How do we preserve video games? It’s simple, but complicated. In the late 90s and early 2000s emulation started getting trendy. These hackers, pirates, preservers, saints, or whatever you want to call them figured out a digital solution to make sure no video game was ever lost to time. That’s all well and good, but emulation falls in a gray area of morality and legality. Let’s say I own Chrono Trigger physically, but want to make sure my game data doesn’t get deleted. Well it seems like you’re within your rights to then back up your ROM yourself. Since that isn’t the most accessible way for most, it’s far easier to go to a ROM from a website. Is that legal since you still own the game, but the ROM you obtain isn’t yours? Again, this is tricky stuff, but it’s thanks to this dark area that we can be assured video games will somehow be preserved. That is until the Man starts cracking down on these websites.
Nintendo recently filed a lawsuit against LoveROMs and LoveRETRO. It’s only a matter of time now, but if these sites disappear how will we share our video game history? Because of licensing issues, games get removed from online shops all the time and remain lost for decades in an official capacity. Then there are online only games that get their servers shut down. Also, you can loop in ease of use and backwards compatibility into this mess too. So, in a world without game preservationists, these twenty-five games may never be played again.
25 Marvel Heroes Omega
This is one of the most recent cancellations and it breaks my heart. This started out as a genuine Diablo clone with ex-Blizzard members working on it. This was stuck on the PC since 2013 until it finally came to consoles via the PS4 and Xbox One last June. It was great! That is until it shut down In November and right before Thanksgiving no less. Way to be cruel Disney. Since this has to be online, there’s no way to even play it anymore, even if you own it.
24 Scott Pilgrim Vs The World: The Game
Scott Pilgrim Vs The World: The Game is a mouthful of a title, yes, but it is easily one my favorite games of all time. It’s a brilliant homage to its comic source material and video games. I love it! It sadly only released on PS3 and Xbox 360 digitally in 2010 before getting delisted in 2014 due to an expiration of the license. If you bought it before then you’re good, but what about everyone else? Nintendo, get this on Switch however you can. I’ll buy ten copies if I have too!
23 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time Re-Shelled
This was a 3D remake of the classic SNES and Arcade brawler of the same name. I was hyped for it, but then was a little let down. The graphics weren’t as good and they changed the music.
It was still fun to play with friends, but I would have preferred the original. Anyway it launched digitally on the PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2009 and was delisted just two years later. It’s not a big loss as it wasn’t the best remake, but any loss of history is bad.
The loss of P.T. is a long, complicated story. It released exclusively on PS4 after it was announced at the 2014 Gamescom Sony event in August. Later it was discovered this was a code name for Silent Hills and Hideo Kojima was directing it. Not even a year later it was announced to be canceled in April and it was then quickly removed from PSN. Following this, rumors about Konami and Kojima started surfacing, which is a whole other story. It makes sense to remove a demo of a canceled game, right?
21 Final Fantasy XI
Final Fantasy XI Initially released for the PS2 in Japan in 2002 and following that it arrived in the West via the PS2, PC, and Xbox 360 throughout the years. This was also Microsoft’s first Final Fantasy game. Bonus fact! After remaining online for over a decade, the console versions were shut down in 2016. That’s an impressive run considering Final Fantasy XIV was also online. You can at least continue the fight on PC with your account, so that’s something. But seriously though, people were playing their PS2s in 2016?
20 Marvel Vs. Capcom 2
Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is the pinnacle of fighting games. Some may say Street Fighter 2, but I prefer this game. Now the version I’m specifically referring to is the HD port on PS3 and Xbox 360, which debuted in 2009.
It stayed around until 2013 when it was removed shortly following the release of the third game. While that’s also good, there’s nothing like those gorgeous sprite models. If you’re lucky you can still find a copy of the original on Xbox, Dreamcast, PS2, or if you’re rich, an arcade cabinet.
