Failures of Game Preservation: What are your favorite games that can no longer be played?


#1

What are your favorite games that simply haven’t been preserved in playable states? Games you loved that got left behind by defunct online downloads, dead servers, or OS updates?


On iOS, I loved 100 rogues. Great roguelike with lots of interesting interactions between monsters, skills, and items. It got left behind by Apple’s switch from 32 bit to 64 bit apps, and can’t be played on updated iOS devices.

I’m also disappointed that I never got to play Star Wars Galaxies before they shut down the servers. It seemed like it did a lot of interesting things, like making the Jedi class available by semi-randomly picking high-level players to become “force-sensitive”, and giving the player lots of creative tools including a dedicated “Entertainer” class that unlocks skills for dancing and playing musical instruments.


There But For The Grace Of ROMS: Favorite Games Saved For Posterity Through Emulation
#2

While not games that I’ve played, there are tons of games that haven’t been preserved in playable states I want to play.

Some that come to mind are the 3 King’s Field phone games that were only released in Japan, but are not able to be downloaded anymore. There’s also Khufu-ou no Himitsu, one of the earliest JRPGs ever, which while it exists (there’s a pic of someone playing a copy somewhere on twitter), hasn’t ever been made available online as far as I know. There’s also a lot of old text adventures/interactive fiction games that don’t exist anymore at all outside of maybe a picture and short description.


#3

Infinite Crisis. Its the only MOBA that really stuck for me. I’m sure partly due to using DC character who I’m familiar with but also cause Atomic Wonder Woman felt so good for me to play (and looked awesome). I liked their initial mode because it was a simplified version of the MOBA concept but when they released the larger more traditional maps it was mostly lost on me

I’d love to be able to play it again but at least I want to cosplay as Atomic Wonder Woman some day


#4

1 Vs 100 on the 360. Having a live quiz show was amazing but the way it was presented was incredible, especially with how accessible it was. Especially in Season 2 as they streamlined it, the live host was great and connecting into and out of games was easy. It also did some fair but hard questions for the trivia and having a real prize on offer really put the stakes up (Even if it was Microsoft Points). Unfortunately even though it was hugely successful. The TV show rights holders pulled the license before a season 3 as they wanted to reboot the TV show into a budget daytime show instead of the prime time quiz it was before and the game having more production values than the TV show (Or even being more popular.

At the height of it, the game put Xbox Live under huge strain whenever a live episode started as everyone logged in). It was so ahead of its time it’s crazy. I’d wish that they could bring it back with the new Avatar system and maybe up the stakes with the prizes but the unfortunate thing is they would have to get the license again and that sucks.


#5

The last time I checked my Apple account, all of my apps are gone. Haven’t had an iOS device since the iPhone 4, but still shocked to see it. I also played on the PC in the 486 era, and there’s a million games companies that went under and all their games disappeared - IIRC, every single Apogee game I ever played shareware off a cover disk will no longer be playable, for instance, and I’m pretty sure games like Ug! and Fury of the Furries are gone forever and lost to time or only available on abandonware websites. In fact, a cursory Google found the latter on My Abandonware, but the former just turned up a million Underground suffixed games.


#6

Even games that do end up being preserved are still prone to removal of licensed elements, sometimes based on weird archaic contract deals & laws.

To my knowledge, every modern official sale Quake 1 comes without music, with no hint it was supposed to be there in the first place for newcomers. There’s probably a lot of people who played through that whole game with the skint ambient soundscape and have no idea about its intended soundtrack carrying much of the atmosphere.

Hardwar for Windows 9x and Quarantine for DOS [cautionary CW for 90’s edge, if you google 'em] are two exceedingly punk games I’d love to actually play. They’re abandonware, but also obtuse as hell to get running on modern systems with everything intact, and their sweeping music license deals mean they’ll either never get picked up even by Nightdive, or if they do, a huge part of their presentation might have to go neglected. And Hardwar without The Black Dog/LFO/Autechre is an art crime.

copyright’s some dang bunk


#7

For me, it’s less about “my favorite games” and more “the games I really want to play”. I’m personally quite bummed I can’t play most of the games by merritt k. Unlike most of these being problems of copyright, dead servers, and shitty companies, this seems to be the creators choice; she seems to have deleted all of her work, not sure if there’s a specific reason why. Namely, there’s a game called Minkomora by merritt k and Marina Kittaka (I think?). It was this beautiful abstract game where you walked around an alien landscape. You can find an archive of on Wayback Machine, but you can’t download the manual, which was an integral part of the experience. The manual had names and behaviors and little stories about all the creatures you encounter.

I have big feelings on games and digital media preservation. Ghhhhhhhhh


#8

Quarantine owns, I still have it on the 3DO. But you reminded me that there’s a (sort of better IMO) PC only sequel to it no one knows about because it’s unfortunately titled ROAD WARRIOR: Quarantine II. It’s more of a linear game but it’s technically better and has a lot more mission variety. I also appreciate that it takes place immediately after the first game ends.

Anyway I mention the 3DO version because it’s real good and you’ll probably have better luck running the 3DO version in an emulator than getting the PC version working on current stuff.

