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Vindicated By History / Video Games

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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.
  • While vindication wasn't needed in most of the world, in North America the TurboGrafx-16 went almost completely unnoticed. At first this was mostly due to the loud Console Wars between the Super NES and Sega Genesis in the region drowning it out, but it later effectively buried itself with its "Johnny Turbo" advertising campaign, which tried to adopt the same attitude as Sega but backfired with its especially hostile attitude. Then through a combination of the Wii Virtual Console bringing a large chunk of its library to modern audiences, and the growing Internet connecting North American gamers to regions where the PC Engine was popular, it finally started to develop a decently sized local following.
  • 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 and wasn't a Creator Killer). Also like the Dreamcast, it's been helped even farther by its bustling Homebrew scene. At one point after its discontinuation, the system went for well over $1000 on the used market due to the very low supply not meeting the growing demand.
  • 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 story-driven IV and the more serious 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 preceding Final Fantasy VII brought with it an enormous Newbie Boom (especially 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. Today, VIII tends to be appreciated for its more experimental combat systems, even if they make the game easy to break wide open.
  • Final Fantasy IX has been stated as series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi's favorite; however, the game's sales was a disappointment in the series' standards, selling only 6 million copies compared to VIII (with 8 million) and especially VII (10 million), and fan reception was mixednote . However, over the years, both new and old fans of the series have come to appreciate the narrative and character development of IX far more than when it came out— and so, generally speaking, this is the least "contested" of the PlayStation-era Final Fantasy installments, and the one to most widely have its virtues acknowledged. It helps that the game was actually a critical darling from the get-go (it holds a score of 94/100 on Metacritic, the site's highest score for a Final Fantasy game), and to this day it is generally regarded as one of the greatest video games of all time, an opinion that most of the Final Fantasy fandom has come around to agree with (though how it ranks compared to other similarly-acclaimed entries in the series remains up to debate).
  • 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 (which enough people mistook for actual bad voice acting for it to become infamous). 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. Its localization and voice-acting are also widely regarded to be the best among the series and something of a landmark accomplishment, even by people who don't enjoy the game overall. It also is seen by many as the last game in the series to still capture the fantasy elements well, as the games after it are so radically different.
  • 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 FFT fans convinced enough people to try it (or give it a second chance) that it gained a lot of popularity for its 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, multiple deconstructions, 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 side-scrolling playstyle. However, it was followed by The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, which not only returned to the original gameplay style, but is considered one of the greatest entries in the entire series. With all future 2D entries sticking to that gameplay as well, it soon became known as a terrible and incredibly hard Oddball in the Series. However, by the early 2010s, many gamers with a renewed interest or nostalgia for The 8 Bit Era Of Console Video Games began to appreciate the game for its many innovative ideas, some of which had started to reemerge in newer Zelda games. Additionally, with the new wellspring of appreciation for newer Nintendo Hard games 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 had grown considerably, with many people loving the bleak, sinister atmosphere, the creative (if somewhat difficult) dungeon design, and the massive amount of sidequests.note  It now isn't rare to hear people call it one of their favourite installments in the franchise.
  • The Oracle duology originally had a very low profile among the series due to being released on the Game Boy Color 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 Western 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. The game's initial disappointment is a huge reason why Twilight Princess opted for a more dramatic and mature story combined a dark atmosphere and realistic visuals. However, the game's stylized nature has aged well compared to the more realistically styled games of the time, which came to include 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 C Di 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. The over-the-top edginess also ended up working out some, though not for the reason Sega intended: it's so excessively gritty that many have found that it works better if you view it as a parody, rather than taking it seriously.
  • 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, production values that many took for granted at the time, 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. The warming reception is likely what caused Sega to relist and reprint the game after it was delisted in 2010.
  • When Sonic Adventure came out, it was met with mostly positive reception and even became the Killer App for the then dying Sega Dreamcast. Later on, however, reception towards it started to turn sour after numerous ports, leading more and more people to take notice of their archaic and very questionable design decisions. What made things worse is that the content that was originally seen as ambitious and bold then came to be viewed as gimmicky and tryhard (namely things like the Unexpected Gameplay Change and the greater emphasis on plot) which culminated in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), a game that took everything already considered problematic from Adventure and made it worse. Naturally, Sega would do everything to move away from Adventure and almost anything associated from that time, outside of a nod here and there: Sonic would be the only playable character from that point on (the aforementioned Unleashed being the main exception), almost every supporting character was Demoted to Extra, and the plots became much more simpler and juvenile. However, fans eventually started to get tired of that direction by the time Sonic Forces came out. Looking back, fans came to the realization that many of the problems with Adventure were mostly prevalent in a lot of 3D games at the time, and that the ideas presented in Adventure weren't inherently bad, just poorly executed. With the advent of remakes making rounds in the late 2010's, namely the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and Spyro Reignited Trilogy, and Mario and Zelda returning to their early days around the same time, many fans are hoping for a remake of Sonic Adventure (and to a lesser extent, its sequel) to address many of these issues.
