Since the dawn of publicly played video games in 1958, there have been incredible advancements in gaming technology, and many swathes of people, spending many thousands of dollars on new consoles and, more importantly, their favourite games for each console.
Certain gaming franchises have made millions and millions of dollars simply by rehashing the same story lines, refurbishing the graphics (sometimes), and changing the title, packaging, and console a game is meant for. Surprisingly, the general public falls for this trick again and again. But why? Why would someone willingly pay $80.00 every time a new game hits the shelves, just to discover they’re playing the same damn game time and again? Some of the answers to this question are simple enough: they’ve got to collect them all, they love shooting zombies in a new way, there are some significant story arc changes with characters they loved in a game years earlier… the list goes on. There are some more incomprehensible reasons also, but rest assured, the game franchises below, no matter how in love any one of you is with them, are overrated.
15. Call Of Duty
With 39 games spread over at least five different platforms (depending on which generation of which console one decides is relevant), the Call of Duty series is overwhelmingly popular, especially with the trolling I-don’t-sleep-I just-hand-noobs-their-asses-in-CoD-online demographic. When it first debuted, there was something awesome about being able to enter a war zone and waste terrorists virtually that really got people turned on. 39 versions of terrorist killing though… might be overkill. Of course, to capitalize on the zombification of the general masses, there was perfect opportunity for Treyarch to add the zombie mini-game feature; guns, zombies, terrorists— and Nazis? It’s very easy to sell games based on the slaughter of America’s most feared and hated enemies. In all seriousness though: the Battlefield series is far superior, and much more detailed.
14. Assassin’s Creed
With 70 games and expansion packs, not including remasters, one wonders how many times a gamer can be sent back in time via the Animus to play a hooded guy no one actually cares for the identity of, to slaughter crusaders, redcoats, pirates, and all manner of civilians. “Oooh, this game has sabres! This one has tomahawks! I can kill with the bayonet!?” These are some of the reasons people keep going back to this ultimately boring franchise of historical fiction. Surely there are some nerds who are so happy to chat with Da Vinci, and Machiavelli, and some excommunicated Catholics who love wasting the pope, but the main draw here is being a cool, hooded assassin with cool wrist blades, the ability to climb and jump off anything, and a huge sandbox to roam, reveal, and ravage at will. No one actually cares about Desmond, or any character to follow after. Just give up on the Animus, and make some historical fiction, because those are the only parts people like playing: and that’s why the AC movie will flop!
13. Final Fantasy
A personal moment— I love Final Fantasy! However, this franchise, boasting damn near one hundred games, a failed movie, a great movie, and a new and underrated movie, Final Fantasy, full of so many in depth storylines, and incredibly well known characters, is, regrettably, overrated. The games are designed to waste the players’ time working to discover every little detail of every aspect of every world. There are often teasers to secrets that aren’t even there, as with the American version of FFVII where you cannot, unbeknownst to some people who still search for a way, play as Sephiroth (other than in flashback), or Holy. Plugging away hours, days, even weeks on these games to get the highest levels, the best gear, and most devastating powers, people keep coming back to these games because of these little teasers, and the hopes that their supposedly long, lost, favourite characters will appear as an easter egg or even a playable character later on in a new game! It’s easy to see how the cult of Final Fantasy pervades even to this day, but that doesn’t change the fact the FFX and FFX-2 still exist.
Ultimately FIFA was chosen thanks to the incredibly corrupt, and bigoted manner with which the actual FIFA is run. Realistically one can include any and all “sportsball” games here. There is a Kool Aid here that is being drunk either by people who are too lazy to get out and play the sports themselves, people who can no longer play due to injury, and people who like to see their favourite teams actually win a season here and there. Soccer is a religion, football is for dummies, hockey is for jocks, and baseball is for people who think they’re playing some human game of chess without ever having looked at what a chess board actually looks like. But people keep coming back to these sports games because sports are seasonal, and much easier to play with a controller in hand, and also much easier to win when one can change the difficulty level at will. Hmm, maybe the Ottawa Senators will win the Stanley Cup for a change…
Appearing in almost two hundred games, Mario is, by far, the most notable video game star of all time. What got him this fame? Jumping on monsters, hitting his head off bricks, taking mushrooms, and nailing a princess. That being said, other than dodging barrels from Donkey Kong, and getting gamers to arrange pills in a specific manner, Mario has not done much else since his 1981 debut. So what keeps bringing us back to rescue Peach AGAIN? It’s not Mario, the character, that brings people back. It’s his supporting cast, and the new powers each world gives him. Everyone wants to see Goombas stomped, and just how badass Bowser looks this time, but it’s about playing as Wario, Yoshi, Luigi, Toadstool, and Peach herself, that gets people excited. It’s being a flying raccoon… because that’s a thing, and swimming in a frog suit, and spitting balls of fire at those damn plants that spat at you first. Mario isn’t the key. People could do without him. It’s Mario’s world that brings people back.
