12 great delisted games you may never get to play

null

For some games, getting delisted - the fancy term for being removed from online marketplaces like Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, and Steam - may as well be a death sentence. If a beloved game exists in physical form, getting delisted isn't the end of the world, as you can still seek out a disc copy of titles like Blur, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, or the original Prey. But if the game only ever existed as a download, and the means to buy or reacquire it have been cut off, that game effectively goes away, save for the precious few who kept them on their hard drives and have resolved never to delete them. Not every delisted game is worth remembering - as there's a lot of licensed hooey to sift through like Yaris or World Gone Sour - but some exceptional games are all but extinct after being delisted, a realization of game preservationists' worst nightmare. If you played or still own these games, consider yourself lucky - and if you never got the chance, now's as good a time as any to condole and commiserate our collective loss (or just watch gameplay videos on YouTube).

Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (2009)

Format(s): PS3, Xbox 360
Now nowhere to be found on: PSN, XBLA

A few years after comics giant Marvel was acquired by Disney, there was a sort of great purge for online storefront items related to its iconic superheroes. Notable losses include Deadpool (which has since been re-released for PS4 and Xbox One) and X-Men: The Arcade Game, but the delistings that hit the hardest for fighting game fans were Marvel vs. Capcom Origins, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, and all the brilliant DLC for Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (alongside the actual game). UMvC3 and its DLC were thankfully rescued from limbo with enhanced ports for PS4, Xbox One, and PC in late 2016, but if you want to be taken for a MvC2 ride with netplay, widescreen support, custom soundtracks, and visual filters, you're pretty much SOL.

P.T. (2014)

Format(s): PS4
Now nowhere to be found on: PSN

When people pile on hate for what modern-day Konami has become, P.T.'s delisting and what it represents is right up there with the existence of Metal Gear Survive and the professed "erotic violence" of the Castlevania Pachinko machine. P.T. stands for 'Playable Teaser': finishing this stiflingly creepy, engrossingly enigmatic first-person horror game revealed a glimpse of the now-cancelled Silent Hills starring Norman Reedus. But even without that taste of what could've been if Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro revitalized the Silent Hill series, P.T.'s delisting is a painful loss for the history of horror games in general. Its brilliant use of a randomly appearing ghost lady named Lisa (who gets all up in your grill with her rotting teeth and gouged-out eye), cryptic puzzles, and a looping hallway that starts to feel increasingly claustrophobic all blend together for a deeply disturbing, unforgettable descent into delirium.   

Doc Louis's Punch-Out!! (2009)

Format(s): Wii
Now nowhere to be found on: Wii eShop

The bond between boxer and coach is sacred, a mentorship forged through the mix of an up-and-comer's effort and heart combined with a veteran's wisdom and guidance. Rocky has Mickey, Ippo has Genji, and Little Mac has Doc Louis; it's a proven fact that having a grizzled old-timer in your corner does wonders for one's fighting spirit. Doc Louis's Punch-Out!! presented a chance to do some sparring with Little Mac's lovable coach Jerome 'Doc' Louis in a short, three-stage spinoff of the rebooted Punch-Out!! for the Wii. Being able to trade punches with your trainer helped you feel closer than ever to Doc, or provided an opportunity to get revenge for all those unhelpful suggestions to join the Nintendo Fun Club. Doc Louis's Punch-Out!! could only be purchased via the Club Nintendo service (exclusively by Platinum members, no less), so it was lost to the aether after Club Nintendo was shut down in 2015. We'll never forget what you taught us, Doc - both in life and in the ring. 

Tokyo Jungle Mobile (2013)

Format(s): PS Vita
Now nowhere to be found on: PSN

Tokyo Jungle is a modern cult classic, with its surprisingly solid gameplay overshadowed by a bizarre premise: humanity has been wiped out, and now the animal kingdom rules the crumbling cities of the post-apocalypse and propagates the laws of natural selection. And even if you've heard of, played, and/or loved this obscure curio, you may be unaware that it spawned a PlayStation Mobile-exclusive spin-off, which replaces the 3D, open-world survival with isometric, real-time action laid out across a series of grid-lined streets and sidewalks. The mechanics are almost identical to the original's Survival mode, complete with a hardened Pomeranian performing 'Clean Kills' on unwitting rabbits and beagles, but witnessing all this evolutionary savagery from the top-down perspective lets you appreciate the gigantic roster of playable animals in a fresh, equally weird way. Sadly, it's been nuked along with the entire PlayStation Mobile platform.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game (2010)

Format(s): PS3, Xbox 360
Now nowhere to be found on: PSN, XBLA 

Scott Pilgrim is a comic-turned-film that's heavily inspired by retro gaming culture, and The Game channeled all that nostalgic energy into a four-player beat-'em-up with a sublime 16-bit style. The audio-visual department was every geek's dream, with an art team lead by the stupidly talented Paul Robertson and a delightfully blippy soundtrack from renowned chiptune band Anamanaguchi. I've realized too late that I'd quite like to take the fight to Ramona Flowers' seven evil exes, but it seems Ubisoft wasn't too keen on renewing this license at the end of 2014. That pretty much leaves 'moaning in powerless agony' as my only remaining option. 

