become well regarded, and people quickly began to see the incredibly complex and metaphorical story of the game. Today, not only is it universally considered the best Silent Hill game and one of the best horror games ever made, but also one of the best games ever made period and a paragon of the "Games are Art" philosophy. It also helps that a certain popular caustic reviewer holds it up as one of the very few games he likes and constantly puts it on a pedestal.
  • When announced in 2010, Skylanders was the bane of the internet. For years it had a loud periphery hatedom of Spyro the Dragon fans and people who hated its Merchandise-Driven nature. As time has gone on, its reception has changed. Many kids who grew up on the games praise it, which has put Skylanders into more Love It or Hate It territory.
    • Same could be said of the previous trilogy, TheLegendOfSpyro, which many elements of which can be found in ''Skylanders'. Even classic fans who hated it initially saw it in a new light if only because Spyro isn't a side character in his own game.
  • Snatcher was back in its day unheard of due to in no small part being released on the flopped add-on, the Sega CD with a limited release on the platform, but because the developer of that game would later work on franchises such as Metal Gear Solid. People who wanted more of his antics looked up that the game existed and was made by him, which made people want to seek out the game, and found out that it was awesome and ahead of its time. Nowadays, it is remembered as one of the very best games on the Sega CD.
  • SOS came and went without so much fanfare, but nowadays many find the game to be a somewhat flawed masterpiece thanks to its innovative game design.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom sold well and was seen as a pretty good platformer at the time, but not a particularly memorable one in the face of other sixth-generation games like Ratchet & Clank and Jak and Daxter. The fact that it was a licensed game meant that it also had to overcome an image problem, and it went largely ignored by many "serious" gamers. Then speedrunners discovered it and found all manner of Hidden Depths in its gameplay. Nowadays, while it hasn't exactly joined the ranks of the greatest platformers ever made, it is extraordinarily popular within the speedrunning scene, to a greater degree than many of its more conventionally acclaimed contemporaries. In 2019, it was announced that the game would receive an eighth-gen remake, a very rare distinction for a licensed property, much less a kid-oriented one.
  • Spore has an interesting example of this. While the game wasn't a commercial failure and was received very well, it held the title for being gaming's biggest disappointment in history and having the dubious honor of one of the most pirated games of the time due to its notorious DRM. Fast forward eight years later where No Man's Sky was released, and Spore is suddenly seen in a more positive light; with sales and reviews of the game on Steam skyrocketed as a result. It helps that weeks after No Man's Sky launch, Spore was released on with its aggressive DRM completely removed.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl sold well enough on its release that two sequels were made, but only received rather average reviews for its staggering amounts of bugs from nearly a decade in development hell and extremely high difficulty. Nowadays, the game and its sequels are highly lauded for their grim depressing atmosphere and for being more "realistic" takes on post-apocalyptic video games. They also have an extremely vibrant modding community thanks to the unique X-Ray Engine, which has given the series significant popularity over the years, and the trilogy eventually gained several spiritual successors in the Metro series and Escape from Tarkov. An official sequel for the series was Saved from Development Hell and officially announced in May 2018 with a 2021 release date.
  • Star Fox:
    • Star Fox Adventures has become this in the years following its release. Although it received positive reviews back in 2002, it was criticized by many Star Fox fans as being a Zelda clone, but since then it has become much more positively received by fans—especially with the divisiveness of Star Fox Zero.
    • To a lesser extent, Star Fox: Assault. While the general consensus is that the game doesn't live up to the lofty standard set by Star Fox 64 and has a few clunky and poorly implemented mechanics that take away from the Arwing sections, it ultimately tried to do something different with the series and continue the storyline from where Adventures left off—with a Darker and Edgier plot to boot—instead of rehashing 64 (like Zero did). At the same time, Assault came to be lauded for sticking to enough of the series' standard conventions to feel familiar as to opposed to gimmicky (as Command and especially Zero came across to many fans). It also helps that Assault boasts quite a few stunning set pieces; a very excellent soundtrack; an incredibly fun and rich multiplayer experience that, by many accounts, has yet to be topped since; and voice acting that isn't So Bad, It's Good, but actually decent if not legitimately good (though the improved voice is work is a point of contention for some).
  • Steam was initially received very negatively by the gaming community, because it was viewed as little more than Valve's own buggy DRM system for Half-Life 2. However years later when major publishers started to publish their games on Steam, the platform was praised for providing easy access to a large number of games games at all times without the need for game discs, cheap price of games during sales, easily usable modding content through Steam Workshop and its less intrusive DRM system compared to its rivals.
  • The first two Story of Seasons games. The original game was one of the last games to be released for SNES — way back in 1996 — and was overlooked. (The "farming sim" premise didn't help.) Nowadays it's is considered to be one of the best games on the console and is a Cult Classic. Meanwhile, Harvest Moon 64 was originally passed over in favor of the PlayStation installment Back to Nature. In later years, it's commonly nominated as a candidate for best game in the franchise — and one of the best on the Nintendo 64.
