I remember the time when every game store carried every game that came out in the market. Back then, games were popular but not as strong as it is now. These days, you can pretty much game on any device that has an lcd screen. So many games, so little time in the day to play all of them and thus a backlog is born. With that in mind though, it’s pretty tough to sell games that has a niche following. It’s no wonder we get sequels upon sequels every year. I wouldn’t blame them if the sequel sells for over 20 million in 2 weeks (like the COD franchise).
Companies like Atlus, NIS America, Aksys, and other small publishers are trying to introduce fresh new content to gamers every month. But since there are more people who’re more familiar with franchises and are likely to buy Call of Duty, Halo, Mario, Final Fantasy and other games that come out each year, most of the small publisher’s games gets lost in the mix. Have you heard of Hyperdimension Neptunia? Probably not and it’s probably not something that they would carry these days at a Toys R Us, Target, Walmart or a Best Buy even.. Even some independent stores are pretty much following this type of practice. It’s not like this haven’t happened before, but it is happening more often now than before.
So here’s a list of recent game that just never made it out there – out of print as soon as it came out per se. I wanted to make a top 5 rare/sought after DS games list but I figured it’s probably best to mention or add other platforms as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these got reprinted and what doesn’t these days. Gamestop (Namco-Bandai Games), Toys R Us (Nintendo DS Games), and Amazon (pretty much every company from UBISoft to Square-Enix) seems to be getting exclusive reprints every now and then.
Most of Atlus’ releases for the DS included a soundtrack for the game and this title is no stranger to that. It’s one of those games that you know it’s going to be good but other than Amazon or GameStop, who else to do you know that would carry them? This game came out and quickly went out of print for months. I remember my brother in law texting me one day on how hot this title was for their store (he works at videogamesnewyork downtown here in NYC). Amazon did list this game but it wasn’t available for another 2-3 months after. A reprint of this game came out a few months ago but without the nice bundle with the soundtrack.
Sega brings a lot of great games to North America and Europe that nobody seems to know much about. The company spends absolutely zero when it comes to marketing these games. Does anyone remember Crush for PSP? It’s one of the best games for the system and it’s quite sad that it sold so little. Infinite Space for the DS seems to be heading that route as well. The game came out in March of last year and by August/September it was already out of print. Again, it’s a great game but too bad nobody bought it.
The reception for this game was somewhat mixed. Though the game featured a lot of innovative game play, it suffered from the fact that players couldn’t save their music which was quite annoying for someone who created a piece for a few hours. The game finally came out in the U.S. in January of ’06. I remember it as one of the first widely imported game from Japan at the time since the DS had no region lock and so does the game itself.. This was actually one of the first true collectible for the DS since it quickly became out of print a few months later. Sadly though, Electroplankton is one of the many heavily pirated games for the DS even to this day due to fact that the game is highly sought after. It’s one of those sad moments in gaming history that the bootleg pretty much destroyed it’s potential value. Take my advice though, never buy it on Amazon and when you do see it on eBay, make sure they have actual photos of the game and never EVER buy it from anyone from China.
Another year, another take on the F1 franchise. F1 games is probably the most niche gaming franchises in the racing genre. Almost every single of of theseÂ F1 games generally had bad reviews one way or another (except for the PC games – they were always better for some reason) and this particular game is not a stranger to that either. Although some say that it did play pretty good, the graphics on this game was terrible. F1 2009 was exclusive to GameStop and that probably hurt the game sales quite a bit. It did receive a niche following after the fact that it was out of print as soon as it came out and warranted a sequel (or maybe Codemasters intended to release it anyways) that came out last year all but without the Wii and PSP versions. The Wii version is probably one of the hardest games to find out of the two.
The simplest way to put Neptunia’s release was that it came, and it went. Almost absolutely no one carried this game for some reason. Actually, almost no one carries NIS America games anymore other than GameStop and Amazon. Maybe some indie stores carry their past titles but none cares enough for the newer ones. They also made a bad reputation to their fans and collectors for their over the top, extensive and over the top (yes I said it twice!) line-up of ‘Special Edition’ for their games (although lately it’s been ok) and also lying to them about how many they’ve printed. Neptunia came out earlier this year in the U.S. and given the history of NIS America, I was really surprised to see this disappear right away. And again given their reputation from past releases, I don’t think this will stay out of print forever.
There’s a few more i’d like to list but maybe i’ll make another one in the future. Like always, support the games and genres you’ve grown to love. There should be more new IP’s out there and less sequels.