  • Sonic Riders:
    • The games were divisive at the time as they came out during the 2nd Dork Age of the series. The 3rd game Sonic Free Riders ended up killing the sub-series with it's mandatory Kinect controls. However as time went on and especially after the release of Team Sonic Racing, the first two games has been getting a lot more love lately and has been getting praise for its unique concept of a racing game that didn't copy Mario Kart like Team Sonic Racing did. There was also praise for the first two games having Guest Characters from other Sega franchises as unlockables where Team Sonic Racing has been criticized for cutting out the guest characters from the Sega Superstars games. A lot of fans now consider Sonic Riders and its Sequel Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity among the best Sonic games during the 2nd dork age period. With several fans now wanting an HD port of the first two games with online or a 4th entry that combines all of the positive aspects of all three games.
    • The Babylon Rogues, at the time, were controversial characters among the fanbase, mainly being yet more new Sonic Characters added at the time. With the later Sonic games cutting out the characters that aren't Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, and Eggman, and the trio being Put on a Bus after Free Riders, they gained a lot of new fans who see the Rogues as interesting and compelling rivals to the main trio and hope they would appear again in a future Sonic game that isn't a mobile game or a game in the Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games series.
  • Human characters in general have slowly become this over the years since Unleashed. There's been a Broken Base about whether or not Sonic should be interacting humans after the disaster of Sonic 06. They've been absense since Unleashed and Sonic Forces had Funny Animal background characters instead. However as years passed, several fans don't actually see humans as the problem, but characters like Chris Thorndyke and Princess Elise just being badly written characters being the issue. And several human characters in the franchise have become popular with fans like some of the supporting characters from Sonic Xnote  There's also a video analyzing that the humans in the Sonic franchise actually helped the stories at the time have higher stakes where as games like Sonic Colors and Sonic Lost World is devoid of any stakes at all due to the lack of background characters in them.

    Super Mario Bros. 
Super Mario Bros., while a popular franchise, has a few examples which it'll take a longer time to be popular;
  • 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; The first Land introduced Daisy, while 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.
  • Mario Party DS was mostly ignored at launch back in 2007, with the general consensus being that it was a game that is So Okay, It's Average. But as a result of various videos showcasing fake anti-piracy measures for the game going viral in late 2020, many people decided to go back to the game and give it a try, with it receiving praise for its unique minigames and boards as well as having a very interesting story for a Mario Party game. Another strong point of the game is that it actually feels like a true Mario Party experience in comparison to the other portable installments in the series.
  • Super Mario 3D World arrived at a time when fans were clamoring for a new 3D adventure akin to 64, Sunshine, and Galaxy. It also had the misfortune of being released on the failing Wii U. When it was re-released on the Switch after Super Mario Odyssey, fans were much more receptive to the new and creative ideas it brought forth.



    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. It is also worth mentioning that, while the game is still seen as a repetitive, boring experience, it has been noted for not suffering from any major glitches or crashes like a lot of other rushed games do. 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 Genius Programming 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 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. Only a few high rollers made consistent profits outside of Japan. (And even entries in those series around that time were very divisive.) In many cases throughout the late 2000s and early 2010s, the JRPG was at most home on handhelds like the Nintendo DS or the PlayStation Portable, where they could be produced with a smaller budget. Even games that did release on consoles like Lost Odyssey, Persona 4, and several entries of the Tales Series either became Cult Classics (at best) or flew under the radar entirely (at worst). 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.
    • The classic style of First-Person Shooters, as in games which could've be classified as "Doom (or Quake) clones" back in the day, started to see a resurgence starting in the mid-2010s. With "modern shooters" copying Call of Duty and Battlefield's style of realistic, multiplayer-focused gameplay becoming stale in the genre enthusiasts and even some casual players, fans and developers started looking towards the roots of the genre. DOOM (2016)'s unexpectedly huge success, plus other well-received titles like Wolfenstein: The New Order and Titanfall 2, resurged interest towards shooters with fast-paced, arena-style combat with verticality and Hyperspace Arsenal, and indie games soon followed. Games like DUSK, AMID EVIL, Ion Fury, and ULTRAKILL, made as a delibrate throwback to retro shooters, paved the genre's way into the market and the term "Boomer Shooter" became synonymous with this style of shooters.
  • 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.
  • While PC gaming has been popular in most parts of Asia, as well as the West, they're on the resurgence in Japan in late 2010s, nearly three decades after being ignored due to impracticality at the time, ironically because of the increasing practicality of using PC itself. This was helped by the advent of E-Sports and Virtual Youtubers there. Especially for the latter, as setting up a streaming interface with the avatar must be done with a PC.

  • Alien: Resurrection for the Playstation 1 introduced the modern dual stick analog controls for FPS console games. This control scheme was one of many heavily criticized aspects of the game, which reviwers at the time found clunky and unintuitive. Dual stick analog controls would later be popularized by Halo: Combat Evolved a year later, and become the standard control scheme for console FPS.