1 vs. 100 (2009)

Format(s): Xbox 360
Now nowhere to be found on: XBLA

This was less of an actual downloadable game and more of a fun social experiment. Based on the game show of the same name, 1 vs. 100 is the ultimate in unfair odds, where a lone player (given the Neo-esque title of 'The One') must answer trivia questions correctly in the face of 100 people who desperately want to see The One get it wrong. The main attraction was the Live Show mode, complete with an on-air host (with their own Xbox Avatar) doing color commentary, as well as interviews with folks like Major Nelson and prizes that were worth actual money. After two 13-week 'seasons', Microsoft called it quits, and 1 vs. 100 became forever lost to time. For many gamers, it'll probably be the closest they'll ever come to taking part in a bona fide game show. But hey, there's always the abysmal DS version (hosted by none other than Bob Saget). 

Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast (2006)

Format(s): PS2, Xbox, PC
Now nowhere to be found on: Steam

In case you didn't know, Outrun 2006 is among the best games ever. You don't have to take my word for it, but when GR+ alum and hardcore speed demon Justin Towell says so with this much passion, it's difficult to argue. For a while, Sega's sunny convertible racer was available for download on Steam, with the kind of crisp textures that the PS2 and Xbox versions could only dream of. Alas, Sega's lapsed Ferrari license prevents any future downloads of Outrun 2006 (or its sequel, Outrun Online Arcade). The game's still out there, but these days, asking someone to buy a physical disc for an old PC game is like telling a millennial who can't find a movie on Netflix to just borrow the DVD from their local library. Yes, they could do that, but will they? Probably not. 

Most Konami beat-'em-ups

Format(s): PS3, Xbox 360
Now nowhere to be found on: PSN, XBLA 

Back in the '90s, Konami brought the ruckus when it came to quarter-munching arcade beat-'em'-ups. Whether you were playing alone or in a dedicated co-op party of four, bopping bad guys in X-Men, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and The Simpsons Arcade Game was nothing short of glorious. All three of these classic tie-in brawlers eventually made a comeback with downloadable ports - and all three have now been banished to the void of expired licenses, never to be renewed. If you had the foresight to snatch these up when they were available, please invite me over some time so I can relive all those happy arcade memories. I'll bring pizza! 

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition (2011)

Format(s): DSi, 3DS
Now nowhere to be found on: 3DS eShop

I warn you, this delisting is just inexplicably mean, and may cause The Legend of Zelda fans who missed out to weep the bitterest of tears. Nintendo had good intentions on this road to hell, deciding to celebrate the Zelda series' 25th anniversary with a free gift. An amazing one, at that: a DSiWare port of Four Swords, the four-player co-op adventure full of inventive puzzles and friendly griefing among the color-coded quartet of Links. Best of all, the local multiplayer is wireless, without any pricey link cables necessary. The Anniversary Edition was available at no charge from September 2011 to February 2012, then again during the first month of 2014 - but if you didn't download it during those timeframes, it's now completely unobtainable. Does Nintendo not realize how many people would happily pay money for this port, if only it would let them? 

After Burner Climax (2010)

Format(s): PS3, Xbox 360
Now nowhere to be found on: PSN, XBLA

It's all about the timing with this particularly unfortunate delisting. After Burner Climax is in the same boat as Outrun 2006: a SegaAM2 arcade classic given a faithful reboot in three lush dimensions. Amazingly, Climax retains the same blazing mach speeds of its predecessors, as you gun down legions of enemy bogeys from your sleek jet fighter. To avoid renewing licenses with real-world aircraft companies, Sega announced in December 2014 that it would be pulling Climax from online storefronts on Christmas Eve, of all days. Then, in a shocking twist, the game suddenly disappeared a week ahead of schedule, with no explanation given. For those prospective buyers who thought they would have more time, it was like the horrifying inverse of an early Christmas present from Sega. 

Marble Blast Ultra (2006)

Format(s): Xbox 360
Now nowhere to be found on: XBLA

This one holds a special place in my heart for being the first XBLA game I ever downloaded. All you have to do in this simple 3D platformer is guide a marble to a goal as fast as possible, utilizing power-ups and momentum-accelerating trickery to cut corners and improve your time. It's just as devilishly addictive as Super Monkey Ball, but with larger, more forgiving levels and 100% fewer simians. In a cruel twist of fate, developer GarageGames retains the rights to the Marble Blast engine but not the games themselves, so Ultra got ejected in 2011. The good news is, a PC port is (somehow) still available. The bad news is that all those stunningly impressive leaderboard replays of the best times (and some oh-so-satisfying Achievements) are gone forever. 

Tetris (2011)

Format(s): 3DS
Now nowhere to be found on: 3DS eShop

A generation of gamers will always associate handheld gaming with Tetris for the original Game Boy, since it came bundled in with Nintendo's landmark portable system. Those 8-bit visuals have the power to practically transport you back in time, so nostalgia surely played a part in Tetris' popularity on the 3DS Virtual Console market. But all that reminiscing came to a screeching halt when Ubisoft acquired the legendary puzzle license to make Tetris Ultimate, putting the kibosh on eShops sales of Tetris Axis and Tetris for Game Boy in the process. Boo, I say.