10. Guitar Hero
Seriously, just pick up a guitar, and learn to play it. Surely it’s easier to play a real guitar than to beat Guitar Hero one hundred percent on its hardest difficulty. So many people seem to dream about being a rock star, and with 26 different GH games, there is plenty of opportunity to pretend to be a rock star in many different bands from Metallica, to Aerosmith, to Van Halen. This should include the also popular Rock Band series, if for no other reason than it’s the same shtick with just a few more instruments, but the point is made even just with GH. The skill inherent in pushing a few buttons, and watching a bunch of bars fly at you on the screen is comparable to the necessary skill FIFA gives a would-be soccer player… virtually none. Or perhaps virtually a staggering amount, and realistically none. It would be cheaper to purchase a new guitar and amp, and then make money from playing said guitar, than it would to buy every single Guitar Hero game, and every platform each game was made for. Why do people keep going to this well? If people can achieve their dreams from the couch, then why bother with the real deal?
How many games could one possibly make where an incomplete, yellow circle floats around a screen eating dots, avoiding ghosts, eating cherries, then chomping ghosts? Almost 50! The only saving grace for this game must be the nostalgia factor because the incredible amount of boredom to be found in this game is staggering. Not to mention how frustratingly difficult Nintendo games were at their genesis, Pac-Man is the same thing, over and over again, through level after level, game after game…for nearly fifty games. The goal? Eat all of the dots… or eat all of the ghosts… just eat everything, and get back to safety before running out of time. Somehow this incredibly frustrating arcade game has stood the test of time, and has even had a 2016 game release. The simplicity of this game must be its saving grace and, like a once simple love turned sour by anger, rage, and countless defeats thanks to some overwhelmingly confusing fight, gamers just want to start over from the beginning, when things were simpler.
8. Resident Evil
With 37 games, and a plethora of garbage films, Resident Evil is for sure one of the most terrifyingly overrated franchises in the video game world. The only two things the masses can ever outright recall about these games are: Nemesis was a scary monster, and that hot chick from The Fifth Element played the lead in the Resident Evil movies. Those are perhaps the only two reasons these games are still known to the general public. That being said, there is an incredible, underground, cult element to these games. Not truly a zombie game, Resident Evil really brings in the zombie loving crowd, the die-hard Capcom fans, and those gamers who, for some reason, still love those clunky horror shooters with shit camera angles, and good scares. For scarier and smoother gameplay, better story lines, and more interesting characters, perhaps Parasite Eve and Silent Hill should be recommended.
With 76 games, and 721 different Pokemon, this kiddie, based-on-an-acid-trip-of-a-show franchise is one of the most successful, and most overrated franchises to ever hit the video game world. Unsure of the appeal in hunting creatures big and small and storing them all in balls no larger than a baseball, it seems players love either the cute or the badass Pokemon, and also torturing them by cramping them into pokeballs, and forcing them to fight other Pokemon. Gamers being typical saps for collecting items, and getting 100% completion, it’s no wonder Pokemon is so popular. Now with the ability to hunt the original 151 creatures in the real world via one’s mobile device with Pokemon GO, it is clear that Pokemon is here to stay. Many cling to their memories of the “great” cartoon they watched when they were kids (without re-watching it, because it would be ruined), and those very people are pushing it on today’s youth as well. A strange, nonsensical story, all that matters is that people truly love hunting, and love to have it all.
6. The Sims
How many times can one listen to absolute, and unapologetic gibberish while one tries to build the dream home one will never see come to fruition for all the time spent on The Sims? Over one hundred times, including expansions for the supernatural, the medieval, and the 80s. A more specific version of the good old Sim City series, The Sims focuses on family life in a custom-built house. After throwing in the cheats, and using the unlimited funds afforded the player to build their dream house, it can get fairly boring. Once upon a time, the return gameplay was due to having one’s Sim go for a swim, then removing the ladder so that they drown, or having them struck by lightning. Some of these fun functions having been removed from the game, the only possible reasons to come back to this franchise are no longer based on “murdering” one’s ex in the pool, but perhaps living a happier life than reality dishes out, or the occasional reconstruction of that dream home. Otherwise, Sim City needs its mayor back to send out Godzilla, and a few natural disasters: those little bits of fun still granted players of the classic.