19 Disney Infinity
This entry only applies to the online space. Besides being a fun action RPG for all ages starring your favorite Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars characters, Disney Infinity is also a tool kit. You could create a space wherein new levels could be designed and uploaded to the community. You could even make new game types. I never got much into it, but I did enjoy exploring everyone else’s creations. That is until it was shut down in March 2017. At least you can still play the core campaigns offline and find them for dirt-cheap prices.
18 1 vs. 100
1 vs. 100 was a novel idea for video game and one I was addicted to for months. It came out in 2009; a year after the TV show was canceled. For 26 weeks this was held as a weekly show online actually hosted by Bob Saget. If you were fast enough on your Xbox 360 you had a chance to win big money. No one tried this again after it wasn’t picked up for a third season in 2010. The closest equivalent we have now is HQ Trivia, which launched last year for mobile devices. Cool, but not the same.
17 The Simpsons Arcade Game
Like the name implies, this was just a simple port of the arcade classic. It wasn’t remade with new polygons or anything like that. It was untouched and remained as fun as ever. The game initially got into arcades in 1991 with the digital PS3 and Xbox 360 versions releasing in 2012.
Here’s the strange thing. It was removed from PSN in 2013, but remained on XBLA a few months longer into 2014. I guess they had a better deal? Either way that’s a short time frame.
16 Steel Battalion
Steel Battalion is, without a doubt, the most expensive game on this list. It was expensive in 2002 at launch, which was $200 because of the giant controller. It wasn’t a special edition either. This was the only way to immerse yourself inside this mech style shooter. Nowadays it’s at least double that price if not more. That is if you're lucky to find a copy. I wonder if that will ever be backwards compatible on Xbox One. That would be a sweet E3 reveal.
Cliff Bleszinski is a name that needs no introduction. He’s been making games since he was a teenager, but most probably know him as the Gears of War guy. Post Microsoft things have been rough. He started his own studio, Boss Key Productions, in 2014 and launched his first game, Lawbreakers, in 2017. Well the servers are shutting down on September 14, so it’s not exactly out of reach yet, but you don’t have much time left for this online only team shooter.
14 Too Human
Too Human was a little too ahead of its time. It began on the PS1, moved to the GameCube, and finally released almost a decade after development on the Xbox 360. It was planned to be this massive trilogy, but due to middling reviews at launch the rest of the series was scrapped.
That’s not why this is hard to find. The developer, Silicon Knights, suffered a lawsuit, which forced them to recall copies from stores and delist the game digitally. Fortunately they are not that hard to find used. For now that is.
13 Cannon Spike
The Dreamcast was also a product ahead of its time. Sadly a lot of games remain trapped on the system and thus have been lost to obscurity. One of these amazing lost treasures is Canon Spike. It was a hybrid between a shooter and a brawler starring various Capcom icons like Cammy from Street Fighter and Mega Man from, well, that’s obvious. The only thing rough about this is finding a copy. That and a Dreamcast I guess. It’s not that great, but it is a neat piece of crossover history.
12 Gotham City Impostors
Of all the Batman games you have ever imagined, was one of those a multiplayer shooter? It certainly wasn’t in my mind, but someone obviously thought about it because we have Gotham City Impostors. It operates like Team Fortress 2, where one side is random Batman supporters and the other side is comprised of Joker fans. It launched in 2012 for PS3 and Xbox 360 and was delisted in 2014, shutting down those servers. You can still play on PC as a free to play game though.
11 Brave Fencer Musashi
Some call the SNES Square’s golden age of RPGs, but I think the PS1 era is a close second. There were a lot of great new experiments like the action RPG Brave Fencer Musashi, which actually just celebrated its 20th anniversary this past July.
Despite that, for some reason, it has never been available outside of the PS1. In the U.S. that is. It has been available on the Japanese PSN store since 2008 and a simplified remake was ported to phones in 2005. Where is our love?
10 Onimusha: Warlords
Another samurai classic that remains hidden away is Onimusha: Warlords. I could actually cite any one of the PS2 games in the series, as none of them have been re-done on any other systems since their respective debuts. It’s a shame too because these are basically feudal era Japan, samurai versions of Resident Evil. No joke! I would kneel before my lord for a new entry or at the very least a collection, or port of some sort. Capcom, what are you doing?
