Monday, June 17, 2024

3 Classic Competitive Games That Should’ve Been Bigger Franchises.

( While I’m mostly a single-player/solo play kind of guy, there are some co-op and multiplayer classics that I really dig. We’re going to look at three games that were either competitive or had a great competitive mode that should’ve been bigger franchises than they are at the moment.


Let’s start off with an easy one. The Bomberman franchise started in 1983 being developed by Hudson. In execution, it’s a pretty simple game. Two to four players—or any configuration of human and computer—start out in their corner of an arena. The arena has walls and obstacles in place with the objective being to blow up the other competitors with bombs.

These bombs are dropped by the Bombermen and in future games there are power-ups that allow for actions such as kicking the bomb, dropping multiple bombs, or increasing the blast distance of them. The last one standing wins.

I love this franchise because the rules are simple, the gameplay is deceptively simple, and honestly it should be much bigger than it currently is under Konami. It had the potential to be another big party game—especially when the Nintendo Wii and 3DS were out—or even a fun, saltiness-free competitive game.

The saltiness-free part is important because it’s common in competitive games but if someone loses in Bomberman, it’s all on them. They either got caught in a gap or couldn’t escape the blast range.

Seriously, this game was only slightly more difficult to learn than old school Super Mario games. However, it had that same level of being deceptively simple. In Bomberman’s case, it’s really playing with others that increases the sweatiness of each match.

Best in the Franchise: Bomberman (2005, Nintendo 3DS)

Latest Release: Super Bomberman R Online (2020, PC)



Honestly, Rampage wasn’t a competitive series early on but the competitive, one-on-one element became the best part of playing games in the franchise. Honestly, the backstory to each Rampage game such that it’s just enough to warrant another game in the series but is ultimately unimportant.

As a matter of fact, Rampage storylines are similar to the storyline in many first-person shooters with online multiplayer. Players show up the competitive stuff and the story is tertiary. However, there’s no need for story outside of a reason to develop another game. Otherwise, these games could be released once or twice a decade.

Now, the thing with Rampage is that it’s all potential and nostalgia. It’s a fun game to play with your young kids because it’s not overly complex—far from it. With that said, the franchise as a whole was extremely mediocre, folks.

The best game in the franchise is Rampage 2: Universal Tour, the sequel to the second game in the series Rampage: World Tour and both were available on the Nintendo 64 and original PlayStation in the late 1990s. However, even that game got scores that were mediocre at best.

I can’t explain it but this wasn’t a great game from a mechanical standpoint but had a concept that was different from other games that weren’t being released in the 1980s and 1990s. It could all come down to this game being a very arcade-oriented game and one that translated poorly to consoles.

Honestly, Rampage’s home has always been in the likes of a Showbiz Pizza Palace, Chuck E. Cheese’s, or Discovery Zone than on your home consoles and handhelds. I wouldn’t even greenlight it for mobile. That’s probably why it’s at Dave and Buster’s now.

With all that said, Rampage is salvageable in its classic form if it’s made bigger as an experience. VR might be this franchise’s only chance at truly blowing up big.

Best in the Franchise: Rampage 2: Universal Tour (1999, Nintendo 64, Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn)

Latest Release: Rampage (2018, arcade)

Primal Rage

You can’t spell “Primal Rage” without “Rampage”, folks. While handled by different developers, I remember that Primal Rage drew a lot of comparisons with Rampage in the 1990s. You have to consider that even though the original Rampage dropped in 1986, it was still getting played at arcades in the early 90s.

The comparisons came from the design of the mutants/monster gods in both games. So, if you were a youngster in the 90s, didn’t get Game Fan regularly, and saw ads for Primal Rage, you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking it’s the same franchise at all.

However, PR was a fighting game as opposed to more of a beat ‘em up or smash ‘em up like Rampage. I’ve seen Primal Rage being bigger than say Mortal Kombat, Tekken, or Street Fighter but it still should’ve continued longer than it should’ve.

Primal Rage dropped in the early 90s where “extreme”, “mutants”, and “anthropomorphic” anything was still extremely hot as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle wave wouldn’t slack up for a couple of years. Honestly, not only should there have been a released sequel but I could’ve seen a bad film and a decent-enough cartoon out of a PR franchise before it fizzled out with Atari itself by the end of the 90s or the start of 00s.

Best in the Franchise: Primal Rage (1994, arcade, various consoles)

Latest Release: Primal Rage (1994, arcade, various consoles)

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.

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