  • 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 A.I. for the titular creature, production value, and stellar level design, along with its outstanding and faithful representation of its source franchise. Its 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.
  • Assassin's Creed: Unity was met with pretty poor reception when it launched. First of all, it had the unenviable task of following up Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, one of the most well-received games in the entire history of the franchise. On top of that, the game was very glitchy when it came out and needed serious patches before it worked properly. Finally, it stuck to the then-very tired Assassin's Creed formula pretty closely, after Black Flag had done a lot to shake up the formula. As a result, the game was widely panned by both critics and audiences. However, in the years that followed, reception to the game softened. Part of this was due to the game getting patched and fixed on a technical level, but it's also due to the changes made to the Assassin's Creed formula over time. After Assassin's Creed Origins took the franchise in a more RPG-like direction, which some of the fanbase is not happy with. Narratively speaking, the game is often looked back on fondly for the way it presented the Assassin/Templar conflict as something other than a black-and-white, good-vs-evil battle, introducing a lot of Grey-and-Grey Morality into the conflict. And gameplay-wide, it's seen as the last good Classic Assassin's Creed game before Origins heavily revamped the formula, with particular praise being directed at the game for having the most refined parkour mechanics in the series before later entries in the franchise heavily simplified them.
  • 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.
  • Among Us was released in 2018 and was only a mild success initially. While it reportedly had more players outside of US territory like in South Korea and Mexico, the game struggled to break more than 1000 concurrent players. Around the latter half of 2020, however, the game was noticed by various big Twitch streamers, which propelled the game's popularity expotentially, reaching over 450k concurrent players on Steam alone at its peak by September.
  • Azure Striker Gunvolt was initially viewed as an average at best Mega Man-like run-and-gun platformer by the majority of players and Mega Man fans at a time where the Mega Man franchise was collecting dust while putting their hopes on the then-upcoming Mighty No. 9 to carry the franchise's torch. Unfortunately, after a myriad of questionable decisions inside and outside of the Mighty No. 9 Kickstarter project, three delays, an alienating marketing campaign by Deep Silver, and the final product being lambasted with poor critical reception from critics, players, and most backers alike, many Azure Striker Gunvolt fans suddenly changed their opinions about the game and began clamoring to it as "the only true" successor to Mega Man while being condescending and antagonistic towards Mighty No. 9.
  • 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 minor 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 ports note , 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 share 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.
  • BioShock:
    • 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 and Neutral endings probably help). 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.
  • Call of Duty:
    • 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 critics bemoaning the return to the then thoroughly-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.
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops saw a similar reappraisal as time went on. Upon release, it was sandwiched between two Modern Warfare games, which along with being developed by Treyarch again meant it was occasionally seen as a B-entry in spite of continuing the trend of the franchise's commercial success. Not helping was that Black Ops didn't use the new engine of Modern Warfare 2, meaning in a straight graphical comparison it lost out. Today however, it is often viewed alongside World at War as one of the best games in the series. Its campaign is praised for its incredibly unique Cold War setting and its fun Conspiracy Thriller story, without losing out on a wide range of settings and scenarios to play through. Its multiplayer, meanwhile, was criticised on-launch for being much slower compared to what came before. As the pacing of Call of Duty became faster and faster in the upcoming years, however, Black Ops is viewed as being much fairer compared to the rising time-to-kill and large number of gimmicks that future games would indulge in.
  • 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: 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.
  • Dark Souls II 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 blatant 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.

  • Darkstalkers was not a commercial success, it’s underperformance compared to Street Fighter meant Capcom had (and continues to have) little interest in reviving the series. Critically however, Darkstalkers is beloved among Capcom and fighting game fans for its beautifully intricate and wacky sprite work and Anime Monster Mash combination. For years fans have literally begged for a revival and are delighted whenever Darkstalkers characters (besides Morrigan) show up in Crossover titles such as Felicia and Hsien-Ko in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 as well as Jedah in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite (despite that game’s critical bombing).
  • 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.
  • When Dead Rising 3 first came out, it was criticized for a new creative team, and abandoning most of the satire and humor featured by the Dead Rising franchise. After Dead Rising 4 released, which removed a number of features of the series, severely downplayed the freedom of what the player was allowed to do with items, recasting Frank West's voice actor, T.J. Rotolo, and once again changing creative teams (this time with none of them having worked on a Dead Rising game before), response to 3 has become somewhat better due to it trying to keep most of the franchise's core while still trying to do something new.
  • 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 the 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.
  • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze met, during its announcement and early release, not only a cold reception but even scorn and hatred. Part of it came from the Wii U being what it is; part came from a certain oversaturation of sidescrolling platformers at the time; and part of it came from a certain number of gamers being really, really, really mad that its existence meant Retro Studios was, in fact, not making Metroid Prime 4. A few years later, with the game re-released on the Switch, a more varied landscape of games on the console, and Metroid fans calming down after the release of Samus Returns and the confirmation that Prime 4 is in development, people started looking at Tropical Freeze on its own merits... and the game's reputation did a nigh-180° turn, getting often quoted as one of the most splendid platformers of all time.
