www.thegamer.com

15 Awful Franchises That Are Popular For No Reason

There is nothing more frustrating as a gamer than seeing your favorite franchise come to an end. You will have put hours (probably days) worth of gameplay into the story. You will have grown to love the characters and the locations, you will adore the plot. Hell, you probably have a poster or figurine of one of the characters in sight while you are reading this post. You LOVE this franchise.

Then it gets cancelled. Worse yet, there are games on this list that keep getting made.

That is the problem with gaming and developers. Sometimes things happen for no reason at all. That is why we have had to wait (for what seems like a couple of decades) to get a sequel to the amazing Red Dead Redemption. And yet, the mass marketing strategies of some FPS games and (especially) mobile apps dictate that games in those franchises are rolled out every six months or so, no matter the quality of the product involved.

That is the other aspect of this list. There are games here that are going to cause controversy, but there is no doubt that each of these IPs has been over saturated to the point that they are popular for no reason at all. Sure, a game or two in the series was passable, maybe even good, but the continued success and popularity of these franchises makes about as much sense as french fries at your local Pho joint.

That is to say that they make no sense at all.

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

15 Angry Birds

Angrybirds.com

In a vacuum, Angry Birds is fine. It is stupid in concept — but it is fine.

If there had been just one Angry Birds game, then that would have been acceptable. That is not what happened though, not by a long shot. After first being released as a mobile app back in 2009, the franchise exploded. There have been no less than 14 games released for various gaming platforms, plus movies, toys, and just about everything else that you can image. There are even Angry Bird fruit snacks.

Does a game as basic as this warrant such adulation and support?

Some have claimed that Angry Birds is part of the overall dumbing down of society. While that may be a stretch, in this Candy Crush world we live in it is hard to justify the over 3 BILLION downloads the game has received. No game out there should be so popular that it's download numbers are almost half the population of the planet.

14 Sonic The Hedgehog

YouTube.com

It is becoming difficult to understand how Sonic games even get made at all. The series peaked on its first console (the Sega Genesis), and it has been downhill for the little blue critter ever since. That was back in 1996, over two decades ago.

Sonic (somehow) still has his fans. His timing on the scene was probably part of his success, as the 16-bit console wars saw both Sonic and Mario become pop culture icons. The issue for Sega (and Sonic) is that, while Mario has stayed relevant with games like Mario Kart and Mario Party, the last notable Sonic outing was in Super Smash Bros. — a Nintendo franchise.

Sonic will always have his fans, but newer fans are becoming harder and harder for the hedgehog to pick up as his last relevant outing was over 20 years ago.

13 Fable

dualshockers.com

Fable is that game that just tries way too hard to be popular. It is that kid at school who sits at the cool table...right at the moment that all the cool kids leave. Then it resorts to great claims, massive boasts, and pure one-upmanship to try to get friends.

It never works.

If Fable creator Peter Molyneux would just calm down about his game then maybe it wouldn't be on this list. Instead, he treats every new entry in the series as God's Gift to the gaming community. To be fair, there is a subsection of RPG players who eat this up. Fable fanboys are just at a different level, as that combination of RPG gameplay and fantasy setting really gets them worked up. Singing the praises of Mass Effect (or any other game of the same ilk) around them will result in a tirade of sorts, despite the fact their latest game is (yet again) way less than was promised.

12 Final Fantasy

wikia.com

The Final Fantasy series is always going to be massively popular. That is what happens when a developer churns out upwards of 20 games (including spinoffs) in a fantasy setting. The games are highly stylized, they are a cosplayer's dream, but are they really the innovative and groundbreaking RPGs that should lead to this level of acclaim?

While the series always had its fans, it was the insane popularity of Final Fantasy VII that pushed it over the edge and took its mystique to the next level, especially in the West. Final Fantasy is so popular that you would expect every game to be genre defining, but the truth is that there have probably only been two or three good Final Fantasy games over the last 20 years.

Putting Final Fantasy XV in the hands of a non-gamer would lead to nothing but confusion. That is not what you would expect from a  series that gets so much buzz and so much press.

11 Postal

CNN.com

Postal is the very definition of a video game series that is popular for no reason at all.

The games aren't good, they aren't clever, and all they do is appeal to a certain section of marginalized society who glorify in the ultra violence the game pushes down the throat of its players.

Postal is basically Grand Theft Auto without any of the charm that the GTA series holds. While the game has gone through a number of stylistic changes, it has still always relied on nothing but violence (with a side of T&A) to sell. There are literally dozens of better games out there in each of the styles that a Postal game has been released, all of which will see you get much less grief from people who know what the series is about.

10 Pac-Man

GameSpot.com

One can only assume that those people who like Pac-Man games have not seen a new arcade cabinet or home console in the last three decades. That is the only reason I can think of why anyone would still like —let alone play— Pac-Man after all these years.

While I will admit that Pac-Man was revolutionary when it was first released in 1980, it is fair to say that the wheel-of-cheese-escaping-ghosts concept has not aged all that well. Playing Pac-Man today makes you realize that back then people were entertained by anything, yet the number of iterations of THE EXACT SAME GAME that have been released since shows that the boy Pac is still popular today.

Contemporaries like Donkey Kong and Mario are popular because they evolved. Pac-Man is basically the same as playing Pong as a modern sports game instead of the new Madden or FIFA entry.