With 16 games under his belt, Master Chief has battled in the living rooms of millions. Though he’s only a significant part of six of the releases, and a supposed villain in one of them, he, and the Spartans around him, are the poster boys for this franchise. If not for the epic armour, energy sword, and gravity hammer, this game would have fallen by the wayside like so many other sci-fi series. The story lines of the first few games were well written enough to keep people engaged, but the true reason these games have done so well, save for the RTS Halo Wars, is because the player gets to look so badass while wasting aliens. One could play Aliens or AVP but there’s no one exciting behind the gun. No one is going to FanEx dressed as Ripley: they’re going as Master Chief! The replay, story-wise for these games is fairly boring, but the multiplayer modes, even back to Halo 1, gives the right nostalgic feel for gamers everywhere… and Red vs Blue also really helped with that.
With only 15 games, including expansions, Warcraft is absolutely the most overrated Blizzard product ever, and certainly one of the most overrated video game franchises of all time. The original Warcraft RTS (real time strategy for those who aren’t avid gamers) games, in response to Starcraft, and Age of Empires, were brilliant games that brought some wonderful D&D style fantasy to computer screens for a strategic, interactive experience. But once the heavy hitting MMO (massively multiplayer online) World of Warcraft hit, everyone got hooked, but they lost something that made Warcraft what it was: a classic tale of good and evil, with that great RTS quality. Giving up character customization for character development, Blizzard tried to turn Warcraft into a new Diablo. It failed. Having lost many players over the past few years WoW is no longer so popular, but thanks to the flop of a movie reviving players’ passions for the classic RTS games, Warcraft has had a resurgence, and will continue to be one of the great, overrated games of video game history.
Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and Tekken… one could assume these all fall under the same overrated banner, but that assumption makes an ass out of you and… ‘mption’. Tekken, though bolstered by a formidable roster of fighters, seems to make it big as the underdog of the aforementioned franchises. With 24 games under its black belt, Tekken doesn’t quite match up to the arcade popularity of Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, nor does it come equipped with as many surprise characters. Street Fighter has carved out iconic characters who have battled in the arcade and living rooms across the world for a long time, and Mortal Kombat has never been too far behind, especially with its celebrity guest stars like Freddy Krueger, Jason Vorhees, Leatherface, and more. In spite of this, Tekken has captured something in its underdog status that pulls people into its specific fighting pit. The detailed character studies in terms of combat ability is incredible. From Eddy Gordo’s Capoeira, to Ling Xiaoyu’s Baguazhang and Piguaquan, there is a reality that exists in Tekken.
2. Tony Hawk
Complete with 36 games, 50 pro skaters, and 55 fictional skaters (including Jango Fett, KGB member, and the famed Officer Dick), the Tony Hawk series really gives a fantastical view of what it is to be a pro skater. Incredibly unrealistic, other than the specific moves, and the real pro skaters as playable characters, Tony Hawk allows one to play a skater who can balance on power lines, do upwards of 10 tricks in one bit of air time, and skate on so many un-skateable surfaces. True, many skaters like Bam Margera would skate many of the ridiculous surfaces found in the Tony Hawk series, but not with any hope of success. But that’s the very drawing factor of this fantastical series: the fact that one can play as a large, disembodied hand, riding a skateboard, or tail slide a tank turret in Russia, or SS/BS/TS (switch stance, back side tail slide) a UFO until it powers up and flies away. These are the reasons so many don’t just play Skate all day long, and hole up in the Winter when they can’t ride their own boards to play Tony Hawk.
1. The Legend Of Zelda
33 games in, and certainly not at the end of its leash, The Legend of Zelda is perhaps one of the greatest video game franchises of all. With thirty years of sword swinging, hook shooting, boomerang throwing, pot smashing, creature killing, and princess banging, Link has been, alongside Mario, one of the greatest successes in Nintendo history, and perhaps now, alongside Mario, the only character keeping Nintendo relevant. That being said, there are only so many times a “glowy-eye-mc-weak-to-arrows” boss can appear on the screen of a Zelda game before it gets boring, and that number of times passed well before Zelda even hit the Nintendo 64. There’s no way people keep coming back to Zelda for cutting shrubs with a sword, and throwing pots at chickens, waiting for the screen to fill with vengeful, and murderous fowl. So why then, does this little green dude mean so much to gamers the world over? Like Mario, it’s not Link that does it. It’s fighting Ganon, it’s rescuing a princess; it’s the prospect of a new adventure, with new enemies, and some good homage paid to some old ones. It’s not the story, or the poster boy: it’s the journey, and one’s chosen path to complete it.