  • Doom 64, the Nintendo 64 entry in 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 that, the game's namenote  misled people into believing it was another straight-up port of the original Doom 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 Doom II 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), to the point where many consider it to be the "real" Doom 3. It helps that unlike other games of its era, it stuck to sprites instead of 3D models that have aged rather poorly, and instead utilized the console's power to achieve some neat 3D-looking effects that the original two games weren't able to pull off. Ultimately, Doom 64's growing reputation probably helped it secure a 2020 Updated Re-release for modern systems. It also probably didn't hurt that the creative director of DOOM (2016) and Doom Eternal considers 64 his favorite Doom game, with the new levels in the re-release confirming it as the canonical link between classic and modern Doom.
  • 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 customization; in later years, more and more people have started to appreciate its more character-driven and socio-political story for breaking the usual mold of BioWare's saving-the-world-from-ancient-threat-plots and its focus on the Player Character's 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 U.S. 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 forward, 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 later 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:
    • 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 2010s.
    • Fallout 3 while a success, got severely criticised by fans of the first two games who had They Changed It, Now It Sucks! reaction as well other gamers who compared its Uncanny Valley aspects to Oblivion. Fans have also compared it unfavourably to the aforementioned New Vegas which had greater freedom and more choices to its story. Since then however and thanks to mixed reviews of Fallout 4 and critical bombing of Fallout 76 fans have gone back to Fallout 3 and appreciated its better qualities. The game’s DLCs Operation: Anchorage, The Pitt, Broken Steel (which raises the level cap and fixes the ending), Point Lookout, and Mothership Zeta are also well regarded, perhaps even more so New Vegas‘s DLCs which barring Old World Blues are quite decisive.
    • Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel also received mixed critical reception but was savaged by Fallout fans for the contradictions to the lore, the deviation from the established tone and aesthetic, and getting Fallout: Van Buren delayed and canceled, which eventually led to Bethesda Softworks striking it from canon. With the disastrous release of Fallout 76 (as well as some behind-the-scenes drama and shady business tactics), Brotherhood of Steel is no longer universally considered to be the worst Fallout game released to date.
  • Far Cry 2 is a rather unique case. It sold well enough on its own and was given positive reviews, but the game was hindered by a large amount of Scrappy Mechanics 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, 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, helped 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 Jagan 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 their games.
    • In general, prepromoted units (characters who have already undergone class change) were widely mocked as Overrated and Underleveled, only useful if you lost one of your early-joining characters with higher potential. At worst, they were actively advised away from, due to "stealing XP." Then people realized that, in fact, many prepromotes are actually incredibly strong and could often stay good for the whole game with minimal investment. And far from "stealing" XP, they instead became lauded for not needing XP, as opposed to a low-level character who needs a lot of work just to catch up to a prepromote's base performance. Many characters once dismissed as mediocre or useless, such as Niime, Hawkeye, Saleh, Minerva, and Wendell, now rarely rank below the high tiers.
    • Similarly, the early metagame of the series' Western fandom primarily focused on a character's raw endgame stats and combat performance, which caused many characters to be dismissed as bad simply for not having high growth rates. In the GBA games, early fliers like Vanessa, Shanna, and Florina and staff-users like Priscilla, Moulder, and Saul were given poor appraisals for their inability to cap all their stats. If they were run at all, it was because people believed they needed to use one of every class. Then people realized that utility is a massive part of the game, and recognized that those frail fliers vastly improve an army's mobility and flexibility by carrying units around and circumventing terrain, and those weak healers can trivialize entire maps with little effort when wielding the utility staves that come online in the mid-to-late game. It also became apparent to many fans that the actual benchmarks needed to be good at combat are often not particularly high, causing them to reconsider units previously seen as mediocre at fighting as actually being able to hold their own. Consequently, all of the above units are now considered very good.
    • 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.
      • Within Sacred Stones itself, the Summoner class was often dismissed as flat-out useless because it had the worst combat performance of the various magic classes and its signature gimmick was seen as "stealing XP." Then, when people started valuing utility over raw combat performance, it became apparent that the Summoner offered an advantage like nothing else in the game, due to its ability to exploit weaknesses in enemy AI and effectively nullify major threats. Nowadays, appraisals of Summoner tend to look less like "don't bother" and more like "the only problem with them is that there's not more of them" (the only two available Summoners have bad availability and mediocre stats).
    • 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. It was even initially labeled a Franchise Killer, something it was seriously Mis-blamed for (Radiant Dawn had a much higher budget and sold significantly worse). However, as time went on, people started to accept all the things it did well—it introduced the concept of reclassing to the series, features a highly customizable level of difficulty from "cakewalk" to "murderous", added some major quality-of-life improvements that the Tellius games had been sorely lacking (most notably, the ability to skip an enemy phase), and involved some incredibly fun characters and mechanics (such as retooling Ballisticians almost completely). The plot, while relatively minimalistic, is also often seen as doing what it needs to do, and the game is perhaps the most fleshed out in terms of "no resets"-style play, since it features multiple methods to help the player get back on their feet if they lose too many units to Final Death—features that, on release, got people angry because they saw the game as forcing them to kill off units. While it's rarely seen as one of the best games in the series, it's gotten a much stronger reception and a good-sized hardcore following.