9 Super Mario Sunshine
While Super Mario Sunshine isn’t the greatest game in Mario’s pantheon, I do think it deserves a second chance. It’s crazy to me that this sixteen-year-old game has remained trapped on the GameCube. Since this is a Mario game, it’s not that hard to track down, as there are plenty of used copies floating around, but they are expensive. Plus who wants to pull out the GameCube in 2018? I hope that GameCube rumor for the Switch wasn’t completely false. I’d totally buy this digitally as a port.
8 Tenchu 2: Birth Of The Stealth Assassins
Now that Sekiro has been announced, it has me craving the good old days of Tenchu, as that game seems to be inspired by it. So many great games have been made available from the PS1 era via PSN, but like Brave Fencer Musashi, Tenchu 2 hasn’t been seen since 2000.
Unless you count emulation, but if we threw that into these calculations then you could easily play most of these entries. Sadly this and its predecessor never made it to PSN. It’s never too late though. It too just turned twenty as of August.
7 Lufia II: Rise Of The Sinistrals
If you thought it was a stretch for me to call back to PS1 and GameCube games well then say hello to an even older friend, aka the Super Nintendo. Now the system’s best RPGs are Square’s, no doubt, but there are others valuable to history. Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals is an awesome, highly underrated game. This came out in 1996 and has never made it to any of Nintendo’s digital stores. It got re-made on DS, but it’s barely the same game. What I’m saying is I hope people can enjoy this officially soon.
6 Secret Of Evermore
I have one last hidden SNES RPG and it’s one of Square’s underdogs: Secret of Evermore. Despite the name, no, this is not part of the Mana series although it shares similar action mechanics. No, this game starts in the present and you’re soon transported back in time due to an experiment gone wrong. It’s like Chrono Trigger’s B.C. era and Secret of Mana had a baby and it’s great! Again though, no re-releases to speak of and tracking down physical copies is a chore.
Okay let’s get back to the more modern era with a game that's literally unplayable. MAG was a PS3 exclusive multiplayer title that boasted 256 player matches. Did it work? Sure, but it never really caught on.
Made Another Game is as good a title as any.
That said it remained online from 2010 until 2014 when the servers were shut down. You can find physical copies cheap online, but without a connection, they’re basically worthless. You’re not missing out on much though.
4 Demon's Souls
Demon's Souls is the obscure PS3 exclusive that took the world by storm. People were hungry for a hardcore experience like it and its legacy has lived on with spinoffs like Dark Souls and copycats like Nioh. While you can still very much buy the game today it’s lacking one big draw: online play. It doesn’t make the experience unreasonably difficult, but without online it lacks a certain charm. It launched in 2009 and the servers were shut down this past February. It had a good run.
3 Alan Wake
Alan Wake is a weird entry. It was delisted in 2017 because of licensed music found in the game. Physical copies were recalled and it was removed from online stores too. It’s digital only sequel, American Nightmare, is still available though. And if you own a disc you can pop that bad boy into your Xbox One and download a client that’ll let you play it on there. So while not completely hard to play today, the way in which it was removed and yet still playable was funny enough that I had to have it on here.
2 50 Cent: Blood On The Sand
Does the inclusion of 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand surprise you? I know it may seem ridiculous, but its over the top nature makes it a hilarious game alone or with a partner via co-op.
This is a better crystal skull adventure.
What doesn’t sound fun about tackling enemies in the Middle East with 50 Cent and his G-Unit cronies? Nothing, that’s what! Unfortunately it’s no longer online and physical copies are pretty scarce even on the used market.
1 Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes
While Hideo Kojima has left Konami, the question on my mind is this one: will we ever get another true Metal Gear game? I kind of don’t want one, but I’d love ports, remakes, collections, or just digital downloads. Did you know Twin Snakes, the GameCube remake, hasn’t been re-released since its debut? It’s crazy! Another Nintendo game from that era frozen out of the spotlight since 2004. Of all the GameCube games on this list this is the one I want on my Switch the most.