9 beloved games fans hated (or didn't play)

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Hindsight is 20/20. Often our favorite games, movies, music, or even people, were not something we initially liked. Some games are disliked by gamers right out of the gate - in some instances, before it even releases. Sometimes the dislike is justified, other times it really isn't.

Nowadays, vitriol can be found in response to absolutely anything. The poisonous nature of the Internet has given everyone a platform to speak their minds. Here's where I should say, "for better or worse", but I think it's painfully clear that it's for the worse, considering the horrible things people say and the animosity found on almost any site. But the state of the Internet is a topic for another day.

The point is that despite how beloved some properties are, you will easily find naysayers. In some cases, the dislike for these games stems from the very-human aversion to change. We always want new things, until we get them. So you will probably notice such a trend in this list.

Almost every game on this list was loved by critics, but not-so-loved by gamers. Needless to say, not every gamer disliked these titles, but a fair share did. A number of these games ended up being adored years later. Fans eventually came to appreciate (or overlook) the changes that they initially opposed.

Are the games you love on this list? Were you one of the ones who hated them at launch? Read on and find out!

System Shock 2

As the spiritual predecessor to Bioshock and a game that was ahead of its time and very influential to modern FPS games, it may be a surprise that System Shock 2 received little fanfare upon release.

The original System Shock was a game that not too many people played, and yet it received a sequel nonetheless. System Shock 2 sold poorly as well, despite being critically adored. It wasn't until much later, particularly after Bioshock, that people went back and found the game and saw it for what it was worth.

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker

The revisionist history of The Legend of Zelda is more prominent than any other series. The series is known for consistently changing gameplay mechanics, art styles and even dimensions, and yet with each iteration there seems to be newborn dislike for the changes.

In the case of Wind Waker, fans immediately voiced their hatred for the new art style. The GameCube game was revealed in 2000 and received a large amount of backlash from fans for its cel-shaded, cartoony art style. What's important to keep in mind is that just a year earlier, Nintendo showed off a tech demo of Zelda that showed photo-realistic graphics and a much more mature take on the series. So when Wind Waker was actually revealed, it was not taken well by fans that were excited at the prospects of the series.

Fast forward 10 years: the game gets re-released on Wii U and is suddenly beloved. Over the years, fans came around to the game, but it was the Wii U version that really changed their minds.

Grim Fandango

This game wasn't so much hated as it was completely overlooked. Grim Fandango has even been labelled as the "game that killed the adventure genre".

Grim Fandango was highly lauded by critics when it released, but it didn't sell spectacularly, and it came at a time when Lucas Arts wanted to move away from the adventure genre. Over time, the game achieved cult classic status, but it was pretty much impossible to get a copy - that was, until Sony helped fund Double Fine in remastering the game for PlayStation. Grim Fandango can be played on a PS4 or a PS Vita and has finally received the love it deserves.

Counter Strike 1.6

Despite being an absolute behemoth in PC gaming, and arguably having the most longevity of any game ever, Counter Strike has seen its share of hatred.

As you may know, the game has had several iterations and sequels through the years. But the most famous, and divisive, was 1.6. This version of the game was initially hated by fans of the series because it tweaked the gunplay and introduced the infamous riot shields.

As is always the case (with the games on this list that is) fans eventually came around to 1.6. It is the most famous iteration of the game and one that nearly everyone prefers to the current Global Offensive.

Super Mario Sunshine

Ahhh, poor Super Mario Sunshine. This great game tried some new things and was completely lambasted for it. The biggest change, which was also the most hated, was Mario's jetpack: F.L.U.D.D.

F.L.U.D.D., or Flash Liquidizer Ultra Dousing Device, is essentially a water jetpack. Mario can use various nozzles for F.L.U.D.D. which allow him to squirt enemies, hover, blast upwards or boost across areas. The jetpack was present for the entire game, and fans were not happy about being forced to use it.

Super Mario Sunshine also introduced a more prominent story than most games in the series, which included Mario being arrested and forced to clean using the water, an evil Mario clone that framed him, Baby Bowser, and even Princess Peach. The game took place entirely on a tropical island, known as Delfino Island, which also frustrated fans who were accustomed to a variety of landscapes, i.e. snow, lava, the desert and more.

Basically, Super Mario Sunshine was disliked for trying new things with the series, but in reality the changes were a welcome take on the tired formula. Sunshine was a beautiful, creative game that deserves a remaster to reach a new audience.

EarthBound

EarthBound was a Super Nintendo game that released in 1994 to poor critical response and even worse sales. For a long time the game was disregarded in Europe - as opposed to Japan where it was rather well received.

EarthBound was a JRPG that followed Ness and his compadres as they travel the globe searching for melodies that would help them defeat an alien called Giygas. As you can see from the picture above, EarthBound was a very pretty game in its day and offered a ton of charm.

It wasn't until the game was reissued for Wii U Virtual Console in 2013 that opinions vastly changed. Critics reassessed the game when it came to the Wii U and decided it was a timeless classic. The revisionist history was very strong with this one.

Street Fighter III

The biggest criticism thrown at Street Fighter III was the roster. Subtitled 'The Next Generation', the game introduced an entirely new cast except for Ken and Ryu. It's rather obvious that this wouldn't go down well with fans of the series.

It seems that every new iteration of Street Fighter is initially disliked because of the tweaks to the mechanics that throw die-hard fans off their gameplans. However, they tend to come around to the changes once they've had time to adjust.

On top of the huge roster change, the game was also really difficult in comparison to SF2, which is always a turn-off for new or casual players. On top of that, the game was ridiculed for having poor balancing, which is always the main concern for fans of the series. That being said, SF3 has gone on to become a cult classic.

Diablo III

This one might be hard to believe, considering how much love Diablo III has, both from fans and critics. Truth be told, however, the game did not have a smooth start.

Even though fans waited 12 very long years from Diablo II to Diablo III, the game was heavily criticized because of story elements that contradicted or retconned earlier events, a lack of atmosphere and end game content, and the mistreatment of a few characters. The gameplay wasn't the issue with Diablo III, it was mostly the story.

In the 3 years since its original release, Diablo III has moved to more platforms and sold over 30 million copies. It also received a huge expansion known as Reaper of Souls, which was much more appreciated by fans. The game continues to grow and the popular opinion has swayed much more to the happy side.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

There's a lot of revisionist history to be done with Majora's Mask. Since its 3DS remake, the game has been rightly lauded by almost everyone. But back when it was released in 2000, the same could not be said.

Critics adored the game. Here's what one of them had to say: 

"The Empire Strikes Back of Nintendo 64...it's the same franchise, but it's more intelligent, darker, and tells a much better storyline."

And yet gamers were not so happy. The lack of dungeons, Zora eggs and darker story were not so well-received.

Fast-forward 15 years and Majora's Mask is a darling of Nintendo fans. Of course, some people still dislike the game, but the 3DS remaster saw it receive a lot of love from those who previously disliked it. The consensus seems to be that those who wrote it off did so as kids that wanted more of the same, now as adults they could appreciate Majora's Mask for what it was.

More than any other gaming series, Zelda seems to attract initial hatred, then find love in later years, as mentioned with Wind Waker.

So those are the 10 games that were either hated by fans or largely ignored upon release. It's interesting to note that most of them are Nintendo and PC games. It also seems that most people end up changing their minds or rediscovering these games later in life.

Remasters have certainly helped Grim Fandango, two Zelda games and EarthBound get more attention and love. Maybe the same could happen for Super Mario Sunshine, System Shock 2, and Street Fighter III.

So what games did you initially hate but then changed your mind about? Let us know in the comments!

Published Aug. 22nd 2015

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