      • Within Shadow Dragon's cast, Caeda was initially only seen as useful in a mage class, and far from the best unit due to having no Strength growth to speak of. But then players realized that Caeda's Strength didn't actually matter, because simply forging her Wing Spear made her into the game's best offensive unit and bosskiller due to the damage multipliers on the thing. Consequently, she's now argued as one of the best flier units in the series.
    • In Fire Emblem Fates, Xander is an In-Universe example. His ending in Conquest and Revelation says that as king of Nohr, he was responsible for many reforms that were unpopular with much of the populace, but scholars say were necessary for future prosperity.
  • 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.
  • Grand Theft Auto V's online multiplayer mode, Grand Theft Auto Online, suffered a disastrous launch that saw it unplayable for weeks, and even after the servers were stabilized, many slammed it as suffering from a dearth of features beyond basic deathmatches and races. Features that had been promised before launch, most notably heist missions, were nowhere to be seen. Many wrote it off as a failed experiment and stuck with the single-player story. Rockstar Games, however, never abandoned it, and continued adding content (the long-awaited heists being just the start)... and never stopping. To say that GTA Online made a comeback would be the understatement of the decade, as it would keep GTA V near the top of the sales charts for years after its already record-breaking launch. As of this writing, GTA V is the third-best-selling video game in history with over 130 million copies sold (third only to Minecraft and Tetris) and annual sales figures never falling below 10 million, a long tail that owes almost everything to the runaway success of GTA Online.
  • 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.
  • Halo
    • 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.
    • Halo 3: ODST while many praised it, still got mixed reviews upon release with a lot critics considering a mere expansion of Halo 3 and not worth buying. Since then and thanks to being rereleased with the Master Chief Collection on Steam, many people came around to ODST praising its unique atmosphere, characters (including three Firefly actors), and story as well as it’s Firefight mode. Nowadays it’s considered one of the best titles in the series alongside the main trilogy and Halo: Reach.
  • Haunting Ground though it was meant to be a continuation of the Clock Tower franchise, was struck with average reviews upon its release. Many critics wrote it off as an off-brand Resident Evil without combat, as years went by survival horror fans eventually began to see and appreciate Haunting Ground’s merits, particularly its atmosphere and truly disturbing Psychological Horror elements. The game also gives a meta-commentary on the intentional sexualisation and victimisation of female characters in video games which in some ways makes Haunting Ground ahead of its time. It’s generally considered one of the most underrated survivor horror games of the PS2 generation. YouTube game critic The Sphere Hunter goes into more detail about it in her video.
  • 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 in the rare instance it was ever brought up. Nowadays, the original Kid Icarus and its Western-only sequel Of Myths and Monsters are regarded as Cult Classics due to their surprising difficulty. The inclusion of Pit in Super Smash Bros. Brawl sparked a new interest in the franchise which led to Kid Icarus: Uprising, the first new game in the series in 21 years, which would go on to be praised for its varied gameplay, vibrant cast of characters, and tongue-in-cheek, fourth wall breaking) humor.
  • 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 trade-off.
    • 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 Sega's first third-party titles and became so massively popular it defeated EA Sports! The 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 overhyped 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.
  • Persona 3 and Persona 4 outside of Japan. Both had the (mis)fortune of releasing very late into the lifespan of the PlayStation 2, hitting shelves between 2007 and 2009. By then, a lot of gamers had moved on to the seventh generation. They were also JRPGs, a genre that (at least in North America at the time) was treated with disinterest at best or disdain at worst. While both games were received quite well by critics and those who played it alike, they were at best a Cult Classic. When Atlus later released Persona 3 Portable, an animated adaptation of Persona 4, and Persona 4 Golden for the Play Station Vita, the two games received more attention, garnering enough interest for the first two Persona games note  to receive an international (re-)release. And that's not getting into all the various P3 and P4 spin-offs such as Q that were released afterward. Persona is now a household word, and has effectively eclipsed its parent series outside of Japan in terms of brand recognition.
  • 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 complaints 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 a ridiculosly short game even if you had little idea what you were doing, and it veered drasticially from the battling aspects of the main games, and fellow Spin-Off titles like Pokémon Stadium and Pokémon Trading Card Game. Fast-forward two decades, and the anouncement of New Pokémon Snap was seen with unanimous excitement from the fandom.
