While physical games still haven’t gone anywhere, the increasing influence of the digital age has led many gamers to focus on digitizing their game catalogs, whether it’s through the continued success of consoles like the Nintendo Switch or Valve’s Steam Deck handheld PC.
However, this age has also meant some games being removed entirely or just wiped permanently from digital storefronts and relegated to being stuck on old and unsupported hardware. They range from low-profile games to some surprisingly big names, including the likes of Silent Hill 2 and cult hits like Transformers: Devastation.
Silent Hill 2
It’s been neglected for many years by publisher Konami, the Silent Hill series was once a pillar of the survival-horror genre in gaming. Silent Hill 2 was critically acclaimed for its brand of psychological horror, tackling intense and thought-provoking themes of guilt and punishment.
The game, along with its contemporaries, was remastered in the HD Collection that can be played digitally through backward compatibility, but they were poorly received by fans by making the games look and perform worse. The only genuine way to play the game legitimately now is a hard copy of the PS2 version.
Capcom is responsible for creating some of the most iconic games in the fighting game genre. And as popular as the Street Fighter series is for the fighting game community, their Marvel crossover games achieve a comparable level of praise. Surprisingly, despite those accolades, Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes was digitally purged from storefronts after the Disney acquisition of the comic book publisher.
It’s a rather high-profile delisting, as the Marvel vs. Capcom series is a well-known fighting franchise. New Age of Heroes was praised for its intense and technical combat, as well as the art direction and wide selection of characters across both Capcom and Marvel. At the very least, its acclaimed sequel lives on.
The Legend Of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures/Anniversary Edition
Series fans have an embarrassment of riches to enjoy when it comes to The Legend of Zelda games, but Four Swords Adventures is a noteworthy spin-off entry in the franchise. The game was originally released for the GameCube in 2004 (2005 in the west), and while it can still be technically played through a physical copy on the GC or through backward compatibility on the Nintendo Wii, neither of those systems are supported anymore, and it isn’t available on the Switch.
Just as well, the DS Anniversary Edition was delisted from the digital store. Four Swords Adventures featured a creative concept, with the story broken up into episodic segments and a four-player co-op mechanic where the main Link takes his clones on a quest to thwart the evil Shadow Link.
The Simpsons Arcade Game
It started as an arcade cabinet video game, but Konami’s The Simpsons Arcade Game was eventually ported over to home consoles. The Simpsons was regarded as a beat-’em-up classic throughout the ’90s, undoubtedly serving now as a nostalgic throwback to a generation’s worth of gamers.
The gameplay was simple yet effective, with up to four players able to drop in and take part in bombastic sidescrolling beat-’em-up combat. The Simpsons Arcade Game was ported over to PlayStation and Xbox digital storefronts in 2012, but it was later removed.
Though it’s something of a technicality since it’s a demo and not a full-blown game, the would-be Konami and Hideo Kojima Silent Hills game paved the way for one of the most memorable horror game demos. Titled P.T. to tease the true name of the game, it involved Kojima and filmmaker Guillermo del Toro as game directors, with Norman Reedus appearing at the end of the demo.
It was critically acclaimed for its intense psychological horror — a Silent Hill franchise staple — and its creative narrative direction, but following Konami and Hideo Kojima’s split, the demo was delisted and the game at large scrapped.
Not many are going to necessarily miss the 2004 tie-in game when Insomniac’s Spider-Man titles are some of the best modern superhero games, but the former was one of the few good movie-to-game adaptations. These kinds of adaptations are typically half-hearted cash grabs in execution, but Spider-Man 2 laid the foundation for how exhilarating web-swinging should be.
The combat was fun and the open-world New York setting was an entertaining sandbox to traverse. Spider-Man 2 was expectedly available on practically every platform under the sun that was relevant at the time, but it’s since been digitally delisted.
The overall Transformers franchise is one with a wide generational reach, spanning every entertainment medium imaginable. This includes games, but Transformer: Devastation is one such game that couldn’t escape being digitally wiped from gaming storefronts.
Developed by PlatinumGames (of NieR:Automata and Bayonetta fame), Devastation was a hack-and-slash game generally well-received for its combat, visuals, and nostalgic atmosphere. It can still be salvaged through physical copies, however, unless players are willing to look for a pre-owned copy somewhere, Transformers: Devastation can’t be bought digitally anywhere online.
After Burner: Climax
Sega’s After Burner: Climax is a more recent arcade cult hit that was later ported to home consoles and mobile platforms. It’s a part of the greater After Burner series, where players engage in high-octane combat flight action.
Climax was well-received for its fast-paced flying and the combat that comes with it, retaining what made prior entries so engaging and refining it. But in 2014, the game was delisted from the PlayStation and Xbox digital stores, with the iOS and Android mobile platforms following suit in 2015.
Another Marvel Konami casualty, the X-Men arcade game was also widely beloved for being a straightforward yet addicting beat-’em-up. X-Men also had a 6-player multiplayer version where players chose different characters from the titular superhero team (Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Colossus, Dazzler, and Nightcrawler) to combat Magneto and his forces.
Like with the aforementioned Simpsons game, X-Men was finally brought to home consoles through the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade — as well as on iOS and Android mobile platforms. However, in 2013, every ported version of the game was digitally removed.
Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast
Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast is another Sega arcade game original, this time tackling the racing genre. It’s the 9th entry in the Outrun series overall and a remastered version of Outrun 2, and it was eventually ported to the PS2, PSP, and Xbox along with a PC port shortly after.
The game received a strong critical reception for its slick racing and handling mechanics, as well as the stunning scenery of the game’s various maps/tracks for the time. Despite that warm welcome, Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast was digitally delisted. The only way to play it now is to find a physical PC copy of the game, which is a tough ask in the modern age of gaming.
NEXT: 10 Best Video Games To Play This Month