Mario is a cultural phenomenon. Final Fantasy is epic. Resident Evil, Fallout, Diablo... all of these classic franchises will eventually decay and crumble, but don't expect them to be stamped with expiration dates any time soon.
The less fortunate franchises started molding before they even left the grocery store shelves.
These somehow less inspired games may sell millions of copies, they may contain lovable characters and innovative ideas, and they may even be great, but they lack that slippery something - the abstract something that inspires gamers to bake Portal cakes and knit Mario socks. The following seven franchises are the best new ideas that won't survive a good fridge cleaning.
Trauma Center was a great idea (who didn’t like playing Operation?), but its failure to evolve has our interest waning. The games test our ability to move a DS stylus or Wiimote with speed and accuracy, but not much else. We've sutured enough wounds.
Perhaps more focus on discovery and diagnosis would extend the franchise’s shelf life - imagine navigating an endoscope through a patient’s body in search of a tumor, or growing and experimenting with bacteria cultures to discover new vaccines. Story is great, but gameplay needs to advance with it.
Saints Row may get crap for being a GTA knockoff, but it isn't a bad idea: take the sandbox formula, over-the-topify it and highlight all of the stupid crap everyone loves to do in sandbox games. But great ideas and great execution only sometimes coincide, and the game's flaws seem to have been amplified rather than diminished in the slightly anticipated sequel.
The laughably stereotypical characters, "totally street, yo" story, subpar graphics, and glitchiness aren’t endearing, they're annoying and outdated. The competition is getting tougher, so Saints Row needs to become much more different to avoid becoming a relic.
Wii Sports: Hey, okay, this is fun. Cool, bowling!
Wii Play: It comes with a remote!
Wii Fit: Eh, some people like it. And there was that girl in her underwear.
Wii Sports Resort: The sword fighting looks cool?
Wii Music: Okay, f**k it, this shit is over.
The LEGO series (LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Indiana Jones) surpassed many expectations, but aside from the upcoming LEGO Universe, which might be awesome, the games are fairly basic platformers which rely largely on family-friendly humor and novelty. We’re not knocking novelty, we love novelty, but we may have had all the unlockables and nostalgia we can handle for a while. Unless maybe they make one of these.