    • Pokémon Black and White suffered a strong backlash from a sizable portion of fans, who criticized some of the new Pokémon designs and the fact that no Pokémon from previous generations were available until the post-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 in online discussions. Fast-forward a few years, and they are now seen as some of the best, with fans praising the large amount of new Pokémon (many of whom have become fan favorites), the unique storyline that sees the credits rolling before you enter the Hall of Fame, the removal of Ability Required to Proceed for the main quest, and its lack of Pandering to the Base; specifically Gen I. Black and White (and its sequels) were also the last games to utilize spirte art, before the mainline games underwent its retroactively base-breaking Video Game 3D Leap. Finally, when Pokémon Sword and Shield cut down on the number of available Pokémon, the majority of returning Pokémon originated from Unova prior to the DLC expansions, helping to endear them to fans even more.
    • As far as specific Pokémon 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 (the aforementioned Gen V) 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 designs 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 2020.
  • Puyo Puyo and Madou Monogatari:
    • Puyo Puyo 7 and the characters it introduces originally garnered a lot of heat from the international fandom, but things have cooled off with time and now the game's cast have gained a following with the game itself even gaining some respect. It helps that the Scrappy Mechanic Transformation Mode, the Off-Model art, and the game's other flaws are nowhere near as readily-apparent as the likes of Puyo Puyo~n.
    • Downplayed with Yo~n itself. It was seen as a floaty, boring, badly-balanced game with great art back then and still is now, but the aesthetics and story have received more attention over time. Yo~n digital artbooks go for hundreds of dollars online versus other Compile artbooks, which tend to be sold much more cheaply.
    • When the English fanbase first discovered the Shin Madou Monogatari timeline, it was laughed off as ridiculous and was completely forgotten. Come the latter 2010s, lore fans rediscovered it and made it one of the most infamous pieces of Compile-era lore. That being said, the Western fanbase discovering that the Japanese fanbase generally doesn't treat the books as canon has put a damper on this trope.
  • The original Quake. While the game was almost unanimously praised for its then-amazing polygonal graphics upon release note , a lot of reviewers complained about its gameplay being redundant and too similar to Doom 1 and 2. A matter not helped by the fact that Duke Nukem 3D was released just four months prior and contained a number of innovations (both in gameplay and personality) that were absent from Quake. 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.
  • Resident Evil:
    • The GameCube remake of RE1 did not sell as well as Capcom expected upon its release (especially compared to RE4 ). Critically on other hand REmake was absolutely adored and continually praised by fans for revamping, updating and graphically polishing the environment, the characters, the monsters and the gameplay, removing a lot of the cheesiness of the original and making the setting genuinely scary. Eventually Capcom remade RE2 and RE3, both of which sold extremely well and cemented (along the Final Fantasy VII Remake) that video games remakes can be big, critically acclaimed cash cows.
    • Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was a success but due to RE2 being a Tough Act to Follow, it still got greatly criticised for its smaller scope and material compared its predecessor. Nevertheless the game has become a fan favourite especially among speedrunners and Jill Valentine’s status as tubetop wearing Action Girl and Nemesis as a dreaded Implacable Man have become iconically synonymous with the whole franchise, to the point of being copied over into the second live action Paul W.S. Anderson RE film. Years since fans have clamoured for a remake for RE3 and finally got one in 2020. Though ironically despite it’s success, fans bemoaned RE3make’s cut content compared to the already short original.
    • Resident Evil – Code: Veronica was released on the Sega Dreamcast which had an aforementioned infamous reputation among other console owners. This by extension effected Code Veronica‘s reception as well as despite selling well on the console, it became a kind of black sheep among the mainline Resident Evil titles note . By the time Capcom released Code Veronica on the PS2 it was too late. Since then however people have come around to the game celebrating its European Gothic Horror-aesthetic, the revamp of The Mole Wesker into Smug Super Big Bad and being the only game with the Redfield siblings Chris and Claire starring together. Fans are quite eager for CV to get the remake treatment and were actually disappointed when Capcom announced they were remaking RE4 before Code Veronica.
    • Resident Evil: Outbreak generally got middling to poor reviews upon release due to its janky multiplayer game mechanics. Over the years though, fans have gone back to Outbreak and appreciated it comparing it to other RE multiplayer efforts like Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City and later Resident Evil Resistance. Outbreak’s cast of mostly Badass Normals are well liked and fans were happy to hear them get referenced with a Easter Egg in RE3make. Kevin in particular has been put in the popular fan-made RE2 mod During the Storm.
    • Resident Evil 6 has an infamous reputation for being the biggest Broken Base in the franchise. It’s bloated story, downplay of horror over action, main characters Taking a Level in Dumbass and getting an Angst makeover and several Replacement Scrappies (Simmons for Wesker, Ustanak for Nemesis and Helena for Claire) are chief among fan complaints. Capcom considered it a failure, as they expected RE6 to sell over 7 million copies only reaching “a mere” 5.2 million copies worldwide. But years later a lot fans have come to defend RE6 citing its gameplay, particularly the combo system and Gun Fu antics and some of the character moments (Chris and Piers’s bond, Leon and Chris fighting and meeting on screen for the first time, Sherry’s revamp into a Action Girl and reunion with Leon) as genuinely good. It’s also thanks to RE6 failings, that led Capcom to Revisiting the Roots and creating RE7, the aforementioned remakes and Resident Evil Village.
