Tens of thousands of games have been released over the past decades and thankfully, due to titanic conservationist efforts as well as some general respect towards the art form, most of the games ever released can actually be found and played with relatively little hassle. In fact, it is usually easy to type one’s favourite childhood game on sites like GOG or Steam (among others) and quickly find and purchase said game to experience its joys once again.
Alas, some games were not quite so lucky and for one reason or another they can no longer be officially purchased. Neither from the aforementioned stores, nor from their developer or publisher’s sites. Usually this is due to some sort of IP dispute, but that is not always the case.
Today we will take a look at a few games I personally really love that can be quite hard to buy these days, if it is even possible.
Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis (2003)
This Toshi engine game is the de facto predecessor to the popular Jurassic World Evolution as well as the upcoming Jurassic World Evolution 2 games. When it launched in 2003 it reviewed well and over time it turned into a cult classic for dinosaur fans and Jurassic Park/World fans all around the world.
As far as park builders go, it is far from the deepest or most complex this genre has to offer. The dinosaurs have good artificial intelligence and the gameplay loop is generally relaxed, but it really is not a game that requires that much planning or skill (comparatively!). Still, due to its amazing visuals and pleasing simulation aspects, as well access to mods – it is still played to this day and is definitely worth the time of any tycoon fan!
The “twister” making an absolute mockery of a park ☹
Alas, it is currently not for sale though used PC or console copies can be found online. The reason it is not for sale likely has to do with the Jurassic Park and now Jurassic World IPs and their holders. I have high hopes that one day, this game would finally make its debut on GOG and Steam!
Prey from 2006 is an arcade FPS built on the powerful id Tech 4 engine. It has little to do with the modern masterpiece from Arkane Studios that shares the exact same name, bar that both have you fighting an alien menace.
The reason Prey 2006 is such an excellent title is simple – it is among the best games of its genre. It is not a long game, but it is one of the most inventive arcade FPS titles ever made and its level design and dark humor really made it stand out.
This is the player character on the right… what the hell is this room?
Prey is a true classic linear arcade FPS experience… one that is at times quite 4D in how it works. I have never before experienced a shooter with so much verticality, gameplay is often vertical and upside down, things like spatial anomalies and paradoxes make for insane set pieces. There is true dedication towards making the game’s alien world well and truly alien and the enemy and weapon design is top notch.
Gravity… portals… this game’s tech and level design – masterclass!
Copies of Prey for Steam can still sometimes be bought via key resellers but alas, for some reason Bethesda (the actual IP holder!) does not want to give us access to this title. Probably not to lower sales of Arkane’s own game titled Prey (2017) … but it too is now not that new, plus gamers are not stupid – they would not confuse the two different yet great titles.
A title of this quality should not be forgotten. Still, hope dies last and I would love to one day see it back for sale!
War Front: Turning Point (2007)
Sonic tanks? Freeze rays? Giant energy shields? Monstrous artillery? Helicopters and powered mini-mechs? This is World War 2 like never seen before. Heavily inspired by the classic RTS title Command and Conquer: Generals, War Front Turning Point is a very good RTS game with its own likable heroes, decent campaign and interesting factions.
Artillery has always been the God of War!
One thing I quite like about it is how each one of the three factions have their own awesome experimental technology to aid them in battle. For the Western Allies (France, UK, USA) it is access to advanced airplanes, Calliope Sherman tanks, experimental helicopters, the all-powerful atomic bomb, and massive mobile energy shield walls. For Germany we have Sonic tanks, missiles, jetpack infantry, powered-armour wielding soldiers, and superior heavy tank destroyers. With the USSR players get to wield Freeze rays, super-artillery and multi-turreted heavy tanks alongside advanced combined infantry. It is a lot of fun!
Powered armour, rockets, jetpacks… this has it all.
The game even has a gimmick where the player can manually take control of defensive structures and use them. Honestly, it is mostly useless but it is useful to see the detailed (by 2007 standards) models and environment.
On release it was received positively, but it was quickly relegated to living under the shadow of Command and Conquer as well as the new kid on the block – Company of Heroes. Still, War Front is a fun game with really interesting superweapons and decent balance and it is a shame that people these days can’t easily just buy it and experience it. Maybe it is not a classic, but it is still a good game and that does count for something.
These days, the only way to get War Front is to purchase a used copy of the game as it never saw a release on Steam or GOG.
With that we finish our quick look into several good or even great old games that cannot be officially bought these days. Thankfully, there is a trend with gaming that old IPs and games do eventually get re-released again. I may be a hopeless optimist, but I do believe that many of these “lost” games and many others will one day be purchasable or easily downloadable once again!
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