Whether we like it or not, gaming is heading towards an all-digital future. Physical games in the far future will no longer be available for new titles, at least officially. There are many pros and cons to an all-digital future, but the scariest one for most players is the delisting of games. Most of the time, when a game gets delisted, you can still redownload it, but that still discounts the players who didn’t buy the game but still want to play it. For them, the only legal option is to get a console with the game already on it. There are plenty of great delisted games that got made. With that in mind, let’s look at 5 delisted digital-only games you wish you could still get.
Trials Evolution was the sequel to the hit Xbox Live Arcade game Trials HD. If you’re unfamiliar with the Trials series, the game may seem like a racing title, but in reality, it’s more of a platformer. Sure, a big part of the game is completing the track as fast as possible, but what is more important is keeping your faults (crashes) as low as possible. When you get to the hard and extreme tracks, the number of faults you will get on your first playthrough will dramatically increase. What was really exciting about this game was that it was no longer restricted to a warehouse setting like Trials HD.
At the end of that trailer, when the rider breaks out of the warehouse and into the outdoors was really exciting when it first came out, and the game delivered. Trials Evolution was everything you wanted in a great sequel. It had improved gameplay and physics, better level design, fun multiplayer, and a deep track editor with which the Trials community made so much awesome content. The insane stuff the community made with a track editor for a motorcycle game was seriously impressive. Trials Evolution was also the first Xbox Live Arcade game that offered a base 400 gamerscore instead of the usual 200, making the title seem that more important for Xbox gamers.
Despite Trials Evolution being a fantastic game, it isn’t in a perfect state right now. With all the amazing community-created content, Track Central has been unavailable for quite a few years. Track replays from other players also do not work. The game’s leaderboards have many hackers, with almost all of the top 5 times on every track being hacked/cheated.
The worst of all is the delisting of the Xbox 360 version of Trials Evolution in 2018. The two big DLC packs were also delisted close to a year later. Now Trials Evolution is on PC. However, that version doesn’t include the two DLC packs. The complete package of the game on Xbox 360 is unfortunately lost for people who didn’t already purchase it. Thankfully you can still redownload the game, and Trials Evolution is even backward compatible on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. With Ubisoft shutting down servers for plenty of games this September, along with many of them being unable to access their DLC content, Trials fans might want to be cautious of Ubisoft shutting down other Trials games.
Marble Blast Ultra
Marble Blast Ultra is a classic Xbox Live Arcade game from the early days of the Xbox 360. The game was essentially a 3D Marble Madness or, for newer gamers, very similar to Super Monkey Ball. Ultra’s campaign has split into 3 sets of levels, just like the first SMB game on GameCube. The game’s objective is to get to the goal as quickly as possible, although additional tasks can also appear. Marble Blast Ultra features power-ups, unlike many of the games similar to it, which add more depth to both the single-player and multiplayer.
(Video by: Demon27248)
The multiplayer itself was a blast and could lead to some really intense matches. Marble Blast Ultra is well remembered as an excellent early Xbox Live Arcade game. However, unfortunately, in February of 2011, the game was delisted. It was hard delisted, too, not soft delisted. Soft delisting means you can still redownload the game, but hard delisting means you can only play the game if it’s still installed on your hard drive. If your hard drive breaks, then that title is simply gone. This happened with most delisted 360 games. Those hard drives won’t last forever, and eventually, all of these great 360 games will be gone, with emulation being the only option.
Poker Night at the Inventory & Poker Night 2
The Poker Night games are my personal favorite poker titles released because they are simply such a fun experience. Most poker games don’t have much in terms of character in your opponents, but Telltale Games, at their peak, made these titles. In 2010 and 2013, respectively, Telltale Games had access to a wide variety of licenses, and they used that to create one of the most fun and entertaining poker game experiences out there. Poker Night 1 had the best cast of the two games. The game featured Max (from Sam & Max), Strong Bad (from Homestar Runner), The Heavy (from Team Fortress 2), and Tycho (from Penny Arcade).
