Old Franchises That Are Still Kicking

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Let's face it, we have a few games hidden away, maybe still on diskettes that we love. Games that were awesome to us the first time and we still think about going back and playing one more time even though we know how bad they are compared to today's new standards. Thankfully, places like Steam and Good Old Games give us an opportunity to reach back to the earlier chapters of these franchises.

Are there franchises that should have lasted instead of these? Perhaps a classic that will never see an expansion "because of the market trends?"

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The Fallout franchise has been through a lot. Fallout dropped in 1997 and was voted best RPG of the year by the likes of GameSpot and Computer Gaming World. It frequently lands on lists for the "greatest games of all-time." It says something when the game survived the near death of its origin company to be resurrected by Bethesda. In 17 years, we are just now expecting a sixth incarnation of the game or seventh if you count the widely ignored Xbox version.

In 1981, Castle Wolfenstein first made an appearance playable on a Commodore 64, Apple II, and DOS. Wolfenstein has just seen it's newest incarnation just a short time ago with The New Order. If any game is to blame for immortalizing the idea that it's always okay to kill Nazis, this game is it. Thirty-three years later, it's still socially acceptable to kill Nazis in video games.

Heroes of Might and Magic is an excellent turn-based game that gave you control over magic-wielding heroes and the mystical creatures that would follow them. Each major hero type had its own special skill, like the necromancers bringing their dead back to life as skeleton soldiers.

The game could be infinitely re-playable. There were plenty of castle types to choose from and even more maps. The spells available added on another layer of variability.

Honestly, I still think about breaking this one out every once in a while. If only my computer knew how to run DOS. Fortunately, the newer versions still stay true to the original, almost to the point where it seems like you are playing the same game, just with newer graphics and some rules tweaks.

Possibly the greatest turn-based strategy game of all time, Civilization has expanded far beyond the V that was used on its last title. The game has been a constant success even after the creator, Sid Meier, moved it to his new company, Firaxis. Through that time the game spawned; Colonization, Alpha Centauri, Revolution, and the soon to be Beyond Earth. I expect to see versions of this game well past the age where I could even bother to play it anymore.

The Total War franchise hasn't been around near as long as some of the others on this list, but it has delivered no less than nine titles and has done us the courtesy of revamping two titles, Shogun and Rome, with newer graphics and interface. Every Steam sale seems to offer up huge discounts on this franchise and it's worth it.

If you have never played before, ease yourself in with one title, before you spend loads on every last one. The interface from the original Rome and Medieval just doesn't age well compared to the improvements the series has seen. Expect to see these games to keep on for a long time, perhaps even compete with Civilization at some point for the title of best strategy game.

The Elder Scrolls has seen plenty of change in each edition since 1994 and has been better for it every time. While Skyrim felt like a medieval Fallout 3, it still delivered the world in new and exciting ways. The series has come a long way since Arena and has led to Elder Scrolls Online getting plenty of attention.

I've never played this series, but it is instantly recognizable to nearly every gamer. The first game came out in 1987 and we have no less than fourteen direct titles in the series not to mention all the spin-off games such as Final Fantasy Tactics. Considering that the video game was considered the creators final attempt at making it a video game franchise, it turned out to be quite a success.

 What do you think? Are there franchises that should have lasted instead of these? Perhaps a classic that will never see an expansion "because of the market trends?"

Published Jun. 20th 2014

Columnist

While I do play some of the greats like Civilization and X-com, consider me your Tabletop guru here at gameskinny. Want to know about a tabletop game? Just ask!

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