Delisting. It might just be the scariest term a digital game developer can hear.
A digital game can be delisted for a number of reasons, including poor sales, license expiration, copyright issues, and company closures. But whatever the reason, it means the game gets pulled and is no longer available.
When this happens to a game on the PC, pirated versions can always be found, keeping the game alive. But when it happens on Xbox Live or PlayStation Network, there’s no way to get it again. That game is gone for good. This can lead to truly fantastic games going M.I.A., never to be seen again.
With that in mind, Here are five great games you just can’t get anymore:
5. OutRun Arcade Online
When gamers hear the name OutRun, it elicits memories of cruising down an endless stretch of road in a gorgeous car with a beautiful pixelated woman in the passenger seat. Sega’s love letter to driving fast and drifting has proven to be an immensely popular game, with the title’s arcade cabinet becoming a mainstay in arcades across the country. As OutRun proved to be something of a cash cow for Sega, the company churned out plenty of sequels and spin-offs of the game, but the titles varied in quality.
But Sega finally managed to recapture the spirit of the original OutRun in 2009 with OutRun Online Arcade. Like every title in the franchise, OutRun tasked players with taking a luxury sport car out and drifting through hairpin turns, pitting racers against CPU or online opponents. While previous OutRun games had featured a knock off Ferrari Testarossa, Outrun Arcade Online touted an actual Ferrari license, letting players hop behind the wheel of the iconic Testarossa and ten official Ferraris.
The title proved popular with race fans, and garnered respectable reviews. But once the deal with Ferrari ran out, Sega had to pull the title, delisting the game in December of 2011.
4. 1 vs 100
It’s a tale as old as time. Take a quirky game show idea (it’s one person versus a bunch of people to win money!), add a barely relevant celebrity as the host (Bob Saget!), and milk it for a couple seasons before giving the reruns to the Game Show Network. But 1 vs 100 used its oddball concept to find its niche and managed to become a hit. Microsoft smelled potential, and it decided to turn 1 vs. 100 into a free crowd-based trivia game for Xbox Live.
While 1 vs. 100 could have easily just been a boring, farmed out freebie game, Microsoft put some serious work into 1 vs. 100. No expense was spared to give the game a true game show-like atmosphere, with an honest-to-goodness live host running the game, while one lucky gamer would be pitted against 100 other players in a trivia contest, as other players watched along. Microsoft points were awarded as prizes, with jackpots sometimes exceeding over 10,000 points. Like a TV show, the game was broken up into “seasons,” which consisted of short games and live extended sessions.
While the game was a hit, Microsoft eventually opted not to renew the license for the show, pulling the title before the third season, leaving diehard fans to campaign for the game’s return.
3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time Re-Shelled
Many a gamer remembers cozying up to the garish Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time arcade cabinet, adorned with ridiculous bigheaded Ninja Turtles sneering at the player. With its vibrant worlds, tight gameplay, and revolutionary gimmicks (throwing bad guys directly at the screen never got old), Turtles in Time was a big hit, and is now considered one of the greatest beat-em-ups of all time.
When Ubisoft announced that they would be re-releasing the beloved game with updated 3D graphics to celebrate the Turtles’ 25th anniversary, fans responded with suspicion and trepidation. But the game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time Re-Shelled, turned out to be a faithful homage to the classic brawler.
The game was met with mixed reactions, but proved popular with fans of the Heroes in a Half-Shell. Despite selling well, the license for the title eventually expired, leading Ubisoft to yank the game from Live Arcade and PSN under cover of night in June of 2011. Ubisoft has never commented about a return, so it seems like we’ve seen the last of Turtles In Time Re-Shelled.