The game is simply a blast to play with the cast of characters here and their funny dialogue. The sequel is essentially the same thing but with 5 new characters. There’s Brock Samson (from The Venture Bros.), Claptrap (from Borderlands), Ash (from Evil Dead), Sam (Sam & Max), and GLaDOS (from Portal) serves as the dealer. The cast isn’t as good as the first game, but still really fun. Poker Night 2 was available on consoles, unlike the original, which was PC exclusive. On Xbox 360, there were unlockable avatar rewards linked to winning bounty items from the characters. Some of the bounty items are pretty funny. One is Claptrap’s 2012 Spike Video Game Award for Character of the Year. Ain’t that a blast from the past?
Despite how entertaining these games are, licenses do not last forever, and along with Telltale Games’ 2018 closure, these games would inevitably get delisted. Poker Night 2 was delisted in September of 2018 due to expiring licenses. The original game was delisted from Steam in May 2019, likely due to Telltale Games’ closure. It is unfortunate that a poker game like this will likely not be made ever again, with the focus being on all these licensed characters.
3D Ultra Minigolf Adventures 2
When thinking of incredibly fun Xbox Live Arcade games to play with your friends, the 3D Ultra Minigolf Adventures titles are bound to come up. The games were the first really fun minigolf titles on the Xbox 360. Over time more minigolf games came out, but even now, the 3D Ultra Minigolf Adventures titles are still some of the best. The course design is excellent, with most having a way to get a hole-in-one, and using power-ups to screw over your friends never gets old.
While the first game is still available for purchase today and even backward compatible on newer Xbox consoles, the second game isn’t. 3D Ultra Minigolf Adventures 2 was hard delisted from both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 after only a few years since release. Now Adventures 2 was actually published by a different company than the first game. The first entry was published by Activision, while Konami published the second. Considering the first game is still available to this day, the second entry was likely delisted due to an end in a publishing agreement. This wouldn’t have been the last game Konami would pull from digital stores, either.
The Most Famous Delisted Game: P.T.
This is the horror game that took the world by storm. I vividly remember when this game initially dropped, and there was so much intrigue to it. At first, nobody quite knew what the game actually was.
P.T. was supposedly developed by 7780s Studios, a game company no one had heard of before. The game page of the PlayStation Store was just odd, but it was a free download, so many gamers were intrigued. The actual game itself was horrifying. Maybe not in the same way the classic Silent Hill games were, but it was certainly scarier than any of the last few entries.
P.T. was designed to take quite a bit of time for people to complete. However, of course, many gamers were able to finish it within a day. After that, the news spread that P.T. was a teaser for a new Silent Hill game, and Kojima Productions actually developed it.
(Video by: IGN)
P.T. drastically affected the horror genre in gaming for a good couple of years. For a while, many first-person horror games were trying to be like P.T., with most unable to replicate the spark and quality of the originator. Silent Hill fans and general honor fans alike were excited for Silent Hills. It could have been the entry that finally revitalizes the franchise that has been stale for quite a few entries. However, a year later, the infamous falling out between Kojima and Konami occurred, and Silent Hills ultimately got canceled. Not only that but P.T. got hard delisted from the PlayStation Store.
There are a whole lot of people who, unfortunately, never got to play this incredibly influential game in the horror genre. The reason Konami pulled P.T. from the PlayStation Store was never explicitly stated. I think most people assumed that since the game was canceled, Konami had to pull this playable teaser of the game. However, I think it may have to do with the likeness of Norman Reedus. He not only appears in the ending cinematic but is also the player-character model. With the cancellation of Silent Hills, Konami maybe couldn’t offer the game anymore because of the likeness of Reedus. That’s just my own personal theory, however. It’s still a shame that most people can no longer play this incredibly impactful horror game.
Silent Hill is a dead series at this point, but over the years, there have been plenty of rumors surrounding a new entry. Most recently, there were supposed leaked screenshots for a new game. I personally don’t believe Konami is doing anything with Silent Hill since they clearly don’t care about anything that doesn’t involve a children’s trading card game.