  • 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.
  • Rival Schools, while in Japan it was the highest selling arcade game of the year, the franchise still faltered compared to Street Fighter and despite finding its way to the West eventually faded into obscurity. Like Darkstalkers fighting game fans have come to love the series, praising its Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting-High School aesthetic (predating media like My Hero Academia). People were jubilant at fan favourite Akira Kazama being announced as playable in Street Fighter V, the first time any Rival Schools character has been playable in a Capcom game for decades.
  • In its infancy, Roblox was overshadowed by games like Club Penguin and Toon Town Online, only to later be upstaged by Minecraft. Come the second half of The New '10s and beyond, it is now a huge platform for making your own video games.
  • 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.
  • Rule of Rose like Haunting Ground got painfully average reviews for a survival horror game when it was released, mainly thanks to its clunky unpolished combat. But since then, people have applauded the game for it’s chilling creepy aesthetic and enemy design and it’s heartbreakingly messed up story. It’s generally considered a Cult Classic hidden gem that’s only let down by it’s gameplay.
  • SaGa Frontier was widely panned upon its release for its Wide Open Sandbox nature and its use of 2D graphics. It also had the misfortune of being released six months after Final Fantasy VII, a game that revolutionized the entire genre and made SaGa Frontier look very plain in comparison. Those who played the game, however, found out how deep the game was with its non-linearity, party customization, awesome music by Kenji Ito, quirky characters and more. It became a Cult Classic among fans, and many were overjoyed when a remaster was announced.
  • 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 a 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, to the point where many regard the series as one of the top indie series. The Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console re-release 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:
    • 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.
    • Both Silent Hill 3 and Silent Hill 4 were heavily cast under the shadow of Silent Hill 2, with 3 being criticized for not adding anything new to the series and for bringing back The Order (a central plot point in the first game that’s considered thematically inferior to the personal demons plot lines for some fans), and 4 for being too different from past games by having the main protagonist not go to the titular town and putting in more combat sequences. After Team Silent (the original development team) disbanded and Konami exported the games to American developers which both took the Tragic Hero trope and combat sequences Up to Eleven, both games have now been seen as some of the series best installments that are now praised for their improved controls, better graphics and for taking a risk with the series as opposed to copying the same formula again.
    • Ironically, this has even come around the the original game as well. With how universally praised SH2 came to be, the once-lauded original fell by the wayside, dismissed as being comparatively shallow and simplistic, coming before the sequel led the series into deeper psychological territory and being just an atmospheric and surreal but still comparably mundane horror game about fighting monsters in a haunted town, as well as its jagged PS1 graphics and clunky controls considered to have aged like spoiled milk. However, a reexamination of the game in the later 2010s came to the conclusion that, even without the twisted psychological layers of later games, the game still holds up surprisingly well for one simple reason- it is still as scary as balls, with the primitive graphics arguably only making things more eerie and disturbing. A revival of deliberately-outdated retro horror games like Paratopic and Concluse that are designed to invoke Silent Hill's jagged, low-rez freakiness suggests the game could even come out today and still be well-liked.
    • Silent Hill: Shattered Memories only got slightly above average reviews due to the greatly disliked Silent Hill: Homecoming being still being fresh on fan’s minds and Shattered Memories in general lacking the bloody and grotesque qualities of the Japanese games. Since then, Silent Hill fans have gone back to the game and genuinely praised its psychological components that are in the spirit of first four games. It’s easily considered the best of the American-developed Silent Hill games.
  • This happened with The Sims:
    • The Sims 2 was at launch not really seen as much of a proper "sequel", owing to how much content from the first game's seven expansion packs was removed from the Sims 2 base game. But as time went on and a few popular expansion packs (University and Nightlife especially) were added, players warmed up to it, such that many fans will call it the best in the series. It helps that it was the last Sims game that Will Wright personally worked on.
    • The Sims 3 was (and still is) on paper the most complex and customizable Sims game to date. But at launch, it was treated much like The Sims 2 for not having as much content as a four-year-old game with seven expansion packs (and more stuff packs) did. On top of that, the amount of things the game was doing off-camera and behind the scenes meant that it required a very high-performance computer to run (in a series that was never known for such), resulting in crippling load times and a lot of potential bugs — some of which were hilarious, others not so much. But as The New '10s progressed into its later half, mods became more accessible, and computer technology advanced to the point where, by 2020, the game could run properly with fairly normal load times even on a mid-range computer, players warmed up to The Sims 3 and appreciated its sheer freedom and complexity, especially once the most egregious bugs were patched and it got its own suite of expansions. Backlash against the more unpopular design decisions and expansion packs of The Sims 4 also caused some disaffected Sims fans to go back to the third game and give it a nostalgic second look, many of them liking what they saw. While the second game is still considered by most fans to be the series' peak, there also now exists a very vocal contingent of fans that sees the third game as such.
  • Spyro the Dragon:
    • When announced in 2010, Skylanders was the bane of the internet. For years it had a loud periphery hatedom of Spyro 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 divisive territory.