  • Street Fighter:
    • Street Fighter III, like The King of Fighters '98, was derided as being primitive and having "SNES graphics" when it was first released, thanks to the Dreamcast being able to produce competent 3D graphics and fighting games being a genre on the verge of extinction. Over a decade later, after being re-released on more mainstream systems, it found an audience with both tournament-level players and more casual gamers looking for an alternative to brown, grimdark FPSes.
    • The Street Fighter EX trilogy originally had a very mixed reception when it came out; the decision to move the franchise to 3D was very controversial, and since the games were developed by a third-party company (Arika), they were dismissed as second-rate compared to Capcom's mainstream Street Fighter titles; the sub-series was permanently shelved in 2000. However, after Capcom's own move of the franchise to 3D with Street Fighter IV, fans were willing to give the EX games another look. Today, the games are viewed much more positively than they used to be, as an worthy, though not perfect, attempt at breaking through the Polygon Ceiling, with several of Capcom's most iconic fighters being complemented by an enjoyable cast of original characters created by Arika (including a wannabe-superhero in a skeleton suit, an Indian pro-wrestler, a Gadgeteer Genius girl, and a baseball-playing bouncer) that fans have been clamoring to see return to the Street Fighter world after a sixteen-year (and counting) absence. It helps that some of the mechanics in IV, as well as a few "new" special moves given to the returning Street Fighter II vets, originated there, or were at least inspired by aspects of the EX games. The renewed interest in the EX trilogy and its characters did eventually bear some fruit, with Arika releasing a Spiritual Successor to the series (and its rather obscure offshoot Fighting Layer) in 2018 called Fighting EX Layer.
    • The tournament scene in general would save the once-forgotten fighting game genre. When Street Fighter III: Third Strike came out, the tournament players showed how deeply tactical the game was, resulting in epic EVO matches, like the famous Daigo comeback video. In fact, EVO tournaments themselves would become more popular and gamers' interest in Street Fighter and fighting games again would result in Street Fighter IV being made, which revived the dying fighting game genre.
  • For some reason or another, Suikoden II is a very popular RPG that easily carries triple digit values for a used copy. Fortunately, the game has been released on the PSN for a very cheap price instead of paying an arm and leg for a copy... that most likely went for only $10 in the bargain bin originally.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl was one of the highest critically praised games in 2008, but the consensus for the game's Adventure Mode, The Subspace Emissary mode, was almost overwhelmingly negative, especially in regards the cutscenes. note  When it was announced in 2013 that Smash Bros. 4 would not have cutscenes, fans of the Subspace Emissary mode suddenly started crawling out of the woodwork. Back in 2008, you would not find people defending it.
  • System Shock 2 was the sequel to a moderately successful cyberpunk First-Person Shooter (that unfairly received comparisons to the original Doom, which was released at the same time). The sequel, which had players step into the role of a hacker trying to stop a viral infection and insane AI on a now-deserted spaceship, was plagued with development problems. Although the game did receive several awards and very positive reviews, it failed to meet sales expectations thanks to being released right next to Half-Life. Fast forward a decade later, and SS2 is regularly quoted on "best game of all time" and "scariest game of all time" lists, to the point of almost every major gaming website giving it accolades and the game itself creating a Spiritual Successor in the form of Doom 3, BioShock, Dead Space, and Prey over the years. Both System Shock and its sequel have also continued to receive significant support from the fan community in the form of mods and graphic upgrades, more so than most other older games. Thanks to this trope, System Shock 3 has officially now gone into development along with a Kickstarter-backed remake of the original game.
  • When Sega's 1988 Tetris game was released, it was a hit in arcades in Japan, but it was never exported and the few Western players who did play it wrote it off in favor of Nintendo's versions of Tetris. However, when the online Tetris community began to formulate in the 2000's, this version of Tetris started to gain a small but appreciative player base outside of Japan, due to being the base for the highly-acclaimed Tetris: The Grand Master series; in particular, it's the first Tetris game to be optimized for high-gravity play, with fast horizontal movement and delayed piece locking allowing the game to be playable even at its maximum drop speed.
  • Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness was blasted by fans and critics alike for adding RPG elements (determines whether or not Lara can move certain objects or can jump great lengths), having a secondary playable male protagonist, and massive amounts of glitches. Over time, fans of the franchise began to warm up to the game and appreciated the darker storyline, the characters, and the dialogue system that lets you decide on how to respond to certain characters.
