There are more video game gems that most of us will recall. It could be that over time we forgot about some of the classics or that the publisher just never bothered returning to a series. Sometimes these gems were eclipsed by other huge titles of the time, resulting in players never playing some of the best games of our time. Below are some of these games. Games that time forgot, the publisher could not care for anymore or that you never hear anyone bringing up in a conversation.
This is only a small list of these titles, I’m sure you have titles you adore that’s been lost to time. Be sure to list those in the comments.
Brütal Legend – 2009 (PS3/Xbox 360)
I’ll start off with the most recent released game on this list. If you’re a person that is born with rock in your soul, then this game was for you. Tim Schafer had tackled many bizarre subjects over his years in the games industry – some of his titles are regarded as some of the best of our time. However, as unique as Brutal Legend was in the last generation, it just never ended up receiving the love it deserved. Critically it was adored, but it just never sold. Those who played it and dug deep underneath that metal skin found an action RTS that came from nowhere else but the Rock Gods. It’s now been nine years since the game launched and I don’t think we’ll ever see another game matching this little gem.
Galerians – 2000 (PS1)
This is what happens to some games when it launches towards the end of a console life cycle. Galerians launched on the PS1 in June of 2000. By that time the whole world was getting hyped up for the launch of the PS2 and most gamers never gave it the time of day. Those of you who did play it will recall a very unique survival horror game that followed in the footsteps of Resident Evil. Tank controls aside, it was the psychic powers that gave Rion, the protagonist, his powers to discover who he actually is. The plot was exceptionally interesting, but the game unfortunately never stood a chance. It’s a PS1 gem some gamers will remember fondly, but for most it’s just another lost series.
Zack and Wiki – 2008 (Wii)
The Wii had so much shovelware rubbish on it that it was often tough to distinguish the good from the bad games. If there is generally one publisher you can put your trust in it’s Capcom. They’ve got an exceptionally good track record when it comes to producing games for Nintendo consoles and on the Wii we received the incredible Zack and Wiki. Capcom took the motion controls concept and did what needed to be done – they produced one of the best point-and-click adventures, combined with some of the best puzzles I’ve seen in years. Zack, the pirate, and his monkey buddy, Wiki, had one aim – collect the treasure chest on each stage. Getting to it wasn’t always that easy, but it was incredibly fun to figure out. Unfortunately no one bought it, with only 300,000 sales and thus it’s a gem you’ll likely never see again.
Donkey Kong Jungle Beat – 2005 (Gamecube/Wii)
Nintendo are a wacky bunch of developers. I would love to be a fly on a wall at the headquarters in Kyoto. In 2004 they decided to, as expected, take their own unique take on the rhythm music genre and with that we received Donkey Konga. However, it took the game the following year, Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, to realise just how bonkers this developer could be. You would play a platformer by hitting bongos and clapping. Lo and behold, it ended up being another unique Nintendo game that just worked. It’s since seen a port to the Wii (using motion controls instead) and that is where it came to an abrupt end for Donkey Kong and his bongo days. Beating up an end of level boss by drumming away on the bongos is something I’ll never forget.
Vib Ribbon – 2000 (PS1)
I still consider the PS1 as the best console of our time. It made gaming cool, brought three-dimensional gaming to the mainstream and took risks with exceptionally unique gems like Vib-ribbon. Vib-Ribbon was a rhythm game that had the game accessing the PS1 RAM so that players could insert their own music CDs… to create unique levels. The number of levels you could play really came down to the number or CDs you owned at the time. Vibri would follow a vector line that was drawn according to the beat of the song that you decided on and was in essence a rhythm platformer. With the digital world of songs available to most players it’s surprising that it’s never been returned to, but it’s one gem that’s certainly lost to time and you hear very little about, unfortunately.
Kid Dracula – 1990 (Famicom)
Also known as: Akumajō Special: Boku Dracula-kun
Unfortunately this game can only be bought in Japan and the only reason some of you might have played this game in South Africa is because we had those infamous knockoff Golden China video game Famicom clones. Kid Dracula was therefore one of the games that could be bought and was the offspring of the Castlevania developers trying to create a kid-friendly game, using the Castlevania recipe (it’s basically a parody). In turn we received one of the best hidden gems that’s since been forgotten. It did officially port to the Game Boy, but to play it in colour you had to experience it on the Famicom. The platforming had pin-point accuracy and came with several weapon upgrades, including the ability to transform into a bat.
Klonoa – 2002 (PS1 / PS2 / GBA / Wii)
The Klonoa series started life on the PS1 and did make an appearance on the PS2, GBA and Wii (remake of the first game) as well, but it seems Namco has had enough of this character as it’s just not made an appearance on any format since 2002 (and that game was an action RPG, not a platformer). In this case we have two particular games that have been lost to time – Klonoa: Door to Phantomile and Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil. It was a delightful game for fans of the platformer genre and I’m sad that Klonoa as a whole is now a forgotten gem.
I’m sure there are more forgotten gems you can think of. You’re welcome to mention them in the comments below.