10 once-famous game genres that are all dead


“All things are fleeting, and attachments to the things of the world will only cause suffering.” There is certainly some truth to this statement, especially when you look at all the great video games that have gone out of fashion.

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Technology is still advancing faster than ever before, and genres from the past have quickly evolved into new genres or have been almost done away with. Not only that, but social interest also decreases over time as players become too comfortable with their current games and look for something new and different.

ten 2D side scrolling platforms are now mostly independent projects

megaman x in front of Castlevania iv and donkey kong country 2 snes platformer

In the ’80s and’ 90s, before video game consoles received major hardware upgrades, 2D platforms were one of the most popular types of games. Many iconic series began as 2D platforms before becoming 3D platforms, such as the Super Mario Bros., Mega man, and Castlevania franchisees.

The popularity of platform games themselves hasn’t waned completely, but the 2D presentation has. Fortunately, some indie game developers have taken over the classic gamer nostalgia for the good old days and produced some fantastic 2D platform games, such as Knight Shovel.

9 Small arms shooters have become outmatched

The orange NES Zapper and the Virtua Guns

Many gaming peripherals only work with certain technologies, which is precisely the case with small arms. Before the advent of HDTVs, people generally had a CRT TV in their living room. The developers therefore designed small arms peripherals to work specifically with CRTs.

The 80s and 90s saw a plethora of small arms games such as Duck hunting, Hogan’s alley, and Deadly Executors. As technology progressed, game developers moved on to creating first-person shooters to replace small arms shooters. Virtual reality may provide a way to revert to the use of firearm peripherals, but small arms will most likely be a thing of the past.

8 Lost survival horror for action horror

The liberation of resident Evil on the PlayStation in 1996 introduced the survival horror genre to the gaming market, inspired by earlier horror games like Sweet home and Alone in the dark. Nonetheless, for a brief period survival horror games saturated the market until the early 2000s, when it became apparent that the genre was dying and in need of revitalization.

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Survival horror gave way to action horror, with the main difference between them being the fighting style and conservation of resources. Horror games today tend to put a lot more power in the hands of the player than traditional survival horror games, which generally put less emphasis on fighting with enemies.

7 MMORPGs are giving way to other MMO games

final fantasy xi logo and final fantasy xiv protagonist

The 2000s saw a plethora of massively multiplayer online role-playing games, or MMORPGs, released primarily on the PC. These games included the likes of Ragnarok online, World of warcraft, and Final Fantasy XI. These games focused on aspects of RPGs in a world where players could interact with many others across the world, focusing on the allocation of stats and grinding levels for different classes.

But these days, it’s more common to see MOBAs (massively multiplayer online combat arenas, such as League of Legends), and some MMORPGs have even implemented MOBA aspects into their games via instanced dungeons.

6 Roguelike Dungeon Crawlers enjoys a modest rebirth

Games like Diablo bypass the limitations of roguelike games but still contain some of the essentials: automatically generated dungeons that are different each time you enter them, permanent death of the characters and a strong focus on exploration. Real roguelike games are better as open source PC games, like Thug and NetHack.

The computer scene of the 80s and 90s adopted these games the most, console games adopting elements, such as the Character franchise and Loss. Roguelike has since gone rogue-lite, with games like the bond of isaac stand out. Rogue-lite is mostly adopted by independent developers at the moment.

5 2D side-scrolling Beat ‘Em Ups paved the way for Hack’ N Slash

scott pilgrim river city girls castle crasher

Like 2D platform games, 2D beat’em ups were very popular in the ’80s and’ 90s, before gaming hardware became more robust. Double Dragon and TMNT: Turtles in time are notable 2D beat’em ups while they were still in their prime, and this genre tended to dominate the arcades.

There was a brief period of 3D beat’em ups, but they eventually evolved into the hack ‘n slash genre, with notable titles like Dynasty warriors stand out. There’s a humble renaissance of 2D beat’em ups lately with titles like City girls by the river and Streets of Rage 4 leading the charge.

4 Most edutainment games have been phased out

pouch for where in the world is Carmen Sandiego

During the 90s, when PCs became more powerful and ubiquitous, there was a surge of games aimed at teaching children various school subjects. Games like Oregon Trail and Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? are notable entries during this period.

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While not as popular on consoles, Nintendo has released a few edutainment games for their systems, such as Donkey Kong Jr. Maths for the NES and Big Brain Academy for the Nintendo DS. They are not as numerous as in the 90s, but they are still there.

3 2D shoot ’em ups have niche popularity

Another genre that was particularly popular in the ’80s and’ 90s, 2D shoot ’em up like Galaga and Type R dominated the arcade game scene. Shoot’em ups eventually branched out into run-and-gun rail shooters and hell bullet shooters, but these genres also saw their heyday mostly in the ’90s.

There is however a niche for this kind of game, as the Touhou Project shooting game series continue to attract people, and Cup head received much praise for its style and difficulty. Still, AAA developers are more likely to pump first-person shooters than side-scrollers of other types.

2 Exploration-focused point-and-click adventure games

This genre was especially popular for PC games, as PCs usually didn’t have peripherals like controllers in the beginning. Point-and-click adventure games reward players for exploring their surroundings. Grim Fandango and Myst are notable point-and-click adventures from the ’90s, but the genre began to decline in the 2000s.

There are a few series that manage to hang on, like the Phoenix Wright franchise, but these kinds of games are not as prevalent as they used to be. Independent developers and crowdfunding have enabled such a revival.

1 Rhythm games have suffered from the oversaturation of the market

Parappa the rapper believes it

PaRappa the rapper is credited as being the first rhythm game for a console, and it was released for PlayStation in 1996. Rhythm games were picked up in Japan almost immediately, with Dance Dance Revolution hit the arcades in 1999.

It wasn’t until the 2000s that rhythm games picked up in Western games, and by 2010 the gaming market was saturated with rhythm games like Guitar Hero and Rock band. However, due to the oversaturation of the market and the fallout from special peripherals for consoles, rhythm games lost their vigor in the 2010s.

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