  • Total Annihilation: While it was given extremely positive reviews and tons of accolades upon its 1997 release for its then-gorgeous graphics and superb gameplay, it had the misfortune of coming out at the same time as Starcraft and had very poor sales. Nowadays it's not only considered one of the best (if not the best) RTS games ever made, but also one of the most underrated games of all time. It helps that its developers went on to make two popular spiritual successors Supreme Commander and Planetary Annihilation (and even other developers with games such as Ashes of the Singularity), which helped the original game shoot up in popularity over the years.
  • When Um Jammer Lammy was initially released, it got lots of praise from critics, but with the general public, it didn't gather as much attention as its predecessor, PaRappa the Rapper, did. This was mostly due to bad American advertising that had nothing to do with the game, and because people were instead expecting the PaRappa 2 that was promised at the end of the first game. Years later, when PaRappa 2 finally did came out, and Lammy played a supporting role in it, the game received a huge increase in popularity and interest, and it's now considered one of the best games of the first PlayStation. A lot of people agree that it's even better than the two PaRappa games.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines tanked hard despite good reviews on release, to the point where the developer went out of business. The biggest blame is probably its release a day after Half-Life 2 in concert with a rushed, extremely buggy release. As time went on and word of mouth about it spread, the game became increasingly popular after the fact, particularly among RPG fans with fond memories of Deus Ex and bad memories of being let down by Deus Ex: Invisible War. Today, years after release, the game still receives unofficial patches and mods from the community, which have collectively rendered the complaints about bugs a moot point and restored large amounts of content that was Dummied Out.
    • There's a good bet that Marik Plays Bloodlines has helped the game become more popular.
    • It's also worth noting that the game is receiving an official and direct sequel set in Seatle roughly 14 years after the original. Release is currently set for Q1 2020.
  • Vanquish had awful retail sales, because it was heavily Screwed by the Network: The game magically popped up on store shelves without any announcement or advertising, and it quickly fell under the radar. Then, in 2013, the game was released on PlayStation Network's Games on Demand (and as a free download for PlayStation Plus subscribers), and it has been far more successful on there.
  • World of Warcraft has had this happen through its various expansion packs throughout the years, some more than others:
    • Burning Crusade was criticised (before release) for its controversial changes to the lore - most notably, Blood Elves and Draenei, who brought with them the Paladin and Shaman classes to their factions (Respectively) to the opposing faction. Memes of "Lore, LOL" were prevalent throughout 2006-2007, and the Draenei were memetically mocked for their inaction and thematic differences from the rest of the group. However, once the removing of the faction-exclusiveness fully set in, people begun to appreciate this move as it allowed the Paladin and Shaman classes to develop further, instead of having to constantly match one another. This was a constant development headache throughout classic, since they had to play the same role in terms of gameplay, but also needed to be mechanically different from one another. Many of the former detractors of the Draenei have come around, feeling that while the initial eredar/Draenei retcon was somewhat clumsy, it did add more to the Burning Legion's lore and the new Draenei proved to be interesting. It certainly helped that later expansions did much more retcons with less justification.
    • Cataclysm was and still is considered to be when the game "died" due to the fact that the player population dwindled (plus Wrath was kind of a Tough Act to Follow). Many people cited bizarre changes to the lore, the drastic changes to the world, (and the complete lack of catchup mechanics for a year), Dungeons that were too hard and had to be nerfed before players outgeared them, quest zones that were long, and some unintentionally hilarious voicework and presentation. However, as time went on many people started to see the good in the expansion - giving players multiple choices on where to level as opposed to being railroaded through a set route, refining the catchup mechanics when they were added, and most notably, the massive update to the old world that refined and fixed many of its design flaws. This ultimately brought the rest of the world up to the standards of Wrath, and many people still believe a few Cataclysm areas were some of their best.
    • Mists of Pandaria was at launch criticised for its tonal shift from the much bleaker Cataclysm to the idealistic world of Pandaria. Some criticised it as being too much of a Kung Fu Panda ripoff (despite Pandaria being around since Frozen Throne, regardless of their Running Gag status), for overhauling the talent system, as well as the amount of Daily Quests. After Warlords of Draenor, people looked back fondly upon Mists and started to appreciate it for the fact that the expansion had a LOT of content available at launch. Not only that, but Pandaria has some of the most beautiful zones ever shown in the game.
    • While virtually nobody will defend Warlords of Draenor as having been good (causing the subscriber count to drop to lower than that of Classic!) the overall sentiment of It's Short, So It Sucks! overall drowned out appreciation for what people thought the expansion did correctly. After Legion and Battle for Azeroth, people looked back and pointed out that Warlords actually had some pretty good questing and appreciated that they got to see how Draenor looked at its height — which also made the Draenei relevant for the first time since 2008. On top of that, it allowed players to pay more attention to their professions, instead of having to grind through four expansion packs' worth of gathering and crafting. It also set the stage for Legion, considered to be one of the overall better expansion packs.


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