The gaming world has seen a number of seemingly ground-breaking games fall by the wayside over the past two decades. While some were victims of their own success, others seemed to fall short of the mark in other departments.
However, when a product is good and players enjoy it, it’s never the end. In this countdown we’ve profiled three games that flopped first time around but managed to bounce back in later life.
Adventure Games: Grim Fandango Was Not as Grim as People Thought
Games often fail because they’re underdeveloped or contain no engaging elements, but sometimes a game can be over-engineered. Grim Fandango was one of those games when it released back in 1998. The initial launch saw critics give the game rave reviews for its cutting edge 3D design and use of multiple camera angles.
However, as users went deeper into the game, the limitations of its design came to light. Although PCs were able to handle relatively complex games back in 1998, it seems Grim Fandango was a little too advanced and that impacted on the user’s experience.
For many, the learning curve was described as “steep” at best and the inability of processors to keep up with the graphics engine made it a nightmare when moving at speeds through different planes. All this led to poor sales and the game was deemed a commercial failure. However, those qualities that made it a developmental success in 1998 were revived in 2015, much to the delight of the gaming fans across the world. Although Grim Fandango hasn’t blown similar adventure games out of the water, it has proved to be a popular reworking of a classic game.
Online Games: APB: All Points Bulletin Recovers after Five Years
The game that sunk an entire company was less a casualty of poor design and more the unfortunate victim of gaming politics. When Realtime Worlds announced that David Jones of GTA fame would be the lead developer for APB, the gaming community was naturally pumped to see what he could produce.
Given the freedom to create an online game that would rival anything he had made in a previous life, Jones certainly didn’t disappoint as the finished version of APB was a mix of high-octane action, slick graphics and engaging storylines. However, a review embargo (something not uncommon in the gaming world) proved to be the game’s undoing.
Despite calling the public ban on reviews a necessary step to allow users to experience the “full depth” of APB, the week-long embargo was enough to kill off the game. Described by gaming experts such as John Walker as “ridiculous” given the freedom independent reviewers had to write their critiques (through blogs, forums and social media), the media blackout proved to be a blow from which the game could not recover. Within a few weeks of releasing the game, Realtime Worlds went into administration and that game, which cost more than £65million to develop, was sold along with the company to K2 Network. That 2010 shutdown was followed by a re-launch of the game in 2011 and, since that time, Deep Silver has announced that it will be releasing a PlayStation 4 and Xbox One version of APB in summer 2015.
Gambling Games: Bingo’s Rise and Fall
by ell brown
Throughout the mid-1990s and early part of 2000, bingo was very much a game on the decline. Many bingo halls across Europe stood empty while others were redeveloped, but that wasn’t the end of the line for the industry. Thanks to a surge of popularity in the online gambling world from the year 2000 onwards, bingo was given a new lease of life.
A mixture of gaming classics, such as 90 ball bingo, were soon merged with innovative new online bingo games only possible in the virtual arena. This injection of speed and, importantly, money thrust bingo back into the public consciousness and bingo halls started to thrive once again. Average attendance figures reached 600 in 2005. However, the industry was to bottom out once again.
By the time 2014 rolled around, the game of bingo and even online bingo had suffered another dip in popularity. Live venues attracted an average of 400 players and online games had seen daily traffic fall from 5,000+ to fewer than 3,500. However, more hope was on the horizon courtesy of the mobile industry. Giving new optimism to all areas of the online gambling industry, mobile bingo apps have been particularly helpful for bingo. The latest figures show mobile apps are now as popular as desktop games.