    • Same could be said of the previous trilogy, The Legend of Spyro, 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 wasn't a side character in his own game.
  • Snatcher was unheard of back in its day due to in no small part being released on the flopped Sega CD add-on, 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 Kojima's antics discovered the existence of Snatcher. Those who sought out the game found 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 Super Mario Sunshine, Ratchet & Clank (2002), Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy and Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus. 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 2020, the game was given a remake, SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated, 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.
  • STALKER: 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).
  • Star Wars Battlefront II (2017) is another DICE game that managed a remarkable turnaround. At launch the game was slammed by critics and players thanks to a lackluster campaign, buggy state, and the microtransaction-based progression that many have deemed pay-to-win and akin to gambling. However, the Battlefront II team managed to retool the progression system while also adding free maps and modes. These changes were well-received by the fanbase, and by 2019 its concurrent player count is as high as it was at launch. The success of Battlefront II led to EA released an updated Celebration Edition that several outlets even re-reviewed the game and found the package to be more fun than it was previously.
  • 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, its less intrusive DRM system compared to its rivals, a universal controller compatibility and customization layer (which now supports basically every Xinput and modern controller on the market), and the Proton OS emulation software to make many, many Windows games compatible with Linux. It's now considered the big PC digital distribution system, with the only others considered to have remotely comparable positivity being Good Old Games and (for different reasons) - any competitors that come onto the scene with nothing to really distinguish themselves from Steam in terms of features is usually hit with a massive backlash (as shown by EA's Origin platform or the Epic Games Store), to the point where EA actually gave up on Origin exclusivity and brought its full catelogue back to Steam.
  • 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. The cast of II was almost completely absent and replaced with a bunch of new, frequently scattershot designs, Capcom's attempt to use its chipset on other games was aborted, and the game was considered too hard to learn. For a case study of its original reception, check out a 2008 Gamesradar article of "Worst Street Fighter Characters": eight out of ten are from III. Then people started cracking open the game, and realized that it was actually far deeper than any of its predecessors, with a phenomenal skill ceiling and a well-regarded parry system that added an unusual depth to the combat. "EVO Moment 37", where a tournament player managed to block an entire seventeen-hit super, helped build its reputation even more, as it revealed just how much the game could offer a skilled player. And when it was rereleased, people realized that its graphics were anything but primitive; they featured some of the most fluid and energized spritework of the time and had aged like wine next to most Dreamcast-era 3D fighters. Nowadays, fans consider it to be probably the best competitive experience the franchise ever offered, and some claim its revitalization saved the franchise, and perhaps even 2D fighters as a genre.
    • 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, was almost overwhelmingly negative, especially in regards to 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. The revelation of the cruel treatment of the Core Design team by Eidos, who had ordered them to create and release a new Tomb Raider game every year, also garnered sympathy.
  • 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 helped the game become more popular.
    • It's also worth noting that there would eventually be announcement of an official and direct sequel set in Seattle roughly 14 years after the original, worked on by several of the first game's staff and currently slated for a 2021 release.
  • 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 Play Station Network's Games on Demand (and as a free download for PlayStation Plus subscribers), and proved far more successful there. This positive word of mouth, in turn, helped the game receive a Polished Port on Steam in 2017, mere months after Bayonetta (a higher profile and better selling PlatinumGames title) had the same honor. Come 2020, Vanquish would even get the HD remaster treatment on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One for its 10th anniversary, being bundled alongside none other than Bayonetta.
  • Watch_Dogs ended up standing the test of time. At launch, the game was mostly considered negatively, especially compared to much-loved shooter Grand Theft Auto V. However, over time the game's reputation increased, its stealth, action movie influences, and hacking mechanics being seen as a welcome variation to what had started to become a stale genre. After Watch_Dogs 2 came out, a lot of people also retro-appreciated that, while its plot wasn't the best, the game at least took itself semi-seriously instead of completely going Denser and Wackier and as a result feeling a bit like We're Still Relevant, Dammit! Looking at Steam reviews for both games, it becomes quite clear that Watch_Dogs was a solid game, and fans were rewarded. Less flak also came to the game's simple hacking mechanics when critics realized that they'd be much better than providing anything even slightly realistic, which would ruin the pacing.
  • 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" as 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 catch-up 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.
    • This also happened with the Big Bad of Cataclysm, Deathwing. At the time, many people criticized him for being a one-dimensional villain who didn't accomplish much after his devastating emergence from Deepholm and had a somewhat disappointing final battle. However, some people have come to view him more favorably compared to N'Zoth, the Greater-Scope Villain from Cataclysm who served as the Final Boss of Battle For Azeroth, since despite being a major threat in the lore as the last remaining Old God (albeit supposedly the weakest), he's dealt with in a cutscene. Compare Deathwing, who'd defeated his fellow Aspect Alexstraza in Twilight Highlands, and who could only be vanquished by the rest of the Aspects combining and sacrificing their powers, thereby resulting in a Pyrrhic Victory.
    • 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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