Though a lot of games receive remasters or re-releases long after their debut on the market, many more remain stuck on the platforms they were built for in perpetuity. Some of these games are removed from digital storefronts entirely, making it nearly impossible to play them without emulation. Some older online-based games may have their servers shut down, too, essentially disbanding communities who’ve stayed faithful to a title for years. The following list breaks down the great games you can’t play anymore through ordinary, legal means.
Great Games You Can’t Play Anymore: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game
If you haven’t seen Scott Pilgrim vs. The World yet, do yourself a favor and remedy that problem right now (it’s on Netflix!). The same charm and relatable humor of the movie and comics were faithfully recreated in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game, an old school-style beat ’em up side-scroller that saw players take on the role of their favorite characters in the film and comics and journey through a beautifully pixelated portrayal of Canada. Fans could’ve joined up with up to three friends to complete the game together, punching gruff dudes as Anamanaguchi plays a joyous chiptune melody in the background.
As a movie tie-in, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game was subject to license regulations. When rights to the property expired on December 30, 2014, the title had to be pulled from the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3’s digital storefronts. Today, only those that have the game downloaded onto their consoles can play it in its entirety. Hopes for the title to be offered again are slim, as the cost to regain licensing rights may not be worth low demand.
Great Games You Can’t Play Anymore: P.T.
Though P.T. stands for “Playable Teaser” and isn’t a full fledged game in the traditional sense, its significance in the industry certainly warrants it a spot on this list. Built as a demo for an upcoming Silent Hill game from Konami (directed by Metal Gear mastermind Hideo Kojima himself, with input from famed horror film creator Guillermo del Toro), no one knew of P.T.‘s significance until a few days after its release on the PlayStation Network.
Upon the discovery that very specific tasks needed to be completed in order to trigger the demo’s true ending, the internet lost its collective mind. Kojima had managed to outdo himself yet again, creating nothing sort of fervent hype for the next game in this beloved franchise.
Publisher Konami decided to scrap the project in its entirety most likely because of the company’s fading bond with Kojima. Furthermore, the company removed P.T. from Sony’s digital storefront, possibly in an effort to erase every trace of the demo’s existence. Players can now only access the title if they’ve downloaded it onto their PS4. The rest of us will have to settle for YouTube Let’s Plays to get our fix.
Great Games You Can’t Play Anymore: Phantasy Star Online
It’s easy to overlook the original Phantasy Star Online‘s significance in the realm of online-based console RPGs due to its short run on the ill-fated Sega Dreamcast. Released in 2000, the title was the first in the franchise to embark down the online multiplayer route. The risk was worth it, as scores of players continually flocked to level their in-game characters and join up to three friends for loads of rewarding dungeon crawling action—all smoothly running in real-time. Though Phantasy Star Online did manage to attract a significant following, it did have to eventually shut down its servers. It did receive a sequel, though it’s unfortunately only available in Japan for the time being.
Great Games You Can’t Play Anymore: The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition
If you own a digital copy of The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition, consider yourself lucky. This enhanced version of the co-op multiplayer game allowed users to tackle Link’s adventure alone, controlling two versions of the character in order to navigate through the title’s many puzzles.
It also included throwback levels to the original Zelda, Link’s Awakening, and even A Link to the Past. Nintendo offered this DS and 3DS iteration of the title for free, albeit during two very short periods of time. The first ran from September 2011 to February 2012 and the second ran for a single week in 2014. The company may be willing to offer the title to loyal fans once again, though we wouldn’t hold our breaths.
Great Games You Can’t Play Anymore: Star Wars Galaxies
Star Wars Galaxies made every Star Wars dream come true when it released back in 2003. This MMORPG developed by Sony Online Entertainment allowed users the ability to explore a lot of the galaxy’s rich environments and lore as a variety of species and professions, which included being a Jedi. As expected with an online-based Star Wars game, Galaxies was profound because entire cities could be built according to each player’s will. A sophisticated political system was also put into place, allowing users to hold elections for popular players.
Though Galaxies was well-received, Sony decided to shut down its servers in order to make room for Star Wars: The Old Republic in 2011. Given today’s wide acceptance of BioWare’s classic MMORPG, it’s doubtful that Galaxies will ever be brought back from the dead.
Great Games You Can’t Play Anymore: City of Heroes
City of Heroes helped bolster the MMORPG genre to the popularity it enjoys today when it opened its servers back in 2004. Developed by Paragon Studios, the game let players take on the role of their very own superheroes, complete with a surprisingly complex array of customization options and superpowered abilities. In a world before DC Universe Online, City of Heroes also allowed users the chance to team up and form their own Avengers or Justice League with friends. The title enjoyed so much success that an expansion titled “City of Villains” was released that allowed players the ability to craft their own super-villain counterparts.
Unfortunately, City of Heroes‘ servers were shut down when Paragon Studios closed its doors in 2012. Though the game probably won’t be resurrected, titles like the aforementioned DC Universe Online do help fill in the superhero gap a little.
Though a lot of the titles above have gone the way of the dodo, their memory still lives on as inspiration for today’s gaming landscape. Titles may come and go, though our enjoyment of them in the moment may have to last an entire lifetime as some of these games are no longer available.