9 Gran Turismo

gran-tourismo.com

Since the beginning of the series, Gran Turismo has disappointingly omitted vehicle damage. Seeing cars bump fenders or veer off track to rejoin the race with no bodywork issues was a slap in the face, especially when the game was supposed to be as hyper-realistic as possible.

While that worked for some people, specifically gearheads, it is also true that the GT series has since been essentially replaced by Forza on every level. The Forza games have better physics and a better sense of realism inside and outside of the cars themselves. It is s just more detailed and more up to date than Gran Turismo.

When your car simulator is replicated and replaced by a better car simulator, how is it even possible to still have fans?

8 Call Of Duty

screenrant.com

The popularity of Call of Duty makes no sense. At this point, the game is a parody of what it was supposed to be when the series was created.

From a gameplay standpoint, the Call of Duty franchise has evolved very little since the first game was released back in 2003. In the years that have followed, the eras may have changed, but it is the same carbon copy of itself. You can skin these games as modern, future, or past, but you are basically playing the exact same shooter, just with weapons that fit the era.

We want our games to be innovative, but CoD provides none of that. While the multiplayer has gotten better over time, the stories the games tell today still feel like they were ripped out of the early 2000s. Comparing this experience to something like Battlefield 1 only shows you just how far the franchise has slipped while somehow retaining its popularity.

7 Dynasty Warriors

mmobomb.com

The Dynasty Warriors series is much more popular in Japan that it is elsewhere in the world, but the people who are into it hold Dynasty Warriors as one of the greatest series of all time.

Set in feudal China, the games let you take control of a stack of heroic warriors representing one of the dynasties vying for control of the country. As said warrior, you devastate battlefields, castles, and other locations, with weapons that are unfeasibly large and a life bar that can see you cut down 1,000 enemies without so much as a scratch.

New games in the series come out quickly, but as there are only so many famous battle locations (and only so many heroes in the Three Kingdoms era) that things get repetitive very quickly.

6 Duke Nukem

GameZone.com

The original Duke Nukem 3D was fun for what it was: an almost satirical take on the politics and humor of the time. It was a funny, entertaining, and revolutionary game that helped pave the way for first-person shooters to become as popular as they are today.

Then the world grew up, and Duke stayed exactly where he was.

While Duke Nukem 3D came out in 1996, the next entry in the franchise (Duke Nukem Forever) wasn't released until 2011. Duke's popularity comes from folks who wish that the 90s had never ended, and that still think his attitude towards cops and women is the right way to behave.

5 Resident Evil

DigitalSpy.com

The Resident Evil series is a mixed bag. Many people love the ideas and themes behind the series, but with so many similar zombie-themed shooters on the market — Resident Evil has been replaced.

The fundamental problem is that Capcom has never learned to tell a proper story when developing the game. That, plus pacing issues and the series declining overall quality, has meant that despite sequel after sequel being produced the game has never hit the high points of the first two entries.

Being a survival horror game means that RE is going to be popular as people love that style of game, but without the surprises and the storytelling of Outlast or even some early Silent Hill titles, it is hard to see why it is still popular.

4 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater

CriticalHit.net

The Tony Hawk series exploded onto the scene in the late 90s and early 2000s, mirroring the rise of skateboarding and the whole counter culture movement that went alongside that extreme sport.

The first few games in the series were good, some would even say great. Still, the series continues to be popular today even though the titular superstar is now almost 50 years old and hasn't been seriously contesting (or placing) in tournaments since the mid-2000s.

In addition to Hawk himself fading out of the public image, the game also had one of the worst peripherals ever conceived in Tony Hawk: Ride. Extreme sports have moved on, but the Tony Hawk's series is still popular with fans.

3 Lego Games

411mania.com

The Lego games hit the perfect middle ground between being great for kids, but also entertaining and challenging enough for adults to enjoy. For the most part, the games do achieve their goal, but now that we have so many entries, it's hard to take them seriously.

Having now created games based on The Lord of the RingsHarry Potter, and a myriad of Marvel properties, we're sick and tired of this style of Lego game. It's time to evolve the series or stop making the games altogether. Even Lego Dimensions isn't enough to preserve the stale format.

2 The Sims

Droidgamers.com

Playing God must be super appealing because there is no other way to understand why The Sims even got past the planning stages as a game concept.

Earlier simulators in this genre like Sim City and Theme Park were interesting because they put you in the position of people doing jobs and performing tasks that you would never get to in real life. What kid, after all, would not want to take on the task of placing a rollercoaster or dreaming up the ideal layout for a cool new zoo.

The Sims, on the other hand, does none of this. It basically lets you manipulate the lives of characters and mess with their day. If you want to do this, just get some impressionable friends. It's way more fun and actually involves interacting with real humans.

1 Wii Sports

YouTube.com

I do not want to live in a world where Wii Sports is as popular as it is. When the Nintendo Wii was released, it was seen as a stunningly innovative console that could open up new possibilities in gaming with its motion-sensing control system. This would allow gamers to share experiences and concepts we had not yet dreamed about.

Instead, what we have is a console where out of shape middle aged adults are pretending to bowl, golf, and play baseball rather than just going outside and performing these sports in real life.

Anyone can join a rec softball league. Anyone can go down to their local bowling alley and knock over a bunch of pins. These are fun and entertaining recreational pursuits that will make your life better. The reason we play video games is to experience things we cannot in real life, be that shooting zombies or exploring the Old West. Don't waste game time on doing things that are actually achievable!

More in Lists