Big games that hardly anyone cares about anymore

Every dog has its day. But we're not talking about dogs. We're talking about video games. Video games that were once great and mighty and strong but have for whatever reason failed to retain their status as being a big deal. These are all games that at one time or another created a deafening, self-perpetuating buzz around themselves. But now...? Well, they're just 'big' games that don't get the love like they used to.

Mortal Kombat

Around since 1992, Midway's Mortal Kombat has had a huge impact on gaming and is without doubt one of the best known franchises on this list, thanks mostly to its pioneering work in mega-violence and opponent evisceration. Back in the day, the ability to commit multiple Fatality finisher button combos to memory was something to be worn like a borderline-autistic badge of honour.

Above: Doing this used to be the best thing ever

But Kombat with a K has struggled to stay relevant as shocks in gaming have become cheap currency. Consequently, excitement for the series beyond the MK faithful has become muted to say the least. Last year's Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe barely made a whimper in the charts and, in terms of sales, the awesomely respunked Street Fighter IV absolutely dragon punched its face off.

Can it be big again?

We're sure that Mortal Kombat will tick along nicely for Warner Bros (who now hold the rights to the series). But unless it can orchestrate a spectacular do-over of SFIV proportions, we seriously doubt that Liu Kang and co will ever enjoy even a fraction of the adoration they did back when kids spent their days talking like Beavis and Butthead and wanking off to that bit in Basic Instinct when Sharon Stone flashes her unmentionables.

Jak & Daxter

Remember these guys? Yeah, sure you do. Eavesdrop any conversation about great PS2 games and you're sure to hear Jak & Daxter get a name check. Which is hardly surprising given that Uncharted developer Naughty Dog was behind the original trilogy. It was recognised in Guiness World Records: Gamers Edition 2008 as being the 'Most Successful Single Format Platform Series'. So, yeah, what you might call a big deal.

Above: Who wouldn't want to ride giant birds again?

But there hasn't been a 'proper' J&D since Jak III back in 2004. Sure, we got the decent enough Jak & Daxter: The Lost Frontier last year, but it wasn't Naughty Dog (and it showed) and it was only released for PS2 and PSP. A fact that didn't exactly help bring interest in the duo back up to boiling point.

Can it be big again?

If Naughty Dog takes charge for a long overdue now-gen outing - which we'd love to see happen - then absolutely yes. And despite Ratchet & Clank doing a sterling job on the console, there's definitely room amongst all the serious-faced, shooty-stabby titles for a little more light-hearted, double-act gaming on PS3.

Tony Hawk

We're not going to rag on Tony Hawk Ride again. Interest in the erstwhile must-have skate series was on the decline well before it came along anyhow. In fact, it's been such a long time that we've experienced a decent Tony Hawk game we should remind ourselves that the early entries in the series justifiably sold millions and received universally positive reviews. Gamers - not just skaters who gamed - loved a bit of Tony Hawk. But then it went awry.

Above: Look closely younglings, this is what a good Tony Hawk game looks like

Locked in a seemingly infinite cycle of endless updates, the games simply ran out of ideas and the continued fiddling with the formula just made things crap and not very much like fun anymore. And then EA's Skate came along and made skateboarding games exciting all over again and - fickle bastards that we are - we ditched Tony Hawk without a second thought.

Can it be big again?

If it can drop the obsession with gimmicks and get back to focusing on the absurd arcade skating that made everyone mad for the series in the first place, then there's no reason why it can't be a serious rival to Skate. Or at least a decent alternative. Hawk is signed up with Activision until 2015, so there's plenty of time for a happy ending. Five years is way long enough to completely rebuild a game and make it awesome again, right?

Space Invaders

You don't get much bigger than this. As a game it helped steer the industry into the big time and blast its way into mainstream culture. It's emergence at the tail-end of the 70s triggered a true phenomenon in arcades and the game's iconic, sharp-edged alien imagery has endured to this day. Testament to this is the fact that, regardless of age, every gamer on the planet knows Space Invaders.

Above: Space Invaders Extreme. A very good reason to still care about Space Invaders

But while everyone recognises the importance of Invaders, no one really gives much of a toss about games that bear the name. And there have been a fair bloody few of them over the years, with various sequels and remakes appearing on everything from the SNES to the Wii and pretty much everything in between. But how many have you played? Exactly.

Can it be big again?

No. But it'll always be around and will always find a fan-base amongst players who appreciate a simple-yet-awesome approach to gaming. The recent-ish Space Invaders Extreme updates for DS and PSP are excellent games in their own right that manage to retain the retroness while feeling completely fresh and original at the same time. If you haven't had any Space Invaders action in a while, we heartily recommend you grab a slice.


  • drako691 - January 22, 2010 4:18 a.m.

    i ment "isnt on here" i cannot type today >.<
  • drako691 - January 22, 2010 4:17 a.m.

    im kind of surprised resident evil is on here i mean sure its still pretty good as a shooter but i just dont the game same "do i really wanna turn that corner" feeling i got from the PSone games. its just not a survival horror game like it was brought up on its just an interactive action movie (ya im lookin at you RE5!)
  • swordofzemu - January 16, 2010 12:05 a.m.

