Games that "don't exist"

The Blank Check podcast often refers to movies that “don’t exist” meaning that, even if they were financial successful, left no apparent mark on the wider culture. A great example is Gangster Squad, a big budget movies with a star studded cast that I did not know existed until mentioned.

I feel like this happens less often with games simply because there are fewer AAA releases but I was wondering what games came and went without leaving any mark.

For me it’s the Resistance series. Despite being a console exclusive made by a major developer I feel like no one talks about it. Even with Insomniac back in the spotlight with Spiderman and the new Ratchet and Clank.

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Before reading your answer i was thinking of an even more non-existant Insomniac game

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Tom Clancy’s End War is a game I hadn’t thought about since I heard it first announced until maybe a week ago when I was trying to log a different Clancy game on Backloggd.

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I got a couple in mind.

Remember Lucasarts Fracture with it’s deformable terrain and main character named Jet Brody?

Midway’s San Francisco Rush 2049 was an incredibly solid and interesting car game that had it all. Good reviews, cars with deployable wings so you could do mid air control, interesting race tracks with a ton of secrets, a really fun stunt mode, a fun car combat mode, and it supported 4 player split screen and ran well on the Dreamcast. I can not say enough good things about this game and it is maybe the game I’m sad to see time forget the most.

Most people probably remember the arcade version but the home version was better IMO.

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Games that just came and went? Remember there was a third Borderlands game? Randy Pitchford jokes are better remembered than that game.

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Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido! A (partially) first-party game from Nintendo released on 3DS and Switch. Lot of weird Nintendo humor. And it may as well not exist, save for when I see its price get lower and lower on Amazon.

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Yknow what game never gets talked about as much? Elite Beat Agents (and its predecessor Oendan). They should absolutely make another one of those.

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Ah, I remember importing Oendan, the only game where you can cheerlead a concert violinist into not shitting has pants on the train.

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Insomniac really did wander the wilderness for a bit in the 2010s

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You want to talk about “lost” games from Insomniac?

Let’s talk about Fruit Fusion.

Insomniac went through a phase in the early 2010s. Casting about for publishers that weren’t Sony since Sony kinda waved off some of their more experimental stuff (and they wanted to make some of their own IP - Ratchet & Clank and Resistance were owned by Sony), they also formed the Insomniac Click team, tasked with making mobile games. I think they were formed out of Insomniac’s Outernauts (Insomniac did a Pokemon for Facebook) team plus a few outside hires; suffice it to say they made a few iPhone games. I genuinely don’t remember the rest of them (there were four, I think), but Fruit Fusion was a genuinely very good match-three involving fruit and no MTX.

Gangster Squad sucked hard, so the best thing for that movie’s reputation is that nobody remembers it.

I feel like this was the case with the entire Driver franchise. And there were some weird games in this series. Driver 3 was quite a notorious release, with a lot of accusations that it’s publisher bought good reviews. Driver: Parallel Lines I remember mostly for depicting the new World Trade Center like seven years before that building being finished.

And then Driver: San Francisco is this insane game where you mind jack other drivers. The ending is… awful, which is why I’m surprised this whole franchise disappeared forever.

It was always “that lesser GTA” in everybody’s mind.

I wasn’t tuned in to wider gaming news at the time so I don’t know their reception, but I know I enjoyed games like Baldur’s Gate Dark Alliance and Champions of Norrath a lot. And now those types of games don’t really exist anymore. They were console versions of a diablo-style game, but now diablo itself is on consoles unmodified.

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Driver is actually the exact game that came to mind for me. It was one of the best selling games on the PS1 and sold over 3 MILLION copies. But I feel like it’s a game I never hear people talk about like, ever

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Anyway, I predict Ghost of Tsushima will be this.

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Hotter take: The open world game from this year that will “not exist” is Watchdogs Legion. That game came out three months ago and no one is talking about it. It barely got mentioned in GOTY lists

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Not a commercial success, but one that - at the time - had a huge ad campaign and got great reviews from the magazines my mum read was Obsidian. Very Myst-y, very good, but I don’t know if I’ve ever seen it brought up. Probably doesn’t help that when I googled ‘obsidian game’ to see if there were, like, NeoGAF threads about it, all of the results were for the studio of the same name.

Most of the other ones I can think of aren’t so much games that “don’t exist” as games that “don’t exist in North America.”

I submit the Bethesda-published 'Hunted: The Demon’s Forge. I dare you find another 7th-gen ass game that isn’t a punchline. Hunted: The Demon’s Forge exists only in my mind

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The Resistance series was always billed as one of Sony’s many attempts to provide a Halo for the PS3. I didn’t like the first two Resistance games, though I remember the 2nd one had some really good multiplayer. However, the third game was really good. My memory is hazy but the first two games had you become this superhuman soldier, but resistance 3 had you as a regular dude just trying to survive within this monster ridden post apocalyptic USA. It was really atmospheric and had both a fire shotgun and a gun that made enemies vomit to death. Probably one of the better console shooters for the PS3.

It may have got me a job in game retail, as I for the job interview I had to recommend a game to a customer and just gushed about how great Resistance 3 was.

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Not sure that I think games have less of these than movies. Historically, before game development costs spiraled out of control, tons of derivative games which barely caught an eye before or after release were made. Anyone remember the Counter-Strike clone New World Order, released in 2002? Or the official KISS (the band) game, Kiss: Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child? Pariah from 2005, which had a unique selling point that Jack Mason, it’s MC, was a medic?

It reminds me of one of Bennett Foddy’s monologues in Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy, about how much culture becomes trash the moment it’s released. Not that it’s necessarily bad or poorly made, but in the same way food becomes trash when you put it in the sink.


For a more high profile example. Quake 4 was the new game in one of the most famous PC gaming series, made by an experienced and well regarded team, starring Peter Stormare in a somewhat prominent role. It got an alright reception, probably made decent sales, and brought absolutely nothing new to the table. Arguably the multiplayer got a decent esports scene but even that seemed a rehash of Q3, which got a rerelease a few years later with Quake Live.

Cosigned that it could be talked about more (Ouendan 1 is one of my favorite games ever) but I think the series left a decent mark. Its community made spiritual sequel osu! is active to this day, releasing more sets and holding contests.

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