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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.

55 comments

  • speno93 - January 8, 2010 8:56 p.m.

    man these games have become obscure and im talking foreign movie obscure. With jak and Dexter i had to think for nearly 3 minutes until i had a faint recollection of it.
  • teke367 - January 8, 2010 8:57 p.m.

    I think a big part of why Goldeneye was so big was the deathmatches. Everybody I know played the mission once, but replayed the deathmatch over and over again with friends. With the introduction of online, I don't see Bond ever having this edge again.
  • solsurvivor - January 8, 2010 9:05 p.m.

    Crash Bandicoot games weren't good to begin with.
  • Conman93 - January 8, 2010 9:06 p.m.

    Id rather have a sly on ps3 rather than a jak, although a jak would still be awesome! I remember dash dingo on the simpsons. It was pretty funny
  • Axcleblade - January 8, 2010 9:30 p.m.

    Yes! You used my favorite word in this article (anthropomorphic). Instant win. reCAPTCHA: Out Humped I leave that to your imaginations.
  • WeaselWithAGun - January 8, 2010 9:41 p.m.

    I still LOVE Jak & Daxter. Just throwing that one out there.
  • Corsair89 - January 8, 2010 9:44 p.m.

    I can still say that Jak and Daxter matters to me. I still play Jak II every once in a while.
  • Cyberninja - January 8, 2010 9:44 p.m.

    i am surprised they did not metion sonic
  • JustTheBoBreaker - January 8, 2010 9:50 p.m.

    I think you can throw Spyro the Dragon series into this list.
  • Ded - January 8, 2010 10:18 p.m.

    Nah Cyberninja, Sonic's still big news when a new game is released.. Unfortunately mostly for "Sonic's latest game another disappointment" news, but still.. Fingers crossed for Project Needlemouse :D
  • Yeager1122 - January 8, 2010 10:31 p.m.

    I stil have all my jak and daxter games and still love jak and daxter here's hoping for one on the ps3.
  • TonyBlue05 - January 8, 2010 10:41 p.m.

    I think you could put any of the arcade classics on this list: Asteroids, Missle Command, etc. Sure Space Invaders more or less paved the way for those games, but each of them brought something new to experience and became a smash hit in their own right. Oh, and I have been praying for Naughty Dog to return to Crash just once to give him the game he deserves.
  • Nin10DOH - January 8, 2010 11:19 p.m.

    man, ive been waiting forever for jak and daxter on ps3. im also surprised sonic isnt on this list
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - January 8, 2010 11:50 p.m.

    @solsurvivor - Ouch, that was a bit blunt. I loved crash. No mention of Worms though? Or wasn't that ever considered big by anyone other than me? I love worms.... :(
  • symphonicdeathpop - January 9, 2010 12:25 a.m.

    The Jak and Dexter games were so good. Not quite as much as the Ratchet and Clank ones but still pretty amazing. It's a shame there haven't been any released on the PS3... if Insomniac can manage to put both R&C games out and also a new IP (Resistance), Naughty Dog could also try not to focus exclusively on Uncharted and give J&D some love... Although I have a feeling their next game WILL be a J&D game!
  • egregious - January 9, 2010 12:50 a.m.

    I feel awkward in saying I played the Quantum of Solace solo campaign three freaking times for all of the single-player achievements. I tried for the multiplayer achievements and there were people actually playing it, too, but I couldn't get into it. A decent $20 investment if you loved Casino Royale like I do.
  • vitoruss - January 9, 2010 1:28 a.m.

    Besides the third-person Bond game that was released right after Goldeneye and Quantum of Solace, I've played and loved every Bond game. Agent Under Fire, Nightfire, Everything or Nothing... those games hold nothing but fond memories for me. Everything or Nothing was just a legitimately awesome game, and playing the multiplayer for Nightfire on the snow map with the castle and the small hut with the two cable-cars running through them? Pure heaven. I do admit that the second Goldeneye was total crap (when I first read about a 'Goldeneye' being released I was so excited that they would remake the original RARE classic) and I can't speak for Quantum of Solace, but don't rag on the other games. They were good shit. Ah Goldeneye... so many great memories with you. Getting lost on the 'Silo' and 'Statue' levels... -sigh- yeah those were bitches.
  • NanoElite666 - January 9, 2010 1:58 a.m.

    I prefer supersonic fighter jets to giant birds, but I'd still love to see another Naughty Dog-developed Jak & Daxter game at some point.
  • Digidabee - January 9, 2010 2:27 a.m.

    i agree with justthebobreaker spyro was one of the game seiries' which had the biggest impact on my childhood but from the ps2 onwards it pretty much became nothing more than a fond memory and although there were games after nobody really noticed them crash bandicoot was another of my favourites but its kind of gone to the dogs so i hope crash does make a come back with another great game going back to how it was before twinsanity but with better graphics and some new ideas to bring him back to light
  • inconceivable - January 9, 2010 3:15 a.m.

    A few of these made me think, "Hey, I still care about that!" But then I stopped and actually thought about it, and I realized, "Oh wait, no I don't." Shitty sequels can ruin a lot.

Showing 1-20 of 55 comments

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