    HAAAH! CURSES! WHY! WHY ISNT PROJECT NEEDLEMOUSE ON THE WIIIIIII!!!!!! (goes super saiyan, and shoots giant energyblast at sonic team)
  • Picnic1 - January 12, 2010 10:40 p.m.

    This article is wrong about Bond. EA's Everything or nothing was a decent game for the time and Quantum of Solace is a pretty fantastic shooter. You go right through buildings, jump over rooftops, blow lots of barrels up. It's probably a bit like the game that many would have liked Perfect Dark Zero to have been (that game is still pretty good itself in an arcade kind of way i.e. don't expect War and Peace from the story). One of the things that I most want is for Naughty Dog to go back to Crash Bandicoot. and make a proper PS3 sequel to Crash Team Racing , the best karting game that I've ever played. Why not include some 2.5D style platform elements for old time's sake?
  • wolfbeard - January 11, 2010 8:11 p.m.

    Road Rash series.
  • Xplosive59 - January 11, 2010 4:24 p.m.

    ah i remember my childhood days playing driver 2 and crash bandicoot WARPED, good times. another big game lost in obscurity is spyro the dragon which i remember as awesome back on the psone, another is mega man, although mega man 9 is a great game in its own right it didnt make much of an impact on gaming society although it scored well
  • teh2Dgamer - January 11, 2010 9:08 a.m.

    The World is not enough on the N64 was a pretty good followup to Goldeneye. Not as good mind you, but it was still a quality game. I really haven't payed attention to bond since the N64 days though. I think that maybe if I quit looking at him, he'll go away.
  • Solid_Gabriel - January 10, 2010 11:36 p.m.

    No Sonic?
  • coolbeans - January 10, 2010 10:04 p.m.

    good times, good times, just needed spiro in there
  • mfwahwah - January 10, 2010 9:48 p.m.

    Good list, but I'd have put Tomb Raider in it. It's just not the same anymore. state evince
  • QWERTYCommander - January 10, 2010 9:08 p.m.

    Man did I loved the THPS games. I would have loved them more if I had a PS1, though. Those N64 versions...
  • Migglez - January 10, 2010 7:17 p.m.

    soo many old games good times good times
  • Hobojedi - January 10, 2010 4:59 p.m.

    No Doom.. or like JohnnyMaverik said, Wolfenstein? I am disappointed.
  • dahsif - January 10, 2010 2:19 p.m.

    Have you played Space Invader Infinity gene on the iPhone? If not, go and play it NOW. It is an extraodinarily ballsy, fresh and slick reboot of the series. It's unbelievable that it gets no mention in this article. It's up there with Street Fighter IV in the "brilliant re-boot of a classic franchise" category.
  • JohnnyMaverik - January 10, 2010 12:41 p.m.

    Duke Nukem, Wolfenstein, theres another 2 for ya. Side Note: I'm working on an awesome Duke Nukem concept atm, so watch out for that... it'll be ready when it's ready, e.g. when I've finished my uni course (2012) got myself into a position where I can put it forward as a posible poject (2022ish) all providing it's with a team that could actually afford to do it (get the licence for the title, a powerful engine etc, ProbablyNever).
  • JohnnyMaverik - January 10, 2010 12:36 p.m.

    Good list, bar space invaders... christ you could have replaced that with any old classic... pong, pac man, asteroid, the list goes on... personally I would have gone for something like Quake or Spyro or even my beloved by grossly mistreated Mana series (just off the top of my head.
  • phgreat1 - January 10, 2010 10:06 a.m.

    I liked some of the James Bond games post-Goldeneye. Agent Under Fire, Nightfire, Everything or Nothing, and Quantum of Solace. At the time Agent under Fire an Nightfire were great games. Everything or Nothing was like the Bond film everyone was waiting for in 2004. OK I didn't like From Russia with love as much. However, Quantum of Solace was good. Can the Bond series be better? Yes. Was it all complete shit? Not at all.
  • JackSkellingtonsSkin - January 10, 2010 7:44 a.m.

    Tomb Raider
  • matt588 - January 10, 2010 4:38 a.m.

    the only PS anything I have ever owned was the PSONE, (sad isn't it?), but I can still remember the joy I felt from crash warped. Not only did I have driver, but I also had a steering wheel/gas pedal peripheral. Galaga, space invaders, missile command, and asteroids also hold a speacial place in my heart.
  • Spybreak8 - January 10, 2010 2:47 a.m.

    Yeah I loved playing TH2 and I played that local multiplayer over in Spain when I was over there for my exchange program. Didn't really get along with my exchange student but we played Tony Hawk for hours and enjoyed having something in common. Space Invaders might be big when people play all the retro games in Microsoft's proposed Retro Gameroom. SIE is also on XBLA although you miss out on the better audio that you get with the mobile versions.

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