My favorite games that can no longer be played that I did actually play are both DOOM RPG games and Aliens Online.

Aliens Online(1998) was awesome. I liked it mostly because of the way its interface helped with the tone and tactics you’d use in the game. If you were playing on the marine side you got to chat with each other marine players prior to a game starting and have access to a map of the level ahead of time. If you were on the alien side you couldn’t directly chat with each other but could access the “back end” of the map and see all of the air vents/etc. and could keep track of where other aliens were very easily while playing.

My favorite lost game ever though is Terminator: Future Shock. That game is amazing, I have gotten my original disk working on some newer-ish machinery sometimes but it’s very random. It’s one of the very few internally made Bethesda games that’s Actually Good and despite it being from the mid 90s (and actually pre-dating Quake for having a real time 3D FPS engine!!!) the way the game lets its level design tell the story and the atmosphere and openness of the levels is just nuts, and you can see the sort of early DNA of what they would attempt to do with Fallout 3’s scenery. Plus for an FPS at that time, I mean you get like 12 different guns and five different types of grenade/explosive things and all of them are useful. There was a really good sequel also that’s also never going to officially get released ever again. :frowning:

When I say the DNA of Fallout 3 is in there, I should have said the DNA of Bethesda games. Bethesda had made a couple of Terminator games previously, but you know how Daggerfall works, and how even Skyrim works and the way there’s a hard divide between “interior” and “exterior” and a lot of those other engine quirks, that’s all there in Future Shock and that’s amazing.


#9

I had a ton of fun playing the Scott Pilgrim game in college. Sadly we only got through one level and I never finished it. Scott Pilgrim is one of my favorite comics ever (feel free to complain about my pic) and I loved the movie, I want to finish that thing.

Fuck you, lawyers who are stopping this somehow.


#10

Commander Keen 6, aka Aliens Ate My Babysitter.
My parents had illicit copies of all the Keen games on floppies, so I always assumed 6 was just as available as the rest. However, it seems that 6 was never released? It’s not even in the compilation on Steam.

Also there is Gahan Wilson’s Ultimate Haunted House, a
comedic spoopy point & click which is so hard to find and only runs on Windows 3.1


#11

I didn’t realize until this week that the Scott Pilgrim game was totally taken off the server! That game had such a beautiful art style and fun game play. It disappeared so mysteriously, it’s so strange that there’s nothing we can do about pieces of media just dissolving into the void like that.


#12

City of Heroes and Glitch are my two big ones. The restoration efforts on Glitch are slow but have the game in a very playable state (in huge part due to the devs making so many assets public when they shut it down) so I remain optimistic that I’ll get to go back to that world one day. CoH will probably be a void in my heart forever though.


#13

Titanfall 2 multiplayer…(PC)


#14

Yeah, this would be mine, too. Looking at the store page, it seems like despite being based on the graphic novels, it was released alongside the movie and has rights tied up with Universal Studios, so that’s probably the biggest barrier. I know Brian Lee O’Malley has said he wants it out there again.


#15

City of Heroes/Villains for sure. I’m not sure I’d still enjoy the game (since I’ve long since decided that subscription based online gaming is so not for me, but I think it deserves to be preserved and revisited


#16

That old Mac System7 game that I still don’t know the name of and I can find no trace of online that I played a lot as a child.


#17

I don’t know if this is still the case, but I know there was a period where older Kairosoft games (Game Dev Story, Dungeon Village, Epic Astro Story, Kairobotica, etc) were practically unplayable on modern phones. Like, I played through those games perfectly fine on my 2011 Samsung Galaxy Nexus. There would be a little bit of slowdown if I put the speed up to max in particularly busy late-late-late game sections, but otherwise the games ran at a smooth and solid framerate. When I later got a 2nd gen (2014) Moto X, a considerably more powerful phone, all of those games suddenly ran like absolute garbage.

Like, a fresh install, fresh save file, on “performance” graphics mode in one of those games was getting maybe 15 frames a second if I was lucky. My understanding is that it had something to do with the fact that the games were designed for a certain resolution, and any phone with a higher resolution screen (see: basically any phone on the market) would have to do some kind of inefficient scaling thing that tanked the framerate. I think I have tried running some Kairosoft games on my current phone (a 2016 Google Pixel 1, which is significantly faster than even my older Moto X), but they still ran noticeably worse than they did on my 7 year old Galaxy Nexus.

So that, if it counts.


#18

There was a game called TKKN, in all its simplicity actually one of the greatest games ever made. You dodge asteroids in space. Just a tiny, simple game someone made an absolutely nailed it. Searching for it gives me nothing, it’s probably just long gone. Some footage on youtube however: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLmaBSvZIxU

Never played Scott Pilgrim, but I love the Scott Pilgrim books so much, I wish I could.


#19

You happen to be in luck, I just found TKKN and it’s available for download and playable!
It was very hard to find! I found it on a Chinese file sharing website!

Link is here if you want it, just click the button that has (34kb) on it:
Download for TKKN

tkkn02 tkkn01


#20

In this case you should be able to run these perfectly fine on an Android emulator as long as you have the apk I would think.