What happened to those games that consumed hundreds of hours of your childhood? For many of us they simply disappeared, for a number of reasons, and the entire series now ceases to exist. Today we take a look back at some of the better series – not just single games, but we’ll count expansions – that were once prolific but are now nowhere to be seen.
Crash Bandicoot was the biggest star to die with the emergence of the current generation. Once upon a time he was to PlayStation what Mario is to Nintendo and Sonic to Sega. If you owned a PlayStation, you had Crash Bandicoot. The former mascot began to lose his grip on the PS2, as the console was dominated with multiplatform third party titles. Just one generation later, the series is out of sight.
Chrono Trigger was finally released in Australia for the first time on the Nintendo DS in 2009. However, it is in actual fact a 1995 game that snubbed us for over a decade. Both Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross received extremely positive reviews but another sequel failed to eventuate. Chrono Break was first revealed in 2001, but by November 2003 it was officially canceled, dashing any hopes of the continuation of one of the best series in gaming.
A TV-obsessed gecko didn’t have the greatest potential to become a force of the gaming industry, but Gex did produce three decent games. The debut titled used a somewhat out-dated password save system in 1994 on the PlayStation and Sega Saturn, while the 3DO was the only platform to use a more conventional save system. The sequel moved from side-scrolling to 3D platforming, as was all the rage in ’98, before his swansong the following year.
F-Zero has mysteriously disappeared. Perhaps it’s doing a Metroid, skipping a generation only to return in a blaze of glory, but for the moment, it looks like it might have been sent to an early retirement. Beginning with F-Zero in 1990 for the SNES, the futuristic racer has long been a fan favourite addition to Nintendo’s arsenal. F-Zero GX for the GameCube and F-Zero GP Legend for GameBoy Advance were the last two games released in Australia, both coming in 2003. F-Zero Climax is the latest instalment, released exclusively in Japan in 2004. Since then Captain Falcon has focused on his fighting career in Super Smash Bros.
Jazz Jackrabbit is one of the big games from my childhood that I know doesn’t have a place in modern gaming, but nevertheless would love to see continued. Released in 1994, Jazz Jackrabbit was developed by what is now Epic Games for a number of PC operating systems. It was widely considered to be one of the best arcade PC games of the year, and spawned a sequel four years later. A third game, which planned to take the action into 3D for the first time, was unfortunately canceled in 2000 after Epic failed to secure a publisher.
Battletoads makes the list for all of the wrong reasons. Originally released in 1991, it is still considered to be one of, if not the, most challenging games of all time, while still remaining fun. It proved to be a success and spawned a sequel on GameBoy and SNES/Mega Drive before hitting arcades in 1994. After that it disappeared from the gaming arena, but will always be remembered for its immense difficulty.
Dragon’s Age: Origins was supposedly the spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate, but as far as gamers are concerned, that doesn’t mean anything. Baldur’s Gate was the massive role-playing game of the late 90s and established conventions still replied upon by successful entries in the genre. It was followed by a sequel in 2000, before heading to consoles twice. While it started to lose momentum after leaving the exclusivity of the PC environment, expansion packs proved to be successful and its legacy remains strong today.
Killer Instinct is the perfect example of Rare at their best in the mid-90s. It looked so good for its time that it was rumoured to use an Ultra 64 engine on the Super Nintendo, but in actual fact it was due to the joint arcade venture between Rare and Midway. Its popularity led to an arcade-only sequel, which was still published by Nintendo; shortly after it was released on the Nintendo 64 as Killer Instinct Gold. Killer Instinct 3 has been rumoured ever since Rare was acquired by Microsoft, but nothing has eventuated.
Thunder Force was an extreme scrolling shooter that dates back to 1983 on platforms such as the Sharp X1 and NEC PC-9801. It took off with the sequel in 1988 on the Mega Drive and Sharp X68000 – sidebar: gaming computers used to have really cool names. It continued its dominance on Sega platforms through the 90s, with one instalment on the Super Nintendo, before ending up being ported to the PlayStation in 1998. It was seemingly finished before a sixth original title was released exclusively in Japan on the PS2 in 2008. Despite the low-scale comeback after a decade of absence, Thunder Force looks unlikely to make a return to the western world.